Shawn Michaels is one of the most influential pioneers in WWE history. Michaels helped bridge the gap from the smaller guys to main-events in the 1990s. Michaels reflected on this achievement and offered other insights in a new interview.
The Heartbreak Kid sat down recently with Muscle and Fitness magazine to promote his new book, “Wrestling For My Life.” Michaels talked about a number of subjects in the April issue. Here is a look at some of the highlights.
Michaels was asked if he felt like a trailblazer as one of the smaller guys who made it to the WWE main-event level.
“When you’re not 6’6″ and you’re not going to be 250 pounds, you have no choice but to make it work however you can. You’re thankful that you’re athletic, and you do your best to use that athletic ability. Bret [Hart] and I both tried to focus on that.”
This is something that people really don’t give Michaels enough credit for. Plenty of others tried before him but most were relegated to the intercontinental title picture. It was Michaels and Bret Hart that made it “acceptable” for WWE champions to be on the smaller side. The upside were better matches for the fans and more opportunities for guys that weren’t over 6’5”. Without those accomplishments it is interesting to think about what the WWE would look like today.
Michaels was asked about his fluctuting physique throughout his career and any pressure to get bigger.
“No, there wasn’t any pressure in that respect from anyone. I was training with guys like Kevin Nash and Triple H, guys who like to get in the gym and train hard to this day. When I came back in 2002, after the back injury- for four years I had been out- I found that a lot of those heavier weights were going to be a thing of the past. It was easier on my body, and I stayed healthier carrying less weight.”
It is interesting to note that Michaels left pro wrestling with a reputation for being injury-prone in 1998. He was noticeably much lighter during his second run and I can’t recall him sustaining many serious injuries during that time.
Michaels was also asked about his “Sexy Boy” theme song and whether he expected to be coming out to that song decades later.
“No, I never thought that. Jimmy Hart is the guy who wrote the song. He first recorded it, and then he came up with the idea for me to do it, and I can remember not being thrilled with it. I said, “Oh, my goodness I can’t sing.” But I tell ya, it’s grown a life of its own. It’s funny because it’s obviously so not me, but it’s a toe tapper and people get a kick out of it. When I look back on all of it- the song, the career- I look back on it with the most pleasant smile a guy could ever have because I’m extremely fortunate. I got to live my dream, and that’s pretty rare.”
Finally Michaels was asked to compare the Attitude Era to the PG Era.
“Don’t get me wrong, the Attitude Era was fantastic, but it was four years, and I guess that’s something people don’t think about. We started doing it back in ’97, and by the time I came back in 2002 it was done. I guess there was a little bit of it, but it wasn’t much. It was four years. It’s been built into mythical proportions. You do the best job you can whether it’s the Attitude Era or the PG Era. Successful people succeed in all situations. Smart people, people of wisdom, will succeed in all situations.”
It’s ironic because Michaels is generally associated with the Attitude Era and he wasn’t even around for most of it. I would credit Michaels with kicking it off with his shtick in 1996 but it didn’t really trickle down throughout the card until Shawn was gone in 1998.
Sheamus knows better than most that getting over is a nonsense lottery. A phenomenal athlete with a unique look and a genuinely crunchy moveset, Sheamus has nevertheless been mired for years in a sea of audience apathy, stepping out night after night with dead eyes and a painted smile, plaintively bellowing the word ‘fella’ into an unfeeling mass of humanity.
When he left due to multiple injuries before Survivor Series, people didn’t really notice at first. When it was announced he was returning, the internet begin sharpening it’s large collective knife made of capital letters, ready to take him apart for even the vague chance that he’d steal Mizdow’s glory at Wrestlemania.
Welcome back, fella.
But I mean that. I’ve always liked Sheamus, and though the company did him no favors by rushing him to the top of the card, overexposing him and making him almost as bulletproof as Jonathan H. Cena, he’s one of the most reliable talents on the roster, from a wrasslin’ perspective. Which is why I’m glad that he’s back, and a change has been made that could finally get the poor celtic poppet as over as he deserves.
I’m not referring to the fact that he’s turned heel, though that’s a help – kicking people square in the face is a better fit for a bad’un than a hero. Nor am I referring to his new music, harder-hitting and more rabble-rousing than “It’s a shameful thing, lobster head.” No, I’m referring to the fact that Sheamus now looks stupid.
Throughout the 80s and 90s, the WWE was a proud industry leader in the science of making people look f**king f**king stupid. Doink, Oz, the Gobbledy Gooker, and many more pledging their allegiance to Derp, the cross-eyed god of sartorial nonsense. Though we’re a far cry from the heady days of Mantaur, the company still ‘boasts’ a number of superstars that would look more a home at a inappropriately punchy children’s party. Adam Rose, El Torito, Stardust, all living proof that Derp is not dead. Derp can never be killed. He feasts on your exasperation and his belly is fat.
Looking stupid has done the above superstars no favors, but I would argue that this is because they couple it with acting stupid. No one wants to see a loon in the ring, not even the children at which they’re supposedly targeted. Children like cool things, like Stone Cold Steve Austin, scary things like the Undertaker, not tiny bulls and shrieking cosmic crazies.
Now more than ever, the WWE Universe doesn’t want to play the company’s game. There doesn’t exist a more comprehensive way to bury a superstar in the Universe’s eyes than Michael Cole laughing his fake little laugh and saying “That Adam Rose sure is BONKERS!!! Rofloflofloflofloflofl.” Modern fans want to mock the product, demonstrate that they’re above the idea of carefully packaging a superstar’s brand. When stupid takes the form of state-mandated fun, the audience rebels.
But it’s in this rebellion that the clever (or lucky) heel can create magic.
Sheamus returned on the post-Wrestlemania RAW. He now has ginger mohawk and a braided beard. He looks like a viking made of white sausage. He looks like a Street Fighter character and also a chicken. He’s been rebranded and the fans are mocking it, showering him with “You Look Stupid” chants, but that might just be the key to his success.
A huge part of a heel’s mentality is his inability to grasp why people mock him. A good heel deludes himself that he’s superb. Case in point, this Monday Sheamus took to the microphone to proclaim “This is what a real man looks like.” The crowd responded with a loud, passionate “You Look Stupid”. Sheamus was engaging with the crowd and they answered him with one voice. But then The Great White Sausage turned in a hard-hitting, physically respectful performance. Good athleticism, coupled with a chant the audience love to perform: this is the way to get over, even if it’s riding the back of stupidity.
Look at Daniel Bryan. Being beaten at Wrestlemania 28 in 18 seconds made him look incredibly stupid. The fans took his self-deluded, heel Yes! chants and threw them back at him. Bryan fought against them, engaging the crowd in a passionate dialogue, even it was a simple and stupid as “Yes” “No” “YES” “NO”. Ironically enough, this Wrestlemania Moment was instead designed to put over Sheamus, but it was Bryan that emerged with vastly more character, and more for the audience to connect with. If Sheamus can continue to show signs of irritation with the “You Look Stupid” chants, buck against them, build this dialogue, whilst still performing as good as he ever did in the ring, he has a real shot of becoming as hot as Bryan did, as mad as that sounds.
Look at Cody Rhodes for further proof. After casting aside his deranged face-mask gimmick, Rhodes was somewhat adrift as a bland heel. Then, in 2012 he added a moustache. Thats it. Just a moustache. He looked skeevy, like a sexual predator dressing as Tom Selleck for Halloween. The fans leapt on it. “Cody’s Moustache” might be one of the dumbest chants that the WWE Universe has ever concocted, but it suddenly gave a whole new dimension to his character. The ‘lovestache’ was born, and Cody rode the wave of fan derision to eventually being one of the most over characters of the summer of 2013.
Now he’s dressed stupid and acting stupid, and everyone lost interest. Perhaps if he keeps rebelling against these new ‘Cody’ chants though…
Truth is, more often than not, the fans want to get involved. They don’t want to sit on their hands, they don’t want to be disrespectfully silent in the face of bland but talented wrestlers. They just need a hook, and they’ll surprise you by leaping on the smallest things. Especially if these things can be used by the fans to engage in a mocking conversation with whoever backstage comes up with damn stupid things.
Sheamus is talented and hell, and while his appearance as Celtic Rooster might be forehead-slappingly dumb, if he can keep providing the crowd with stuff they love to hate, this might just be his ticket to the top.
If there was ever a movie to be made about a wrestler, there are two that come to mind. Jake “The Snake” Roberts and The Iron Sheik.
So you cannot imagine my delight when I was on Netflix last night, and discovered that they added the new documentary on the life of Khosrow Vaziri, best known to us as the ultimate foreign heel of the 1980’s: the hated Iron Sheik.
Titled simply “The Sheik”, from the minute I saw it come across my screen, I had to hit play.
If you have been a wrestling fan for the last couple of years, you probably know about the Sheik’s trials and tribulations. A man who was one of the most well-known wrestling stars of the 1980’s, who let the temptation of drugs ruin his career and family life.
As a kid growing up during the WWF’s first boom period of the 1980’s, while most fans hated the Sheik, I actually didn’t. He entertained me with his hilarious interviews in broken English. When the LJN action figures came out, for my fifth birthday my mom bought me the ring, along with a bunch of wrestlers-Hulk Hogan, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, Andre the Giant, and The Iron Sheik.
Even though I was a major Hulk Hogan fan in those days, I always played with the Iron Sheik doll, because he looked cool with the bald head, curly moustache, and those shorts that read “IRAN” on the sides.
Those were the days.
What made the Sheik great was that not only was his promos fantastic, but he could back it up in the ring. What I remember most about his matches were that he did some pretty cool suplexes, some I had never seen before at that time. And of course, the dreaded camel clutch looked like torture.
Some people thought that putting the WWE title on the Sheik temporarily was a bad idea, but I think it couldn’t have been more perfect. At that time, Bob Backlund did not have the personality to turn heel against Hulk Hogan (even though I really enjoyed Backlund with his crazy man gimmick in 1994), so it was a nice transition to make Hogan the face of the company, and ultimately, the face of the entire wrestling business.
In this documentary, they cover all that, plus they go into his beginnings as an amateur great in his home country, how he became a bodyguard for the Shah of Iran, how he came to the United States and became an amateur wrestling coach at the University of Minnesota and then the U.S. Olympic Team. Verne Gagne trained the Sheik for the pro ranks, and also made him drive the ring truck, set up the equipment, and had him basically start for the ground up as part of the ring crew.
They show a bit of his AWA days when he still had hair and not yet had developed the villainous persona he would later adopt. He went by his real name, and wrestled as many of the AWA stars like Verne Gagne and Billy Robinson had been doing: an authentic amateur who had grown to the ranks of professional wrestling.
The filmmakers also talk about his infamous car ride with “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan in 1987 where both were busted for drugs. Immediately after the incident, both Duggan and Sheik were fired (although Duggan was brought back within a short period of time), and the Sheik went broke from losing his job.
After that, for almost two decades, the Sheik’s life seemed to be going nowhere. He developed an addiction to crack, marijuana and cocaine that pretty much left him unemployable to any major wrestling organization (although he came back for a short period of time as the manager of the Sultan in the WWF in 1996), and threatened to destroy his relationship with his family.
Hobbled by injuries, and unable to kick his drug addiction, the Sheik would pretty much wrestle at any event he could.
“93 people is not as good as 93,000 people”, he says in the documentary, “but you gotta do what you gotta do”.
The film also shows the pain and anguish his wife goes through as she tries to have a “Come to Jesus” intervention with her husband. You can tell the Sheik’s drug issues and inability to either get steady bookings or secure a job in the real world stresses her to no end.
Other personal tragedies plague the family as his daughter Marissa is strangled to death by her boyfriend in 2003. The Sheik and the filmmakers make a trip out to her grave as he weeps for his child. Although the Sheik has made many mistakes in his life, he has many good qualities to him as well, as evidenced with his love for his kids and grandchildren.
The documentary touches on how Sheik got clean, and became a star on The Howard Stern Show, and a Twitter sensation, where he now has over 470,000 followers. He has reinvented himself, from wrestling villain to pop culture icon.
The only complaint I would have about the documentary is that it mainly shows his wrestling footage in Mid-South Wrestling and in Puerto Rico for WWC. They show stills from his WWF days, but ultimately, the filmmakers should have worked out a deal with Vince McMahon to show footage from his salad days working for the World Wrestling Federation, because that’s how he got famous.
There’s a lot of cool interviews from wrestling legends like The Rock, Mick Foley, Hulk Hogan, Jim Ross, “Cowboy” Bob Orton, and others, but the most telling soundbites come from his family. They are the ones that had to deal with him never being home, and the ones who had to deal with his demons.
Overall, if you want to relax on the couch, and grab a pizza and watch a really cool documentary, then I recommend “The Sheik”. I would hope in the next few years WWE releases a DVD/Blu-Ray on his career. To watch a complete retrospective on his life, plus include some matches and funny interviews would be an absolute pleasure.After all, there’s been no one quite like The Iron Sheik.
The show opens with Daniel Bryan in the ring, and he says last week was one of his career highlights, when he climbed a ladder in front of 76,000 people and won the IC title at Wrestlemania. But a title only means as much as the actions of the holder, and that goes for any title, including his. So how does he make the IC title mean even more? By defending it with everything he has against anyone who wants to fight for the belt. And he did that the night after WM when he defended it against Dolph Ziggler. But after that match, who should come out? Sheamus. Sheamus came out, looking all stupid. He didn’t congratulate Bryan or even challenge for the title; instead, he kicked Bryan in the face. He then did it even worse to Ziggler, to the point that Ziggler couldn’t compete on the last two shows. So, what did Bryan do? He fought Sheamus last week. During that match, he got knocked to the floor, and he looked up, with blood on his forehead, and he saw Wade Barrett (Yes, Bryan called him Wade). In the middle of all that, what happens?
Bad News Barrett interrupts and says what happened was Bryan’s magical week turned into a nightmare when BNB dropped him with a Bull Hammer.
Sheamus joins BNB on the stage, and says he then kicked Bryan’s head off with a Brogue Kick as a reminder not to pick on someone who’s not your own size. The reason he tolerates BNB is because he’s not a munchkin like Bryan. When he determined how much he detests “undersized insects”, he decided that he and BNB should come down there and give Bryan a European-style arse kicking, because they can. The two head to the ring as Bryan takes off his belt and prepares to fight. Ziggler comes out with a mic and says Sheamus talks a big game for a guy who looks like Captain Jack Sparrow and Carrot Top had a baby that no one liked. And for BNB, maybe the reason he’s so tall is because he and Sheamus’ heads are so far up each other’s arses. They want to fight, let’s do it right now.
Ziggler joins Bryan in the ring and prepares to fight, when the Big Show comes out. I swear, Show is like that kid in high school that just leeched onto other people and whatever they were doing, like “Hey, guys! Me too! I like this stuff, too!” He is just a huge waste of space. Anyway, he says he and Sheamus don’t see eye-to-eye, but he has to agree that he’s sick of these little pipsqueaks whining and complaining all the time. He’s the winner of the Andre battle royal, which means he eclipsed Andre the Giant in history, which means he’s the greatest giant to ever set foot in this business. Ugh. Now, if Sheamus and Mr. Barrett are going to come out here and beat up these munchkins without him, they’re sadly mistaken. All three heels step into the ring, and that’s when Roman Reigns marches down through the crowd. Show tells Reigns not to step into the ring, so Reigns climbs in and immediately tackles him, which then leads to Ziggler tackling Sheamus while Bryan starts nailing BNB with punches. The faces clear the ring, and I’m guessing we’ll get a 6-man later.
“MizTV” is back with a special edition tonight. Also, Neville makes his Smackdown debut.
We get confirmation of the aforementioned 6-man.
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd are in the ring, waiting for their opponents, which will be two members of the New Day. Wow. The crowd here in Dallas,TX immediately starts sh*tting on the New Day once their music hit. As they come down to the ring, Big E tries to start getting a New Day chant going, but instead gets a response of “Sucks!” every time. Xavier Woods looks confused, and E says they come out, clapping for the fans, and they want to chant that New Day sucks. Right now, he wants every fan to stand up and clap. Instead, we get a “New Day sucks!” chant. We may be seeing the first time Kofi Kingston ever goes heel in his career. E says they’re out here bringing positivity to everyone, and the people want to ruin their New Day? Something has got to change. E rolls into the ring and says the fans have got to like them. You’ve got to love them, because they’re here for you. They’re here for a New Day!
MATCH 1: WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS CESARO AND TYSON KIDD (W/NATALYA) VS. BIG E AND KOFI KINGSTON (W/XAVIER WOODS) (NON-TITLE)
You know, I kind of like the fact that the New Day are acknowledging that the fans are supposed to like them but don’t. Kind of breaking the fourth wall a bit there. Kofi and Kidd start the match as a “New Day sucks” chant breaks out. Kofi goes for a waistlock, which Kidd counters. Kofi coutners that as well, only to have Kidd counter and trip Kofi. Kofi goes into a headscissors, but Kidd gets a rope break. Kidd boots Kofi, then nails him with forearms in the corner before hitting a monkey flip. Kofi lands on his feet and ducks a clothesline on the apron from Cesaro. Kidd clubs him from behind and pulls him to the heel corner for a tag. Cesaro comes in and drops him with a European uppercut. My feed cuts away, and when it comes back, E and Kidd are legal, with both men down. Kidd tags out first, and Cesaro prevents E from tagging out with a deadlift gutwrench for 2. Cesaro rakes at E’s face before hitting a series of crossface shots and applying a rear chinlock. Kidd tags back in and kicks E in the chest before driving his foot into E’s face. E rolls under the bottom rope, where Kidd hits him with a slingshot legdrop. Cesaro back in, and he hits a slingshot double-stomp for 2. Cesaro applies a front chancery, putting himself between E and Kofi. E tosses him off, but Cesaro lands on his feet, knocks Kofi off the apron with a back elbow, then avoids a corner charge, sending E shoulder-first into the ring post. Cesaro rolls him up in a schoolboy for 2, then hits the Cesaro Swing as Kofi tries to interfere, only to have the ref cut him off. Cesaro gets 2 before Kofi breaks up the pin. E pulls himself up in the corner and hits Cesaro with a uranage. Kofi and Kidd tag in, with Kofi hitting a springboard clothesline, a couple chops and a dropkick. He hits a jumping clothesline and then hits a Boom Drop. He calls for TIP as the crowd dumps all over him. Cesaro comes in, but Kofi stops him before E reenters the ring. The ref shoves him back to the corner, and as Kofi turns back to Kidd, Kidd catapults him into the ropes, where Cesaro blasts him with a European uppercut from the floor through the top and middle ropes. Kidd puts Kofi down with Just Kidding and gets 3.
WINNERS: CESARO AND TYSON KIDD.
After some commercials, we’re back with Curtis Axel in the ring. He says not to change the channel. Two weeks ago on RAW, the road to Axetreme Rules hit a small speedbump named Neville. But you know what, Axelmaniacs? Axelmania will live forever. That’s why he asked for this rematch tonight. So, Neville, whatcha gonna do when Axelmania runs wild on you?
MATCH 2: CURTIS AXEL VS. NEVILLE
So glad Neville is on the main roster now. I was worried he wouldn’t get the call-up due to his size, and I’m glad I was wrong. An “NXT” chant breaks out as the two lock up. Neville backs Axel into the corner, only for Axel to grab him by the hair and throw him into the ropes. Neville handsprings off, then does a backflip and hits a pair of armdrags before putting Axel down with a spinning back kick. Axel comes back with a knee to the gut, then throws Neville to the corner for some stomps. He grinds his forearm into Neville’s face, then goes for a corner whip. Neville avoids contact, then flips himself across the ring, where he hits Axel with a pair of boots in the opposite corner. Neville goes to the apron, shoulders Axel in the gut, flips over him, then lays in a flying forearm. Neville kicks Axel to the floor, then hits a twisting suicide dive. Back in the ring, Neville hits a bodyslam and heads up top. He hits the Red Arrow and gets 3.
God. How the hell does he do that move?
Renee Young, looking like she’s wearing a Joker mask, is standing by with Natalya, Cameron and Alicia Fox. One of these things is not like the other. Young says they maybe manipulated Kane into making a divas battle royal next week. Do they think they cheated Naomi (which young pronounces Ny-Oh-Me) out of her number-one contendership. Fox says no one cheated anyone out of anything; they were just trying to show Kane how important #GiveDivasAChance really is. Natalya says Naomi has earned her title match. Cameron laughs and tells Nattie to save it. She’s just happy she has a chance at the divas title as well, but that won’t happen. Come Monday, Cameron is going to win. Fox argues with her and calls herself a veteran, which makes me choke on my own bile. Nattie apparently feels the same way, and says Fox needs to show respect to the divas that came before her. They start shoving each other, as Cameron tries to break it up.
MATCH 3: ALICIA FOX VS. NATALYA (SPECIAL REFEREE: CAMERON)
Nattie hits a double-leg and starts pelting Fox with rights. Fox reverses and gets Nattie to the ropes, only to have Nattie roll to the apron. Nattie gets back to her feet in the ring, and now we get a shoving match. Now they trade slaps. Fox dives at Nattie, only for Nattie to catch her and take her down. They roll around into the ropes again, and Nattie once again ends up on the outside. Back in, Fox hits her with a forearm, then misses a flipping legdrop. Nattie runs over her neck and hits her with a seated dropkick for 2. Fox reverses a corner whip and hits a big boot. Nattie slumps in the corner, and Fox snaps her onto her back for 2. Fox hits a northern lights suplex for 2, aka one of the whole four moves she knows. Fox applies a rear chinlock. Nattie tries to elbow out, so Fox snaps her down by the hair for 2. Fox then goes right back to the rear chinlock. Cameron hasn’t shut the f*ck up this entire match, and she’s not even miked. Nattie elbows her way out, ducks a clothesline, then counters a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker into a cross-body. Fox is back up, and she hits a running clothesline. The two trade forearms until Fox hits a sunset flip out of the corner. Nattie rolls through and locks in the Sharpshooter, and Fox taps out.
After the match, Cameron lays both women out with DDTs, then calls for a mirror. Why does she have a job again?
We get a video package for Erick Rowan, because we’re apparently still supposed to give a damn about him, for reasons that have yet to be explained.
Bray Wyatt comes out, and says he remembers the first time he saw Erick Rowan. He was lost, cast out by a society that could never understand him. They looked at him as if he were some monster, some creature, some plague that could destroy everything this society considers real. But they were wrong, and when they saw all of his flaws, Wyatt saw his possibilities. He took Rowan in. He found him dirty, laying in the mud, and he became the teacher. He showed him what it was liked to be loved, what it was like to have a family, and there was a time Wyatt was proud to call Rowan a brother. He fixed Rowan like you would fix a broken toy. When the time was right, he had no choice. He had to set Rowan free. He had to show Rowan what a cruel, horrible, rotten world they live in, so he could see with his own eyes this was filled with carnivorous insects who want nothing more than to rip you apart because evil is real, and evil is all around us. Evil lives in every single one of you. And what did you do? You returned Rowan back to Wyatt, and he is broken just like he was before, and it’s everyone’s fault. So, he decided tonight would be special, because he wants to teach Rowan one last little lesson. He wants to show Rowan that you can trust no one, that evil inside of us all, and there’s no escaping it. So tonight, he’ll finally destroy Rowan. Now imagine if he could do that to someone he loved, someone he used to call his brother, just imagine what he could do to you. Behold, the new face of fear.
MATCH 4: BRAY WYATT VS. ERICK ROWAN
Rowan comes out, and the crowd goes mild. Wyatt clubs Rowan across the back, so Rowan throws him to the corner. He misses a splash, and Wyatt goes on the attack with punches. Rowan comes back with his own strikes before ramming Wyatt head-first into the buckles. He knocks Wyatt to the floor with a Pounce, only to have Wyatt come back in and lay in some more punches. He pulls Rowan up by the beard, which Rowan doesn’t like. Rowan lays in some headbutts in the corner, then misses a corner charge, hitting the post and falling to the apron. Wyatt sends him into the barricade with a seated dropkick as we go to commercials.
Back from the break, Wyatt has Rowan in a rear chinlock. Rowan fights out, only to get dropped with a DDT for 2. Wyatt goes for a running senton, but Rowan gets his knees up into Wyatt’s back. Both are back up, and Rowan hits a clothesline and an avalanche. He hits another across the ring, then puts Wyatt down with a roundhouse for 2. Rowan goes up top, but Wyatt rolls to the floor on the opposite side. Rowan charges after him, only to have Wyatt clobber him with a clothesline. He hits the running senton on the floor, then rolls Rowan back in. Wyatt goes for a uranage, but Rowan reverses into a full-nelson attempt. Wyatt escapes and explodes off the ropes with a flying back elbow. He bridges up and crab-walks over to Rowan, only to quickly put him down with Sister Abigail for 3.
WINNER: BRAY WYATT.
After the match, Wyatt cradles Rowan’s head in his lap, then looks up at the ceiling and laughs.
Considering Rowan has only one won singles match since the group broke up that I can recall, I’m wondering if they’re going to release him soon.
It’s now time for “MizTV”, and we see a poster for The Marine 4 on the Titan-Tron, because WWE knows no one remembered this movie even existed. Miz calls this a special “movie edition” of the show. His latest film comes out tomorrow on digital HD, and later this month on Blu-Ray and DVD. We are then “treated” to a trailer for the film, which co-stars fellow waste of a human life Summer Rae. Back to the ring, no one cares about the movie. He claims his film has been getting rave reviews from Holly…
Speaking of wastes of human life, here’s Summer Rae herself. She calls this “our” action movie. Miz bitches about interruptions, and tells her she should be privileged, since he’s “giving a diva a chance”. She says she’ll speak whenever she wants, and the crowd still doesn’t care. They argue over who the star is as she desperately tries (and fails) to look sexy. This segment absolutely sucks. Rae tells him Damien Mizdow upstaged him in the Andre battle royal. The fans only care about Mizdow, who isn’t even out here yet. Miz says he blames everyone in the WWE Universe for what has happened with Mizdow. Mizdow is not a leading man. You cheer him and chant his name, but you don’t want Mizdow without Miz. In three months time, you’ll forget his name. Damien Sandow was fired twice from WWE and was on his way out a third time until Miz saved his career. Miz made him.
Damien Mizdow comes out as Miz mocks him. Miz says he’s on a steep decline. He needs to do the right thing, get his career, life and future on track. These people can’t do that for him. Miz can, though, and he’s willing to forgive everything that has happened, because he’s a charitable person. He will forgive Mizdow if he just says “I’m sorry”, and everything will go back to the way it was. Mizdow looks around to everyone cheering him. Miz rambles on some more. He says he can make Mizdow a star if he just shakes his hand and apologizes. Does Mizdow want his career in the hands of the fans, or Miz? The fans will forget about him, unless he stays with Miz. Mizdow takes off his sunglasses as Miz demands a handshake and an apology. Mizdow shakes Miz’s hand, then says he’s sorry…he didn’t do this sooner. Mizdow attacks Miz with punches, sending him to the floor. He then starts tossing chairs as Miz heads up the ramp. He looks at Rae and proceeds to make out with her before celebrating with some fans at ringside.
MATCH 5: BAD NEWS BARRETT, THE BIG SHOW AND SHEAMUS VS. ROMAN REIGNS, DOLPH ZIGGLER AND INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION DANIEL BRYAN
Ziggler starts with Sheamus, and Sheamus shoves Ziggler back to the corner before giving a clean break. Perhaps in response to Sheamus, I notice Ziggler has a ridiculous hairstyle tonight. Anyway, Sheamus backs him into the opposite corner off another lock-up, then slaps Ziggler. Ziggler retaliates, which leads to both throwing punches. Ziggler hits a few shoulders against the ropes until Sheamus comes back with a kneelift. Show tags in and hits a body blow before picking Ziggler up by the face. He throws Ziggler to the corner, where he hits a big chop. Ziggler gets whipped into the buckles, and Show follows up with a running hip attack. Show goes for the spear, but Ziggler dropkicks him in the knee before hitting a leaping DDT for 2. Ziggler charges at him in the corner, only to get swatted out of the air with a chop. BNB tags in and hits a swinging neckbreaker for 2. Ziggler escapes a chinlock, kicks BNB off the ropes, then runs into the Winds of Change for 2. Sheamus tags in, and he stomps on Ziggler’s hand. Sheamus picks Ziggler up, only to put him back down with a European uppercut. He stands on Ziggler’s face against the ropes, then slaps him around in the corner. Ziggler comes back with a flurry of rights, escapes a tilt-a-whirl, shoves Sheamus away and tags in Bryan. Bryan ducks a clothesline and dropkicks BNB off the apron. He hits Sheamus with rights, backflips off a corner whip, ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own. He fires up the Yes! Kicks, misses the Buzzsaw, then backdrops Sheamus to the floor. Bryan nails him with a suicide dive, then rolls him back into the ring. As the ref’s back is turned, BNB levels Bryan with a big boot. Commercials.
Back from the break, Show is now legal for his team, and he has Bryan in a bearhug. Bryan tries to fight out, so Show hits him with a bodyslam. Show then hits a big elbow off the ropes for 2. BNB tags in and throws Bryan into the corner before setting him across the top buckle for some forearms to the back, followed by a running kick to the gut. BNB pulls Bryan down for 2, then applies a rear chinlock. Bryan tries to escape with some elbows, only to have BNB nail him in the back of the head. BNB whips him across the ring before missing a big boot in the corner. He tags in Show, who prevents Bryan from tagging out by standing on his back. He then knocks Ziggler off the apron and into the barricade before signaling for the chokeslam. Bryan escapes and pulls Show down into the Yes! Lock, only to have Show toss him to the floor moments later. Sheamus tags in, and he hits Bryan with a European uppercut before rolling Bryan back in. He hits another one, then sets Bryan up on the top buckle. He hits a pair of kneelifts, then goes up for a superplex. Bryan fights him off, putting him down with a series of punches. He goes for a cross-body, but Sheamus catches him and tosses him onto his shoulders. Bryan spins out and hits a tornado DDT. Reigns and BNB tag in, and Reigns unloads on BNB in the corner with a series of short clotheslines. He nails an uppercut, then mounts BNB for some punches before blasting Show on the apron with a Superman Punch. BNB receives one as well, but only gets 2 as Sheamus breaks it up. Ziggler runs in, and Sheamus tries to catch him with White Noise. Ziggler escapes and nails a superkick, sending Sheamus into the ropes before clotheslining him to the floor. Outside, Bryan nails Show with a running knee off the apron. Back in the ring, BNB hits a mule kick on Reigns, then signals for the Bull Hammer, only to have Reigns surprise him with a spear for 3.
WINNERS: DANIEL BRYAN, ROMAN REIGNS AND DOLPH ZIGGLER.
In 1985, Hulk Hogan graced the cover of Sports Illustrated as the craze of professional wrestling had exploded on the mainstream consciousness of sports readers and in entertainment circles. There was something about a man who had a receding hair line, was bigger than most football players and preached to the masses to “train, say your prayers and eat your vitamins.” Hulk Hogan did his best to bring some legitimacy to the business at a time when Kayfabe walls were being torn down and the last bastion of a “sport” shrouded in secrecy was starting to crumble in each promotion amongst the NWA, AWA and WCCW.
If not for the heavy promotion of Vince McMahon, and his vision of taking the business to another level, there would never be this constant see-saw of emotion between what is real and what is scripted and in the simplest terms “fake”.
In 1998, Kurt Angle, a decorated Olympic wrestling hero and champion walked into the then WWE as a new hope to add more “reality” to the business. What Angle delivered was “wrestling” to a business that moved further away from the days of Bruno Sammartino, Buddy Rogers and Pedro Morales. It was another attempt at showcasing the business as entertainment. It was also a move back toward the roots of what McMahon’s father and grandfather had built over the years before the wide-eyed promoter came in always wanting more, preaching bigger is better and living on the concept that professional wrestling is a production, not just a show.
For those reasons alone, it still shocks me that Angle did not re-sign with the WWE when his contract with TNA Wrestling was about to expire. And to show you how wrestling has come full circle, the man who went from grappling on a mat to performing super-human feats in a ring for thousands every night, was candid as he could be in an article in Sport Illustrated.
Angle spoke on many topics ranging from his out of the ring feud with Brock Lesnar, another decorated college wrestler, to his desire to wrestle other performers, to his desire to come back to the company where it all started and was stopped short of the front door. In this business, there may be times when wrestlers go off script and voice their opinions (whether it is a work or not) and then there are times when they are just plain real.
Instead of wrestling every Friday night on Destination America, the 46-year-old Angle’s original plan was to finish up his TNA contract last September and re-sign with the WWE to finish out his career.
“I haven’t spoke openly about this,” said Angle, “but I opened up my options and was going to decide between TNA and WWE. I wasn’t going to leave TNA unless WWE was offering a fair deal.”
Angle, who lost his father when he was only 16 years old, developed a close friendship with Vince McMahon during his eight year run with WWE from 1998-2006. Yet, when Angle called McMahon, he was informed that a different man now runs the day-to-day operations.
“Paul [Levesque] is in charge,” said Angle. “I found that out when I contacted Vince. I’ve always had a good relationship with Paul, so I didn’t consider that a problem. But he decided they had enough talent.
“For the Vince McMahon who I knew, enough was never enough. He always wanted more. I don’t know what was going on over there, but they even canceled our meeting. I never went to see them. They didn’t even sit me down and talk to me.”
The experience was extremely humbling for Angle.
I consider Kurt Angle to be one of the best wrestlers of all time in this business. A throwback to the days when Ed “Strangler” Lewis was winning world titles and Vern Gagne was using his wrestling skills to promote his new creation call the AWA. A man who came to the business at the right time, to show there were “real” wrestlers out there who could excite and entice viewers and create a new genre of fans. For those reasons alone, finishing where he started was simple a formality in my mind. Guess I was wrong just like Angle. It also shows the fan of today just how different the WWE is from just a few years ago. There are return engagements for The New Age Outlaws, Lesnar (who Angle talks about in the first part of the interview) and guest appearances by Hogan and Ric Flair, DX and The Outsiders. But Angle is stopped before he reached the door of the WWE’s corporate offices. I find that to be one of the unkindest cuts of all.
The credentials of his career speak for themselves. Angle is the only wrestler in history to be a Triple Crown winner in both WWE and TNA, as well as the only one to have held the WWE, WCW, TNA, IWGP, and World Heavyweight Championships in his career. Angle is also a two-time King of the Mountain winner, winning at the 2007 and 2009 Slammiversary pay-per-view event, making him the only wrestler to have been both King of the Ring (WWE) and King of the Mountain (TNA). Between WWE, TNA, and Japan, Angle has won 13 world championships and 21 total championships. In 2010, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter named Angle the Wrestler of the Decade of the 2000s, and in 2013 he was the second inductee into the TNA Hall of Fame. It does not get much better.
The man Angle is now is certainly not the man he used to be. His body is beaten. His demons have affected him. His personal life has changed over the years. But when he is in the ring, Kurt Angle is still golden and in terms of the business, he is money.
Oh, It’s True. It’s Damn True. And the WWE, in its desire for change cannot see what it is missing or will miss once Angle finally decides enough is enough.
Now that Seth Rollins is the WWE World Heavyweight Champion, the company is in a position it feels most comfortable with. No longer is there a push to throw all the bricks in the cart pulled by Roman Reigns. The WWE now has a chance to really work on making his a complete package.
The notion of bringing him along, breathing fire and brimstone as he Superman punches his way toward the top of the WWE food chain only works if the fans in the arenas and the Internet get behind him. There is a chance here to have something great become of the future of this company without Vince McMahon force feeding him to us, the masses, the company and the business as the hand-picked champion everyone must accept. Just like any situation, when people are pushed beyond what they want, they rebel against it.
Seth Rollins is the current and future of this promotion. He is everything the fans want – brash, mean, a good talker, has a faction to support him, and right now the best performer in the game. Reigns, although a dominant performer when he was in The Shield, was still a step behind Rollins and Dean Ambrose. There is nothing wrong with that, but somewhere in his mind, McMahon thought trial by fire would work for this kid, conjuring images of The Rock and Randy Orton as a wrestler who could walk out on stage from Day 1 and take over the world.
The common denominator in all of this is all three performers come from wrestling royalty. The belief is if they could do it, so could Reigns.
Sorry, wrong Vince.
For now, because of necessity, Randy Orton is perfect as the go between opponent for Rollins. While the fans await the re-entrance of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman around SummerSlam, a program the Apex Predator is a storyline the WWE and the fans can live with.
Reigns can be repacked and be welcomed by the fans, remain in the title picture and ready at a moment’s notice to spear his way toward glory.
There have been plenty of wrestlers who did not fit a mold in the beginning of their careers and then took off later as they were repackaged. Stone Cold Steve Austin was a good wrestler as “Stunning” Steve Austin in WCW but once he shaved his locks and quoted everything there was, he became an icon in the WWE.
Batista came along as Leviathan and Deacon Batista before he joined Evolution and became a world champion. Barry Windham was a popular face wrestler and was repackaged to join The Four Horseman and became one of the best heel wrestlers of his era.
It can be done, and better yet – the WWE is fully aware of it.
What would have happened to the company after WrestleMania is Reigns walked out of Santa Clara with the strap on his waist? There would have been a revolt and a calling for his head. While the match was better than I and most believed it would be, Reigns still does not have the support of the wrestling community to be “their” champion. It takes more than a look or a catch phrase to be the leader of the band, so to speak. And you can “Believe That”.
The thought all along was Reigns was the next Rock and follow his Samoan blood lines. The WWE finally learned that just because a wrestler is a family member, it does not mean instant success. We saw that with Mike Von Erich, Sean Stasiak and Kendall Windham.
The company should not give up on the Roman Reigns experiment and neither should we. There is too much talent there to think he would be a world champion. It just means we all need to wait a while for that to happen.
After being sidelined in November due to injury, Sheamus returned to WWE television on the post-WrestleMania episode of Raw. He attacked Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler, which cemented his much-anticipated heel turn.
All it took was once simple segment for Sheamus to become more relevant than he has been in years.
Since making his WWE debut in 2009, Sheamus has achieved high levels of success. He won the King of the Ring tournament in 2010, as well as the Royal Rumble match in 2012. He is a 2 time WWE Champion, and a 2 time United States Champion. While there’s no denying that Sheamus is an excellent worker, the consensus amongst the WWE Universe has always been that his character simply lacked depth.
Early on in his WWE career, Sheamus was an unrelenting villain, a role that he played exceptionally well. He viciously attacked performers such as John Cena, Triple H and Jerry Lawler, and was absolutely ruthless.
When he originally became a baby face character in 2011, it was deemed a necessary transition in order for Sheamus to remain relevant in the midst of WWE’s star-studded roster. Although he has always worked better as a heel character, Sheamus had been stale for so long at that point in his career that a character shift was desperately needed.
WWE began to build him up as an unbeatable “good-guy” character, and the WWE Universe loved his feuds with Christian and Mark Henry. For quite some time, Sheamus was a fan favorite. It wasn’t until he began referencing his Irish heritage in promos, tried lame attempts at comedy, and beat Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship in an astounding 18 seconds, that the WWE Universe slowly began to dislike him. As a baby face, his character became dull, annoying and stagnant, which had the audience begging for a change to the character once again.
Despite his successful run as WWE World Heavyweight Champion in 2012, Sheamus became an afterthought once his reign came to an end. Aside from an unimpressive reign as United States Champion, he did nothing noteworthy for the next two years prior to suffering a shoulder injury in November.
When a performer is off of WWE programming for a prolonged period of time, it usually ends up hurting their character’s momentum in the long run. However, in Sheamus’ case, being sidelined from action was an opportunity to revive his character and give it more fire than it has ever had before.
It had been heavily rumored leading up to WrestleMania 31 that a heel turn was in the works for Sheamus. When he finally returned the next night on Raw with a drastically different look, it was a breath of fresh air for the mid-card title scene. The success of Sheamus’ new character was very dependent on timing, and the timing of his return was perfect.
WWE has been lacking depth on their main roster for months now. Recently, this has improved a bit with performers such as Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, and Roman Reigns emerging as top tier, main event talent. However, the heel side of roster is still lacking a good amount of solid characters. Every “good-guy” needs a “bad guy” to go up against in storylines, and that is an issue WWE is still struggling with today.
The WWE Universe is tired of seeing Big Show and Kane in the main event scene week after week. Bad News Barrett has been given terrible storylines since winning the Intercontinental Championship in January, and ended up losing it to Daniel Bryan in a 7-man ladder match at WrestleMania. The previously undefeated Rusev has now been beaten, and lost his United States Championship to none other than John Cena at WrestleMania. Heel characters are now starting to feel weak and replaceable. Having an upper echelon performer such as Sheamus transition into a heel character is exactly what WWE needed at this time.
Sheamus is slated to feud with Dolph Ziggler in the coming months, which will be an excellent program for both performers. When that feud comes to an end, Sheamus will be capable of elevating himself into the main event scene effortlessly.
The best thing about Sheamus’ repackaging is that WWE has fully gotten behind it. His new appearance and entrance music, paired with a ferocious attitude, has enhanced the credibility and value that the character brings to WWE programming.
As long as the company continues to place Sheamus in meaningful feuds and storylines, his career renaissance has the potential to bring an immense amount of value to WWE’s programming for the foreseeable future. If booked correctly, the opportunities for Sheamus to obtain success really are endless.
Now that the WrestleMania 31 dust has settled it is time for the WWE to get cracking on WrestleMania 32. I thought it would be fun to take a look at the giant event a year ahead of time and try and predict a card for the 2015 Texas event.
In taking a look back at my WrestleMania 29, 30 predictions, and 31 picks a year out, I actually hit a few of them on the head for 29, missed every single prediction I made for 30, but hit on Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar last April. In other words there is no exact science for this stuff and with the way that the WWE changes booking frequently, it is impossible to get a handle on it although the future can be clear in some years.
Predicting WrestleMania one year out is almost as difficult as filling out your March Madness brackets at any time of the year. Take a look at this year’s WrestleMania 31 lineup a year ago and you can see exactly how much these things change. Daniel Bryan was in the main-event, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were in a tag team match on the bottom of the card, The Undertaker was practically done, Rusev wasn’t on the card, and Sting wasn’t even in the company. That is how much things can change over a year.
So with this all said, let’s take a look at some of the probable WrestleMania 32 matches one year before this great spectacle invades Texas. Keep in mind that these are all just predictions and should not be taken as fact or cited as a source in any kind of report.
Ronda Rousey and The Rock vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. It is clear coming out of 31 that the plan is to get Ronda Rousey in the ring next year in Texas. All reports are that Rousey has not made any kind of a deal to do so, but that Rousey is highly interested in more WWE work. The WWE haven’t invested this much time into Rousey for a one and done angle at 31.
There are reports that the WWE want a Stephanie vs. Rousey singles match. I couldn’t think of a worse idea. There is no way the UFC allows this unless the match ends in 30 seconds and that isn’t happening. Now I could see a deal where Rousey gets 5 minutes with Steph if Rock wins. Steph runs for a few minutes and Rousey finally gets her and taps her out. I think that is a bigger possibility than Steph vs. Rousey. I just don’t see it.
I think that Rock vs. Hunter has been clear since they cut that promo on each other at SmackDown 15 (which is why I am so surprised that so many people are that shocked at the match). They made challenges back and forth and went out of their way to point out that they needed a big stadium to make the match happen. Yet it really makes no sense for Rock to come back to wrestle a singles match with Hunter. I am sure the match would be very good but I don’t anticipate a lot of interest in this without the women involved. Maybe they corner Rock and Hunter, but it just seems like a waste of everyone’s time otherwise.
Backup Plan – Rock vs. Brock Lesnar. Rock talked about being interested in a match with Brock just a week or so ago. The match makes much more sense than Rock and Hunter and appeals to a more mainstream, casual audience than Rock vs. Hunter. Brock is now a babyface so that dynamic is a little off although Brock could easily turn heel in November or December to set this up. This is a match that could break records and bring more people to Mania than any other. Why they would let this one slip away is beyond me. Quite honestly I think they should have Rousey in Rock’s corner vs. Brock with Heyman in the corner but it seems Ronda is destined for Steph if she is coming to Texas.
Brock Lesnar vs. Rusev. I think that the WWE has some money in this one. Sure Rusev already lost but he could get hot again and go on another streak. At some point he is going to turn but it won’t before Mania 32. I think these guys present a natural rivalry and a match that people would care about. I love the idea of Brock representing America and having a physical match with Rusev at Mania.
Backup plan – Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt. Again we have another new match here that could be intriguing. Wyatt has been set up for big matches the last few years at Mania. It is conceivable that he is WWE champion come Mania 32 and Brock is challenging for the belt. I like the dynamic here and I think they could have a real fun match.
Roman Reigns vs. John Cena for the WWE championship. Yes I predict that come WrestleMania 32 that Cena could have the gold back around his waist. Sorry Cena haters. I think it is clear that Reigns needs to be a heel because he is simply dead as a babyface. I think it is also clear that the company is still behind him. What better way to get him to the title than by having him end the reign of Cena in Texas? I think it’s a big match and I think it could be better than you think.
Sting vs. The Undertaker. It has to happen! Sting proved he can still go and Undertaker proved he is far from done. I don’t think it would be great but I think these two could have a fun match at Mania 32. The WWE needs to promote unique matches next year to fill such a big stadium. Sure the mystique is lost a bit with Sting losing to Hunter at Mania but if they promote this as the final match for both guys or loser retires, I think this could be big.
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins. This feud must continue! Nothing was settled in their Hell in a Cell match. I think that the WWE should not only keep these guys apart for a while but they should flip them going into Mania. Rollins has a ton of potential as a face and Ambrose would make a great heel. These guys could easily steal the show and I love the dynamic of a rematch on such a big show with both guys flipping sides.
Where Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton fit in next year is anyone’s guess. There are a lot of guys in NXT that are ready to come up and should be a part of WrestleMania 32. Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn are bound to be on the show whether it be a tag team match or in singles match. I could see these guys getting Orton and Bryan in some form, preferably a Balor vs. Bryan match.
The absence of Stone Cold Steve Austin from WrestleMania 32 and the addition of the Chris Jericho podcast have fueled speculation of a rift between Austin and the WWE. Yet according to Austin, things are perfectly fine between he, Vinnie Mac, and the WWE.
The Austin-WWE heat stories have spiraled out of control over the last few weeks. A lot of these stories sound more like conspiracy theories than actual reports but they grew so loud that they caught the attention of the WWE Hall of Fame podcaster. Austin seized on this as an opportunity to talk about it on his most recent podcast which is exactly what he did.
One of the first things Austin addressed were rumors he no-showed WrestleMania. I had never even heard that but evidently these rumors got to Austin and put them quickly to rest.
“All kinds of things being said about myself and WWE over the fact that I no showed WrestleMania. Man, completely false. There’s no heat. One of the rumors was I was supposed to be on an airplane with Undertaker headed down there and there was a WWE employee waiting for me and when I didn’t get off the airplane everybody went into shock and anger. Not true.”
Next up were rumors of heat with WWE over Tough Enough. Austin will not be hosting the upcoming Tough Enough show. This resulted in rumors that WWE officials were upset with Austin over this. Austin again says not true.
“With regards to Tough Enough – everybody says ‘oh man, there’s heat with Steve and Vince, and Steve turned down the Tough Enough gig.’ No, that’s not true. I’ve been talking to WWE about doing Tough Enough for quite some time… It was supposed to be shot in February or March, right now we’re in April, so it didn’t happen in February or March. ”
Finally there were rumors and I did hear these that Vince McMahon was very upset with Austin over the Triple H podcast. The anger stems from Austin asking about Chyna going into the WWE Hall of Fame which resulted in a small firestorm for the WWE. The rumor was that Vince was so upset with Austin that he pulled his podcast spot and offered it to Chris Jericho.
“As for why he didn’t do the podcast and Jericho got the spot, he simply says that a “deal wasn’t made” but is still open to doing business with the WWE in the future and that the company will always be “in his blood”.
Austin elaborates a bit more.
“So, no matter what anybody says, there’s no animosity from any standpoint from WWE’s point of view — I’m guessing this — and from my standpoint. Again, I’m stating this plainly, clearly, and as efficiently as I can without going into too much more details which is between myself and Vince and WWE. Private matters. But for all of the public things I just talked about, those are the answers to the questions. No heat nowhere. It’s cool. Moving on.”
The only thing I am still unclear of is why Chris Jericho got that spot over Steve Austin. I’d imagine with all due respect to Jericho that Austin is a bigger draw on the network than Jericho. Plus, Austin has already had John Cena on his podcast and the interview went real well. Austin did take a shot at Cena during that interview and told him he should work tighter, yet otherwise it was a real fun interview.
Regardless, I think there is one thing that is abundantly clear. Steve Austin needs to be more involved with the WWE and its network. Unfortunately the company appears to be moving away from him and that is disappointing for everyone hoping to see a little more of Stone Cold on WWE programming in 2015.
Superstar Billy Graham has been highly critical of the WWE in recent years, so it probably won’t shock anyone that he wasn’t a fan of WrestleMania. He’s been ranting about it on Facebook for over a week and like a car crash, I just can’t look away.
Graham has had an off again/on again relationship with the WWE since he lost the championship in 1978. Graham’s most recent falling out with the company came when Abdullah the Butcher was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. Graham was irate when Abdullah went in and immediately demanded to be removed.
“Not just because Shreve had never worked for the WW(W)F or stepped foot inside Madison Square Garden, not just because my good friend Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage was passed over in the honors list of that year, but because Abdullah actually is a butcher in a disturbingly real sense,” said Graham.
“Well, losing touch with reality is one thing; losing respect for other wrestlers’ rights is another, and in my view the ‘Butcher’ has blotted his copybook big time by becoming a suspected spreader of Hepatitis C through his negligence when blading in the ring.”
Graham has always been outspoken and continues to post his rantings on his personal Facebook page. Again this is his personal page, not a fan page. Graham will randomly pop up from time to time and cut promos on the WWE which are amusing and yet disturbing at times. Graham has become somewhat obsessed with WrestleMania 31 and has ranted about it several times in the last week. The timeline began during WrestleMania. It starts off with Billy clearing up something he said about the Undertaker and degenerates into Graham calling fans “marks” for questions they have asked him. Billy’s biggest problem is with the blood in Brock Lesnar’s match and possible blading.
Hi fans, I wanted to make clear some things that I said in my last post about the Undertaker, not to be taken the wrong way. When I said he is haggard, old looking, broken down, and can barely walk, I absolutely meant no disrespect to this icon. Actually, I could be describing myself today, Friday, March 27th, 2015 with those same exact words. I have spent hours with Taker quite a few times in various locker rooms around this country. Me asking him about his career and him asking me tons of questions about my career; a man of dignity indeed. I am just hoping he doesn’t get hurt in this match on Sunday like he did last year or maybe worse. I really believe that this match will be his last. Also, I know that Sting with his massive ego is praying to someone that it won’t be, and he will face the Taker next year in Dallas and of course pin the Undertaker and be the man to end his career. Fans don’t know this but I do, Sting has a massive ego. Guess what Sting, you are getting old as well. You can see the cracks and age lines through your face paint and receding hair line my man and it’s not pretty. Power and peace to the Undertaker. Below, is a photo that Roman Reigns will not be able to duplicate after his match with Lesnar, nice person that Roman is. Superstar
Hey fans, the first thing that I want to say is how good I thought the Taker looked, especially compared to last year, even Lawler mentioned it. Had his hair done nice, been in the gym, and had been taking the right supplements. I am very glad he didn’t get hurt and shows one can make a comeback if they want to, good for him. What I want to hear about from you fans is what did you think of the finish to the championship match ? Personally, I thought it smelled like crap. Superstar.
I have never quite seen a WWE world championship belt won in such a way and it’s very obvious that Lesnar can tell Vince what he is going to do and then do it. Being suspended indefinitely by Stephanie means Lesnar wants a vacation and I bet we won’t see him back in the ring until Summer Slam. But the real question I want answered is how long will Seth Rollins stay champion and wear that belt ? Not long I believe. Very hard worker this man is and I hope he draws well with his new WWE world championship belt. I would hope that he would keep it until Summer Slam when Lesnar will then take it back. Below is a photo that I believe my fans will enjoy and will actually go up on Ebay in a few days. The bloody win against Bruno to start my about 10 month reign as the first long term WWWF champion heel. Enjoy, Superstar.
Hello fans, I was just wondering what your thoughts are concerning Lesnar running a razor blade across his forehead during his mania match ? Personally, I dont get it. They already have 76,000 fans in the arena and thousands more watching on PPV or the WWE network. It makes all former and future head shots into the ring post mean nothing now. The no blood policy is fine but what was the reason for blood in this match ? Also Sting is dead. Triple H saw to that, he wont draw a dime at mania in Dallas next year. He wants to work against the Undertaker, it’s “been his dream ” makes him sound like a child, get a grip Sting please – who is going to be the baby face in that match ? Certainly not you. The first of next week I am going to have a new post about Vince McMahon’s remarks to me while I was conducting the great Eddie Guerrero’s funeral service. Photo of Eddie and I below, enjoy. Superstar
These may be the best and the worst of Billy. Many fans responded to Billy with comments, most positive and supportive of the Superstar. Yet a few fans politely disagreed with Graham about Lesnar blading. Disagreeing with the Superstar is disrespect according to Graham and while he calls it “good honest debate” it is obvious that the Superstar is not very happy about it.
‘Mania 31 Fans, First off thank you for your feedback. I always appreciate intelligent and respectful responses to my statements. Respectful disagreement makes for a good honest debate, that’s positive stuff. But NEVER disrespect me in your responses or you will be blocked in less than a heart beat. I always enjoy Janie Mullins comments; very intelligent and a respectful young lady.
# 1. To you Steve Golac, who said “There was no evidence of blading ( by Lesnar ) at all before or after he hit the post.” No sh*t dude, there isn’t supposed to be any evidence is there ? Do you just want him to stand in the middle of the ring and run a razor blade across his forehead ? Please, don’t be a f*cking mark here.
# 2. Robert Aiello said, ” Taker got gassed and was laying on his back at the end of the match.” The man is 50 plus years old and had a hell of a match so marks like you can get off. Its called “blowing up” Taker was in the ring with a man half his age dude.
# 3 Everyone is worried about Sting, F Sting. Khalil Douiss said ” No face no heel, just 2 supernatural forces colliding.” Oh god dude, are you some left over Star Trek freak ?? At Wrestlemania you need a heel vs a baby face man, god, come on, you marks are really wearing me out. Have a good day and check out the photo below of the first meeting of me and Booker T backstage at the 2004 Hall of Fame ceremony.
As amusing as these exchanges are I have to say that I love the Superstar. I interviewed him back in 2007 and developed a brief friendship with him. He was great to talk to and always a lot of fun to interview on the radio. I like him a lot and feel he is a bit misunderstood at times. That said, this probably doesn’t put the legend in the best of light.