While the Dolph Ziggler WWE contract rumors were fun while they lasted, the former WWE champion has put them to rest.. Rumors of Dolphs demise were premature. Ziggler has re-signed with the WWE and will be hanging around the mid-card for years to come.
Dolph Ziggler is a rallying cry of what some would call “hardcore fans” on social media. Dolph’s fans have been demanding better things for Ziggy and a bigger push. They got it a couple of years ago but an injury derailed Ziggler’s push and while he has flirted with the top, he has yet to ascend to that spot on the card which is why rumors of Dolph leaving have fans excited about his future.
“Regarding any rumors going around about Ziggler, his contract and leaving, this is the situation. Ziggler’s contract does expire in a few months and there are those close to him that have said he is at least considering what decision to make regarding his future that wouldn’t include WWE. I’ve got no idea what he’s going to do, past the idea he has talked with people about his options away from the promotion.”
Meltzer also broke down the economics of Dolph leaving and estimates that he could make up to $400,000 a year off of a mix of independent wrestling gigs, and possible Mexican and Japanese opportunities. Meltzer pointed out that a big difference in those economics are travel expenses which are currently unpaid in the WWE. Ziggler would have had all of his trans covered and could make a nice living doing what he wants and more importantly on his terms.
Those rumors and speculation can be put to rest. Dolph re-signed with the WWE last week. Mike Johnson over at PWInsider.com was the first to break the story. Ziggler had some fun with it on Twitter but in speaking with the Boston Herald over the weekend, confirmed the story and explained why he is opting to stick with the WWE as opposed to hitting the independents.
”I mean, it feels like I started here, I should end my career in the WWE,” he said. “I feel like they like having me around and I love working here, so it would be really hard to walk away.”
Ziggler has been a WWE wrestler for over ten years. Ziggler joined the company in 2004, starting in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Ziggler got a big push fast as WWE world champion in 2009 and had a final reign as champion in 2011. Ziggler is arguably a top three worker in the WWE and there is no telling what he could do without limitations. Ziggler’s last taste of a push came at the Survivor Series when he was the lone survivor for Team Cena and sent the Authority packing. For whatever reason, Ziggler hasn’t seen much of the top since.
I think Ziggler’s best play to get a bigger push was to leave and come back in a couple of years like Chris Jericho did the first time. At the same time, you can’t blame the guy at all for opting for financial security and his desire to continue performing on the biggest pro wrestling stage in the world. I also think it’s time to stop complaining about Ziggy’s push. It obviously isn’t bothering him and he is laughing all of the way to the bank.
“I’m thinking about it right now. I had a request for an upcoming contract that would end a few months from now, maybe two or three months from now, and they requested back what they would like, I countered another offer and we’re waiting to finalize some things.
I love WWE and I can’t picture myself wrestling somewhere else but it’s also becoming now where that Wednesday and Thursday, I can’t just do that and get some outside live events for comedy and different movie and television options, which would only be to promote myself as a WWE Superstar, to make myself a bigger star so I can advance more in WWE. So if I can’t find that happy medium, I might have to go away for a little bit”
There used to be a time where you never knew what would happen at a WWE house show. Today, house shows are generally one in the same yet Saturday night was an exception as fans in Boston received a very big surprise.
The Rock made a rare appearance on Saturday night in Boston at a WWE house show. According to reports, Dwayne Johnson is in Boston making a movie. The Rock came out during Bo Dallas’ match and had a lengthy verbal altercation with Dallas. You can probably guess how this one ended.
The WWE posted video of this on their YouTube channel and by the way, I love the gritty appearance of the video. It reminds me of seeing house show clips on WWF television as a kid. Video of this appearance needs to be played numerous times over the next few weeks. I think something as simple as this could really help house show business. Most know that you aren’t going to get big angles or title changes at house shows anymore. They just don’t happen. A video like this could change that mentality completely.
Finally, you have to give credit to the WWE for giving a younger guy like Bo Dallas the rub. He desperately needs it. Although I am surprised they didn’t stick him in there with someone a little higher up on the card. Kevin Owens is the first guy that comes to mind and even though it would have ended with Owens taking a Rock Bottom, maybe the video has some legs and they work towards a match somewhere down the line.
Owens, Dallas, or whomever, I am sure the fans in attendance in Boston were just happy for a once in a lifetime moment which is seeing The Rock at a house show.
I was really interested in watching The Messengers on the CW Network. It looked intriguing, and I forgot all about the CW’s disaster called The Tomorrow People, it’s penchant for politically motivated inclusions and that it was another retelling of Apocalyptic tales (something Sleepy Hollow did well, but also plays into the theme of this piece).
Tomorrow People was a pretty cool concept, but played out a lot less like Jack Kirby and a lot more like Vince Russo, which may or may not have been caused by it not getting enough traction, by it not being quite “super-heroic” enough or maybe the casting of teenagers with older looking actors was a huge disconnect that doomed it from the start.
Tomorrow People was definitively of the modern era of episodic, serialized entertainment. It threw too many plot twists, had too many character decisions that weren’t character-driven, and plot holes the size of a Jack Kirby Celestial. Those details are long forgotten, but delving into details rarely makes a good point.
It just gives enough for dismissing the criticism.
The big picture is the problem. Having all this secretive, evolutionary, end-of-the-world dynamics, and then revealing that everyone that you thought didn’t know, knew, just blew out the believability. It wasn’t quite Heroes-like (where the Petrelli family was all but the McMahon family of the WWE Universe, everyone else didn’t matter, and anyone that did matter ended up being related).
But it went in that direction.
What’s worse, things happened so quickly that missing a show meant missing what should have been six episodes. (To speed up to pro wrestling relevance, there really was a good reason why ECW repeated scenes and moments from the last show. That of course is reason enough (and resonance to this theme) as to why the WWE rarely tells you what happened last week). Episodes of a TV series need to build upon each other, stick to established characteristics and make each storyline twist meaningful.
Which is not done by making everything over-the-top and overly done and having too many of them.
That’s the Russo theory of booking pro wrestling, and strangely enough it pervades other serialized entertainment forms.
Getting back to The Message Messengers, that show reeked of potential and of pitfalls. A more Biblical approach to Sleep Hollow seemed great, but within a few shows there were Horsemen defeated and undefeated and beaten-but-not-beaten and within a few more shows it seemed like the Apocalypse was averted, but then the Horsemen “turned on” THE DEVIL, and made him sympathetic (but then again, really not so since he just doesn’t want to see the END OF TIMES, since that would be boring).
The problem with averting the Apocalypse is … what happens next.
Swerving the audience into thinking/believing the end is done is like a match with no inherent storytelling, and a hundred false finishes. Unfortunately the audience that remains truly believes that a dozen false finishes makes for a great match.
And no one can tell them otherwise?
It’s bad enough that a show based on Biblical stories makes the religious characters sound hideous, makes all the characters morally ambivalent (no true heels or faces here!) and otherwise beats senselessness into the fundamental tapestry of it all (everything is coincidence, nothing is coincidental, but the details …. well, let’s just ignore those).
Seems like these days the producers want people to watch On-Demand and show-after-show. I’m thinking that makes it all a lot more palatable, but whatever happened to “must see” TV, watching it as it aired, enjoying it the way it was intended?
Getting this to wrestling, let’s talk WWE and a surprising and well anticipating turn to booking of yesteryear. In the intrigues of Cena vs Owens, has everyone overlooked the “programming” of it all? This is a distinct trilogy, this is an ongoing series of matches, and along the way the heel is built up and the hero is built up and it makes the third match all the more interesting.
It’s awesome to see that Owens isn’t being a tweener, that what I saw with Machine Gun Kelly screamed “angle alert” but beating up the home-town musician wasn’t anywhere near taken with a positive crowd response, and Owens isn’t smirking and winking and nodding his way to anyone’s hearts.
He’s being a true heel.
Meanwhile Cena is being Cena and based on being Cena for a decade. He doesn’t need to exchange barbs and diminish himself while combating the threat. That’s what I find interesting. That’s what I hope is the fulfillment of what was said to a friend of mine a year and a half ago. (I think it was that long ago).
Meanwhile, there’s a long story involving the Bellas and Paige, and now Paige can’t find anyone to back her. It’s interesting, character-driven on many levels, and plays off of WWE Universe and old school mentality.
By the way, did JBL really say Saraya Knight?
While the other glittering jewels of internet commentary speculate on who gets called up, they obviously have no clue who Saraya Knight is, or that she’s twice the talent of her daughter, five times the presence, and since Paige is so much superior to the Divas roster, what does that mean?
I’d explain the booking of the last time I watched those two in the ring, but I don’t want to spoil what I hope to happen on TV.
With a properly told storyline that lasts weeks and months, not segments and commercial breaks.
Meanwhile, over in ROH land, I watched with mixed expectations. After all, Joe Koff touted his writers and his producers, so I had to see what is going on.
ROH announce crew overhyped the Jay Briscoe vs Jay Lethal match, but the Colby Corino stuff is really, really good. Putting on a tag team match with ROH’s best high flyer of the past few years and the current best, against one of the best in the world, and another top Japanese star – well, that’s American booking and ROH at its usual – great match, diminished by no build-up, pathetically giving a guy a pinfall loss who shouldn’t be seen losing, and in the end, what’s next for them all?
If the Japanese crew is going to be a big part of ROH, that’s great.
Somehow, I don’t think so.
Meanwhile, the Championship match is full of talent, great promos (I love the signing, which went from “not this” to great lines from both in a duel o words and an explanation of why there’s not going to be physicality at-this-moment. That was awesome.
The crowd, awesome.
The resonance of having two belts being fought over, having meaningless tag matches (no matter how great in the ring) and having announcers over-hype the “Biggest match in ROH” was blah.
Biggest match? What about Homicide, Eddie Guerrero, CM Punk, Samoa Joe; CZW vs ROH, various angles in the past, various belts changing hands after long runs?
What’s going to happen next week to top this?
That’s the problem with Serialized Entertainment from comic books (yeah, I’m not going to even start with that) to TV shows, with professional wrestling over the past 15 years. There’s a lot of hype, and a lot of good things, but the big things get blown out of proportion, so more things get thrown out, and less things matter.
This week opens with Seth Rollins, flanked by Joey Mercury and Kane. Jamie Noble is out with a broken rib for now. Jimmy Uso is filling in for Byron Saxton on commentary this week, as Saxton is apparently working on Tough Enough at the moment. Couldn’t tell you for sure, because I’m not watching that crap. Rollins says the Authority is back. They’ve got the band back together. They took a trip to Suplex City on Monday night, and burned it to the ground. It might have been uncomfortable for some fans, but change is a necessity. You need it to grow and evolve. He is a perfect example. A little over a year ago, he was a member of the Shield. He made the change that was necessary. It wasn’t popular at the time, but look at him now. He’s the undisputed WWE World Champion. He’s a proud member of the Authority, and he’s surrounded by true family, true brothers, like Joey Mercury. Mercury has had his back since day one and is a genius. He helped mastermind the beat-down of the Beast on RAW, and he’s glad to have Mercury on his side. It’s bittersweet for everyone, though. He points out Noble is missing. He was taken to a medical facility after RAW, suffering three broken ribs at the hands of Brock Lesnar. We go to the footage, where Lesnar rams Noble back-first into the aisle barricade. Back to the arena, Rollins says he and Mercury spent the previous night with Noble. Noble is a champion and will make a full recovery. Now, Rollins will say tonight what they said to Noble, and that is that tonight is dedicated to the career of Noble. Noble wouldn’t want them to be sad about what happened; he’d want them to celebrate, and no one has more to celebrate than Kane. Yeah, those two World titles and a handful of tag title runs in 20 years with the company is something special, let me tell you. Rollins says Kane took Lesnar down on RAW. Before that, he chokeslammed Dean Ambrose straight to hell, and he showed everybody that no matter what, Kane is forever the “Devil’s Favorite Demon”. Kane says whether your name is Roman Reigns, Ambrose or Lesnar, if you cross the Authority, there will be consequences. Speaking of which, there is a giant absence in the family tonight. Their extended family member the Big Show (apparently, that’s still a thing) is not here tonight after the unprovoked actions of the IC Champion. We go to RAW again, where Ryback assaulted Show in a backstage brawl. Back to the arena, Kane asks Ryback to please join them in the ring.
Ryback comes down, and Kane asks him to explain his actions from RAW. Ryback said Show didn’t want to hear what Ryback had to say, but wanted to see what he could do, and “The Big Guy” showed him. Rollins says he endangered countless, innocent employees. He’s the IC Champion; that’s not how a champion is supposed to act. If he wants to know how a champion should act, maybe he should take lessons from Rollins. Ryback says he’s what a champion looks like, then rips off his shirt. There’s a difference between a champion and a sellout. A champion stands and fights; a sellout runs and hides. A champion stands by people every day; a sellout like Rollins plays nice when Lesnar is in town. He wishes Ambrose had his grip and could have held on for one more second at MITB, because then we would have a real champion instead of a pathetic, cowardly, over-protected, gutless child like Rollins. Rollins stares daggers through Ryback, and Kane tells Ryback he’ll have the opportunity to show the WWE Universe how he thinks a real champion behaves when he faces…wait for it…it’s a shocker…I promise…Kane.
The Authority leave, but halfway up the ramp, Rollins calls for the music to be cut off. He is sick of the lack of respect. He is the WWE World Champion. Kane will take care of Ryback tonight. Ryback mentioned Ambrose like Rollins still has something to prove. He didn’t barely beat Ambrose at MITB; he annihilated him. But since Ambrose is still walking around, Rollins wouldn’t mind finishing the job, so tonight, he’ll take on Ambrose one-on-one, and he’ll show the world the Authority is not only back, but always wins.
MATCH 1: DOLPH ZIGGLER (W/LANA) VS. SHEAMUS
Sheamus boots Ziggler, then hits a European uppercut before beating Ziggler down in the corner. Ziggler avoids a bodyslam and locks in a scissored sleeper. Sheamus tosses him off, then rolls to the floor to avoid a superkick. Up on the apron, Ziggler dropkicks Sheamus, and that’s when Rusev comes out. He tells Lana to stop as he hobbles to the ring. She heads up the ramp to meet him. He tells her to stop this and come back to him over and over. He offers to kiss her the right way, and she turns her back on him. He screams at her in Bulgarian, and she marches back to ringside. He says he’s done, and this is it. He curses at her some more, and back in the ring, Sheamus tries for a surprise Brogue Kick, but Ziggler avoids it and rolls Sheamus up for 2. He goes for a leaping DDT, but Sheamus drops him gut-first across the top rope. Sheamus knocks him to the floor with a running kneelift as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Sheamus has Ziggler in a rear chinlock. Jimmy Uso is insufferable on commentary. Ziggler fights out before running into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Sheamus goes to the top, but Ziggler brings him back down with a super facebuster, hurting himself in the process. He still gets up first and hits a few rights. He blocks a back-body drop and goes for a superkick. Sheamus blocks and goes for a back suplex. Ziggler lands on his feet, boots Sheamus and goes for the rocker dropper. Sheamus catches him and looks for a powerbomb, which Ziggler reverses into a sunset flip for 2. Sheamus gets up and hits a kneelift, but then runs into a superkick for 2. Ziggler goes for the Zig-Zag, but Sheamus holds onto the ropes. Ziggler runs into a tilt-a-whirl, but counters it into a scissored sleeper. Sheamus tries to break it by ramming Ziggler back-first into the buckles, but Ziggler holds on. Sheamus then sends him face-first into the buckles before a couple back rams finally breaks it. He grabs Ziggler on his shoulders, but Ziggler fights him off from the middle buckle. Sheamus crotches him on the top rope, then nails a Brogue Kick for 3.
We see Rusev limping in the back, muttering to himself. He screams at someone backstage before continuing limping to a chainlink fence. He shakes the fence before Summer Rae tries to calm him down. She says Lana’s not worth it and walks away. I guess Rae would know about being worthless better than just about anyone, right?
MATCH 2: ALICIA FOX (W/THE BELLA TWINS) VS. NAOMI (W/TAMINA)
Fox hits a hip throw, then goes into a side headlock. Naomi sends her into the ropes and gets hit with a shoulder. She kips up, but then gets hit with an awful kick that sends her to the apron. She gets up and kicks Fox in the face, then comes back in with a quick hurricanrana. She hits a bulldog into the second buckle, then stomps Fox in the back before slapping her int he back of the head. Naomi hits a bodyslam and a jumping legdrop for 2. Naomi applies a rear chinlock, and I just noticed she’s wearing light-up sneakers, because she’s apparently 10 and this is 1991. Fox fights her way out of the chinlock and reverses a corner whip into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Fox then tackles her through the ropes and to the floor, right in front of the Bellas. Naomi recovers and rams Fox back-first into the apron, then kicks her in the back a couple times before rolling her back in the ring, which Fox botches. Naomi gets in the face of the Bellas before Tamina superkicks Brie. Nikki tackles Tamina, but then gets thrown into a superkick by Naomi. Naomi crawls back in and Fox cuts her off before hitting some stupid-looking version of Melina’s old Extreme Makeover for 3.
WINNER: ALICIA FOX.
I love how all of the divas on the roster right now except for Paige and Natalya are heels. Makes a whole lot of sense.
Jesus. Jimmy Uso is using the term “Oos” for everything tonight, and it’s making my ears bleed.
Jo-Jo is standing by with the New Day. They are clapping. She points out they lost their titles at MITB. Xavier Woods says they don’t focus on losses or negatives. Kofi Kingston and Big E ramble on about positivity and overcoming things. Thankfully, they’re cut off by the Prime-Time Players. They start a “New Day sucks” chant as Jo-Jo leaves. PTP point out that there’s a dilemma, because there’s only two of them and three of the New Day. One of the New Day will have to sit on the sidelines and be a weak link at Battleground, but he’s sure they’ll figure it out through the power of positivity. They leave, and New Day start bickering and throwing a tantrum. Bo Dallas walks up, and he’s not happy about seeing the most positive entity in WWE so angry. They inspire so many, including him, which is why he asked the Authority if he could ask to join New Day against PTP and their partners. Thank goodness, because with him, the New Day will be sweltering hot and sunny, with a 100% chance of victory. New Day then get him to do a clap with him, because the WWE hates me.
As Ryback comes out for his match with Kane, Big Show attacks him and throws him into the lower screen on the stage. Show knees him in the face, then rips the IC title off and throws it to the side. He continues the attack on the ramp, then throws him down it. The attack continues at ringside as Kane looks on from the ring. Show’s kicks look like a bunny could shake them off with ease. Show throws Ryback chest-first into the barricade, then tosses him into the ring. Kane orders the referee to ring the bell, and the referee begrudgingly does so.
MATCH 3: KANE (W/THE BIG SHOW) VS. INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION RYBACK (NON-TITLE)
Kane rolls Ryback over for the easy pin, but only gets 2. He stomps Ryback down in the corner, then grinds his knee into Ryback’s back over the middle rope. Kane hits an uppercut before Ryback manages to ram him into the buckles. Kane reverses positions and knees Ryback in the gut. Kane hits a couple kicks and an uppercut. He hits some pathetic shoulder thrusts in the corner, but tries it once too many times as Ryback moves and sends him shoulder-first into the ring post. Ryback is up first, and he drops Kane with a spinebuster. He pulls himself up int he corner and calls for the Meat Hook, which connects. He signals for Shell Shocked, but Show causes a distraction on the apron. This allows Kane to go for the chokeslam, but Ryback escapes, kicks Kane and goes for Shell Shocked. Show comes in and plants Ryback with a side kick, leading to the DQ.
WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: RYBACK.
Ryback tries to fight back, tackling Show. Kane and Show quickly overwhelm him and stomp him down. Show then puts him down with a chokeslam. Ryback still tries to pull himself to his feet, so Show plants him with another chokeslam. Jerry Lawler at this point mentions the Miz, the third member in the IC title three-way at Battleground. Miz is so crucial to this match and the company, this was the first time he was mentioned all night.
MATCH 4: BO DALLAS AND THE NEW DAY (BIG E, KOFI KINGSTON AND XAVIER WOODS) VS. WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE PRIME-TIME PLAYERS (TITUS O’NEIL & DARREN YOUNG) AND THE LUCHA DRAGONS (KALISTO & SIN CARA)
Titus and Kofi start, with Kofi applying a headlock, turning it into a hammerlock and hammering Titus across the back. Titus throws him to the corner and hits two very loud chops, then picks Kofi up and slings him across the ring. Young tags in, and the PTP hit a double shoulder. Young hits a sit-down splash for 2, then gets backed into the heel corner. Dallas tags in and hits some forearms before Young cuts him down with a clothesline. He hits a big forearm, then follows up with an inverted atomic drop, a couple punches, a European uppercut and a suplex for 2. He hits a hip throw and cinches in a side headlock before getting back to his feet. Dallas fights out, but then eats a couple knees. Young goes for the Gut Check, but Dallas escapes to the floor. He and the New Day have a clap session as their opponents just look on. Commercials.
Back from the break, Kofi is beating Cara down in the corner. He mocks the Dragons, then goes for a corner whip. Cara reverses, Kofi climbs the buckles, and dives off into a dropkick for 2. Cara runs into a back elbow as Woods tags in. Cara gets backdropped to the floor, where he punches Woods a couple times. He tries to climb back in, but Kofi hits him with a baseball slide, followed by a superkick by Woods. Far too many wrestlers in WWE use the superkick. Just saying. Woods mocks the Dragons, then rolls Cara back in before taunting Jimmy Uso at the announce desk. Back in the ring, he stomps down Cara, then tags in E. E does some more stomps, then tags in Kofi. Kofi stomps Cara. Dallas tags in and does some stomps. Woods tags in and does some more. So does E. Kofi tags in and E whips him in for a dropkick on Cara. Dallas in, and he picks Cara up, then immediately tags out to E. Whatever. E applies an abdominal stretch, but Cara fights out. E clubs him down and tags in Kofi. They set Cara up for a superbomb, which Cara counters with a hurricanrana. Cara crawls for a tag as Woods tags in. Kalisto makes the tag and hits a springboard cross-body. He follows up with a springboard corkscrew cross-body, hits a Kalisto Kick, then snaps off a low hurricanrana into a driver for 2 as Dallas breaks it up. Young comes in and hits Dallas with the Gut Check. E runs through Young, then turns around into a spinebuster from Titus. Kofi sends him to the floor with Trouble in Paradise, but then gets dropkicked to the floor by Cara. Woods rolls Kalisto up for 2, misses a clothesline, then gets hit with a Tidal Crush. Cara climbs to the top and wipes out everyone on the floor. In the ring, Kalisto hits a springboard 450 splash for 3.
WINNERS: THE LUCHA DRAGONS AND THE PRIME-TIME PLAYERS.
Roman Reigns is in the locker room and is approached by Dean Ambrose. Bray Wyatt is really ticking him off. He messed with Ambrose, and now he’s messing with Reigns, hiding in the shadows, delivering spooky messages and trying to get in people’s heads. He wants to search the building until they find him and deliver a nasty message to Wyatt. Reigns cuts him off and says he’ll worry about Wyatt. He’ll bust Wyatt’s ass at Battleground, and Ambrose needs to worry about the Authority. He’s got Ambrose’s back tonight. Ambrose leaves, and Reigns finds something in the pocket of his vest. It’s a picture of himself with the words “Anyone But You” written on it, with Reigns’ eyes scratched out.
After some commercials, we see Reigns marching around in the back, looking for Wyatt. Kane stops him and Reigns says to either tell him where Wyatt is, or get the hell out of his way. Kane says ever since Wyatt got into Reigns’ thick skull, he’s become a liability. Reigns crossed the line, and it won’t be tolerated. He’s ejecting Reigns from the building. Some security guys come out. Kane says Reigns can’t fly off the handle, and he needs to maintain a safe working environment. The security wrestlers surround him, but he shoves them off. He says if he finds Wyatt, it’s going down. He shoves Kane, then marches out of the building.
MATCH 5: DEAN AMBROSE VS. WWE WORLD CHAMPION SETH ROLLINS(W/KANE AND JOEY MERCURY) (NON-TITLE)
They lock up and trade arm wringers before Rollins hits a hip throw. Ambrose is back up, and he receives a shoulder off the ropes. They crisscross until Ambrose hits a pair of armdrags and goes into an armbar. He turns it into a hammerlock, then armbars the other arm while putting pressure on Rollins’ shoulder. Rollins comes back with a boot and some punches on the ropes. Ambrose then clotheslines Rollins to the floor, sending him into the barricade in the process. Commercials.
Back from the break, Rollins hits a dragon screw across the middle rope on Ambrose’s left leg. He attacks Ambrose’s leg some more, then nails a corner forearm shot before applying a deathlock. Ambrose crawls to the bottom rope and manages to break the hold. Ambrose comes back with some punches before Rollins trips him and applies a half-crab before just slamming the knee into the mat. He assaults Ambrose in the corner, nails another running forearm, then tosses Ambrose to the middle of the ring. He heads up top, but Ambrose hobbles to the corner and meets him with a punches before hitting a butterfly superplex from the middle rope. Ambrose slaps himself in the knee, snaps off some jabs and chops, then hits a pair of forearms. He hits a corner forearm, misses a bulldog, avoids a splash and rolls Rollins up for 2. He ducks a roundhouse and hits a back suplex into a facebuster for another 2. Ambrose goes for Dirty Deeds, but Rollins backs him into the corner. He sets Ambrose on the top rope and goes for a superplex. Ambrose fights him off and goes for a tornado DDT. Rollins tosses him off, and he lands on his bad knee before Rollins hits a superkick for 2. Rollins heads up top once more and goes for a cross-body. Ambrose rolls through for 2, then hits a swinging neckbreaker. Ambrose heads up now, and Kane jumps on the apron. Ambrose kicks him away, dives over Rollins, ducks a clothesline and hits Kane with a suicide dive. Rollins tries a dive, but Ambrose forearms him through the ropes. Back in the ring, Ambrose hits the flying elbow and goes for the pin, but Mercury distracts the referee. Ambrose breaks the pin and goes after Mercury, who drops to the floor. Rollins rolls Ambrose up for 2 and goes for Dirty Deeds. Mercury is back up as Rollins escapes, only to have Rollins thrown into him, knocking him off the apron. Ambrose rolls Rollins up for 2, then hits an elbow out of the corner, followed by a tornado DDT for 2. Ambrose hits a few more strikes against the ropes, but then walks into a back kick. He goes for the rebound clothesline, but Rollins ducks and sets up the corner powerbomb. Ambrose manages to hurricanrana him over the top and to the floor, then heads to the top rope, wiping everyone out with a flying elbow. He rolls Rollins back in, but Rollins surprises him with a spin kick. Ambrose comes back with a rebound clothesline, then goes after Mercury, who is trying to crawl into the ring. Ambrose assists him and goes for Dirty Deeds. Rollins turns him around and drops him with the Pedigree for 3.
In a bizarre scene for those who followed the tumultuous breakup of TNA Wrestling and Jeff Jarrett, Jeff and wife Karen returned to TNA on Wednesday night. Jeff announced his in-ring return in an angle that has created a lot of buzz for a lot of different reasons.
The return of Jeff Jarrett to TNA has brought TNA the kind of buzz they have been looking for over the last several months. While the interest lies with the out-of-ring fallout from Jeff’s return, the story has a lot of people talking. What this means for TNA, Global Force Wrestling, and Jeff are all questions people are asking.
There are multiple reports coming out of his return. Wade Keller at PWTorch.com reported that there is a lot of heat backstage between TNA wrestlers and management. TNA wrestlers were told that they were not allowed to appear on Jeff’s GFW shows and many of them had to cancel or pass up big paydays or face a breach of contract. Those wrestlers are reportedly not very happy that they missed out on the paydays while TNA does business with Jeff.
I have some personal experience with this kind of a situation and it sucks. I was doing announcing for both CZW and Ring of Honor back in 2002. For whatever reason, CZW had heat with ROH and implied that talent shouldn’t be working for both companies. Fans of this era may recall the Briscoes leaving CZW shortly thereafter. I made a choice and wound up staying with CZW (maybe the worst career move I ever made) and then a couple of years later CZW and ROH are working together on the invasion and CZW is bringing back some of those old wrestlers. I was angry and felt stabbed in the back having given up a great opportunity and money out of loyalty, yet CZW did business with ROH later when it was convenient. A much different situation admittedly but I can truly sympathize with those talents today.
Dave Meltzer on his F4Wonline.com podcast reported that the deal between Jarrett and TNA did not close until earlier in the afternoon. Meltzer speculated that it could lead to a Hall of Fame induction. Meltzer also speculated on what this all means for Global Force Wrestling. Meltzer speculated it could be anything from an invasion angle to a full out sale of the company to Jeff and Toby Keith. Again these were just speculations and not confirmed reports from Dave’s podcast.
Jarrett resigned from TNA in January 2014 after a failed attempt to buy the company. Jarrett created GFW later that year but didn’t start running his first shows until a few weeks ago. GFW has television scheduled to tape coming up but nothing has been announced regarding a home. Jeff has also appeared on a few New Japan shows this year.
In the ring, Jeff was pinned by Jeff Hardy in a cage match at Final Resolution which was supposed to end his career in the ring within TNA. This would be Jeff’s first match back in TNA since then. I know some that are crapping all over the angle but I will say this. Jeff was a far better worker in TNA than people give him credit for. His matches with Kurt Angle in particular were some of Angle’s best. He can still go. I just think that TNA hot-shotting an angle like this a few days before a PPV does nothing for anyone. As an example, Jeff’s return posted on TNA’s YouTube channel only has 22,000 views as of this writing. Casual fans don’t know the story and it is that backstage story that will sell this angle and make Jarrett a draw. I think TNA need to get out there and tell the story, with at least a few weeks of build to let it sink in and educate new fans that may not be aware of the backstage issues.
We’ll see what happens next with this whole invasion angle or sale. I think it is a lot to do about nothing. I think it could turn out to be Jeff coming back for a few matches, a Hall of Fame induction, and some open doors for Jeff and GFW to make a deal, possibly working with TNA to bump ROH off of Destination America. More to come for sure!
There probably isn’t many better WWE stars to give advice to aspiring pro wrestlers than arguably the most famous star of all-time. Hulk Hogan is one of the most successful wrestlers ever so when the Hulkster is offering free advice, you listen.
Hulk Hogan is currently a judge on the WWE Tough Enough show. Why he is not a host is a question I am still trying to figure out. Whether you like Hulk or not you cannot argue with his success. He is arguably the most recognizable pro wrestler in all of wrestling history. Hogan is doing some media to promote Tough Enough and stopped by BizJournals.com for a conversation which turned more into a coaching session for aspiring WWE superstars.
Hogan was asked about the biggest challenge he ever faced and what he learned from it.
“Making the transition from actually wrestling to trying to figure out how to generate revenue without physically getting in the ring. I had to figure out how to use my brand and exploit the 35 years of goodwill with the world and turn that into a money making machine. Once you wrestle main events for 30 years and all of a sudden it’s taken away from you because physically you can’t do it, reality sets in and you have to figure out how to reinvent yourself. I made that transition out of survival. I went through a crazy divorce, I had a huge $60 million civil suite from an accident and my body shut down on me for two years — I had nine back surgeries. I had to figure out how to take the brand, make it work and do stuff I wasn’t used to doing such as open other businesses and other ventures.“
You can criticize Hogan for a lot of things but one thing you have to give him credit for is making himself relevant after his in-ring career was over. Hogan has appeared on numerous television shows including his own and remains well-known to casual wrestling fans. How big of an accomplishment is that? Other than the Rock I can’t think of anyone else who has done it better.
Hulk was asked about advice he could share for those looking to get into the wrestling industry.
“Don’t even think about it unless it’s your passion — it has to be in your blood and you’re totally obsessed with it and that’s all you think about. It had to be a bigger priority for you than your job or even your family. You have to put wrestling first just to make it. It is such a hard job, so if you’re married or you have children or you have bunch of baggage, you need to rethink it because it’s really tough. If you don’t have those desires, don’t even think about it.”
Finally Hulk was asked about the worst piece of advice he has ever gotten.
“The advice I got was in the 1970s when wrestling was very barbaric. The worst advice I got then was “real wrestlers don’t wear kneepads.” After about two years of wrestling in Japan, my knees were blown out.”
That is pretty interesting and I absolutely believe that was the advice he received back in the 1970s. Even going back to the late 1990s, I remember hearing wrestlers criticize Stone Cold Steve Austin for wearing knee braces. I couldn’t even imagine wrestling for as long as Hulk did without knee pads on.
The WWE did Roman Reigns a favor when it decided to place him in a program with Bray Wyatt. The idea of taking the company’s would be Superman and pitting him against the master of manipulation at Battleground has all the makings of a great storyline that can only help Reigns ascend further up the company’s food chain. Maybe this will move toward a possible WWE title run down the line.
The idea of taking the seemingly immortal Reigns – Vince McMahon’s new version of John Cena – and showing his vulnerability for his family is brilliant and should get the former Shield member over even more with the fans.
The move also strengthens Wyatt’s grip on being the WWE’s puppet master – only to get the best out of stars who need to be tested mentally and then physically.
Over the years in different territories and promotions, professional wrestling has preyed on the concept of attacking a star’s family in order to see them rise above the conflict only to come out on the other end victorious. It is just another form of connection between the fans and the wrestlers who are more human than given credit. Regardless of whether the storyline is real or not, fans have a tender spot for scripts that involve situations they too can identify with.
Because Reigns has been ascending as of late again on the company’s ladder toward super stardom, this is a ripe time to test his mental wear.
While WWE writers have the right idea with Reigns, they may have very well done Brock Lesnar a disservice by making him look mortal and weak on Monday night’s Raw program. The concept of a man who is bigger and badder than any other wrestler on the WWE roster being manhandled by Seth Rollins is way beyond the scope of realism. And that concept, which started out smart last week when Rollins backpeddled to avoid his nemesis, is what will not only lose the fans’ interest, but may ruin Lesnar’s affinity with the crowds leading up to Battleground.
As Brian Fritz wrote in his column for the Sporting News, “Lesnar is a bonafide star, a true needle-mover in a time when there is fewer and fewer of those. But when his music hits, you feel like you’re seeing someone special.”
Fans only saw someone who was a mere mortal on Monday night because Rollins got the best of him and before that, Lesnar spent the first part of the evening apologizing to the announce team for injuring them and causing havoc.
Wait, isn’t that what he is supposed to do? Isn’t that what the WWE wanted – a larger than life “BEAST” who could come out and make the biggest stars of the company (like John Cena) tap out or worst, get the holy crap beaten out of them? I am sure the company knows what it is doing, but for now, the idea is lost on me and probably thousands of viewers who saw what went down on Monday.
It’s safe to say Fritz did not think the “change” of sorts by Lesnar and the road the company has decide to travel before the pay-per-view is going to get a lot of cheers from the crowds in the arenas if they view Lesnar simply as one just like the others on the roster.
“Brock Lesnar has a larger than life appearance. He is the equivalent of the real-life Incredible Hulk. And what do people what to see Hulk do? Hulk smash,” Fritz added.
The WWE has a little over three weeks to “fix” this issue. By taking away part of what makes the Lesnar character so great, the combination with Paul Heyman is destroyed. And if the WWE wants to throw away a gem in this union, it cannot try to recreate any likeness now or in the future.
Lesnar may not win the WWE World Title at Battleground (winning it would be a sin for the moment), but he had better appear to be the giant “Hulk-like” figure Fritz speaks of or the whole idea of bringing him back is lost and a waste of the fans’ time.
TNA Wrestling are fighting for their television lives and they are looking for some heavy hitters for assistance. According to reports, TNA are making a big play for a former WWE star in hopes that he can give them a much needed boost and open up a new audience.
Dave Meltzer had the story in the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. According to Dave, Dixie Carter is making a big play for Rey Mysterio Jr. According to Meltzer, the company is doing everything it can to entice the former WWE world champion.
“The company made a big play this past week for Rey Mysterio Jr., who is still most likely headed to Lucha Underground, even though nothing official has been announced yet. John Gaburick and Dixie Carter both talked with him. They pushed the idea that they could get his merchandise into all the stores, and open doors for movies and TV to him, and they would build around him as their long-sought-after Mexican superstar. They also noted that if he signed with them, he could work anywhere he wanted on his off days.”
This is yet another aggressive move by the company to sign a former WWE Latino star. The company reportedly made a big play for Alberto Del Rio shortly after he was released from his WWE deal. Interestingly enough, Meltzer doesn’t indicate whether Rey accepted, considered, or turned down the offer although all indications are at this point that he hasn’t signed a deal.
It is a very intriguing story when you put it in context with all of the rumors about Destination America dropping Impact Wrestling in September. The idea that TNA would somehow have the resources to sign a Rey Mysterio contradicts a lot of what we have read about TNA’s current state. TNA’s owners Panda Energy certainly have the funds, but I can’t see how TNA could have presented Panda with reasonable investment strategy into pouring all of those resources into one wrestler at a time where the company’s future is in doubt.
A TNA defender could look at this story as the glass half-full and conclude that TNA has a firm commitment from Destination America to stay past September. How else could TNA in its right mind make a serious offer to Rey when Mysterio is aware of all of the turmoil surrounding the company? Why would Mysterio even consider it at that point? A skeptic would say that TNA may be using this story to deflate all of those cancellation rumors. Maybe TNA management knew that Rey would not sign yet used this story to alleviate concerns of staff that the company is in jeopardy of losing its TV deal?
I also don’t see how TNA could make those promises about merchandise when I can’t recall ever seeing a piece of TNA merchandise in my local mall or department stores. I also don’t recall seeing any TNA talent in any recent movies or starring television roles outside of reality TV. The story almost sounds like a joke if you really sit back and think about it.
One option this brings to mind is a player-owner type of a deal. When CM Punk’s contract was coming due before his big run at Money in the Bank, I floated the idea of TNA signing Punk to a deal where he became a part owner, receiving a small percentage of the company’s revenue. Of course that never happened, but it would be a creative way to get a deal done. Paul Heyman wanted a similar deal when he negotiated with TNA several years ago to come in and book and we all know how that worked out.
I will say this. I’d love to see Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio one more time. I think these guys had one of the most underrated series of matches in WWE history. Other than that, I see no reason why Rey Mysterio would sign with TNA. It’s a fun story and I believe that TNA did make a play, I just can’t believe that anyone from TNA really thought they had a shot of signing him.
19 years ago on June 23, 1996 Steve Austin was able to capitalize on a unique opportunity and delivered a catchphrase that turned the pro wrestling business around. Happy 17th anniversary WWE King of the Ring 96 and Austin 3:16.
It is hard to imagine how different the pro wrestling business would have been if not for Austin’s performance at the 1996 King of the Ring. Austin was already breaking out but on that night he went from star to a superstar on the cusp of a phenomenon. It is even crazier to think about that if not for WCW signing away Hall and Nash, Austin 3:16 may have never even happened.
The original plans for the 1996 King of the Ring were booked for Hunter Hearst Helmsley to win the tournament. Triple H was booked to be in Austin’s spot, beating Marc Mero and Jake Roberts en route to a big push. Instead, Hunter was pinned in the opening round on television by Jake the Snake. This was of course all a result of Hunter’s participation in the “Kliq Curtain Call” at M.S.G. If you take a step back and look at the big picture, if WCW never signed Hall and Nash you’d have no curtain call at M.S.G, Hunter would have went over in the tournament, and who knows what kind of shake Austin would have had dealing with the politics of the Kliq. Amazing that what looked like such a brilliant move from WCW would later blow up in their faces when the door opened for Austin, he broke out, and the WWE turned business around and skyrocketed past WCW.
Austin was getting hot coming into the King of the Ring. He started developing the Stone Cold persona and he immediately stood out on the WWE television shows. Quite frankly I think it was Live Wire that really gave him the extra time needed and the platform to get the gimmick over. On Live Wire he would have more time to cut promos and just be “Stone Cold” than he would on a RAW or Superstars broadcast.
Going into the tournament it was tough to pick who would get the win. Most assumed it would be HHH because the newsletters had reported that he was in for a monster push. This certainly wasn’t set up to be Austin’s night. As a matter of a fact if you look back on Google you’ll see that the poster was all about The Ultimate Warrior and his match with Jerry Lawler. The tournament wasn’t even the focus of the promotion. Additionally feuds with Shawn Michaels-British Bulldog and Mankind-Undertaker got most of the attention on television going in.
Austin had a fantastic match with Marc Mero in the semifinals on pay per view. It is funny because Mero has gotten a horrible reputation due to insults from Mick Foley and Triple H in books and interviews but in retrospect he was a heck of a hand back then. Austin and Mero went close to twenty-minutes. Austin won with a bloody lip after hitting the Stunner on Mero in a competitive match.
Austin won much easier in the finals against Jake Roberts. Roberts had his ribs taped up after Vader attacked him after their semifinal. Austin dominated the match and worked the ribs before hitting the Stunner for the win and the King of the Ring in under five minutes. The match itself was probably one of the more uneventful in-ring K.O.R. finals but the same cannot be said for the post match promo, arguably the greatest and most influential in pro wrestling history.
“The first thing I want to be done is to get that piece of crap out of my ring. Don’t just get him out of the ring, get him out of the WWF because I’ve proved, son, without a shadow of a doubt, you ain’t got what it takes anymore. You sit there and you thump your bible and you say your prayers and it didn’t get you anywhere. Talk about your Psalms, talk about John 3:16 … Austin 3:16 says I just whipped your ass. All he’s gotta do is go buy him a cheap bottle of Thunderbird and try to dig back some of that courage he had in his prime. As the King of the Ring, I’m serving notice to every one of the WWF superstars. I don’t give a damn what they are, they’re all on the list, and that’s Stone Cold’s list, and I’m fixing to start running through all of them. As far as this championship match is considered, son, I don’t give a damn if it’s Davey Boy Smith or Shawn Michaels; Steve Austin’s time has come, and when I get the shot you’re looking at the next WWF Champion. And that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so.”
It wasn’t long after that when you started seeing more fans cheer for Austin, wear Austin 3:16 t-shirts, and of course bring plenty of signs to the shows. Don’t be surprised if you see a fan today wearing that same shirt. The promo was the catalyst for a phenomenon that saw the entire business change and one man morph into the biggest draw in pro wrestling history. It doesn’t get much better than that.
Happy 19th anniversary Austin 3:16 and thank you Eric Bischoff for signing away Hall and Nash to make it all happen!
WWE Monday Night Raw kicked off with the appearance of Brock Lesnar and his advocate Paul Heyman. Lesnar was given the opportunity to be reinstated, but only if he apologized directly to Michael Cole and JBL. Lesnar did just that, and actually gave Cole a grade school noogie for good measure. Hilarity ensued shortly after the apology.
How awesome is Lesnar’s “Suplex City” shirt? Vince McMahon and the WWE organization continue to be marketing geniuses.
Heyman then waxed poetically about what Lesnar is going to do to WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins when they meet in their title match at the Battleground PPV. Words simply can’t do Heyman’s mic work justice. He epitomizes everything a promo should be.
For those wondering, Booker T hasn’t been at Raw due to his involvement in the “Tough Enough” series. Anyone notice that Byron Saxton (Booker T’s replacement) suddenly turned into a face on commentary? It is pretty random, considering he played the heel on Smackdown for the entirety of his inclusion on that show.
First match last night featured Dean Ambrose against Kane. Say what you will about Kane, but at the age of 48 the guy is in great shape and can still put on credible matches.
Towards the end of the match Seth Rollins came down the ramp, which distracted Ambrose and eventually cost him the match. A rare win for Kane.
In a backstage encounter, Rollins acted like he wanted to help Kane and reestablish their working relationship, but Kane didn’t buy it and knew Rollins was just looking for a backup in his upcoming match with Lesnar. Kane walked away, leaving Rollins distraught.
Next match was the newly crowned tag team champions The Primetime Players taking on The Ascension in a non-title match. The powers that be deciding to take the tag titles off The New Day is still puzzling, considering how hot they are.
The Ascension hasn’t exactly received the push that was anticipated when they entered the WWE from NXT. For the most part, they have been used as jobbers. In my opinion, they’re mediocre at best and I think the WWE sees just that.
After the Primetime Players picked up a win in a very forgettable match, it was announced that they will take on The New Day in a rematch at the Battleground PPV. Don’t be surprised if you see The New Day regain their tag titles.
The match came between Roman Reigns and the Money in the Bank winner, Sheamus. Is anyone else still trying to understand how Sheamus was the creative idea to win the Money in the Bank contract? Although it was anything but predictable, it was still an odd choice nonetheless.
The Reigns and Sheamus match was better than expected. The match ended with Bray Wyatt appearing on the big screen, pretending to have tea with Reign’s daughter, which was an empty rocking chair. Needless to say, Reigns left the ring to find Wyatt.
Next match was between Kofi Kingston, representing New Day, and Neville. It was a rather quick match that ended with the red arrow. Neville picked up the win, with New Day appearing to be on a losing streak.
King Barrett got an easy day at the office with a win over Zach Ryder. You ever wonder why Ryder has never received even one push in his career? He’s got a good look, he’s solid in the ring and the fans generally like him. Oh well, at least he’s recently been getting more TV time.
John Cena was back after a one week absence following the brutal attack by Kevin Owens following their match at Money in the Bank. WWE could have probably sold Cena’s injury a little better by giving it at least another week. I guess ratings and the almighty dollar factor into that decision.
I’m not a fan of this feud being so rushed. How about just a little more time between matches? Unless WWE creative decides on a disqualification finish, Cena is likely to get the win via pin fall in the proverbial rubber match.
The Bella twins defeated Naomi and Tamina in what was quite a hasty win.
Ryback defeated Mark Henry via a spectacular frog splash, an underutilized move that is not seen in the wild much. WWE is doing their best to protect Ryback by literally being fed scraps to keep the meaningless IC title.
They gave Adam Rose a mic? He proceeded to cut to a bizarre promo about his love for Rosa and her love for him. Was that the best creative the WWE has for him?
Dolph Ziggler defeated Adam Rose via a tremendous superkick to the chest. That was the second match of the night in which the presumed winner wasn’t able to pull off a victory. It’s good to switch it up every once in a while.
WWE wasn’t short on its technical issues last night. During a Ryback promo we saw a Tough Enough promo, and during a backstage conversation with the Authority we saw a green screen for 5 seconds. Someone will most likely get a stern talking to from topside.
In stellar commentary by Triple H, he said Kane understands the pressures of being champion. This is pretty hilarious, considering Kane won it in 1998 and only held it for one day.
In the final segment we witnessed Seth Rollins pleading with Kane and J&J Security to forgive and rejoin him. When Brock Lesnar came down to the ring, Kane and J&J Security left Rollins in the ring alone. As Lesnar was about to enter the ring he was attacked from behind by Kane and J&J security.
Lesnar then decimated everyone, including Rollins. Suplex City was in full force. That was until Kane came back and blindsided Lesnar. From there it became a mugging, as Rollins, Kane and J&J security pummeled Lesnar until the show ended.
It makes you wonder if Rollins will retain the title in their match at Battleground. Or will Lesnar overcome the odds to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship?