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WWE RAW Ultimate Warrior Tribute Video

April 15, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE RAW opened up RAW with a tribute to the Ultimate Warrior that will bring chills to even the most hardened of wrestling fans. The WWE are going to make sure that while the Warrior may be gone, he’ll never be forgotten.

The WWE Universe continues to mourn the untimely passing of the Ultimate Warrior. Vince McMahon and the company have done more to pay tribute to Jim Hellwig than any other wrestler that I can remember who has passed away since Vince took over the company. The RAW tribute was only a piece of a two week tribute ongoing in the WWE.

The WWE Network begun devoting programming to memorialize the Warrior the day of his passing. Warrior’s career highlight, beating Hulk Hogan for the WWE championship at WrestleMania 6 has been replayed several times in recent days. The WWE Network will continue its tribute presenting a four-part special on the Warrior throughout the week.

I have to say that the treatment and honor that Vince is paying the Warrior is nothing short of bizarre. I don’t know if it is Vince getting older or just timing but there is obviously a deep personal connection here he had with the Warrior. I say this is all bizarre because the two spent more time fighting with one another in and out of court over the last 20 years than Warrior actually spent wrestling in the WWE. Vince has shown more class here than he ever has which is just downright strange considering the turbulent history they both had.

If there is one negative that I will bring up with all of these tributes it is that Randy Savage deserved the same or better. Savage had a brief tribute on RAW after he passed away. It’s ironic if you think about it as Savage passed just as he started getting back into the spotlight with WWE gaming ads. The relationship with the WWE didn’t blossom the way Warrior’s return did but most expected that it wind up that way at some point. It’s certainly debatable but over the long haul I think Savage was a much bigger star and had a better run in the WWE than Warrior yet received nothing more than a polite mention. He deserved the same if not better.

That said, take a few minutes out of your day to watch this fantastic tribute to the fallen Hall of Famer. It’s one of the best tributes you will ever see on WWE television.

RIP Ultimate Warrior, WWE Icon Dead At 54

April 09, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The pro wrestling world woke up Wednesday to a shocker. Days after returning to the WWE and being inducted into the Hall of Fame, The Ultimate Warrior passed away leaving a wife and two children behind.

Where do you even begin? Triple H posted a tweet offering condolences to Warrior’s family and the floodgates opened. TMZ.com were first to report details on the tragedy. According to TMZ, Warrior collapsed outside of an Arizona hotel at 5:50 PM walking to the car with his wife. The WWE wished Warrior farewell on their website.

We are grateful that just days ago, Warrior had the opportunity to take his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame and was also able to appear at WrestleMania 30 and Monday Night Raw to address his legions of fans.

The timing of this is nothing less than bizarre. After being on the outs with the WWE for years, Warrior returned over the weekend first being inducted into the Hall of Fame, then appearing at WrestleMania 30, and later cutting a promo on RAW. One thing I should note is that I remember thinking that Warrior looked like he had some trouble on RAW while getting inside of the ring. Of course nobody could have predicted the next 24 hours for Hellwig.

Warrior at least had enough time to make amends with the WWE. I am sure that was a big deal for him. Warrior and Vince McMahon had been at odds in and out of court for years. Out of nowhere Warrior started appearing last year in WWE 2K14 ads and quickly thereafter Vince McMahon publicly welcomed Warrior back into the family. Several months later Warrior not only get inducted into the Hall of Fame but more importantly for him, he got a brand new DVD. The new WWE DVD gave him an opportunity to rebut the hatchet job the WWE did on him a couple of years back.

One of the big questions today is whether Warrior knew his time was up or this was an unfortunate random tragedy. A lot of fans and media are citing Warrior’s speech on RAW and the eerie coincidences that would surface a few days later.

No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own. Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life what makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am The Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever.

My first memories of Warrior as a wrestling fan were from Mid-South/UWF as one half of the Blade Runners. I was able to follow him next to World Class thanks to syndication. I thought he had a cool look but never anticipated how big of a star he would become. I do recall one of my friends had attended a WWE house show in Wildwood when Warrior came in. He wasn’t on television yet but he was doing live events. He was in one of the openers and my buddy remarked how great he was and how he thought he was going to be a future WWE champion.

I grew up in Warrior’s era so I have probably seen just about every match he had during that run and plenty live at the Philadelphia Spectrum. It’s funny because Warrior has a terrible reputation as a “working” but I think some people have fuzzy memories of that time period. It’s easy to rag on Warrior but when he had the right opponent he was very good. He had great matches with Curt Hennig, Rick Rude and a classic with Hulk Hogan. Expecting the same or more with Honkytonk Man and Andre the Giant is just unfair.

Yet it was his series with Randy Savage that was magical. Their SummerSlam and WrestleMania matches are classics. However, he had a house show series with Savage when Savage was WWE champion and Warrior was I-C champ that was fantastic. Savage had just started to turn heel and the crowd was red hot for this. The matches were all tremendous during this run.

Warrior is a polarizing guy among his peers. Most of his peers don’t like or respect him. Again I think he was unfairly criticized. For one, there is a ton of jealousy that come out in these shoot interviews. Two, he was one of the few who stood up to Vince McMahon and for that, he should be applauded. You can absolutely question his business tactics such as holding Vince up right before SummerSlam. I think we can all agree that was unprofessional. However, most of the guys in that era just went with the flow. A lot of them will proudly say they worked on handshake agreements with Vince. That is all well and good but you have to give Warrior some credit for standing up for what he thought was right and going toe to toe with the most powerful man in the business.

One of the things I do respect about Warrior is that he never seemed to look back. He came and went in the WWE but he wasn’t a guy out there hanging on. I think it was clear from the start that to Hellwig, this was a business. How many legends and icons have we seen in our lifetime hang on way too long in the wrestling business only to embarrass themselves past their primes? Almost every single one of those guys have taken shots at Warrior over the years. Maybe there is resentment in the fact that he had the willpower to walk away while they couldn’t?

An interesting thing I learned about Warrior lately is that he was negotiating to come back to the WWE before he went to WCW in 1998. It is interesting to think about how the Warrior would have done in 1998. The business had changed and the era Warrior represented was public enemy #1 by the Attitude Era fans. Could a Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Ultimate Warrior feud have worked or would it have been a car wreck? I can almost guarantee you that in 1998 that Vince McMahon and crew would have booked him better than WCW did.

I think if there is one thing we can take solace in it is that Warrior will be remembered by fans much differently than if he had not returned to RAW and the Hall of Fame. All of the talk leading up to the Hall of Fame was how crazy Warrior’s speech would be? Let’s be honest, he has said some wacky things over the last several years. Yet instead of a crazy, rambling speech cynics had hoped for, Warrior delivered an emotional, sincere, and eloquent thank you to the business, the fans, and the WWE. That is the last memory fans have of this pro wrestling icon.

In closing I can’t stress enough how much my heart goes out to his daughters. Like Warrior, I had children later in my life and one of the biggest fears I have is not being around to see their circle of life. I can’t imagine the heartbreak and sadness that his girls are waking up today after losing their daddy. He brought his family out at the Hall of Fame and was obviously a very proud family man. My condolences go out today to his family who have lost their warrior.

WWE: The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s

Wrestlemania 30 DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Mr. T Deserves Better For WWE Hall Of Fame Speech

April 06, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Anyone familiar with the history of The Ultimate Warrior was eagerly anticipating what kind of whacky, crazy speech Jim Hellwig would give at the WWE Hall of Fame. Yet it was a forgotten wrestling hero whose speech is making headlines.

Mr. T went into the WWE Hall of Fame Saturday night and gave the best speech you will ever hear from a celebrity entering the WWE Hall of Fame. T focused on his relationship with his mother and family which was fun, heartwarming, and inspirational. Yet the speech has become a polarizing subject in the wrestling community with most mocking the celebrity for his content. Ironically this same crowd thought it was funny for a pro wrestler with a history of alcohol problems to get up in the middle of a speech with a beer in his hand. And you wonder why pro wrestling fans are generally mocked outside of the business?

I thought T’s speech was not only the best celebrity induction speech I have ever heard at the WWE Hall of Fame, but one of the most genuine speeches I have ever heard from a celebrity accepting anything. I loved it for the fact that T obviously took the moment seriously, something you rarely get from celebs receiving the same honor. Ironically T is getting blasted for this whereas it was just last year that Donald Trump got criticized for not taking it seriously enough. You can’t have it both ways.

Not only should T’s speech be appreciated, but T deserves much better from the wrestling world. This may rattle some of you but the fact is this. If not for Mr. T participating in WrestleMania 1, there would probably not have been a WrestleMania, nor would pro wrestling have exploded the way it did in 1984. Every single WWE star and fan owes this man a great deal of gratitude, much better than the reaction he is receiving today.

Let’s step back for a second and think about WrestleMania without Mr. T. Would MTV have cared? Maybe they would have due to Cyndi Lauper’s involvement or maybe she would not have been enough to lure in the network? I was a fan at this time and all I remember is seeing Mr. T and Hulk Hogan on every talk show you could imagine. I can’t remember seeing Cyndi Lauper on one of them. Take Mr. T out of the equation and the media buzz disappears and you are left with just another wrestling super card.

This is not meant to be a sign of disrespect to the roster of WWE wrestlers who helped make this show possible. Roddy Piper was the greatest big time heel I have ever seen. He could have drawn money with anyone back then. Hulk Hogan had the charisma and a connection with the fans not seen since the days of Bruno Sammartino. Yet the two of them could only draw so much without a boost from popular culture. These guys needed Mr. T much more than he needed them.

Sending Kane out to cut Mr. T off was ridiculous. I know this is a television production but if there is anyone that Vince McMahon should allow to speak for as much as they want it is Mr. T. Sending Kane out there was not necessarily disrespectful. Sending Kane out with his music and turning T’s moment into some kind of a wrestling angle was disrespectful in my opinion. Especially in the midst of one of the classiest speeches ever given at a Hall of Fame induction.

So while it may be cool and fun to mock Mr. T today for talking about his family and offering inspiring words to an unwilling audience, it just isn’t deserved or fair. I wish more people took the WWE Hall of Fame as seriously as Mr. T did. For that I believe he deserves to be praised, appreciated, and respected. He deserves much better for his contributions and it is disappointing that most fans refuse to give him the proper credit he deserves.

WWE: The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s

Wrestlemania 30 DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Happy Anniversary WrestleMania I

March 31, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

29 years ago today history was made as the first WWE WrestleMania was held in Madison Square Garden. Vince McMahon mortgaged his home and his business in a gamble that has made him a billionaire 29 years later.

It is fascinating to look back at that time, card, and state of the business today and reflect on how different things were back then. The glamorous television full of pyrotechnics and special effects used today to build up Mania didn’t exist nor did the global machine known today as World Wrestling Entertainment. Public demand was different, the wrestling was different, but the man behind the vision executed a master plan that changed the industry forever.

There are two people that don’t get enough credit for the success of the first Mania in my opinion. Cyndi Lauper and Mr. T are probably more responsible for the success of the event than anyone on the card including Hulk Hogan. T and Lauper helped the WWE crossover into popular culture garnering media attention from global outlets and daily coverage on MTV. Without those two celebrities I doubt MTV or anyone else outside of the northeast pro wrestling audience would have cared.

It is fun to bash Hogan in 2014 but I can’t imagine anyone else as the captain of the WWE ship at this time. The audience Vince was trying to market to wouldn’t have gravitated to anyone else in the industry at this time the way they did Hogan. Dusty Rhodes claims in his book that he was offered Hogan’s spot before Hogan. I won’t call the Dream a liar but if that were true I don’t think the WWE or Mania would have taken off the way it did in 1985.

Every good hero needs a diabolical villain and there was none better than Roddy Piper. Take a look around the industry back then and try and come up with someone better for this role. The preamble to WrestleMania, the “War to Settle the Score” featured Hogan vs. Piper and aired on MTV. The event did a gigantic 9.1 rating. Could Hogan or Piper have done that kind of rating on MTV with anyone else? Would MTV have given the WWE that slot if it were a different match? I think the answer to both questions is a resounding no.

I remember as a kid sneaking out to turn on the television for the 11PM news to find out what happened at the show. Channel 11 out of New York ran teasers about the story and while I was supposed to be fast asleep for school, I couldn’t sit still. I was so pumped for the results that I couldn’t sit still. With my parents asleep I slowly turned on the news and waited patiently for a story that lasted all of about 45 seconds.

The event itself wasn’t even that good. In the annuls of WrestleMania history there are no matches from the show that crack a top 10 or maybe even top 20 of greatest Mania matches ever. The main-event was great from an intensity standpoint but otherwise was pretty dull compared to most of Hogan and Piper’s matches back then. Yet ironically it didn’t matter. The fans saw what they paid to see and they had a great time from opening bell to the end of the night. The New York crowd popped for everything and enjoyed their part in wrestling history.

I had the chance to talk to Paul Orndorff a few years back on the impact of WrestleMania. I asked Mr. Wonderful if he was surprised at how big Mania has become?

“Well you know Bill Watts had that same vision when he ran the Super Dome, and I was in the main-event of two of those and worked with Bruiser Brody and I can’t think of the other go. That’s got to mean something when you are in the first WrestleMania, out of all of the people there that they could have picked. I was one of them, and that’s who they wanted in it. Then well I don’t need to get into this thing you know, the belt. The belt, you know I should have had that belt. There’s no doubt about it.”

Orndorff’s partner Roddy Piper recently revealed on Steve Austin’s podcast the pressure he had going into WrestleMania.

“Vince’s house, he put his house up (for WrestleMania). Here’s something that I never circled around much here. Hey, there was a responsibility on my shoulders and everybody else. Orndorff, Hoga, Orton, they were all great. But I’ve got a guy that’s putting his house up? That means something to me, I’ve got to make this work. Sometimes I don’t think Vince realizes what we had to do to make that work. It was really difficult.”

The booking of WrestleMania was much different than how the event is booked today.  A deeper look at the booking reveals a much different strategy in 1985. It was obvious that certain matches weren’t given away in the interest of house show business. Greg Valentine vs. Junkyard Dog for the intercontinental title is a perfect example of this. The big feud at the time was Tito Santana vs. Greg Valentine and yet Santana was in the opening match. Volkoff and Sheik beating Windham and Rotunda was set up for the house shows. Even the finish of the main-event was booked to set up house shows with Paul Orndorff turning to headline vs. Roddy Piper and later team with Hogan on house shows to wrestle Orton and Piper. Today everything is booked to culminate at WrestleMania. In 1985 the emphasis was still on house shows.

Mr. T will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame which is certainly fitting. Yet as much of a hero as he was in participating in the event, he almost ruined it. It is well documented that T had cold feet and there was a legitimate fear that he wouldn’t show up. Imagine what would have happened if he didn’t? The fans already purchased the event but what would have happened moving forward?

It is truly amazing to see what WrestleMania has become in 2014. It has become so big that the WWE won’t even consider an arena hosting the event. It is now a stadium show filled with special effects, numerous guest stars and celebrities, and a gigantic revenue generator for host cities. Seeing a celebrity at WrestleMania is no longer special which is ironic since that is what made it so special in the first place.

Vince McMahon certainly wasn’t the first promoter to book a super card. He wasn’t even the first promoter to book a show on closed circuit television around the country. His own father did it with Inoki vs. Ali. Yet the timing and right mix of celebrity and hype elevated WrestleMania into popular culture which is something no promoter had done in decades.

For that love him or hate him, you have to admire the guts he had to undertake this massive gamble. Slowly the territories gave way for the WWE and he turned this investment into a billion dollar operation. That wasn’t by accident. The fact that we are here 29 years later a week from the next WrestleMania event is truly something to celebrate. Happy anniversary WrestleMania I!

WWE: The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s

Wrestlemania 30 DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Zack Ryder’s Last ReZort and What It Could Mean for his Future in WWE

March 12, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE’s Zack Ryder is back on his YouTube channel with a new series called “Zack Ryder’s Last ReZort.” In the first episode of the series, Ryder discusses joining WWE and how his dream to become a professional wrestler has turned into a nightmare. It’s a bold move by Ryder, but I respect his decision to give his dream one last chance.

Ryder’s previous series, Z! True Long Island Story, propelled his status in WWE and among wrestling fans all over the Internet. Ryder created the series on his own and created a huge following of fans that wanted to see the Z-Man pushed in WWE. Unfortunately, management didn’t see Ryder as a main event caliber star. His push went as far as becoming WWE United States Champion. While that is a nice prize to achieve in the WWE, Ryder certainly has higher goals in mind.

After watching Ryder’s new series, I thought this was a great idea, but another thought came to mind. Is it better to risk one’s job and make an Internet show about the lack of a push one receives or should one accept his role as a jobber?

Take the Brooklyn Brawler for example. Last year, I listened to the Brawler on Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast. The Brawler discussed his role as a permanent enhancement talent. He basically said he saw his role as paying his dues and he didn’t really care whether or not he was winning.

Are wrestlers like Zack Ryder, JTG, Dolph Ziggler and others right or wrong to voice their displeasure with their status in WWE?

The answer is neither. There is no right or wrong. Everyone approaches the situation differently. There are plenty of wrestlers who have never publicly complained about their status. Yet, it’s understandable when wrestlers do complain.

Ryder may be hoping his latest attempt will result in a similar, if not bigger push than last time. While his last series didn’t push him to the main event of WrestleMania, it did push him to more relevancies in the WWE. In fact, his latest attempt could put him next to Daniel Bryan in the storylines.

Think about it. Bryan’s current storyline is that the Authority is keeping him down. He is never treated properly or given the respect and push he deserves. Ryder should join the Yes Movement and force the Authority to treat them better. Just like Ryder, Bryan created his own following of fans. Bryan created the Yes Movement. WWE didn’t. Ryder created his own Revolution. It’s time for the Ryder Revolution and Yes Movement to join forces. Triple H may be able to keep one man down, but what happens when he has to deal with the YES Revolutionary Army?

If Ryder’s latest attempt were to fail once again, should he leave or take the Brooklyn Brawler’s approach to his role? Again, there is no right or wrong answer, as long as whatever decision he makes ultimately keeps him WOO WOO WOOing all day and all night long.

What are your thoughts on Zack Ryder’s latest YouTube Series? What does it mean for his future in WWE? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Seth Guttenplan is the owner of GuTTWrenchPowerBlog and WWE blogger for ProWrestlingPowerhouse.com. When Seth is not writing about wrestling, he is a Special Education teacher in New Jersey. To read more from Seth, follow him on twitter (@sethmikey) and visit http://guttwrenchpowerblog.com

Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection DVD

WWE: The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s

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Daniel Bryan Added To WWE WrestleMania 30 Main-Event

March 11, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Yes movement made a huge leap on WWE RAW Monday night. After months of pushback the WWE has finally embraced movement. Daniel Bryan will get the biggest Mania push in years wrestling in not just 1, but two Mania main-events.

Daniel Bryan will indeed get his match with Triple H as most expected. A match that mind you that wasn’t even planned. CM Punk was booked for the spot but walked out because he reportedly did not think the match was big enough. I have always thought the match made more sense for Bryan anyway. After a couple of weeks of challenges, Triple H officially accepted the match…but it didn’t end there.

Bryan wasn’t satisfied with a match with Triple H (at least he didn’t walk out). Bryan proceeded to tell Hunter that the fans want to see him in a championship match and wants in the Mania WWE world title match. Hunter became enraged but accepted a scenario in which Bryan would get into the top spot against Randy Orton and Batista if he can beat HHH earlier in the card. The entire RAW segment was one of the highlights of the year.

It was easy to criticize the WWE for their handling of Daniel Bryan and quite frankly it was well deserved. That said I applaud their decision to seize opportunity and go with the hot hand on their biggest show of the year. In just a few weeks Bryan has gone from being booked in a throwaway match with Sheamus to two of the biggest matches of the year.

I haven’t seen this reported or speculated anywhere so let me throw this out there. What about Shawn Michaels as special guest referee for the match? There is plenty of drama and a Bryan win would be even bigger with the odds stacked against him. I could easily see a scenario where Michaels referees the match and winds up turning on Hunter to give Bryan a tainted win that the WWE can run with for a few months.

Here is a wild card and while I hate fantasy booking, I will suggest another scenario. Stone Cold Steve Austin has said several times on his podcast that he’d listen to an offer to do WrestleMania but nobody has called him. What about Austin as a referee or a dual referee situation with Michaels? Giving Austin that seal of approval from someone like Austin could go a long way in building Bryan for the future. Tell me you wouldn’t want to see Austin out there cutting promos with Bryan on Stephanie and Trips?

I think there is a 100% chance that Bryan goes over on Hunter but I am not entirely convinced that he wins the title. The one question I have is what Batista agreed to upon returning. Was he promised the WWE world title at WrestleMania? Was it part of his contract? That said I don’t think they go this far with Bryan not to have him win. I just wonder if it is as much of a given as most expect that it is.

I think this is the first case we are seeing where the WWE Network is going to impact booking. In the past there would be so much fear about buyrates that you’d never see the WWE take this big of a risk on a guy they didn’t believe in at WrestleMania. Today the buyrates really don’t matter and as long as ratings don’t decline, there is no reason not to try this. WWE can now experiment with hot hands without the added pressure of the buyrate, especially the Mania buyrate.

Between Punk leaving and the new WWE business model timing is certainly everything for Daniel Bryan isn’t it?

Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection DVD

WWE: The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s

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WWE NXT Arrival Was The Best Show In Years

February 28, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

I wrote a blog last night criticizing the WWE decision to heavily promote NXT on the WWE Network. While I still stand by the fundamental idea of the blog I will admit one thing. NXT Arrival was the best WWE show I have seen in years.

I can’t recall a time in recent memory where I have watched a show like NXT Arrival and marked out as heavily as I did. Quite honestly it was probably back when I was calling matches on the independent wrestling scene for CZW or the first couple of Ring of Honor shows. Nothing I have seen since then has had the energy, passion, and fun-factor of NXT Arrival.

Let me make something clear. I don’t think that the WWE could ever survive in its current model by producing an in-ring product like NXT Arrival on a week-to-week basis. I get the fact that this is something that appeals more to a hardcore fan base and the business of WWE is family and entertainment. But damned this was one hell of a show!

Going back to my Pro Wrestling Radio show that I used to broadcast on terrestrial radio, I would say weekly how TNA needed to develop this kind of product. I always thought that while the WWE couldn’t run a business like this, there was a secondary market for it. WCW had the right idea with cruiserweights until Eric Bischoff ruined it. I admitted then and will admit now that it would take a little time to get the style over but this is the kind of alternative that should be offered to the WWE. Now it’s offered by the WWE.

I think that the WWE could mix some of this style into their current product. There is no reason a Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro match couldn’t take place on a pay-per-view, SmackDown, or RAW. Quite frankly I see no reason that this match shouldn’t be booked on WrestleMania. Fans are now educated to the rival and they could back and watch their previous matches on the Network. The only reason that this match shouldn’t take place on Mania is that it would blow everything else out of the water. Otherwise I see no reason this match can’t be booked on Mania.

Could this style work at the top? Anything is possible. Tastes were changed slowly as Vince McMahon went with Bret Hart in the early 1990s after close to a decade of muscular monsters with little emphasis on ring-work. I think the business model is different and you need that cartoon-aspect to the business today a lot more than you did in the 80s. That said, it would be an interesting experiment to put the title on Cesaro and allow him to have matches like this on top. Heck with pay-per-views going to the Network, why not try something different?

My biggest concern is that by exposing NXT to the entire WWE Universe you are not giving these kids time to learn and develop their characters and style. I stand by that. As spectacular as the show was, the WWE are now boxed into corners with everyone on the show. How do you take a guy like Adrian Nevelle or Zayn, bring them up, and give them completely different gimmicks? You can but it won’t work. The anonymity is lost and thus multiple opportunities will be missing for these talents.

I also want to go out of my way to praise Cesaro. What other full-time WWE star would go down to the developmental company and work such a hard match a month before WrestleMania? I can’t think of many guys on the roster who would do that. There is also the mentality of an established star giving so much to a developmental star is not good for business. Cesaro is a pro and his selfless performance against Zayn is one of the most commendable I have ever seen.

Regardless of the future I just wanted to write a blog applauding NXT Arrival. I haven’t had that much fun watching a wrestling show in years. For those of you that complain about the WWE product, John Cena, TNA or want something different, this is your show. Pandora’s box is officially open and while I disagree with it, I will certainly enjoy every second of it.

Ultimate Warrior: The Ultimate Collection DVD

WWE: The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s

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Ric Flair Is Bout That Life

February 11, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s funny just how Ric Flair’s wrestling persona mirrors a rapper’s guise.  His NWA/WCW days were all about what he had, how he has it, the women he gets, and how great he is.  Doesn’t that sound like 50 Cent, Kanye West, or DJ Khalid (who has a label called We The Best)?  Rappers always say that they are using their songs to mimic the things they have seen throughout their lives and in their particular neighborhoods, but could it be true that everyone is just copying the original gangster known as Ric Flair?

Hip-hip didn’t come around until the 80’s, and at first started out as the foundation for break dancing.  It has now morphed into a “Look At Me” center for egotism.  A lot of people get disgusted when this behavior is portrayed by rappers, but the same behavior is applauded when done correctly by a sports entertainer.  That is one of the hidden gems of professional wrestling:  Egregious behavior is beautiful when done correctly.  No one has ever done self-aggrandizing better than Flair.

This leads me to my greatest evidence that Flair’s wrestling character is no different from a modern-day hip hop artist.  On September 17, 2013 the Rick Ross-led Maybach Music Group released the album, ‘Self Made Vol. 3’.  The beginning of the song Bout That Life (by Meek Mill feat. French Montana, K Kutta, Torch & Iceberg), Flair can be heard spouting a familiar, yet never boring promo shtick…

It’s so hard for me to sit back here, in this studio,

Looking at a guy out here hollering my name

When last year I spent more money on spilt liquor

In bars from one side of this world to the other, than you made

You’re talking to the Rolex wearing, diamond ring wearing, kid stealing (WOO!)

Wheeling dealing, Limousine riding, Jet Flying, son of a gun

And I’m having a hard time holding these alligators down…

LOL!!  How great is Ric Flair?  The only thing missing there was his infamous comment about Space Mountain.  Sometimes, printed word can’t do the type of justice that video can, so I have included this promo for your viewing pleasure.  (The actual words used in this song starts around the 1:34 mark.)

I know this is just a continuation of the same spiel his been spewing throughout his career but so what!  It’s amazing!  This particular passage fits perfectly with this rap song.  I mean, Flair is simply playing a character, but in reality most rappers are too.  You don’t even have to love this music genre to enjoy this particular song.  I personally enjoy just listening to Flair’s opening a dozen times and just moving on to the next song.

There has been a lot of Flair news lately:  He kicked off WWE’s Old School Raw, was in the middle of a 49ers/Panthers NFL controversy, and had a contempt of court outstanding warrant in North Carolina.  According to FOX Sports, Flair has received death threats because of his pregame speech to the San Francisco 49ers.  It’s been a rough couple of weeks for the Nature Boy, but that’s just the way life goes when you are a wrestling icon with the charisma of Liberace, Bill Clinton, and Snoop Dogg (or Snoop Lion, whatever he is calling himself these days) combined.

In truth, I have no real reason for writing this post other than I love hearing and watching Ric Flair promos.  I loved what Maybach Music did with Flair’s promo.  It is properly placed and effectively accentuates the point of a song that otherwise would have no real unique characteristics.

In the video below Flair explains where some of his promo and wrestling persona stuff actually comes from; it’s sports entertainment gold…

WWE: The Ultimate Ric Flair Collection

WWE: The Greatest Wrestling Stars of the ’80s

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The Emma WWE Debut Quandary

February 05, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Monday Night’s Raw saw the first in ring acknowledgement of Emma, a newly called up female wrestler from NXT. From her first glimpse on the show, you might have already dismissed her. If you have, I would implore you not to.

Emma is the first female talent that I think has the potential to not only be a money maker, but the new female face of the company. She’s that good. But you’d never know it by what you saw on Raw last night.

Allow me to start from the beginning.

In the summer of last year, I grew tired of Raw and SmackDown and wanted to shake up my weekly wrestling experience. After hearing endless praise about NXT, I decided to give the show a shot. NXT introduced me to Emma, and at first I didn’t like her.

But, time is a funny thing. As I kept watching NXT, Emma kept getting better and doing amazing things. She wrestled, did backstage promos, got an Austin style stare down with her main rival Paige, and wrestled Paige in one of the top 3 WWE women’s matches that you never saw. Emma has a lengthy history on TV and has consistently held her own as a believable, bankable talent. She should absolutely be where she is now, without question.

But as much as Emma grew on me, deep down inside, I couldn’t shake a feeling of fear.

As a long time wrestling fan, I know what WWE women are. They are (collectively): Hoeskis, mean girls, girls who are jealous, stupid, fat, crazy, and Natalya.

Unlike on Raw, NXT’s women are diverse in personality and provide a large chunk of entertainment, on each week’s show. The differences between Raw and NXT women put a bright spotlight on WWE’s backward mentality toward female characters. Meaning that if used the right way they can be a great asset. But, that’s another rant for another day.

I knew that Emma would have some hurdles to climb once she made the main roster, but I chose to believe that Emma could overcome naysayers with a strong debut.

From the moment we saw shots of Emma in the audience holding signs, I feared trouble. But I still held on to hope. Maybe we could get a backstage segment with Renee allowing her being adorable and that would be enough, right?

That, sadly, is not what happened. WWE did the opposite of that. I’m assuming we all saw the show last night, so I’ll skip a detailed explanation of what happened. All I can say is once I saw the words ‘stupid’ and ‘not another dance off!’ pop up on my Twitter timeline, I just about died.

WWE, I have something to say to you. Emma should not be used only as filler. She’s capable of much greater things than awkwardly dancing after a Great Khali match. If you, WWE, let Emma be Emma, she will be granting wishes and pushing merchandise in no time.

Monday night was not the best start, WWE. She’s not irrevocably broken, but pairing her with Santino is starting down that road. Last night’s introduction to Emma was underwhelming, but it’s not to late to make rectify this error.

Take it from me. Emma has a bright future in this company. She’s unique, beautiful and completely original. Letting her be herself will take her far.

But, WWE, if you continue cutting out Emma’s legs from under her, she’ll be predictable, stereotypical, and tea partying with Santino in no time.

Shanna Harris has been watching wrestling for over 10 years. She loves women’s wrestling, NXT, and live tweeting wrestling shows. Her many wrestling commentaries can be found at Absolutesmark.wordpress.com, and her 140 character rants can be read at @AbsoluteSmark

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