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WWE Royal Rumble 2015: The Scenarios Are Endless

January 24, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

You may have a better chance of picking the winning Power Ball numbers than figuring out what the WWE intends to do not only with the Royal Rumble match at the upcoming pay-per-view event, but also with the Triple Threat match for the WWE World Title between John Cena, Seth Rollins and champion Brock Lesnar.

Now that Roman Reigns has appeared to have stuck his foot in his mouth and the fans and company have cooled on him becoming the next big thing in the WWE, the likelihood of Armageddon will not take place with a Royal Rumble win and showcase at WrestleMania XXXI.

The company may also be setting us up for a Brock Lesnar face turn to finish out his run with the company. While I thought Lesnar winning the Triple Threat match was a virtual certainty this evening, now there are other possibilities that make the evening even more inviting. The one thing I am sure of is the idea John Cena will walk out of Philadelphia with either the WWE title on his waist or winning the Royal Rumble match.

So, what’s the promotion to do? Here are a few ideas…

HAVE LESNAR LOSE THE TITLE MATCH, BUT WIN THE RUMBLE MATCH

If a face turn is in fact in order, then Seth Rollins becomes the new “Edge” heel in the WWE. Rollins took a giant step toward becoming “the man” of the company when he curb stomped both Cena and Lesnar on Raw and then become the Lesnar ass kicking on the “go home” show Monday night.

If Lesnar loses the title and wins the Rumble match, it sets up a Paul Heyman/Triple H war of words for the next three months. It also becomes a Lesnar vs. Authority type feud, which this company needs.

This scenario works out the best for all parties involved and could – actually certainly – boost ratings.

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, DANIEL BRYAN WINS RUMBLE

The “YES!” movement is alive and well in the WWE and Bryan’s continued feud with The Authority is what is best for business. Taking on all of the Authority again makes sense to pick up where both sides left off when he was injured.

I like the dynamic of Bryan and Rollins as the main event for WrestleMania. A match of two cruiserweights may be more appealing and certainly more dramatic than seeing a super heavyweight just beat down a smaller opponent. Lesnar vs. Bryan or Lesnar vs. Rollins works, but it may not be as entertaining.

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, DOLPH ZIGGLER WINS RUMBLE

Another great match and the one I want to see more than any other in the WWE.

Rollins mic skills are getting better and his performance in the ring is spectacular. He gives an “A+” performance every time he gets in the ring.

Since Ziggler won the Survivor Series Match for Team Cena by pinning Rollins, this is also a redemption match and feud. The WWE should again let Ziggler become the torch bearer for the company. Besides Bryan, I cannot see another cruiserweight who can deliver a solid match (beside Dean Ambrose) in a main event match.

LESNAR WINS TITLE, REIGNS WINS RUMBLE

I am still throwing this one out there because it has been in the works for some time. The WWE has resorted to having Vince McMahon write Reigns’ promos since he is not the most gifted speaker when it comes to interviews. CM Punk he is not.

If the company wants Reigns to dominate the Rumble match, facing Lesnar at WrestleMania would be aces for pay-per-view audiences.

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, REIGNS WINS RUMBLE

This needs no explanation. Two former Shield members with a lot of bad blood still left to spill. Fans would eat this one up alive. And even if Reigns is not the best on the mic, it would sell like wild fire.

LESNAR WINS TITLE, ORTON WINS RUMBLE

Please do not let that happen. NO, NO, NO!

Orton is set to return to the Rumble as is Sheamus. The idea of Orton winning and facing Lesnar is a solid choice, but it is not fan-friendly. Forget the idea of Sheamus in the main event. Not Going To Happen.

CENA WINS TITLE, RUSEV WINS RUMBLE

This is the only match I would want to see that makes perfect sense if Cena should win.

Cena is an aging vet who has won everything, Rusev has not been beaten yet and loves to bash on America.

Problem solved. Cena needs to fight the good fight for the WWE, not himself. And while the masses are split on loving or hating Captain Jorts, there is one thing everyone can get behind – support for Cena against the big Russian. If Cena becomes The Rock or Sting of this year and fights for the company that made him famous, he becomes a true hero for the fans, and puts an end to the Russian’s abuse of America.

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WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Predictions and Preview

January 23, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE Royal Rumble is my favorite event of the year. There is nothing more exciting and in some years more unpredictable than the Rumble match. The 2015 event should be no different with an unpredictable Rumble and main-event.

The Rumble has been hot and cold in recent years. Last year’s Rumble was a lot more fun than people give it credit for. Unfortunately it was marred by the fan reaction to Batista being the odds on favorite to win at the height of the Yes Movement. Even Stone Cold Steve Austin jokingly said on his podcast that he would have gladly made an appearance to help diffuse some of the heat. That is what make this year’s Rumble so damned fascinating.

The 2015 Royal Rumble is essentially a two-match show. The WWE championship match and the Rumble match are it. The 30-man Rumble winner will go on to WrestleMania 31 and challenge the WWE champion for the title. Who either man will be is a complete toss-up at this point. Since I would venture to guess the majority of you reading this blog are only interested in those two matches, I will keep this preview to the main-event matches only.

WWE world championship: Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat Match
This is arguably the most unpredictable WWE championship match in years. Not at any point in recent memory do I recall a WWE world title headliner with three guys where the result could wind up in any direction. It is very rare for the title to change hands at the Rumble, yet there has never been a title match at a Rumble with these circumstances.

Brock Lesnar is a lame duck champion. Lesnar’s contract has been reported to expire shortly after WrestleMania. That is not anything new for Lesnar, who has always had his contracts come due right after Mania. However, in previous years it was expected that Lesnar would re-sign and stick around for another 1-2 years. This year is much different.

Lesnar is rumored to be returning to the UFC after his contract expires. Regardless of whether he stays with the WWE or goes back to UFC, one thing is clear. Lesnar will be letting his contract expire in order to negotiate the best deal after Mania. With Bellator MMA now in the mix, Lesnar has the opportunity to make a lot of money. Unfortunately for the WWE, the economics are such that is really doesn’t make much sense for them to outbid UFC and Bellator. Thus unless Lesnar is simply bluffing and can’t fight again due to health issues, the WWE is the least likely suitor to sign Brock.

With most wrestling fans knowing that Brock is leaving, the WWE wants to avoid a situation like WrestleMania 20. While I don’t think it’s a problem if Lesnar comes to Mania as a lame duck champion, it is highly unlikely WWE takes that chance. Thus I see Lesnar as the least favorite of these three guys to walk out of Philadelphia as WWE champion.

The match is set up for Cena to get his win back. Cena is down 0-2 to Lesnar in the current WWE title series. The mentality of the guys in the WWE is to not let Lesnar beat Cena again if he is leaving. I think Cena gets his win back here in what will be an ugly situation in Philadelphia. As someone who has attended Philadelphia WWE shows going back to 1982, guys like John Cena aren’t very popular in this town.

Enter Seth Rollins. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Rollins was booked in the match late. I think there is a reason for it and the reason isn’t for Rollins to leave Philly belt-less. I think that WWE Creative realized Lesnar was leaving, realized that Cena had to beat him, and realized they didn’t want either Cena or Lesnar coming to Mania as the champion. It was time to pull the trigger on Rollins.

I think Cena wins the match and is destroyed by Lesnar after the match. I think Rollins takes advantage of a downed Cena, cashes in his Money in the Bank, and beats Cena for the title. The Philadelphia audience would eat it up, which isn’t necessarily a good thing since Rollins is a heel. Regardless, I think Rollins cashes in and leaves Philadelphia with the title on January 25.

The 30 Man Royal Rumble

I published a blog last week with my predictions so I won’t deviate too much from it. I went with Daniel Bryan as the favorite to win in my blog, with Roman Reigns being my second choice. That said, this year’s Rumble is probably the most unpredictable in ages and that is a very good thing. Nobody likes a predictable Rumble, just ask the fans in Pittsburgh about it.

The working plan for the last year has been to give Reigns the Rumble win and have him beat Lesnar for the WWE world title at WrestleMania 31, taking his place as the next face of the company. Unfortunately for Reigns and fortunately for fans like us who don’t like predictable Rumbles, a lot has changed. Bryan is back sooner than people thought, Reigns has not gotten over nearly as much as the company thought he would by this point (he was far more over last year at this time), and Lesnar is a lame duck champion. It was time to call an audible.

This really could go either way in regards to Reigns or Bryan. I know a lot of fans are saying that Bryan has to win or the fans will revolt. Well, I am not entirely sure about that because guys like Reigns play pretty well in Philadelphia. I don’t sense the Yes Movement being as strong as it was before Bryan left, but that would certainly change with a win in Philadelphia. I also think Bryan vs. Rollins would deliver a lot more than Reigns vs. Rollins in a Mania headliner.

I am going to stick with my Bryan prediction although I would not be surprised to see Reigns win. I think that WWE Creative can be pretty stubborn as was the case last year with Batista. Whether they learned their lesson or are too arrogant to recognize it is the bigger question. I tend to think that these guys are pretty arrogant and will do what they want. Remember, without Punk leaving it is highly likely Bryan would have never gotten that spot vs. Triple H and thus the title match. I do predict that it will come down to Bryan vs. Reigns in the Final Two which could make the final few minutes some of the most intense and fun in Rumble history.

Yet I think it ends with Bryan winning and a hell of a main-event in San Jose.

Full 2015 Royal Rumble Card and Matches…
30-Man Royal Rumble match
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Paige and Natalya vs. The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella)
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Adam Rose in a Six-man tag team elimination match
The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)

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WWE WrestleMania 32 Is A Big Reason To Re-sign Brock Lesnar

January 21, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The big news today is the impending announcement that the WWE will officially announce its home for WrestleMania 32. The venue is expected to be AT&T Stadium. There probably is nobody more excited for this news in the WWE locker room than Brock Lesnar.

Lesnar is coming up on the end of his WWE deal. Lesnar’s deal expires with his WrestleMania 31 match or appearance. Due to the MMA war between Bellator and the UFC, Lesnar is expected to receive big offers from both companies to fight again. Most predicted that the WWE would be out of the bidding. I say, not so fast.

I was on board with this crowd until this whole WrestleMania 32 scenario hit me. The economics of the WWE and its business have changed. The WWE can no longer justify spending on high-priced free agents like Lesnar without PPV revenue and an under-performing Network. Quite frankly there is just no good reason to justify re-sign Lesnar and thus most expected him to walk. Now they have a reason and that reason is 92,000+ seats.

Vince McMahon and company aren’t looking to get into AT&T Stadium, draw half of a house, and lose their behinds. The WWE is not only looking to draw big, but they are looking to fill the stadium and break its own WrestleMania attendance record. With all due respect to the current roster of WWE talent, there is nobody on that roster that is going to collectively draw 92,000 in 2016 in Texas. It just isn’t going to happen.

The WWE will need some heavy hitters on that show. The company will need some of those high-priced special talents to put the butts in the seats. There are a ton of rumors surrounding Steve Austin coming back for this show. The thought is nice but we have seen this flirtation quite a few times and it never ends with Austin back in the ring. Without Austin what do you got? You need more and one of those guys needed to fill the place will be Brock Lesnar.

The business case has now been made. Locking up Lesnar a year in advance will at least give the company the confidence that it has at least one component needed to fill the place. Lesnar on his own won’t do it, but they have a much better chance with him than without him. It also isn’t as if Lesnar will be hanging around waiting for a call. Once he signs with an MMA group he will be unavailable for at least a year and a half if not two years. He is not nearly as expendable as he was before this location was announced.

I am also convinced that they are moving towards a Rock vs. Triple H match at 32. I thought that the second I saw the SmackDown vignette between the two where they exchanged challenges, specifically mentioning a large stadium. The better move for business would be Rock vs. Brock and it could happen, but I think that as of today the working idea is a Rock vs. Hunter match. While it’s always nice to see Rock back, that won’t do it on its own.

The WWE need Lesnar more today than they did a few weeks ago and for that reason I think he is staying. I don’t think Lesnar wants to fight again and I think he enjoys the short schedule for big money without a training camp. Now that the WWE has a chance to get back into the bidding, I think they lock up their guy before he hits free agency.

There is also ego involved here. The UFC already tried to book Brock in a fight in AT&T Stadium but the fight fell through. Does the WWE really want to take the chance that the UFC books Brock in this same stadium and outdraws WrestleMania? It sounds petty and it is but I don’t think Vince McMahon could ever live with himself if that happened.

I guess we’ll have that question answered on Sunday. If he leaves as champion I’d bet he re-signed or is close. if he doesn’t, I would bet that the WWE thinks he is on borrowed time.

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The Rock On Brock Lesnar, Dana White, MMA & More

January 16, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Former WWE Champion Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has made it clear in the past that he is a huge MMA fan. Johnson recently did a Q&A with UFC Magazine and here are the highlights.

On if he was a fan of MMA before or after Brock Lesnar entered the sport: I was always a fan of the UFC, dating back to UFC 1 in ’93. But what actually drew me to MMA was when I attended UFC 60, when Matt Hughes faced Royce Gracie in a non-title catchweight fight. I was interested in MMA at that time, so I went to the Staples Center early and sat in the front row to watch every fight that night— including all the prelims. I wanted to absorb as much I could and become somewhat of a student for the night. When the main event was about to start, they sat the Gracie family next to me. Specifically Helio Gracie—his energy and presence was powerful. I’ll never forget shaking his hand. Royce lost, but even in defeat, the grace, pride and poise he and the Gracie family showed that night was inspiring. I went home that night with such a greater respect for the sport and all its fighters.

On his favorite MMA fighters: I always have my eyes on the champions, specifically the heavyweight and light heavyweight champs. Cain Velasquez is an animal with the type of heart and conditioning that makes me want to run through a wall at 3 a.m. and do my cardio and training. My buddy Jon Jones is a very special fighter who bridges fighting and artistry like no one ever before has. They’re both incredibly inspiring champions who are needle movers in the world of MMA. And I bet 2015 will be the year of Anthony “Rumble” Johnson: a bad dude. When he becomes champion, I’m gonna have to claim him as my cousin! [Laughs]

Lesnar left the WWE in 2004 to pursue his NFL dreams, but failed to make the 53 man roster for the Minnesota Vikings. He went back to pro wrestling in late 04 and eventually into MMA a few years later.

On if he gave Lesnar any advice before stepping into the cage: I never spoke to Brock when he decided to compete in MMA. We’ve been good buds for years, and he always knew I supported his decision. To be able to accomplish what he did and become UFC heavyweight champion in that short amount of time was insane—historic.

Johnson asked UFC President Dana White to appear on his all new TNA show, “Wake Up Call”.

On why he reached out to White to appear on his show: On that episode of Wake Up Call, we have an 18-year-old high-school dropout who has one dream: to become a UFC champion. Despite the fact that his mom is in prison and he dropped out of school, he’s a good kid with a big heart and a dream. I told him if he meets me halfway and puts in the hard work, then I’ll provide the tools he needs to achieve his dream. I called Dana to see if he’d come down to Florida and take a look at this kid and see if he had any potential. I knew I could count on Dana to give it to me and the kid straight without any bullshit. Not only did Dana fly all the way to Florida, but he brought Mike Dolce with him. They put that kid through the ringer with training, conditioning and a shot to become part of Coach Libo’s [Ricardo Liborio] American Top Team up the road from where we live. I won’t give it away, but let’s just say that we may see that kid, Terrell Moore, in the Octagon one day. I can’t thank Dana and the UFC enough for their support of Wake Up Call.

You can catch Johnson’s show on Friday nights.

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Predicting The WWE 2015 Royal Rumble Winner – The Odds Are Out

January 15, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It is never to early to start making WWE Royal Rumble 2015 predictions. Let’s take a look at the big match, break it down Vegas style, and see who has the best chance of challenging for gold at WrestleMania 31!

I thought I’d have some fun and take a look at the chances that each top prospect has of winning the Royal Rumble using Vegas odds. Of course take these odds for what you will as I had Batista last year as the favorite with -200 odds and John Cena as the 2013 favorite with -6.25 odds, although to be fair I had 2012 winner Sheamus with 50 to 1 odds. This year is truly anyone’s guess at this point.

Of course things can and likely will change from now until the Rumble in terms of injuries, card placement, and even champions. We all think we know what the WWE has planned for the Rumble and WrestleMania, but what if we are all wrong? Let’s take a look and see what the match looks like on the Vegas sportsbooks.

Daniel Bryan - As of today all reports indicate that the Rumble winner is up in the air. If that is true, I have to think that Bryan has the edge. As long as he can get the Yes Movement to rev back up he should be right in the mix for top consideration. I think Seth Rollins being added to the main-event helps out the scenario as well. I love his chances!

Odds: Even

Roman Reigns - Reigns was the odds on favorite for months to win the Rumble. The plan since last year’s Rumble was for Reigns to win the Rumble and defeat Lesnar at Mania 31. Things may have changed. Reigns missed time and during that time off his momentum cooled off considerably. Reportedly WWE officials are concerned about recent reactions to Reigns at the live events. I also think the situation with Rollins being added to the main-event doesn’t help his chances. He is still a favorite but he is far from the lock he was a month ago.

Odds: 2 to 1

Randy Orton - Orton comes in with very high odds entering this year’s Rumble. It would seem that the WWE has a big push in store for Orton, who is set to return as a babyface and feud with Rollins. It is not inconceivable to see Rollins win the Rumble and face Orton at Mania. Would it be a disappointment? Yes it would and the crowd would hate it but that won’t stop the WWE from proceeding with what they think is best. Just take a look at last year’s Rumble if you don’t believe me.

Odds: 7 to 1

Sheamus - Sheamus is rumored to be a big surprise at this year’s Rumble. It seems as if the WWE suddenly gets a renewed interest in Sheamus around this time every year, only for that interest to cool off over the next several months. I don’t think a Mania match with Sheamus and Brock is out of the question, yet it is doubtful. However, as long as the big guy is in the mix he is always in consideration of a big spot at Mania.

Odds: 10 to 1

Dean Ambrose - I would have loved to see Ambrose win the Rumble and I still would. Unfortunately the WWE did a great job of capping any momentum he had a few months ago. Ambrose has been beaten and made to look quite foolish in recent weeks. Not exactly the way you want to see someone booked before the Rumble eh? I would have loved to see it and a few months ago when Reigns went out, I would have predicted it. Unfortunately creative got in their own way and screwed it up for everyone.

Odds: 15 to 1

Bray Wyatt - With rumors of Bray facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania, a Royal Rumble win seems unlikely. However, the company is obviously committed to him and what happens if Taker isn’t coming back? What happens if the WWE already knows this or they have different plans for Bray? They obviously like Bray and have big things planned and while I don’t think he is a real favorite to win the Rumble, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.

Odds: 15 to 1

Dolph Ziggler - Dolph is an interesting guy because just when you think he is relegated to jobber-dom, you get the Survivor Series win. He is being pushed hard right now as part of this Team Cena vs. Authority storyline and while I think Dolph winning would blow the roof off of the building in Philadelphia, I’d be surprised if they went that far with the former intercontinental champion at this time.

Odds: 24 to 1

The Big Show - Show is always in the running because as much as I am bored with him as a performer, the company always keeps him in the mix. I think it’s highly doubtful they go with Show in the title picture at Mania but you honestly never know what this company is thinking. Do I think it happens? No, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me either.

Odds: 28 to 1

Ryback - The big guy is the final guy who I will give any consideration to winning the Rumble. Ryback is another guy like many above who has been the victim of the start-stop push so you never really know what they are thinking with him. He was reportedly under consideration for a huge push at the Survivor Series, only to see those plans change shortly before the show. You know Vince loves his muscle guys which always makes Ryback a favorite in a Royal Rumble match.

Odds 36 to 1

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Seth Rollins Stands his Ground against Brock Lesnar

January 15, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins stood eye to eye with the devil himself on Monday Night Raw and he didn’t blink. Not once. The guy given all the credit for creating The Shield then destroying it has spent the past several months trying to convince the world he’s the next big thing.

And now he’s trying to prove that against The Next Big Thing. Brock Lesnar is the big dog in WWE, the guy with the most important piece of hardware in the industry and when a guy like that stares you in the eye, he means business. And Seth didn’t blink one time.

Think about it. Lesnar has only had five actual dance partners since coming back in 2012. Five guys and all of them were former world champions. That in and of itself is a statement not only by WWE but by Lesnar himself; I’m here for the money matches, nothing else.

Lesnar came back, got the spotlight and stepped into the ring with talents that WWE could build a card around. The only exception to that was The Big Show, who has never been a legitimate main event star since he went to work for Vince. It’s not his fault necessarily, it’s just he always seemed to be one step shy of greatness.

But as for the rest of them, CM Punk, John Cena, Triple H and The Undertaker? Top tier main event talent. That’s the collection of stars that WWE put in front of Brock; battle tested, marquee names. And really, who can blame WWE?

Who can blame WWE for doing everything in its power to ensure that a worker paid the amount of money Brock is who will not work a part time schedule, give them as much return as possible? Forget all that talk about him putting younger talent over. That’s a job reserved for the veterans still in the company, the ones whose spots will eventually be filled by that younger talent.

This is Brock Lesnar we’re talking about here, people. He’s the big time prize fighter, the man that makes bank for the company every time he’s on the card. He needs other bankable stars to work so the company can make the rent that week. And he’s got no time for the next generation.

Or at least he didn’t. Now Seth is in the picture. One of the talents that are tasked with carrying WWE forward has a prime opportunity at The Royal Rumble to prove he’s something more than just the guy that stood beside Dean Ambrose for two years. Rollins has the chance to show what he can do on the main event stage once again only this time; it’s against The Beast Incarnate.

So how did he look to you on Raw? How did Seth Rollins look standing nose to nose with Brock Lesnar? Let’s face it, that’s the true measure of how he will probably fare at The Rumble. Seth should not be intimidated. He should not be forced to play second fiddle to anyone, no matter who it is. Brock’s pedigree aside, the fact of the matter is he’s just keeping the belt warm. The title is coming back to WWE and when it does, the guy getting it needs to be ready.

Does Seth look ready? Before he stared down Lesnar, I would have said no. He’s looked good and I enjoy his work but WWE world champion? Eh. But after he and Brock had their face-to-face? I think I’m getting onboard. Well, I have a foot off the dock anyway.

That’s the power of a well executed spot. WWE creative, and yes I use that term loosely, can write these moments all day long. But the ones making it happen are the guys on TV. They’re the ones that have to convince the fans that they should care about what they’re watching. It’s up to them to run the plays and score the points.

And I think Seth scored big time on Raw. He didn’t flinch. He didn’t smirk. He didn’t back down. Seth Rollins has been portrayed as a squirmy lowlife that sold out his best friends and is coasting to the top on someone else’s dollar. That character has been okay and he’s made the best of it.

But the Seth Rollins that breathed the same air as Brock Lesnar and lived to tell the tale? That Seth is something very different. That’s Mel Gibson in Payback; a two-bit thug getting revenge on top level thugs and he’s not a very nice guy about it. There is nothing redeeming about any criminal in that film but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to see him get one over on them.

The notion of a guy gone bad that somehow finds his way back is probably one of the most intriguing story points in all of pro wrestling. We’ve seen it a thousand times before and though I don’t think that’s where this is leading, it’s certainly an avenue WWE can go if they choose to.

In the meantime, Seth’s character has turned a corner. He’s still a squirmy lowlife but now he’s a squirmy lowlife with a pair. And after staring down Brock Lesnar with no fear in his eyes, that pair clangs together like church bells on a Sunday morning. Amen and pass the briefcase, brother.

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Brock Lesnar, Rick Rude and Other WWE Thoughts

January 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I am not a fan of the “Triple Threat Match” in professional wrestling, but there has never been a time like now where I have wanted to see one.

The match at the Royal Rumble between Brock Lesnar, John Cena and now Seth Rollins may shock us all if it turns out to be a classic, but it also may (rather should) signal the end of Lesnar and his run in the WWE and potentially his last time in a squared circle for some time.

Rumor has it Lesnar is again dancing between the idea of being company champion and wanting to jump back into the octagon in UFC. In my opinion, good riddance. The Lesnar experiment as a “part-time” participant and champion is long gone and with his departure (his contact runs out around the time of WrestleMania) it would mean the WWE can finally move forward.

Hopefully that means the company will no longer be held hostage by paper champions who don’t want to perform like those who have before them and those who come to work every day and give the fans what they pay money for. While the deception of Lesnar always lurking in the background has worked in the past, it is finally time to give it a rest.

The WWE is doing its best to promote a huge card for the first pay-per-view of the new year, but the pending limbo the WWE Title could represent would not be fair to the fans or “What is good for business.”

STING’S MISSING AGAIN

The one thing I was worried about when Sting showed up on the scene to “rescue” the WWE from The Authority, was the company would not use him in a reoccurring role. The Icon made his appearance, took down Triple H and handed over the reins of the company to John Cena with Dolph Ziggler’s win.

But what happens now. Sting is referred to every week by Seth Rollins, but why hasn’t Sting defended himself or his actions, or better yet, challenged Triple H to a match at WrestleMania?

This has always been Sting’s M.O. He fought the likes of Ric Flair and the Four Horseman and then Hulk Hogan, Hall and Nash for supremacy in WCW. He then fought Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan for control of TNA. Now, he can right the wrongs of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in the WWE. Should he be successful, isn’t that some kind of triple-crown of sorts?

RUDE IN THE HOF

In a blog I wrote before, I mentioned potential Hall of Fame candidates, but I was remiss and did not mention Rick Rude as a wrestler who should be part of the inductees.

Rude was one of the most underrated wrestlers, never played the role of face and was one of the baddest asses in wrestling history. He was a four-time world champion (three-time WCW International World Heavyweight Champion and one-time WCWA World Heavyweight Champion), a one-time WWF Intercontinental Champion, and a one-time WCW United States Heavyweight Champion.

Men wanted to be like him. Women wanted to be with him, and had one of the sickest bodies in the business.

BRYAN’S SPOT IN THE WWE

While Daniel Bryan has announced his intention of being part of the Royal Rumble, it is still my opinion that Roman Reigns will win the Rumble event.

There are rumors that Bryan wants a match with Lesnar, but the company needs to move forward and put the strap on either Reigns or Rollins in an effort to usher in a new era with younger stars.

The thought here is that Bryan should feud with Triple H, which may lead to another match between the two. If Sting is not in a match with Triple H, maybe the leader of The Authority jumps back into the ring with the man who he faced last year.

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UFC Grudge Fights Rarely Deliver

January 06, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

After months of talking and threats, Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier delivered the fight I expected. Jones dominated Cormier in a long, boring, one-sided fight that surprised nobody who has followed the history of UFC grudge fights.

Grudge fights have become a blessing and a curse for the UFC. The blessing is that fans, casual and hardcore get caught up in the pro wrestling style banter leading up to the fight. Generally that interest returns a nice dividend for the UFC through big buyrates. The curse however is that new fans drawn to the UFC for the first-time who expected a fight for the ages are probably not coming back any time soon.

Unfortunately you have many in the MMA media who have incredibly short memories. Minutes after Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier got into their memorable press conference skirmish, those same media members took to social media and other outlets and became UFC’s best salesmen and saleswomen getting caught up in the hype and failing to report the obvious. This fight, like the big grudge fights before them, never had a prayer of delivering what was expected.

I didn’t buy it for a second. Any savvy fan could see the Jones-Cormier fight on paper for what it was. It was an over-hyped mismatch. Cormier’s 2-0 record at light heavyweight came against an unranked fighter and an aged veteran past his better years. Jones has been fighting the elite of the sport for the past few years and only once was he in a competitive fight. Yet for some reason fans and media got caught up in the moment failing to recognize the fantasy that was being perpetrated by the UFC.

The fight was everything I thought it would be. It was five rounds of Jones at his best and Cormier failing to do much damage. Sure, Cormier had his moments in Round 2 but that was hardly the fight the frenzied fans expected to see. Even today some MMA pundits are trying to convince themselves it was a good fight. To hardcore MMA fans, yes it was an intriguing battle. But for the casual audience that expected to see a war, it was a waste of time, money, and energy that they should have seen coming.

I started thinking about the great grudge matches in UFC history and how those fights turned out. I picked ten of what I thought were some of the greatest grudge fights in UFC history. All of these fights had the talking, the threats, the hype, and all of the promises of a war that you could have asked for. Yet very few delivered what many would consider great fights. Let’s take a look.

Ken Shamrock vs. Tito Ortiz – Some will call this the greatest rivalry in UFC history, yet all of their fights were one-sided, destructions in favor of the same guy. As great as their promos and hype were leading up to the fights, they did not deliver the fight fans expected.

Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell – Let’s stay with Tito for a minute. Like his fight with Shamrock, both fights were one-sided destructions. The difference was that Tito was the one getting pounded in these uneventful fights. I’ll say this. They were certainly intense going in, but neither were the battles fans expected.

Brock Lesnar vs. Frank Mir II – The number one selling fight in the history of the UFC was Brock vs. Mir. Mir’s insults and Brock’s threats had fans on the edge of their seats expecting a war. What they got was Brock dominating Mir for under ten minutes, giving Mir nothing in the fight. Again an intense fight for sure, but nowhere near what was expected.

Chael Sonnen vs. Anderson Silva – Now this is the outlier in this list. I feel that both fights delivered as expected. The first was a classic, maybe my favorite fight of all-time. The second, while over in two rounds, I think went exactly was you’d design it if you were scripting it.

Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans – Jones biggest fight up until Cormier was Rashad Evans. The storyline was taken right out of an old-school pro wrestling territory. Fans were expecting Evans to hang with Jones and teach him a lesson (as the teacher of course). Instead what they got was a snoozer that saw Jones win a unanimous decision that made Jones-Cormier look like Silva-Liddell.

Rashad Evans vs. Rampage Jackson – Let’s stick with Evans, who has talked his way into some of the biggest fights in UFC history. Unfortunately for the fans who bought into his big mouth, they were served up a big plate of boring and it doesn’t get more boring than this one. Sans a flurry late in the fight by Jackson, it was a one-sided affair which saw Evans tie up Jackson for five rounds and take a unanimous decision.

Nick Diaz vs. GSP – The man who coined the term “Wolf Tickets’ would know a lot about them as he sold plenty for his fight with GSP. Diaz made a lot of promises and offered some of the craziest quotes you’d ever hear leading up to a title fight before the match. Fans were pumped, the media was pumped, and GSP was pumped to dominate the living hell out of Diaz for five, one-sided, dull rounds winning a unanimous decision 50-45 by all three judges.

GSP vs. BJ Penn – This one had all of the makings of a classic fight yet wound up producing a frustrating, uneventful rematch. This rare battle of champions saw GSP (accused of greasing by Penn), just ground and pound an outsized Penn for four rounds, brutalizing the champion before Penn’s mercifully stopped the carnage.

So there you have it. Two guys cutting promos on each other for several months, pushing each other at press conferences, and the UFC president telling you about his next biggest fight of all-time does not make for a good fight. The odds of the fight delivering the brawl you are hoping to see are slim to none with none being the better bet.

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Seth Rollins Added To WWE Royal Rumble Main-Event

January 06, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Authority wasted no time in shaking things up on Monday Night RAW. It was quickly announced that the WWE world title match would get a new addition. Seth Rollins was added to the match, making it a Triple Threat Match.

This one came out of nowhere. The booking change comes in plenty of time yet the plans have been in place for a Cena vs. Lesnar series to culminate at the Rumble for months. The sudden change has many wondering what the ramifications are coming out of the new matchup.

The new matchup certainly shakes things up and makes the main-event even less predictable than before. It was a given up until recently that Brock Lesnar would retain the title and go on to WrestleMania 31 and drop it to Roman Reigns. Quite honestly after the latest change to the match I think that is the least probable result.

The other scenario many were talking about in the last few weeks was Cena winning. It was recently reported that the WWE Creative Team were giving serious consideration towards changing their original plans. The Cena plan would have had Cena winning the match at the Rumble and either going to Mania and wrestling Roman Reigns or immediately dropping the title to Seth Rollins due to a Money in the Bank cash-in.

Now you have Rollins in the match. How does this change the landscape moving forward? For starters, the idea of Rollins suddenly cashing in doesn’t make sense. Although I wonder if you can have Cena win, Lesnar lay him out, and then Rollins cash-in right after the match? That could be a scenario. The other is Rollins winning and going to Mania to wrestle either Reigns or Daniel Bryan for the WWE title.

In my mind this all seems like a gut reaction to all of the news and rumors surrounding Lesnar. Lesnar’s contract with the WWE expires right after WrestleMania. Mania would be his last match. It was expected months ago that Lesnar would sign a new deal, however the latest reports indicate that Brock is leaning towards returning to the UFC. The timing of this all seems too coincidental for the news not to influence the booking.

A final thought is that Rollins is being booked as a sacrificial lamb. Maybe the idea is that with Lesnar leaving, they don’t want him to pin Cena on the way out? This way the company can proceed with its year-long plan to book Lesnar vs. Reigns and give Reigns the title and a Mania moment. Keep in mind that every year we hear rumors of Mania changes yet rarely does the WWE change direction. Last year was an exception and without CM Punk walking out I don’t know if those changes are even made.

Regardless, this may be the first time in years that the result of the WWE world championship match is more intriguing than the Rumble winner.

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Brock Lesnar Leaning Towards UFC Return

December 30, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

One of the biggest questions on the minds of the WWE Universe is what happens to Brock Lesnar in 2015. The WWE world champion is set to become a free agent and according to a new report, we may be seeing the last of Lesnar in the WWE for quite a while.

Brock’s impending free agency is not necessarily a new story, yet the closer we get to Brock entering the market, the bigger the story gets. Not since 1997 has the WWE had a situation where they were set to lose their current champion to free agency. While he may not be out the door yet, a new report suggests that Brock will not be re-signing with the WWE.

Dave Meltzer has the latest in the newest Wrestling Observer Newsletter. According to Meltzer, Brock may be heading back to a familiar place. Meltzer reports that all signs point towards Lesnar returning to the UFC in 2015.

“The Lesnar people always keep things quiet, but within the company, the belief is that he’s going back to UFC, and his showing up lighter to TV last week confirmed that to people who thought it. If it wasn’t for Punk, this would be a big deal, but with Punk, it’s a much bigger deal because the last thing WWE wants is this perception that UFC has just grabbed two of the company’s biggest stars.”

Brock’s last match on his current deal would likely take place at WrestleMania 31. The working plan all along has been for Lesnar to win the title at SummerSlam and hold it through Mania, dropping it to Royal Rumble winner Roman Reigns. However, many in the industry are pondering whether it is time for the WWE to change course rather than head into Mania with a lame duck champion.

Former WWE head of Talent Relations Jim Ross has been critical of WWE’s handling of Lesnar. Ross was the man in charge with negotiating contracts back in his day as a WWE office employee. Ross has questioned the WWE booking several times on his podcast for booking Lesnar with the WWE title without a renewed contract. If Ross were still in charge he would have made sure that Lesnar had a new contract before he got the run as world champion.

Meltzer brought up CM Punk and it is ironic as to how much Punk may wind up dictating business here. As Meltzer said, the Punk to UFC move all of the sudden puts a new priority on keeping Lesnar in the WWE. Meltzer is right to an extent in that it would look pretty bad for the WWE to lose two of its top three stars to UFC…who they repeatedly dismiss as competition. As a public company it is hard to justify these two moves to stockholders, especially with a struggling network.

That said, I don’t think Vince McMahon is going to let that influence his bottom line. The sad reality to those hoping to see Brock stick around is that it makes very little business sense to bring Brock back. The economics are much different and let’s call it what it is. Brock has not been a difference maker. He hasn’t spiked the Network nor has he been able to bring a large number of fans to RAW. At the end of the day whether the WWE has Brock or not, they are going to sell the same number of Network subscriptions thus it probably makes more sense on paper to let Brock go back to UFC and move on.

It will be interesting to see how the Rumble plays out. The betting line was always on Brock retaining. Yet some are reporting that there could be a change and Cena could wind up with the title, facing Reigns at Mania. We will probably get a much better indication on the WWE’s intentions come the Royal Rumble and the result of Lesnar vs. Cena.

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