Subscribe

WWE Stars Talk About Meeting Vince McMahon For the First Time

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

The dynamic between Vince McMahon and his wrestlers is always a fascinating topic. WWE.com offered up some new insight with a great piece featuring several WWE superstars who recounted their first meeting with Vince McMahon.

Even guys who worked for Vinnie Mac like Chris Jericho and Steve Austin are always talking to their podcast guests about Vince and his dynamics. Just recently Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels spent quite a bit of time discussing it. WWE.com nailed down several superstars who recounted some fascinating stories about meeting Vince. John Cena’s may be the best of them all.

“I didn’t have time to be nervous. It was in Chicago, Ill., on the day I had my debut match against Kurt Angle. I wasn’t supposed to have a match that night, but in the final moments, it was decided that I would debut on television against an Olympic Gold Medalist. Higher-ups said, ‘If we’re going to put the kid on TV, he’s gotta meet Vince!’

“They literally dragged me by the arm to Vince’s office, threw me in and asked him, ‘What do you think?’ I had ridiculously ugly, long, super-dyed blond hair that was shaved bald on the sides. He turned around and with a disgusted look on his face, he said, ‘Cut his hair,’ and I was whisked away from Vince like an assembly line.

“That was the first time I met Vince McMahon and he was disgusted to look at me. They shipped me out and I immediately got a haircut, which was not dyed blond, but equally as horrible.”

That is a great story. Think about that one for a second. The man who would later become his flagship initially disgusted Vince McMahon when they first met. It is funny how things wind up playing out sometimes isn’t it?

JBL had another great story. JBL would of course ascend through the ranks and eventually become a WWE world champion. According to JBL if Vince had it his way, JBL would have been performing Swan Lake on Monday Night RAW.

“I had to go up to Stamford to meet Vince for the first time. I walked in the room and it was JJ Dillon, [Human Resources executive] Lisa Wolfe and Vince. He sat me down, and with a complete straight face he said, ‘We’re going to make you a bad guy ballerina.’ I’d always been a cowboy and I’d already told WCW I wasn’t coming. I looked at him and thought, ‘Oh god, I’ve made the worst decision of my life.’ I said to him, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it’ll be great. You’re going to be a ballerina that’s a real bad guy.’ Then he started laughing and said, ‘No, I like the cowboy. We’ll do that. That sounds good.’

“He threw this contract out there for virtually no guaranteed money and said to me, ‘That contract’s not worth the paper it’s written on. All I can guarantee you is the handshake behind it.’ And that’s all I needed. I could live with that.

“He’s charismatic. No doubt about it. I don’t think anybody’s that ever met him will say any different.”

Wow! Could you imagine? Daniel Bryan describes his meeting and sums it up quite eloquently.

“It was very awkward and very uncomfortable. Vince takes these very long pauses after he asks you a question and you answer him. He’ll just look at you. Some will start talking, which I think he likes because it shows they’re uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable, but I just looked at him. I was waiting for him to talk and he was waiting for me to talk. It was surreal. I was very nervous and even in in my $500 suit — which I thought was the most expensive suit in the world — I knew I was inadequately dressed. This guy has the power to control your destiny.”

Check out the entire article on WWE.com with more comments from WWE superstars and their first meeting with Vince McMahon.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE WrestleMania 31 Probable Card and Match Rumors

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

It looks like we finally have the blueprint of the main WWE WrestleMania 31 card. The main card may lack the zest of last year’s event, yet the excitement coming out of Fastlane is a sign in the right direction.

There were no real surprises at Fastlane, especially if you have been following the backstage rumors and social media spoilers over the last few weeks. But what we did was a rock solid direction heading into the big March 29 event. I was underwhelmed a few weeks back when the card looked to be taking shape, but Fastlane offered a glimpse of hope. Here is what I took away coming out of Fastlane, as well as the latest news and rumored matches.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE world title - This one is going to be a lot of fun for all of the wrong reasons. While I do think the WWE needed to focus on Reigns, it was clear at Fastlane that the fans aren’t buying him. This match could get Goldberg-Lesnar ugly really fast without some creative booking. It’s unfortunate as I think six months ago this match could have been big. Yet the WWE booking of Reigns has been so terrible, that they have single-handedly ruined this guy’s momentum. The only answer here is a double-turn at Mania otherwise it will get real ugly by the end of the match.

The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt - I don’t know how you can logically book this match. So Taker is going to return to shut a nobody up that called him out once and ignore Heyman and Lesnar’s mockery over the last year? The only reason the Undertaker should be returning is to avenge his loss to Brock Lesnar. Granted, they may be saving that for Texas Stadium but if so, Taker should not be wrestling at all. Maybe make a surprise appearance? That said, the reaction at Fastlane for Bray Wyatt’s promo was promising. If I was to base interest in this match on the crowd heat at Fastlane, I’d guess that the fans are really going to be into this match. It will be different and I hope Taker can silence his critics. I just can’t help but think about all of the money being left on the table with a Lesnar rematch.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. title - I’d expect some kind of stipulation to be added here. I liked their match at Fastlane a lot. I’ll disagree with a lot of people and tell you that I thought it was the best match of the night. I have no problem seeing them wrestle twice. The finish was kind of wonky, but I never have a problem with seeing a really good match twice. Cena as U.S. champion is interesting as well. Quite honestly I’d put Rusev over here and build him up for a run with Reigns or Lesnar for the title. But I’ll save that for my predictions blog.

Sting vs. Triple H - When Sting and Hunter set the table for this angle at Survivor Series I was about as disinterested as I could get in this feud. I had zero interest in watching these two wrestle. That said, I am actually looking forward to the match coming out of Fastlane. I think they had great chemistry in Memphis and I think that they can really pull something good off here. Sting has his limitations as we have seen in TNA. Sting has also had some decent matches with the right guys in TNA so it isn’t as if he is done. The chemistry is working for me here and I have to hand it to these guys. They completely turned me around at Fastlane. Mark my words, this will be the main-event of WrestleMania. It won’t be the last match but this will be the match that draws the most interest and gets the most attention by the time we get to the event.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton - I think we can all agree that Jon Stewart of the Daily Show will play a part in this match. That’s fine, although this angle does not seem very organic at all. It will be great publicity for all involved. Quite frankly I am not sure how WWE pulled this one off. They did and it will happen at Mania. I think they’ll have a good match, maybe the best on the card if given time.

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus - All of the latest rumors point to a Bryan vs. Sheamus rematch. According to several reports, this was the direction they wanted to go in all along. It seems like a huge waste of Bryan and a big dropoff from a year ago. The WWE are determined to squash the Yes Movement and this is a step in the right direction. It’s a shame but I can’t see we didn’t see it coming.

There are other probable matches like Ambrose vs. BNB with a stip, something with the Rhodes brothers, and maybe the Bellas vs. Paige and a celebrity tag team partner. Overall it is a pretty solid lineup for Mania. Nothing stands out and while it is not nearly as exciting as last year, it is a far cry from WrestleMania 9 as well.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE Fastlane Results and Recap: Reigns Wins, Rusev Retains

February 22, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE is in full WrestleMania 31 mode now that Fastlane is in the books. The angles and Fastlane results now paint a clearer picture of the road to WrestleMania, which doesn’t necessarily look a whole lot different than it did prior to Sunday night’s pay-per-view event.

I really enjoyed this show a lot. The show had a real nice pace and there wasn’t a bad match on the show. It was a great appetizer for WrestleMania and I would go as far as to say that the show exceeded expectations. The show really did a nice job of getting me excited for WrestleMania. I’d highly recommend checking out the replay if you missed it.

Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan to retain his match at WrestleMania 31. This was a poorly booked match. Reigns was booked as the sympathetic babyface with Bryan playing heel. At one point Bryan nailed a kick in Reigns’ liver and the announcers played it up referencing Reigns’ hernia. Reigns sold for awhile after that. The rest of the match saw Bryan in control with Reigns going for comebacks. Reigns nailed Bryan with a spear on a second attempt at a running knee for a clean pin in the middle. The fans hated this. I have to admit, Cena and Rusev blew this one out. There was something missing here and I think it goes back to how the guys were booked. It made Reigns look weak,  Bryan look like a heel, and the winner was booed. Reigns walked out slowly trying to get some cheers going and the crowd was dead silent. Great job creative!

It would appear that the WWE are back to plan A and will proceed with Lesnar vs. Reigns in a singles match. Anything can happen and it is still possible that Bryan gets inserted into the match. However, with the way the match and post-match festivities played out, it would surely indicate that Bryan is doing something else.

The WWE has a problem with Reigns…a big problem. It is a lot like Lex Luger. They pushed Luger hard and the fans rejected him, yet not nearly at this level. It was obvious tonight that fans aren’t invested into Reigns as a babyface. The WWE have nobody to blame but themselves because he was over at one point.

Rusev defeated John Cena in a long match. I liked the match a lot and the crowd was really into it by the end of the match. The match had almost the same psychology of the Lesnar vs. Cena match from Night of Champions. The story here was that Cena threw everything at Rusev and he still couldn’t beat him. The finish came when Rusev had the camel clutch on Cena. Cena was about to break it but Lana came in the ring and distracted the referee. Rusev broke the hold and kicked Cena low and then in the face. Rusev then went back to the Accolade and an unconscious Cena lost.

I think they should have saved this match for Mania. The fans were split early but were all into Cena by the end of the match. I am not sure how invested fans really are into seeing Cena go for revenge at Mania. Regardless, it looks like that is where we are going.

Bray Wyatt called out the Undertaker tonight. They set up an entrance as if the Undertaker was coming out. The casket opened up and it was Wyatt. It was a cool segment but I still don’t understand it. Logically, why would the Undertaker come back for anything but avenging his loss to Brock Lesnar? Paul Heyman and Lesnar have mocked him for a year yet he’ll come back for a new guy who just called him out? It makes no sense. I think that the WWE is leaving some major money on the table here. Imagine the intensity and the passion fans would have to see Undertaker shut Heyman and Lesnar up after a year of trash talk. Taker could have come back, won the Rumble, and put up his career vs. Lesnar’s title in a rematch? Anything would have made more sense than Taker coming back to answer Wyatt’s challenge.

Sting and Triple H had their confrontation. Triple H made Sting an offer to align with the Authority. Sting remained silent. Triple H and Sting then brawled a bit. Hunter got the advantage by hitting him with a microphone. Hunter went for the sledgehammer but was cut off by Sting with a bat. Sting backed him into a corner and pointed to the WrestleMania sign. Sting finally left Hunter laid out with a Scorpion Death Drop. This was pretty exciting…predictable but exciting. The match was officially announced later in the show for Mania.

Randy Orton finally returned tonight. Orton ran in after the Seth Rollins six-man tag team match and attacked the heels. Orton’s return has been held off for awhile. All rumors indicate that Orton will wrestle Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31 with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show involved. Orton was over huge with the crowd and the fans ate up all of his RKOs.

Well it looks like we have a pretty good idea of what WrestleMania will look like. It won’t look much different than what has predicted and reported here and elsewhere over the last few weeks. I wouldn’t call it underwhelming yet I wouldn’t call it exciting either. Here is what the WrestleMania 31 card looks like coming out of Fastlane…
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE world title
John Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. title
Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose for the I-C title
Sting vs. Triple H
The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
Randy Orton with Jon Stewart vs. Seth Rollins

Full WWE Fastlane results and winners..
Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan in a  Number One Contender Match
Rusev defeated John Cena via submission to retain the United States Championship Match
Nikki Bella defeated Paige to retain the WWE Divas Championship
Bad News Barrett defeated Dean Ambrose by DQ to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd defeated the Usos to win the WWE Tag Team Championship
Triple H and Sting met face to face
Goldust defeated Stardust
The Big Show, Kane, and Seth Rollins defeated Erick Rowan, Dolph Ziggler, and Ryback

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE Fastlane Predictions and Preview

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

WWE will be launching the inaugural Fastlane this Sunday night. The prelude to WrestleMania will see a highly anticipated match up, an early WrestleMania 31 contest, and the first-ever advertised WWE special event appearance from the man called Sting.

Fastlane will replace the annual Elimination Chamber event. Unlike the Chamber show, Fastlane will be devoid of gimmick matches and strictly serve as an appetizer to the big March event. While I wouldn’t call it a strong show, I would see it is one of the more intriguing shows in recent memory. Let’s break down the top matches and events and make some predictions.

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan in a Winner meets Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 Match - This is without question the most intriguing match of the year thus far. Reigns and Bryan is not a match I would have expected to see pre-Mania. Sure, I could see these guys headlining SummerSlam or Survivor Series but I didn’t expect it this soon. Thanks to some rowdy fans in Philadelphia and some post-Rumble adjustments, we are getting this one several months early.

I have written a lot on this match, two full blogs to be exact. However, things continue to change and the landscape has evolved since both blogs. Originally the plans were for a Reigns vs. Brock match at Mania. New rumors indicated that those plans changed and Bryan would now be inserted into a Triple Threat Match. At this point I don’t think there is a predictable way to go here.

This reminds me a lot of the Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels match at King of the Ring 1997. The match made no sense, it featured two babyfaces, and one was obviously the company guy against a guy who was on the descent. At the same it made no sense for either guy to put the other one over. The match ended with a double DQ and no winner. I would be surprised if we don’t see the same result repeat itself in this match.

Roman Reigns has a ton of pressure on him here. If Reigns is expected to be the guy that delivers main-event singles matches, it all starts here. He’s been given everything he needs to succeed here. If you can’t have a good or even great match with Bryan than his promos are the least of his problem. I have no doubt that Bryan will do everything he can to get a great match out of Reigns. Anything less than a pretty good match could really hurt Reigns’ chances of going over at Mania.

I am going to predict a non-finish here. I don’t think either one of these guys are getting pinned. I do think that Bryan is not nearly as over as he was last year and that could cause the brass to re-think their Triple Threat plan. Yet unless I hear different I think both guys come out untainted. I expect this one to end with some interference from the Authority and a big groan from the audience.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the US Title - WWE fans are getting this one early. These guys were penciled in for WrestleMania which makes this booking a bit odd. However, it wouldn’t be the first time we saw a WrestleMania match. I like the match, like it a lot. I love most of what they’ve done with Rusev and the fact they held him apart for Cena for a year was just brilliant.

I wouldn’t expect a great match, although I do think they have it in them to produce one. I see a safe match with both guys saving the full effort for Mania. Putting Cena over here makes no sense at all, although after the Royal Rumble booking I don’t have a lot of confidence in logical WWE booking. I do love the idea of Cena as U.S. champion, I just don’t want to see it prior to Mania. I look for Rusev to go over here. I would suspect that a ref-stoppage finish that involves Cena’s eye, either Rusev spiking it or threatening. Anything but a big win hurts interest in seeing Cena seek revenge at Mania.

Triple H and Sting Confrontation - Like you, I have always wanted to see Sting in the WWE. However, I have to admit that Sting vs. Triple H was not a dream match on my list. Regardless, we are getting it one way or the other so why complain. I expect the usual RAW confrontation you’d expect from both, but I do think Sting gets laid out this time around. I think you need to lay him out in order to create a demand for a match.

Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett for the WWE Intercontinental Title - I like this match. I also think that Dean Ambrose is the biggest waste of talent I have seen in the WWE in quite some time. I love the potential of this match. I think you have two guys here who are very talented and looking to steal the show. I don’t expect Ambrose to win the title and quite frankly that may be a good thing for him. At the same time I certainly don’t want to see him lose clean which is what I think happens here.

Full WWE Fastlane card and matches…
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan – Number One Contender Match
John Cena vs. Rusev – United States Championship Match
Paige vs. Nikki Bella – WWE Divas Championship
Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose – WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Uso’s vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd – WWE Tag Team Championship
Triple H and Sting meet face to face
Goldust vs. Stardust

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE Need To Focus On Roman Reigns, Scrap Daniel Bryan Plans

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

I was like all of you. I wanted to see Daniel Bryan in the main-event at WrestleMania 31. I was also just as frustrated as you were with his 10-minute appearance at the Rumble. All rumors point to Bryan back in the Mania mix yet I have to wonder if that really is the right move.

Let’s be honest. Nothing is set in stone until the bell rings. All of the rumors point to Bryan being in a Triple Threat Match against Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns at Mania. Yet prior to those rumors, it was reported elsewhere that Vince McMahon had no intention of putting Bryan in the match. In other words, anything can change up until the bell rings (and even after in some cases).

So I am going to express an unpopular opinion here. Most readers and savvy Internet users tend to be Daniel Bryan fans. Thus, most of you will probably disagree with this thesis. As long as you don’t take it personally, we can remain friends. I think that the WWE are making a mistake by placing Bryan into the match and booking a Triple Threat at Mania. There…I said it.

Why the drastic change? I certainly had my doubts about Bryan after his Rumble comeback was announced. Yet I was proven wrong that night in Philadelphia when Bryan’s fans hijacked the Rumble. It was shortly thereafter the match with Reigns was booked at Fastlane and the idea was set in place to put Bryan back into the top mix. Fans were happy, I am sure Bryan was happy, and the WWE creative team were praised with their audible. I can safely say after watching several weeks of post-Rumble RAWs that they had it right the first time.

I am going to break some ugly news to you Bryan fans. He is just not as over as he was last year at this time. Was he over in Philadelphia? Yes and why wouldn’t he be? It’s a northeast crowd that is always going to be more favorable to Bryan and it was his first match back in months. The fans wanted to see a comeback story not a brief appearance. With all due respect to my hometown, those fans do not represent the majority.

One thing that has been crystal clear in the last three weeks is that Bryan is no more over than Reigns or even Dean Ambrose in some spots. Bryan gets a nice reaction but this is far from the Yes craze we saw last year. Go back and watch RAW a year ago compared to today. The fans were caught up in the hype last year, it was truly a movement. There is no movement in 2015. Casual fans are confused at this point. His reaction in Philadelphia has been misread and as much as I am a fan of the guy, the hysteria is just not there.

Go back two weeks ago on RAW. Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman cut a promo on the Bryan vs. Reigns match. Brock and Heyman had fans chanting “No, no, no!” in regards to Bryan. That was an eye-opener to me. Casual fans don’t believe in Bryan, nor do they have much interest in watching him wrestle Brock. That reaction would not have happened last year.

This isn’t to say that Reigns is the guy. However, Reigns has already had his legs cut off from under him. I think that the WWE should have proceeded with its plans and kept Bryan out of the match. There is no reason that Bryan couldn’t have challenged Reigns at some point in 2015 for the title. In just three weeks the WWE have made Reigns look foolish, sappy, dumb, and like a guy who is not top guy material. This all came as a result of trying to shoehorn Daniel Bryan into Mania. Without Bryan in the mix, Reigns could have been the sole focus of the company with the star power he needed to take the WWE into the future.

It’s not too late. If I were booking, I’d have Reigns win a highly competitive match over Bryan at Fastlane. Reigns will put the ghost of Bryan to rest, earn his biggest win of his singles career, and have the credibility he badly lacks heading into Mania.

Bryan had his time at the top and there is no reason he can’t have it again. However, they are cannibalizing their two top guys all because a rowdy crowd in Philadelphia and a Twitter campaign had the creative team guessing themselves. If Reigns is the future, the company needs to be all in on him and that needs to come at the expense of Daniel Bryan.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Shawn Michaels Talks WrestleMania Rumors vs. Daniel Bryan and One More Match

February 13, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Shawn Michaels WrestleMania rumors pop up every year right about now, yet last year those rumors looked stronger than ever. While all of us were excited about the possibilities of seeing HBK vs. Daniel Bryan at Mania there was one guy who wasn’t thrilled with that idea…Shawn Michaels.

The natural trajectory of last year’s storyline with Michaels and his former student Daniel Bryan appeared to end with a Mania match. I remember after his Hell in a Cell match several respected reporters practically reporting the match as a done deal simply off of the finish. Yet Michaels gave no indications he was coming back. This is where the wires got crossed according to Mr. WrestleMania. Michaels told my good buddy Brian Fritz on Between the Ropes that while he understood the excitement, the idea never quite appealed to him.

“Yeah, I realize that a lot of people certainly got that. I guess from my perspective it certainly is a good idea but it’s one of those ones, I guess from my standpoint, a good idea is one that would really intrigue me. That’s not one of those of those ones where you go ‘wow, what are the chances of someone coming up with that?’ That’s teacher – student, that’s been done, and again I’m not knocking it, I’m just saying that is not some kind of new, innovative idea. It’s just two other guys doing a very rehashed idea but we think they can do it well so it will be fun for us to watch. Certainly at its core it’s not a new and fresh idea.

That is an interesting response from Michaels for a few reasons. One, why did the storyline play out as it did last year if Bryan was not going to get payback with a match? That just makes no sense in my eyes. Two, you had Michaels openly questioning Bryan in interviews which made sense if those interviews were done to build up a match and yet they weren’t. Three and maybe most pressing is why in the world did WWE book him in that storyline the way they did if there was no commitment to wrestling. This all goes back to the “masterful” (yes I am being sarcastic) the booking of Daniel Bryan in the last quarter of 2013.

Michaels was also asked about fans who want to see him back in the ring. Is there hope?

Oh yeah. All the time. All the time. If they don’t believe, they request that I do. There isn’t a time that, every once in a while I will receive a text or someone will make the comment of ‘hey, we got this’. Put it this way: it’s always there for me if I want it. There’s only been probably, I don’t know, maybe one time where you go that’s actually a pretty good idea. (laughs) But you have to be careful even about saying that, even to acknowledge that is, in fact, a good idea. You have to be quick to follow up with don’t get me wrong, I’m not doing it. I have to give you props on a good idea.”

Fritz followed up by asking Michaels about what kind of idea would get HBK to lace up the boots. Michaels gave an intriguing response. He says no but he also doesn’t say never.

Well, I don’t even want to go down that road because then, of course, people will run with it. I at least try to do my best to throw my hat in the ring around WrestleMania so people can talk about it and I can get free press. It’s irrelevant then. Like I said, most people wouldn’t find it interesting anyway. My tastes I guess are not like theirs. When you’ve done a lot of stuff it’s sometimes those out of the box, strange ones that really peak your interest. For me, I give it about two minutes thought and then I move on because I’m very happy with what I’m doing and where my life’s at right now.

So what in 2015 could get Michaels back in the ring? Quite frankly I would have put my money on the teacher vs. student match with Bryan. Obviously he feels differently and shut that down. I can’t think of anything that the company could propose right now that would entice him but the key here is that the man never said never and that’s a big win for all of us.

So there’s a chance?

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

The WWE 2015 Royal Rumble Rebooked…1994 Style

February 11, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It was Jim Cornette who first popularised the idea of the ‘Seven Year Rule’ in the minds of adent wrestling fans. For the unfamiliar, said rule works on the theory that, over the course of a seven year period, a product like televised pro wrestling -sorry, sports entertainment- will have experienced a big enough turnover in fanbase that old ideas can be reused without the paying public really noticing.

By and large, this Seven Year Rule has been used to great effect by a number of entertainment franchises across all kinds of media, all with one notable exception: WWE.

If the company are even aware of such a concept, they’ve certainly never felt it all that important to adhere to it, choosing instead to rehash old plots, characters and events as often as they like. So it comes as a bit of a surprise then, that WWE haven’t gone back to one idea which they could -in theory at least- have used at least three times over by now.

The Lex Experiment
Cast your mind back, if you will, some 21 years to the neon-clad days of 1994. Bill Clinton was still the US President, Mrs. Doubtfire was about to top the Box Office charts, and Vince McMahon’s World Wrestling Federation was still reeling in the wake of what has become known simply as The Steroid Scandal.

Losing a number of headline players like Hulk Hogan and Ultimate Warrior in the process, Vince was on the look out for a new bona fide superstar, a larger-than-life hero capable of carrying the company forward and putting the company back in the mainstream media spotlight for all the right reasons.

After experimenting with smaller, more technically-savvy workers such as Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, McMahon seemed to have found the kind of main event player he was looking for in the carved-from-granite shape of one Lex Luger.

Strapping the proverbial rocket to Luger’s mammoth back, the Lex Express had spent the previous summer travelling the length and breadth of the United States, all in the hope of creating a groundswell of support for the former Total Package not seen since the heights of Hulkamania. The plan did not pay off quite as Vince, his team, and Luger himself, may have hoped, and when the latter was booked to win his over-hyped Summerslam main event against Yokozuna by countout (thus keeping the title on the super-sized grappler), it seemed Lex and his red-and-blue Express had all but run their course.

The Fans’ Choice
In the eyes of McMahon however, there was still mileage in Luger as a top draw. OK, so Luger may not have been dynamite with a microphone, but he had the look of an ancient god and could hold his own between the ropes, and for Vince, that was enough to maintain his determination to force the fans into falling in love with Big Lex.

The fans of 1994 however, had other ideas.

Already an established veteran by 1994, Bret ‘The Hitman’ Hart had been putting on excitement matches with just about everybody he locked up with for a good number of years, and had combined this quality workmanship with a relatable, Hero for the Common Man gimmick to ensure that WWF crowds were rooting for The Hitman to become THE Man.

Sounding familiar yet?

If you’re drawing parallels to Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan, we’re both on the same page.

Roman as Lex, Bryan as Bret
On the one hand, we have the muscular, larger-than-life Superstar favoured by Vince, on the other, we have the smaller, yet undeniably talented workhorse beloved by both casual and diehard fans alike. Though rather than march stubbornly onwards with his plan to make the former the focal point of his company,back in 1994, McMahon had a rather different idea when it came to booking the annual battle royal.

And its this idea that he could, probably should, have pulled out of his oversized sleeve this past January: That of the Royal Rumble Co-Winner.

In an effort to see who the audience would accept as their star attraction going forward, Vince had Luger and Bret -the final two men in that year’s Royal Rumble- eliminate each other at the same time.

After teasing one man as the victor, then the other in a blatant attempt to gauge fan reactions, both men were ultimately declared the winner, receiving a title shot a piece at Wrestlemania 10 against defending champion, Yokozuna.

Fast forward some 20+ years later, and is there any reason WWE wouldn’t have benefitted from repeating the same trick with Bryan and Reigns?

A legitimate contender
Sure, fans would have booed Reigns mercilessly if he had to share the win with Bryan, but then they did that anyway, and probably would have done even if he’d filled the ring with cute puppies as part of his post-victory celebrations.

On the other hand, holding his own alongside the undisputed People’s Champion may well have been just the ticket in getting Roman over as a legitimate contender to Brock Lesnar’s WWE Championship

If, as many fans suggest, half the problem with Reigns’ win is simply that he isn’t ready for the position he’s been thrust into, wouldn’t presenting him on a par with a man so universally revered as Daniel Bryan go at least some way to making making the former Shield man seem like he could hang at the top of the card?

The two could have even gone on to have their upcoming Fast Lane bout to determine the true number one contender, and if Vince was still adamant about making Reigns his guy, have him pick up the win come February 22nd.

The end result -Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar- is still ultimately the same. The big difference however, is that fans become a little bit more accepting of Vince’s ‘Chosen One’ whilst McMahon himself proves wrong those detractors who claim he’s long since stopped giving much a damn what his own audience really wants.

Or maybe not. One thing’s for certain though, repeating the 1994 Royal Rumble finish in 2015 certainly couldn’t be any worse than the finish we actually got.

So there you have it. I really don’t think this is much of a surprise at all. Unfortunately it may be a big drink of reality for some of you Bryan fans that were hoping they wouldn’t have to drink.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE WrestleMania 31 Rumors and Championship Match Change

February 10, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

A new report has thrown a monkey wrench into all previous WrestleMania 31 reports. A new report earlier this week indicates that the WWE and Vince McMahon will do the unthinkable at 31…listen to their audience.

Dave Meltzer had the scoop on a recent F4WOnline.com podcast. According to Meltzer, McMahon has called an audible on the Mania main-event. Regardless of reports that say otherwise, Meltzer is reporting that Vince has pulled the trigger and will be changing the headliner to a Triple Threat Match between Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Daniel Bryan for the WWE title.

The news comes just hours after a WWE insider leaked to Reddit.com the Fastlane result of the Bryans vs. Reigns match. The insider reported that Reigns would win at Fastlane and go to Mania as planned to wrestle Lesnar. According to Meltzer, this is a recent shift in plans for McMahon so it is likely that both reports are actually correct.

I am extremely surprised. The WWE is stubborn to a fault at times and barring injuries or guys walking out (like last year), they will rarely change WrestleMania plans. Keep in mind that plans for this year’s show were developed over the last year so a large commitment creatively and through marketing was made to Reigns in the headliner. A big question has to be what changed Vince’s mind so fast regarding Bryan?

It was clear at the Royal Rumble that the WWE had no intentions of booking Bryan in the headliner. Bryan was booked in and out of the Rumble in about ten minutes with no angles shot to indicate any further plans. Furthermore, a few days later Dolph Ziggler tweeted a challenge out to Bryan for a Mania match and reports indicated that the company were working towards a Bryan vs. Ziggler match.

Why the resistance in the first place? Vince reportedly did not want to “repeat” Mania with the same idea by putting Bryan in another championship Triple Threat. What is funny about that is that it was only two Mania events ago that the company repeated the exact same headlining match in Rock vs. Cena. I can understand where Vince is coming from, at the same time the crowds were singing a different tune than Roman Reigns.

Why the change? Is it the response at the Rumble, is it house show response, has there been a peak in Bryan merchandise sales, what is it that drove the change? My hunch is that Lesnar is leaving and the company was afraid that the fans would crap all over the match with Lesnar leaving and Reigns being the unpopular choice. Adding Bryan cleans up this mess as fans will be so excited, they’ll forget about Lesnar leaving and will be receptive to the match.

So who goes over? I think Lesnar is definitely the odd man out. Whether he stays or goes, the company needs a fresh face in the title picture. I would have said Reigns but it is clear he is not clicking since returning from injury. That said, I am still waiting for a heel turn here with Reigns aligning with Paul Heyman to win the title. Another scenario could see Bryan win the title and Seth Rollins cash in immediately thereafter and win it. Rollins would be set up as the top heel, Bryan can chase, Lesnar rides off into the sunset, and Reigns is repackaged and wins the title at SummerSlam or sooner from Rollins.

Either way the fans have spoken and for once, the company is listening. Maybe there is hope after all?

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Daniel Bryan Talks Memphis Wrestling, WWE Fastlane, and More

February 09, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE superstar Daniel Bryan is coming to Memphis and he is co-headlining Fastlane. Bryan made a recent appearance on a local Memphis TV news show to promote the event. The interview is fun and full of Memphis wrestling talk. Check it out!

This is a fun interview and I don’t want to be critical but I will say this. I can certainly appreciate self-deprecating humor but Bryan makes fun of himself a little too much over his size. I get it, Bryan is smaller than your average wrestler. However, you don’t need to bring that people’s attention…especially in a mainstream media interview.

That said I enjoyed most of the interview. As a big fan of the Memphis territory, it was nice to hear Bryan pay homage to the Memphis tradition in addition to talking about his own run in the Memphis territory early in his career. Check out the video and the leader of the Yes! Movement.

WWE Fastlane 2015 Rumors and Spoiler

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

I am not a big fan of blogging about spoilers but this one is a big one, especially when it results in a WWE WrestleMania 31 main-event. A verified spoiler may have confirmed the headline match at Mania and the results of a big FastLane showdown.

Let me start by saying this first. I’d ask that you leave the page if you don’t wish to know the spoiler at Fastlane. Okay, you have been warned. Don’t blame me for giving out the spoiler and ruining your experience.

There is a person named MetsFan4Ever that is a regular poster on Reddit.com. The poster has been verified as a WWE insider and is generally 95% and above right when it comes to giving away spoilers and match results prior to shows. MetsFan4Ever recently posted a spoiler about the big showdown at Fastlane between Daniel Bryan and Roman Reigns. It probably won’t make you happy.

“I have been told and it has been 100% confirmed that Roman Reigns is indeed defeating Daniel Bryan at WWE Fast Lane.

I was also told the only reason this match was made was to quiet the “marks” for a few weeks while they try to get Roman over. Regardless of the reaction in the next few weeks, Roman is the man and will be headlining WrestleMania and defeating Brock Lesnar for the WWE Championship.

I’ve also been told that despite his smaller size, Bryan is considered one of the more physical in ring workers in the WWE. Thus he has been picked to work with Roman to get him ready for the physicality that is Brock Lesnar. It is comparing Bryan to Curtis Axel. Bryan is the Curtis Axel to Roman’s Rock.

The last reason I was given is that WWE knows full well that people are going to watch WrestleMania no matter what. I was told they could’ve put Doink vs. Brock Lesnar and the fans would be watching. At this point, WWE considers the WrestleMania name bigger than any of the superstars on the show.”

This confirms the blog I wrote last week when I called the match one big WWE screw job and a big F-You to Daniel Bryan fans. As I wrote last week, the WWE are booking this match for a few reasons. One, they want to have a little fun with the Daniel Bryan brigade and screw with them a bit. The company wants you Bryan supporters to believe that your boy has a shot at going to Mania. It’s not going to happen. Two, the company wants to elevate Reigns with a big singles win and what better win than beating the former champion who didn’t lose his title. Three, it wants to quiet the fans who still believe Bryan deserves the match since he didn’t lose the title. In other words, it ties up loose ends.

I was okay with all of this until I read this post. The remark about the WWE believing they can put any anyone in the Mania main-event actually works against them keeping Bryan out of it. If that person is so meaningless, why not give the fans Bryan in the main-event? Why does it have to be Reigns if it doesn’t matter? I believe that sentiment to be true among the corporate WWE employees, yet I still believe for Vince McMahon that the person in the Mania main-event truly does matter. Yes we saw The Miz in there at Mania 27, but you can count on one hand how often that has happened in the last ten years and that is once.

So there you have it. I really don’t think this is much of a surprise at all. Unfortunately it may be a big drink of reality for some of you Bryan fans that were hoping they wouldn’t have to drink.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com