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No Riot Necessary: Just Unsubscribe from the WWE Network

January 26, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

On the whole, the 2015 Royal Rumble was better than last year’s immediately-infamous show, not that last night’s event isn’t already being burned alive like Samuel L Jackson at Calvin Candie’s estate in Django Unchained. After Daniel Bryan was eliminated, Samuel L could have tried to rally all of Philadelphia to help him get the motherf–king snakes off the motherf–king plane with him, and they would have booed him out of the building as well. Or somebody would’ve yelled that Capital One sucks, whatever.

This space isn’t meant to disparage the name of Roman Reigns, mostly because he doesn’t deserve the venom. Hell, technically, Batista didn’t really deserve it last year; he was just playing the role he was paid to play. When WWE reversed course and put Bryan into the spotlight, Batista not only cleanly submit to him at WrestleMania, but cleanly lost to the Shield members at the ensuing PPVs. What more can you ask from a guy? He did his part to push the next generation forward when he was, quite presumably, set to win the WWE Championship at WrestleMania. He even admitted afterward, during the promotional blitz for Guardians of the Galaxy, that Bryan not winning the Rumble was the wrong call.

That’s why I won’t be dumping on Reigns, in spite of the awful job he’s done trying to make the scripted lines he’s given work. Reigns isn’t a miracle worker, that much is evident. He does work hard and, at one time, connected with the fans at a high level. That’s when he was part of the Shield, and could get his stuff in between Dean Ambrose’s energy-setting brawling and Seth Rollins’ daredevil act.

The winners of the matches never deserve the vitriol from fans. They’re just toy soldiers in Vince McMahon’s backyard sandlot, getting gunned down when he decides they should be gunned down. Just so happens that one of the soldiers was fragged by a pyrocentric television last month.

As soon as the Rumble ended, Reigns passed by the grand poobah of all cliche signs: “If ________ wins, we riot.” That became played out when John Cena held up one such sign at the end of SummerSlam 2007. Presumably, a chuckle was had by all during his silent rejoinder of, “Ha, that’s cute”, metaphorically spitting on the feeble sign. Unless you’re perfectly willing to spend a night in jail by inducing a chair-throwing riot the likes of which hasn’t been seen since the ECW days, the sign is merely a whine.

Booing is a little more forceful, but even then, all the booing in the world didn’t send Daniel Bryan to the WrestleMania XXX main event until six weeks after the Pittsburgh Rumble. That was coupled with the bad press of a CM Punk walkout, and an initially chilly reception to WWE Network, particularly trying to figure out how to acquire and operate the damn thing.

Bottom line is, WWE is only moved to give the fans what they want if the very structure of the company is threatened (Cena proves that booing forces no hands). Bad press is more their worst enemy than booing, much in the same way that stockholders are more important to Vince McMahon than the actual fans. It’s a screwed up system, of course, but it’s what we have when the second-best wrestling company is so far behind WWE in terms of accessibility and clout.

If you’re as angry as last year over WWE’s choice in booking, put your money where your mouth is. I mean that literally and save the $10 a month.

As I write this late Sunday night, there are many fans allegedly cutting their WWE Network subscriptions. I say allegedly, since not everyone is posting Vine videos of them actually going through with it, so it could just be hot air. It’s a month to month service though, so it’s not like deciding whether or not to have a limb amputated. Reportedly, the cancellation page actually was overloaded at some point around 11:30 and crashed. That’s some rage.

The next investor’s conference call is on Thursday, February 12. As a rule, they pretty much have to reveal the number of subscribers the Network has. If it’s less than the last time (WWE announced in late October a sum of 731,000, but that reflected the end of the quarter in September, so tonight’s cancellations probably wouldn’t factor in for the next call), that’s pretty bad news headed into WrestleMania.

A WrestleMania, as it stands now, that features Brock Lesnar against Reigns for WWE Championship, barring some deus ex machina that factors Bryan, or even Dean Ambrose or Dolph Ziggler or some other make-good, into the title match.

You don’t need to threaten a fake riot. Instead, if you’re that mad, commit real action and cut off WWE from your money.

The less money WWE has, the less they have to fly Rock in and endorse Reigns, which of course means WWE clearly knew the fans would defecate all over Reigns winning, which in turn essentially means the company clearly knows they do things that they know the fans won’t like, unable to even plead ignorance of fan tastes.

A riot is a social response. So’s clicking ‘unsubscribe’. The latter won’t hurt your social standing any.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

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WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Results: Roman Reigns Is Your Royal Rumble Winner

January 25, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The 2015 WWE Royal Rumble looked to be one of the most unpredictable Rumbles in recent memory. Unfortunately the final result wound up being the most predictable result of all scenarios. The WrestleMania 31 main-event match we have heard about for a year is still in tact as Brock Lesnar will meet Roman Reigns in the Mania headliner.

24 hours before the Rumble, the Rock sent out a tweet with a picture of himself in Philadelphia with the tweet “In town and always gotta stop by the neighborhood… #SouthPhilly”. Rock’s involvement in the event and WrestleMania has been kept under wraps, thus for the fans that stayed off of social media in Philadelphia, they were in for a real treat and welcomed back the Rock with a thunderous ovation.

Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble. This year’s Royal Rumble featured several early surprises. Bubba Ray Dudley was the first surprise, entering the Rumble at number two. The former Bully Ray was an unexpected surprise, although he ditched Bully and was in full Bubba gear. Bubba worked with R-Truth to deliver the Dudley Death Drop on the Miz. Bubba eliminated Truth quickly. Luke Harper and Bubba were left alone in an interesting matchup. Bray Wyatt was in the match early at #5. Another big spot was Bray, Rowan, and Harper all alone and fighting with each other. The key here is that Rowan wasn’t officially in the match and just came into the ring. Bray dumped Harper and Rowan over the top rope. The Boogeyman was another surprise entrant at #7. Zack Ryder returned to action at #9. Daniel Bryan was in this year at #10. As you could expect the crowd went nuts for Bryan. Diamond Dallas Page showed up as another surprise at #15. Page hit Diamond Cutters on Bray and Fandango. Rusev was next and quickly eliminated DDP. Bray eliminated Bryan right before #16. Wow, didn’t see that one coming! The fans continued chanting for Bryan. Roman Reigns entered at #19 to a lot of boos. What did they expect? The booing grew louder and it got ugly early. Reigns eliminated Stardust and Goldust. Dean Ambrose quieted the crowd entering at #25. Reigns was fairly quiet after his first few minutes in the Rumble. Dolph Ziggler entered at #30 to a big ovation. Big Show knocked out Ziggler with a KO punch. Show and Kane dumped Ziggler over, giving Kane the record for all-time eliminations. Show dumped Bray Wyatt over the top rope leaving the Show, Kane, Ambrose, and Reigns as the Final Four. This went over as well as you’d expect with the crowd. The action was also as slow as you’d expect with Show and Kane in there. Show and Kane dumped Ambrose over. Show and Kane argued and Reigns wound up dumping them both over to a loud chorus of boos. Show and Kane double-teamed Reigns following the match. The Rock hit the ring and helped out his cousin. While the intent was to get Reigns over, the crowd booed Reigns and cheered Rock. Rusev was never eliminated and rolled back into the ring! He didn’t last long as Reigns threw him out to win the match and a date with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.

There is a lesson learned here and the lesson here is that WWE Creative doesn’t budge. Unless someone is injured or quits, the WrestleMania booking plans aren’t changing…no matter what. I admit it, I fell for it. I thought things may change yet we are getting the match that we have been hearing about for the last nine months.

The WWE also learned nothing from last year. Reigns was booed out of the building the same way Batista was. I can’t say I blame the crowd as not only did you get Bryan squashed, the finish was probably one of the least exciting Rumble finishes in recent memory. The logic makes no sense. If Triple H is really out for what is best for business, than why do you send Big Show and Kane out to win the match? Is Big Show or Kane vs. Lesnar really best for business?

It will be interesting to see how the WWE reacts to this over the next few weeks. Brock definitely turned babyface with his performance tonight and Reigns was seen by all as the heel, sans his endorsement by The Rock. Will Lesnar go into Mania as the babyface and Reigns the heel or will the company ignore what is likely to be a growing chorus of resentment the same way crowds around the country turned on Batista.

The WWE really dropped the ball here and I don’t know if it was ignorance or intentional. They should have never booked Bryan in the match if that was all they had for him. They should have known the fans would turn. Number two, they should have never booked the Rumble in a city like Philadelphia because I think the east coast fans made it clear last year that they wanted Daniel Bryan. Three, it was fine to eliminate Bryan but to have him come in for such a short time and portray him like a jobber in a city like Philadelphia only made the crowd more irate. Keeping Bryan in the match for a while could have kept the fan negativity to a minimum as opposed to 30 plus minutes. It’s clear that the company sees Bryan as a mid-card star at best right now and it will be a long time before he gets another crack at the main-event and that’s a shame.

The WWE really dropped the ball here and I don’t know if it was ignorance or intentional. They should have never booked Bryan in the match if that was all they had for him. They should have known the fans would turn. Number two, they should have never booked the Rumble in a city like Philadelphia because I think the east coast fans made it clear last year that they wanted Daniel Bryan. Three, it was fine to eliminate Bryan but to have him come in for such a short time and portray him like a jobber in a city like Philadelphia only made the crowd more irate. Keeping Bryan in the match for a while could have kept the fan negativity to a minimum as opposed to 30 plus minutes. It’s clear that the company sees Bryan as a mid-card star at best right now and it will be a long time before he gets another crack at the main-event and that’s a shame.

Brock Lesnar pinned Seth Rollins to retain the WWE world championship. This match was just fantastic. How great was it? A John Cena match got several “This is awesome” chants in Philadelphia. The big spot of the match was Rollins delivering an incredibly high flying elbow onto Lesnar from the top rope to a table. Lesnar was wiped out at that point with Rollins and Cena in the ring. Rollins revered a Cena superplex into a running power bomb into the turnbuckle. Cena had Rollins in an STFU before J and J Security interfered and broke it up. The EMTs brought out a stretcher for Brock at this point. The announcers put it over as if Lesnar’s ribs were broken. J & J and Rollins delivered a triple power bomb onto Cena. Rollins brought the MITB briefcase into the match but was dumped over the top by Cena. Cena took out J & J with a double Attitude Adjustment. Cena hit an AA on Rollins for a two-count. Rollins wound up hitting a curb stomp onto Cena for two. Rollins hit the Phoenix splash and then Lesnar came back into the ring out of nowhere and delivered a couple of German suplexes. Rollins nailed Lesnar a couple of times with the briefcase. Lesnar caught Rollins going for the cub stomp and dropped Rollins on top of the briefcase for an F5 and the win. I would put this up there with arguably Brock’s best match since returning to the WWE.

The result tells me one thing. It tells me Brock is staying and has either re-signed or expected to re-sign with the WWE. My hunch and this is a total guess is that the WWE thought Lesnar was leaving and had Cena booked to win. Plans changed and the parties came to an agreement, yet the WWE didn’t want Cena doing another job to Lesnar so they booked Rollins in the match. This was also a case where getting pinned didn’t hurt Rollins one bit. I think this match actually helped Rollins and elevated him to a main-event player.

Full 2015 Royal Rumble Results and Winners…
Roman Reigns eliminated Rusev to win the 30-Man Royal Rumble match
Brock Lesnar defeated John Cena and Seth Rollins in a Triple threat match to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) defeated The Miz and Damien Mizdow to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella) defeated Paige and Natalya
Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Adam Rose defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)
The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) defeated The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn)

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

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WWE Royal Rumble 2015: The Scenarios Are Endless

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, DANIEL BRYAN WINS RUMBLE

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

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

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, DOLPH ZIGGLER WINS RUMBLE

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

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

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

LESNAR WINS TITLE, REIGNS WINS RUMBLE

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

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

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, REIGNS WINS RUMBLE

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

LESNAR WINS TITLE, ORTON WINS RUMBLE

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

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

CENA WINS TITLE, RUSEV WINS RUMBLE

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

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

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

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Predictions and Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 30 Man Royal Rumble

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

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

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

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

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

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

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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TNA Wrestling, WWE Royal Rumble and Other Wrestling Thoughts

January 19, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

There are two things that TNA and Impact Wrestling do better than the WWE and it isn’t even close – they promote both their tag team division and the Knockouts better than their rival company and use both divisions as main event programming to keep its fan base interested.

The niche promotion that has more lives than a cat on steroids found a home on Destination America and gave an uneven performance for its first venture in the new year. The fact there are two heel stables and no real “face” faction other than Bobby Roode, Austin Aries and Kurt Angle to fight the good fight is concerning. But the match between the Hardy’s and The Wolves proved that extreme tag team wrestling is still alive and well. Here’s hoping TNA develops more tag team talent to challenge The Revolution and can bring in more X-Division style talent to build tag teams as a way to continue the high-paced style this company is known for.

The spot that may have been the best of the opening show Friday night was the confrontation between Havoc and Awesome Kong. If this is what TNA gives us on a weekly basis, then there will be no shortage of enthusiasm from its fan base. When is the last time two behemoth women got in a ring and beat the hell out of each other? This isn’t Lita and Trish Stratus – this is more hell, fire and brimstone than anything else. Can both deliver and more importantly, can both keep the Knockout’s Division running at such a high level? TNA has grown plenty of talent with Madison Rayne, Velvet ISky, OBD, Taryn Terrell and Angelina Love. A match between Havoc and Awesome Kong could be the main event attraction of the Year, should it live up to the hype the company will throw at the rivalry.

DO NOT GIVE THE RUMBLE TO DANIEL BRYAN

The “Yes” movement is back, alive and well as of last week when Daniel Bryan made his triumphant return to the ring in a match against Kane and then in a six man tag team match (I hate the impromptu matches like that, by the way). What worries me is the WWE will try to capitalize on the momentum of Bryan again and give him the Royal Rumble victory.

 realize the momentum the WWE hoped Roman Reigns would get from the WWE Universe on his way to the Royal Rumble is not the response they had hoped for. As Eric Gargiulo pointed out last week, the injury Reigns suffered last year may have something to do with that. The other reason may be that the fans do not want Reigns shoved down their throat. The “Yes” movement and Bryan came naturally, as it evolved – fans identify with the underdog, which was a huge win for the company. I am not saying a Royal Rumble win for Bryan is a bad thing, but not giving someone else a chance to shine at WrestleMania may not be what is best for business.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY PAT PATTERSON

We celebrate the birthday on Monday of one of the greatest champions of all time in the WWE.

The 74-year-old creative consultant for the company was the first Intercontinental Champion in the company.

In 1979, Patterson debuted in the then World Wide Wrestling Federation, working as a heel, under the tutelage of manager The Grand Wizard. As a villain, Patterson’s primary feuds were with WWF North American Champion Ted DiBiase and WWF World Champion Bob Backlund.

During a television taping on June 19 in Allentown, Pennsylvania, Patterson defeated DiBiase for the WWF North American Championship by using a pair of brass knuckles to knock out DiBiase. Patterson was unsuccessful, however, in winning the WWF World Championship from Backlund.

In September 1979, the WWF North American Championship and the (fictional) South American Championships were unified to create the WWF Intercontinental Championship. Patterson was crowned the company’s first Intercontinental champion after an alleged tournament held in Rio de Janeiro. While Patterson’s tournament “victory” is widely listed in wrestling title and match histories, the tournament itself never actually took place.

Patterson held the Intercontinental Championship until April 21, 1980 when he was defeated by Ken Patera in New York City, New York. The match ended in controversial fashion after Patterson placed his right leg on the ropes just before the three count was made.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odds: Even

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

Odds: 2 to 1

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

Odds: 7 to 1

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

Odds: 10 to 1

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

Odds: 15 to 1

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

Odds: 15 to 1

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

Odds: 24 to 1

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

Odds: 28 to 1

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

Odds 36 to 1

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Flashback: Alberto Del Rio Wins the WWE Royal Rumble 2011

January 14, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Originally published on January 30, 2011. The 2011 WWE Royal Rumble winner wasn’t who was expected and that is a good thing. Alberto Del Rio won the Royal Rumble and a trip to the WrestleMania 27 main-event against a WWE champion of his choice. Del Rio eliminated Santino Marella to win the Rumble and earn his title match.

Rey Mysterio, Kane, Wade Barrett, John Cena, Alberto Del Rio, and Randy Orton were the final six of the Rumble or were they? Mysterio eliminated Kane and was then quickly tossed out by Barrett. The announcers pushed the RAW vs. SmackDown theme of the final four.

In the shocker of the night, John Cena was eliminated by The Miz. Yes The Miz was down doing commentary and wound up running in. Alex Riley distracted Cena and The Miz wound up tossing Cena over. The ref never “saw it” and only caught Cena on the floor, thus eliminating Cena. Barrett, Orton, and Del Rio are final three. Del Rio eliminated Randy Orton, started to celebrate, and was then attached by Santino.

Santino emerged from under the ring and the place went ballistic. Santino Marella was never officially eliminated when he appeared early on. The announcers went nuts saying it would be the biggest upset of all time. For a second I kind of wanted to see it. Del Rio soon recovered, eliminated Santino and officially won the Rumble and the championship match of his choice.

CM Punk entered the Royal Rumble as #1. Punk was soon jumped by members of Corre. The RAW GM (how did he have power here?) chimed in and ordered Corre to the back. Daniel Bryan then entered as the official number two. Punk and Bryan started off which I am sure appealed to their hardcore following on the Internet.

Kevin Nash made a long awaited return to the WWE entering the Royal Rumble at #32. Nash entered as his old character Diesel with a black haired dye job and his old Diesel gear. Nash got a nice reaction but it was nowhere close to the reaction that Booker T received. Nash did his trademark Diesel moves but was eliminated pretty shortly by Wade Barrett. Nash and The Big Show walked by one another as Nash left and Show entered. It could have been a prelude to a WrestleMania match but let’s hope not. Hey Paul, don’t let him powerbomb you this time. Hey may try and finish the what he couldn’t do at Souled Out.

No Triple H for the record. Not sure what he is waiting for at this point but I have to admit that I was hoping to see him come out at #40 instead of Kane. No Undertaker either.

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Nash’s fellow Main Event Mafia partner,  Booker T also returned to the WWE. King Booker entered the Royal Rumble earlier at #21. Booker T got a huge pop and entered the ring to face four members of Nexus. Unfortunately the numbers got the best of him and Booker T’s return lasted for about 90 seconds before being eliminated. I am not a big proponent of seeing Booker T back but the fan reaction sure made it a great Rumble moment. The former TNA stars got nice reactions but were limited with short appearances in the Rumble match which was probably for the better.

CM Punk was looking like the favorite for awhile. At one point Punk and three members of Nexus just wound up eliminating everyone and continued to throw away future entrants. They just looked unstoppable after eliminating Booker T in less than two minutes. John Cena wound up entering at #22 with his Superman cape and eliminated all of Nexus including CM Punk. I was fairly certain up to that point that Punk was going to be Final Four if not the winner altogether.

John Morrison may have had the best Royal Rumble spot I ever saw. Shortly after entering the Rumble Morrison was tossed over the top rope. However, instead of landing on the floor he landed on the barricade like Spiderman avoiding elimination. Morrison than leaped from the barricade to the metal steps and returned to the ring. The spot and sequence have to be seen to be believed.

Randy Orton entered at #39 and eliminated Sheamus and Kofi Kingston. He and Cena had a stare down that was designed to get a big reaction. Guess what? Nobody seemed to care. Maybe because WWE fans have seen Cena vs. Orton on and off for the last three years. I can’t imagine anyone having any interest in seeing Cena vs. Orton in any way, shape, or fashion in 2011 (or 2012, 2013, 2014).

Overall I thought the Rumble match was excellent. I never felt like it dragged and it had some pretty cool spots. I thought that 40 guys would be too much but it really wasn’t. If you missed the show, I’d go out of your way to try and get a copy of the match. It certainly wasn’t the best Rumble match of all time but it was far from the worst.

On a totally random note, listening to 40 WWE entrance themes is a reminder at how God awful WWE entrance music is in 2011. Well, 39 because Booker T’s music is still pretty damn good.

It would appear from the WWE championship match that CM Punk vs. Randy Orton is a highly likely WrestleMania match. Randy Orton vs. The Miz ended after interference from Nexus which saw Punk nail Orton with the GTS. The Miz capitalized and pinned Orton to win the match.

On yet another random note, I think I was vindicated for everything I have said about The Miz and his inability to be a successful WWE champion. He is not over at all! I have gotten a lot of criticism for a blog I wrote entitled “Is The Miz the worst WWE champion ever?” People told me that I don’t know what I am talking about, he is awesome, and I am in the minority. I think I stand corrected. He is now a day over two months as WWE champion and if he hasn’t been able to sell anyone by now, he isn’t going to sell them by WrestleMania. Guess what happened when he came out for the biggest match of his career? Nobody cared or reacted to him like a champion and quite honestly, the match wasn’t that good. The lesson learned here is just because a guy can go out and cut a 15 minute “great” (Wow the standards have dropped enormously) promo and deliver witty lines doesn’t make him a great champion.  The point being is that nobody believes in him as a champion and the fans see right through it. Sure you can blame the booking but he is just not championship material no matter how “funny” you may think he is.

I love the decision to go with Alberto Del Rio as this year’s winner. Del Rio is fresh and one of the best characters I have seen the WWE develop in years. Unfortunately I don’t know how much interest I have an Edge vs. Del Rio match. Quite frankly I don’t know how much interest I have an Edge vs. anyone WrestleMania title match. If it ends with Del Rio winning the championship and becoming the star of SmackDown, I like it.

An early look at WrestleMania 27 probably looks like…
The Miz vs. John Cena for the WWE title
Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio for the WWE world heavyweight title
Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
Nexus vs. Corre
Big Show vs. Kevin Nash

2011 WWE Royal Rumble results:

Edge defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE world heavyweight title
The Miz defeated Randy Orton after interference from Nexus and CM Punk
Natalya and Eve Torres defeated LayCool

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Daniel Bryan Returning To Action On WWE SmackDown

January 09, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Daniel Bryan is officially getting back in the ring. Bryan will make his return next week on WWE SmackDown when the show moves to Thursday nights on January 15, marking Bryan’s first match in eight months.

Bryan will make his long awaited return as part of the kickoff to SmackDown’s switch to Thursday. I see this as both a smart and questionable move. I like the idea of throwing something new on SmackDown to draw attention to the switch. I absolutely hate the idea of giving his return away pre-Royal Rumble and question whether that is truly best for business. Bryan will also be working Luke Harper and Kane on house shows this month.

I think this could be intentional in taking focus off of Bryan in the Rumble. If Bryan were to mark his first match back in the Rumble, I think fans would expect him to win. If he doesn’t it could get ugly and if the WWE is going with Reigns or someone else, it could turn into a Batista situation. On the other hand, Bryan returning and winning the Rumble would be one of those moments that you never forget, making the 2015 Rumble something to talk about for years.

Several reports recently surfaced indicating that the WWE are not as committed to putting Reigns over in the Rumble as they were months ago. According to those reports, there is some serious consideration being given to Bryan. I can tell you this. Bryan winning the Rumble and then defeating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania for the title would be one hell of a story. The biggest question I see is how much the WWE wants to commit to Bryan and that is a question nobody will know until January 25.

The argument against Bryan is of course his physical history. Bryan is no labeled as an injury-prone wrestler, yet to my knowledge Bryan’s recent stint on the unable to perform list is the first time I can ever remember where Bryan missed a substantial amount of time in the ring. I think it is a little unfair, especially when you look back at the injury history of Randy Orton and John Cena and I can guarantee you that they missed more time in their WWE careers than Bryan. Thus the injury label on Bryan is a little unfair.

I am intrigued about the idea of a Bryan vs. Brock Lesnar match at Mania. One of the things that reportedly worries WWE officials is that the fan reaction to Lesnar as a lame duck champion will not be good. While this is to be expected, it certainly doesn’t bode well when you are trying to give Roman Reigns his Mania moment. With Bryan in the match against Lesnar, I tend to think that the backlash will be minimal, with fans more excited about seeing Bryan regain the title. I could be wrong and the landscape could be much different from last year but I think Bryan winning the Rumble and challenging Lesnar at Mania would be better received than Brock vs. Rollins.

Regardless, I love the unpredictability of Mania and the Rumble. Recent years have seen very predictable Rumble and Mania booking which tend to play out exactly as you’d expect it to, for better or worse. This year’s Rumble is different and I love it. Welcome back Daniel Bryan!

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Brock Lesnar, Rick Rude and Other WWE Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

STING’S MISSING AGAIN

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

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

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

RUDE IN THE HOF

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

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

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

BRYAN’S SPOT IN THE WWE

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

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

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

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Top 5 Things In Pro Wrestling To Watch For In 2015

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

As a lifetime pro wrestling fan, the past 30 years have indeed been a rollercoaster of emotions (25 of which I can recall vividly). We have witnessed the highest of peaks and the lowest of valleys. The monopolization by the WWE, and their vision to eradicate pro wrestling while transitioning it to “sports entertainment” has indeed brought us to that deep dark valley of nausea. Luckily for us WRESTLING fans the days of our intelligence being insulted are vanishing, and fast. Buckle yourself in, this year is going to be an incredible ride. Here are my top 5 pro wrestling predictions for 2015.

1.) A NEW WWE ERA

Unlike most forums and blogs may have led you to believe, I see this year as a giant crossroad for the WWE, and one they will succeed at. Vince and company have always seemed to have this notion that they can put whatever product they want to serve out, and their loyal fans will always be there to feed on. Sure, to a degree that has been true as with any monopoly. However, 2014 gave the WWE a cold hard slap to their face when it came to loyalty and reality. The WWE Network subscription numbers were atrocious and the WWE clearly had no plan B. This reality check had to have been humbling for Vince McMahon. When the ego is as gigantic as his, it’s a very difficult circumstance to swallow.

It all culminated in a perfect storm. Between the subscription abomination, Vince calling out the roster, the emergence of NXT, lack of talent utilization, the uprising of new competition, paycheck cuts, and the dismal moral in the locker room, the WWE is headed for a new ERA. While Vinnie Mac may want to “shake things up again”, the truth is, they actually have no alternative. They must choose to give the fans what they want, otherwise, we will start to see the crumbling of the empire known as WWE. They have the talent, they have the $$$, they have every opportunity to succeed. I see this year as a significant marker for the company. When push comes to shove, Vince always comes through, and I for one believe in his creative skill sets.

2.) A REVOLUTION RISING

Do you feel it? There’s something spreading like a wildfire in the industry, and it’s not the WWE. The old school fans called it territories. The new school fans called it “the Indys”. But we’re seeing a revolution of something new and special. Now is the time to be a wrestling fan ladies and gentlemen. The WWE is no longer the only big fish in the USA pond. Sure, we’ve seen companies like ROH and TNA tread those waters for years, only to become minnows swallowed up by the great white shark known as the WWE. But while the WWE has become lazy in creative, the other fish are getting bigger and more ferocious by the day. These companies in my opinion have the best wrestlers in the world today.

Yes, I am a huge fan of stars like Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, Damien Sandow and Dean Ambrose. But then Sunday Jan 4th happened. NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 9 was perhaps the best PPV I’ve ever seen. (A MUST SEE IF YOU ARE A WRESTLING FAN) And I’ve seen plenty. With the call by Jim Ross and Matt Striker (Ross’s call of the main event gave me chills that I haven’t felt since the Attitude Era) it became clear as crystal, the best wrestlers on the planet are NOT in the WWE. These companies ALL have their own unique vibe, and also have seemed to no longer try to model their companies like the WWE. With the likes of NJPW (opening more to the U.S.A. audience), ROH, Lucha Underground, PWG, TNA (pushing the reset button), and the emergence of GFW…. WATCH OUT. These companies are hungry, with their wrestlers even hungrier. By this time next year don’t be surprised if the WWE has some serious threatening competition. Can’t wait!

3.) THE EMERGENCE OF THE NXT STARS

If you’re reading this, you probably are well aware of the talent the NXT has. Hand selected wrestlers from all around the world have landed in WWE’s developmental pool. I think HHH has realized they weren’t going to groom any talent anytime soon from scratch. Selecting some of these talented and already established individuals is PURE GOLD. Talents such as Finn Baylor, Adrian Neville, Sammy Zayn, Hideo Itami and of course Kevin Owens, are the future of the WWE. I just hope the company doesn’t try to “WWE mold them”. These dudes were the cream of the crop BEFORE coming to WWE. And lucky for us, most of them are entering the prime of their already stellar careers. These 5 stars will not only break out in 2015, but they will also be WWE main eventers and wearing gold around their waist by years end. In my opinion NXT is already a better show than RAW…. And the company knows it too.

4.) DOLPH ZIGGLER BECOMES WWE CHAMPION

Is there anyone on the current roster that is more deserving of the “strap”? Short and sweet answer….NO. His focus and passion is clearly higher than anyone else in the company right now. For whatever reason the powers that be have held him down long enough. His dues have been paid and he WILL be WWE champion in 2015…. Guaranteed and “here to show the world”

5.) WRESTLING PODCAST INFLUENCE

The podcast “explosion” took place in 2014, the influence and impact has been bigger than people may realize. From originals like Colt Cabanas, to the crew on MLW, to the Podcast One group, 2015 won’t disappoint… the beauty of these podcasts is that the wrestlers (former and current) have the opportunity to speak their minds. Lots of “internet” rumors surface and these stars have a chance to clear the air and speak from the heart. I think this is critical for not only to set the record straight, but also for their well beings. Seeing what happened to Bret Harts life after the Montreal Screwjob was very sad. He let things be built up inside him and it nearly killed him. If someone like him would have had a podcast and had guests like Shawn Michaels, or Vince, who knows what sort of emotional baggage all three could have erased.

Many pro wrestlers are indeed paranoid. By being a guest on the podcasts these wrestlers have the opportunity to squash any incorrect rumors as well as open their hearts to the millions of fans that listen. That creates a connection with fans that they may or may not be able to achieve on screen. No acting, no scripts just the real human speaking to all of the listeners. Hearing shows like the Ross Report and all the plethora of info that took Jim Ross 40 years to gain, and is thrown out for all of us to absorb is wonderful. Just look what it did for Ryback.

Without his Talk is Jericho podcast, we many never of gotten a chance to hear about his wonderful true story. Or what about Stone Colds Podcast that provided the infamous Vince McMahon “call out of the WWE roster”. And who could forget Colt Cabana’s podcast with CM Punk. It was the single most talked about podcast in the history of professional wrestling. I’m sure wrestling companies (like WWE) are also listening and gaining insight as well. Perhaps even being influenced as well. This can only help their product. 2015 will be the year of the podcasts.

2015 is sure to be one the greatest years in pro wrestling history. Are you ready? I am. What are your 2015 predictions? Would love to hear what YOU the people that make this business tick, have to say.

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