There will never be a shortage of interesting quotes from a Kevin Nash interview. A recent interview with fellow n.W.o. mates didn’t disappoint as Nash revealed a potential Monday Night Wars jump, called Chris Jericho a puss, and trashed WCW among other things.
CNNSI.com had a great interview on its website with Nash, Scott Hall, and Sean Waltman. The three talked primarily about the New World Order but it was Nash who dominated most of the conversation. I’d highly recommend checking out the entire piece because it is a really fun read. If not, here are a few highlights of the conversation.
One comment that is particularly making news regards a potential jump during the Monday Night Wars. Nash was asked about jumps and while he is never quoted, the article states that there was very little to the Shawn Michaels to WCW rumors. Yet one jump that could have had a big impact has never been discussed until now and that was the Undertaker returning to WCW.
“We had ‘Taker close. All of a sudden he wasn’t the Deadman. He became the American Badass for a reason. That Deadman wasn’t going to f*ckin’ come to WCW. He would have been the biker character and gone by Mark Calaway.
All along, I was trying to get guys money, I was trying to get guys paid. And what happened was Vince started giving huge guarantees to the Shawns and Undertakers and those guys and said, ‘I can’t lose my core guys.’”
I have never heard this rumor before. While it is a fun rumor to chomp on, I don’t know how much validity there is to it. The Undertaker didn’t even break out his biker character until May of 2000. By that time the Monday Night Wars were practically over and I can’t imagine WCW shelling out that kind of cash at that point in the wars. WCW was sold less than a year later. He says he had Taker close but who knows what close really is. What it does indicate is how much of a risk Vince McMahon took when he changed Taker’s character. As the “dead man”, the Undertaker would have had to start over in WCW with a brand new gimmick. As a biker, the Undertaker now had a ton of leverage and could have used it to jump to WCW and remain close to the gimmick. With Undertaker not debuting the character until May 2000, one would presume the negotiations came months later. At that point even the Undertaker jumping over would have only helped temporarily.
Nash also weighed in randomly on the infamous Bret Hart-Shawn Michaels Montreal Screw Job. I am not sure what Nash was insinuating here, but it would appear that Nash is telling CNNSI.com that he would have “forced” Bret to drop the title. I am sure Bret would have loved to have that conversation.
“That would have been a situation where we would have sat Bret down and said, ‘Dude, you’ve got to drop this,’” said Nash. “We’d have said you’re leaving and this is how you do business.”
The irony of Nash of all people telling Bret Hart how to do business may be the best Kevin Nash quote I have ever read…ever!
Nash also took a shot at his former WWE and WCW colleague Chris Jericho. Jericho has always been outspoken about the selfishness of the n.W.o. Nash was asked about it and called Jericho “whiny.”
“Jericho’s just a whining puss. If you have any talent, you can’t be held back and you can’t be held down. Jericho just whines and whines. He’s gone on to be tremendously successful, and he’s still got a hard on for us. I don’t get it, but nobody makes headlines for saying, ‘Those guys are great guys.’ You talk about what dicks we are, and then some guy sits down and interviews you.”
We all know that is complete bologna. It doesn’t matter how much talent you have, if the guy booking the matches books you to be a mid-low card wrestler that is where you stay. It’s as simple as that in pro wrestling. I think we can all look back at WCW and account for at least a dozen guys that went on to have big careers in the WWE that were missed by the bookers down south.
Nash was also asked about Sting’s match at WrestleMania 31, specifically in regards to Sting losing in his debut match.
“There wasn’t a star from WCW that didn’t lose when he came into WWE,” said Nash. “I mean, Christian destroyed Golberg in a cage match with a chair. That is one of the things that’s always been done. If Sting thought otherwise, he was wrong. The fact is it was a WCW-WWE moment and, once again, WWE prevailed.”
I am not as critical as some are of Sting losing. I think with Sting disappearing indefinitely, you go with the guy who is sticking around and that is Triple H. Especially if the rumors are true about Hunter headlining Mania next year against the Rock. I am also still surprised the result was so shocking to some people.
I was pretty excited when I found out that not only was there a new Chris Jericho DVD, but that I would get to review it. Jericho is one of my all-time favorite in-ring performers, and easily one of the best storytellers in wrestling history. Fortunately, both aspects of the man are on full display here.
While many of these kinds of sets are set in a “documentary, followed by matches and clips” layout, this collection is laid out a bit different. For starters, there is no documentary whatsoever. Now, while that might turn you off at first, there are good reasons for it. For starters, the last Jericho DVD (Breaking the Code) pretty much took care of that, and was an excellent set overall. Instead, the DVD literally goes on the road with Jericho, as he discusses things from the back of a limousine on a road trip from New York to Lancaster, PA, where he is doing a rock concert for his band Fozzy.
What you get here is a collection of Jericho matches that, by his own admission, are matches he has never watched, and instead discusses based solely on memory (Jericho’s memory is almost eidetic; he is insanely smart). In addition to discussing said matches, Jericho shares the backstories of the matches, as well as just some humorous anecdotes about a wide variety of topics, from Leonardo DiCaprio to being outsmarted by a coffee cup. It’s really cool, as Jericho is very laid back and frank about each stories, and never veers into the territory of “sometimes kayfabe, sometimes not” like many releases over the years (the Ric Flair & The Four Horsemen DVD is a good example of this).
The matches cover a good chunk of his career, including stuff as recent as last year, and very early matches like his ECW TV title win over Pitbull #2. While not all are five-star classics, for the most part, the selection here is really fun and enjoyable. In fact, watching through all of the matches, I was really only disappointed with two matches, the first being a meaningless triple threat tag team match between Jeri-Show (a team name Jericho has always apparently hated, although he calls Show the best tag partner he’s ever had), D-Generation X, and the Undertaker & John Cena. While it’s nothing special, it’s something that obviously meant a lot to Jericho, given it’s inclusion on this set. And that’s another cool thing about this set: Jericho chose each and every one of these matches for inclusion, a rarity on a WWE DVD. The second match is nothing special either, but is interesting due to the fact that it was a post-RAW dark match between himself and John Cena that, until now, had never been seen anywhere else. Apparently, Jericho really enjoys these dark matches, and included this one because Cena is one of his favorite opponents, and the two guys tend to put more efforts into post-RAW matches than the average wrestler, given that most of these matches are a minute or two, and this one goes on for at least ten.
The rest are surprisingly made up of mostly rare RAW and Smackdown matches, with only a handful of PPV matches sprinkled in, their inclusion being that they’re some of Jericho’s favorites. I’m disappointed with the selection of pre-WWE matches on the set, but only because there are so few (one from ECW, and one from WCW). Minor complaint aside, the rest of the selections are pretty solid. I mean, it’s Chris Jericho. If you have a bad match with Jericho, nine times out of ten it’s your fault.
Overall, this is a really enjoyable set, and I can definitely recommend it to just about anyone, Jericho fan or not. Listening to Jericho’s stories is entertaining as hell and worth the price of admission, with the collection of matches just being the icing on the cake. It’s roughly seven hours of Jericho talking and wrestling, the two things he does better than most anyone else in the sport, so you know you’re in for a solid set and a good viewing experience if you pick it up (which you definitely should)
I Don’t Take Time Off
A Big Title To Win
ECW World Television Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Pit Bull #2
ECW Hardcore Heaven * June 22, 1996
Wrestle & Romance
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Ultimo Dragon
WCW Bash at the Beach * July 13, 1997
The Chains Came Off
WCW Cruiserweight Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Dean Malenko
WCW Uncensored * March 15, 1998
A Really Tough Transition
Steel Cage Match
Chris Jericho vs. X-Pac
No Mercy * October 22, 2000
Scalding Hot Water from the Coffee Machine
Last Man Standing Match
Chris Jericho vs. Kane
Armageddon * December 10, 2000
Things Go By So Fast
WWE Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
Special Outside Referee: Mick Foley
RAW * June 4, 2001
WCW Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Booker T
RAW * July 16, 2001
A Refugee Camp
WCW Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Kurt Angle
Rebellion * November 3, 2001
A Dastardly Finish
WWE Undisputed Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. The Rock
Royal Rumble * January 20, 2002
The George Harrison of WWE
Winner Faces Hulk Hogan for the Undisputed Championship
Chris Jericho vs. Triple H
SmackDown * April 25, 2002
Chris Jericho vs. Jeff Hardy
RAW * February 10, 2003
Chris Jericho vs. Edge
RAW * March 7, 2005
Because It Was There
Last Man Standing Match
Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels
RAW * November 10, 2008
Street Fight for the World Heavyweight Championship (Dark Match)
Chris Jericho vs. John Cena
Manchester, NH * December 29, 2008
That’s What Bullies Do
Mask vs. Intercontinental Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio
The Bash * June 28, 2009
This Is Where You Can Live Forever
Triple Threat Tag Team Match
Chris Jericho & Big Show vs. John Cena & The Undertaker vs. D-Generation X
RAW * November 16, 2009
Wardrobe Malfunction & Crowd Participation
Chicago Street Fight for the WWE Championship
Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk
Extreme Rules * April 29, 2012
I’m Your Guy
Chris Jericho vs. Rob Van Dam
RAW * July 15, 2013
Something I Can Sink My Teeth Into
Steel Cage Match
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
RAW * September 8, 2014
Stairway to Heaven
Chris Jericho vs. Randy Orton
Night of Champions * September 21, 2014
Great Opponents; Great Moments
Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho vs. Christian
Unforgiven * September 12, 2004
Intercontinental Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. Rey Mysterio
RAW * June 15, 2009
Pushed Out of the Nest
Chris Jericho vs. Evan Bourne
Fatal 4-Way * June 20, 2010
Chris Jericho has always been one of the most outspoken WWE superstars when it comes to media. That is why it is always newsworthy when the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla speaks including some very interesting insight on WrestleMania 31 and the current WWE landscape.
Jericho is out doing publicity for his new WWE home video release, “The Road is Jericho: Epic Stories & Rare Matches from Y2J”. Jericho spoke to Scott Fishman of the Miami Herald about a variety of topics including WrestleMania 31, his feud with Bray Wyatt, and more.
Jericho spoke about his feud with Bray Wyatt. “In this day, most of the guys are newer,” he said. “That’s just the cycle of wrestling. I’m fortunate enough to be doing this for 25 years and can still do this at a high level. I’m still Chris Jericho. As far as years in the ring, I have more than Triple H. I have more than Kane. I think only Goldust and Undertaker really have as many years in the ring. Just to stay in the company and continue to work, you have to work with the younger guys. I think that is important to do that.”
“This is why I included the Bray Wyatt match on the DVD because I thought it was a great match. I think the Randy Orton match I had was a great match. I don’t always want it to be a career retrospective just based around 1999 to 2004 or whatever. I’ve had great matches every year in my career, so I think it’s important to support that and continue to remind people of that. I’ve enjoyed working with Bray Wyatt. I think the cage match we had on Raw was tremendous. One of the best ones I’ve done. I think the match I had with Orton at [Night of Champions] is the best one we’ve ever had.”
Jericho also offered his thoughts on WrestleMania 31 with an interesting proposal for what he’d like to do if he returned. “I like the concept. It amazes every year. It’s always good,” Jericho said. “Of course, I want to see Triple H and Sting. I know what kind of match it’s going to be because I’ve seen Sting in TNA for the last 10 years. It’s not like he is going to come back and be different in the ring. The storyline is what counts. I’m excited for Brock [Lesnar] and Roman Reigns. I’m a big Reigns fan. I’ve been a supporter of his for years. I think the [Intercontinental championship] ladder match will be great. There is a lot of stuff on there. I think it’s pretty cool NXT is doing a big building before WrestleMania as well, 5,000 seats.”
“There are a lot of guys there I would like to work with. I would like to work with [Finn] Bálor. I would like to work with Sami Zayn and [Adrian] Neville. Even [Dean] Ambrose, [Seth] Rollins and Reigns I would like to work with. I would like to work with Daniel Bryan as a heel. I think I can bring something out of him that he hasn’t been seen. It is one thing the company really doesn’t have is strong heels. Maybe they have strong heels, but not the way Jericho would be if the circumstances were right. That would be interesting to come back as a heel.”
I think that Jericho is onto something there and I think he’d be a great investment for the company. Sticking Jericho with the up and coming NXT guys on the road and on big shows would payoff big for those guys. Jericho has found something of a niche of being the established guy who works with these up and comers from Bray Wyatt to Dolph Ziggler to CM Punk to Randy Orton to John Cena when Cena was getting hot and I think all of those guys came out of those programs better for it.
Check out the entire interview where Jericho talks about his DVD, his role in Sharknado 3, Fozzy, and more.
Originally posted April 1, 2012 – It was the old WWE guard that ruled WrestleMania 28. The Rock returned and finally settled his score with John Cena after a year, but it was Triple H and The Undertaker that stole the show and pulled off one of the most dramatic WrestleMania matches in WWE history.
The Rock pinned John Cena in a match that was made by the awesome crowd reaction in Miami. The crowd was about 75/25 in favor of The Rock. The atmosphere alone will certainly make this one a classic. The two opened up trading headlock combinations to a lot of Cena booing. The Rock went for a Sharpshooter early that was countered by Cena rolling out of the ring.
Back in the ring Cena wore The Rock down with a few shoulder tackles and then a clothesline. A “wicked clothesline” according to Michael Cole. Cena then applied an awkward looking bear hug to The Rock. The Rock punched out of it but wound up hitting the floor.
Cena dropped The Rock on the announcer’s table. The Rock was holding his ribs. Cena kicked the ribs and rolled The Rock back inside the ring for a two-count. Cena hit a belly-to-belly suplex on The Rock for another two-count. The Rock powered out but Cena went back to the bear hug. Yes, another bear hug. 1981 called and they want their rest-hold back. The Rock finally hit a DDT to break Cena’s momentum, yet he continued selling the ribs.
The Rock finally hit his usual set of moves and went for The People’s Elbow but was cut off by an STF attempt by Cena. Cena wound up regaining control and dropping a Five Knuckle Shuffle. The Rock slipped out of an A.A. and the two double downed on a clothesline.
Both guys got back up and traded punches. I should point out that Cena was in control for most of the early going here in the match, almost making this look like a squash match. Cena had an answer for everything while The Rock struggled. The fans stayed with it though which kept it strong.
The Rock hit a Rock Bottom out of nowhere for a close fall. Cena recovered again. I don’t even know why they bothered booking the match if they weren’t going to give The Rock much. It really came off like a big squash at this point.
The Rock tackled Cena and applied a Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Cena broke the hold on the ropes. Rock went back to the hold. Cena broke the hold again on the ropes. The People’s Champ went to the floor and dropped some elbows and punches on Cena. The Rock sent Cena into the steel stairs. Cena then flipped into the ring and caught The Rock in the middle with an STF.
Once The Rock got out of the STF he hit a Samoan Drop on Cena. Both guys were down. On their feet, both guys traded punches and kicks. The Rock hit a Spine Buster on Cena. It was People’s Elbow time! Cena rolled up The Rock for a near fall. Cena dropped The Rock and hit a slingshot into the turnbuckle, followed by a near fall. The Rock blocked what looked like a Superplex attempt by Cena. The Rock then hit a cross body block off the top, Cena rolled through, hit the A.A. and got a near fall. The crowd went absolutely nuts for this sequence!
Cena then went for a People’s Elbow. The Rock caught him with a Rock Bottom and dropped him for the three-count and the win! The place went nuts for the unexpected finish.
Obviously they are setting up a rematch here. I have to be honest, I have very little interest in seeing that. This was a fun match for the atmosphere alone but the match itself was a bit disappointing to me. To be fair, it is possible that they are saving their best for the rematch.
The Undertaker went 20-0 defeating Triple H in one of the most dramatic WrestleMania matches you will ever see. I can’t rave about this match enough. A bald Undertaker and Triple H started off the match with The Undertaker dropping Triple H with several right hands. They had a nice back and forth in the open in your typical pro wrestling brawl. The explanation about The Undertaker’s bald head was that he cut his hair off until Triple H accepted a rematch.
Triple H was the first to hit the cage as the Dead Man threw him to the fence while both were on the floor. The Undertaker pushed Shawn Michaels out of the way early as Michaels tried to check on Triple H. Triple H took the brunt of the punishment early on. The Undertaker also went “old school” and walked the ropes early as well.
Triple H finally got the upper hand using steel steps that The Undertaker brought into the ring. The Undertaker reversed a Pedigree attempt on the steps. I want to note how great the crowd was during this match. The audience was super hot and popping for everything they did. Hunter regained the upper hand after dropping The Undertaker with a Spine Buster on the steps. The Undertaker then grabbed Triple H in a triangle choke or “Hell’s Gate” as the WWE calls it which Hunter broke by slamming him.
Triple H then proceeded to absolutely brutalize The Undertaker with several chair shots to the back. Michaels told Hunter to cover him but he didn’t. Hunter then shoved Michaels aside and continued pounding The Undertaker with chair shots, telling Michaels to end it or he would. The Undertaker told Michaels not to stop the match as Hunter yelled “stay down!” Triple H finally went for a cover with no avail.
The story here was Hunter continually asking Shawn to end the match or he would. Triple H then brought the sledgehammer into the match and told Shawn he was ending it one way or the other. The Undertaker kicked out of a sledgehammer shot to a big ovation. Michaels finally grabbed the sledgehammer out of Hunter’s hands.
The Undertaker wound up choking Shawn Michaels with the “Hell’s Gate” when HBK went to check on him. The Undertaker did this to stop Michaels from stopping the match. Michaels was out at this point. Now Hunter was caught in the triangle choke but the match had no referee at this point. Hunter grabbed the sledgehammer and dropped it. Hunter was choked out at this point but Michaels was still out cold as well.
New referee Charles Robinson ran out to get into the match and take over. The Undertaker then choke slammed Triple H for a near fall. These guys had great drama going at this point. The Undertaker then choke slammed Robinson. The Undertaker pulled Hunter up for a Tombstone, Michaels nailed Taker with Sweet Chin Music, Triple H Pedigreed him, and Undertaker kicked out in a classic WrestleMania moment.
Triple H then tossed Michaels outside of the ring. The Undertaker nailed Hunter with several shots and dropped him for Snake Eyes and a big boot. The Undertaker Tombstoned Hunter for a near fall in another classic moment. The match was at a level above last year’s at this point and I loved last year’s match.
After a back and forth Triple H nailed a Pedigree for another close three count. They had 60,000+ on their feet. The Undertaker had a chair and Hunter had his sledgehammer at this point. The Undertaker then proceeded to brutalize and pay back a Hunter with chair shots. The chair shots were so hard it bent the chair up. Triple H kicked out once again.
Triple H gave Taker a crotch chop sign and was then immediately dropped by the Dead Man. The Undertaker went for the Tombstone, dropped Hunter, and got the three-count for his 20th WrestleMania win in an absolute classic. I didn’t think they could do it but they topped last year’s match and more. Great match!
Both guys were laid out due to exhaustion as the cage went up. Michaels looked down at both men. Triple H was out cold and The Undertaker could barely get to his feet. Michaels pulled Undertaker up and the two hugged. There was a fireworks celebration that followed to celebrate 20-0. The Undertaker staggered around a bit after the fireworks. He and Michaels pulled up Triple H and walked him to the back.
CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE championship. John Laurinaitis told CM Punk in the back before the match that he would change the WWE championship if Punk lost his temper and got disqualified. Jericho spent the early portion of the match trying to lure Punk into getting himself disqualified. Eventually the two wound up breaking into a pretty good match. The highlight of the match was Jericho suplexing Punk over the top from the ring to the floor.
The match was really hurt by following the Hell in a Cell match. It was a good match but the crowd really took awhile to get into the match. In all fairness the crowd seemed to be pretty into it towards the end. Punk won the match with the Anaconda Vice in the center of the ring. Jericho tapped out.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for the WWE world heavyweight title opened the show. I loved the choice of going with Bryan vs. Sheamus, great way to set the pace of the show. Behind the scenes it was a great spot for them as they don’t have to worry about match time being cut. Bryan had a ton and I mean a ton of “Yes” signs in the house.
The match was over in a matter of seconds. Sheamus nailed Bryan with a Brogue Kick right after the bell was sounded for the win and the WWE world heavyweight championship in 18 seconds. I hated this. What a waste of one of the best workers in the company here. It reminded me of when I went to see a New Japan show live in the 1990s and was pumped to see Jushin Liger vs. Ultimo Dragon and yet they ended the match in about 90 seconds. I have one word for the booking here, “No!”
Kane defeated Randy Orton in a bit of a surprise. Orton was going for the RKO from the top but was instead chokeslammed from the second rope. I am not sure what is going on with Orton but it almost appears that the guy is getting buried. Quite frankly he was treated much better when he was an undisciplined troublemaker. I wouldn’t call it a bad match but it was certainly a waste of Orton in my opinion.
The Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes to win the WWE I-C title. Not a bad match, but more like your typical television bout. Most of the match saw Show throw Cody around until Cody worked over Show’s knee. The finish came on a second Disaster Kick attempt by Cody who was caught and dropped by The Big Show. Big Show pulled the strap down ala Jerry Lawler and knocked him out with the right hand. Show ends Cody’s 233 WWE intercontinental title reign. Show cried after the match and really put the win over nicely here.
Maria Menounos pinned Beth Phoenix to win the Divas tag team match. This was actually a bit better than I expected, not that I expected much. The biggest disappointment was the unflattering pants attire of Maria Menounos. Hey if you are going to force me to watch her wrestle, at least stick her in a bikini
The Miz pinned Zack Ryder to win the 12-man tag team match. John Laurinaitis will now have total control of SmackDown and Monday Night RAW as the G.M. The finish came when Zack had The Miz set up for the finish and Eve Torres came into the ring. The referee turned around and told Eve to leave. Zack confronted Eve, turned around, and received the Skull Crushing Finale. Eve kicked Zack in the groin after the match. I was expecting a lot more here, although to be fair they were following the Hell in a Cell match.
Overall I’d say it was a one match show. The Undertaker vs. Triple H match was so good that I would recommend the show simply for that. The Rock vs. Cena felt flat to me as a match, although the atmosphere made this at minimum a WrestleMania classic moment. The rest of the card was good but nothing else really stood out to me. I’d rate this one slightly better than last year but that isn’t really saying much now is it?
The elephants in the room here are Batista and Brock Lesnar. It was reported by numerous sources over the weekend that both were at WrestleMania. Most fans assumed that they would be a part of the show, specifically Brock Lesnar. I would be absolutely shocked if Lesnar does not appear on RAW tomorrow night in some major angle. The plan at this point appears to be to announce a big match tomorrow or at least set up a match tomorrow for next year. The WWE would generally shake up RAW the night after WrestleMania in the past with big angles. Look for that this Monday on RAW. Otherwise I have no explanation for the absence of Lesnar and Batista.
Full WWE WrestleMania 28 results & winners… Primo & Epico defeated Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd and The Usos in a Triple Threat Tag Team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres
Team Johnny (David Otunga (captain), Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz, and Drew McIntyre) (with Vickie Guerrero) defeated Team Teddy (Santino Marella (captain), R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali, and Booker T) (with Hornswoggle)&Aksana vs. in a 12-Man Tag Team match to determine General Manager of both the Raw and SmackDown brands
Kane defeated Randy Orton
The Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Championship
The Undertaker defeated Triple H Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Referee
The Rock defeated John Cena
This week, a flood of accusations have come out against NXT trainer Bill DeMott from a number of people once tied in with WWE’s developmental system. There are a litany of allegations that could fill both sides of the old Berlin Wall, falling into generally two categories: physical abuse and verbal abuse. In one alarming instance, one former trainee, Kevin Matthews, alleges that DeMott smacked him on the head after it was known he’d sustained a concussion.
The impetus for the public outage is former NXT talent Judas Devlin revealing the contents of a 2013 letter sent to several corporate officers in WWE, including former talent relations head Jane Geddes (interestingly, it was revealed Wednesday that Geddes had been let go within the past six weeks, oddly under the radar). By now, if you haven’t read Devlin’s list of allegations, the original post can be found here. (https://www.reddit.com/r/SquaredCircle/comments/2xphrq/bullyingneglect_in_wwenxt_medical_staff_must_read/)
It’s one thing to call Devlin a bitter ex-employee with an ax to grind, but the contents of that two-year-old letter are very specific and detailed.
Other wrestlers, such as Joey Ryan, Ethan Carter III (Derrick Bateman in WWE) and Trent Baretta have spoken out in support of Devlin’s whistle-blowing. Ryan remains active on Twitter, re-tweeting and linking everything he can find on the matter, while Baretta tweeted Thursday, “This isn’t about who’s tough and who’s cool and who’s bitter and who’s not. It’s about a sh—y person doing sh—y things.”
WWE released a statement in response to Devlin’s revelations, saying they found no sign of wrongdoing on DeMott’s part following a thorough investigation. Dolph Ziggler’s younger brother Ryan Nemeth, who was with NXT at the time, claims he was never questioned in the alleged fact-finding.
Bob Holly, no stranger to claims of roughing up youngsters in wrestling, added that some former NXT prospects were participants in a wrestling seminar of his a couple months back. According to Holly, they personally corroborated these horror stories to him.
MVP, via Twitter, responded to Joey Ryan’s linking of Devlin’s account, noting, “Damn. That s–t is STILL going on?” Assuming MVP means the methods allegedly employed by DeMott as trainer and not the actual claims against him, that’s pretty scary, considering that MVP rose through the developmental ranks of WWE a full decade ago, during DeMott’s first company go-around.
Among the gathering of claims and the outcry on social media against DeMott, from wrestlers and fans alike, Chris Jericho made his voice heard. He would come to regret it.
In a since-deleted tweet, Jericho said the following:
“Hey @BillDeMott is a good friend & great trainer. If u can’t handle it then quit. My training at #HartBrothers camp was 10,000 times worse!”
Make no mistake, Chris Jericho is a pretty tough guy. Working through a fractured forearm at a major Smoky Mountain Wrestling event, while gushing blood, attests to this. Other incidents stand out, such as working through a ripening knot between his eyes during the 2003 Royal Rumble, sustained when Tommy Dreamer whacked him a little too hard with a kendo stick. Ask Jericho himself, and he could rattle off countless other times in which he’s gutted it out in extreme circumstances.
Nobody will question Jericho’s toughness. His thought process on the other hand is undergoing considerable scrutiny.
As evidenced by the tweet being deleted, Jericho either rethought his stance toward his friend, couldn’t handle the deluge of angry tweets toward him from outraged fans, or both. It wasn’t just fans, either. Carter tweeted shortly after Jericho’s remarks, “A Hart can stretch me any day. A know nothing dips–t slapping me when I’m concussed is different.”
Jericho details his training in his first book, A Lion’s Tale, in which he notes nothing more than the rigors of discipline-testing stretches and the grind of understanding wrestling fundamentals, mixed with Jericho’s own light-hearted take on the personalities he encountered. The only instance of anything resembling bullying is his claim that Keith Hart roughed him up after Jericho asked him a question he couldn’t answer. Aside from that, there’s nothing in there about Ed Langley, Jericho’s primary trainer, telling Lance Storm he hopes he dies, or kicking Jericho in the groin, nor did Jericho detail any of the trainees being referred to as a pedophile by Langley.
Storm himself is now a respected trainer, churning out NXT talents such as Emma, Tyler Breeze, and Sylvester LeFort at his Storm Wrestling Academy. Thus far, none of them, nor any other Storm alumnus, has accused Storm of doing any of the things Jericho’s friend DeMott is accused of committing. Storm and Jericho came from the same school, which means whatever grind Jericho was subjected to, so to was Storm. I’m sure it’d make the dirt sheets if Storm grabbed an injured trainee by their neck and berated them beyond purpose.
Even if DeMott is completely exonerated, Jericho’s word at this time wouldn’t trump anything the former students claim, unless he was there every single day to provide a concrete alibi. The entire ignorant tweet boiled down to two things: DeMott’s my friend, and it was hell when I trained. It was completely oblivious to anything that was claimed, which is to attempt to invalidate potential truths on the merit of ego and personal annoyance.
His recent house-show loops and his occasional runs to put over the next big heels in WWE are there for a man who likes to wrestle at his luxury, and you can’t really say he hasn’t earned it; he’s one of the most accomplished and skilled wrestlers in any generation. Because he’s afforded this luxury, Jericho’s a WWE guy through and through, and thus he’ll say WWE things, even under the guise of dismissive third-hander. If it was an attempt at damage control, it clearly failed, since the tweet’s been removed, and the caustic responses are numerous.
In A Lion’s Tale, along with the many hilarious anecdotes, Jericho rails against the old-timers, grouches, and outright assholes that, from time to time, made the business less fun for him as an idealistic youngster.
It’d be sad to think Jericho, at one time as hip to the wrestling room as anyone, has turned into one of those people he once made fun of.
The Nexus invasion of the WWE remains one of the most memorable angles of this generation. We are only recently starting to hear about what went on behind the scenes and how it all came together. The latest to tell the story is Wade Barrett and his recollection may be the best thus far.
Members of the Nexus angle recently told their story on Chris Jericho’s podcast but it was Barrett’s latest interview that peeled back the curtain and brought you inside of the angle through the mind of the biggest beneficiary. What is it like to go from WWE “rookie” to leader of the top heel faction in the company overnight? Pretty damned crazy according to Barrett.
Here is an excerpt of the conversation Barrett and Jericho had when reflecting on the angle. Jericho asked Barrett how the angle came about and what he knew before the angle. According to Barrett, not much although his life would change forever moving forward.
Wade Barrett – “It was awesome and we really had no idea up until probably just before they opened the doors and started letting the crowd in (Jericho says, “Wow, that day?). They brought us all back. So NXT season two was starting that week so they had all of these new rookies and we thought, “Look whoever wins NXT season one that the prize is you get a contract with WWE, you also get a title shot,” which was kind of weird because we’re like rookies yet we get the title shot, this main title with WWE. We thought the other seven, you guys are going to get the job. Whoever wins is great, the rest of you it’s great because everyone is getting a job because they can’t just debut eight new guys right? That never happens. We thought the rest of you would go back to FCW, well that’s what we thought would happen.”
Chris Jericho – “Did you guys discuss that among yourselves?”
Barrett – “Yeah, when we’re driving around because we’re sharing rental cars and stuff during the whole process of NXT season one. “What’s going to happen if you get cut one week?” You thought, “You’re probably back to developmental or you’re fired. Maybe this is your chance? When in the past have eight guys debuted together, there’s no room on the roster. It was eight guys, it quickly became seven once Daniel Bryan got cut so, but he came back fortunately. We’re thinking, “Whoever wins great, you’ve got your spot, the other seven guys, see you later.” You served as requirements by this point. So they brought all eight of us to TV. We didn’t know what we would be doing. I assumed I’d be doing something because I was the guy who won and I was now on the main roster but the rest of the guys were thinking they were just there to make up the numbers or whatever. But then about fifteen minutes before doors Vince (McMahon) calls us into a meeting and we’ve got all of the agents in there and they hand out these Nexus armbands to us and we’re like, “Okay what is going on here?” So eight of us have these armbands and we come up with this plan where we’re going to rip the ring apart and trash it.”
Jericho – “So what did Vince tell you? Did he say, “Listen this is what you’re going to do,” did he say, “This is a big opportunity”, or just business as usual. You guys are here and this is what you’re doing tonight.”
Barrett – “We knew something was very different because literally every agent in the company was in this room with Vince. We were told, “Okay here’s what we’re going to do. This is going to be big, you’re going to attack John Cena,” which none of us were expecting anyway because he’s obviously the number one guy in the company, so okay this is huge, this is a bit of a step up from wrestling each other in three minute matches, doing obstacle courses and stuff like that. This is a slight change. Yeah we did that and we were told very specifically that we weren’t allowed to, after we did this whole thing where we attacked Cena and smashed the ring up and stuff like that, “Okay you guys are not going to be able to interact in public with other members of the WWE roster. You don’t share rental cars with them, if you see them out there in public in a gym or an airport you don’t speak to them. You have to wear your Nexus armbands at all times,” which was awful. So we’re like walking through airports, you don’t want to be noticed at 4:30 in the morning in an airport and then suddenly eight of us show up at some gate with these Nexus armbands on like some kind of club. We were told we had to wear them at all times which when you’re the new guys you’re like, “Okay, sure, I don’t want to get fired already so I’ll do that.” So we knew it was very serious, the company was taking it seriously, they didn’t tell us “You’re going to go on and main-event pay-per-views,” and this, that, and the other thing, because I don’t think they really knew how well it was going to take off and how people were going to react but that moment when we went down to the ring, we smashed everything up.”
Jericho – “First it was just you.”
Barrett – “It was just me walking down and I assume the commentators were saying things like, “Oh he won NXT season one, he gets a shot at the title but what’s he doing here?” Then suddenly you see various faces pop in.”
Jericho – “I remember Tarver coming out with the thing over his mouth.”
Barrett – “The motorcycle mouth-guard thing there. He looked pretty badass.”
Jericho – “I told Ryback this when he did the show that when Tarver came down I knew it was going to happen. I got it, right then. Here’s one, here’s two, and then oh here they come. It was amazing, I’ve got goosebumps thinking about it, it was such a great moment.”
Barrett – “Yeah it was such a cool moment. As you know as rookie wrestlers we came up putting up rings so we know what’s under the skirts and we know what’s under the canvas and we know how it looks when it’s half torn down, so to me in my head when they say, “You’re going to rip the ring apart and expose the beams and stuff,” I was like, “Okay that’s pretty cool, that’s never been done before. I didn’t think in my head, “Wow, the people watching this around the world have never seen a wrestling ring half taken apart,” when would you ever see that, so like I think a huge part of the reaction to that was just this destruction of something that they’ve never seen before. They don’t know what’s under there. It could be a bouncy castle for all they know, you know? That was pretty cool and people responded like crazy. I remember we got to the back and we had so much adrenaline at the time we were not taking it in, we’re just doing “Okay I’m going to do this.” We kind of had set plans, “You guys go over there and attack the announcers, I’m going to do this, I’m going to tear this apart, Skip’s going to turn the announce table over.” We all had very defined roles to make sure it was kind of coordinated. When we finished what we were doing we kind of walked to the back, we weren’t allowed to go through Gorilla, we had to go through a side entrance because we didn’t want it to look like we were heading out and “Oh hey, how was that guys? Was that okay?” We were kind of these invaders. I remember we got to the back and they were showing replays, everyone was silent and they were just watching the replays of the fans’ faces in the audience. People looked genuinely terrified, shocked, and it’s so hard because we produce so much content, I think we make eight or nine hours a week of fresh TV, and you’ve got everything on the Internet and YouTube and stuff like that and it’s so hard to get a reaction like that from people because they’ve seen everything. Let’s face it, there is so little new you can give them because we have to produce so much stuff, so to get that reaction that’s when it suddenly sank in, “Woah that was big.” I went on my Twitter account and I probably had 10,000 followers and I was getting death threats and I have never had anything like that in my life. There’s a guy threatening to meet me at the airport the following morning with a chainsaw that was my favorite. Okay you’re going to look real good in an airport with a chainsaw at six in the morning buddy, yeah I’ll see you there mate. That was pretty hilarious, that was some genuinely upset people.”
Talk about an incredible experience! Barrett’s recollection was fantastic and he goes even more in depth on the run when he and Jericho talk about their SummerSlam match, their experience together on the first season of NXT, and much more. This was a fantastic interview, revealing a side to Barrett we have never seen as WWE fans. Check it out in its entirety on Talk is Jericho.
Hulk Hogan has never sat down for a so-called shoot interview outside of a WWE production. Yet Chris Jericho pulled off the scoop and delivered the closest thing we will probably ever get with the biggest star in pro wrestling history.
It isn’t often that Hulk Hogan sits down for a no holds barred interview about his pro wrestling career. But when he does you know it’s going to be newsworthy. Hogan was a recent guest on a two-part Chris Jericho podcast, offering one of the most fascinating interviews he has ever done. Hogan opened up on his legendary pro wrestling career telling many stories, some you have heard and some you may not have, yet all were interesting.
Now the caveat with a Hogan interview is that he is often a whipping boy for giving worked answers. I tend to take a different opinion than some of those critics. I think that Hogan is giving what he thinks is the real answer. However, I think after 30 years of bumps that he makes honest mistakes with names and time periods and has probably worked himself so much over the years with these stories that he himself truly believes everything that he is saying.
I have read all of Hogan’s books and probably heard every interview he has ever done. Yet there were stories told on this podcast that I had never heard before. Granted after 42 years I may have heard or read these and simply forgotten them, but to me they were all new. I learned a lot about the career of Hulk Hogan and here are just ten takeaways from the podcast.
Hulk Hogan was worried about being double-crossed by Tatsumi Fujinami in Japan – Now Hogan has told this story before, but he elaborated a lot more on this interview. Hogan told Jericho that he had given notice to New Japan because they couldn’t work out a new deal with Vince McMahon Jr. Knowing that it was his last match with the company, Hogan said he feared that Fujinami would hook him and steal the WWF title. Hogan claims that he recruited Danny Hodge to be the referee and asked Hodge to watch his back. He also says he got a lot of respect from Andre the Giant from how he handled this.
Now many have claimed that this story is a completely untrue. I went back and looked at old Hogan results to see if there even was such a match and guess what, there was. Hogan wrestled Fujinami on June 11, 1985 as WWF champion. One resource actually does list Danny Hodge as the guest referee for this match. Unfortunately the match was on YouTube at one point but was pulled. I know many, including Dave Meltzer called this a fabrication but I am inclined to give Hulk a little bit of the benefit of the doubt here. I wasn’t a believer either until I went back and found that a) indeed this was one of his final matches before leaving NJPW indefinitely and b) a resource stating that Hodge was indeed the referee here.
Hulk Hogan wanted to turn heel in the WWF – Hulk told Jericho that he wanted to turn heel the next Monday on RAW after he lost the title to Ultimate Warrior in 1986.
Now this one I call shenanigans on. For starters, there was no Monday Night RAW in 1986. Two, the plans were in place for Hogan to wrestle another babyface vs. babyface match against Warrior at next year’s WrestleMania. I just don’t buy into this one at all.
Hulk Hogan had other reasons for not wanting to turn heel and join the n.W.o. – Hogan told Jericho that Eric Bischoff had to do a long sell job on him to turn heel and join the n.W.o. Hogan said the reason for this is that he had been wanting to do the Hollywood gimmick for a while and turn heel, but he wanted to be by himself and not with a group.
It isn’t news that Hogan had to be convinced to join the n.W.o. That is an old story. But the story has always been that Hulk didn’t want to turn heel and Bischoff had to convince him that the time was right. Nobody has ever reported that the reason he didn’t want to do the angle was because he wanted to do a solo heel run.
Diamond Dallas Page complained about Hulk Hogan grabbing the ropes on a Diamond Cutter – Hogan said that he wanted to do dastardly things as a heel and one of them was grab the ropes when DDP went for the Diamond Cutter. He said that DDP got so upset that he went to Bischoff and complained about the spot.
I can honestly say that I 100% believe that one.
Hulk Hogan wanted to drop the belt to Roddy Piper numerous times in 1984/5 but didn’t trust him – Hogan said that he wanted to drop the belt to Piper many times “like he did with Savage” but Piper worked himself into believing he was a real tough guy and wouldn’t do jobs. Hogan said that if Piper wasn’t going to do a job, he couldn’t trust that Piper would drop it back to him. He thinks that he and Piper would have made millions if they did several WWF title switches in the 80s and ribs Roddy about it almost every day over text.
All I can say is this. Piper was red hot and I believe like Hogan that a win over Hogan with Hogan going for revenge would have been absolutely huge. It is no secret that Piper wouldn’t put over Hogan so maybe he is right. That said, Hogan never dropped the WWF title to Randy Savage even once so saying that he dropped it to Randy several times was wrong.
Hulk Hogan fought Verne Gagne in the locker room – To me, his stories about Verne and working for him in the AWA were the most fascinating of the entire interview. For starters, he said that Verne started making Hogan t-shirts but wouldn’t cut Hogan in on the money. They had words and Verne said he wanted to see what they taught him down in Florida and Hogan said, “Enough to kick your ass.” Verne charged him and Hogan grabbed him in a front face lock “Belzer-style”. Verne left the room and said it wasn’t over and Greg started to take his stuff off like he was going to fight him but David Schultz backed Hulk up.
I have no reason not to believe this one. Everything I have heard about Verne is that he was pretty crazy and always challenging guys to fights.
Hulk Hogan was booked to win the AWA title but it came with a price – Hogan was booked to wrestle Nick Bockwinkel in their legendary Super Sunday match. Hogan was sitting at a table when Verne casually said that he was getting the belt that night. Hogan said “Cool” but Verne told him that as AWA champion he’d get 50% of his Japan bookings. Hogan told him no. Verne was so irate that he had Bockwinkel shoot on him in the match. Hogan fought back and knocked Nick so silly that he forgot how to put on the sleeper hold at the end of the match.
It sounds fairly true because I remember the match and feud at the time and everything was set up for Hogan to win the title. Not only that, the match is widely available on YouTube. I went back and skimmed through the match and indeed Nick does have a hard time putting the sleeper hold on Hulk.
Hulk Hogan paid some heavy dues on his way to the top – Hogan tells the story we all know by now of Hiro Matsuda breaking his leg, but he elaborates. He said when his leg healed he came back for more training. Matsuda and others stretched Hogan for almost a year after that. Hogan finally was called to go to the shows and worked out with Eddie Graham. Graham taught Hogan how to actually work and it clicked that Hogan had been worked for almost a year by Matsuda and the other guys. Hogan said he started to cry when he realized this. Hogan said he’d also drive with the veterans would abuse his car and told stories about the Samoans trying to kick out his windows. He said he quit the business a few times before he finally got a call to go to New York.
Times were much different back then and I believe they had “fun” with Hogan in Florida. The story certainly humanizes the Hulkster and probably explains a lot of his paranoia over the years and insistence on creative control.
Hulk Hogan got major heat from Vince McMahon Sr. for showing up on his first night with a tie-dyed shirt – Hulk says that with his long hair and the shirt that all of the fans thought it was Superstar Graham returning to the territory. Hogan says the fans freaked out because they thought it was Superstar and Vince told him never to wear tie-dye again.
Hulk Hogan signed with Vince McMahon after he caught Greg and Verne meeting with Vince – Hulk told Jericho that he had gotten word that Vince McMahon Jr. wanted to talk to him. Hulk was surprised because Vince Sr. told Hulk he would never be allowed back in the company. Hulk sat on the message until he was in a booking meeting at Verne Gagne’s house with Verne, Greg, and Bockwinkel. He said that Verne and Greg suddenly said they were leaving and Hulk followed them to the airport. Hulk said when he got to the airport he snuck around and saw them meeting with Vince. After that Hulk got in touch with Vince, Vince flew out to Hogan’s house, and they made a deal.
I don’t know if I completely buy the story. Here is the thing. Hogan was a huge star in the AWA at the time. At his size I can’t imagine him being able to sneak around an airport in Minnesota to spy on the Gagnes. Someone would have recognized him and his cover would have been easily blown. Who knows?
BONUS: Kurt Angle worked stiff with Hulk Hogan during his 2002 WWE run – Hogan told Jericho that Kurt worked really tight with him and gave him a few shots during their matches. He said when he confronted Kurt on it in TNA he said that Kurt told him Vince McMahon told him to do it.
There is nothing more memorable in professional wrestling than a great rivalry. The WWE has produced some of the all-time best over the last several decades and I thought it would be fun to look back and countdown the ten best WWE feuds of all-time.
Wrestling fans will probably go through their lives watching a lot of wrestling. Yet it will be the memorable angle and great feud that resonates with them for generations. Those dramatic moments and intense matches will live on and be passed down through legend to future generations. Over the course of my lifetime, the WWE has produced some of the all-time best.
Keep in mind that I am not ranking this as a greatest feuds blog, I am specifically looking at feuds that happened within a WWE ring. While I grew up with classic feuds from territories all over the United States, only those within the WWE were readily available to be reviewed for this blog. Fortunately you can catch most of these great matches and/or moments on the Network or YouTube so even if you weren’t watching them live, you can still appreciate the chaos.
In no particular order here is the breakdown of what are in my opinion, the 10 greatest feuds in WWE history.
Steve Austin vs. Vince McMahon – Let’s start with an easy one. Austin vs. McMahon is arguably the greatest feud in WWE history. If the criteria for this list was simply revenue, Austin vs. McMahon would probably top the list. Unfortunately the WWE has gone to the well so many times in recent years with heel authority figures that I don’t think we will ever see anything like this again. The timing was just right in 1997 with Vince coming off of the Montreal Screw Job, competition from WCW, the popularity of the n.W.o. bringing pro wrestling back into the mainstream, and the emergence of this biggest anti-authority hero you will ever see in a wrestling ring.
Hulk Hogan vs. Roddy Piper – Next to Austin vs. McMahon I may call this the greatest feud in WWE history. It was certainly the biggest of my lifetime as a fan up until Austin vs. McMahon. The legacy of this feud cannot be understated. These two guys were pivotal in taking pro wrestling and breaking it out into the mainstream in 1984 and 1985. Sure Hogan was a great babyface but there was no other villain in the company that could transcend popular culture like Piper. The timing was absolutely perfect for these two to take the country by storm and they did. The same can’t be said for their rivalry years later in WCW and again in the WWE unfortunately.
Bruno Sammartino vs. Larry Zbysko – This one was a bit ahead of my time but the legend of this rivalry has sustained several generations of pro wrestling fans. I can’t begin to explain why this one became so much bigger than others for Bruno because Bruno had plenty of allies turn on him throughout his WWE career. Yet for whatever reason, Zbysko’s defiance hit home with the fans. Zbysko breaking the chair over Bruno’s head has become iconic in its own right. The heat for their matches was ridiculous and while Hogan may take credit for it in his book, it was this match that drew a monster house to Shea Stadium in an era before pay-per-view.
CM Punk vs. John Cena – It’s funny because the best angle this feud had is arguably the least memorable, which was the night Punk got up from the commentary booth and turned on Cena. Their 2011 summer series remains the biggest feud/angle of modern day era of WWE. Punk’s pipe-bomb promo was believable and fans ate up the idea of Punk leaving the WWE as world champion. Their Money in the Bank match was rated five stars by Dave Meltzer which is incredibly high praise. Whether it has the sustainability of the others on this list remains to be seen, but on this date it was one of the all-time best.
Hulk Hogan vs. Randy Savage – The WrestleMania V rivalry remains an iconic feud from the 1980s era of pro wrestling. Fans today still talk about the great match and classic angle which saw Savage turn on Hogan on prime time television. The year-long build is patience that could pay off today if the WWE had a different mindset as opposed to the hot-shot angle and match. Hogan gets a lot of criticism for his work rate but all you need to do is check out their WrestleMania V match and others in the 80s to see Hogan and Savage for that matter at his best.
Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels – This is a feud that probably doesn’t get as much due as it should. The angles and series of matches throughout this lengthy rivalry remain some of the best from the last decade of WWE wrestling. Their Ladder Match in particular still sticks out as an all-time favorite. Between Jericho punching Michaels’ wife and almost blinding the Heartbreak Kid you won’t find many better heels in the last decade than Jericho was during this historic period.
Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart – Austin vs. Hart remains one of the greatest rivalries which produced arguably the greatest WrestleMania match in history (my favorite anyway). What made this one so good? I think it goes back to the Survivor Series 1996 hype and Austin telling the world that no matter what happens in New York City, the feud will never end…and it didn’t. The feud was intense, believable, dramatic, and the two just had such great chemistry that it wouldn’t have worked with anyone else. Both guys had chips on their shoulders with Bret obsessing over Shawn Michaels and Austin obsessed with proving WCW wrong after he was released. The hunger and desire out of both guys is evident in everything they did which is why it was all so great.
The Rock vs. Steve Austin – How can you go wrong with three WrestleMania main-events? While you would riot today if you saw Randy Orton vs. John Cena three times at Mania, every match was bigger and better. The timing and worlds aligned for these two to make beautiful wrestling music together. Unfortunately I don’t think this one paid off nearly as much as it should have with Austin leaving after their final match at WrestleMania 19 and never following through on his revenge. Yet there are plenty of great angles leading up to 15 and 17 readily accessible on the Network that will make you a believer if you have any doubts about how fun and memorable this feud was in its heyday.
Mankind vs. The Undertaker – One of quite possibly the most underrated feuds in WWE history would be The Undertaker vs. Mankind. Sure, this one will always be remembered for Hell in a Cell but there was so much more. For over two years these two guys waged one of the most brutal and bloody wars ever seen in a WWE ring. Mankind debuted and immediately jumped into a feud with Taker. Mankind wasted no time targeting the Dead Man as he picked a fight with Taker on his first night in the company. The next two years saw dozens of vignettes and matches showcasing the brutality of this deadly rivalry. Pick any match on the Network between these two and I can guarantee you that it will be just as exciting now as it was almost 20 years ago.
Triple H vs. Batista – It still amazes me that someone who was involved in a legendary rivalry like Batista was crapped on by the new generation of fans so badly when he returned last year. I think the WWE could have helped him out quite a bit if they went back and showed old footage of his rivalry with Hunter. What made this so good is that it had been brewing for months. Batista would shoot these subtle looks at Hunter for months prior to their match that let the fans know that it was coming. This allowed the rivalry to simmer for months before it finally boiled over into one of the greatest segments in RAW history (right up there with their contract signing). Batista won three straight matches and yet the fans couldn’t get enough of this rivalry. Again, this is another case in patience paying off at the box office for the WWE.
On the April 11, 2011, the WWE changed forever. Edge announced his retirement from the ring, which was a sudden jolt of discourse within the company and could very well be the beginning of the demise of the company from which attitudes were created and kamikaze style wrestling with tables, ladders and chairs were perfected.
I am not blaming the ills of the WWE and the faltering of storylines and potential superstars on the retirement of one WWE superstar, but his sudden departure did not help matters when it came to the progression of the company.
Edge and Christian, billed as brothers and later childhood friends in WWF/WWE storylines, went on to win the WWF Tag Team Championship on seven different occasions. During this time, they gained notoriety in the tag team division, partly due to their participation in Tables, Ladders, and Chairs matches.
Edge won 31 championships in WWE overall, including 11 world championships (the WWE Championship four times and the World Heavyweight Championship a record seven times), five Intercontinental Championships, one United States Championship, and 14 Tag Team Championships (a record 12 World Tag Team Championships and two WWE Tag Team Championships).
He also had an unofficial co-champion reign with Mick Foley as WWE Hardcore Champion. He won the 2001 King of the Ring tournament, was the first Money in the Bank ladder match winner in 2005 and again in 2007 (also being the winner of a match to reclaim and cash in the contract, thus becoming the first to cash in and win both world titles), and won the Royal Rumble match in 2010, making him the only wrestler in history to achieve all three of those accomplishments.
He headlined many major pay-per-view events for WWE, including WrestleMania XXIV. He was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by his long-time friend and tag team partner Christian on March 31, 2012. Critics and fans alike have regarded Edge as one of the most decorated and greatest professional wrestlers in history. And in my mind, one of the most underrated champions of all time.
Edge’s style, his ability and his approval with the fans as both a face and a heel made him genuinely great for both the WWE and the business of wrestling. The fact he helped usher in more hardcore tag team wrestling to the company was only part of his pure genius. In an era of tables and chairs being used more and more as ever-match weaponry speaks to the greatness of the man who made the “spear” popular again.
He, along with Christian and Chris Jericho helped continue the success of Canadian wrestlers that the likes of Bret Hart created before these greats. It also proves that should he still be in the ring and not on SyFi each week, his penchant for tables, ladders and chairs may be more popular than it is today. For those reasons, he was ahead of his time and with Christian formed one of the best and most underrated tag teams of his tenure in the company.
What the WWE plans to do with Edge in the future remains to be seen. The neck injury that put him out of action is still a concern, but he would be great as a commentator or manager in some capacity (Tyson Kidd) where his mic skills and interviews would be a welcomed addition to programming.
The current crop of WWE superstars like Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins would benefit from his tutelage in and out of the ring as well and it would not be shocking if at some time Rollins becomes THAT wrestlers who is the innovator of offense this company is currently lacking.
While he is not able to wrestle, his contributions from the past could certainly build the future of the WWE, and for that his retirement, however abrupt, could be a true benefit.
Vince McMahon is something of an enigma in that you can’t get the true Vince experience without working with the man. Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose are two guys have worked closely with Vince and they’ve got some interesting stories to tell about the Genetic Jackhammer.
Dean Ambrose was a guest on Chris Jericho’s podcast Talk is Jericho recently. The two-part interview was one of the best Jericho has done in his 101 shows. I found one segment in particular incredibly fascinating and that was when they both shared some off the cuff stories about working with Vince McMahon.
Ambrose’s story was interesting on a couple of levels. One, it reflects how close to the Mr. McMahon character Vince really can be off-camera. Two and most interesting, it discussed that awful mannequin segment Ambrose did on RAW a few months back. In my opinion, this was one of the worst segments of the year and almost killed the Ambrose-Rollins feud immediately. Yet according to Ambrose, Vince loved it and if he had it his way, would have gotten in the ring and massacred the mannequin himself.
“I think sometimes Vince (McMahon” with me, he is living vicariously or acting out certain impulses. (Imitating Vince) I want you to say “You’re going to rip his face off! You take this mannequin and chop his hand off! Yeah, yeah. What else can you do to this mannequin? Rip his hair out!” He’s really into it. I find that there’s some stuff that I am asked to do that Vince is really into.
Jericho responded, “You’re talking about when you brought the mannequin to the ring that was supposed to be Seth Rollins and then you’re tearing it apart and this is Vince’s instructions to you?”
“Yeah, he loved it. He was into it,” responded Ambrose. I was in Vince’s office with this mannequin with this bag of tools laid out on the floor. Vince is just looking at the tools and then looking at the mannequin and describing what he might do to the mannequin. It was like nobody else was in the room. It was like he was in there alone with the mannequin. He was in his own little world. (Imitating Vince again) “This mannequin, what could you do to it? You take this, chop his hand off! You like that mannequin?” I asked Vince in this same conversation, “If I was going to say that I was going to cut his balls off what is the word I’d use for balls?” He said, “Testicles!” with no hesitation. Well testicles is the word we use in wrestling when someone kicks you in the nuts.
Jericho had his own stories about working with Vince. None of which paint him as a man sympathetic to women nor is anything off limits when it comes to his own family.
“I had Stephanie (McMahon) one time with Hunter and something was said along the lines, “Stephanie is my precious little flower” and I said, “Stephanie lost her flower a long time ago”. I said (asking Vince), “Can I say that?” Vince goes, “Yes but just make sure you pause after to let the crowd cheer and react.” So it’s like, yeah you can call my daughter a slut, just make sure you let the crowd pop before you continue. That’s him.
“I did a thing once where I was doing something with Chyna and he wanted me to smash her thumb with a hammer because she wore gloves all of the time. (Imitating Vince) We’ll take the glove out, we’ll put a sausage in there and you’ll smash it with a hammer.” I asked, “Is that legal? Am I going to get arrested?” He’s like, “Creative license!”
I’ll tell you what. The WWE Network needs subscribers, stick a camera in Vince’s office during creative meetings, call it the Vince Cam, put it on the network and I think you’ll have one of the greatest reality television shows possible. A guy can dream right?