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Archive for the ‘WWE | Pro Wrestling’

WWE SmackDown Results and October 24 Recap

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

This week opens with Dean Ambrose marching down to the ring. He says the laws of physics don’t apply to him. What goes up must go down, but he doesn’t stay down. Why does he keep getting back up? He could say he’s indestructible and this stuff doesn’t hurt, but the truth is it does hurt. His bones and muscles ache. Fighting the Authority can be very painful. No, the reason he keeps getting back up can go back to Mick Foley. Foley was the “Hardcore Legend”, but deep-down was always a nice guy. Ambrose isn’t a nice guy. He doesn’t have a loving family, and he has nothing to live for except delivering pain to people, and that’s what keeps moving him forward to HIAC. Ever since Seth Rollins stabbed him in the back…this Sunday, you can’t take your money with you when you’re knee-deep in your own personal hell. If Rollins has anything to say about that, he can come out here right now and say it.

Rollins appears on the TitanTron and says Ambrose doesn’t tell him what to do. He tells Ambrose what to do and does the calling out. As a matter of fact, later tonight, that’s exactly what he’ll do. As for the past, let’s remember Rollins spoon-fed him the catchphrases during the Shield. Ambrose is an idiot for believing all of that. They weren’t building something special; it was Rollins all along, planning his moment. Ambrose is talking about vengeance like it’s a jackpot. It’s cheap and not worth a damn, just like Ambrose. What’s priceless is the future. Ambrose’s ends at HIAC, but Rollins’ future truly begins when he disposes of Ambrose on Sunday. Then, when the time is right, he’ll cash in his MITB contract and solidify himself as the future of WWE. Ambrose says Rollins has a way with words, but he won’t be able to talk his way out of things on Sunday. They will burn together, but Rollins will perish alone.

MATCH 1: LOS MATADORES (DIEGO AND FERNANDO, W/EL TORITO) VS. THE MIZ AND DAMIEN MIZDOW
Sheamus is on commentary for this match. Mizdow starts for his team, kicking a Matador in the gut. He backdrops him into the corner, but the Matador counters with a headscissors. We find out this is Diego. Mizdow tags into Diego. Diego ducks a clothesline, hits some chops and a pair of boots in the corner. Miz comes back with a hotshot in the corner, then hits a lame version of the 10 Beats of the Bodhran while looking at Sheamus. He snaps Diego back into the ring, then hits a hanging clothesline. Mizdow tags in and nails Diego in the gut. Diego avoids a clothesline and trips Mizdow into the ropes. Miz and Fernando tag in. Fernando hits a couple of spinning back elbows, then nails a flapjack onto the top buckle. Fernando goes up top and hits a somersault plancha for 2 as Mizdow breaks it up. Diego comes in and launches Mizdow to the floor before Miz knocks him out as well. In the ring, Fernando goes for a backcracker, but Miz blocks it. He applies the figure-4 as Mizdow does the same to Diego on the floor. Fernando taps.

WINNERS: THE MIZ AND DAMIEN MIZDOW.

We get another promo from the Dust Brothers. They’re joined by Bo Dallas. He says he’s here in the peace. Mark Henry and the Usos don’t stand a chance against them tonight. The Dust Brothers may have the cosmic key, but all they have to do is Bolieve! Goldust calls him a weirdo.

MATCH 2: ALICIA FOX (W/PAIGE) VS. WWE DIVAS CHAMPION AJ LEE (NON-TITLE)
The two lock up, and Lee breaks it with an arm wringer. Fox hits a forearm, and Lee comes back with a spinning headscissors. Fox knocks her down, but Lee quickly comes back with a guillotine. Fox breaks it by ramming Lee into the corner, then hits a northern lights suplex for 2 before applying a rear chinlock. Fox clubs Lee with a foream, then hits a bodyslam. She chokes Lee over the middle rope as Paige is screaming. In the corner, Lee comes back with a pair of knees, then hits a mule kick. Paige causes a distraction, allowing Fox to nail her. She goes for another bodyslam, but Lee slides out, shoves Fox into Paige (who is on the apron), then quickly schoolgirls her for 3.

WINNER: AJ LEE.

We get another Wyatt Family video, and this time, it’s geared towards all three guys going solo.

We get a sit-down interview with Michael Cole and the Big Show. Show apparently asked for this interview, wanting to address what happened on RAW. Cole points out Rusev attacked a “uniformed soldier”, otherwise known as a local independent wrestler, and we then see the video. Back to Show, he says Rusev despises everything that represents the US. He tried to pull down Old Glory, and that led to the soldier crossing the line and entering the ring, standing up for what he believes in. The flag represents freedom, and that soldier defends the flag every day. Rusev took a cheap shot. The soldier got into the ring and was quickly detained by security, and Rusev nailed him anyway. We learn the soldier is okay and has a sense of humor, but Rusev still could have handled it better. Cole points out Show tore down the Russian flag a couple weeks ago, and asks him to compare the two incidents. Show says he was wrong and has apologized several times. He has Russian friends and has apologized to them. He didn’t mean to disrespect Russia; he wanted to disrespect Rusev and Lana. He was in the moment, and it was the wrong thing to do. He’s apologized for that. Rusev is a completely different story. Cole says Show has a big passion for the Armed Forces. Show calls it a great honor to visit the troops overseas. He’s met all kinds of famous people, and those aren’t his heroes; his heroes are the troops. He talks about the “Tribute to the Troops” tapings, then tells a story about meeting a 2-star general in 2003 who was so thankful Show visited him that he cried. Show calls it humbling. They go to boost morale, and Show’s morale gets boosted instead. It’s a unique experience to be a WWE star and have that effect on your heroes. Cole asks Show about Hulk Hogan, who talked about the match with Rusev on the WWE Network. We cut to that promo, and it’s typical Hogan in every way. Back to Show and Cole, Cole asks if Show can keep his emotions in check Sunday and do something no one else has done, that being get Rusev to submit or pin him. Show says he absolutely cannot and will not keep his emotions in check at HIAC. To answer the second part, he will knock Rusev’s ass out and pin him 1-2-3.

MATCH 3-INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP: DOLPH ZIGGLER (CHAMPION) VS. CESARO
Cesaro goes for a side headlock, and Ziggler counters into a waistlock takedown. The two continue reversing each other until they get a rope break. Cesaro gets in a cheap shot with a kneelift, then goes for a monkey flip. Ziggler lands on his feet and hits a hiptoss. Cesaro blocks the Show-Off Elbow, and Ziggler covers him for 1. These two trade numerous pinfall attempts, each only getting 1. Cesaro misses a clothesline, and Ziggler nails a dropkick for 2. Cesaro reverses a corner whip, sending Ziggler into the ring post and tumbling to the floor. Commercials.

Back from the break, Cesaro has Ziggler in a modified top wristlock. Ziggler breaks free, but Cesaro locks in a sleeper. Ziggler tries to fight out, so Cesaro yanks him down by the tights. Ziggler gets back to his feet and punches his way out, then ducks a clothesline before Cesaro reapplies the sleeper. Ziggler escapes and applies one of his own. Cesaro escapes, but Ziggler quickly jumps on his back and applies a scissored sleeper. Cesaro breaks it with a ram into the corner. Ziggler comes back with a back elbow, ducks a clothesline, hits a pair of his own, followed by a corner splash and a neckbreaker. Ziggler nails the Show-Off Elbow for 2. He goes for the rocker dropper, but Cesaro catches him. He goes for a powerbomb, and Ziggler tries to counter with a hurricanrana. Cesaro holds on, lifts him back up, and Ziggler rolls through into a sunset flip for 2. He ducks another clothesline and hits a satellite into another scissored sleeper. Cesaro breaks it by falling into the corner again, but Ziggler keeps the bodyscissors locked on. Cesaro flips him around to the front and powers him up into a suplex for 2. Ziggler hits a back elbow and goes for a leaping DDT, but Cesaro spins him into an inverted sidewinder for 2. Ziggler comes back with a quick schoolboy for 2, and Cesaro responds by nailing a big boot for 2. He hits a tigerbomb for another 2, and now Cesaro is getting frustrated. Cesaro grabs Ziggler by the foot, and sets up the Cesaro Swing. Ziggler counters into a small package for 2. Back up, Ziggler goes for the superkick. Cesaro blocks and goes for the European uppercut. Ziggler spins out and nails the Zig-Zag for 3.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: DOLPH ZIGGLER.

MATCH 4: NIKKI BELLA, CAMERON AND NAOMI VS. NATALYA, NAOMI AND BRIE BELLA
Brie starts with Cameron, and Cameron immediately goes into a hair yank. Brie hits a back elbow, a couple of kneelifts, then gets clotheslined off a that stupid leg flip move that has never done anything for anyone, ever. Rae tags in, hits a foot-choke in the corner and lands a clothesline for 2. Brie gets ent to the corner, where she blocks a charge. She fights Cameron and Nikki off in the corner, but then gets about the weakest kick in the history of kicks from Rae off the ropes. Rae hits both Nattie and Naomi, then gets hit with a dropsh*t. On the outside. Cameron yanks Naomi to the floor. Back in the ring, Rae hits a roundhouse before tagging in Nikki. Nikki picks Brie up and hits her with the Shock Treatment for 3.

WINNERS: NIKKI BELLA, CAMERON AND SUMMER RAE.

Nikki grabs a mic and says Brie’s life after Sunday will be hell when Brie is forced to become her personal assistant. She says she’ll be the wicked stepsister and Brie will become, and I’m quoting, “Cinderbella”.

MATCH 5: THE USOS (JEY & JIMMY) AND MARK HENRY VS. BO DALLAS, AND WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS GOLD & STARDUST
Henry goes after Dallas, but Dallas drops to the floor. He comes back in and immediately tags out to Stardust. Jey tags in, and Stardust beats him down before running into a hiptoss. He hits a diving headbutt before tagging in Jimmy. Jimmy gets nailed as Goldust tags in. Jimmy reverses a corner whip and backdrops Goldust to the floor. Stardust comes in, and he takes a double clothesline to the floor. Dallas tries to sneak in, but Henry chases him off once more. Commercials.

Back from the break, Stardust nails Jimmy with a clothesline. Goldust tags in and drops a pair of elbows for 2. He applies a rear chinlock now, but Jimmy fights his way out. Goldust shoves him to the corner, where he nails Goldust’s partners. Goldust blocks a kick, but Jimmy turns it into a reverse Dragon Whip. Henry and Dallas tag in, and Henry cleans house. He goes for for WSS on Stardust, but Stardust escapes, only to turn around into a superkick by Jey. One of the Usos takes out Goldust on the outside. On the apron, Stardust yanks the other one down by the foot, whipping him onto his back. In the ring, Henry throws Dallas into the corner. On the other side, Stardust tries a dive on Henry. Henry sees it coming, catches him and hits the World’s Strongest Slam. Dallas sneaks up behind Henry, hits the Running Bo-Dog and gets 3.

WINNERS: BO DALLAS, GOLD & STARDUST.

Remember when Mark Henry was the World Champion?

Renee Young is with Dolph Ziggler. She congratulates him on his victory earlier. Ziggler starts to pander to the crowd, but is interrupted by Cesaro. Cesaro calls him lucky, then says the IC title is the most prestigious title in the company and it belongs to him. He then challenges Ziggler to a Best-of-3-Falls Match for the title at HIAC, and Ziggler accepts. Cesaro says he’s going to show Ziggler up. Ziggler says it’s too bad he’s too damn good.

Seth Rollins comes down to the ring, flanked by Joey Mercury and Jamie Noble. I’m starting to wonder if these two are getting back into the ring at some point. The camera shows the ring contains chairs, as well as tables covered in weapons. Rollins says Dean Ambrose came out on RAW and thought he was the only one with a bag of tricks. As usual, Rollins is one step ahead of him. He taught Ambrose everything he knows. Ambrose can call him a sellout until he’s blue in the face, and the same goes for the fans, but the truth is, he bought into a concept that is foreign to everyone one of the fans. That concept is winning. He is a winner, and this Sunday, he’s going to win. He may never have participated in HIAC, but he’s a student of the game. He understands there’s only one rule in HIAC, and that is that there are no rules. So, without further ado, he wants to give us a preview of what he’ll do to Ambrose on Sunday. He grabs some handcuffs and says Ambrose pops out of unexpected places, so maybe he’ll use these cuffs to bind Ambrose to the cell so he can see Ambrose’s face when he realizes he’s got nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Rollins grabs a screwdriver and says he’ll use it to deflate Ambrose’s ego, proving he’s been a “screw-up” all along. A pipe is next. Ambrose says he’s indestructible. Nobody is indestructible, and Rollins will use that pipe to beat Ambrose into a pulp. He then grabs a folding chair and asks if Ambrose remembers how this felt. He decimated Ambrose with a chair and proved that he was the leader and backbone of the Shield. They can do all of this, or they can settle everything right here, right now. Rollins likes that idea and says he’s calling Ambrose out right now. He’s out in the ring by himself, taunting Ambrose. He calls Ambrose all talk, and he’s always been that way. Maybe he learned something. He doesn’t want to come out because he’s afraid. If he were Ambrose, he wouldn’t want what happened on RAW to happen again tonight. For Rollins, the future is a bright place. But for Ambrose, it is what it has always been: a long ride straight to hell. Rollins points to the TitanTron, and we video from this past Monday on RAW, where Rollins laid everyone out inside the cell and climbed on top. Back to the arena, Ambrose has appeared out of nowhere. He beats Rollins with a kendo stick, then throws him into Mercury and Noble. He continues the attack before they go after him. Ambrose fights them off, but Rollins nails him with a quick clothesline. They get back in the ring and try to hold Ambrose back as Rollins sets up a table. He fights them off as Rollins flees. Noble gets a rebound clothesline, while Mercuary receives a double-arm DDT (which is now apparently Dirty Deeds, at least according to Tom Phillips). As Rollins watches from the stag, Ambrose lays Mercury out on the table and puts him through it with a flying elbow. The crowd chants “One more time”, so Ambrose sets up the other table, nails Noble, sets him on it, then puts him through it with another flying elbow. Rollins starts to come back down to the ring, but changes his mind.

End of show.

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Top 10 WWE Hell In A Cell Matches

October 25, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Hell in a Cell match has become one of the most brutal matches in WWE history. Started in 1997, the HIAC match features blood, drama, action, and intensity. Today I celebrate this classic by looking back at the ten best in WWE history.

Like anything else, Hell in a Cell has had its ups and down. Fortunately for most WWE fans, there have been more ups than downs. The concept has been watered down a bit since over the years with the reduction of blood and excess matches. Lucky for us, there are plenty of classics that remind us why this one is just that good.

I always like to remind redears that like any top ten list it is all a matter of opinion. If you agree, disagree, or feel that I left one off the list, let me know and leave a comment. Until then, here are my top ten WWE Hell in a Cell matches in match history.

Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker, Badd Blood 1997 - Some of you may argue between this and number two and I can certainly respect that. For me, this match was not only the greatest Hell in a Cell match ever, it is also one of my top ten favorite matches overall of all-time. This was Shawn Michaels at his best and in my opinion and arguably the best match from The Undertaker’s storied WWE career.

Mankind vs. The Undertaker, King of the Ring 1998 - It is hard to argue with this one not being at the top. I went back and forth several times. The drama in this match is second to none. However, I just felt that Michaels vs. Undertaker was a better match overall. Mick Foley set a dangerous standard here which has never been repeated. It was historic, physical, and a masterpiece in a lot of ways. I still liked Michaels vs. Undertaker slightly better when watching these two back, but I have no problem with anyone arguing this one number one.

Triple H vs. Batista, Vengeance 2005 - To me this is an often forgotten about classic. For as much criticism that Triple H and even Batista have gotten at times, this match really should silence any and all critics. I also remember the finish being a shocker at the time as nobody expected Hunter to lose all of those matches to Batista. This one even featured some cool weapons including a chain contraption. The match and storyline here behind the feud were some of the best of all-time.

Triple H vs. Shawn Michaels, Bad Blood 2004 - One recurring theme you’ll see in this blog is that you’ll see a lot of names more than once. Triple H and of course Shawn Michaels are repeat offenders and with good reason. The storyline of both being undefeated in HIAC matches also created great drama in this one. How good was this match? An epic 47 minute masterpiece is how good it was. You Tube has plenty of highlights but you really owe it to yourself to check out the full match if you get that opportunity. The chemistry between these two guys here was unreal.

Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker vs. Triple H vs. Steve Austin vs. The Rock vs. Rikishi, Armageddon 2000 - This match is probably better known for Rikishi’s bump than the actual match itself. However, in looking back at the videos this was one of the most fun HIAC matches. How can you go wrong having all six of these superstars in one Hell in a Cell match? The answer is simple, you can’t.

Brock Lesnar vs. The Undertaker (No Mercy 2002) - This is a really interesting match in that you have some fans that will argue that this was one of the best HIAC matches ever where you have a whole other set of fans that don’t even remember it. I am in the middle. I thought this one had a lot of fun spots, not what you’d expect from two big men. Lesnar retained in a match that was one of his best of his entire first WWE run.

Edge vs. The Undertaker, SummerSlam 2008 - Like several matches on this list, this one is another forgotten classic. Edge and The Undertaker I thought had one of the most underrated feuds a few years back. They had tremendous chemistry and SummerSlam 2008 may have been their finest moment. This match had it all including Edge’s specialty; tables, ladders, and chairs. Quite frankly this was one of the most thrilling Hell in a Cell matches of all.

The Undertaker vs. Triple H – WrestleMania 28 - Once again, Triple H pops up on the list. This one is still fresh in our minds and in terms of drama, it doesn’t get much better than this one. Shawn Michaels was the referee and while the match didn’t have your usual Hell in a Cell theatrics, it told a hell of a story. This one was bloody, brutal, and intense and arguably not only one of the best Hell in a Cell matches, but one of the best WrestleMania matches in Mania history.

Triple H vs. Mick Foley, No Way Out 2000 - This would have been higher up on the list if it served as the true retirement match for Mick Foley that it was promoted to be. The emotional sendoff at the end of the match could have gone down as one of the best ever if it stood. The bloody match had some thrilling moments battling at the top of the cage as well as a flaming barbed wire bat. They tried to replay Foley’s sick bump from King of the Ring but it wasn’t quite the same. Nonetheless it was certainly a great one and a match that belongs on any Hell in a Cell list.

The Undertaker and Steve Austin vs. Mankind and Kane, RAW Is War 1998 - This was one of the most exciting matches on RAW during the Attitude Era. The match was held right before King of the Ring to build up the two main-events. The big moment of this action-packed match came when Austin climbed the cage and attacked Kane on top which saw the crowd just got absolutely nuts. Jim Ross in particular is fantastic with the call here.

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Can Daniel Bryan’s Body Make it in the WWE?

October 24, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Injuries and professional wrestling go hand-in-hand. Professional wrestlers sacrifice their bodies for the fans and the passion of the sport. Their high flying moves from the top of the turnbuckles to flying over the top rope onto an opponent outside the ring. With risk comes reward for some. For others, their bodies are too brittle and they injure themselves a lot to the point where they’re never the same again. Which leads to my question: Can Daniel Bryan & Wade Barrett’s bodies last in the WWE?

In the NFL, teams draft quarterbacks to lead their respective franchise. They represent the franchise. They’re paid millions of dollars to lead their team to success. If you have a quarterback like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or Philip Rivers they have had success and were healthy during the primes of their careers. Yes, Brady & Manning had a serious injury but they were already established quarterbacks.

n the other end of the string, Rams quarterback Sam Bradford hasn’t been so lucky. He suffered another year-ending injury during the preseason. Two season ending injuries since he was drafted in 2010. His body is not built for the NFL. It’s a shame because he had potential but can he come back and be successful? Nobody knows but the reality of the situation is the St. Louis Rams have to plan for the future and consider drafting a quarterback.

To me the Sam Bradford situation is similar to Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett. These two wrestlers still have potential to become bigger stars. The WWE fans love them. He’s had injuries prior to the “Yes Movement” that kep him out of action for a while. Daniel Bryan was still popular but arguably mid-card wrestler at best at that time. The “Hell No” tag team phase with Kane was one of the best angles I’ve seen within the past decade. 2014 came around and out of nowhere his popularity sky rocketed. I had never seen a crowd reaction so passionate with the “Yes!” chants. The WWE needs new faces to follow behind and eventually into John Cena’s shoes. Daniel Bryan could be one of them. He’s had the crowd in the palm of his hands as well as the national media. The dream became a reality winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania 30 last spring for Daniel Bryan.

Unfortunately, the momentum crashed when Daniel Bryan was sidelined with a neck injury. Now there are rumors that he needs Tommy John surgery that would put him out of commission for a while. That means he may be out not only for the Royal Rumble but quite possibly Wrestlemania 31. Bryan’s also considering alternative medicine to remedy his health issues; acupuncture.

The WWE Brass has a dilemma on their hands. How do you handle Daniel Bryan going forward when he’s finally back at 100%? He’ll still have his following who expect to see the WWE title back around his waist. But does he have to change his wrestling style? No more high flying moves? Rely on scientific low risk maneuvers? Hopefully someone within the WWE creative team, management, and Daniel Bryan himself will figure that out. He’s a top star and the WWE want to make sure their top stars are healthy. Knowing Daniel Bryan from watching Raw and behind the scenes he won’t give up mentally but how much longer can his body last?

Let’s not wish Daniel Bryan a speedy recovery but let’s be patient and wish him thorough recovery however long it takes. Daniel Bryan’s a WWE star. We want to see more him. And it will definitely be worth the wait to see Daniel Bryan back in the ring. Yes!

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CM Punk, TNA and Other Pro Wrestling Thoughts

October 24, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Go to a WWE event and the chants are heard throughout the arena.

“CM Punk. CM Punk.”

It has been the same battle cry of the WWE Universe (if there still is a universe) since Punk walked out on the job after the Royal Rumble. Punk has not been part of a match, program or even a tease about returning to the ring.

Punk’s hiatus from the WWE is not a new thing, having left on two other occasions – the first after his infamous shoot interview that led to a “WWE Title vs. WWE Title” with John Cena. The other time he took “time off” was after his loss at WrestleMania to The Rock.

Since then, Punk has not been part of a world championship program.

The WWE is in a fairly peculiar situation because while it appears Punk is serious about his retirement from professional wrestling altogether, his wife, AJ Lee, is still a major part of WWE programming and the biggest draw on the women’s side of the ledger.

  • Right now, even in the fall of retirement, Punk is in the driver’s seat.
  • He is easily one of the top three biggest draws in the company still to this day.
  • The mere fact he generates such an outburst from the fans is a concern for the company.

Whether they admit it or not, the company is taking on water to some degree because of poor matches, poor feuds and injuries.
The company still needs him, along with Daniel Bryan and John Cena, to lead the “face” faction because there has not been a steady influx of younger talent to be brought in from NXT.

As long as the “Second City Saint” is walking the streets and not in a wrestling ring, his legend becomes more popular and in the process, he sticks it to the company that made him a star.

BETTER BUSINESS AT TNA WRESTLING

While the WWE is trying to figure out how to handle a champion that only wants to wrestle on his terms, the product in TNA is better lately.

There is something to be said for being under pressure, which is exactly what Impact Wrestling has been under as of late. But a string of solid wrestling packages have put TNA in better stead.

Over the course of the last month, wrestling between faces like Jeff Hardy, Bobby Roode, Eric Young and Austin Aries have boosted ratings as well give the fans quality matches that make wrestling matter.

So much has been made of how TNA is the second rate promotion. But judging WWE and TNA is not a fair representation of how the business is today.

TNA is about wrestling and shoot interviews and some of the iconic feel of the former NWA. WWE is about the gut shot, the light everyone’s hair on fire and see who screams moment.

I am a fan of the more traditional style of TNA and also understand how it can be abused in the wrestling community as the red-headed step child.

SCOTT HALL

On Monday, the wrestling world celebrated the birth day of Scott Hall, or Razor Ramon, as many of us knew him in his WWE days. Hall and Kevin Nash helped to define professional wrestling as The Outsiders, the party crashing duo who helped to create the NOW.

Hall may not get the notoriety that he deserves because of his out of ring issues with substance abuse, but when he was in his prime, there were only a handful of wrestlers who could match his in-ring ability.

The 56-year-old was a star in many promotions before making his mark in the WWE.

Beginning with his time in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), Hall maintained a perennially high profile as a wrestler, as he became a four time WWF Intercontinental Champion, a two time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion, a one-time WCW World Television Champion and a nine time world tag team champion (seven times in WCW, once in TNA, and once in the AWA). In addition, Hall is a two time world champion, having won the WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship and the USWA Unified World Heavyweight Championship. He is also notable for being a founding member of the New World Order. On April 5, 2014, Hall (as Razor Ramon) was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Hall was what Randy Orton is (minus the titles) today.

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WWE The Paul Heyman Story

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What is the Point of Watching WWE RAW?

October 23, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

My moment of internal questioning came long before Monday’s main event, but another match involving some combination of Dean Ambrose, John Cena, Randy Orton, Kane and Seth Rollins left me feeling like the WWE was openly challenging me.

“We dare you to turn this off,” it felt like they were saying. “Fine, not this week? Maybe next week when we do this all again. Or the week after when it’s the same thing.” That can be the only real explanation as to why the WWE is putting out the exact same matches week in and week out, expecting myself and others to tune in to watch their show.

I’ve been a wrestling fan for most of my 28 years on this Earth but for the first time in a long, long time, I’m wondering why it is I’m even bothering. What’s the point anymore? There’s no point in watching the pay-per-views anymore because they’re basically repeats of what we’ve seen on Raw. That or the 227,000th meeting between Cena and Orton (your Hell in a Cell main event for just $9.99!).

Think I’m being a bit dramatic? Check out the pay-per-view lineup. Dean Ambrose fought Seth Rollins inside Hell in a Cell. Brie Bella will take on Nikki, who she pinned clean a few weeks ago. Rusev is facing the Big Show, which he did last week. Cesaro is facing Dolph Ziggler which he did on Raw, pinning him clean. The Miz is taking on Sheamus, which he’s been doing on and off for weeks. It’s literally the exact same thing you’ve seen on Raw ad nauseam. Why in the hell would I want to tune in to the pay-per-view when we’ve seen all of these matches in the last few weeks (or in the case of Cena/Orton, 1.4 million times before)?

More importantly, why in the hell should I invest myself for three hours a week at minimum when nothing is ever different or interesting? I’m to the point where I don’t even care who is featured, just give me something different than I’ve seen for the last several years. It’s laughable that the WWE is internally worried about ratings. Do they not watch their own show? Are they not aware that they’ve been putting out the exact same show for as long as anyone can remember? Who would want to tune in for the same damn thing week after week? The sheer ignorance of the situation is just as maddening as anything else. They make the friggin’ show and can’t realize that it’s awful.

Also, what’s going on with the roster? Why are the same seven guys used on Raw and the rest of the card is basically ignored? Seriously, you can give new guys a chance to make their own mark while filling time. You can seem fresh by just having new matches every once in a while and it takes minimal effort. I’m not asking for ground-breaking angles like the nWo or Austin/McMahon, here. Just try. Show me you’re trying. Show me that you realize the show isn’t up to snuff and that you’re at least trying new things to improve it. Don’t give me the same matches and promos over and over and think that slapping a new name on it makes it worth paying $10/month.

Somewhere along the line, the WWE’s main programming has become annoying and repetitive. The only show worth watching exists in an almost entirely separate universe: NXT. On NXT, they have compelling, interesting, LOGICAL stories. They have fresh matches routinely and the build into the matches that are supposed to matter usually makes sense. There’s drama and importance to these matches. They don’t just throw to “name” wrestlers together and expect that to be enough for you. They build their characters, make them layered and interesting. Raw hasn’t done that in what, six months at least? More than that?

This whole rant isn’t some threat to stop watching wrestling. That’ll never happen, as I’ve learned over the course of my life. I eventually come back and I doubt that’ll stop. I just can’t quit you, wrestling. That said, Raw is losing me and I have no problem taking my attention off of the flagship and putting it onto NXT.

It’s just a shame that when all of my favorites graduate to Raw, they’ll be ruined by the stale, stupid product being placed on television.

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Chris Jericho Talks WWE Attitude Era and Bray Wyatt

October 23, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Chris Jericho is currently making the rounds promoting his latest autobiography and continues to be one of the most quotable wrestlers in regards to media. Jericho hit on a few interesting topics in a recent interview including some fascinating insight into a legendary era.

The WWE Attitude Era has taken on a life of its own in recent years. It is portrayed by the WWE as their golden years and fans of that era often ask for it to come back. Jericho is a guy that was a big part of the Attitude Era, jumping to the WWE while the era was at its hottest. Which is why it will probably surprise you to hear that Jericho prefers this current era over the Attitude Era.

“When you think of another time like ECW or the Attitude Era, it’s like, “Ah, those were the good old days.” But having actually lived through it, there was a lot of great stuff, but there was a lot of stuff that sucked, too. Mae Young gave birth to a hand in the Attitude Era. Is that really what you want to remember about wrestling? I thought that was one of the dumbest things.
There were a lot of great characters and a lot of great wresting, so I think you always look back fondly. I live in the now and I think the product is the best it’s ever been because it’s now.

It’s where we’re at in 2014, and I always look to the future. There were good moments in the past and there were bad moments. There’s going to be good moments in the future and bad moments, but I think it’s always best to look forward if you want to continue to improve yourself and the product, and improve what people are seeing.”

I couldn’t agree more with Jericho. I think the Attitude Era is highly overrated, especially when you look back at some of the ridiculous gimmicks and angles that took place during that time period. Jericho has said in other interviews that the new era is superior to the Attitude Era and while I think that is a bit of an overstatement, I certainly see his point.

Jericho is also a guy who has been around the WWE block a few times. This experience gives Jericho a unique perspective when it comes to picking talent. According to Jericho, being a successful WWE superstar is a lot more than just being a great worker.

“Personality and character, they’re the only things I care about. Honestly, I don’t really pay any attention to wrestling skills because they don’t matter. There are a lot of similarities between music and wrestling, because they’re all about connecting with the crowd. What kind of charisma you have. What kind of personality you have. They’re so much more important than whether you can do a shredding guitar solo or a triple-jump moonsault.

It’s show business through and through, so when you look at a guy like Bray Wyatt, I loved his character. He can work and he’s a good wrestler and all that sort of stuff, but it’s the character that really makes it, and if you see something like that that’s so different and so unique and riveting, it’s a no-brainer. That’s what I love about the business, the characters and showmanship elements.”

Jericho is very high on Bray Wyatt yet unfortunately it appears Wyatt has somewhat disconnected from the WWE Universe. I have always found Wyatt’s character a bit one-dimensional so I’ll have to disagree a bit on Y2J’s analysis of young Bray. Yet the criteria he lists behind a successful superstar seems spot on.

Check out the rest of the interview over at Rolling Stone for some fun road stories and more from the former undisputed champion.

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10 Andre the Giant Stories You (May or) May Not Know

October 22, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Andre the Giant Jerry Lawler Midget StoryAndre the Giant has turned into a mythical character in pro wrestling folklore and urban legend since his passing. Many stories have floated around the Internet and bars on the Giant and I thought it would be fun to take a look back at 10 of Andre stories you may or may not have heard before.

Andre has always been a fun topic in interviews with peers who worked with him or traveled with the big man. We have all heard the stories about Andre’s drinking. They are legendary. I even heard a recount of Andre eating multiple hamburgers in one sitting from my dad who was a bartender in NYC in the 70s. But there are others that are just as interesting whether it be fights, backstage gossip, tales from the ring, or even some crazy anecdotes.

I could have came up with a list of over 20 but I narrowed it down to ten for a few reasons. Some stories are so outlandish that while they may be true they are hard to source. I stuck with stories that had sources whether from books or shoot interviews, etc. I also tried to keep them interesting to wrestling fans and mix them up with some you may have heard and others you haven’t. So here you go. If you thought you knew everything about Andre the Giant, well you might, but hopefully you learn a thing or two from this list.

Andre the Giant called Kamala racist names during a match and paid for it - Kamala has told this story in several interviews lately. Kamala and the Giant had a big rivalry in the early 80s which started with them matching up in territories and ended in the WWE. They made a lot of money together and while that is generally something wrestlers bonded over, Andre was not a fan of Kamala. Andre was in a bad mood and in their first match used a derogatory racist remark towards Kamala. You can probably guess what it was. Kamala was not happy about it and let the Giant know about it.

“Andre wasn’t the friendly guy that he appeared to be. He was real temperamental and had a nasty attitude. When I first started working with him, he called me a (derogatory) name in the ring and I beat him up. After that, I never had another problem with him. A lot of (top guys had problems with Andre too). He would just go out and mop the floor with people. He treated (wrestlers) nasty, and the fans too. Andre would do it just about every night. Guys would watch through the curtain to see what he was going to do.”

Kamala expanded on it when he was interviewed by Steve Austin a few months ago. Kamala told Austin that he and Andre were fine after that and that it was Andre who was responsible for bringing him to the WWE.

Andre the Giant called Bad News Brown/Allen the same racist name and almost paid for it - Well sadly it appears that Andre liked to drop the N-bomb back in his day. It also appears that some of those wrestlers didn’t like it and weren’t intimidated by the Giant’s size. Bad News Brown was one of them and on a tour of Japan, he had about enough of the Giant’s “humor.”

Bad News has told this story in interviews and as the story goes, Andre the comedian was in the back of the bus during a Japan tour telling racist jokes. Andre was loud enough, likely intentional, for Brown to hear it. Brown had enough and ordered the bus drive to stop the bus. Bad News got up and told Andre to step outside. As the story goes Andre refused to step outside knowing how much of a bad dude Bad News was. Hulk Hogan and a few others apparently settled things down and Andre apologized to Brown the next day.

Yet Andre would have his revenge years later.

Andre the Giant defecated on Bad News Brown during a match in Mexico - Andre’s health was deteriorating yet the Giant continued wrestling well past the point he should have retired. Andre and Bad News were on opposing sides of a six-man tag team match in Mexico at this point in Andre’s career and well, things got a little out of hand in old Mexico in 1992. Oliver Hurley wrote about this in his book Wrestling’s 101 Strangest Matches and I also heard this story first hand from the late Bam Bam Bigelow who was also in the match.

Andre had allegedly had stomach cramps and diarrhea all day prior to the match. Here is the rest of the excerpt from Hurley’s book.

“Midway through the bout, he faced off against Bad News Brown Andre was dictating what would happen in the ring, known in the trade as calling the spots. As he threw Bad News into the corner, he muttered to him, ‘Big ass, boss.’ (Andre called everyone ‘boss’.) This verbal shorthand told BNB to remain slumped in the corner as Andre was about to hit him with one of his trademark moves, in which he would turn his back to his opponent, grab hold of the ropes and – there’s no delicate way to put this – thrust his enormous arse into his adversary, supposedly crushing him in the corner.

The combination of the collision and the copious volume of booze he had taken on board meant that, as soon as Andre hit Bad News, he lost any control he once had over his bowels. Liquid faeces dribbled out of his wrestling singlet and all over Bad News Brown’s chest. Bad News fell out of the ring and, resisting the urge to throw up, pelted back to the dressing room. His tag team partners continued the contest without him, once they’d finished laughing at his predicament. As Bad News passed fans on his way backstage, they shouted, ‘Wow, what is that smell?’ having presumably never been confronted by a wrestler covered in diarrhoea before.

Bad News jumped straight into the showers, while still wearing his wrestling trunks and boots, in a bid to clean himself up. But despite having been shat upon by a giant, he remained remarkably sanguine about the incident. ‘I felt sorry for the guy,’ he later said. ‘He was just sick, that’s all.’ The match proved to be one of Andre’s last prior to his death at the age of 46 on 27 January 1993 from congestive heart failure, which was caused by his untreated acromegaly, the glandular disease that resulted in his enormous size.”

Andre the Giant was once recruited by the Washington Redskins in 1976 - The first time I heard this story I called bull. Yet I was able to actually find a story with someone from the Redskins who corroborated the story as fact. Sports Illustrated reported on this in 1982 with confirmation from Redskins Public Relations Director Joe Blair.

Andre’s wrestling colleague George “the Animal” Steele, a former football coach recalls a conversation he had with Vince McMahon, Sr. about the idea of Andre playing for the Redskins. Steele told the story a few years back on a podcast interview.

“And in one of those early conversations, the Washington Redskins wanted to sign Andre the Giant to play football,” Steele said. “And they wanted to sign him to play as a linebacker on field goals and extra points, to stand up and kind of wave like a giant. And it would be great publicity for them and us.

“And because I was a football coach and had played a little bit, Vince Sr. says Jim what do you think about this idea? I says I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. First of all, if you take Andre the Giant – as big and strong as he is – and stuck him in front of me, with his hands in the air waving or something, I’d take his knee out.

“I said first of all, I think you’re making a mockery of the game. And he’s outstretched, he can’t protect himself, I’d cripple him. And I said every guy in the NFL would do that. He has no business doing that. I don’t know if you know that or not, but they had made the offer, and it almost went to signing, and that’s why they didn’t do it. Because it wasn’t the right thing to do for Andre, for wrestling, and really for football.”

For the record another fact you may not have known along the same lines is that the Pittsburgh Steelers tried to recruit Bruno Sammartino.

Andre’s last pro wrestling television appearance in the United States was for WCW - The ultimate betrayal took place in 1992 as Andre was winding down his career. Andre was not on good terms with the WWE. One story I heard is that Andre was very angry at Vince McMahon for being pressured to wrestle at SummerSlam. Remember, Andre came out on crutches at SummerSlam. Whether it was revenge or opportunity, Andre wound up appearing in WCW.

WCW had a big special in 1992 celebrating 20 years of wrestling on TBS. Ted Turner reportedly wanted the special to be a big deal. It was so big that they wound up getting Andre the Giant to appear. Andre didn’t do much here as a matter of a fact it was kind of sad. Andre was on two canes, said a few words on the red carpet, and was later seen in the “VIP room.”

Vince McMahon was apparently very hurt by this appearance. Shane McMahon talked about it in the book Andre the Giant: A Legendary Life. Shane said that his father called Andre and told him that he was deeply hurt by the appearance. Andre allegedly apologized to Vince, not realizing how deeply he hurt him. Shane also said that it upset him that TBS showed Andre on crutches.

Ironic since Vince had no problem putting Andre on television with crutches at SummerSlam 1991. Keep in mind that the Andre book was a WWE project.

Andre the Giant originally turned down WrestleMania 3 - This is another story I read in a few places but didn’t believe it until I saw it in print. According to the story told in Sex, Lies, and Headlocks Vince had to beg Andre to come back to the WWE.

The story goes that Vince called Andre while the Giant was making the Princess Bride movie. Andre told Vince to save his airfare because he didn’t want to wrestle anymore. According to the story, Vince felt that Andre was in a deep depression when he came back because Andre felt that he was ready to die.

Andre had back surgery scheduled in Europe. Vince allegedly persuaded Andre to come back and rehabilitate in his house to get ready for WrestleMania 3. Of course as we all know Andre eventually acquiesced to the boss and took part in arguably the most memorable match in WWE history against Hulk Hogan.

And speaking of Hulk Hogan…

Andre the Giant did not like to work with Hulk Hogan during their 1980 WWE feud - Hulk Hogan wrote about this in his book so take it for it’s worth. However, I did hear stories outside of Hogan’s book about Andre not being a fan of Hulk’s. Here is how Hulk recounted his early memories of working with the Giant.

” Hulk was going around telling people in the locker room that Andre was his hero and that he wanted to surpass him didn’t really get him into good graces with The Giant either.

Andre heard about what Hogan would say about him to the boys in the back and Andre took it as a direct threat.

So whenever they had to wrestle each other, Andre would work very stiff with Hogan and try to end his career but make it look like an accident.

Hulk refused to snitch on Andre however and complain to the head office.

Hulk Hogan would tried to talk to Andre but Andre refused to even speak with him.

Whenever Hulk had to wrestle Andre, Hulk was so scared of him that whenever he would be driving to the building, he would pull his car over and puke because he was so nervous and terrified.

Andre gained respect for Hogan however because no matter how many times Andre would whip beat on Hogan, Hogan never quit and he would never complain about it to the front office.”

Hulk has also claimed that Andre died two days after WrestleMania 3 so take this story for what it’s worth.

Andre the Giant almost drowned Blackjack Mulligan and Dick Murdoch - Ric Flair told the story  in his book of a night of partying that went very wrong for Murdoch and Mulligan. According to Flair, one of the Texans tried to sucker punch the Giant and wound up getting water boarded for it. The incident occurred at Murdoch’s birthday party. Andre grabbed them both, dragged them to the beach, and repeatedly dunked their heads in the water almost drowning them.

Andre the Giant fired the Freebirds from the WWE in 1984 - This is a fun story as told by Bret Hart in an interview about Andre’s life. Remember the incredibly short stint in the WWE by the Freebirds in 1984? I do and always wondered why it ended so fast. According to Hart, it was all due to Andre the Giant.

In 1984, the Freebirds – Michael Hayes, Buddy Roberts and Terry Gordy-were recruited by the company, largely because they fit into the rock ’n’ roll image owner Vince McMahon was trying to cultivate.  “One time, the Freebirds were so drunk, they couldn’t get out of the plane,” Hart claims. “They got to the building at 9 or 9:30, in the middle of a show, and Andre was pissed off by their lack of professionalism.  While they were getting dressed, he told them, ‘You guys are fired.’”

When the Freebirds protested that Andre was ineligible to make personnel decisions, he allegedly countered, “We’ll see tomorrow if you’re gone or I’m gone.”

“The next day,” Hart continues, “the Freebirds were gone.  So I guess Andre could fire you.”

Jerry Lawler killed Andre the Giant’s career according to Vince McMahon, Sr. - The King actually tells this story in his autobiography and WWE.com actually did a story about it on their website. Back in the 1970s and early 80s, Vince used to book Andre out to territories on one condition. The Giant could not lose. Lawler booked Andre for a few dates and wound up beating him…by count out in Louisville. Lawler sent legendary pro wrestling photographer Bill Apter the pictures of the match and Apter wound up publishing the pictures with a story (see more pictures here) about Lawler beating Andre and Vince was furious!

“It comes out with this big headline: ‘The night a midget beat Andre the Giant,’ ” Jerry “The King” Lawler remembered with a laugh. “At that time, nobody beat Andre the Giant, but the story made it look like I pinned Andre.”

According to WWE.com, the magazine caused such outrage in the sports-entertainment industry that Mr. McMahon’s father, Vincent J. McMahon, brought it up as a serious point of contention in that year’s National Wrestling Alliance convention. McMahon was so irate that both Apter and Lawler nearly lost the ability to promote Andre, but things got smoothed over in a future issue.

“To rectify things, we came out with another cover that said: ‘Andre the Giant: Wrestling’s Only Undefeated Superstar,’ ” Apter explained.”

Lawler wrote in his book that Vince went crazy about it at an N.W.A. meeting. “Not only did someone beat Andre the Giant, a midget beat Andre the Giant!” Lawler said Vince’s face was turning red as he went off on the article. Lawler also writes that Terry Funk had a good time ribbing Vince about it and yelled out from the back, “Well who was the little bastard that beat Andre the Giant, Vince?”

According to Lawler, Vince called Apter and told him that the story “had killed Andre the Giant’s career.” The magazine later published an article touting Andre as the world’s only undefeated wrestling star to make peace with Vince.

ill Dundee’s version of the night. Dundee allegedly said that Lawler asked Andre what he wanted to do and Andre replied, “What do you wanna do boss?” Lawler replied, “Well I’d like to beat you.” Andre agreed and they came up with a finish where it took 30 guys to beat down Andre in order for Lawler to get the win. Dundee claimed that Lawler pinned Andre but enough witnesses say that it was only a count out win.

Regardless, it killed the Giant’s career according to Vince McMahon.

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Rusev and the Case of the Failed Big Man in WWE

October 22, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Rusev is WWE’s newest monster project; pun intended. The Bulgarian export has been virtually unstoppable since his debut back in January and in the last 10 months; no one has really been able to touch him. He is currently the brute to beat in that company.

So while the line to put him down has been shortened little by little with each pay-per-view event, the fact is that it’s not over yet. The Big Show is the latest guy to defend the nation against the Russian threat and some are questioning if he will be the one to finally pin Rusev. But maybe the better question is where is WWE going with this?

We haven’t seen this kind of buildup for a big guy since, well, the last time WWE decided to do it. From Umaga to Brodus Clay to Tensai to Ryback, one Superstar after another has been portrayed as an unstoppable juggernaut that just steamrolls through the roster, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake. And all three of those guys barely got out of the mid-card. In other words, it was all much ado about nothing.

Therein lays one of the biggest problems with a character of this sort. In any other promotion, this type of guy would be huge, probably even the heavyweight champion. But in WWE? Not so much.

This is the part when some of you remind me that Rusev did just get started on the main roster, that he deserves the chance to prove himself before anyone totally dismisses him. After all, just because the track record for Superstars of his kind may not be that impressive, that does not mean Rusev will not find a way to get over and keep impressing the company until he becomes a top level main event guy, right?

News flash: I’m down with that. Seriously, I have no problem agreeing with every part of that statement and I will actually go a step further and say that with the right amount of elevation and preparation, there is really no reason why Rusev could not become the WWE World champion one day. I’ll buy that. But before we get ahead of ourselves, stop for a moment and think about this company.

Think about what types of Superstars get the nod for the main event. Think about every WWE and World champion over the course of the past 10 years. Think about all of that for a moment and ask yourself; does Rusev really fit alongside those talents? Does Rusev have what it takes to not only make it to that top tier but to excel once he gets there?

The buzz in and around WWE is that he definitely does. Of course, that buzz is just hearsay right now, there has been no real indication at any time that he will make it that far or that the company is truly planning ahead for him. Right now, it’s all just blowing in the wind. There are a few things working in his favor.

One is the fact that he came from NXT. While this is obviously not a guarantee he will accomplish a thing, it’s a good start. It’s hard to argue with a developmental territory that introduced mainstream WWE fans to The Shield and The Wyatt Family. Let’s not forget about the talent currently working in Florida right now and the impact they will surely have when they are called up. But then, there’s always Emma; let’s not talk about her, though. The track record is there, Rusev has that going for him.

The other thing helping him right now is Lana, the so-called Ravishing Russian that is a constant presence by his side. Lana is the mouthpiece for Rusev and at this point she is becoming a very integral part of the act. But is she too important? Is she overshadowing Rusev? The answer to that question is obviously yes. She’s the real hit of the duo right now, not him. Is that a problem? Yes. Does that mean Rusev is doomed to live out his existence in WWE as the next Marc Mero? God, let’s hope not.

What it means is that he will have to double his efforts. Rusev must work even harder than the typical WWE big man to get over. The history of his character type is not good and he surely knows that. So when he’s on camera, he must go for the throat, and he must do everything in his power to make fans remember him long after the program goes off the air. Whether or not he’s doing that is really up for debate right now.

But what’s not up for debate is the fact that Rusev is building momentum little by little every week. The company is behind him and the sky appears to be the limit for him. Only, where is he going? Where is WWE headed with this? What is the endgame as it pertains to Rusev? Is he meant to dominate in the mid-card for the bulk of his career, finishing one arc after another, with the next one taking him right back where he was? Is that what awaits him?

Is his record ultimately the focus right now? We keep hearing about names that could potentially take him down. From Hulk Hogan to Kurt Angle to even Sting, that aforementioned list is always there and always a topic of debate. Will that remain the case until Rusev actually is pinned and if so, will he then begin his slide down to mediocrity? Or is the supposed buzz on him correct? Is Rusev on his way to great things in WWE? Right now it’s probably too early to know.

The truth is that he might be on his way to being the hottest big man in the company. But will he be a big deal?

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Odd Timing For Randy Orton WWE Babyface Turn

October 21, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

We all knew it was coming. The Viper and Seth Rollins have been teasing tension for weeks. Yet nobody thought less than a week before Hell in a Cell and with a hot Dean Ambrose on fire that this would be the week the WWE would turn Orton.

In case you missed it, Rollins turned on Orton this past Monday on RAW. Orton and Rollins teased the issue throughout the show. Finally after the main-event Rollins hit Orton with a curbstomp to solidify the turn and kick Orton out of the Authority, well seemingly anyway. It wasn’t the turn that surprised me, it was the timing.

I just don’t see the logic in turning Orton right now. Is he suddenly over with the fans? Did the fans demand a change? If so I must be living under a rock because I haven’t seen it. Are they weak on babyfaces? Is business way down? Did Orton demand it? I just don’t get it…at least right now anyway.

For starters they have a big show on Sunday. Now you go into Sunday with fans more interested in seeing a match that isn’t even advertised. The match is Orton vs. Rollins and the fastest we will get that is TLC, barring a RAW giveaway. It makes Ambrose vs. Rollins seem insignificant as well as the entire show. Sure the match should be great, probably a match of the year candidate, but to casual fans it an obstacle to the payoff they want to see.

Speaking of Ambrose, what does this do to his push? Ambrose has been pushed hard since Roman Reigns went down as the number two babyface. He is hot and something new and the fans seem to like him. Does anyone think that Orton is taking a backseat to Ambrose? This is an obvious sign that the company has little confidence in Ambrose as the number two banana on Cena’s side.

And speaking of Roman Reigns, what does this do to the heir apparent? The plans have been to push Reigns as the next heir apparent to John Cena’s throne. Does Orton take a backseat to Reigns? He should if Reigns is the future but I am not so confident that the WWE brass will allow it. Orton has always been protected at the expense of others, and this could do some real damage to Reigns moving forward.

I would not be surprised to see some kind of a Reigns heel turn when he comes back. I could easily see a feud with him and Ambrose, playing off of the real-life story of Ambrose taking Reigns’ spot while he was out. Now that would make sense and at least even up the sides a bit. Without a Reigns turn, you have a heel side headlined by Rollins and Rusev and a very part-time Brock Lesnar at this point. Take Brock out of it and you have problems.

Finally, where does this leave Daniel Bryan when he returns? Granted, his return is undetermined at this point and you can’t plan for something that you don’t know is coming. Yet at some point he will come back and he will likely be super over when he comes back (absence makes a fan’s heart grow fonder). So now you are talking about Orton, Cena, Ambrose, and Reigns jockeying for position against a heel roster of Rollins and Rusev? Excuse me if I temper my excitement.

Again I don’t think anyone cares one way or the other about what side of the ring Orton stands on. I just think the timing is poor and it opens up a lot of questions, most which have predictable answers that won’t sit happy with most fans.

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Chris Jericho Talks Dean Ambrose, WWE Run, and Vince McMahon

October 20, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Chris Jericho may gone from WWE rings but he has not left the WWE Universe. The former undisputed champion is making the media rounds promoting his new book and has some interesting thoughts on his feud with Bray Wyatt, Vince McMahon, and more.

Jericho was a recent guest on Turnbuckle Weekly with Chuck Carroll. He made a great appearance as usual in promotion of his new book “The Best In The World At What I Have No Idea”. Jericho was asked about his recent run in the WWE as well as past relationships with key WWE personnel and offered up some interesting insight as expected.

Jericho was asked about earning Vince McMahon’s respect and had this to say about the boss man.

“Once you gain that respect from Vince he expects it and wants that feedback. He’s surrounded by a lot of ‘yes men’ that don’t want to get into debates. When I’m questioning him, it’s never disrespectfully. I never say this is a stupid idea or you’re an idiot or a moron, because that’s not the way you get things done. I will say, “Vince, I think we can do this better” or “what is it you want from this, because I don’t understand it?” Or sometimes, it’s just blatantly “no, this is the way we’re doing it because I’m the boss and you’re not” and you have to accept that and respect that as well.

Things aren’t always rosy with the boss. Jericho and McMahon have been at odds several times over the course of his long WWE run.

Yes, there is a lot of confrontations with Vince, but that’s because there’s a mutual respect. And some of them get out of control,” he said. “It’s only because both of us respect each other, trust each other, and believe each other. It doesn’t mean I’m always going to like the things he does or the things he wants to do. And it doesn’t mean that he’s going to like the things that I do and the way that I act and react to things either.

Jericho appeared on my good buddy Brian Fritz’s Between the Ropes podcast recently as well. Jericho offered up some great analysis on his recent WWE run.

The Bray Wyatt cage match in Baltimore and then the Randy Orton – Night of Champions match in Nashville I thought were two…whatever a five star match is. Two really really really good matches that I would put on my list of all-time favorites. And that was good to know because as the years go by, I feel just as good as I ever did. When I go back I’m mentally prepared and I think I still work up to a level I set for myself. But when you go out there and actually do some of those things and actually get the feedback from the live audience that you know you can get and from the critics. The fact that my last match was the best match on the pay-per-view against Randy Orton, I take great pride in that. And if I never work again, I know I’ll always have that. It’s still cool to contribute at the highest level and the day — and Brian, I’m not exaggerating about this — the day I feel I can’t compete at the highest level I set for myself and can’t steal the show, I will not do it again. Throw it on the record, I’m the one guy who can say that. I’m sure Shawn Michaels could say that too. You will not see me in the ring again as a parody of myself or anything other than the absolute best and can go toe-to-toe with anybody else on the roster.

Finally, a veteran like Jericho knows good talent when he sees it. He told Brian about an up and coming WWE star that he thinks is the best bet to be WWE’s franchise player of the future.

I saw Dean when he first started and there was something different about him. He has that Jeff Hardy ‘X’ factor. There’s just something about him that you can’t push on somebody. You can teach them how to take a bump, give them a look, give them wins but certain guys have a certain something about them that you know is going to take them to the next level no matter what. Dean definitely has that and in my opinion – I’m not the god of everything but I have a pretty good track record of picking guys – I think he’s the closest that they have right now to being the next face of the WWE. I don’t think that’s as important now with the Network and less emphasis on pay-per-views and that sort of thing. But as far as a guy who can come in there as the top babyface, I think Dean’s your best best right now.
Don’t let Roman Reigns hear that.

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Is Randy Orton Becoming a Cancer for Vince McMahon’s WWE?

October 20, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Over the course of the last decade, Randy Orton has had his share of issues with the WWE and its management and its roster. To say he is a slight bit privileged would be an understatement. The 12-Time World Champion has had a hand in other formidable wrestlers rise (Mark Henry) to the top of the company food chain. He has also had a bug say in some wrestlers (Kofi Kingston) not achieving the success they deserve. Now with the need for more star talent and a bigger need for success, owner Vince McMahon is asking one of his key veterans – Orton – to step up and work more on SmackDown.

So far, according to reports, Orton is refusing the assignment.

It is being reported that SmackDown officials asked Randy Orton to work full time, but he refused. It seems that Randy Orton is unhappy with McMahon and his current role with the WWE. He is allegedly asking for more time off from the ring, while McMahon wants him to give more time.

One of the reasons for Orton’s unhappiness is most likely tied to the fact that instead of fighting a championship bout, he was forced to fight the loser of the Dean Ambrose versus John Cena match.

However, McMahon knows that Orton is currently one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling. He also knows that the WWE is not the brand that it used to be. Top athletes are not lining up at the pace they were a decade ago for a chance at WWE stardom. Perhaps the threat of serious injury is keeping people away?

I see Orton’s point, but I can see both sides of the fence. While McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H have had to deal with the loss of Daniel Bryan to injury, which put a huge sinkhole in the WWE World Title picture, then had to make new arrangements with a potential title feud between Brock Lesnar – who is a part-time champion right now – and Roman Reigns being put on hold because of Reigns being injured, this is an extremely difficult time for the company.

He is a 12-time world champion, holding the WWE Championship eight times and the World Heavyweight Championship four times, and was the final holder of the World Heavyweight Championship before it was unified with the WWE Championship to create the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

Orton is a third-generation professional wrestler; his grandfather Bob Orton, Sr., his father “Cowboy” Bob Orton, and his uncle Barry Orton all competed in the professional wrestling business. Before being promoted to the main World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) roster, Orton trained in and wrestled for Mid-Missouri Wrestling Association-Southern Illinois Conference Wrestling for a month. He was then sent to Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he held the OVW Hardcore Championship twice.

In the past, the WWE has had talent to step in and replace a spot in the lineup, but those days seem to be gone. There is plenty of talent in the mid-card division with Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, Damien Sandow, Cesaro and Sheamus, it almost seems like the WWE needs to make that part of the company a priority.

The company has done right with making Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins the center of attention at the upcoming pay-per-view, “Hell-in-a-Cell.” Rollins appears to be the new “anti-hero” the fans love in the mold of Steve Austin and then in CM Punk. Rollins has all the makings of another “Edge-type” of superstar.

So while McMahon begs Orton to work, and Orton stews over being disrespected, the WWE is still in a situation where the fans are waiting for something big to finally happen.

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Relaunching WCW: A Radical Way to Regain Southern Wrestling Fans

October 20, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

In the 1980’s and 90’s the WWF and WCW were not just two separate companies, they were two separate cultures. Comparing the in ring work of the WWF and WCW during the last great wrestling boom reveals a distinct difference in wrestling philosophy. The WWF has been for the past few decades a perfect example of the “sports entertainment” model of professional wrestling.

Matches are meant to convey a sense of grandeur and theatrics. Much of the current WWE fan base grew up watching only “sports entertainment” style matches. It is important that we do not forget that there was at one time another style of professional wrestling that enjoyed widespread popularity in America. What I am speaking of is the gritty Southern style wrestling that WCW once offered. Southern wrestling thrived by offering a much more organic and realistic approach to in ring competition. Southern wrestling is as distinct a style as Japanese wrestling or Lucha Libre, and it attracts a specific type of fan that more often than not has little interest in the sports entertainment style.

Many wrestling historians believe that the death of WCW led to an exodus of Southern wrestling fans from the sport altogether. These Southern fans were alienated by the product offered by the McMahons, and with no national alternative available the Southern wrestling fan simply quit following wrestling altogether. Evidence of this can be seen in the current lack of wrestling viewership as compared to the 80’s and 90’s. Wrestling is simply not as popular as it once was, and it is my belief that the reason for this is the death of Southern wrestling. There is an entire segment of the wrestling fan population that simply will not settle for anything but the Southern style. If the WWE wants to bring those fans back into the fold then they are going to have to create a business strategy that allows for both sports entertainment and Southern style creative platforms.

THE WCW BRAND

WWE has the capability to revitalize the current wrestling environment and surpass the viewership levels of the 80’s and 90’s, but it will require a radical new business model and massive change within the company. The WCW brand is synonymous with Southern wrestling and the popularity of the former #1 wrestling promotion in the world remains strong. All you have to do is look at the popularity of current crop of WCW dvds to see that there is a demand for the type of wrestling offered by the defunct promotion.

WWE has the power to attract the Southern wrestling fan once again. It is time to relaunch the WCW brand as an alternative to Monday Night RAW. A revitalized WCW could allow the WWE to expand their talent pool and offer a wider variety of in ring styles. RAW will remain the sports entertainment powerhouse that it has always been, and the new WCW will offer the Southern style wrestling that is so greatly missed by millions of fans. The WCW brand is money on the table for the WWE, they just have to make sure that past feelings about the brand do not get in the way of a successful relaunch.

HOW TO RELAUNCH WCW

A successful WCW relaunch must begin with a slimming down of current WWE programming. Friday Night Smackdown has become a shell of its former self and serves only as supplemental programming to RAW. For WCW to be rebuilt, Smackdown must be eliminated. In place of Smackdown the WWE should create a new programming platform for WCW. The death of Smackdown and the rebirth of WCW could be an amazing creative opportunity in terms of storylines and press campaigns. Such a drastic change in WWE programming would surely create a media storm that would instantly pique the interest of even the most jaded wrestling fan.

The establishment of the new WCW would have to be followed by a hardline brand split. WCW and RAW wrestlers should only appear on one another’s show on rare occasions. This will create a competitive environment wherein talent on each show will work to outdo each other. By creating their own competition, the WWE can expand their audience and motivate their talent without having to worry about losing money.

Of course for WCW to be a competitive brand it must offer in ring competition that differentiates itself from what is presented on RAW each week. It is not enough to just have exclusive performers, WCW must recapture the essence of Southern wrestling and attract the long lost Southern wrestling fan. Southern wrestling is still a popular style on the American independent scene. The talent required for a WCW relaunch is available, but the WWE cannot rely on their same standards of talent development if the new WCW is to succeed. The WWE must create an independent developmental and creative team to oversee the growth of the new WCW. If this independent team is not formed, the new WCW could fall victim to the same pitfalls that destroyed the relaunched ECW. The new WCW cannot be a different shade of sports entertainment, it has to be Southern wrestling to the core and it has to offer a truly alternative approach to both storylines and in ring work.

Imagine the possibilities of a relaunched WCW. The failings of the infamous Invasion angle could finally be corrected and the WWE could ignite the spark that sends us into the next boom period in professional wrestling. There is really nothing to lose and a whole lot of money to gain. Hopefully the WWE can see the true value of the WCW brand and give the fans a wider variety of programming that appeals to every segment of the wrestling fan population.

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