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WWE Wrestler of the Week: November 30th- December 5th, 2013

December 06, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

With just one week until the one year anniversary of this column, I would like to recognize two wrestlers for the award. After discussing both, I will provide my thoughts on which should ultimately be the winner this week. They both became number one contenders this week. They are Damien Sandow and Natalya.

This past Monday on Raw, Sandow defeated Dolph Ziggler to become number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship. The matches between Sandow and Ziggler the last few weeks have been pretty pointless up until now. Sure, they mainly dealt with the theme of that episode of Raw, but why should anyone care about this feud? Two former Money in the Bank winners finally squared off with something on the line. While Sandow winning made sense in the fact that he is the heel, a match between Ziggler and Big E Langston would also be intriguing based on their past as partners.

Nonetheless, the choice of pushing Sandow into the Intercontinental title picture does interest me. He did appear to lose a lot of steam after failing to cash in Money in the Bank, but perhaps WWE will push him with the midcard title instead. In fact, I can’t decide if I want Langston or Sandow to win. Big E has a bright future ahead of him and having him lose this soon into his title reign probably isn’t wise. At the same time, Sandow is very underrated. In my opinion, he is the total package. Great wrestler and amazingly entertaining on the mic. It’s going to be a tough call when I make my predictions.

On the same night that Sandow earned the title shot against Langston at WWE TLC 2013, Natalya earned an opportunity that is way overdue. In a six diva tag match, Natalya and the Bella Twins were victorious over AJ Lee, Tamina Snuka and Summer Rae. The daughter of Jim “the Anvil” Neidhart rolled up the Divas Champion for the victory. This gave Vickie Guerrero reason to award Natalya the title shot at TLC against AJ.

No wonder Natalya is a member of the famous Hart Family because as Bret would say she is the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be. No other diva in the WWE could give fans as great a match with AJ as Natalya can. I believe Brie Bella and others have challenged AJ recently because of Total Divas. So to me, it was only a matter of time until Natalya got her chance. Natalya is going to be AJ’s toughest opponent yet. If WWE chooses to move the title off AJ, Natalya is the most logical diva to become the new champion.

Both Sandow and Natalya could become new champions at WWE TLC 2013, which makes choosing one of the weekly award that much more difficult. However, Langston is a new champion himself. He rid us of the terrible reign of Curtis Axel and is most likely holding onto the title. AJ, on the other hand, has held the divas championship for almost six months. She seemed destined to hold the title for a very long time. However, with the success of Total Divas and the talent of Natalya, AJ is in trouble. Therefore, I am awarding WWE Wrestler of the Week to Natalya.

Who do you think deserves WWE Wrestler of the Week this week? What are Damien Sandow and Natalya’s chances at WWE TLC 2013? Please share your thoughts below and tweet me your choice @sethmikey

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

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Damien Sandow was robbed, Stephanie McMahon and Other Pro Wrestling Thoughts

November 04, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE all but admitted last Monday night that it did not know what to do with Damien Sandow and his Money in the Bank contract. In a shrewd move, the Intellectual Savior of the WWE did something many could not do with more experience – he took John Cena past the brink.

I personally am a huge fan of Sandow’s work on the microphone and in the ring. He represents the good and bad of what professional wrestling has become lately. He could be the biggest heel on SmackDown, if given the chance and has the ability to take a title from anyone on the roster on any given night.

Sandow is in a bit of purgatory. He was involved in the hotly contest feud with Cody Rhodes that was abruptly stopped to give Rhodes a needed push with his family angle.

He did not have a clear cut rival, where someone like Kofi Kingston or R-Truth or some other retread would not be fair to the character. I thought maybe Dolph Ziggler would work or maybe Christian upon his return, but none of that materialized. He then gave Cena 15 minutes of some fantastic “wrestling” which resulted in his MITB contract being absolved. While it solved the WWE’s issue with what to do with the up-and-comer, it did not help him in any way should Alberto Del Rio continue to challenge Cena for the World Title.

Sandow is a throwback of sorts. A little bit “Leaping” Lanny Poffo, a little bit of Nick Bockwinkle and a little bit of George Wepner. His character was somewhat stagnant until his feud with Rhodes and he continued to drop matches. It will be interesting to see how the WWE plays out the Cena-Del Rio-Sandow triangle. Remember as well, SAndow tried to cash in on Del Rio as well.

Stephanie McMahon’s bold move

Speaking of playing out programs in the WWE, I wonder how long with it will be before Stephanie McMahon considers her husband, Triple H, a B+ COO of the company?

There is going to be a major shift at some point in this “Authority” angle where the “Queen Witch” of the WWE grows weary of her husband not being able to take care of business in the ring. The fact that Kane all but exposed the flaw on Monday night was a sign this could be a very interesting eight weeks in the WWE.

We all know Big Show’s days in the company are not over, where I suspect he may challenge Randy Orton at some point for the title and Kane will soon become the company’s enforcer. What that means is goodbye to The Shield and the appearance of Vince McMahon and maybe Shane McMahon to side with Stephanie – proving blood is thicker than water and wedding vows.

Is Stephanie the “Devil” the person Bray Wyatt talks about? Is she the one behind the impromptu attacks by the Wyatt Clan? Does it lead to a partnership between Daniel Bryan and CM Punk? What happens with Kofi Kingston in all of this?

Breaking up The Shield

Dean Ambrose is by far the best of the three in the “Hounds of Justice,” however it seems Roman Reigns will be the odd man out in the unholy trinity. The WWE is taking a bold step here, not pushing Ambrose toward a World Title shot.

Reigns is the type of wrestler Vince McMahon used to rely on in the 1980s – bold, rugged, huge, abusive and full of power and strength. He has a look to him and a chance to be huge. But don’t fool yourself – in terms of ability he may be better than Ambrose and Seth Rollins, but he is also light years behind them in knowledge and performance.

If Vince is looking to make Reigns another “Rock,” he had better be patient. Do not create another Ryback situation.

Goldust is still golden

If there is something to praise in the WWE right now, it’s the work of both Cody Rhodes and his brother Dustin or “Goldust.”

Since coming back to the company, the 44-year-old has been nothing but spectacular. The angle of the union of the Rhodes family has been well played and the attack on The Shield, and the battles with the Real Americans have proven to be far better than I expected.

This is one move the WWE made with bringing back a veteran that still had plenty in the tank to offer.

Admittedly, I thought the WWE would have Goldust turn on Cody as part of the company angle and as part of the past issues the Rhodes family has had between Dusty and Dustin. Good to see the angle works and allows both of the Rhodes offspring show how dynamic they are.

Bravo.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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WWE Wrestler of the Week July 26th – August 1st, 2013

August 02, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Oh you didn’t know!? You better call somebody because it’s time once again for WWE Wrestler of the Week. This week a number of superstars and even divas were in contention for the award. The Bella Twins had a great week, which featured the debut of Total Divas. Christian also had a great week with wins on Raw and SmackDown. However, the winner this week is someone whose loss at Money in the Bank may have turned into a win for him. This week’s winner is Cody Rhodes.

On the July 26th edition of SmackDown, Rhodes was not in action. However, he made multiple appearances and was the last man standing at the end of the show. As you may recall, his former best friend Damien Sandow pushed Rhodes off the ladder to claim Money in the Bank this year. Sandow was in action on SmackDown against the other Money in the Bank winner, Randy Orton. During this match, Rhodes made an appearance when he stole Sandow’s Money in the Bank briefcase. This distraction would cause Sandow to lose to Orton.

The night was not over for Sandow or Rhodes. Sandow returned to the ring after Christian’s win over Jack Swagger. Sandow demanded that Rhodes be arrested for theft, which caused Cody to let Sandow know exactly where he was. Rhodes was by the Gulf of Mexico holding Sandow’s briefcase. Despite Sandow’s begging, Rhodes threw the briefcase into the Gulf of Mexico and Sandow went swimming to retrieve it. It was a great classic moment that reminded me of the Attitude Era when The Rock threw Stone Cold Steve Austin’s championship belt into a river.

On the July 29th of Raw, Rhodes was victorious in action against Wade Barrett. The outcome didn’t come as a surprise since Rhodes and Barrett seem to be going in opposite directions in their current roles. Even so, it’s great to see Rhodes score a victory. Prior to Money in the Bank, Rhodes was used similarly to how Barrett is used now. As a jobber.

Rhodes’ face turn is turning into a great decision by WWE management. His feud with Sandow is one of the more intriguing storylines today. Rhodes has been a midcarder for his entire career. With Sandow as a great classic heel, it should help Rhodes break into the main event with Sandow.

One change I would like to see Rhodes make is his look and entrance. Whether he keeps the moustache or not doesn’t really matter. However, as I saw him enter ringside for a recent match, he had the same mannerisms as when he was a heel. He needs to act more fan friendly and smile more when entering ringside. Rhodes has a great babyface look and needs to take advantage of this.

Rhodes and Sandow were a fantastic tag team that should have had a run as the champions. They were the ideal heel tag team to Kane and Daniel Bryan. They were among the most misused superstars on the roster and it’s great to see WWE changing that. It should only be a matter of time until Sandow and Rhodes are in a feud over the World Heavyweight title. Let’s face it – Alberto Del Rio is super stale and doesn’t even have anyone to feud with. Sandow and Rhodes’ feud is much more interesting.

Who do you think deserved WWE Wrestler of the Week this week? What does the future hold for Cody Rhodes as a babyface? Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Be sure to check out Camel Clutch Blog each and every Friday for a new WWE Wrestler of the Week!

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

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The Cody Rhodes/Damien Sandow WWE Feud Takes Wrestling Back to its Heyday

July 29, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

There are few things in the WWE that have caused me to tune in with excitement lately. But I do have to say that the recent events between Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow has become must see television in my household.

I am amazed not only in the nonchalant, carefree attitude of Sandow and how it works so well within the company, and I am equally amazed at the way Rhodes has become a great orator and has been accepted so fast in the WWE Universe as a face.

The fact two great performers are playing off of each other has made this the “must see” event of SummerSlam, along with Daniel Bryan.

Yes, you read that right. I did not add John Cena to that mix. Bryan is a far more superior performer in this scenario, which will make the current WWE champion look lost. I am hoping Cena will sell for Bryan the way he did for The Rock and for CM Punk.

Getting back to the reason for this column.

Rhodes and Sandow are a breath of fresh air and the Money in the Bank briefcase being thrown in the Gulf of Mexico last Friday night was icing on the cake. And if you noticed, all it has done is make Alberto Del Rio’s role in the company as the World Champion seek weak at best.

Think of this feud takes me back to a time when wrestling mattered. Not the title, but the wrestling, the build up, the vignette and the delivery. The days when Eddie Gilbert could cut a promo on the fly or Bobby Heenan could yell at the “humanoids” in the stands. It also reminds me of the pompous nature of wrestling as a whole and how great it is to be concerned with “getting even” more than getting the win.

If you have noticed, Rhodes is mad he was beaten for the briefcase by Sandow, not the fact Sandow has the briefcase. Two entirely different topics, but one great scenario (The Reeses of professional wrestling).

The best way I can put it is former tag team partners who become foes to exact revenge like Kevin Sullivan and Mike Graham, Shawn Michaels and Marty Jannetty, Lex Luger and Sting and Eddie Gilbert and Tommy Rich. I guess you could also insert Edge and Christian in there as well.

And with the staleness of the World Title division, this is a good thing for the WWE and wrestling in general.

This will be the best match of SummerSlam and deserves top billing, but it cannot be afforded it because of the hype of Bryan and “Super Cena.”

As a purist of wrestling, I have often said wrestlers need a good feud to define them and prove their greatness. Ric Flair needed Ricky Steamboat. Randy Savage needed Jerry Lawler before the WWF. Tully Blanchard needed Magnum TA. Jack Brisco needed Dory Funk, Jr, and so on.

The point I want to make is this feud has potential for greatness (I say that because this is the WWE and we all know there is a potential to mess this up) but it cannot be truly great until both wrestlers lace the boots up and get in the ring. If the build up is great and the match flops, then it is a waste of time.

Let’s hope that does not happen.

If this match is better than the promos and barbs, then it will be the feud of the year (you can put me down for that one). But best of all, the WWE is willing to take a chance with this one and see where it goes. There is nothing better than a red hot feud in the middle of a red hot summer.

David is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be read here. Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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Curtis Axel, Arn Anderson And Unresolved WWE Issues

July 22, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Although I was not a fan of Curtis Axel before his transformation into the wrestling character he is today (he was Mike McGillicutty as part of the Nexus), I have to say the current Intercontinental champion in the WWE does intrigue me due to his overwhelming potential.

The third-generation star will never be the wrestler Randy Orton or The Rock have been over the years and he may never attain the same stature of his father, Curt Hennig, but there is a belief by myself (and probably other wrestling writers) that Axel has a solid future in the WWE, if only for a short shelf life.

Another thing hit me as I was watching Axel last week and during the Money in the Bank pay-per-view event — could Axel and Arn Anderson’s careers mirror each other?

Anderson was the greatest wrestler to never capture the World Title in the NWA and WCW. He was a rugged sort, could talk on the mic and was surrounded by others who helped to make him better. The Four Horsemen will go down in history (in my opinion) as the greatest wrestling stable of all time. Only problem is Anderson, who I think was better than him, played second fiddle to Ric Flair. A better wrestler, a better talker and a better all around performer.

Flair’s exuberance and arrogance were unmatched by anyone in any generation and he could sell, which made him the perfect “heel” champion to rival the likes of Jack Brisco, Rick Steamboat, Dusty Rhodes and Sting.

Axel has the talent, the in ring look, needs to get better on the mic (Anderson was not great at first) and he needs to learn to sell like nobody’s business. Given all those similarities, and the fact Axel has Paul Heyman in his camp (and a lead dog like Brock Lesnar) who knows where Axel’s character will go.

Axel’s character and future is not the only question the WWE will have to deal with in the near future. With SummerSlam on the horizon, the WWE needs to continue to promote John Cena/Daniel Bryan, decide how to handle the Randy Orton injury situation and what to do with Mark Henry.

These are also issues that need to be answered.

Has the feud between Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow trumped the World Heavyweight Title?

We are stoked by the idea of the feud that has begun between former members of Team Rhodes Scholars. Has the battle between Rhodes and Sandow made the quest for the WHC less important? First off, I am not a huge fan of Alberto Del Rio being the current champion and it looks like Dolph Ziggler will have his hands busy with Big E Langston. Does a feud that does not directly involve a title mean more to the fans than the man who actually holds the title?

Can Tara help a developing WWE Divas Division?

YES! No, this is not a Daniel Bryan exclusive. Tara was released from TNA last week because of contract issues. The 40-something diva had been a mainstay in TNA since 2009 and could give life to the Divas division immediately. Her size and skill would be a welcomed addition. And a beginning of Kaitlyn, AJ, Tamina, The Bellas Alicia Fox, Natalya and Tara could be a great start to something new.

Should Christian just move to the tag team division?

YES! He is looking for one more match, but he is not going to get it in the singles division. Look for the veteran to move to the tag team ranks, where a combination of Christian and Wade Barrett of maybe Kofi Kingston (upon his return) would be a great thing for the WWE.

David is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be read here. Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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WWE Wrestler of the Week: July 12th – 18th, 2013

July 19, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

This week, WWE crowned two new Mr. Money in the Banks. Well, one Mr. Money in the Bank and one Sir Money in the Bank. However, considering the results of SmackDown and Raw as well, there is a clear winner of WWE Wrestler of the Week. It would be difficult to have a better week than one of the Money in the Bank winners. At the same time, only one winner stood tall on both SmackDown and Raw. This week’s winner is Mr. Money in the Bank Randy Orton.

On the July 12th edition of SmackDown, Orton and Sheamus squared off in the final match before the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Although the match ended in a no contest thanks to Daniel Bryan, it was the Viper who stood tall at the conclusion of Friday night. This occurrence mimicked the previous Raw when Bryan stood atop the ladder at the end of Monday night. Damien Sandow didn’t even make an appearance on the July 12th edition of SmackDown.

Fast-forward two days to the Money in the Bank pay-per-view. Although Sandow’s victory was slightly more surprising than Orton’s, the Viper’s win was by no means obvious. I expected Daniel Bryan or Rob Van Dam to win the match. In any case, involved in a six-man ladder match for the WWE title briefcase, Orton stood atop the ladder with no one else in sight to win. Orton now has a near guarantee of becoming one of the next WWE champions.

The next night on Raw, Orton came to face-to-face with WWE Champion John Cena to let him know that when Orton does cash in, Cena will not expect it. Fandango of all people had some words to say. The most ridiculous words out of his mouth were that he could be WWE Champion when Orton cashes in. Orton then proceeded to defeat Fandango in a match that probably lasted longer than it should have.

That’s right. This week’s winner of the WWE Wrestler of the Week could be your next WWE Champion. John Cena will defend the title against Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam, but just like last year, it’s possible that we have two new champions. Last year, CM Punk defeated Cena to become the new WWE Champion, only to see Alberto Del Rio cash in Money in the Bank and become the new new WWE Champion.

Could you imagine Bryan defeating Cena for the title, only for Orton to cash in and become the new WWE Champion?

Orton has a history with both Bryan and Cena. He and Cena were in the most heated rivalry back in 2009, while he was feuding with Bryan just before the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.

John Cena is the only WWE superstar to fail when cashing in Money in the Bank. I have a feeling that will stay true. That is because when Orton does cash in, I do expect the Viper to become the WWE champion.

Who do you think deserved the WWE Wrestler of the Week? When do you think Orton will cash in Money in the Bank? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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

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Damien Sandow wins WWE MITB briefcase, but Cody Rhodes is real winner

July 15, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

In a few strolling moments, we all became Cody Rhodes fans. After what was an amazing night for the WWE, there are so many questions left to be answered. Where do you begin after seeing the best pay-per-view of the year for the company?

If you are scoring at home, give this an “A,” and hope that the next month moving into SummerSlam will be as hot as it is here in the Florida sun? What happens now with Sandow and the World Heavyweight Title? Here are a few scenarios of how this could play out.

I don’t think the idea is to have Sandow cash in right away. He has been brilliant of late and has gotten a real push from his matches with Sheamus. But I see this working more to Rhodes advantage than anything else. While Sandow will pursue the WHC, the title his best friend’s father held, here is something we might now have thought about.

What if Sandow has to face Rhodes for the title?

I have a theory this is where Rhodes gets the push and beats Alberto Del Rio for the title, the title his daddy won in the NWA and helped to create as the greatest title in wrestling until Vince McMahon took over the wrestling scene.

But this could happen.

Rhodes was the Intercontinental Title holder for more than 251 days and never once was he really given a push. As a member of Team Rhodes Scholars, the two were good as a tag team but could not beat Team Hell No. A feud with the Real Americans seemed likely, but that isn’t happening now.

There are some real questions that now become relevant since Sandow is the title chaser.

Does Rhodes gain a title shot and beat Del Rio and face Sandow for the title? Is Wade Barrett ever going to get a title shot? Does Dean Ambrose stay in mid card hell while he strengthens his grip on being a great singles wrestler? Can Christian get that one last match?

All the cards are now in the hands of two guys who will probably wind up feuding. Rhodes, like his father, will win the hearts of the WWE Universe and be a huge star as a far. Sandow, who looks like “Non” from the Superman movie back in the day, He is the perfect heel right now. And if he and Rhodes tangle in the ring, it could be a epic confrontation (of course they will meet in the ring. Mark it down for SummerSlam).

Both ladder matches were epic in their own right and told a story worthy of making the WWE worth watching for the next five months. That is exactly what this PPV is supposed to do.

Back in the day, before he became “The American Dream,” Dusty Rhodes was a heel in Florida in Eddie Graham’s “Championship Wrestling from Florida.” It took his partner, Pak Song to turn on him for the greatness and character to come out.

Cody is nothing like his father, and of course does not have the same charisma. But, I do see an angle where the “friend’ in Sandow has a few choice words about Rhodes and his upbringing and his lineage, which leads to war.

Finally, Rhodes gets the push he needs and has deserved. And to be honest, the win by Sandow does more to help both these wrestlers. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Sometimes, everything falls into place.

On Sunday night, everything did fall into place. Sandow won a Money in the Bank Briefcase. Cody Rhodes won more than that. He won the chance to be the superstar the WWE should have pushed him to be long ago.

David is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and can be read here. Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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WWE Wrestler of the Week: May 3rd-9th, 2013

May 10, 2013 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Welcome to another edition of WWE Wrestler of the Week! This week, the winner went 3-0 this week with victories on Smackdown, Raw and Main Event. However, two of those victories were over the same superstar. This shouldn’t come as a surprise due to WWE’s recent booking of repeated matches each week, but it is still a bit disappointing. This week’s winner is “The Viper” Randy Orton.

On the May 3rd edition of SmackDown, Orton squared off against the Intellectual Savior of the Masses, Damien Sandow. Last week, Orton was facing Sandow’s partner and best friend in Cody Rhodes. Logic would say that Orton and some partner were feuding with Team Rhodes Scholars. However, Rhodes was nowhere to be seen as Orton defeated Sandow in typical fashion.

Orton and Sandow didn’t stop on Friday night. The two squared off again on the May 6th edition of Raw. The outcome was not any different on Monday night, but there was a high point in this match. Or before the match I should say. In one of the most uneventful episodes of Raw in history, one of the best segments of the night came from Damien Sandow. Prior to his match with Orton, Sandow sang his own rendition of Orton’s theme song.

Sandow’s song made fun of a lot of the criticisms behind Randy Orton and his character. Perhaps this will be the start of a change to Orton. Many believed he was going to turn heel at WrestleMania and even possibly join The Shield. I was not one of those people. Orton is too popular among the younger audience for the WWE to turn him heel. Plus, CM Punk was the same kind of heel Orton would have been at the time.

In any case, Orton’s victorious week did not end with Monday night Raw. Orton was successful on the May 8th edition of Main Event against former United States Champion Antonio Cesaro. Orton did not need to win this match as much as Cesaro did. Cesaro’s WWE career has been interesting to say the least. He was built up as the most legitimate United States Champion in years until he lost the belt to midcard mainstay Kofi Kingston.

Despite not receiving a main event push, Orton continues to win matches. In the past, he has lost number one contender matches cleanly to Alberto Del Rio and the Big Show. Nowadays, he is winning matches, but in less important situations.

With Dolph Ziggler as the new World Heavyweight Champion, a feud with Randy Orton is very possible. The two had a brief feud last year and provided fans with some very entertaining matches. A future Word Heavyweight title feud between the two will also depend on Ziggler’s status. The Champion recently suffered a concussion and his status for Extreme Rules is uncertain.

Who do you think deserves the WWE Wrester of the Week this time? What does the future hold for Randy Orton? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

And be sure to check out Camel Clutch Blog each and every Friday for a new WWE Wrestler of the Week!

Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out guttwrenchpowerblog.com. You can also like GWP on Facebook here.

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WWE WrestleMania 29 Thoughts and Recap: Inside The Wheelhouse

April 11, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

This past Sunday I was able to live out most every wrestling fan’s dream by attending my very 1st WrestleMania at MetLife Stadium. The atmosphere & excitement was like no other and I highly recommend it to any wrestling fan that is or has contemplating going to the “Super Bowl of Wrestling.” With that said I thought I’d figure to give some my thoughts on the 29th installment of WrestleMania:

- The Miz def. Wade Barrett

Not a bad opener to start off WrestleMania and I completely understand the time constraints of it being on the pre-show. Therefore it wasn’t as good as some of their recent RAW matches but it got the crowd on the right foot with a Miz victory. It’s nice to see two stars with a ton of potential, be pushed up and down the hierarchy of the WWE only to make their climb back to the top.

- The Shield def. Sheamus, Randy Orton & The Big Show

The Shield was very over with the NY/NJ crowd which came as a surprise to no one. Ambrose, Rollins and Reigns continue to grow on WWE television and I really hope are given the ball to run with now that ‘Mania is in the books. If the stars align correctly this trio could one of the best groups/stables from this current decade.

As for the “superfriends” trio of Sheamus, Orton and Big Show, I got to admit I was pretty surprised they went back to (or stayed with) The Big Show heel turn. All three stars really have looked weak throughout this whole thing and I am intrigued with how WWE handles these stars heading into Extreme Rules. Currently they don’t reflect the top star “mantra” that they should be receiving in my opinion.

- Mark Henry def. Ryback

This was your typical “brut” match. I thought both stars did a lot with what they had and made it work for the most part. I’m not a fan of these type of matches but Ryback and Henry proved that they are much more athletic then the normal “brut” matches we have been accustomed to.

- Team Hell No def. Ziggler & Langston

I wasn’t a fan of the buildup for this match because while the WWE Tag Team division was a bright spot for the WWE in 2012, a tandem of Ziggler and Langston never materialized as an actual tag team until weeks before WrestleMania. Having Ziggler and Bryan in the ring against one another during WrestleMania was enough for me and I thought the match was good as well. I think had the WWE given more focus to these four superstars we could’ve gotten a lot more emotional attachment to this match from a fan’s perspective.

- Fandango def. Chris Jericho

I was in the majority when I felt this match could ultimately steal the show from an undercard’s perspective and frankly it did not. The finish was sloppy but it was made up for as both stars are heavily over with the WWE fans. Fandango is going to be a major player in the WWE and Chris Jericho continues to prove why he is one of the best in the business as he continues to help build for wrestling’s future.

While the first match didn’t “blow our socks off” like we thought, I do look forward to seeing an eventual rematch on a smaller stage then WrestleMania. I still have high hopes for this feud and the potential it has.

- Alberto Del Rio def. Jack Swagger

The Del Rio/Swagger feud fell way below expectations and rightfully so. If you go back 12 weeks ago one of these stars was a heel and the other wasn’t even on WWE television. Fast forward to post-Elimination Chamber and one of them is being pushed as a major face (Del Rio) while the other is being pushed as a #1 contender to the World Heavyweight Championship despite just being back on television (Swagger).

It’s to work a World Heavyweight Championship match like that with those things restricting them from connecting to the audience and it doesn’t help it was for a WrestleMania. Like many matches on the card I feel like if it was given more room to grow and be built the fans would’ve accepted it more. It had a ton of potential but overall I feel like it fell flat out of most, if not all, the WrestleMania matches on the card.

- The Undertaker def. CM Punk

This was the best match from the event hands down. Despite everyone “knowing” what will happen the fans are completely invested with every near fall, reversal or regular move when The Undertaker is performing at WrestleMania. It helps when “The Deadman” is quite possibly facing the first person since Randy Orton at WrestleMania 21 to really give people hope that “the streak” could end.

Huge props to both stars for putting on a show under the type of injuries they had. It was a great story told in the ring and I look forward to watching it again once the show comes out onto DVD.

- Triple H def. Brock Lesnar

Other then Undertaker/CM Punk I felt like this match told a great story inside the ring that led to a compelling finish to the match. Both guys really beat the hell out of one another to give the fans a solid match and that’s exactly what they got. Despite Lesnar losing 2 out of his first 3 matches back in the WWE I still feel like he is as strong as when he debuted.

The Triple H/Lesnar feud in my opinion was highly underrated as well and gave fans one of the better buildups heading into MetLife Stadium. I’d be perfectly fine if the WWE wanted to move forward with some sort of “rubber match” between these two at another Summerslam to really end this thing on the right note and unfortunately for Triple H the right note is by getting Lesnar over again as a monster heel. Once again, great job by both guys at WrestleMania.

- John Cena def. The Rock

Sadly the majority of fans could careless about this match and that’s unfortunate for all the hype it received two years ago as being one of those last “mega-matches” in professional wrestling. The match started off slow but I felt really picked up towards the end and had a lot better flow then their WrestleMania 28 match in Miami. While I would’ve preferred to see some sort of heel turn from John Cena (because who doesn’t at this point) or some sort of finish that left us talking, the WWE decided to let all the talking be done in the ring.

The silver lining in this all is that there are questions surrounding both of these wrestlers in regards to what’s next for both of them. Will The Rock ever wrestle again especially after the injury he suffered? Who will be able to feud with John Cena heading into the summer? Can Ryback be that guy?

Overall I was very impressed with the show as a whole and felt it was really solid. Undertaker/CM Punk went beyond expectations and everything else didn’t make me desire anything more but left me pleasantly pleased with the performances. WWE does a hell of a job with their live shows and I felt WrestleMania lived up to all that they deem it to be.

When it’s all said and done I felt like WrestleMania 29 was a 4-out-of-5 show from my standpoint. Very solid show from top to bottom that will probably be one of, if not the best, WWE pay-per-views of the year.

For more on this topic join us for the Thursday April 11th edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com or www.wrestlechat.net.

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