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Archive for the ‘WWE | Pro Wrestling’

Daniel Bryan’s Career In Serious Jeopardy

October 31, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Pro wrestling’s Cinderella story of 2014 may not have a happy ending. A recent reports suggests that Daniel Bryan will miss an extended amount of time due to surgery. Even worse, Bryan’s absence could be indefinite.

Dave Meltzer broke the story in the latest issue of the Wrestling Observer. Meltzer has been right out front in recent months with Bryan reports and updated. Meltzer’s latest update is a big punch in the gut to Bryan fans that were holding out hope for a miracle. According to Meltzer, Bryan’s future is in major question.

“We were told there is no timetable for his return nor a guarantee he will return. There have been reports that he’s going to get Tommy John surgery, an elbow procedure common among baseball pitchers, which has a long recovery time. WWE officially has been quiet about his situation publicly but wrestlers have talked about him needing major elbow surgery.”

That is just devastating news. According to Meltzer on a past podcast, Bryan could have had surgery months ago. Doctors told Bryan he should hold out and give therapy a try before opting for surgery. The therapy didn’t work and Bryan will now have to have surgery. The kicker to this is that if Bryan would have had surgery months ago as he originally intended, he would be back in plenty of time for WrestleMania, if he could return.

I can’t remember many other wrestlers in Bryan’s spot who finally ascended to the top and faced a career-ending injury just as he started his push. Magnum TA would probably be the closes comparison, although the circumstances are entirely different. Plus, you would have to have had Magnum finally beat Ric Flair to become NWA champion and then suffer his accident in order to give this an accurate comparison.

There is certainly a major void without Bryan. The WWE babyface roster is probably the most shallow it has been in years. John Cena is it with Dean Ambrose now bumped back down to the upper mid-card with his Bray Wyatt feud. Sure there is the Randy Orton turn in the works but that is no answer. The company is counting on Roman Reigns to be the next Cena but Reigns is on the shelf due to an injury as well. CM Punk is gone and not coming back anytime soon. You can’t tell me that the company doesn’t miss Bryan.

It’s a shame because we may never know what could have been. The company gave Bryan the ball at WrestleMania 30, at the expense of Batista who was promised the WWE title upon his return. The working plan all along appeared to be a Brock Lesnar vs. Bryan match at SummerSlam but what would have happened if Bryan remained hot? The Yes Movement was at its peak. I don’t think it is illogical to think that the Yes Movement could have grown and Bryan could have thrived as the top WWE dog.

At this point the most important thing is to get Bryan back in the ring. All you can hope at this point is that Bryan can rehabilitate his arm and get back to work at some point next year. The booking will take care of himself and whether Bryan is buried or mismanaged doesn’t make a difference as long as he is back in the ring leading the Yes Movement.

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Ryback Revisited: Will WWE’s Big Guy Make it This Time?

October 31, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ryback made his comeback to WWE on the October 27 edition of Monday Night Raw. The Big Guy made his surprising return to the company against Bo Dallas, who he promptly squashed and left for dead. Bray Wyatt’s baby brother didn’t stand a chance and as Ryback stood there flexing over him, it occurred to me; he’s over.

Wow. Just like that, huh? Well, isn’t that something? Isn’t it something that the guy so many fans wrote off as just a cheap Goldberg clone, a failed WWE experiment, was actually getting a pop when the last time they saw him, he was a heel?

Oh and to make matters even more interesting; no one chanted Goldberg’s name this time. So what happened? What made the same crowd that booed and hissed Ryback now decide that he was worth their time? Honestly, I don’t know and I don’t much care.

The only thing I care about is that Ryback has another chance and this time WWE needs to get it right. This guy can be a star; there is no doubt about that. Despite how many fans didn’t like him the first time around, I don’t know of anyone that didn’t feel he was not capable of getting to the top. He has what they want and this time they need to want it.

Here’s the thing. I am a CM Punk guy. I am also a Daniel Bryan guy, a Dean Ambrose guy and a Cesaro guy. I believe that WWE is at its finest when the best workers are on display. I’m old school and for me, there is nothing better than a straight up pro wrestling match.

I love the back and forth, the give and take, that only the best workers can provide. Any schmuck can learn to run the ropes and take a few bumps but to do it convincingly while keeping the fans interested from opening bell to ending bell is something else altogether. Only an artist can do that and all of the men listed are responsible for some very impressive works indeed.

But, and you knew there was a but, there’s nothing like the big guys. As much as I respect the technicians that can tell a story with holds and counters, I can also appreciate the smash mouth action that only a super heavyweight can provide. Mark Henry, Big Show, Luke Harper and Erik Rowan, no one can bring the pain like these guys can and let’s face it; it’s just not pro wrestling without the monsters.

And the fact is that WWE loves the monsters, they always have. At one time, Vince McMahon’s company was littered with them as WWE was essentially the land of giants. Andre, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, The Barbarian, King Kong Bundy, the list goes on and on. At one time, this is how WWE did business and how Vince wanted his product to look.

The bigger the better, that was the train of thought. And other companies around WWE followed suit. Pro wrestling was all about the larger than life characters that could bench press minivans and those are the guys that sold tickets.

No one cared about the smaller guys and really, why should they? It was hard enough for the casual viewer to buy into the reality of the business, if all a company featured was cruiserweights, it was even harder. Believing that the physicality and potentially deadly moves were being inflicted with utter malice was much easier if it happened with a cast of 7 foot 300 pound guys.

Those guys could shake it off a lot easier, they seemed built to take the damage, and they made it more real. But the problem was that a good number of those super heavyweights attained their physiques through chemical means. While a lot of fans didn’t really care, a lot of people outside the business did and truth be told, things had to change.

So Vince let the cat out of the bag and decided to tell the world that the industry was all a sham. When that happened, he incurred the wrath of every promoter on the face of the planet as well as many fans that had their fictional realities shattered before them. But as much as he was hated for the move, the fact is it had to be done.

By shifting the focus from the comic book style storylines onto the sheer athleticism of the talents involved, Vince opened the door for more guys to advance and to get their names out there. Suddenly, pro wrestling was less about football players with no pads smashing each other to pieces and more about dynamic technicians creating an art form.

That’s why Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and a host of others were able to ascend the ladder and grab that brass ring. The fans of 2014 are not the fans of 1984 and that’s just how it is. So does that means there’s no room for a guy like Ryback?

Absolutely not. Just because he’s built like Goldberg does not mean he is Goldberg. And just because he’s not Seth Rollins in the ring does not mean he cannot entertain. Ryback endured two years of chants directed at a former star and hate that was unfounded because at the end of the day, no one wanted to give him a chance.

He took it all on the chin, he kept his head down and he kept working. He did the heel turn and watched helplessly as he was fed to John Cena. He stood by Paul Heyman’s side and was never given a real shot at moving up. He was put in a tag team alongside Curtis Axel and did everything he could to get over, only to never win the tag team championships.

Ryback has been near the mountaintop, got pushed back down and then was given a plate of garbage as a consolation prize. Now he’s back and this time, he deserves a chance to make it big. Will he be the megastar that John Cena is? Maybe not. Will he rally the fans to his cause like Daniel Bryan did? Who knows? At the end of the day, Ryback may be nothing more than just a solid mid-card guy and nothing more.

But he needs the opportunity to at least try. The company needs to get behind him and two years from now, if he’s right back where he started once again, then I will be the first one to admit that he just didn’t have it. In the meantime, I’m anxious to see what happens with Ryback. Here’s to second chances.

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WWE: Bryan Injury, Punk Deal and Other Thoughts

October 31, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

How will the WWE deal with news that Daniel Bryan will need more surgery on his already surgically repaired neck that will still sideline the superstar indefinitely? The latest Daniel Bryan news has the WWE and its fans wondering when Bryan will get back in the ring.

The former WrestleMania headliner went out with an injury this past summer. He ended up having a very low risk neck surgery that would allow him to get issues repaired. Surgeons found a few problems, but they were able to help Bryan with the issue. The problem was that this surgery seemed to cause Bryan an issue with his UCL.

The Ulnar Collateral Ligament is a big part of one’s arm. It helps us in picking things up, and when damaged, it can affect our strength and motion in our arm. The best and really only surgery to have for this issue is Tommy John Surgery. The surgery is popular among baseball pitchers who throw out their arm. Bryan had issues with his UCL more than he should have after the surgery so doctors, who didn’t want to put Bryan through another surgery, sent him to physical therapy where he had reportedly done well, according to his wife.

Bryan was, and to some extent, still is, the best thing to come along in the WWE in some time. Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt have all shown moments of greatness, which gives the company hope, but when it comes to the fans and their support of faces within the WWE, Bryan and his “YES!” mantra may be the biggest thing to come along since the days of Hulkamania and the bet character to make his appearance in a WWE ring since Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.

Yes, that is my opinion.

PUNK SIGNS (MERCHANDISE CONTRACT) WITH WWE

While the WWE Universe (if that title is still used) deals with the news of Bryan, the WWE made an announcement that it had reached an agreement with CM Punk on merchandising of the former WWE superstar.

According to an Oct. 27 report from Wrestling Inc,  CM Punk is back in the good graces of the WWE as the promotion has reached a deal with him and his legal team to sell merchandise bearing his name and likeness. The WWE has not released financial figures on the historic new agreement with Punk, and it should also be noted that Punk has not signed any kind of new performer contract to return to the ring.

Last month, the WWE pulled all CM Punk-themed merchandise from their online shop, after the former superstar served them with a 22-page letter from his legal team. The letter essentially asked the WWE to pay Punk for the royalties he felt he was owed for the merchandise the promotion sold with his name and likeness on it. In response, the WWE held a clearance sale on all Punk items, and then stopped selling his merchandise at all just a few days later.

Because this is a contract with Punk’s name on it, I am sure there is plenty of speculation as to what happens next. We really do not know. There is no word about anything else being discussed between the company and Punk. While his wife AJ Lee remains the center of the Divas Division and fans continually cheer his name in arenas, Punk appears to be enjoying life away from the ring.

WHAT TO DO WITH SURVIVOR SERIES

When I heard about the traditional Survivor Series match to be held at the pay-per-view event, I was almost giddy like a school kid watching Saturday Night’s Main Event.

There is some real potential in this match.

The company is still dealing with how to work with a small quantity of faces, almost if it was twisting in the wind. Currently, John Cena, Dean Ambrose and Dolph Ziggler the three main faces of the company at the present time. Bryan is hurt, Roman Reigns is recuperating from hernia surgery and the company has not brought in new talent to bridge the gap. Ryback came back last week and looks to be a face who could gain momentum again with the fans. He is not the answer – yet. Sheamus is now a mid-level talent who is being used ineffectively in a program with The Miz. Personally, I would love to see Damien Sandow get a push as a face.

I like the potential of Cena and Seth Rollins, but only if Cena puts Rollins over. The feud brewing between Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt will be nothing like we have seen before. But there is still a disconnection between the current feuds and how they build up to Cena saving the company in “Sting-like” fashion.

This is where someone like Punk or Bryan coming to the aid of Cena makes the most sense and would make for a killer pay-per-view.

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John Cena’s Greatest Rivalries WWE DVD Review

October 30, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Love him or hate him, it’s hard to deny that John Cena has been involved in most of the biggest feuds in this modern-day era of WWE. A new DVD and blu-ray release chronicles his ten best in John Cena’s Greatest Rivalries.

This new home video release is a quasi-documentary/match collection offering the best of both in spots, yet leaving viewers wanting a little more in others. The format of the DVD features the 15-time WWE champion breaking down his greatest rivalries, one rival at a time which then cuts to a match or series of matches between the two. The collection spans three discs so you will be getting plenty of John Cena if you are looking to add a little more Cena to your video collection.

Unlike the documentary DVDs, Cena doesn’t get into much detail with each rivalry, just offering a brief synopsis with some analysis from the future Hall of Fame superstar. Unfortunately you probably won’t learn much new or get in on any backstage dirt but that was not the intent of the DVD. It was presented like a Top 10 collection you’d see on the NFL Network with players talking about topics sandwiched between highlights, although in this case you are getting the full matches.

The ten rivals featured on the discs are…

  • Chris Jericho
  • Batista
  • Eddie Guerrero
  • Shawn Michaels
  • Edge
  • Randy Orton
  • Triple H
  • The Rock
  • JBL
  • CM Punk (Blu-ray only)

The biggest disappointment here is the omission of Punk on the main disc. The Punk-Cena rivalry is arguably the biggest of Cena’s career. I think most fans will expect to buy the DVD with the Punk rivalry chronicled for obvious reasons. Leaving Punk off of the main disc out of spite is a bit disingenuous with unsuspecting customers. He is on the blu-ray anyway! If you aren’t going to include him fine, but you aren’t screwing with Punk here, you are screwing with the customers who assume that Cena’s greatest rival would be included on a DVD entitled John Cena’s Greatest Rivalries.

That said, there are some gems on here. Cena has been around weekly for so long that you sometimes forget about some of the fun matches he had back at the start of his ascension. A great feud I completely forgot about was Cena’s rivalry with Eddie Guerrero. The Parking Lot Brawl in particular was a fun match I’d venture to say that most of us have forgotten about in recent years.

I will say that you start to rethink Cena a bit after you watch the collection. He isn’t nearly as bad as most think he is. I think a lot of the Cena-hate comes down to the overexposure of Cena and the lack of quality opponents the company has had for him in recent years. Take a quick look at the list of rivals and you’ll notice that all but Orton aren’t competing in the WWE today. There is a reason that no recent feud other than The Rock is featured in the collection.

Overall I’d say this was a fun collection which serves a great defense of Cena as an in-ring performer. He is much more than his “Five Moves of Doom” and when inspired, can put on a hell of a match. I also think it goes without saying that if you are going to buy this collection, spend a few extra bucks on the blu-ray for the Punk rivalry.

DISC 1

Book of Knowledge

Number One Contender’s Tournament Match for WWE Championship
John Cena vs. Eddie Guerrero
SmackDown – April 3, 2003

Chicken Soup

Parking Lot Brawl
John Cena vs. Eddie Guerrero
SmackDown – September 11, 2003

Honed My Craft

OVW Championship Match
Prototype vs. Leviathan
Ohio Valley Wrestling – February 23, 2002

Different Dynamic

WWE Championship Last Man Standing Match
John Cena vs. Batista
Extreme Rules – April 25, 2010

Special Individual

John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels
RAW – April 23, 2007

Learned So Much

John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels
RAW – March 10, 2008

John Cena – Greatest Rivalries: Shawn Michaels

DISC 2

Gifted

WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. Randy Orton
SummerSlam – August 26, 2007

Brought out the Best

John Cena vs. Randy Orton
RAW – February 10, 2014

Hard-Nosed

WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. JBL
WrestleMania 21 – April 3, 2005

Heavily-Calloused

John Cena vs. JBL
RAW – June 9, 2008

Talk you into Building

“You’re Fired! Match” for the WWE Championship
John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
RAW – August 22, 2005

Gave Me a Chance

World Heavyweight Championship Match
John Cena vs. Chris Jericho
Survivor Series – November 23, 2008

John Cena – Greatest Rivalries: Randy Orton

DISC 3

Old Shoe

WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. Edge
RAW – October 2, 2006

Who Am I ?

World Heavyweight Championship Last Man Standing Match
John Cena vs. Edge
Backlash – April 26, 2009

Measuring Stick

WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. Triple H
WrestleMania 22 – April 2, 2006

Advice

John Cena vs. Triple H
RAW – October 19, 2009

Global Phenomenon

John Cena & The Rock Q&A
RAW – March 25, 2013

Sequel

WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. The Rock
WrestleMania XXIX – April 7, 2013

John Cena – Greatest Rivalries: The Rock

BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES

Underlying Passion

John Cena vs. CM Punk
RAW – November 23, 2009

Trying To Do My Job

Number One Contender’s Match for WWE Championship
John Cena vs. CM Punk
RAW – February 25, 2013

John Cena’s Greatest Rivalries [Blu-ray]

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Seth Rollins’ Money in the Bank Contract is not Helping his Bottom Line

October 30, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Remember when a guy won Money in the Bank and all we could talk about was when exactly he would cash it in? Let’s face it, that briefcase was one of the most intriguing concepts that WWE had come up with in years; it was a guaranteed talking point and conversation topic basically everyday among fans. Ah, those were the days. What happened to them? That’s easy; Seth Rollins happened to them.

Before anyone goes all Alicia Fox on me, rest assured that I am not trying to throw Seth under the bus here, far from it. In fact I am one of those guys that happen to believe he will become one of the finest technicians that WWE has ever known.

He’s not there yet, of course. Two years is too soon to make that sort of proclamation. But with enough time and enough work, there is every reason to believe that Seth could become one of Vince McMahon’s elite one day.

But that briefcase is not helping his cause any. In fact, it’s become the albatross around his neck. Why is that, exactly? It’s certainly not anything that is coming from within WWE; the company seems fully supportive of him and in storyline terms, he is undeniably the future leader. And for the most part, the crowd is buying in. Seth is over as a heel and the quality of his work in the ring is beyond compare.

So the fact that he’s young, hungry, over with the crowd and fully inline with the WWE machine should bode well for him. The fact that he’s also Mister Money in the Bank should practically guarantee his future is in good hands. However, the biggest problem is that when Seth won the briefcase back in July, the question was not when he would cash in but who would take it from him. More specifically, the question was when would Roman Reigns take it from him?

Don’t look now, but the time is coming soon. Roman cut a promo on the October 28 edition of Raw in which he declared his intention of taking Seth Rollins out. And so it begins. Seth’s time with that briefcase is ticking away. Again, this has virtually nothing to do with Rollins’ ability in the ring. His match with Dean Ambrose at Hell in a Cell was good; it was very good. Of course, it was just one in a long line of bouts in which the Shield architect stepped through the ropes a very unassuming Superstar and exited as the highlight of the night.

Truth be told, that was Seth’s spot from the beginning in The Shield. Dean was the loud and boisterous one, Roman was the strong silent type and Rollins was the cunning technician. While that description sounds good, the fact is that it usually doesn’t equal much in terms of charisma. Can you say Dean Malenko? Don’t hate, I love Dean. The point is that while Seth had his fans and people wanted to see what he could do, it wasn’t until he went through a match that it became evident just how good he was. His reputation did not often precede him.

How many other guys can fans say that about? How many Superstars can just sort of be there and as soon as they work a match, they’re suddenly main event bound, only to then just sort of be there once again? Forget for a moment that Seth is good and has a bright future. Forget for a moment that he’s not exactly Shawn Michaels when it comes to that showboat attitude.

This is not really about Seth, this is about Roman. And Roman is the next top guy. A lot of people don’t want to hear that right now, mostly because of the work that Ambrose has put in since Roman went out with injury. They’re impressed with him and they should be. I am, aren’t you? But there is a reason that all of the rumors about Reigns being elevated to the top are still going around. And there is a reason why Brock Lesnar is the part-time WWE World heavyweight champion who is hated more for his schedule than his ability to draw heat. All of that is adding up to a main event feud and a major showdown at WrestleMania 31. On that night in 2015, Roman Reigns will ascend to the WWE throne.

And it all begins with Seth Rollins. There are various different scenarios that could play out, including Cena beating Lesnar for the championship, only to have Rollins cash in and take it from him. That one makes sense and right now seems like the best fit. But if that happens, then Roman will take it from Seth at Mania and not Brock. If that’s not in the cards then the best path to Mania for Roman other than the Royal Rumble would be the Money in the Bank briefcase. If that happens, then Reigns will persuade Rollins to put the case up in a match and Roman will cash in against Lesnar next year.

Again, Seth is the key. He’s a big part of WWE’s future, there is no question about that. He has been put in far too many spots to shine to believe otherwise. But right now, his job in the short term is to keep working hard to get over and he will keep doing just that.

But his job in the long term is to help his former Shield brother get to the next level. And with any luck, Seth will take the ride with him. If Roman is the next Rock and Ambrose is the next Austin, then Rollins is the next Triple H. If that’s true then Seth will be a big time player whether he has a guaranteed title shot or not. And you can take that to the bank.

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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10 of the Scariest Pro Wrestlers from the 1980s

October 29, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Halloween is the time of year where many of us get dressed up in our scariest costumes in an attempt to invoke fear and terror among the masses. Well back in the 1980s, Halloween was 365 days a year in pro wrestling and here are ten scary pictures from that era to prove it.

Pro wrestling has changed a lot since the 1980s. Lost are the days of the character, the monster, ugly heels that used to spread terror to territories around the country. Today most of these old school monsters would probably be laughed off of WWE RAW but in the 1980s, kids believed and it was a big deal.

I was one of those kids and I remember spending many afternoons at newsstands thumbing through wrestling magazines in awe of these villains. Some scared me, some made me laugh, but all were fun to look at. Here are ten iconic images of wrestling’s great heels that are some of the scariest from the 1980s.

Wild SamoansThe Wild Samoans - These two guys struck so much terror into my life that I haven’t turned pro wrestling off in over thirty years. My first wrestling memory was turning on WWF television and seeing these guys cut a promo. I was petrified yet drawn to this circus known as pro wrestling. The Samoans would pose for these strange pictures and do wild things during promos as Captain Lou Albano promoted their madness. The sight of all three was enough to give any kid nightmares for weeks.

 

George The Animal SteeleGeorge the Animal Steele - It is almost crazy to think that this guy turned into a beloved babyface in the later 1980s. Yet throughout the 1970s and early 80s, George was one of the strangest characters in pro wrestling. His green tongue and appetite for turnbuckles sold out arenas all over the country against the likes of Dusty Rhodes, Bruno Sammartino, and the Sheik. His vocabulary consisted of “YOU!” and nothing else. He’d get inside of the ring and maul his opponents in between green turnbuckle snacks. He was strange, creepy, and a bit terrifying at times.

 

Kevin SullivanKevin Sullivan – I will be the first to admit that pictures of Sullivan scared the crap out of me as a kid. Sullivan had a gimmick in Florida Championship Wrestling as a devil-worshipper. I would see these stories and pictures of Sullivan in magazines with quotes that gave me nightmares. There are even some pro wrestlers that worked and knew Sullivan that claim to this day Sullivan really was a devil-worshipper. Think about that for a second. He worked his own colleagues! How great of a character is that? It is no surprise that this character remains one of the most memorable of the early 1980s. Do yourself a favor and search out some of his FCW promos on YouTube. They are as original as you’ll find in pro wrestling.

 

brodyBruiser Brody - The traveling wild man took his one-man wrecking crew around the country, brawling all over stadiums, arenas, high school gyms, and even convention centers…yes convention centers. Bruiser cut some of the best “crazy” promotional pictures and interviews in the business during the 80s. Bruiser wasn’t as wild in the ring as his legend would dictate but his promo pictures were downright terrorizing to a young boy like me thumbing through the magazines.

 

kamalaspearKamala - Kamala is a funny character in that I found him a bit scary through magazines yet once I saw him on television that kind of subsided. That was until this infamous pro wrestling magazine cover, maybe one of the most creative of all-time. This pre-Photoshop picture has Kamala with Hulk Hogan’s head through a spear. For those that remember this image, it is one of the most iconic of our childhood. As crazy as those jungle promos were in the back of Jerry Jarrett’s yard, this took terror to a whole new level on magazine stands around the world.

 

Ox BakerOx Baker - The late Ox Baker will always be remembered for his iconic look of the 70s and 80s. I first came to know Ox through wrestling magazine pictures and he stood out immediately. I think it is a bit of a compliment to call Ox one of the ugliest pro wrestlers of the 1980s. A unique look took Ox around the country for years. Unfortunately by the time I saw Ox in the ring his better days had passed him by and the performance didn’t live up to the hype. Regardless, the man sure knew how to scare a fan into a wrestling arena.

 

Missing LinkThe Missing Link - Link is an interesting character. Link came along in the mid-1980s at a time when pro wrestling started shifting away from this kind of character. I think Link’s gimmick came about four-five years too late to really make an impact. By the time Link made it to the WWE, his gimmick was more comedy than anyone taking him as a serious terror. Regardless, Link scared many kids on his way to New York with terrorizing pictures like this one on magazine stands.

 

The Great KabukiThe Great Kabuki - I don’t care who you are, if you saw Kabuki in the early 1980s you were thinking about him long after his matches. The interesting part about Kabuki is that he was scariest on his way to the ring and during introductions. Kabuki would wear these masks that were so cryptic, they were terrifying. He’d take the mask off and he’d be painted up and spit mist but it was that pre-match introduction wear he made his mark…and plenty of magazines that couldn’t get enough of publishing his unique look.

 

abdullahAbdullah the Butcher - Finally, maybe the scariest pro wrestler of the 1980s was Abdullah the Butcher. His look, his style in the ring, his crazy promos (eating pencils and paper) and of course the infamous fork all sparked terror into fans around the world. How scary was Abdullah? I used to hang out in the green room of the Philadelphia Civic Center when the NWA would come to town. All of the guys were pretty cool but Abdullah would stay in character in the locker room whenever he saw fans. He’d walk through the curtain and start to go after fans in the green room. We were all terrified, yet we were all clued in on the deal when it came to pro wrestling. That’s one scary man!

 

The Original Sheik Ed FarhatThe Original Sheik Ed Farhat - The original Sheik was one of pro wrestling’s original maniacs. The Sheik terrorized territories around the country including setting up his own territory in Detroit, Mi. The Sheik was a lunatic who became almost mythical due to the sadistic photos published monthly in pro wrestling magazines around the world. The Sheik was just as crazy in the ring as he was in pictures, known for using a pencil to bust open wrestlers while dining on their blood. Everyone from Dusty Rhodes, Andre the Giant, Dick the Bruiser, Abdullah the Butcher, to Bruno Sammartino felt his wrath at one time or another. Sure he was winding down in the ring during the 1980s but his photos caused many sleepless nights for children all around the world.

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Gimmicks in a Cell

October 29, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s funny how things work out sometimes. Going into this past Sunday’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, it was a forgone conclusion that Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose, inside the cell, would be the match of the night…hell, it would be match of the year. As the cage lowered, a friend of mine who was giddy with glee stated, “There is no way this match can suck” and I replied “Of course not, unless they gimmick the hell out of the match.” Well, that’s exactly what WWE did with their main event.

Main-stream professional wrestling is all about variety and spectacle. The Orton/Cena match was a competitive back-and-forth contest with both men looking to put the final stamp on their decade-long feud. Rollins/Ambrose had to be something different, violent and spectacular. Ambrose climbing to the top of the cage and demanding that Rollins join him only increased our already heightened anticipation for this match. Then, under the orders of Rollins, Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble made the trek to the top of the cell. That was the first sign that gimmickry was afoot.

Later on, Ambrose and Rollins would take the prerequisite bump through the commentators table. We looked on as the brawl is halted to sell the wounds of battle with officials, paramedics, and gurneys to ending the match that was never officially begun. Almost ten minutes later, Ambrose rose from the ashes, grabbed Rollins, threw him in the ring and ding, ding.

Near the end of the match, Kane hoses Ambrose with a fire extinguisher which was an eye roll moment. Ambrose grabs cinder blocks from under the ring skirt and puts them in the ring. Ambrose goes to Curb Stomp Rollins through the blocks, but the lights go out and we hear a loud chant with an eclipse of darkness. A lantern appears in the ring, and projects a hologram of a white figure walking. Bray Wyatt emerges from the fog, lays out Ambrose, and Rollins gets the win.

Mick Foley took to his Twitter account and weighed in on the finish stating “Before you get down on the ending to #HellnACell …think of the promos. The best is yet to come.” Far be it for me to disagree with a Hall of Famer, but I’m going to disagree. While a program between Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose has the potential to be some of the best stuff seen in years, it shouldn’t take away from the fact that Ambrose/Rollins deserved a definitive ending.

Instead, Rollins received a get out of jail free card because Ambrose will obviously turn his attention to the man that cost him his shot at revenge. This kind of storytelling suggests that the Ambrose vs. Rollins feud, which was front and center for the past month, was a waste of my time and money because Ambrose vs. Wyatt is what really matters.

John Cena and Randy Orton deserve a lot of praise for their work inside the Cell. I popped big time when Orton delivered the RKO out of the Attitude Adjustment and that had finish written all over it! For my money, it was the match of the night, and even if you liked Ambrose/Rollins more, even the staunchest wrestling critic has to admit that it was much better than expected.

By definition, Hell in a Cell is a gimmick match that is meant to augment the gravity of a heated conflict. Overall, it was a good show, but the main event ended up being an over-booked affair with too many stunts that focused on style instead of substance. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins did the absolute best with what they had to work with. I really liked the idea of the finish, but under different circumstances. The real shame is that this was the first feud in a long time that fans genuinely bought into and we were given an ending devoid of any real finality that M. Night Shyamalan would have been proud of.

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Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton Face Turn and Other WWE Thoughts

October 29, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I have to hand it to the creative team that put together Monday Night Raw. For the first time in ages, I was engaged and excited about the program, the matches and the dialogue.

Randy Orton stole the show early on, Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose kept the momentum rolling and when we all needed a solid dismount, John Cena and Seth Rollins killed it.

That, my friends, is how you kick off Raw after a pay-per-view event. And now – on to Survivor Series. The WWE did a great job on Sunday night of making matches that were entertaining and mattered to the current state of the company and by doing so, it created something we really have not seen in quite a while – DRAMA.

Every match with the exception of the Bo Dallas-Mark Henry and Sheamus-Miz matches, everything was a solid “B” or “A” on the card. Maybe Triple H found some of Vince McMahon’s stroke and dipped back into the time machine and found the formula for building great pay-per-view events.

And while we are on the subject of building greatness, has anyone noticed the WWE is creating the rebirth (again) of Dolph Ziggler as a major star to be reckoned with?

Until the two main event matches, Ziggler and Cesaro was in fact the best match of the night. Hopefully this is the spot where Ziggler, a two-time world champion, takes his career to the next level.

A few years ago, someone asked me if Ziggler could be the next Shawn Michaels. The similarities were there and at the time, there wasn’t a harder worker in the WWE – pre Daniel Bryan days. But thinking on it now, Ziggler should be – as all WWE superstars – his own man. Yes, I see some Michaels in him, but I also see some Roddy Piper, Chris Jericho and even some Randy Savage in him. I also – and this is a huge compliment – see a young Stunning Steve Austin in him. For those reasons alone, Ziggler could carry the WWE, if Triple H, Stephanie and Vinnie Mac would let him.

Since 2008, he has won the United States Championship once, the Intercontinental Championship three times, and was the 2012 Money in the Bank winner. He is also a two-time world champion, having held the World Heavyweight Championship twice.

ORTON MAKES HIS MOVE

If I am a betting man. Survivor Series will be Randy Orton’s crossing over party.

The Survivor Series teams will build week by week. Orton will be the final piece of the puzzle, and The Authority will clamor it was everything in the bag – then we see the famous “revelation” that Orton is pissed at how he has been treated.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE TAG TEAMS?

Now that Mark Henry has made his move (like we did not see it coming) will there be another super-sized tag team? The move against Big Show on Monday night should have happened on Sunday night at the pay-per-view, but fans got a free look at the heel turn. Will Ryback, who came back to the WWE Monday night, become the fan favorite again – possibly forming another tag team?

Also, where have Luke Harper and Erick Rowan been? I know the Wyatt Family is basically disbanded, but there is a place for both of them in the tag team division.

THE WYATT WAY

Now that Bray Wyatt is back and has set his sights on Dean Ambrose, the WWE fan will see one hellacious feud. Both wrestlers can tear down the house by themselves. Think of what will happen between spots on the mic and action in the ring.

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A Tale of Two WWE Cage Matches

October 28, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Can a band release more ‘Greatest Hits’ compilations than actual new studio material? You can if you’re Randy Orton and John Cena. Both Orton and Cena are far more capable performers than their exhausted detractors would care to admit, but it’s a case of too much, too often for the duo.

Their lengthy Hell in a Cell match was preceded by a nearly-as-stretched video package, making a case for their ‘rivalry’ being among the all-time greats in WWE’s annals. Granted, it may have also been a subliminal commercial for the Network’s “Rivalries” series that debuts this week, and I’d argue it served better as advertising than as stating of legitimate fact.

The most solidified roots of Cena vs. Orton really date back to about 2007, with only a few notable occurrences: Orton attacking Cena’s father (in both 2007 and 2013, the latter presented as fresh and neoteric), Orton pinning Cena in a WrestleMania triple threat match, a forgettable game of ‘catch’ with the WWE Title in late 2009, and the World Title unification in 2013. In all, their prolongated issue lacked the sort of twists and definable incidences of feuds past.

That’s in part because their characters have never grown. Cena has been the do-gooder charity robot for a decade, incapable of conveying the brilliant pathos and raw emotion that heroes of eras past have needed to add depth. Randy Savage, Cena isn’t. The Supermannequin exterior won’t allow it.

Orton is only slightly more deeper a character, only because he has two masks instead of one: the irrational hero prone to violence, and the justified villain prone to violence. One has a maniacal grin, the other wears an entitled smirk. Otherwise, it’s the same Orton, just standing (mostly) clearly on either side of the fence.

It was hard to connect with WWE’s sales pitch that this feud belongs with Hulk vs. Andre or Austin vs. Rock or Michaels vs. Hart, because the principals themselves have no connectable virtues. When I wrote the ‘Greatest Hits’ line, that’s exactly how Sunday night’s match played out: the same benign finisher reversals we’ve seen since 2007. Same song, different edits toward the chorus, coin flip for the coda.

By the time Cena won with the Attitude Adjustment through a table, no new ground had been broken, and no definitive blowoff was palpable. Still, to hear the three announcers tell it (no doubt with a scratchy voice imploring via headset), it was the perfect climax to a bedazzling novel. Even theater of the mind doesn’t imbue Cena and Orton with compelling characters, but that’s an extension of WWE itself: by making their chosen commodities as basic as possible, they don’t necessarily ruin them. The counter to that is that by not taking chances with a shift in presentation, the fizz goes out of the cola much faster. Stale soda does leave a foul taste.

Contrast that to Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins’ closing Cell match, which has yet to be so foul. While surprising to find Ambrose and Rollins as the final act, there is perhaps some credence to some Twitter user’s theory that Cena/Orton went on at 9 PM to try and keep fans from flocking to The Walking Dead. Given Michael Cole’s gushing platitudes for both men, and the ‘historical value’ video package that was equivalent to road head with feeling, it’s hard to argue against WWE’s possibly strategical match placement.

Even without crudely-woven history at their back, the former Shield allies have compelling recent history: the shocking turn by Rollins, their forking paths into their well-defined roles (Rollins is effective as a pretentious snot, while Ambrose has spent years perfecting his hellbent sociopath schtick), and the fact that Rollins used the turn not only to profit (Money in the Bank briefcase, the use of any and all of The Authority’s flunkies), but to injure the man he wronged (Ambrose getting planted through the cinderblocks). The revenge story is easily digestible.

The fans in Dallas genuinely wanted to see Ambrose shred Rollins for his wrongdoings. Never mind that Rollins was beloved in the Shield for his exuberant ring generalship and Hardy-esque stunt work; when he turned heel, he turned on a beloved character in Ambrose, and the two worked to make us cynics believe that they truly want each other dead. Even briefcase slime, hot dog carts, and mannequins couldn’t low-bridge the want to see their collision course inside a mega-cage, despite neutering by a lack of blood.

The Cell match was indeed a bloodless melee, one that didn’t need to shred a drop of red. It was an unconventional bout, less contrivance and more of the pathos that Orton and Cena lack, with Ambrose gleefully torturing the social-climbing scum that Rollins had turned into. Anything unlike the modern WWE norm is sought after and appreciated. The fact that two wrestlers the fans (ingrained and casual alike) had hand-picked for a push were acting out this slice of something fresh only made it better.

Sadly, Ambrose and Rollins’ studio collaboration was left incomplete. Much like season three of Chappelle’s Show, we got to see the brilliance of the minds involved, but without satisfaction. Bray Wyatt, an individual wildly cheered for disrupting an unwanted Cena/Orton bout at the Royal Rumble, attacked Ambrose in a rivet-gun-tacked finish, putting more focus on the swerve ending than all of the goodwill Ambrose and Rollins had built in five months.

That’s the shame in all of this: for once, the fans had bought stock in a feud without ham-handed prodding from the firm, and it just….meanders into something else. We wanted Ambrose to kill Rollins for five months of selfish acts. Nobody wants to see Ambrose kill Wyatt for interfering in a match like any other member of the roster has done at any given time.

Fresh took a backseat to the company crutch, a storytelling shift without purpose. Nobody was talking Ambrose/Rollins once Wyatt was inserted, despite the noise for the two before. Far fewer were talking Cena/Orton before and after it happened. It would have been hard to get a word in edge-wise anyway, with Cole, Lawler, and JBL telling us everything we’re supposed to think anyway.

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Best and Worst of WWE WrestleMania X

October 28, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Welcome! With the arrival of the “Monday Night War” documentary series on the WWE Network, I decided to go back and watch the WWF pay-per-views (most of the Raws are not there yet) from the debut of Raw and beyond.

We just covered the 1994 Royal Rumble, featuring the first (and only) dual winners in the history of the event: Lex Luger and Bret Hart. That leads us into the biggest shows of the year: Wrestlemania X.

WrestleMania X

 Worst: Here’s all the celebs we’ve had!

Normally, WWE can deliver some truly great video packages, but this was basically a montage of all the famous people that have been at Wrestlemania in some capacity and it lasts all of a minute. It served the point of getting across that this is a big enough event that some kind of famous people show up, but no one really famous.

Speaking of someone not really all that famous…

Worst: Little Richard

This is the big musical guest here to sing “America the Beautiful”. Look, maybe I shouldn’t be complaining. At least it’s not Aaron Neville, but MY GOD, Little Richard clearly thought he was Michael Jackson with all those girlish grunts and noises after he’d finish words.

Look, you’ve got the creepy skin tone and hair that Michael does, but only the King of Pop can pull off those weird noises without seeing like a total creep. You just look some angry transvestite.

Also worst: this was preceded by Vince McMahon screaming everything. I’m getting to a point where I can’t handle Vince talking anymore.

Best: Brother vs Brother

This was undoubtedly one of my favorite feuds not only of the mid-‘90s, but possibly ever. The backstory: Bret Hart was the WWF’s baby face, the golden boy that everyone loved who got all the big opportunities. His brother Owen felt trapped under the shadow cast by Bret and began to lash out at his older brother, feeling as though Bret was holding him down.

The tension built and built, with them seemingly patching things up only to have it split apart at the Royal Rumble when an apparent knee injury to Bret resulted in their tag team championship match against the Quebecers being stopped. Owen had enough, attacking Bret and setting this match in motion.

This match is everything wrestling can be. There were no crazy spots with chairs or tables, no need for constant finishers and finisher attempts, just good old fashioned mat wrestling. The two trade momentum, with both displaying their technical abilities while Owen hammers home that he is the superior Hart coming off the top rope.

Even better, this doesn’t end as a typical WWE match today would. Now adays, it ends with a wildly predictable finisher and, at Wrestlemania, with the good guy trumping the bad guy. Here, Owen counters a victory roll attempt by Bret, sitting down on it and getting the win that should have catapulted him to greatness. It didn’t hurt or diminish Bret in any way (as we’d see later), it had a surprising finish in terms of how it was excecuted and it took the opportunity to try and make a new star in Owen.

Sure, the company would make “nugget” jokes at Owen’s expense and eventually play a huge hand in his death, but here they actually pushed “the King of Harts” like the champion he should have been.

Worst: That’s a Wrestlemania moment?

Here I thought this was going to be some cool look back at one of the great Wrestlemania’s of the past, but instead it was basically “look at all of the celebrities at Wrestlemania 2! Oh, and the battle royal!” with two seconds of said battle royal shown. Y’know, the one that Andre the Giant won. The one that spawned the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

No wonder things were in such despair for the WWF in the 1990s. Efforts like this will chase off even the die-hard fans.

WrestleMania X

Worst: Sy Sperling

This is one of the big celebrities they were telling you all about! That’s right, the guy who invented the Hair Club for Men!  What? No, I’m not kidding, that’s the guy they trotted out here to introduce The Fink with a hair piece. And sure, he may have faced away from the hard camera the entire time, but it was probably for the best anyway.

Thank goodness the WWE would grow out of this “crappy celebrity” phase. Wait…

Worst: Nothing to do with Bam Bam

I have no recollection of the Bam Bam/Doink fud that led to this mixed tag match, but it feels like a huge waste of Bam Bam. This isn’t some hatred for Doink – when he was a heel, he was kind of awesome and evil clowns are always creepy. But face Doink was absolutely, 100% awful. And when they gave him Dink, the midget version of Doink, it only got that much worse.

Bam Bam had the kind of crazy athleticism that you just don’t see in big guys and the WWF failed to exploit that to the fullest. Instead, we get stupid comedy matches where a midget slaps Luna Vachon on the ass and makes her look like an idiot. Even worse is hearing Vince call this thing because, seriously, if you haven’t ever heard Vince McMahon on commentary, consider yourself fortunate.

WMX3

Worst: Now that’s a celebrity

Ito be fair, the guy doing this is a hell of an impersonator, but c’mon.

Worst: I don’t think this is how Falls Count Anywhere works

The next up is “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs the suddenly evil Crush (he’s wearing dark clothes, that’s how you know he’s evil) in a “falls count anywhere” match. Usually, that means you can pin someone anywhere in the arena.

In this instance, it means that if you are pinned outside of the ring, you have 60 seconds to get back into the ring. Wait, what? That’s not at all how this works! Naturally, Crush pins Savage on the outside almost immediately and Savage needs most of the 60 seconds to just get back into the ring.

This goes back and forth and holy crap, 60 seconds is FOREVER. Laying on the floor or a full minute isn’t building drama, it’s just wasting time. Ultimately, this ends with Savage literally hanging Crush upside down so that he can’t get back to the ring. He immediately falls back to the ground and then just lays there because this is obviously the finish. Some WCW level shit here.

Best: They actually tried with women’s wrestling

Sure, it was for all of 10 seconds, but they built up Alundra Blayze as the baddest chick on the planet and actually put her up against quality talent. Like, internationally acclaimed talent. And they gave her pyro, too!

Here, though, she faces Leilani Kei who is a non-descript Hawaiian woman in all black. She looks like Crush after a bad sex change surgery. Blayze was the female Bret Hart at this point: she would take a thorough beating, selling it to the best of her ability, before firing back at the end to pick up the win. Today, a match like this would last about 48 seconds before devolving into something to further a Total Divas storyline.

Worst:  ENOUGH WITH THE CELEBRITIES

We cut to a backstage segment where Shawn Michaels is hitting on Rhonda Shear because she has cleavage before being interrupted by Burt Reynolds. Somewhere in this show is wrestling, I think, but you’d never find it with all these “celebrity” sightings.

Worst: Men on a Mission vs The Quebecers

Let’s put two awful, slow, plodding teams together in a match because one is famous. My God, this show has been one good match and a bunch of awful, hot garbage. Even worse, this ends in a freakin’ count out, so the faces win but don’t get the belts.

Worst: Seriously, you guys, enough with the friggin’ celebrities

Back is Ms. Shear, escorted by legendary New Kids On The Block singer Donnie Wahlberg. I’m fairly certain my eyes have started to bleed and at least half of my brain has melted at this point. It’s like a race to see just how many crappy celebrities they can fit into this show.

Donnie does the ring announcing and I swear, if I close my eyes, I can hear Shane Helms. This is not a good thing.

Worst: Have I mentioned Vince is terrible?

Okay, I’ve tried to ignore him, but enough is enough. It’s bad enough that Vince screams everything he sees in the least coherent way possible – HERE HE IS JERLAWLER THE NARSSIST LEX LUGERRRRR THE NEXT WWF CHAMPION – but he’s horribly biased.

The whole night, not just in the WWF title match where the popular American faces the big, mean foreigner, Vince is openly rooting for certain people. Every pinfall attempt is met with a “ONE, TWO, THREE COME ON”.

This version of Vince is basically Will Ferrell’s SNL character that can’t stop screaming and he’s also biased towards certain people which makes him even worse than Michael Cole. That’s saying something, folks.

Worst: I’d like to best something besides the two obvious matches

Lex Luger vs Yokozuna is exactly what you’d think it is: slow, slow, slow. Luger is at his best when he has a smaller guy to bounce off of him, making him look like the powerhouse he’s supposed to be. When he’s asked to play the resilient underdog, as he is in this instance, it just doesn’t work. Luger can’t sell and convey the emotion needed to be really effective in this role.

Not only that, but you take a guy like Yokozuna, a tremendous athlete for a guy that big, and mitigate him to “boring big guy” for 10 minutes. It’s awful. Throw in Mr. Perfect in prison pajamas (he’s supposed to be a ref, but he looks like he just escaped Shawnshank) and this is awful from start to finish, with Yoko winning to set up the main event. Even worse? The ending made NO SENSE. Luger hits his finish, knocks out Mr. Fuji and Jim Cornette and goes for the pin. Mr. Perfect ambles around the ring ignoring the count, checking on Fuji and Cornette and then disqualifies Luger when he pushes Perfect. And that’s it. The champ looks weak, but retains and the crowd rightfully chants “bullshit!”

Best: Earthquake splash

After this, there’s a little schmoz where Harvey Whippleman comes out to insult The Fink and brings his muscle, Adam Bomb, with him. Out comes EARTHQUAKE, fat man extraordinaire, to save the day. He immediate gets Adam Bomb down and starts his finishing sequence, which is basically him jumping around like a madman to the point where his victim is literally bouncing up and down on the mat. Then jumps on their chest and kills them. Something like that. Either way, it’s the best ass-based offense there’s ever been.

Best: The match we were all waiting for

One of the two things everyone mentions when talking about this Wrestlemania is the ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramond. That’s for good reason. First of all, it made the ladder match famous (it’s not the first ladder match as it was long considered to be) and proved as a springboard for Michaels.

The match flows beautifully. They don’t just rush into using the ladder for the sake of it and this match gives the crowd the first real idea of just what you can do with a ladder. More importantly, it isn’t gratuitous violence for the sake of being violent. Each and every move makes sense and has purpose.

Even more importantly, the finish is PERFECT. Instead of some drawn out, ridiculous-looking sequence where two men slowly climb the ladder, Michaels becomes entangled in the ropes and can’t get out before Razor reaches the top. It makes sense, it adds a shit ton of drama and it just flat out works.

Best: now that’s how you do video packages

Where has this been all night? Finally, the WWF busts out a pair of great video packages to illustrate their main event match, Bret Hart vs Yokozuna. Bret is portrayed with upbeat music as the scrappy fan favorite who comes from a famous wrestling family. Yoko is presented as the vicious monster out to crush everything with his giant ass. It really brings a little gravitas to the whole thing.

Worst: and now here are more %**(@ing celebrities

Jenny Garth of 90210 fame is your special time keeper, Burt Reynolds is your ring announcer and for no reason whatsoever, Rowdy Roddy Piper is your special guest referee. There are so many unnecessary people here, it feels comical to have mentioned all these people. And none of them was famous for more than five minutes other than Reynolds.  Again, it’s a wonder this company struggled like it did during the 1990s.

Best: This is how underdogs work

Unlike Lex Luger, who can’t function as an underdog simply because he doesn’t have the ability to get sympathy from the crowd, Bret Hart is the master at playing the underdog. He’s good enough that even if he weren’t sporting a knee injury from earlier in the night, he’d still play the part perfectly.

He fights off the giant valiantly, getting in little bursts of offense here and there before being stifled. Yoko ambles around like the big man he is, swatting Bret down as he gains momentum while Roddy Piper screams at him for some reason.

Most importantly, this gets the belt back on the best performer in the company and the top baby face. It doesn’t make up for all the BS with Hulk Hogan in the summer of 1993, but it’s something. The good guys carrying Bret around the ring for triumphing over the evil foreigner is great, but a bitter Owen standing in the entrance way glaring makes this even better.

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WWE Hell in a Cell 2014 Results and Recap: Rollins Survives, Cena Wins

October 26, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Hell in a Cell 2014WWE Hell in a Cell delivered an exciting headliner as predicted between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins with an unpredictable ending. The return of Bray Wyatt spoiled the night for Ambrose and WWE fans hoping for a conclusive finish to arguably the hottest WWE feud of 2014. Fortunately those fans did see a conclusive ending to one of the oldest rivalries of the modern-day era.

I don’t usually like John Cena Matches. This time, however, I saw greatness.

For all the wring things the WWE has done over the last few months, putting Cena in a match with Randy Orton in Hell in a Cell was not one of them. The 15-time WWE World Champion proved he could not only sell his match with Randy Orton for the right to be the number one contender for Brock Lesnar’s title, he proved he could wrestle like he was facing CM Punk with everything on the line.

It was truly one of the greatest Hell-in-a-Cell matches of all time.

Orton and Cena used move and counter move to put together the return of Cena/Lesnar III this year.

What happens with Orton now depends on his association with The Authority and Seth Rollins. With the rumors of a face turn by The Viper running about as hot as Chip Kelly possibly running back to college football, how the WWE decides to use Orton now that he has lost to his arch rival will have an impact on the final two pay-per-view events of the year.

As great as Cena and Orton were, they were not the only ones to tear the roof off in Dallas, on Sunday night.

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose had a little something to say about that.

And the first part of the “match” started before the bell was even sounded. Both men fought on top of the steel cage, luring themselves off the side of the structure and falling on the announce table before they were carried out on stretchers. Think the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels spot from the first HIAC. Both guys were stretchered and Dean broke free to attack, only for Dean Ambrose to bring his opponent in the enclosed structure.

That’s where the true brutality took place until the end when Bray Wyatt mad his appearance in the match. The lights went out and a foreign chant broke out. “Magically” a lantern appeared with a hologram. Bray Wyatt finally attacked Ambrose, allowing Rollins to pin him subsequently thereafter. Rollins quickly left the cage where Wyatt continued to attack Ambrose.

Is Wyatt, who took Ambrose out, now a member of the Authority? Does this mean Orton is now out of the Kliq? And what happens to the feud that that had become white hot? Like a good soap opera, we must wait until Monday to find out on Raw.

Here are how the other matches on the night played out…

AJ beats Paige

She is still the Divas Champion. Paige cannot figure out how to beat her former “bestie”. AJ seems to have Paige’s number. The wrestling in the Diva’s division is much better when these two are opposing each other.

Rusev beats Big Show

This is getting a little old since there appears to be nothing American wrestlers can do with the big Russian, Rusev. Who is going to beat the Nikita Koloff wannabe? Again, Rusev proved he is the best foreign heel to come along in decades. He made Big Show submit and took out Mark henry at ringside in the process. Someone must stop him.

Sheamus beats The Miz

Even the stunt double couldn’t bring the United States Champion to The Miz. Sheamus beat The Miz to keep the title around the waist of the Great White.

Star and Goldust def. The Usos

This is a feud that continues to have steam. At some point, there will be other tag teams that will compete for gold.

For every move, the four combatants had an answer. Back and forth they beat the hell out of each other and in the end, the champions retained the title.

Nikki Bella beats Brie Bella

The wrestling itself was entertaining. Nikki now has a new assistant for 30 days. At some point there have to be a connection that leads to these two fighting over the WWE Divas Title. Brie is Nikki’s special assistant for one month.

Dolph Ziggler def. Cesaro in two out of there falls match

Although Ziggler won the match two falls in a row, it was one of the most entertaining matches of the night. Ziggler remains Intercontinental Champion but the two fight back and forth before a winner is determined as the fans chant, “This is Awesome.” It really was.

Mark Henry def. Bo Dallas in preshow starter

Henry needed no time to take care of his new nemesis. I really wanted to see Rusev come in an interrupt this match.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

A solid performance all around. This is one of the better PPV events of the year – GRADE B+
Full WWE 2014 Hell in a Cell results and winners….
Seth Rollins defeated Dean Ambrose in a Hell in a Cell Match
AJ defeated Paige to retain the WWE Divas title
Rusev defeated The Big Show via submission
Sheamus defeated Miz to retain the US title
John Cena defeats Randy Orton in a Hell in a Cell Match
Goldust and StarDust retained the WWE tag team championship over the Usos
Nikki Bella defeated Brie Bella
Dolph Ziggler defeated Cesaro 2/3 Falls to retain the WWE I-C title

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Billy Jack Haynes Sues the WWE

October 26, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

On the eve of its Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Sunday, word has come out that the WWE is being sued over mistreatment of its wrestlers and the safety of those who have performed for Vince McMahon in his circus up in Stamford, CT.

Former WWE Superstar Billy Jack Haynes is suing WWE for alleged mistreatment of talent and wrestler safety. Interesting enough, WWE has run into similar issues in the past. However, it appears Haynes is trying to capitalize on what former NFL football players did a while back by suing the company due to head injuries. The NFL paid millions of dollars to former players but many feel they had no need. The reason being, everyone knew what they were getting into when they signed up and any injury they sustained on the field came with the territory.

This according to a story in the Portland Tribune.

The WWE immediately published a statement with regard to the Haynes lawsuit.

Billy Jack Haynes performed for WWE from 1986-1988. His filed lawsuit alleges that WWE concealed medical information and evidence on concussions during that time, which is impossible since the condition now called chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) had not even been discovered. WWE was well ahead of sports organizations in implementing concussion management procedures and policies as a precautionary measure as the science and research on this issue emerged. Current WWE procedures include ImPACT testing for brain function, annual educational seminars and the strict prohibition of deliberate and direct shots to the head. Additionally, WWE has committed significant funding for concussion research conducted by the Sports Legacy Institute (SLI), leaders in concussion research, and WWE Executive Vice President Paul Levesque sits on SLI’s Board.

Due to the medical knowledge we have today, there are things that sports and wrestling once did that they no longer do. In WWE, they have made it a priority to make their talent safe. Not only have they instituted the Wellness Policy to help with any potential drug problem, but they have also changed their style to a less impactful one. This is why people such as Daniel Bryan, who was known for impact, hard hitting wrestling had to change up his style to fit with WWE.

In 1986, Haynes went to the World Wrestling Federation and feuded with Randy Savage over the Intercontinental Championship and then with Hercules Hernandez over who was stronger, more muscular, and who had a better version of the full nelson (their mutual finishing maneuver). Their feud in the WWF peaked with what was dubbed “The Battle of the Full Nelsons” at WrestleMania III, where the two men battled to a double count-out. After the bell, Hercules’ manager Bobby “The Brain” Heenan kneed Hayne in the back while he had Hercules in a full nelson out on the floor. Haynes chased Heenan into the ring where Hercules blindsided him with his trademark chain, hitting Haynes multiple times and (Kayfabe) cutting his forehead (in reality, Haynes had bladed himself with a small razor hidden in the taps around his wrists after the first hit. He was actually seen on camera taking the razor out of his wrist tapes while chasing Heenan around the ring).

In the months to follow, the two had a series of “chain matches,” where they were attached at the wrist by a foot long chain which could also be used as a weapon during the match. Haynes later teamed with fellow Oregon native Ken Patera who had returned to the WWF. Haynes saved Patera from a beating at the hands of Hercules and “The King” Harley Race after Patera’s return match. The pair would later feud with Demolition after a television match where Demolition left Haynes, Patera, and Brady Boone (who played Haynes’ cousin) beaten and lying in the ring.

Haynes’ departure from the WWF has been a subject of controversy considering dramatic changes in the story as Haynes repeated it. In one version, he says he quit the WWF after refusing to do a job in his hometown of Portland, Oregon. Another account of the same incident reported that he actually wrestled the match with the finish reworked and then fired afterwards. Finally, in a shoot interview, Haynes claims the WWF wanted him to lose the tag match in Portland, but when he said no, the WWF fired him.

Billy Jack has a long road ahead of him. He isn’t the first to try and challenge the WWE’s claim of independent contractor in court. Former WWE wrestlers the late Kanyon, Scott Levy, and Mike Sanders had their lawsuit against the WWE dismissed in 2009. I can’t help but think that any claims Haynes would have had have expired due to a statute of limitations.

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