Sting is now signed with the WWE but we have yet to hear of any concrete reports indicating plans for the former WCW and TNA star’s first match. The latest WWE Inbox video features several WWE stars are stepping up to the plate and revealing what they would do to get a one-on-one match with Sting.
This is a fun video which both promotes the brand-new WWE 2K15 video game and also promotes the impending debut of arguably the most anticipated star in years, Sting. The new video on the WWE YouTube channel features several WWE stars telling the world what they would do to get an opportunity to welcome Sting to a WWE ring.
Curtis Axel - “What would I do to get a match with Sting?” Curtis Axel asked. “I don’t know, I’d probably go up to Sting and say, ‘Hey man, wanna have a match?’ And he’d probably say yes. But if he said no, I’d walk up to Triple H’s door, knock on it, and I’d say, ‘Hey, Triple H, Sting wants to have a match with Curtis Axel. I’ve already talked to him. He agrees with it, so book it.'”
Adam Rose - “I don’t know, I’d probably be staring across the ring saying to myself, ‘Oh my goodness that’s Sting over there isn’t it?'” Adam Rose said. “I’d be torn, I’d be like, ‘Oh that’s Sting, but I gotta fight him. What do I do?”
The Miz - “It’s not what I would do for a match with Sting, it’s what would Sting do to have a match with me,” The Miz said.
Dolph Ziggler - “I know what I would do for a Klondike bar. I would be honored obviously. [I’m] a huge fan of wrestling all my entire life. Sting is this icon and especially if it was his first ever WWE match, do you think anyone would be able to go toe-to-toe and have that man look like the million bucks that he is other than myself?”
Check out the video and some really cool clips of Sting in WWE2K15 to see more.
El Patron, the former Alberto Del Rio continues to make headlines. Patron made his first US post-WWE appearance over the weekend at a House of Hardcore show and according to the former WWE star, you can expect to see a lot more of him in the United States real soon.
Patron made his first U.S. appearance this past weekend only a week after receiving a full release from his WWE contract. Prior to the release, Patron was barred from appearing on any pro wrestling shows in the United States for one year. Patron and the WWE settled, lifting that stipulation and opening up the door for some big things here in the States.
Patron talked to Bill Apter on the Apter Chat where they talked about his future. Patron gave a quick interview and told Apter that he will be signing deals with two pro wrestling companies in the United States. Patron revealed that both company have television and the deals will be signed in January.
This immediately set the Internet on fire with several reports concluding that Patron was signing with TNA Wrestling. The speculation would seem to make sense. TNA is expected to sign a new deal imminently with Destination America. However, TNA may not be the only game in town from what I hear.
It is just as possible that Patron will be signing with Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling. Jarrett is looking for a television deal and looking to make a splash. Now I am not really sure what Jarrett has to offer at the moment without a TV deal. However, I have heard rumblings that it is actually Jarrett’s GCW that is expected to land Patron and not TNA.
Patron is also expected to sign with the Lucha Underground promotion. That was expected from the start, some even speculating that before he left the WWE. Patron will appear on their U.S. television sometime next year. He is expected to be the centerpiece of the promotion, along with Rey Mysterio if Rey can get out of his WWE deal.
Check out the interview with the legendary Bill Apter and brace yourself for a heavy dose of El Patron in 2015.
The blindly-devoted WWE fan and the ‘things were better back in xxxx’ gallery of cynics seem to find consensus on one thing: Michael Cole is awful. Tragically for our ears, he’s meant to be awful, because his strings are pulled through the earholes of his headset by Vince McMahon, whose modern-day ailing of paranoia-breeds-control-freakism would make Richard Nixon shake his head.
The list of Cole’s annoying quirks is plentiful, from gun-to-his-head product shilling with all of the faux enthusiasm of a car salesman hawking invisible rust inhibitor, to wooden, almost-disinterested match calls that make him sound like Joe Buck calling a football game while responding to text messages at the same time. These problems seem to stem more from the man in his ear than the voice in his heart, but that seems to be the other problem: Cole lacks heart. For the numbers on his paycheck, and his lack of wrestling experience outside of WWE’s partition, he’s never going to question McMahon.
The fact that Jim Ross’ blogs, mere written words on a plethora of subjects, amplify louder and resonate more than Cole’s robotically-strung-together bowls of word soup makes it a crime that Ross was shunted down so far in favor of Cole in the first place. It’s most likely that passion of Ross’ that clashes with the sterilized outlook of corporate McMahon, which makes Cole Vince’s preferred avatar: no questions, all obedience. Ross clashed with McMahon numerous times when they shared the office, and likely Ross would defer to his own instincts in the booth.
The irony is that with Cole entrenched as the crony-ized ‘Voice of WWE’, it’s his duty to overpromote the very WWE Network in which the most desirable content is a virtual video-history of North-American wrestling’s last thirty to forty years. A sizable chunk of that retro content has Jim Ross in the soundtrack, screaming through fiery breaths the names of Ric Flair, Steve Austin, Sting, and Mick Foley, among scores of other classical heroes and monsters. His folksy demeanor plays like an acoustic guitar when telling stories, but wails with thrash-guitar forte when the action calls for it.
The demotion, and attempted devaluing through humiliating storylines, of Ross has had zero payoff in six years, unless you count Cole’s gallant attempt to be a snarky hybrid of Andy Kaufman and Jimmy Hart in 2011 (credit where its due, Cole made a wonderfully punchable villain).
Regardless, Michael Cole is indeed the voice of a generation; a generation that parrots the unrelated press release when prodded by legitimate and thoughtful questions.
Jim Ross is the wrestling fan’s uncle. No matter how much Cole, via McMahon, has worked to undercut him with pointless tales of ‘anal bleeding’ and awful battle raps, his journalist’s gravitas melds with the humble historian to be an authentic, believable voice, one that doesn’t extinguish easily.
Even while playing the salesman seated ringside, the onus being on him to sell you on the matches and pay-per-views, Jim Ross maintained an integrity that outsized the sometimes-poor product he had to sell. If Ross were TNA’s voice, you might willingly pay cash while Ross wheels the Orlando dumpster fire up your driveway.
I’ve never actively watched a live New Japan event in my life unless you count Starrcade 1995’s World Cup of Wrestling. In conjunction with Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, an American airing of WrestleKingdom IX on Sunday, January 4 will pretty much be allowed access to my wallet.
This will be the first time I ever purchase a wrestling event on the primary basis of who’s calling the action.
This isn’t to disrespect any of the actual combatants on the card. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada’s duel for IWGP Heavyweight Title can probably be assigned a five-star rating seven weeks in advance, and New Japan as a whole generally delivers from the discriminatory “workrate” standpoint. The event doesn’t need Jim Ross to be enjoyable.
But there’s that something extra that Ross adds, namely a bridge between an exotic, non-standard (in America) product and the American consumer. I’m not alone; viewers of a YouTube video weaving Ross into the WrestleKingdom lure are pledging to see the show because of Ross’ involvement. Fans from the UK and elsewhere abroad are tweeting Jeff Jarrett, desperately asking if the event will be available in their homelands. A jovial “Double J” is promising to make those announcements in a few weeks; he already delivered on the JR announcement, so he’s rungs above Dixie Carter’s mismanaged futility from the word ‘go’.
A lot could change in the next month and a half. Maybe the giddy voices that excitedly say they’re ordering the show will forget about GFW, New Japan, and thus Ross’ return to the booth. Could certainly happen; wrestling fans tend to be an ADD-riddled lot (I say this with love and respect). For the time being, the news of Ross’ involvement has sparked all of this hoopla, all of it needed by a company like GFW whose business model still looks like a barely-kneaded ball of clay from the outside.
In 2002, TNA sprung up as a low-rent ‘national’ stand-in for the deceased WCW, essentially promising an ‘alternative’ to a slowing-down, increasingly-stale WWE. That was twelve years ago, with WWE holding off the charge only half-heartedly. There were times in 2003, as well as a strong run from 2005-08, where TNA was a viable, enjoyable product. And yet, something was missing to keep it from really threatening WWE, who half-assedly churned out a lather, rinse, repeat product, while using the other cheek to press the ‘rely on our library of nostalgia’ button.
There’s no guarantee that Global Force Wrestling could ever surpass what TNA has accomplished (yes, said without sarcasm) in their lifetime, or if they will ever push WWE in any meaningful way. A new venture versus a time-tested establishment favors the reigning the champion, but there’s no harm in checking out a product of tomorrow.
Especially when they’re bringing back a key element from yesterday that everyone seems to miss.
It didn’t take long for the superstar formerly known as Alberto Del Rio to exercise his right to appear on pro wrestling events in the United States. El Patron made a surprise appearance Saturday night and blew the roof off of the House of Hardcore.
Patron (Del Rio’s new working name) made an unannounced appearance Saturday night at Tommy Dreamer’s House of Hardcore show. The show took place in Philadelphia at the old ECW Arena and in ECW-fashion, was full of surprises. Dreamer and company promised surprises to make up for a slew of injuries that marred the event. Yet Patron was arguably the biggest of the show.
A fan-filmed video captured the moment as you can see below. The segment played out with Patron’s ring announcer Ricardo Rodriguez coming out after the former Curt Hawkins lost to Christian York. Ricardo cut a promo and then introduced Patron in clever fashion by rolling out the Alberto and letting the fans complete the intro. Del Rio then appeared to one of the biggest reactions you will ever hear on a pro wrestling event in 2014.
My old friend Rob Feinstein who works with the event commented that Patron was super jacked up about the appearance. Patron told Feinstein that it was the most fun he had in a locker room in a long time and was blown away by the reception he received from the crowd in Philadelphia. I would assume that the appearance will lead to something in-ring down the line for Dreamer’s company.
The appearance comes a week after it was announced that Patron and the WWE had come to terms on a settlement. Patron was fired from the company in August for slapping an employee who made a racist joke about Del Rio. The WWE believed that their contract with Patron prohibited him from appearing on any pro wrestling shows in the United States for a year. That contract was settled last week allowing Patron to appear and wrestle wherever he wants. His first U.S. stop was appropriately in Philadelphia at that old Bingo Hall.
I have a couple of takeaways after talking to people who were there and watching the video. My first thought is that this crowd that loved Patron were probably the same ones who criticized him on social media during his WWE tenure. It’s funny how quickly he becomes beloved by his same critics. That said, no matter what you thought of him as a WWE star, the reasons behind his departure make him one of the most sympathetic figures in the business right now. I could have guessed that the fans would welcome him but I never imagined that the fans would react as loud as they did.
The other is how nice it is to see a pro wrestling event with passion. Take WrestleMania out of the equation and I can’t tell you the last time I saw a WWE crowd exhibit that kind of passion. I guess you could say that Daniel Bryan inspired that kind of passion last winter-Mania at live events, but that seems so long ago. What this video tells me is that there is still a market out there for a “cool” wrestling product and there are still fans willing to pay to see it.
TNA is the first company that comes to mind as a company that really blew it and could have promoted differently to take advantage of this. Ring of Honor has the in-ring but they don’t have enough recognizable faces to attract these fans. I would love to see what Dreamer’s House of Hardcore could do with a television deal. The base is hungry, someone just needs to serve them the right meal.
Regardless, I think this video is a lot of fun and it is great to see Patron *(and Rodriguez together) back in a U.S. wrestling ring.
The latest installment from the WWE’s love affair with its favorite period is the Attitude Era Vol. 2 3-disc DVD set. The new set features a collection of matches and moments from 1997-2000 featuring Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock, De-Generation-X and more.
This new collection is a great companion to the original Attitude Era collection put out in 2012. The first collection gave you great, yet obvious vignettes, stories, and bouts that you probably have seen dozens of times or already own on several DVDs. What makes this collection so good is that it features a lot of great memories you probably either have forgotten or may have missed altogether, including some real gems.
The collection is a reminder of how much fun, yet goofy that era was. Chris Jericho recently criticized the era saying that there were a lot of stupid angles that people seem to dismiss. He’s right but what made the era so special were the matches, most specifically the atmosphere. Every crowd was hot which brought an exciting dynamic to almost every match from the era. It really gives you an appreciation for how hot the fans were during that time period.
I won’t run through the entire three discs but I do want to single out a few highlights in the set. Of course Stone Cold Steve Austin is a highlight alone. Seeing Austin at the height of his popularity in and out of the ring is a real reminder to how much fun it was to watch WWE during Austin’s era. No matter what he did, who he wrestled, or what he said, seeing Austin on television was can’t-miss TV. Austin is definitely the star of this set.
There is a lot more focus on the mid-under card in this set than the pervious. You get a lot of Val Venis, New Age Outlaws, X-Pac, Lita, etc. which isn’t a knock at all. The beauty of the era was that everyone and everything was over. The crowd adds to the excitement which make these undercard matches more exciting and intense than the majority of main-events you see in today’s WWE.
Some gems include a Lumberjack Match from RAW between Steve Austin and The Rock which I completely forgot about, a mixed tag-team match with Triple H and Trish Stratus vs. Rock and Lita, Rock and Lita vs. Kurt Angle and Stephanie McMahon, Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko from Heat, the very first Austin vs. McMahon match, and a fun Owen Hart vs. Shawn Michaels match from RAW. If you like The Rock you are in for a treat as you get a lot of rare matches from the Great One in the collection.
Overall it’s a great set and the time went by fast from DVD to DVD. For us that lived through this era, there are moments you will be reminded of that bring smiles back to your faces. For those of you who are new to the era, you will be blown away by how different the WWE was fifteen years ago and how much more exciting RAW was in 1999 and 2000 than it is in 2014. It’s not a knock on the company, just a reality and a sign of the times. I’d highly recommend the set. Make sure you put a few hours aside when you get it because once you start watching it you aren’t going to want to stop.
Miss Slammy Swimsuit Competition
Sunny vs. Sable vs. Marlena vs. The Funkettes
Slammy Awards * March 16, 1997
Owen Hart vs. Shawn Michaels
RAW * December 29, 1997
Bad Ass Dad
New Age Outlaws vs. Cactus Jack & Chainsaw Charlie
RAW * January 26, 1998
Intercontinental Championship Match
The Rock vs. Ken Shamrock
Royal Rumble * January 18, 1998
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Mr. McMahon
RAW * April 13, 1998
Leather & Chains
Owen Hart & Legion of Doom vs. Triple H & New Age Outlaws
RAW * April 20, 1998
D-Generation X Takes New York
RAW * June 8, 1998
Falls Count Anywhere #1 Contenders Match for the WWE Championship
Mankind vs. “Kane”
RAW * July 6, 1998
Letting the Dogs Out
Sable vs. Jacqueline
Fully Loaded * July 26, 1998
Val Venis & Taka Michinoku vs. KaiEnTai
RAW * August 3, 1998
WWE Championship Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Ken Shamrock
RAW * September 14, 1998
Boot Camp Match for Al Snow’s Contract
Al Snow vs. Sgt. Slaughter
RAW * September 21, 1998
Six-Man Elimination #1 Contenders Match for the European Championship
Edge vs. Gangrel vs. D’Lo Brown vs. Jeff Jarrett vs. Droz vs. Marc Mero
RAW * September 28, 1998
Extreme Name Change
WWE Championship Match
The Rock vs. X-Pac
RAW * November 23, 1998
Becoming a Pimp
Godfather & Val Venis vs. Mark Henry & DLo Brown
Rock Bottom * December 13, 1998
Triple H vs. Edge
RAW * January 11, 1999
Kane’s Career on the Line
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Kane
RAW * March 1, 1999
Hardcore Championship Match
Hardcore Holly vs. Bad Ass Billy Gunn
RAW * March 15, 1999
Wild and Crazy Guys
The Big Show vs. Triple H & The Rock
RAW * April 5, 1999
Pimpin’ Ain’t Country
Intercontinental Championship Match
Goldust vs. Godfather
RAW * April 12, 1999
The Hardy Boyz vs. Edge & Christian
Shotgun Saturday Night * April 17, 1999
The Rock vs. Undertaker
RAW * May 17, 1999
Intercontinental Championship Match
Jeff Jarrett vs. Test
Sunday Night Heat * June 13, 1999
Drinking with the APA
Tag Team Championship Match
Acolytes vs. Kane & X-Pac
RAW * August 9, 1999
Mark Henry Sex Therapy Sessions
Valentine’s Day Delight
Mark Henry and Mae Young Get a Room
RAW * February 14, 2000
Triple Threat Match for the European Championship
Kurt Angle vs. Chris Jericho vs. Tazz
RAW * March 13, 2000
Behind Breaking the Walls
Intercontinental Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle
RAW * May 8, 2000
Eddie Guerrero vs. Dean Malenko
Sunday Night Heat * June 18, 2000
Intergender Tag Team Match
The Rock & Lita vs. Kurt Angle & Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley
SmackDown * August 24, 2000
Triple Threat Match for the Women’s Championship
Lita vs. Ivory vs. Jacqueline
Sunday Night Heat * September 17, 2000
Hardcore Championship Match
Gerald Brisco vs. Crash Holly
RAW * June 5, 2000
Evening Gown Match for the Hardcore Championship
Gerald Brisco vs. Pat Patterson
King of the Ring * June 25, 2000
Intergender Tag Team Match
The Rock & Lita vs. Triple H & Trish Stratus
RAW * July 31, 2000
The Undertaker Attends His Parents Funeral
RAW * April 20, 1998
#1 Contenders Match for the Tag Team Championship
Kane & Mankind vs. Owen Hart & The Rock
Sunday Night Heat * August 2, 1998
Golga vs. Marc Mero
RAW * August 3, 1998
Hardcore Championship Match
Al Snow vs. Road Dogg
RAW * January 4, 1999
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock
RAW * May 3, 1999
Gangrel & Christian vs. Droz & Prince Albert
Sunday Night Heat * May 16, 1999
WWE Championship Match
Triple H vs. Mr. McMahon
SmackDown * September 16, 1999
Mark Henry and Mae Young Double Date
RAW * December 27, 1999
The APA Opens Their Doors
RAW * January 31, 2000
Last Man Standing Match
Triple H vs. Chris Jericho
Fully Loaded * July 23, 2000
Seventeen years ago today history was made and an entire pro wrestling industry changed forever. Shawn Michaels defeated Bret Hart at WWE Survivor Series 1997 in the most controversial finish of our generation in what is now known as the Montreal Screwjob.
Some people thought that Vince McMahon and the WWE were finished after seeing the way Bret Hart was screwed live on pay per view. Yet ironically a finish as simple as a sharpshooter submission was the catalyst for arguably the biggest boom in WWE and pro wrestling history.
Screwjob finishes weren’t so rare in the early days of pro wrestling. Pro wrestling champions were often picked on their ability to shoot in the ring or handle themselves in these kinds of predicaments. It wasn’t out of character for a territory promoter to go rogue and have their local wrestler attempt to beat the champion and go against the script. What made this one so legendary were the people involved, the soap opera leading up to the match, and the fact that millions of people have been able to watch it.
The issues between Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels were legendary in and out of the ring at the time. I worked for ECW as a ring announcer at the time and it was pretty common to hear some of the boys who had worked for the WWE (or WWF) talk about Bret vs. Shawn and choose sides. More often than not it was Bret Hart who had the support of his fellow wrestling brothers and sisters. Yet nobody had any idea that the biggest villain in this entire mess was the puppet master himself.
Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels have both talked about their issues publicly for years. The best perspective came in 2011 when both sat down together for a WWE Home Video to talk about what had happened, what led up to it, and why it happened. Both more or less agreed that while the original intent of planting the rumors of outside of the ring heat was to stir up an angle for a WrestleMania rematch, it was their own inability to separate fact from fiction that let this one spiral out of control.
The documentary Wrestling with Shadows gave fans an incredible perspective from Bret Hart’s side after the Survivor Series. The documentary chronicled the weeks leading up to Survivor Series 1997 and the fallout after the match. In a nutshell the documentary portrayed Bret as conflicted over signing a multi-million dollar deal with WCW and the tensions he had with Vince McMahon leading up to his big match.
Of course Shawn and Bret have since written books going into great detail about the legendary night but it was Dave Meltzer in a series of Wrestling Observer newsletters that gave more detail than anyone into the background leading up to Survivor Series. What happened more or less was Vince McMahon making the ultimate pro wrestling promoter mistake by allowing his world champion to sign a contract with a rival promotion while at the same time giving his world champion creative control of how he was booked. It was arguably the biggest mistake in Vince’s tenure as WWF promoter.
Business was not good for the WWE that year and Vince had to make a decision. Vince had given Bret a 20-year contract a year earlier that would roll into Bret working behind the scenes after he retired with the WWE. Vince wanted out of the deal and allowed Bret as champion to see if he could still get a deal with WCW (Bret negotiated with both in 1996 and chose the WWE over the WCW deal). The landscape was different, WCW revenue was up, and Bret landed a deal that Vince couldn’t match. Bret gave notice and this is where everything fell apart.
Vince wanted Bret to drop the title to Shawn at Survivor Series 1997. Bret used his creative control and refused. Bret has since said that the only reason he said “no” was because Shawn told him that he wouldn’t put him over. Bret offered several alternatives including dropping the title to Ken Shamrock in the United States. Vince insisted on Shawn which Bret refused. Bret also was stern on not dropping the title in Canada. The resolution was that everyone agreed on a DQ finish in Montreal and that Bret would relinquish the WWE title to Vince McMahon on RAW the next day, which included Bret giving some kind of a shoot interview on RAW explaining his heel actions and praising Vince.
Vince was still on the fence, influenced most notably by the night Alundra Blaze showed up on WCW Nitro and dropped the WWE women’s title in a trash can. Eric Bischoff has said numerous times that he would never had done that with Bret, specifically citing legal issues between WWE and WCW. Bret has also said numerous times that he never would have allowed it. Yet it was a phone conversation between Vince, Shawn, and Triple H that changed Vince’s mind on the DQ finish. Triple H has taken credit in as being the one to speak up and protest the idea of Bret leaving as WWE champion. The plan was apparently put in place to set Bret up in a Sharpshooter, ring the bell, and change the championship on Vince’s terms. This is how Meltzer described the planned finish in the November 17, 1997 edition of the Wrestling Observer.
“As they were putting their spots together, Patterson came in. He had a suggestion for a high spot in the match as a false finish. There would be a referee bump. Michaels would put Hart in his own sharpshooter. Hart would reverse the hold. Hebner would still be down at this point and not see Michaels tap out. Hart would release the hold to revive Hebner. Michaels would hit him when he turned around with the sweet chin music. A second ref, Mike Ciota, would haul ass to the ring and begin the count. A few paces behind, Owen Hart and Smith, and possibly Neidhart as well, would run down to the ring. Ciota would count 1-2, and whomever got to the ring first, likely Owen, would drag Ciota out of the ring. While they think they’ve saved the day on the pin on Bret, suddenly Hebner would recover, 1-2, and Bret would kick out. That would set the pace for about five more minutes of near falls before it would end up in a disqualification ending. Before the show started, both Vader, with his Japanese experience, and Smith, told Hart to watch himself. He was warned not to lay down and not to allow himself to be put in a compromising position. He was told to kick out at one, not two, and not to allow himself into any submission holds. Hart recognized the possibility of the situation, but his thoughts regarding a double-cross were more along with lines of always protecting himself in case Michaels tried to hit him with a sucker punch when he left himself open. The idea that being put in a submission or one of the near falls while working spots would be dangerous for him would be something to worry about normally, but he put it out of his mind because he had Hebner in the ring as the referee.”
We all know what happened from there. The November 9 match was fascinating to watch as the problems between Bret and Shawn outside of the ring were legendary. Would Bret hit Shawn? How would they work together? Surprisingly to some, they worked together like pros. It was more of a brawl early on than a match but it worked. The memorable finish came when Bret climbed to the top rope to come down on Shawn, but Michaels pulled Earl Hebner in the way who took Bret’s double sledge. Michaels looked at McMahon who was at ringside and put Bret in the sharpshooter as planned. In the famous final seconds Mike Ciota ran in as Hebner was down, Hebner got up, Shawn locked in the hold, gave Bret his leg for the reverse, and Hebner quickly looked at the timekeeper and screamed “ring the bell!” Vince elbowed the timekeeper and screamed “ring the f***king bell!” The bell rang and it was all over.
The aftermath is as legendary as the sharpshooter itself. Bret spit directly at Vince McMahon in the face. Bret then went on the warpath and destroyed WWE monitors. Bret finger painted “WCW” in the air to all four corners of the ring. In the dressing room he confronted Michaels who pleaded ignorance, obviously lying to his face. According to several reports it was The Undertaker who demanded that Vince McMahon that he needed to apologize to Bret. Now in the Wrestling with Shadows Vince is shown entering Bret’s dressing room but the cameras were not allowed in. This is reportedly where Bret told Vince to leave or he was going to punch him, in addition to calling him a liar. Reportedly Bret finished getting dressed and a scuffle broke out which saw Bret drop Vince with a punch to the jaw. Shane McMahon reportedly jumped on Bret’s back at which point Davey Boy Smith pulled Shane off and hyperextended his knee in the process. Bret reportedly asked Vince if he was going to screw him on money at which point Vince said no. The documentary cameras then caught Vince groggily walking out of the dressing room.
Now there have been skeptics in the business that have for years doubted that this was indeed a screwjob at all. I have talked to at least a handful of wrestlers that have sworn the whole thing was a big work between everyone. The only piece of evidence that always had me doubting the validity of all of this was the punch. The documentary cameras caught everything but the punch, which to me is the most pivotal moment in the story. I always doubted whether this punch really took place because if it didn’t, this whole thing was a sham. Fifteen years later these guys have all done a great job of convincing me that this was all real but I have always been skeptical of why everything was on tape but the punch.
To show my ignorance at the time, I presumed that Vince McMahon was done at this point. “Who could ever trust that guy again?” I remember having a telephone conversation with Chris Jericho a few days after the incident. Jericho was on the verge of becoming a free agent in a little over a year. I asked that same question to Chris who explained to me that it would become irrelevant when it comes to guys negotiating deals. Now this was at a time where it was rumored that Chris already had some kind of working deal in place with the WWE down the line. Coming from a guy who was a close friend of the Hart family really opened up my eyes at the big picture.
The fallout from this was ironically great for everyone involved. The WWE didn’t run away from this story, they embraced it. The story became the catalyst for the Vince McMahon heel character which some would say was the greatest drawing heel in pro wrestling history. That heel character became the villain in the biggest feud in WWE history between Steve Austin and Vince McMahon. The story turned business around and would eventually put WCW out of business and launch the Attitude Era into full motion.
Bret wound up going to WCW and earning millions of dollars over the next couple of years. Bret also participated in a spinoff angle at Starrcade 1997 involving Hulk Hogan and Sting. Bret’s career in WCW was never what it was in the WWE but at his age, but it was the money that was the biggest coup. Unfortunately Bret suffered several tragedies outside of the ring which have been thoroughly documented. I always thought that Bret would return to the WWE when his WCW deal was up, wrestle Shawn Michaels, and draw the biggest WrestleMania buyrate in history. It was never to be.
Shawn Michaels had a great career and was never impacted at all by that infamous night. In fact, Shawn returned to the ring after a lengthy layoff and became one of the most popular WWE stars during his final run. New fans had no idea about the Montreal Screwjob or seemed to care about the villainous act Shawn Michaels portrayed in 1997. Even brief references to that night weren’t enough to damage the enormous fan support Shawn gained over the years.
Bret Hart eventually returned to the WWE as a performer in 2010. Bret returned earlier to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame but it was a one-night appearance. Bret signed on to return at the start of a TNA-WWE Monday Night War which lasted only a matter of weeks. Bret made peace with Shawn on his first night back but would eventually wrestle Vince McMahon at WrestleMania. For a number of reasons, the match never lived up to the hype. A goofy car accident angle leading up to the match certainly didn’t help. Bret wrestled a few more matches and actually won the U.S. title. Bret continues to pop up from time to time and is in the process of working with the WWE on launching a new DVD.
Who was right and who was wrong? It is really tough to say. For me, I always thought that Vince McMahon as the promoter had the right to do what he thought he needed to do for business. His biggest mistake was allowing a guy with creative control to win his WWE title and freely negotiate as champion. Many have come out and criticized Bret Hart as taking his role as a pro wrestling champion too seriously, citing that wrestling is a work anyway. I have always felt that Bret bordered on just being overall obnoxious about this over the years and failed to take responsibility for his part in it. Bret’s father was a promoter and should have understood more than anyone that Vince had the right to do what he felt he needed to do with his championship. At the same time he was savvy enough to negotiate creative control so it was in his right to exercise it.
Regardless of who was right and who was wrong, everyone came away as winners after the Survivor Series. At the end of the day pro wrestling is a business and if the idea of business is to make the most money, than everyone involved capitalized on the controversy. Many have tried to script finishes to play off of the Survivor Series but the authenticity of that infamous night in Montreal is virtually impossible to duplicate which is why that we probably won’t see a finish as legendary as this in our lifetime.
Happy 17th anniversary Montreal Screwjob. You changed the business forever!
We have seen this show before. The WWE push-machine gets behind Randy Orton, the fans get on board initially and yet are just as quick to jump off the bandwagon. Yet I have to wonder if this is the turn that will finally get Orton over the top.
I admittedly have been on and off of that bandwagon with most of you in regards to Orton. I was probably more off than on, however he did win me over with his last babyface run as one of the most underrated performers in the business. Unfortunately when it comes to Orton, new is old and we have all seen this show before. Yet there is a buzz in the air that says this one could be different.
Orton is generally a whipping boy among pro wrestling fans in social media. Fans have built up a resentment and hatred of Orton in some regards due to the frustration over the lack of evolution in Orton’s character. Orton’s run as a heel over the last 14 months was not his best and a lot of that had to do with Orton taking a backseat to the Authority and lack of fresh opponents. While many will argue that Orton is better as a heel, his character desperately needed a change if he was going to remain a top guy in 2015.
The seeds were planted immediately when Seth Rollins joined the Authority. Hey, I was like you. I had no overwhelming desire to see a Orton vs. Rollins feud. However, over the next several weeks the two of them did a great job of changing that attitude. I don’t know how or why it happened, but I started getting on board with this feud. After the last couple of weeks on RAW, I have buckled my seatbelt and settled in for the ride.
The past two weeks of RAW could be the start of something special. Orton is finally clicking with the fans and he is turning more sympathetic by the week. The company is also going back into its bag of tricks and giving Orton the Steve Austin treatment. Orton’s actions last Monday reminded me of something we would have seen out of Austin had he been in that same situation. There were rebellious, authentic, and exciting elements that could produce the most unlikely top babyface in a long time and that guy is Randy Orton.
Could this really work? Could Orton get back the popularity he briefly had many years ago when he defeated Chris Benoit for the WWE championship and was kicked out of Evolution? That is a lot to ask from a guy who has been fairly stagnant over the last several years, yet it is not impossible to predict. If the WWE can continue to portray Orton as this lone-wolf, rebellious, employee who has had enough of his boss screwing him over, there is a real shot that fans may get on board and revive interest in the Viper.
Two weeks does not make a superstar and Orton has a long road ahead. I think the key with this run is a less is more presentation, with Orton striking out of nowhere and keeping his profile low throughout the show. Unfortunately the WWE Creative Team seem to hell bent on rushing anything or anyone that has the slightest chance of clicking with the audience. If the creative team can resist those urges, the WWE may have the most unlikely top babyface on the cusp of breaking through in Randy Orton.
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.
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.
It’s that time again; WrestleMania season is nearly upon us. Okay it’s not, but it sure feels like it is. After all, fans are already starting to hit the dirtsheets, looking for the latest rumors of match-ups that may take place on March 29 2015.
The top names are the only ones anyone’s really concerned about of course and those are the ones currently being speculated about the most. Brock Lesnar is supposedly still meant to pass the torch to Roman Reigns, Sting is apparently finally going to face The Undertaker and John Cena might work Rusev. That only leaves Triple H and The Rock; you do the math.
It was all just a rumor to begin with and I for one treated it as such. Fans talk all the time and even the most “knowledgeable” sites are laughable at best.
But don’t look now, seems like they may have gotten one right.
The spot that ran backstage between Hunter and The Rock on the 15th anniversary episode of SmackDown basically set up their match at Mania. And it was unlike any match set up in recent memory, which makes it different and actually gives us a little more time to digest the whole idea of it.
So how does it taste to you so far?
This didn’t start with The Rock interrupting The Authority, or Triple H condemning The Great One for attacking Rusev. This renewed heat is not the result of a falling out or disagreement of any kind. This time, a WrestleMania main event bout is born due to old wounds that just won’t close.
And it was the most entertaining moment that we have seen in a long time.
But that should not be a surprise to anyone, the fact this is what these guys do. Anyone can sit back and debate their physical skills and whether or not they have lost a step in the ring but no one can argue each guy’s ability on the mic.
We’ve seen Triple H versus The Rock quite a bit before but after SmackDown 15? I’m up for another one.
I can only imagine the complaining that’s going on right now among some fans, though. Of all the matches that we thought might go down at Mania, this is likely one of the last ones we expected. And for those fans that are currently upset it’s happening the argument is probably pretty typical.
“Good Lord this is lame. Who’s booking this crap?”
Truth be told, I’ve uttered those very words myself on occasion. After 30 plus years of being a fan, I’ve said them more often than I care to remember. But no matter how boring it may appear to be or how weak the basis for it is, the fact is that this match is one that will be worth the price of admission.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, however. There’s no guarantee it’s going to happen, only the carrot of possibility that’s been dangled in front of us. So before we go any further with speculation on this, why should we want to see it happen again?
First off, what’s the alternative? CM Punk is gone, so that’s one Triple H opponent out of the equation. Shawn Michaels has legit walked away and shows no signs of ever returning for one more match, so there’s no possibility of that happening. Daniel Bryan is still out and he’s already worked Hunter at Mania, even if he’s back in time, why go down that road again?
So, Triple H’s dance card is empty. But what about The Rock?
Roman Reigns was perhaps a possibility at one time, especially after The Shield took Rocky down on Monday Night Raw. But too much time has passed on that one. There is an outside chance of Seth Rollins being the man to step up but there’s probably not enough money in that yet. Lesnar could be the guy for Rocky but does anyone really want to see The People’s Champ become the WWE World Heavyweight champ again? Of course, there’s John Cena; no don’t say it, I’m only kidding.
So, The Rock has nothing to do either. Well, except make movies. And money. Lots of money.
Truth be told, The Rock and Triple H have no one to fight but each other. They are default opponents and because of that, many fans are likely seeing red right now. And to those fans, I can only respectfully say shut up. Shut your mouth.
The bottom line is the match will be top notch. It will entertain on every level and it will leave fans wanting more. By the end of this bout, the crowd will be on its feet applauding out of respect; not because they couldn’t wait to see it and not because it’s a dream match. They will applaud because they appreciate the work that both men will do to entertain.
We spend a lot of time as fans talking about The Attitude Era. The Superstars, the storylines, the crazy angles, all of it has practically become the stuff of legend at this point. So when two of those stars step into a WrestleMania ring, fans should appreciate what they’re seeing. Triple H versus The Rock doesn’t have to happen but WWE knows it will work.
They also know that it will get over. Hate all you want, this match will deliver. Maybe it’s not WrestleMania season just yet but perhaps it should be. I’m ready, aren’t you?
With two weeks to go the WWE are reshuffling the Hell in a Cell card deck. The planned card has been moved around allowing for more promotion and the usual indecisive booking we are used to seeing from WWE creative.
As evident on Monday Night RAW this week, plans have changed for the upcoming WWE Hell in a Cell pay-per-view. A scheduled card featuring John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose in a NHB contract on a pole match was switched around with WWE fans getting 1/3 of the main-event early, allowing the WWE to focus on promoting scheduled matches fans can count on seeing.
Dean Ambrose defeated John Cena on Monday night to win the match and advance to a Hell in a Cell main-event against rival Seth Rollins. The match was originally scheduled to take place at H.I.A.C. with the winner meeting Rollins later that night while the loser would meet Randy Orton in a separate Hell in a Cell match. Now that those matches are locked in, the WWE can focus promotional efforts in those directions.
Dave Meltzer explained the recent changes on his F4WOnline.com podcast. Meltzer reported that giving the Cena vs. Ambrose match away early was a last-minute decision. Meltzer reported that the change was made to allow the WWE to promote scheduled matches as opposed to promoting a card with no locked in main-event. Meltzer also reports that the pole stipulation added to Cena vs. Ambrose was made to avoid either guy taking an actual pin.
Meltzer also speculated that TLC could see a Four-Way main-event with Seth Rollins vs. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton with the winner getting a WWE world championship match against Brock Lesnar at the Royal Rumble. Plans are currently in place to book Cena vs. Lesnar at the Rumble. My hunch and this is purely a guess is that with Ambrose’s momentum, plans could change with Ambrose going into the Rumble to challenge Lesnar and Cena wrestling Rollins at the Rumble in a singles match.
I thought from the beginning that they should have went with a Rollins vs. Ambrose Hell in a Cell headliner. I think it gives both guys a boost with the perception that they are headliners and it’s a match that could deliver far better than any of the other options. It will be a real test in my opinion of how over both of these guys truly are. It’s hard to judge by social media reaction as that is where their fan base is. A strong number could go a long way in determining how Ambrose and Rollins are booked going into 2015 and beyond.
Tonight is the 15th anniversary of SmackDown. The show opens with some clips over the past 15 years.
The first-ever SmackDown GM and co-head of the Authority, Stephanie McMahon makes her way down to the ring. She welcomes the crowd to the show, then asks who remembers the star who coined the phrase “SmackDown”. She points out that it was the Rock, then points out he lost to Triple H on the first episode. As the first-ever GM of this show, she gets to share many moments with the people tonight. The people represent something…
John Laurinaitis of all people interrupts this segment. A “People Power” chant starts. He reintroduces himself, and he thought who better to help celebrate than the man who created the greatest movement ever in WWE history, “People Power”. He’s been doing a lot of research on the WWE Network, he’s learned a lot and has a lot of matches to make. For example…
Teddy Long now joins the festivities to, admittedly, a huge pop. JBL starts dancing at ringside before running over to shake Long’s hand. We get a “Teddy” chant. He says he was the GM of the show for 6 years, and he’ll be damned if he’ll let Laurinaitis take it away again. Laurinaitis says he was better than Long then, and now. He and Steph aren’t feeling Long, but Laurinaitis is going to give the fans what they want tonight, and that’s a tag team match. Tonight, Damien Mizdow and Cesaro will face Sheamus and Jack Swagger. Can you feel that? Long says he’d make it a 6-man match, adding Bo Dallas and Mark Henry to the respective teams. Laurinaitis makes it a 10-man, adding Gold & Stardust, and the Usos. Long says that, since this is the 15th anniversary of SmackDown, he’s going to propose something that has never been done a before, that being a 15-man tag team match. Laurinaitis says that can’t be done. Long adds Mini-Gator and Slater Gator to the heel team, while adding Los Matadores, El Torito and Tito Santana to the face team. Steph says Tito isn’t here, but she likes the idea. Long says each team will have 7 1/2 men, so it works. Steph says these two are always in competition, so she’s going to steal an idea from WM 28, making it Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny. The two pick their teams, and the winner goes down as the greatest GM in SmackDown history.
Moving on, she points out that the match on RAW was made for John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose at HIAC, with the winner facing Seth Rollins in a Hell in a Cell Match the same night. So tonight, Miz will host a face-to-face with both Ambrose and Cena.
Adam Rose and the Exotic Express make their way out. I thought WWE had given up on this asshat? JBL points out he’s undefeated, which is the sad, pathetic truth. He says it’s time to party to honor 15 years of the show, but what’s a party without himself? He then tells Steph don’t be a lemon; be a Rosebud. Steph says it is indeed party time, and Rose should be in action, so up next, it will be Rose vs. Kane. She asks for the sound guy to hit Rose’s music, then starts mocking his dancing. Long starts dancing as well. Laurinaitis also starts to dance.
We get a video of the aforementioned Rock/Triple H match from the first episode.
MATCH 1: ADAM ROSE (W/THE EXOTIC EXPRESS) VS. CORPORATE KANE
Kane comes out and says he’s not a cheeseburger, a bunny, a lemon and certainly not a Rosebud. From time to time, he’s a demon. But tonight, he’s a party pooper.
Rose skips around the ring after avoiding a lock-up. He hits a kick, ducks an elbow, ducks a clothesline and goes for a cross-body. Kane catches him and goes for a powerslam, but Rose turns it into a sleeper. Kane breaks it by backing into the corner. Rose boots him out of the corner and goes up top. Kane nails him with an uppercut in mid-air, then hits the chokeslam for 3.
WINNER: CORPORATE KANE.
The Exotic Express all hit the ring to check on Rose, and Kane goes back in. He nails several of them until only the Bunny is left standing. Another Rosebud enters the ring, and Kane drops him with a chokeslam. The same things happens to a second one. The Bunny falls down in the corner, so two more come in. Kane hits them with a double chokeslam as the Bunny flees to the back.
Another video, and this one is the debut of John Cena in 2002 against Kurt Angle.
MATCH 2: WWE DIVAS CHAMPION AJ LEE VS. ALICIA FOX (W/PAIGE) (NON-TITLE)
Fox knocks down Lee as Paige is holding onto the Divas title outside. Fox throws Lee to the corner, then hits a northern lights suplex for 2. Fox applies a rear chinlock, but Lee elbows out. Fox hits her with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for 2, then goes for a standard one. Lee counters it into the Black Widow, and Fox taps out.
WINNER: AJ LEE.
Paige attacks Lee from behind after the match. Lee comes back with a pair of roundhouses for Paige and Fox, then throws Fox into Paige.
Video #3: A collection of high-risk moves and big spots over the years.
MATCH 3: SETH ROLLINS (W/JOEY MERCURY AND JAMIE NOBLE) VS. KOFI KINGSTON
Rollins goes on the attack, backing Kofi to the corner and stomping him down. Rollins kicks him to the floor, then hurls him into the barricade twice. Rollins breaks the count, then hotshots Kofi onto the ring apron. Back in the ring, Rollins nails a clothesline before grinding his forearm into Kofi’s head. Rollins hits a crossface punch, then a few more punches in the corner. Rollins stomps him down once more. He beals Kofi across the ring before raking at his face through the ropes. Kofi comes back with a quick small package for 2, then hits a pair of knees out of the corner. He connects with a clothesline, a back-chop and a dropkick. Rollins ducks a jumping clothesline and hits the Sling Blade. He pounds away at Kofi, then powerbombs him into the buckles. Rollins does it once more, then hits the curb stomp for 3.
WINNER: SETH ROLLINS.
We see the video of Bray Wyatt releasing Luke Harper from the Wyatt Family.
Video #4: Edge and Jack Swagger cashing in their MITB cases.
MATCH 4: RUSEV (W/LANA) VS. INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION DOLPH ZIGGLER (NON-TITLE)
Ziggler avoids a charge in the corner and hits a few week body blows. Rusev shakes them off and kicks Ziggler down. He stomps Ziggler, then stands on his face before applying a head-and-arm. Ziggler elbows out, then hits a dropkick. He misses a corner splash and goes flying to the floor. Commercials.
Back from the break, Ziggler nails some rights and goes for a cross-body. Rusev catches him, sets him on the top rope, hits a few kneelifts and then hits a high fall-away slam. He locks Ziggler in a front chancery and pulls him down into a guillotine choke. Ziggler hits a few punches to break the hold. Rusev comes back by standing on Ziggler’s face. Ziggler comes back with a jawbreaker, nails some more rights, ducks a clothesline and hits another dropkick. He mounts the middle rope for some punches, and Rusev shoves him off. Ziggler avoids a kick and goes for the leaping DDT. Rusev powers through and goes for the fall-away again. Ziggler lands on his feet, avoids a corner splash and nails the rocker dropper for 1. Rusev blocks a superkick and flips Ziggler over. Ziggler lands on his feet, but gets put down immediately with a jumping side kick. Rusev locks in the Accolade and gets the submission win.
Lana says Philadelphia (where the taping is taking place tonight) is the birthplace of America, which is why this country never had a chance to succeed. On RAW, they encountered an all-American, the Rock. Rock is a coward. Lana then loses her sh*t in Russian before handing the mic to Rusev. He says “The Rock will pay for the consequences”. Big Show, you garbage American, you’ll pay for this, too. He challenges Show to a match on RAW this coming Monday, then says Show will be crushed.
Video #5: The highly underrated supermarket brawl between Booker T and Steve Austin.
Lilian Garcia welcomes former SmackDown GM Booker T into the arena. He’ll be on commentary for the next match.
Video #6: Steve Austin tortures the Corporation and DX, then blows up the DX Express.
MATCH 5: MARK HENRY, WWE UNITED STATES CHAMPION SHEAMUS, JACK SWAGGER, THE USOS (JEY & JIMMY), LOS MATADORES (DIEGO & FERNANDO) AND EL TORITO (W/TEDDY LONG) VS. WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS GOLD & STARDUST, LIL’ GATOR, SLATER GATOR (TITUS O’NEIL & HEATH SLATER), BO DALLAS, DAMIEN MIZDOW AND CESARO (W/JOHN LAURINAITIS)
Swagger’s got a nasty black eye. Fernando and Goldust start, and Goldust shoves Fernando before throwing him across the ring. Goldust nails a couple punches in the corner, and Fernando comes back with chops. Goldust calls for a test of strength, then slugs Fernando. Fernando comes back with an elbow out of the corner, then hits a hurricanrana from the middle, sending Goldust to the floor. Stardust hits the ring, and Fernando throws him to the corner. Diego takes him down with a spinning headscissors from the apron, sending him to the corner. Slater comes in and eats a double dropkick. Both teams hit the ring, but the ref restores order before a brawl can break out. Commercials.
Back from the break, one of the Usos and Titus are the legal men, with the Uso beating on Titus in the corner. Titus comes back with a big punch and tags in Goldust. Goldust hits a few strikes and tags in Slater. Slater clubs the Uso down, then tags in Stardust. Stardust hits a headbutt, but it’s no good. Uso comes back with shots of his own, then tags in the other Uso. I learn this is Jey. Jey hits a series of chops in the corner, then whips him across the ring. Stardust backdrops Jey to the outside, where Jey lands on his feet. He nails Stardust, then nails an incoming Goldust as well. The distraction is enough for Stardust to hit the Disaster Kick, sending Jey to the floor. Stardust heads outside and throws Jey into the barricade, then rolls him back in. Goldust tags in and hits a few kneedrops. Jey is thrown into the corner, and Gator tags in, hitting a low avalanche. Slater tags in, stomps Jey and tags in Mizdow. Mizdow hits a bodyslam and a jumping kneedrop for 2. Jey gets back to his feet, but Mizdow grinds him back down. Titus tags in and boots Jey to a chorus of boos (the crowd wanted more Mizdow). Titus picks Jey up on his shoulder and drops down for a backbreaker. He stomps Jey in the corner, then clubs him down as a “Damien Mizdow” chant breaks out. Jey hits a boot out of the corner. Cesaro tags in and hits the deadlift gutwrench suplex. Commercials.
Back from the break, Slater is legal, and Jey is nailing him with rights. He goes for a tag, but Slater pulls him back. He spins Jey around, Jey continues to spin and blasts Slater with a kick. Cesaro makes the tag, walks over Jey and knocks Henry to the floor. He turns around into a back-body drop by Jey, who tags in Sheamus. Sheamus attacks everyone on the heel team, then rams Cesaro with a shoulder thrust before knocking him to the apron with a running kneelift. He goes for the 10 Beats, but only gets a few in before Stardust interferes. Sheamus blocks an attack and ties him up for the 10 Beats instead. Slater tries the same thing and receives the same fate as Sheamus trades off between all three. Cesaro hits a hotshot, but then gets hit with White Noise for 2 as Mizdow breaks it up. Swagger enters the ring and drops him with an elevated belly-to-belly. Slater in, and he hits a Harlem Side Kick, pleasing Booker T in the process. Titus comes in and clotheslines Swagger to the floor. Los Matadores go for a double-team, but Slater Gator see it coming. However, they don’t see the Usos on the outside, who trip Slator Gator and drag them to the floor. The Usos hold the ropes open, allowing Los Matadores to hit a pair of suicide dives. Gold & Stardust get backdropped to the outside, and now the Usos hit a pair of suicide dives on the entire other team, including Laurinaitis. Gator is in the ring, and Torito sends him outside with a dropkick. He goes for a suicide dive, but Dallas intercepts him and avalanche powerbombs him to the floor outside on the other wrestlers. Henry comes in and goes for the WSS, but Dallas escapes and low-bridges Henry to the floor. Sheamus in, and he levels Dallas with a Brogue Kick. Cesaro comes in and hits the first Cesaro Swing in ages, hitting 15 revolutions until Jimmy drops him with a superkick. Stardust clotheslines Jimmy to the floor. Mizdow tags in to a huge pop and goes for the SKF. Sheamus breaks free by backing into the corner. He snapmares Mizdow off and hits the Brogue Kick. Jey tags himself in and hits the Samoan Splash for 3.
WINNERS: MARK HENRY, LOS MATADORES, SHEAMUS, JACK SWAGGER, EL TORITO AND THE USOS.
Much like the Luke Harper video earlier, we see a video package of Bray Wyatt releasing Erick Rowan from the Wyatt Family as well.
The Miz is in the ring for MizTV. He blathers on to the delight of no one, then shows us what happened on RAW between Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and John Cena. Back to the arena, Miz announces that Cena/Ambrose will be a Contract-on-a-Pole Match. Why? Why? Why?
Miz finally gets to introducing his guests, bringing Ambrose out first, followed by Cena. Miz points out Ambrose embarrassed Cena on RAW, then asks why. Ambrose says Cena needs to know that no one crosses Ambrose. He lives by a code that he doesn’t take crap from anyone. If you do him wrong, he’ll make you pay for it. Rollins crossed him, and he can’t live with himself until he sets it right. Rollins in HIAC belongs to him, and Cena is coming dangerously close to stealing that from him. Nobody steals from him, no matter how high on the food chain you are. Cena says he’s impressed. He watches everything and listens to everything. Ever since Ambrose came to WWE, those behind the curtain have been worried about him. Ambrose is unstable, dangerous, loves the business and will not stop until he achieves success. Groups like the Authority waste resources to look for the next guy who has “it”. Ambrose proved he has “it” on RAW, but his definition of “it” is a bit different. He pulls a pair of baseballs out of his pocket and says this is what it takes to be a success in the business before saying Miz has no balls. Ambrose impressed him. It’s what everyone has wanted to see. The fans want to see someone with balls who isn’t afraid to stand up to Cena. At HIAC, Ambrose is going to make Cena earn a victory. They don’t see eye-to-eye, but Ambrose is looking into a mirror when he looks at Cena. They’re cut from the same cloth. There is a reason Cena can always come down to the ring with his head high, because he’s proved to everyone that, after 12 years, he’s got two things: balls and his word, and he breaks neither for nobody. Ambrose needs to bring his A-game, and he may not know Cena now, but after that match, he’ll know Cena’s name. Cena likes his chances. This is…a really terrible promo by Cena. Miz repeats what Cena just said, then starts kissing his ass. He asks if Ambrose really has a chance. Ambrose simply says, “Yep.” Miz asks how he’ll do it. Ambrose says he doesn’t think he’s going to do it; he knows he’ll do it. Miz then repeats Ambrose, calling him a rookie in the process. Cena tells him to shut up, then says he’ll see Ambrose at the PPV. Miz doesn’t like that response and starts egging Cena on. He wants to stir the pot and see a brawl. These two are ruining the show. A fight is what people want to see. Cena says Miz is right. People want to see Cena and Ambrose fight. However, Miz has it wrong. They don’t want to see Cena and Ambrose fight each other. Philadelphia wants to see them fight Miz. The two then club the hell out of Miz. Cena goes for the AA, but drops Miz and throws him into Ambrose, who drops Miz with a double-arm DDT. Cena then hits Ambrose with an AA as we see Seth Rollins watching this on a monitor in the back.