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WWE Extreme Rules 2015 Predictions and Preview

April 23, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE will have its annual WrestleMania rebound special event on Sunday with Extreme Rules. The gimmicked show will feature two old school stipulations in what appears to be a fairly predictable show.

Hey I’ll concede that it will never be easy to follow WrestleMania, but this year’s Extreme Rules event is a bit of a letdown. The omission of Brock Lesnar from the event really hurts whereas everything else seems so inconsequential in relation to Lesnar’s storyline with the Authority. But it is what it is and while I wouldn’t expect a great show, these shows generally deliver a lot of fun.

Let’s take a look at the key matches, break them down, and pick some winners.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton for the WWE world heavyweight championship/RKO Banned in a Steel Cage – Rollins will get Orton as his first challenger to the WWE title. The main-event is a rematch straight out of WrestleMania. It is interesting to note that what was an undercard match that wasn’t all that compelling is now the main-event of the show. Talk about a promotion!

I will say this. I thought that next to Lesnar vs. Reigns that Rollins vs. Orton was the best match on WrestleMania. I have no problem with these guys wrestling again, especially if they are given more time. Orton has been on fire since Mania with his biggest babyface push in quite some time. Rollins has a lot of dynamics in play as well, maybe a little too many but the match certainly makes sense from a storyline perspective.

I would be flat out shocked if Orton won the title at Extreme Rules. Although this is one of those matches where the WWE really could go the surprise route in hopes that expiring free WWE Network subscriptions will get renewed out of interest. Otherwise there are already rumors of a Reigns vs. Rollins vs. Orton main-event at Payback. I think Rollins wins with some kind of help either intentional or inadvertent from Kane. It is way too easy for the WWE to play the Kane and Rollins fooled us all card. I think interference in favor of Orton backfires and Rollins retains the title. It also wouldn’t shock me if Payback switched to Kane vs. Orton vs. Rollins.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the US championship in a Russian Chain Match – I would be a lot more excited for this one if we weren’t in the PG era. The idea of a chain match in a company where guys aren’t allowed to bleed sounds very unappealing. I am not sure how they pull this one off without blood but I certainly wouldn’t expect either one of these guys to go rogue and get red.

I love this feud and by all accounts most fans are into it. I am not sure what you do here. Cena can’t lose the title after a month and Rusev can’t lose two in a row, especially his own gimmick match. I have seen a lot of these four corners matches over the years and most end with a cheap finish. Again like the Rollins match, I could see a Rusev surprise here in hopes of converting Network squatters. In the end I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Rusev wins and maybe Cena gets the belt back at the next show. I just think that they have too much invested in Rusev to book him to lose twice. Although you could have said that a few years ago about Brock Lesnar.

Roman Reigns vs. Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match – This company just doesn’t get it and appears to be no closer to rebuilding Reigns than they were before WrestleMania. It’s a damned shame as Reigns could have come out of WrestleMania with some momentum yet this feud with the Big Show has been nothing more than a big anchor. This feud must not continue!

Unfortunately it is and I have a feeling that this match will not help Reigns out in the least. Reigns needs to get in there at Extreme Rules and lay Show out quickly. That won’t happen. Last Man Standing Matches are either really great or really slow and boring. Sadly I see this one falling into the slow and boring category. I don’t think anyone in their right mind books Reigns to lose here.

As far as big matches go that’s it! Daniel Bryan is in limbo right now and even if he does make the show, how much is he really going to do? Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose in a Street Fight could be fun if they didn’t already wrestle each match as if it was a Street Fight. Ziggler vs. Sheamus will be as good as the time they are given. Overall I expect a fun show but far from anything near the greatness we saw at WrestleMania 31.

Full WWE Extreme Rules card and matches…
Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton for the WWE world heavyweight championship/RKO Banned in a Steel Cage
John Cena vs. Rusev for the US championship in a Russian Chain Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett in a WWE Intercontinental championship
Roman Reigns vs. Big Show in a Last Man Standing match.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Kiss Me Arse Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper in a Street Fight
Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the Divas championship

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10 Things about WWE Champion Seth Rollins You May Or May Not Know

April 21, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE fans have a new world champion and his name is Seth Rollins. Rollins had a very interesting road to the top and has offered up these stories on previous interviews and podcasts. Here are 10 of the more interesting stories from Rollins that you may or may not have known about.

Seth Rollins wrestled in TNA Wrestling before signing with the WWE – Yep, chalk this one up to another talent that the crack TNA scouting department let get away. Long before Rollins came to the WWE, he made a brief appearance in TNA. Rollins appeared as Tyler Black on an episode of Impact in October 2006. Even better, he was squashed. Black and partner were Jeff Watson were destroyed by the LAX. Add Rollins to the list of guys from CM Punk to Dean Ambrose that TNA let get away. To be fair to TNA they did make Rollins an offer, but he went elsewhere.

Evan Bourne persuaded Rollins to sign with the WWE – Rollins was intrigued with the idea of going to the WWE but he wasn’t sold until he talked extensively with Evan Bourne. Rollins said in an interview with The Sun that it was Bourne’s conversation that helped him make the final decision. Rollins was weighing an offer from TNA at the time as well as an offer to stick around Ring of Honor.

To be honest, and no disrespect meant, but it wasn’t a hard decision to make. You have to want to test yourself against and WWE is the pinnacle of our industry. They were actually the last to make me an offer. I was renegotiating with ROH and TNA had made an offer, but when WWE came in, it was a no contest. I understand that I may have to sacrifice a little artistic integrity—and I don’t know if I will have to change my name but I’m excited about the challenge that lays ahead.

Seth Rollins has had a few different ring names – Yep, you are probably well aware of Rollins’ previous identity to wrestling fans as Tyler Black. That isn’t a shock. But did you know that Rollins had a few name changes prior to Black? Rollins wrestled as Gixx, and Taj the Destroyer before (as well as God before debuting) morphing into Tyler Black. Could you imagine WWE champion Taj the Destroyer?

Rollins did not know about the plans to cash in Money in the Bank until the night of WrestleMania 31 – According to a recent report in The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Rollins arrived at WrestleMania planning to do nothing more than put Randy Orton over. Dave Meltzer reports that Rollins didn’t find out the plans for the Lesnar vs. Reigns finish until the segment with Ronda Rousey, Rock, Triple H, and Stephanie, so about an hour before his title win.

The last 45 seconds of the match (Reigns vs. Lesnar) and that he was getting the title was said to be told to Rollins right at the start of the Rock & Ronda Rousey angle. It was at that point when Rollins, Reigns, Lesnar, Paul Heyman and producer Michael Seitz (Michael Hayes) went together into a room to go through the “new” finish and work out how they were going to accomplish it. The rest of the match had already been worked on and formulated.

Seth Rollins name is a tribute to legendary singer and writer Henry Rollins - Seth Rollins was faced with the challenge most successful independent pro wrestlers face these days when signing with the WWE. Rollins tried to keep Tyler Black but spell it differently. He was told that he couldn’t and had to change his name. Seth came from a list of first names he came up with and Dusty Rhodes took a liking to Seth. Rollins came up with the last name as an ode to one of his favorite singers Henry Rollins.

Seth Rollins is a little bit of an ode to an idol of mine, Henry Rollins. He’s the leader of one of my favorite bands, Black Flag. Seth is just a name that I liked.

Seth Rollins was originally booked to wrestle Chris Jericho at WWE Night of Champions - This isn’t any kind of monumental face but just a fun tidbit you may not have known. Jericho wrestled Randy Orton and lost at Night of Champion while Seth Rollins brawled with Dean Ambrose. According to Jericho, he was originally scheduled to wrestle Seth Rollins until Vince McMahon changed his mind.

Night of Champions, had a great match with Randy Orton. I really feel like the last couple weeks, between the cage match with Bray Wyatt and the match with Randy Orton at Night of Champions, were two of my best matches that I had on this run coming back. Always great to steal the show, and we did steal the show. Originally, I was supposed to work with Seth Rollins at Night of Champions. Vince changed it to Randy Orton and we had a really, really cool great chemistry. I love how he works. He’s such a careful worker. His timing is immaculate, his selling is great. He’s very over, he’s got a lot of moves that are over so it really makes it a big difference to be in the ring with a pro like that. And we had a great finish, I really enjoyed it. You know, it’s funny to hear some people go ‘oh, it’s so obvious that you were going to jump off the top rope and get RKO’d’. Yeah, sure, that’s exactly what you all were thinking. I really don’t buy that. Of course it happens, so you’re like ‘see, I told ya!’ But I think when you’re watching the match and the way that we built it and the way that it was, I think that was a great finish, a great surprise, and a great way for me to end my WWE run.

Seth Rollins almost got fired in NXT - This was a well-kept secret for a few years until the WWE brought it to light in a Shield documentary on the WWE Network. Rollins was butting heads with trainer Terry Taylor as well as other trainers. Rob Naylor expanded on this in a Fighting Spirit column and said that some producers felt that Rollins wasn’t willing to listen or take direction, specifically Terry Taylor. Taylor reported this to Triple H and Hunter called a meeting with Rollins. Hunter gave Rollins the option to leave telling him if he didn’t want to be there than to go home. Rollins took this as a wakeup call and changed his attitude. This resulted in Rollins being the first NXT champion and receiving a public vote of confidence by Triple H. According to Naylor, a few of the coaches in NXT didn’t think Rollins would make it.

I think they’ve all been proven wrong.

WWE officials wanted to break up the Shield months earlier than when the split finally came down - Rollins talked a bit about this on Chris Jericho’s podcast. Dean Ambrose has also talked about this. When Roman Reigns speared everyone at Survivor Series 2013 and was the lone survivor and that was supposed to lead to a big singles push for Reigns and a split with the Shield. Tension within the Shield was teased at the time, specifically around the time the Shield lost at Hell in a Cell. Rollins and Ambrose felt that they had a big babyface run in them from the reaction they were getting at shows and went to Vince McMahon personally to propose holding off the breakup and turning babyface. It is funny to think of how things would have turned out if they used that Survivor Series to springboard Reigns and split the Shield back up in the winter of 2013.

Rollins and the Shield were originally scheduled to debut at Hell in a Cell 2012 - The Shield did not debut until the Survivor Series yet Rollins told Chris Jericho that the original plans to debut at Hell in a Cell a month earlier. The Shield would have gotten involved in the CM Punk vs. Ryback match but it was the “heel” turn of Brad Maddox in the match that took precedence. Rollins told Jericho that the four weeks between Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series were extremely stressful as he was afraid that the company would change plans and nix the angle altogether. Rollins told Jericho that he feared being sent back down to NXT. Good things come to those who wait!

The original idea for the Shield was much different than the Shield we saw debut at Survivor Series - Rollins told Jericho during the aforementioned podcast interview that the original idea was to make the Shield some kind of a security force for Punk. Rollins thinks in hindsight that they were brought up originally just to be fed to Ryback. Rollins said the original costume consisted of an “awful” turtleneck, the “kind your uncle would wear to a Christmas party.” They were also given nightsticks and big plastic riot shields with the words “Shield” on them. As they were doing their run-through Vince McMahon yelled over to them, “Oh you can’t kick his (Ryback) ass by yourself?” He told Jericho they felt ridiculous with the shields and clubs. He said they responded to Vince saying, “Yeah we can!” and threw their gimmicks down never to be seen again.

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Happy Anniversary AWA WrestleRock 86

April 20, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

29 years ago today the biggest and last super card in AWA history took place. WrestleRock better known for the WrestleRock Rumble took place today in 1986 in what some could argue was the beginning of the end of the AWA.

WrestleRock was Verne Gagne’s answer to the super cards being presented by his rivals the WWE and Jim Crockett Promotions. While the super card was not a new concept, WrestleMania took that idea to new heights. JCP was already in the game with Starrcade which by 1986 had become its own entity for the NWA fan base.

The AWA was on ESPN during this time and unlike the WWE and even JCP who booked their super card angles up to a year in advance, WrestleRock seemed to come out of nowhere. I remember watching the shows at the time and thinking about how random the event seemed. One would have assumed that with the power of ESPN television, WrestleRock could have turned the wrestling war around. It didn’t.

One of the biggest questions looking back on the event is why Verne didn’t take it to pay-per-view. For whatever reasons he did not and instead invested into an event similar to the Great American Bash which produced a tour and one big show to highlight the tour. The show took place on April 20, 11986 in the home base of the AWA, Minneapolis, MN.

Almost 30 years later this event is not remembered for any match, any angle, or any moment on the show. This show is remembered for one of the campiest, corniest, silliest promotional videos of all-time, the WrestleRock Rumble! This gem produced by Verne featured all of his talent rapping, yes rapping for an event with “rock” in the title, promos behind music. It was based on the highly popular cult video that the Chicago Bears put it out a few months earlier before the Super Bowl.

One of the biggest misconceptions about the event itself was that it was a flop. It wasn’t. The event reportedly outdrew both Crockett Cup tournaments which turned out to be a big financial flop for JCP. Financially it is hard to ascertain what the final result was because the payroll was ridiculous for the show. The show drew 23,000 fans and featured fifteen, yes fifteen matches! Sounds like a bad independent show lineup but that is what Verne came to town with.

Another interesting fact that many fail to remember is that the event featured a concert by Waylon Jennings. So to recap you have an event with “rock” in the title to play off of the rock and wrestling success the WWE had, promoted by a rap video, featuring a country music concert. You have to love Verne!

One other note which kind of surprised me. This is not on the WWE Network. The WWE bought the rights to the AWA library and owns the footage. I would have expected to see this on the network by now, especially with so many future WWE Hall of Fame wrestlers like Mr. Perfect, Barry Windham, the Road Warriors, Shawn Michaels, and Scott Hall on the bill.

I won’t go through an entire review of the show because quite honestly I can’t force myself to watch them all again. What I do remember is that for such a big event, there were a lot of non-finishes. In fact, two out of the three championship matches on the show ended in disqualifications. The only finish in a championship match was Scott Hall and Curt Hennig defeating the Long Riders.

The lineup was quite an eclectic mix of talent. The best match on the show was probably the Midnight Rockers against Buddy Rose and Doug Somers, but that only went 12 minutes. Special guests on the show included Harley Race, Mike Rotunda, Barry Windham, Tiger Mask, Kamala, and Wahoo McDaniel. Other notables on the show were full-time and part-time AWA players Sgt. Slaughter, Bruiser Brody, champion Stan Hansen, Jimmy Snuka (who cooled off quickly after coming in hot from the WWE), Rick Martel, the Road Warriors, Michael Hayes, and Jimmy Garvin.

What should have been the turning point in the 1980s wrestling wars was the beginning of the end. The AWA never came close to hosting an event like this and by the end of the year most of the big names had left for Japan, WWE, or the NWA. Looking at the results throughout the rest of the year, the Road Warriors only did a couple of dates after this as they were pretty much full-time JCP. Stan Hansen was gone in a few months. Rick Martel left shortly after to return to the WWE. The Freebirds and Sgt. Slaughter were gone. Jimmy Snuka also worked minimal dates by the end of the year leaving the usual AWA suspects.

By the time Verne got into the pay-per-view game it was 1988 and he had lost all of his big guns. While the idea of coming to pay-per-view with a title vs. title headliner was nice, there was little demand in seeing two declining territorial champions in Kerry Von Erich and Jerry Lawler unify titles. In all actuality it was Super Clash 88 that was truly the end of the AWA as the promotion survived on life support for the remainder of its existence.

It is interesting to look back and wonder what would have happened if this card was televised on pay-per-view or didn’t happen at all. Would Verne have been able to keep his big guns around longer if he didn’t lose a fortune on this and future events? We’ll never know but in the meantime take a few minutes out of this historic day to enjoy yourself some WrestleRock Rumble…you earned it!

AWA WrestleRock 1986 Results…
Road Warriors defeated Michael Hayes & Jimmy Garvin in a cage match
Verne Gagne defeated Sheik Adnan in a cage match
Greg Gagne & Jimmy Snuka defeated King Kong Brody & Nord the Barbarian in a cage match
Nick Bockwinkel defeated AWA Champion Stan Hansen via DQ
Scott LeDeoux defeated Larry Zbyszko via DQ
AWA Tag Team Champions Curt Hennig & Scott Hall defeated Bill Irwin & Scott Irwin
Sherri Martel won a 10 woman Battle Royal
Rick Martel no contest Harley Race
Shohei Baba defeated Bulldog Bob Brown
Barry Windham & Mike Rotundo defeated Fabulous Ones
Tiger Mask (Misawa) defeated Buck Zumhofe
Buddy Rose & Doug Somers defeated Midnight Rockers
Colonel DeBeers defeated Wahoo McDaniel via DQ
Brad Rheingans defeated Boris Zhukov
Little Mr. T and Cowboy Lang defeated Lord Littlebrook and Little Tokyo

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Ronda Rousey Says She Wants More WWE

April 15, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ronda Rousey got a taste of the WWE and she wants more! The UFC champion told WWE legend Roddy Piper that she had so much fun at WrestleMania 31, there is no way she is not getting back into a WWE ring.

Rousey made her first in-ring WWE appearance at WrestleMania 31 in a highly publicized angle with the Rock, Triple H, and Stephanie McMahon. It had been widely circulated that the WWE have been interested in using Rousey for awhile, yet her UFC contract prevented her from showing up. With a blessing from Dana White, the WWE finally got their girl and it may be that blessing that winds up blowing up in White’s face.

Rousey was a guest on Roddy Piper’s podcast and talked extensively about her experience at WrestleMania 31. Rousey told Piper that the biggest problem is that she can’t wait to go back.

I hit the ground running,” Rousey said. “The first I ever wrestled was at Wrestlemania with an attendance record at Levi’s Stadium. I had a problem when I left. There’s no way I can’t not go back in there again. There’s no way. After experiencing that, there’s nothing like it.

The second I left I was already thinking, ‘How can I possibly go back?’ I didn’t even change [clothes] yet. I hadn’t even gotten out of my outfit yet.

Rousey is already rumored to be a part of the WrestleMania 32 main-event. Early speculation was that she’d either back up Rock vs. Triple H or tag with Rock against Hunter and Stephanie in a mixed-tag team match. Recent reports indicate that the WWE wants a Rousey vs. Stephanie singles match. Whatever the idea is, it would appear that Rousey is up for it and anything else.

Piper talked to Rousey about the angle and the benefits of working with someone like the Rock in that situation.

It’s a tricky thing having [The Rock]. He’s so good at putting people over. He holds the room so intensely, it’s hard to not be outshone by him,” said Rousey. “Triple H and The Rock could be one of the biggest rivalries of all-time. How can we make a situation where we ignore them? That’s a lot of pressure, to be captivating enough to ignore them.

Rousey also talked a bit about the spots in the angle with Stephanie and Triple H. Rousey told Piper that the hip-toss in particular did not go as planned.

That wasn’t even a throw I was planning. I made it up on the spot. I pulled it out of my ass. I don’t even know what that is,” said Rousey. “It was kind of awesome to see everything planned, and everything that doesn’t go according to plan.

She also told Piper that Stephanie wasn’t supposed to go down in their skirmish either. Rousey and Piper both agreed that the spontaneouity of it all made the moment even better.

I was nervous, in a way, when I knew [the appearance] was coming up,” Rousey said. “I was trying to look like I was cool but my heart and my chest were [pounding]. I was trying not to look obvious but I think I totally did.

Rousey and Piper also talked a bit about wrestling fans. Rousey literally stopped short of saying that wrestling fans were better than MMA fans. To put it in context, Rousey told Piper that wrestling fans understand that the WWE stars are just entertaining whereas MMA fans may take things she says to promote a fight too literally.

Sorry Dana but you have a problem on your hand. Your number one star is hooked and loved the rush of working in a stadium in front of 66,000+ people. Rousey did tell Piper that she won’t look ahead to future WWE dates until she fights Beth Correia on August 1. Rousey also told Piper that she had several movie commitments shortly thereafter.

I’d say there is a pretty good you’ll be seeing Rousey at WrestleMania 32 if she has her way. If she doesn’t, it could lead to an interesting showdown between White and his biggest UFC star.

Check out the entire podcast with Piper and Rousey. It’s a lot of fun and I can almost guarantee you that you’ll come out of it having a bigger appreciation for the UFC champ.

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Daniel Bryan Working Hurt

April 15, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Before you get out your pitchforks and start complaining about the booking of Daniel Bryan as WWE intercontinental champion, you should probably be aware that things aren’t exactly as they seem for the American Dragon.

Fans were excited when Bryan won the Ladder Match at WrestleMania 31 to become new intercontinental champion. The hope was that Bryan’s win would bring dignity and integrity back to a title that means more today than Ted DiBiase Jr.’s Million Dollar championship. Unfortunately it seems like you may have to wait as Bryan’s reign as champion may be just as short as world title reign of 2014.

Dave Meltzer reported on a recent podcast that Bryan is hurt. Meltzer wouldn’t get into the details but did report that Bryan is injured and the WWE are being very cautious with their former champion. This would explain Bryan’s limited participation in tag team matches on television and on the recent European tour.

The timing of this news is not that surprising. Bryan just returned a few months back after being sidelined for close to a year with neck and arm issues. Yet Bryan worked a high impact ladder match at Mania which put him at great risk for re-injury. I can only speculate but I think it is fair to assume that he got hurt in the match. Bryan wrestled a hell of a match the following night against Dolph Ziggler but has remained limited for the most part since that match.

Ironically Bryan just recently talked about concerns from WWE officials about his style and risk for injury. “Hey, listen, you need to stop doing some of these things that you do.’ They have legitimate concerns over my healthy and well-being, which is nice, but also I feel like I consider myself an artist and I like to go out there and create art the way I like to create art.

Yet they book him in a ladder match at WrestleMania? Brilliant!

Sadly this will probably turn into some kind of self-fulfilling prophecy for Vince McMahon and officials who believe Bryan is too brittle to be trusted. The YES Movement will never get the respect it got in 2014 and there is almost zero chance that Bryan gets as strong of a push in the WWE again. It’s not fair but from a business standpoint, I can certainly understand the concerns. The timing of these while never good, are even worse when these injuries come after he is booked to win titles.

Bryan is still scheduled to wrestle Bad News Barrett at Extreme Rules. At this rate I’d bet on some Bad News walking out of Extreme Rules with the title and Bryan getting some much needed rest following the event.

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CM Punk Calls WWE Fake, Says UFC Fighter Is An Easy Job

April 14, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk is making some waves with some recent comments about his former trade. The former WWE champion who was once a big pro wrestling fan has now to come to despise it and is a lot less impressed with his former skill set than most of you are.

Punk did a lengthy Q&A with and whether it is the door officially closing on pro wrestling in his household due to his wife retiring, a million-dollar lawsuit, or pressure, he does not have any kind things to say about his pro wrestling career and the WWE. So for you wrestling fans if you think Punk is coming into the UFC and fighting for you, he is here to tell you that he isn’t.

What does it mean to be a good fake wrestler? That’s an identity crisis that I think I struggled with. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best, someone else picks who they want in the top spot.

It’s fake. People always get offended by that word. ‘No, we like to say it’s pre-determined.’ For whatever reason, people get angry at fake. Pre-determined eases the blow? It’s fake. At the end of the day it doesn’t really mean anything. So after a while, it was, ‘Let’s just really fight and see what happens.’ Now I get to.”

It’s interesting that Punk would go so far as to call it fake. It is what it is but for a guy that admittedly suffered countless concussions and injuries, you would think that fake would be a word that offended him. It certainly offends a lot of his former peers I can tell you that much. It’s not that anyone is trying to say it’s real, it is just that these guys and girls who do it for a living work hard and suffer through quite a lot to make it and sustain their spots. To demean it now that he and his wife are out is a little disappointing.

Backstage [in WWE] is so shark-infested and political. It’s almost comical. A lot of people are more interested in the backstage goings-on than what they see on television. A lot of ways it’s more fascinating. It’s a competition for sure.

You wonder, Did you really punch me in the face? You say it was an accident but I know you and I think you’re a prick and I’ve seen you do this to other people. Are you doing this to me? Did you kick me in the ribs as hard as you can? In MMA I know the other guy is going to try and kick me in the ribs as hard as he can. No, not maliciously. But I’ve been in the wrestling ring with plenty of guys where I’m wondering, Is he is trying hurt me? Is he mad because he is losing? I don’t have to deal with that bullsh*t any more. It’s a godsend.”

The guy is entitled to his opinion but he’s not real smart here. He is mocking the entire fan base that he is expected to bring with him to the UFC. He wasn’t signed to a UFC contract without one fight under his belt because they thought he’d be a champion. He was signed because he was expected to bring the pro wrestling fan base over with him. Coming out with so harshly against pro wrestling isn’t going to help.

Punk was also asked about other WWE stars getting into the UFC. “Half of them talk about it; none of them do it. They have their little comfortable safety net doing WWE stuff, I guess. I would much rather give it a shot than just talk about it.”

Punk not only angered WWE peers and fans but has probably made several of his UFC peers and many fans made as well when he called being a UFC fighter an “easy job.”

“[In WWE] you’re on the road pretty much every day of the year, at least when you’re in the position I was in. Fly into a town. Find a gym, work out. Go to the building. Stretch. Wrestle. Cool down. Drive to the next town. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Now I’m just training. What an easy job, right? It’s way better for me. I was burnt out on traveling, so over it. People think I’m crazy, living in Chicago and driving to Milwaukee every day to train. That’s the easiest thing in the world! Ninety minutes from my front door and I can be in my own bed every night? It’s a different lifestyle and it’s done me wonders. Amazing. I love it.

The real tough sons of bitches are the guys who train as hard as I do and then have to go to their nine-to-five job. I’m fortunate enough to do this as a full-time job. So I get to train two or three times a day. Things are going to be okay for me.”

I have to hand it to Punk. He alienated two fan bases in one interview. That is quite an accomplishment in a day’s work. While I am sure referring to being a UFC fighter as an “easy job” was not meant as a slight against his peers, it will certainly be taken as such.

There is also something quite sad in the way a guy like Punk who used to love pro wrestling has grown to absolutely hate it and everything about it.

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Shawn Michaels Talks WWE Attitude Era, Trailblazing, and More

April 14, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Shawn Michaels is one of the most influential pioneers in WWE history. Michaels helped bridge the gap from the smaller guys to main-events in the 1990s. Michaels reflected on this achievement and offered other insights in a new interview.

The Heartbreak Kid sat down recently with Muscle and Fitness magazine to promote his new book, “Wrestling For My Life.” Michaels talked about a number of subjects in the April issue. Here is a look at some of the highlights.

Michaels was asked if he felt like a trailblazer as one of the smaller guys who made it to the WWE main-event level.

“When you’re not 6’6″ and you’re not going to be 250 pounds, you have no choice but to make it work however you can. You’re thankful that you’re athletic, and you do your best to use that athletic ability. Bret [Hart] and I both tried to focus on that.”

This is something that people really don’t give Michaels enough credit for. Plenty of others tried before him but most were relegated to the intercontinental title picture. It was Michaels and Bret Hart that made it “acceptable” for WWE champions to be on the smaller side. The upside were better matches for the fans and more opportunities for guys that weren’t over 6’5”. Without those accomplishments it is interesting to think about what the WWE would look like today.

Michaels was asked about his fluctuting physique throughout his career and any pressure to get bigger.

“No, there wasn’t any pressure in that respect from anyone. I was training with guys like Kevin Nash and Triple H, guys who like to get in the gym and train hard to this day. When I came back in 2002, after the back injury- for four years I had been out- I found that a lot of those heavier weights were going to be a thing of the past. It was easier on my body, and I stayed healthier carrying less weight.”

It is interesting to note that Michaels left pro wrestling with a reputation for being injury-prone in 1998. He was noticeably much lighter during his second run and I can’t recall him sustaining many serious injuries during that time.

Michaels was also asked about his “Sexy Boy” theme song and whether he expected to be coming out to that song decades later.

“No, I never thought that. Jimmy Hart is the guy who wrote the song. He first recorded it, and then he came up with the idea for me to do it, and I can remember not being thrilled with it. I said, “Oh, my goodness I can’t sing.” But I tell ya, it’s grown a life of its own. It’s funny because it’s obviously so not me, but it’s a toe tapper and people get a kick out of it. When I look back on all of it- the song, the career- I look back on it with the most pleasant smile a guy could ever have because I’m extremely fortunate. I got to live my dream, and that’s pretty rare.”

Finally Michaels was asked to compare the Attitude Era to the PG Era.

“Don’t get me wrong, the Attitude Era was fantastic, but it was four years, and I guess that’s something people don’t think about. We started doing it back in ’97, and by the time I came back in 2002 it was done. I guess there was a little bit of it, but it wasn’t much. It was four years. It’s been built into mythical proportions. You do the best job you can whether it’s the Attitude Era or the PG Era. Successful people succeed in all situations. Smart people, people of wisdom, will succeed in all situations.”

It’s ironic because Michaels is generally associated with the Attitude Era and he wasn’t even around for most of it. I would credit Michaels with kicking it off with his shtick in 1996 but it didn’t really trickle down throughout the card until Shawn was gone in 1998.

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Very Early WWE WrestleMania 32 Predictions

April 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Now that the WrestleMania 31 dust has settled it is time for the WWE to get cracking on WrestleMania 32. I thought it would be fun to take a look at the giant event a year ahead of time and try and predict a card for the 2015 Texas event.

In taking a look back at my WrestleMania 29, 30 predictions, and 31 picks a year out, I actually hit a few of them on the head for 29, missed every single prediction I made for 30, but hit on Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar last April. In other words there is no exact science for this stuff and with the way that the WWE changes booking frequently, it is impossible to get a handle on it although the future can be clear in some years.

Predicting WrestleMania one year out is almost as difficult as filling out your March Madness brackets at any time of the year. Take a look at this year’s WrestleMania 31 lineup a year ago and you can see exactly how much these things change. Daniel Bryan was in the main-event, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were in a tag team match on the bottom of the card, The Undertaker was practically done, Rusev wasn’t on the card, and Sting wasn’t even in the company. That is how much things can change over a year.

So with this all said, let’s take a look at some of the probable WrestleMania 32 matches one year before this great spectacle invades Texas. Keep in mind that these are all just predictions and should not be taken as fact or cited as a source in any kind of report.

Ronda Rousey and The Rock vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. It is clear coming out of 31 that the plan is to get Ronda Rousey in the ring next year in Texas. All reports are that Rousey has not made any kind of a deal to do so, but that Rousey is highly interested in more WWE work. The WWE haven’t invested this much time into Rousey for a one and done angle at 31.

There are reports that the WWE want a Stephanie vs. Rousey singles match. I couldn’t think of a worse idea. There is no way the UFC allows this unless the match ends in 30 seconds and that isn’t happening. Now I could see a deal where Rousey gets 5 minutes with Steph if Rock wins. Steph runs for a few minutes and Rousey finally gets her and taps her out. I think  that is a bigger possibility than Steph vs. Rousey. I just don’t see it.

I think that Rock vs. Hunter has been clear since they cut that promo on each other at SmackDown 15 (which is why I am so surprised that so many people are that shocked at the match). They made challenges back and forth and went out of their way to point out that they needed a big stadium to make the match happen. Yet it really makes no sense for Rock to come back to wrestle a singles match with Hunter. I am sure the match would be very good but I don’t anticipate a lot of interest in this without the women involved. Maybe they corner Rock and Hunter, but it just seems like a waste of everyone’s time otherwise.

Backup Plan – Rock vs. Brock Lesnar. Rock talked about being interested in a match with Brock just a week or so ago. The match makes much more sense than Rock and Hunter and appeals to a more mainstream, casual audience than Rock vs. Hunter. Brock is now a babyface so that dynamic is a little off although Brock could easily turn heel in November or December to set this up. This is a match that could break records and bring more people to Mania than any other. Why they would let this one slip away is beyond me. Quite honestly I think they should have Rousey in Rock’s corner vs. Brock with Heyman in the corner but it seems Ronda is destined for Steph if she is coming to Texas.

Brock Lesnar vs. Rusev. I think that the WWE has some money in this one. Sure Rusev already lost but he could get hot again and go on another streak. At some point he is going to turn but it won’t before Mania 32. I think these guys present a natural rivalry and a match that people would care about. I love the idea of Brock representing America and having a physical match with Rusev at Mania.

Backup plan – Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt. Again we have another new match here that could be intriguing. Wyatt has been set up for big matches the last few years at Mania. It is conceivable that he is WWE champion come Mania 32 and Brock is challenging for the belt. I like the dynamic here and I think they could have a real fun match.

Roman Reigns vs. John Cena for the WWE championship. Yes I predict that come WrestleMania 32 that Cena could have the gold back around his waist. Sorry Cena haters. I think it is clear that Reigns needs to be a heel because he is simply dead as a babyface. I think it is also clear that the company is still behind him. What better way to get him to the title than by having him end the reign of Cena in Texas? I think it’s a big match and I think it could be better than you think.

Sting vs. The Undertaker. It has to happen! Sting proved he can still go and Undertaker proved he is far from done. I don’t think it would be great but I think these two could have a fun match at Mania 32. The WWE needs to promote unique matches next year to fill such a big stadium. Sure the mystique is lost a bit with Sting losing to Hunter at Mania but if they promote this as the final match for both guys or loser retires, I think this could be big.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins. This feud must continue! Nothing was settled in their Hell in a Cell match. I think that the WWE should not only keep these guys apart for a while but they should flip them going into Mania. Rollins has a ton of potential as a face and Ambrose would make a great heel. These guys could easily steal the show and I love the dynamic of a rematch on such a big show with both guys flipping sides.

Where Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton fit in next year is anyone’s guess. There are a lot of guys in NXT that are ready to come up and should be a part of WrestleMania 32. Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn are bound to be on the show whether it be a tag team match or in singles match. I could see these guys getting Orton and Bryan in some form, preferably a Balor vs. Bryan match.

Hey, a guy can dream can’t he?

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Stone Cold Steve Austin Comments on WWE Rumors

April 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The absence of Stone Cold Steve Austin from WrestleMania 32 and the addition of the Chris Jericho podcast have fueled speculation of a rift between Austin and the WWE. Yet according to Austin, things are perfectly fine between he, Vinnie Mac, and the WWE.

The Austin-WWE heat stories have spiraled out of control over the last few weeks. A lot of these stories sound more like conspiracy theories than actual reports but they grew so loud that they caught the attention of the WWE Hall of Fame podcaster. Austin seized on this as an opportunity to talk about it on his most recent podcast which is exactly what he did.

One of the first things Austin addressed were rumors he no-showed WrestleMania. I had never even heard that but evidently these rumors got to Austin and put them quickly to rest.

“All kinds of things being said about myself and WWE over the fact that I no showed WrestleMania. Man, completely false. There’s no heat. One of the rumors was I was supposed to be on an airplane with Undertaker headed down there and there was a WWE employee waiting for me and when I didn’t get off the airplane everybody went into shock and anger. Not true.”

Next up were rumors of heat with WWE over Tough Enough. Austin will not be hosting the upcoming Tough Enough show. This resulted in rumors that WWE officials were upset with Austin over this. Austin again says not true.

“With regards to Tough Enough – everybody says ‘oh man, there’s heat with Steve and Vince, and Steve turned down the Tough Enough gig.’ No, that’s not true. I’ve been talking to WWE about doing Tough Enough for quite some time… It was supposed to be shot in February or March, right now we’re in April, so it didn’t happen in February or March. ”

Finally there were rumors and I did hear these that Vince McMahon was very upset with Austin over the Triple H podcast. The anger stems from Austin asking about Chyna going into the WWE Hall of Fame which resulted in a small firestorm for the WWE. The rumor was that Vince was so upset with Austin that he pulled his podcast spot and offered it to Chris Jericho.

“As for why he didn’t do the podcast and Jericho got the spot, he simply says that a “deal wasn’t made” but is still open to doing business with the WWE in the future and that the company will always be “in his blood”.
Austin elaborates a bit more.

“So, no matter what anybody says, there’s no animosity from any standpoint from WWE’s point of view — I’m guessing this — and from my standpoint. Again, I’m stating this plainly, clearly, and as efficiently as I can without going into too much more details which is between myself and Vince and WWE. Private matters. But for all of the public things I just talked about, those are the answers to the questions. No heat nowhere. It’s cool. Moving on.”

The only thing I am still unclear of is why Chris Jericho got that spot over Steve Austin. I’d imagine with all due respect to Jericho that Austin is a bigger draw on the network than Jericho. Plus, Austin has already had John Cena on his podcast and the interview went real well. Austin did take a shot at Cena during that interview and told him he should work tighter, yet otherwise it was a real fun interview.

Regardless, I think there is one thing that is abundantly clear. Steve Austin needs to be more involved with the WWE and its network. Unfortunately the company appears to be moving away from him and that is disappointing for everyone hoping to see a little more of Stone Cold on WWE programming in 2015.

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Superstar Billy Graham Rants About WWE WrestleMania 31

April 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Superstar Billy Graham has been highly critical of the WWE in recent years, so it probably won’t shock anyone that he wasn’t a fan of WrestleMania. He’s been ranting about it on Facebook for over a week and like a car crash, I just can’t look away.

Graham has had an off again/on again relationship with the WWE since he lost the championship in 1978. Graham’s most recent falling out with the company came when Abdullah the Butcher was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. Graham was irate when Abdullah went in and immediately demanded to be removed.

“Not just because Shreve had never worked for the WW(W)F or stepped foot inside Madison Square Garden, not just because my good friend Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage was passed over in the honors list of that year, but because Abdullah actually is a butcher in a disturbingly real sense,” said Graham.

“Well, losing touch with reality is one thing; losing respect for other wrestlers’ rights is another, and in my view the ‘Butcher’ has blotted his copybook big time by becoming a suspected spreader of Hepatitis C through his negligence when blading in the ring.”

Graham has always been outspoken and continues to post his rantings on his personal Facebook page. Again this is his personal page, not a fan page. Graham will randomly pop up from time to time and cut promos on the WWE which are amusing and yet disturbing at times. Graham has become somewhat obsessed with WrestleMania 31 and has ranted about it several times in the last week. The timeline began during WrestleMania. It starts off with Billy clearing up something he said about the Undertaker and degenerates into Graham calling fans “marks” for questions they have asked him. Billy’s biggest problem is with the blood in Brock Lesnar’s match and possible blading.


Mania 31
Hi fans, I wanted to make clear some things that I said in my last post about the Undertaker, not to be taken the wrong way. When I said he is haggard, old looking, broken down, and can barely walk, I absolutely meant no disrespect to this icon. Actually, I could be describing myself today, Friday, March 27th, 2015 with those same exact words. I have spent hours with Taker quite a few times in various locker rooms around this country. Me asking him about his career and him asking me tons of questions about my career; a man of dignity indeed. I am just hoping he doesn’t get hurt in this match on Sunday like he did last year or maybe worse. I really believe that this match will be his last. Also, I know that Sting with his massive ego is praying to someone that it won’t be, and he will face the Taker next year in Dallas and of course pin the Undertaker and be the man to end his career. Fans don’t know this but I do, Sting has a massive ego. Guess what Sting, you are getting old as well. You can see the cracks and age lines through your face paint and receding hair line my man and it’s not pretty. Power and peace to the Undertaker. Below, is a photo that Roman Reigns will not be able to duplicate after his match with Lesnar, nice person that Roman is. Superstar

Mania 31
Hey fans, the first thing that I want to say is how good I thought the Taker looked, especially compared to last year, even Lawler mentioned it. Had his hair done nice, been in the gym, and had been taking the right supplements. I am very glad he didn’t get hurt and shows one can make a comeback if they want to, good for him. What I want to hear about from you fans is what did you think of the finish to the championship match ? Personally, I thought it smelled like crap. Superstar.

Mania 31
I have never quite seen a WWE world championship belt won in such a way and it’s very obvious that Lesnar can tell Vince what he is going to do and then do it. Being suspended indefinitely by Stephanie means Lesnar wants a vacation and I bet we won’t see him back in the ring until Summer Slam. But the real question I want answered is how long will Seth Rollins stay champion and wear that belt ? Not long I believe. Very hard worker this man is and I hope he draws well with his new WWE world championship belt. I would hope that he would keep it until Summer Slam when Lesnar will then take it back. Below is a photo that I believe my fans will enjoy and will actually go up on Ebay in a few days. The bloody win against Bruno to start my about 10 month reign as the first long term WWWF champion heel. Enjoy, Superstar.

Mania 31
Hello fans, I was just wondering what your thoughts are concerning Lesnar running a razor blade across his forehead during his mania match ? Personally, I dont get it. They already have 76,000 fans in the arena and thousands more watching on PPV or the WWE network. It makes all former and future head shots into the ring post mean nothing now. The no blood policy is fine but what was the reason for blood in this match ? Also Sting is dead. Triple H saw to that, he wont draw a dime at mania in Dallas next year. He wants to work against the Undertaker, it’s “been his dream ” makes him sound like a child, get a grip Sting please – who is going to be the baby face in that match ? Certainly not you. The first of next week I am going to have a new post about Vince McMahon’s remarks to me while I was conducting the great Eddie Guerrero’s funeral service. Photo of Eddie and I below, enjoy. Superstar

These may be the best and the worst of Billy. Many fans responded to Billy with comments, most positive and supportive of the Superstar. Yet a few fans politely disagreed with Graham about Lesnar blading. Disagreeing with the Superstar is disrespect according to Graham and while he calls it “good honest debate” it is obvious that the Superstar is not very happy about it.

‘Mania 31 Fans, First off thank you for your feedback. I always appreciate intelligent and respectful responses to my statements. Respectful disagreement makes for a good honest debate, that’s positive stuff. But NEVER disrespect me in your responses or you will be blocked in less than a heart beat. I always enjoy Janie Mullins comments; very intelligent and a respectful young lady.

# 1. To you Steve Golac, who said “There was no evidence of blading ( by Lesnar ) at all before or after he hit the post.” No sh*t dude, there isn’t supposed to be any evidence is there ? Do you just want him to stand in the middle of the ring and run a razor blade across his forehead ? Please, don’t be a f*cking mark here.

# 2. Robert Aiello said, ” Taker got gassed and was laying on his back at the end of the match.” The man is 50 plus years old and had a hell of a match so marks like you can get off. Its called “blowing up” Taker was in the ring with a man half his age dude.

# 3 Everyone is worried about Sting, F Sting. Khalil Douiss said ” No face no heel, just 2 supernatural forces colliding.” Oh god dude, are you some left over Star Trek freak ?? At Wrestlemania you need a heel vs a baby face man, god, come on, you marks are really wearing me out. Have a good day and check out the photo below of the first meeting of me and Booker T backstage at the 2004 Hall of Fame ceremony.

As amusing as these exchanges are I have to say that I love the Superstar. I interviewed him back in 2007 and developed a brief friendship with him. He was great to talk to and always a lot of fun to interview on the radio. I like him a lot and feel he is a bit misunderstood at times. That said, this probably doesn’t put the legend in the best of light.

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