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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.

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The Randy Savage Story DVD

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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

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Wade Barrett Talks WWE Nexus Angle, John Cena, and More

February 16, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Wade Barrett is slowly evolving into a media hit within the WWE Universe. Barrett is starting to do more press and he is turning out to be one of the better interviews in the company. Barrett was out recently promoting the UAE tour and had some interesting things to say.

Wade Barrett was asked by the National Sport about getting cheered as a heel. Barrett has become something of a “cool” heel since undertaking the Bad News gimmick. How does he feel about that?

“I have always said I don’t care if I am cheered or booed. I tend to be booed because of my personality and character but as long as I am getting a reaction I am happy and I have had a really good reaction both nights from the fans. I think there must be a lot of British expats out here and I think that was one of the reasons I was getting cheered.”

The crew were in the UAE during this interview and took in some local sights. Barrett was asked about his recreation which saw him play cricket with Ryback.

“Yeah, Ryback wielding a cricket bat is not a pretty sight, believe me. We had some time with a local cricket centre that are training some local kids and encouraging them to get involved in healthy lifestyles and sports and stuff like that. That was a really cool experience. I am not a cricketer at all as anyone who sees the footage of that will be able to tell, but it was a good experience and a lot of fun.”

Barrett also talks about the origins of Bad News Barrett. He talked about this extensively on Chris Jericho’s podcast recently and it remains a funny story. It’s funny how sometimes the best gimmicks are all luck.

“It was really a silly little thing that we wanted to try online. We have a show on wwe.com called The JBL & Cole Show and they wanted me to come up with a character to be on that. So I came up with a character that was just going to be me turning up and just giving bad news to everybody. Which is kind of like my real life personality as I like to be the Debbie Downer in the room. So I started doing that and then Vince [McMahon, the WWE chairman] managed to see it one week and decided he was going to put me on TV doing it. I was a little worried at first because I didn’t really work out how it was going to translate into a wrestling character on TV rather than this quirky internet show. But it caught on and people loved chanting the catchphrase and once you get a catchphrase people are into it gets a lot easier.”

Finally Barrett talks a bit about the Nexus angle and working with John Cena as a new guy on the roster.

“That was a lot of fun. I basically went from being an unknown wrestler to being on global TV and main eventing pay per views against the No 1 wrestler in the world every week. It was a huge step up for me in terms of the kind of coverage I was getting and the pressure that was on my shoulders, but it was a great time. A lot of people were telling me at the time they were surprised how well I was coping with that pressure, but to me I felt more pressure trying to get to WWE and struggling as an up and coming wrestler as opposed to being the guy at the very top. I loved that run. I had a lot of fun doing it, I thought we got some great reactions and we got some great storylines and TV out of it.”

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Bret Hart Talks Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon, and John Cena

February 12, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Bret Hart is not one to mince words. While the Hit Man may have forgiven some of his former enemies for past indiscretions, he remains willing to talk about those issues, continuing to deliver sound bites bloggers like me love to write about.

Bret Hart is a fascinating man. Hart has buried several hatchets in recent years yet he is not shy to remind fans and media of the past. You have to give him credit in a sense in that Hart remains consistent with his opinions and commentary, regardless of the political ramifications. Even if it means taking shots at the head of the WWE, Vince McMahon.

Hart was recently interviewed by Sports Vision and discussed a variety of topics, offering interesting insight and a little controversy with various questions. It may be almost twenty-years, but Hart still takes solace in delivering a punch to the Chairman of the Board. Asked about his proudest moment, it wasn’t winning a title or headlining a WrestleMania, it was about the Montreal punch.

“When I stood up for myself in Montreal, and knocked out Vince McMahon for cheating me in that match. I think it’s still defines me as a wrestler, and as an artist, and a talent, and somebody that was betrayed. I’ve always been really proud of how I reacted, and how I carried myself that day. And in the end, I think I proved I was right.”

I will say this. Vince gets a lot of criticism for continuously bringing up the Montreal Screw Job in promos and angles over the last seventeen years. So I have no problem with Bret talking so openly about it. That said, I also have no problem with Vince’s periodic references because if the topic is on the table for one, it should be on the table for two.

Bret was also asked about Hulk Hogan. Bret and Hulk have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. Generally it is Bret who continues to be critical of Hulk and take shots while Hulk seems to give more politically correct answers.

“There’s a lot of wrestlers I worked with in those days that still stop me and tell me that the greatest match they ever had was with me… I take pride in that… I wish guys like Hulk Hogan might’ve had the courage to get in the ring with me, because I maybe could’ve given him his best match that he ever had, also.

“I just think that as wrestling moves into the future, everyday it goes further and further from my day, I look at the wrestlers today and I realize that they’re carrying the torch of my style. It’s not about strongman spots and Hulk Hogan, and putting one hand behind your ear and working the crowd, and stuff like that. It’s about guys that are out there suplexing each other, and doing a lot of complex wrestling moves, and a lot of action. That’s the kind of wrestling that I brought to the game.”

Well maybe I shouldn’t bring this up but Hulk did have the “courage” to get in the ring with Bret several times in WCW and guess what? The matches weren’t that good. Now both guys were in different places in their careers but that answer is a little disingenuous considering that they have wrestled.

I will also say this. Hulk Hogan has drawn a lot more money in his career than Bret and if you look at the biggest draws in wrestling history, there aren’t many Bret Harts on that list. It is a list of guys comprised with a few move sets and not a full arsenal. Also, as someone that grew up watching Bret I think he needs a little more self-awareness. I remember many fans saying during his big WWE run, “You’ve seen one Bret Hart match you’ve seen them all.” Now his matches with Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin are some of the best I have ever seen, but generally Bret delivered a fairly predictable match during his big run. And speaking of guys with limited move sets…

“I have nothing but respect for John Cena and his work rate. He’s one of the hardest working wrestlers there ever was. He’s been a great champion, an inspiring role model. It’s not easy being John Cena and carrying all the weight of the company on your back all the time. What he’s done with Make-A-Wish kids, and kids in general, kids in general around the world. People don’t understand sometimes what it’s like to be John Cena, to understand how much pressure is on him everyday to do the right things and to always be the class champion that he’s been. He’s a tireless champion that gives 100% every night… He could do a little bit better with some of his technical moves sometimes, but I think in the long and short of it, I think John Cena’s established himself to be maybe one of the greatest wrestlers that ever lived. I think he’s an amazing wrestler.”

All in all it is a great interview and I’d recommend checking the whole thing out.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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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

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)

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Breaking Kayfabe Sometimes is the Best Way to Go

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

There is a fine line between the “reality” of professional wrestling and the “reality” of the characters these performers portray in the ring on a nightly basis. This past week on Raw, we saw that while we may cheer and boo the men and women in the ring, every now and then, the fact they are just as human we are.

My friend and world renowned wrestling columnist Mike Mooneyham posted a story on his Facebook page about how Triple H did one of the few things we never thought he would do as the COO of the WWE – he broke character during the final segment of Raw to console a child he evidently made cry during the telecast.

According to USAToday.com, “Triple H suggested that if Cena were to lose his match on Monday night, he’d be out of Royal Rumble on Sunday. After some consternation and eyebrow furrowing, Triple H decided that Cena’s fate would be determined by a fan vote on the WWE app.

“It appears that this was all too much for one young Cena fan, who burst into tears. That’s when big, bad Triple H decided to pull back the curtain and broke kayfabe.”

It is a touching story of sorts, showing that Paul Levesque showed his humane side as a husband and father to children of his own. There are many occasions where fans, mainly young ones, are left in tears by what they see on screen and in person at ringside. It speaks to the raw emotion the company hopes to achieve from its fan base with the hope of producing ratings.

Triple H apparently upset the young child in such a way that he forgot the role that made him the superstar he is today, which may be the most refreshing thing we have seen so far this year in the business.

It was then reported on social media that the boy and his father were led by security to the backstage area in order to meet a number of his heroes.

For years, Vince McMahon sold us on the idea the WWE was sports entertainment, that the matches were predetermined and yes, the worst kept secret of them all, wrestling is not real and everything was scripted, including winners and losers and who would and would not be champion.

Caring for the wellbeing of a child goes against everything wrestlers like Harley Race and Lou Thesz worked hard to build – but it was so warranted.

In the past, Kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as “real” or “true,” specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or pre-determined nature. Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this “reality” within the realm of the general public.

Kayfabe was long held as a closely guarded secret within the professional wrestling industry. This ended in 1989 when Vince McMahon testified in a New Jersey court that wrestling was staged. With the advent of the Internet, it has evolved into an open secret in the industry that is generally only adhered to while performing.

Kayfabe is often seen as the suspension of disbelief that is used to create the non-wrestling aspects of promotions, such as feuds, angles, and gimmicks, in a manner similar to other forms of fictional entertainment. In relative terms, a wrestler breaking kayfabe during a show would be likened to an actor breaking character on camera.

Also, since wrestling is performed in front of a live audience, whose interaction with the show is crucial to the show’s success, one might compare kayfabe to the fourth wall, since there is hardly any conventional fourth wall to begin with.

While the story is touching and shows the WWE for more than just the act it presents, this should not change the story lines the company is working toward. Triple H will still play the villain and the Authority will still fight to end the careers of John Cena, Daniel Bryan and anyone else who gets in its way. It’s good to know, however, that while wrestling still remains the circus it is, the characters these performers portray can step back every once in a while and realize they do not need to live as these characters every day of every week 24 hours at a time.

Ric Flair, Terry Funk, Scott Hall and to some degree Hulk Hogan all live with that kind of “baggage”. Learning when to let go of the fantasy and live in the reality has been a hard chore for them. Watching one of the biggest names in the WWE step aside for a few moment makes watching them act as brazen as they do a little more acceptable, and hopefully more enjoyable for the fans – especially the younger ones.

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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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John Cena Defender of the WWE, not the WWE Title

January 12, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE may finally put John Cena in a program I can support on many levels.

The road to WrestleMania begins Jan 25 with the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, but if you read the cheat sheets online and the rumor mill innuendo that is flying higher than the Killer Bees, there is reason to believe the title shot John Cena is getting in the Triple Threat Match with himself, Seth Rollins and Brock Lesnar could be his last.

The company may have decided (FINALLY) to end Cena’s reign as the company’s go-to champion and give someone like Rollins a shot at glory in the WWE’s signature event of the year. While there is still the belief that Roman Reigns will win this year’s Rumble event, the idea of Brock Lesnar as his opponent may have soured a bit on management.

Like many WWE and wrestling fans, I would love to see Cena’s belt streak end (at 15 times, not 16) and to see Rollins or Reigns take over the spotlight for the company in what can be deemed “best for business.”

Cena, who is still the most colorful and polarizing figure the company has witnessed since the days of The Rock as a full time mat man, could become the “icon” of sorts, with new challenges that would allow him to defend his employer rather than a gold strap.

As written in a column on Wrestlezone.com, Cena could be the flag bearer for the company in taking down the Russian Rusev and his unbeaten streak.

Former WWE Creative Writer Andrew Goldstein state in his column that the man who is the true Patriot of the organization is the logical choice to help bring the big man down.

Sadly the opportunity to end the Bulgarian Brute’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania will not belong to Kurt Angle. Which is a damn shame and a rip-off both for his legacy and his fans. But I digress… Absent YOUR American hero, who better than Super Cena to chop down the mighty Rusev? Every time Cena kisses that dog tag around his neck, on his way to the ring, it’s an affront to everything Rusev stands for. Plus the story writes itself. The man who implores his “Cenation” of pre-pubescent fans to “Never Give Up” vs. the man who’s made literally everyone on the WWE roster do just that. Then you throw in Nikki Bella in John’s corner bumpin’ silicone with Lana!!!! Plus all the corny, dated Russia jokes John could make about Gorbachev’s birthmark and Vlad Putin riding horseback shirtless and you’ve got VKM’s three biggest turn-on’s all in one match: Childish humor, hot females under his employ, and AMERICA! It’s a no-brainer.

Personally, I think it falls in line with other wrestling greats who have defended the cause of their country or company in the past.

When I think of wrestling and the angles of fighting for Old Glory, I think of times when Dusty Rhodes battled Ivan and Nikita Koloff (before Nikita turned face). How there was no one as patriotic as Rhodes with his “Son of a Plumber” angle and talking about “Hard Times” and fighting the good fight like one of his heroes John Wayne.

I think of Barry Windham and Mike Rotundo (before he was IRS) winning WWF gold in beating Nikolai Volkoff and the Iron Sheik.

And nothing was as American as Hulk Hogan fighting his way out of the Camel Clutch – yes there is a pun there – and taking the Iron Sheik down to claim the WWF Title and begin the start of Hulkamania. Wrestling has provided many a patriotic moment, and this could be one more.

This could also be the start of Cena moving more toward the “Sting role” where he defends the WWE against foes who want to challenge the system, not necessarily the wrestler. I like it and I like the chance to see more talent get more name recognition.

While this might just be speculation and conjecture, I am sure we can all agree Cena defending Old Glory makes all the sense in the wrestling universe. And for once, it gives me a chance to root for Cena as a performer, not some I wish the company had taken his power away a long time ago.

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Seth Rollins Added To WWE Royal Rumble Main-Event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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