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Roman Reigns wins Fictional Award, Threatens to Bring About Armageddon

December 12, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Roman Reigns won the Slammy award for WWE Superstar of the year on Monday Night Raw. The big Samoan has been out of action for a while due to injury and his appearance on the program was surely a great moment for fans that have been anxious for his return.

And for everyone else the world came to an end; cats and dogs living together, its mass hysteria. According to this little batch of crazies, Roman had no business winning that silly little gold trophy. That recognition belonged to Dean Ambrose, the man that has taken the company by storm while simultaneously trying to make everyone forget about CM Punk.

But that did not happen. And despite the fact that a few days have passed since the Slammys, many fans are still sitting in front of their mirrors smearing on lipstick and brushing their hair with way too much intensity. However, there is cause for optimism. There is a reason to let go of the disappointment and begin to once again live in the here and now.

Why is that? Gather round, kids have I got a shocker for you. The Slammys are a work. Period. Oh, WWE advertised the event everywhere and was begging for votes on every category all across the board. They encouraged the audience to participate and let their voices be heard, to determine just who would walk away with those coveted awards.

But yeah, it’s all a work. Notice I didn’t say the votes were not legit. I’m not suggesting that WWE didn’t see the numbers and God knows I don’t want to be accused of being a smarty pants here. What I am saying is that the votes probably didn’t matter all that much in the end. The company will put guys into spots because it wants them there, not because the fans vote a Slammy into his hands.

By the way, I’m not saying the word Slammy anymore. WWE is already rife with one bit of nonsense after another, there’s no need to call these fictional awards by such a ridiculous name. So, I’m over it. You want to use it, be my guest.

The fact is that the award-that-shall-not-be-named is nothing more than a prop. But the fans love them and if you don’t believe that then just go to Twitter and see for yourself. Be prepared however; hilarity will ensue. Don’t get me wrong here; I have no problem with fans that have allowed themselves to be so completely absorbed into the product that they have totally dismissed reality. In fact, I take no issue with that at all.

After all, isn’t that what a fan is supposed to do? Aren’t fans supposed to suspend their disbelief of the real world long enough to enjoy the manufactured world that’s been created for them by WWE? Aren’t fans supposed to care about the product to the point that it becomes real to them? Isn’t that kind of the point?

Yes, it is. And maybe I should just follow along with them and just have fun with it. Maybe I should forget the fact that people lost their minds and just go crazy with them. Imagine letting go of everything and spending countless hours complaining about the fact that your favorite Superstar did not win the pointless award that you voted 47 times for him to win.

Imagine what it must feel like to abandon all sense of reality and just become one with WWE. Unfortunately for me, I can’t do that. I’m one of those guys that sit back and watch the insanity unfold before him. I marvel at the things that are said, shaking my head at the number of times “Ambrose should have won” was uttered in social media. It’s an amazing sight to behold.

And no, I’m not anti-Ambrose. Not at all. In fact, I think the guy has never looked better. I think that Dean will be the most popular number two guy that WWE has seen since the aforementioned Best in the World. And when it happens, you’ll all sit back and remember that Tom told you so. So there.

But at the end of the day, Roman is the next top guy. That’s it. You can hate that, you can ignore that, you can do everything in your power to forget about him and his award-that-shall-not-be-named and focus all your energy on Dean Ambrose. If that’s what you want, go with God.

That will not change the fact that Roman is the heir apparent to John Cena. It’s his torch to receive and before anyone thinks I have now lost my mind as well, let me assure you I’m well aware of how much money John makes for that company. He equals dollar signs to them and that will not be easy to replace one day.

But WWE will have to at some point. Cena is only getting older and one day, his time will be up. For the company to ensure its existence past Cena’s shelf life, it must begin building toward the future. Roman Reigns is the cornerstone of that future and if getting some frivolous award is part of paving the way for him to get there, then so be it.

Dean is still getting it done in the ring and he’s still the one that many fans are paying to see. No lack of trophy will change that. So go on about your day, continue to complain if you want and gosh darn it, have fun with it. As for me, I’ll be sitting back a little saner and a little more reserved than some. Maybe I am a smarty pants after all.

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What if Roman Reigns isn’t ready for WWE WrestleMania 31?

December 02, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

As many of us may already know, Roman Reigns will be positioned to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship by beating Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31.  For a long time I was on board with this decision. There were no questions in my mind that he would be ready to carry the company by the time Mania rolled around.  When The Shield broke up, the WWE did a really nice job protecting him by sticking him in tag matches and not giving him a ton of promo time.  But as time went on they had no choice but to give him more singles matches and time on the microphone.  That’s when I started to doubt that he currently had what it took to be at the top of the WWE.  He certainly has the look and the physical ability they are going for, but we all know that it takes more than that to be the face of the WWE.

Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose both received makeovers when their time with The Shield was over and I’m not too sure why Reigns did not.  In their eyes, I am sure they believed he didn’t need it and everything he was doing fit his personality.  His attire, walkout and music needs to be changed if he’s going to be a super star.  I really hope they take the time that he’s out to rebrand him a little.  He doesn’t need a huge change, but change must be made.

He does have some issues with his move set, but as we’ve seen with Randy Orton and John Cena, the face of the company does not need a crazy tool bag of moves.  He doesn’t need to be a high-flyer or a giant risk taker as long as he gets the job done.  I am a big fan of the superman punch, but I think the spear is one of the weakest finishers in the business.  Reigns does fit the physical mold of Goldberg and Batista, but I feel he can be a much better in-ring performer than both of them.  He is a superb athlete and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t be able to do more in the ring.

Most importantly, he really is not all that great on the mic and that’s the biggest issue.  I felt like he was getting better before he was put on the shelf with hernia surgery, but the LIVE interviews, most recently at Survivor Series, that they’ve done with him while recovering were not good.  Again, he is a good talker and seems like a smart guy, so I am confident that he’ll be able to pick up the promo game.  Also, hopefully the acting classes he’s supposedly taking will make a difference.  He must find a way to improve, because if he can’t connect with the crowd, he will not make it.  He just needs reps and that’s difficult when he’s not on TV every week.

So, if he doesn’t make the necessary improvements, what happens at WrestleMania 31?  Do they throw the strap on him whether he’s ready or not?  Do they throw a curve ball and put the title on someone else?  Regardless of what they decide to do, the Royal Rumble makes for a very easy opportunity to call an audible.  The problem is, there aren’t a ton of great options and March 29th is coming up fast so there will not be enough time to build someone new. Cersaro, Bray Wyatt, Bad New Barrett and Rusev are not ready to be pushed that far.  Does Daniel Bryan make it back in time?  Do they empty the bank for CM Punk?  Here are my suggestions, if for some reason Roman Reigns is not ready to defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31.

John Cena

This is my least favorite, but most likely scenario if Reigns is not going to face Brock at WrestleMania.  When in doubt put the title on Cena.  There is no doubt in my mind that the WWE would salivate at the chance to do Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena again, this time at WrestleMania.  Also, like I have mentioned before, Cena is the super star least affected by a short title reign.  If they wanted Rollins to cash-in, Cena would be a perfect candidate for this scenario.

Randy Orton

It would be a lot of fun if baby face Randy Orton got to feud with Brock.  Orton should be the next opponent for Brock instead of Cena, but unfortunately it’s not happening.  If Orton wins the Rumble it would be a very easy build towards Mania and like Cena, he would not suffer from a short title reign is they wanted Rollins to cash-in.  Rollins has history with both Orton and Cena so that feud would write itself.

Dean Ambrose

Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar is the match I hope we all get to see one day.  I’m not confident that the WWE would position him to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania 31, but I would be 100% onboard for this.  I feel like a broken record, but he is the best thing going right now in the WWE.  I think it takes a really special person to defeat Lesnar and I think he should be on that short list.  Ambrose obviously isn’t physically imposing like Cena or Triple H, but his style makes up for that.  They don’t call him the Lunatic Fringe for nothing.  He has shown that he can take a beating and will keep on coming no matter what and that’s the kind of wrestler that could defeat the Beast Incarnate.  In the current state of the WWE, this is one of my must-see dream matches.

Dolph Zigler

As much as I would love to see Dolph Ziggler in position to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, his size makes it the least realistic of all the scenarios.  Unless of course The Undertaker has a part in Brock losing the title.  If that were the case, Ziggler would be the perfect option.  After what happened at Survivor Series, he’s has hot as it gets.  It would be very easy to ride that momentum all the way to the Royal Rumble.  Personally, I would love to see Ziggler as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and I know the WWE Universe would not have any issues with that.

Ryback

As I have stated in the past, I do not mind Ryback as much as other do.  Is he the best wrestler in the company?  Of course not but I find him to be fairly entertaining.  He’s a massive guy with a decent move set for someone who weighs almost 300 pounds.  They messed up his push the first time so maybe they want to give it a second try and actually put the title on him.  Ryback vs. Brock Lesnar would be a pretty interesting matchup.  There aren’t many guys who can match strength and intensity with Brock and I think Ryback could be one of them.  He’s been pretty hot since his return so we will see if he becomes a title player later in the year.

The Undertaker

This is one of the more unlikely situations, but I know this would be the biggest thing they can do with Brock at WrestleMania.  Eric, the man behind the Camel Clutch Blog has talked about this matchup before and there is no question, if The Undertaker is healthy enough, they should make it happen.  Just imagine him being a surprise final entry for the Royal Rumble, winning the whole thing, beating Brock to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and then officially drifting into retirement.  That would be an absolute epic end to one of the greatest careers of all-time.  As much as I want that to happen, it’s not sounding good for Taker to perform as Mania.  If that’s the case, he must have an impact on the match causing Brock to drop the title.  Either way, The Undertaker should have a major impact on what happens with the championship at WrestleMania.

They may not all be great but there are options out there if Reigns isn’t ready to be the WWE World Heavyweight Champion.  There’s no question that I think he could be the guy to take over for John Cena one day and I am rooting for him to be successful.  I do enjoy what he brings to the table, but time is running out.  As always it’s going to be a lot of fun to watch this all play out leading into WrestleMania season.  If I had to make a prediction today, Roman Reigns will defeat Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 to become Champion.

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No CM Punk, No Daniel Bryan, No Roman Reigns: Who Steps Up in the WWE?

September 30, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Like many other wrestling fans, I am at a loss over the lack of superstar talent in the WWE right now. The reuse of wrestling angles, the misguidance of the Authority program, the lack of a tag team division at the moment and the disrespect shown to Randy Orton has me scratching my head of late. Maybe that is why it is past 2 am and I am writing this to you now. Or maybe I need some hobby to keep interest past midnight like SLEEP.

The WWE is about to embark on what appears to be something new for John Cena. While there needs to be a new challenger to Brock Lesnar and the WWE World Title (Randy Orton), the 15-time WWE Champion twists in the wind, waiting for another destiny. With the crop of current talent that still includes Bray Wyatt, Sheamus, Cesaro, The Miz and Dolph Ziggler, it will be the two of the younger minions in the company who will do battle with the WWE’s cash cow – John Cena.

Can both Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose take the money maker over the edge?

As fans, we never want to see our favorite stars get injured and lose time from the ring. We never want to see our heroes leave the company due to injury or retirement and when they do, we are all too quick to try and replace them. We hope out loud that Dolph Ziggler becomes Shawn Michaels or Randy Orton becomes as good as his father was or that Chris Jericho becomes Roddy Piper.

In a perfect world, those wrestlers move right into place and the world carries on as if nothing ever happened.

No one has replaced Ric Flair and no one has become Harley Race. I think the WWE has a while to go until someone can actually replace the wrestling greats we grew up watching at noon on Saturdays.

But in reality, if there is no CM Punk, No Undertaker, No, Roman Reigns and no Daniel Bryan wrestling in the company at the moment, who in the hell or the WWE for that matter, takes the stick and moves forward.

Sting has not “arrived” yet and the thought of Wyatt winning world gold left the building when the hourglass ran out of sand. This is a sad time for the WWE. It needs Rollins and Ambrose now more than ever.

The question remains, however, can two young and exciting superstars coexist with a crowd favorite, the most recognized WWE superstar ever, and still get over. Cena is not the easiest guy to work with and we all know when it comes to changing stripes, The Champ has a hard time playing with all the kids in the sandbox.

Facts are facts.

Cena once said that CM Punk was the only wrestler in the company that was worthy of being in the same ring as him and the only one who could give him a solid match. While it was a huge statement, almost cavalier (ok, totally cavalier), it may have been true. Matches with The Rock were awful. He and Orton put on a great show. Daniel Bryan’s matches with Cena have been very good. But for now, who else is going to give him a push to put him over in some regard?

It must be both Rollins and Ambrose.

For all the talent these two have, they have to give more. Ambrose could actually take the Punk character (the voice of the voiceless) and run with it. Rollins could be another Edge – if not better. The WWE is drowning in poor storylines (Rusev vs. Everyone) and the Divas with Bella vs. Bella and Paige vs. AJ can only get you so far.

It all falls on Ambrose and Rollins. If the two former mat mates can produce as much with Cena as they do against each other, then the WWE can feed off of the adrenaline for the remainder of the year until the Royal Rumble. If not, then the company will have proven once again that it has destroyed something great – Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage great. That cannot be recaptured, but it sure can reused, repackaged and redistributed so it looks fresh.

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Roman Reigns’ Hernia Surgery May Be Best For Business

September 26, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Roman Reigns is one of the most popular stars in WWE…and like several other stars (Daniel Bryan and Wade Barrett for example), he is now on the shelf for the immediate future.

In case you missed the segment explaining Reigns’ situation that has been playing on all WWE programming since it happened, Roman Reigns had to have emergency hernia surgery the day before Night Of Champions while in Nashville, TN.

He’s been performing with a hernia for quite a while, but it finally got to the point of being too painful and requiring surgery. He’s not going to be out for 4-6 weeks according to doctors, and possibly longer due to the severity of his hernia.

Though some of his most diehard fans and surely some of the backstage brass are freaking out at this development, Reigns being injured may actually be a very good thing.

It may, as they say, actually be “Best for Business.”

Why?

Well, several reasons:

1) The Forced Push

Roman Reigns was getting too hot too fast. Remember the “Die Rocky Die!” chants sent towards the Rock in the late 90’s? They happened while Rocky Maivia was getting his babyface push and the crowd didn’t accept him.

At first the crowd cheered Rocky. But after some time, they got tired of the one sided persona. His limited moveset. His wholesome demeanor. And his limited mic skills (yes, even the Rock at one time sucked on the mic). But because WWF/E was determined to try to get Rock over, he became more popular in storyline than he was with the fans. And the fans let him know. By chanting for him to die.

Fast forward to today with Roman Reigns. People aren’t chanting for his death yet…but you can see the same signs starting to brew. The unrest with Reigns’ 3 moves of doom. The outspoken concern that he is about as charismatic as Linda McMahon during his promos. And the overall apathy that more and more crowd are showing during his matches.

Let’s face it, sometimes people have been just plain quiet lately.

WWE has strapped a rocket to Reigns’ back, and he has been shoved down the throats of the fans. Perhaps this break from action and the spotlight is just what he needs to cool down and come back hotter than before.

2) His Absence Forces Storyline Holes

With Reigns out of the picture for at least 1-2 months, WWE creative is forced to get…well…creative! They now need to call some audibles, switch up some storylines, move guys around into different feuds and scrap a lot of what was happening. Which should be a breath of fresh air for all of the fans!

Most falls WWE has a pattern of shifting into “maintenance” mode between SummerSlam and Royal Rumble. They put the blinders on and go with a few safe storylines that can bounce titles back and forth between the same 2 guys for 4 months until we’re sick of it. This time, one of their main players is out. So they need to make a new plan. And because every Raw since SummerSlam has been universally reviewed as being “phoned in,” now is a better time than ever to shake things up.

Call me crazy, but forcing the writing team to think outside the box certainly can’t be bad for business.

3) Reigns Leaves an Open Spot For Talent

Here’s the ugly truth about the politics of professional wrestling: There is only so much room at the top. Every guy (and diva) on the card has a “spot.” And to move up on the card, someone else has to move down…or move off. Right now, Reigns being moved off the card leaves a tremendous hole near the top for someone else to step into. The obvious choice right now is Dean Ambrose. And in my opinion, nobody deserves it more! Ambrose may be the most entertaining wrestler on the roster in a decade and the more screen time he gets, the better.

But not just Ambrose, this allows for our focus to shift to other storylines. Like the IC title, or US title, or bringing new talent up from NXT, or…ugh…the divas division.

For real though, there are a ton of ways WWE can fill the time Roman has left empty. There are a myriad of guys who would love to step up into his spot.

I just hope we don’t see creative get lazy and fill the time with sketches involving El Torito or the Bunny from the Exotic Express instead.

Oh…

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Don’t Worry About Roman Reigns

September 25, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I woke up last Saturday morning and I checked my e-mail of the daily Yahoo updates. I saw a headline that read Roman Reigns had to undergo emergency surgery. I clicked the link and it said that Roman Reigns had intense pain from an inguinal hernia and that emergency surgery was needed to fix this. I had an inguinal hernia surgery in July of 1994. I know how painful it can be and boy did it hurt! It was so painful that I couldn’t stand straight. The pain went away but I had to have surgery. Been there, done that. From there, that’s the only thing Roman Reigns and I have in common.

Why do I bring this up? When I watched Raw last night the Doctor who operated on Roman Reigns say he may be out months. When I had my surgery the doctor told me not to do anything strenuous or run or lift weights for a month. No sex for a month either. The latter was a concern but I survived. Roman Reigns on the other hand is a man with power, agility, and flat out brute strength that equates to a WWE Superstar.

This is a huge blow to face stable of the WWE. CM Punk left on his own accord while Daniel Bryan was sidelined with his own injury. Now all that’s really left is John Cena and thankfully Dean Ambrose arrived just in time to take Reigns’ spot. Dean Ambrose will do fine for the time being; and personally I think Ambrose has the tools to be one of the top faces of the WWE for years to come. That being said, I’ve read mixed reactions as to what the possible ramifications would be with Roman Reigns out for months. In particular, I’m reading blurbs that state the injury is going to cost his spot in the top tier face crowd. No way!

We all know Roman Reigns is the next big thing for the WWE. He’s got the look and more importantly the aura that says to me that he is it! I see WWE heavyweight title gold around his waist. I do my own planning and prognostication as to where the WWE superstars potential will be. Roman Reigns is down but far from being out. I was looking forward to him feuding with Seth Rollins but Rollins is going nowhere and these two will cross paths in the future.

Given the recuperation time for recovery I can see 2015 being the year of Roman Reigns. I can picture Roman reigns coming back from his injury as a late entrant in the Royal Rumble in January and heading into WrestleMania 31 winning the world title and holding onto it for a while. I have ideas on opponents but that’s for another article.

So for all you worry warts, calm down! Roman Reigns is young. He’s physical and needs time for his wounds to heal. The higher ups at WWE are smart and they’re probably thinking the same thing. More importantly they know how to protect their prize performers and promoting them; especially when it comes to Roman Reigns. He is part of their long term revenue. For now, there are some good feuds and a mix of young and old talent going on in the WWE that will keep us occupied until Roman Reigns returns.

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Roman Reigns Out Indefinitely, Off Night Of Champions

September 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE babyface side just got a lot thinner. Roman Reigns will not only be missing WWE Night of Champions but will be missing some ring time over the next few weeks. Reigns underwent emergency surgery and has been placed on the D.L.

News broke Saturday that Reigns had emergency surgery for an incarcerated hernia. The surgery will keep him on the shelf for a minimum of 4-6 weeks and up to three months. WWE.com has a brief interview up on their website with Reigns’ surgeon Dr. Chris Amann.

I was in contact with both Roman and the surgeon who performed the operation in Nashville [Saturday]. Roman had developed acute abdominal pain in his hotel room [Friday] night after his match,” Dr. Amann told WWE.com. “This wasn’t related to a specific injury that occurred in the ring. Roman has had a pre-existing hernia for some time, which unfortunately had become acutely painful, which led to him going to the emergency room in Nashville. He was found to have a large hernia that was unable to be reduced, which means pushed back into the abdominal cavity. As a result, it was necessary to perform an emergent operation to open up the hernia sac and try and push it back into the abdominal cavity.”

“At the time of the surgery, surgeons found a loop of small intestine was caught in the hernia sac, which would account for the pain and discomfort that Roman was having earlier in the evening,” Dr. Amann explained. “The surgeons released the hernia sac so the intestine could be pushed back into the abdominal cavity. Once they were satisfied blood supply had returned to the intestine after releasing the hernia, they went ahead and completed the procedure. A mesh was placed over where the hernia had occurred to prevent future occurrences.”

Now that the surgery has gone well, the clear next thought was when will the WWE Universe be able to see the powerhouse back in action.

“Roman has been transferred to the recovery room and is doing quite well. The plan is to keep him overnight, give him IV antibiotics to prevent infection and make sure the intestinal function returns to normal before discharging him from the hospital. If everything goes well, that should be [Sunday],” Dr. Amann said. “Most of the time, the recovery time for something like this in terms of returning to physical activity is between four and six weeks. This was a pretty significant hernia, so it will probably be closer to six weeks.”
WWE.com also asked Dr. Amann to elaborate on how this hernia differs from sports hernias, which sports fans know often lands top athletes on the injured list.

“This is a completely different type of hernia than sports hernia,” Dr. Amann said. “A sports hernia usually refers to a tear in the lower abdominal wall that attaches to the ligaments. That type of tear typically occurs from repeated activity or sports. Roman had what’s called an inguinal hernia. It can sometimes come from sports, but sometimes people are born with these. It is treated differently than a sports hernia.

The injury was something that Reigns has been reportedly carrying around with him that got worse over the weekend. Dave Meltzer on his latest F4Wonline.com podcast reports that Reigns will not be rushed back into competition. Meltzer reports that sending him back into the ring too early or even training would ruin the recovery and put him right back where he was.

Obviously Reigns will not be wrestling Seth Rollins at N.O.C. Nothing has been confirmed at this point regarding a new match for Rollins. Dean Ambrose makes the most sense as a replacement. Ambrose is away filming a movie and his movie is scheduled to wrap on Sunday. However, if the movie runs over the schedule he may not be available for the match. It is possible that Rollins doesn’t wrestle but I would bet he wrestles someone, even a Kofi Kingston.

This is a complete guess but I’d throw Batista out there as a wild card. Meltzer speculated the same thing on his podcast. Everything I have been hearing is that he is on his way back. I think it’d be a great way to solidify his babyface turn. Plus, if Lesnar wins you have your next challenger in Batista. It’s not a classic by any means but Lesnar vs. Batista could carry them for a few weeks until Reigns and maybe even Bryan returns.

Losing Reigns is a huge blow to the company that has seen the babyface roster greatly depleted over the last several months. If you go back to early this year the company has lost CM Punk, Daniel Bryan due to injury, Reigns due to injury, and Ambrose temporarily although he should be back shortly. It would not surprise me to see Sheamus get a bigger push due to necessity.

I hate to talk about someone benefitting from this but it’s a reality in pro wrestling. Dean Ambrose is the next man up and Ambrose could take as much advantage of this as Bryan did when Punk’s spot opened up. Reigns has clearly been positioned higher than Ambrose on the cards. If Ambrose can continue the momentum he had before he left over the next several weeks, the WWE may have no choice but to bump him up over Reigns or make him equal. It is up to Ambrose at this point to grab that bull by the horns and take it.

If I were Reigns I’d be worried. No matter what anyone tells him, his spot is in trouble. Ambrose is great and it would not shock me to see him blow up over the next few weeks. The only thing Reigns can do is step up his game when he returns which I imagine is something he’s going to do.

Hulk Hogan Talks WWE RAW Birthday Bash, Vince McMahon, and Roman Reigns

August 30, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Hulk Hogan continues making the rounds to promote the WWE Network and WWE 2K15. A recent interview heard the Hulkster talk about his RAW birthday bash, Vince McMahon, and the next Hulk Hogan or John Cena.

Hogan, along with John Cena recently spoke to Scott Fishman of the Miami Herald. I wanted to focus more on Hogan’s comments as Cena didn’t really say anything ground breaking other than naming Sting, Hogan, and Steve Austin as dream opponents. Hogan on the other hand opened up a little bit more.

One of the most memorable RAW moments of the year just took place a couple of weeks ago. The Hulk Hogan Birthday Bash saw Hogan reunite with friends and enemies from different eras of his career. Roddy Piper, Paul Orndorff, the n.W.o., and others paid respect to the Hulkster. According to Hogan, things did not go as planned.

I got rattled when they played the package because I didn’t know what they were going to do,” Hogan said. “Vince [McMahon] likes to do the sneaky stuff without telling me. I was rattled when I saw the package and really fell apart reflecting on that time. Everybody from Flair to Piper to Orndorff was supposed to come out and say stuff. Nobody got to say anything. When Hall and Nash got to the ring WWE was saying no promos. No promos?

“I thought you had to have Hall’s ‘Hey Yo.’ Then there had to be the transition to sing the birthday song to lead to [Brock] Lesnar coming out. The whole thing wasn’t going down the way we thought it was, but we had some old pros in there to pull it off. It was very emotional.”

That’s interesting although I am not sure I believe it. According to Hulk, he and the boys called the spot with Hall’s survey and the transition into Brock’s appearance. Not sure I believe that one, although with old school guys it certainly is possible. Nonetheless, it all worked and it turned out to be one of the most memorable segments in ages.

What some fans don’t know is that after RAW went off of the air, Vince McMahon came to the ring to personally wish Hulk a happy birthday. Hulk and Vince’s turbulent relationship has been well documented over the years and according to Hulk, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

I didn’t expect that,” Hogan said. “Nobody told me that was going to happen. I thought Vince was for sure going to throw the cake at me, and I was going to dive into the cake, but he was cool. He gave me a big hug. It was just a great night. It really was.

That would have been something. Vince throwing a cake in Hogan’s face. Vince has been known to be quite a ribber so Hulk may have been right to have his guard up. I am sure after 30 years of doing business together, there is some genuine affection shared between the two.

Hogan also talked about the next big star. Many critics of WWE booking will cite an “unbreakable glass ceiling” and criticize the company for holding guys back. While there may be something to it, Hulk believes it is up to someone in the crew to step up and he thinks that the WWE may have found that guy.

I’m just praying for someone to reach out and grab that brass ring,” Hogan said. “That’s what Vince McMahon and Triple H are looking for. They want someone to step up. I would love to see the larger-than-life characters develop again like the old days. I don’t get to talk much to the guys. Cena is my man, but this Roman Reigns kid has really stepped up. There is potential in him. He has what it takes.

I don’t know if Hogan really believes that or he is trying to help out the company, either way it is quite an endorsement. It’s funny because a lot of the legends will criticize the talent for not stepping up, yet the flip side of that is that this is a different business today and it isn’t as easy as they think to step up. Steve Austin says this regularly on his podcast.

Check out the entire interview at http://www.miamiherald.com/.

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The WWE Needs A Television Timeout…NOW!

August 30, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

There are times when the writer must step over a line and write as a fan, not some worried about crossing lines between journalist and a once-in-a- while raving lunatic in the stands. This happens to be one of those times. Please indulge me a bit as I must speak about the ongoing, committed cycle the WWE is running around – trying to please its fans without getting anywhere. I think that happens to be the definition of idiocy, but I would not want to accuse Vince McMahon and his cronies of such a title. What I would like, however, is to point out the obvious – the WWE and maybe professional wrestling in general needs a television timeout.

While it may seem a bit off kilter, and I may seem off my rocker (it’s 1:30 in the morning and no, I have not been drinking), but this might make sense if we looked at the significance of the possibility of time off air to recharge batteries, find the fight creative fit and allow the owner of the WWE to catch his breath a bit – he is 69 years old after all and for the past 30-something years he has run his company at lightning speed. A breather might be just what he needs.

Looking at the current state of the WWE, here is what you have.

  • A champion in Brock Lesnar who appears to be the immovable object, about to destroy John Cena again in the middle of the ring.
  • Roman Reigns apparently still waiting to become WWE champion, all the while he faces every WWE opponent there is and is left to compete in 6-man tag matches to take up time and give other solid performers face time.
  • A tag team division that could be very good, but needs one or two more teams to complete its importance to the company and television.
  • Two Divas angles that right now, are better than anything on the screen not named Reigns or Dean Ambrose. How it got to the point where the Bellas and Paige and AJ Lee are main event caliber is lost on me, but it is.
  • Two mid-level titles that are not going anywhere. Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus have main event talent, but cannot get a sniff of the world title picture.
  • And finally no consistency in planning, match prep or coming up with new ideas. Relying on the old cronies to perform is great, but it is also getting old.

OK, thank you for that rant and the chance to speak my deteriorating mind. There are some things that need to be released. That was one of them.

Getting back to what I was discussing, the WWE is weeding out talent from the main event, which is a good thing, however it also eliminates the idea that the small guy (Daniel Bryan and others) can win a big-man’s title. This falls back to McMahon’s principle of the early 1980s where the big, muscle-bound face or heel must win the title and prove dominance. Basically that “Size” equals “Money”. And we all know Shawn Michaels and Daniel Bryan killed that concept. So with that in mind – here is what I propose…

  • A one month moratorium of television. Improve the brand. Drop hints through the WWE Network. Make people miss the product that is shoved down their throats three nights a week.
  • Take away all titles. Have tournaments to crown champions.
  • Make Reigns the winner of the WWE World Title and create new feuds for him. This is the same thing McMahon did when he brought Hulk Hogan in.
  • Have clear cut faces and heels. Continue to create a huge mid card of cruiserweights because their talent sells at the gate.
  • Make the Intercontinental Champion the No. contender for the World Title. Make the United States Title the championship it used to be.
  • Bring back the Hardcore Title and the World Television Title. Both must be defended each week on Raw and SmackDown.
  • And most of all, take the WWE Title away from John Cena and Brock Lesnar.

[ad 1[I know it sounds like a lot, but it makes more sense than you think. Vince McMahon bought the company from his father with the intention of making billions of dollars with entertainment. Right now, this is not entertaining. Jess McMahon must be flipping in his grave. The company wants to create the past so bad, well here is the chance. Follow these steps, being back some of the reality of the 1980s and you could have a really solid product.

But for now, all you have is gush and misery. And with those two items, you really have nothing.

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Dean Ambrose Should Beat Brock Lesnar For The WWE Title

August 21, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I try not to jump on the bandwagon but this Dean Ambrose bandwagon is rolling full steam ahead. The last few weeks have convinced me of one thing. The Lunatic Fringe is the guy who should beat Brock Lesnar.

It was never meant to be this way. A few weeks ago when Randy Orton pinned Dean Ambrose the message was clear. His push was going to be capped. There were no future plans for Ambrose other than a series against Seth Rollins and a nice spot in the mid-card. He wasn’t at Orton’s level, he wasn’t at Rollins’ level, he wasn’t close to Reigns, and he certainly was not in Lesnar’s league. That has all changed.

Ambrose is the breath of fresh air this company has been searching for the last few years. The rotation of guys in and out of the mid-top spots has been disappointing and uninspiring. Even CM Punk’s breakout year in 2011 wasn’t enough to earn him the WWE top spot. Ambrose has a chance of snagging that spot sooner than you can imagine.

This guy has it all. If not for Paul Heyman coming out of retirement and cutting some of the best promos of the last two decades, Ambrose would be the top promo in the business. Hey, there is nothing wrong with taking a backseat to Paul Heyman on promos. The fact is that this guy is so much better than the rest of the guys on the roster it’s scary. His delivery, his content, and his aura are top money in my opinion.

Ambrose has something that many others before him couldn’t quite achieve. He has superstar charisma. This guy is electric the second he walks out on the ramp. Ambrose could talk, walk, or wrestle and he is must-see television the second he appears. Fans are warming up to him and he is quickly becoming one of the most popular guys on the roster. All he needs is that opportunity and he’ll run with it. Enter Brock Lesnar.

The booking of Brock Lesnar in 2014 is the best investment the WWE has made in years. The investment in Lesnar’s unbeatable run is that the guy who conquers the beast is going to be a legend overnight. The man who slays the dragon will have the kingdom at his feet. The wrestler to beat Brock Lesnar for the WWE world championship will have a push like no other the second his hand is raised with the belt. Ambrose deserves and should get that push.

Ambrose’s character sets up a great scenario to beat Lesnar. Sure Lesnar is unbeatable in the ring but has he ever wrestled someone as crazy as Ambrose? Ambrose gets the match and uses every dirty trick and foreign object he can to tear down the giant Lesnar. Eventually the unconventional Ambrose’s madness is just too much for even an animal like Lesnar and he catches Brock off-guard. You can’t tell me that Ambrose wouldn’t come out of that with the potential to be the next flagship star of the WWE?

Maybe it’s pie in the sky because the likelihood of this happening today probably isn’t very good. The plan is clear and it’s Roman Reigns. Unfortunately Reigns is a victim of timing and he just happens to be ready at the same time the fans are gravitating to Ambrose. The irony is that Ambrose goes against the grain in regards to how the company sees its top stars while Reigns is cut out of a WWE mold. It just goes to show you that what the fans want and the company want are rarely in sync.

Ambrose will be leaving for a while to film a movie. I can’t imagine Brock losing the title before Ambrose returns. Imagine the pop and the potential Ambrose could have as a mystery opponent after disappearing for weeks and beating Lesnar on his first night back? It could be huge and the WWE are fools not to consider it.

Sorry Roman but Dean Ambrose is just best for business.

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WWE SummerSlam 2014 Lessons Learned

August 19, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Going into WWE SummerSlam, there were three things that I felt had to happen. The first thing was Dolph Ziggler winning the Intercontinental Championship. The second was Chris Jericho had to put Bray Wyatt over. Finally, Brock Lesnar had to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. From top to bottom, I thought SummerSlam was an entertaining show. Here are my lessons learned from Sunday.

The Conqueror is on top
I’ve been saying it since the day he defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania and it finally happened. Brock Lesnar absolutely destroyed John Cena to win the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and that’s without question the right decision. Really, it was the only decision.

Just because Lesnar is the champion now, don’t expect to see him on TV more. I expect him to continue to work his normal schedule and that’s fine with me. Having the title away from TV makes the title more prestigious. There is no reason the Champion needs to be on TV every week. Because of this, fans will be more excited when he is on TV and you know something important is going on if the Championship is scheduled for RAW.

Besides making the title important again, it will allow the WWE to focus on building up some of the great young talent they have. More attention can be put on Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, Dean Ambrose, Cesaro and so on. We will get a great opportunity to see if these young guys will be able to carry the company into the future. With the Champion away, they have no choice but to step up or step aside.

So now that Brock is the champion, what can we expect? Besides Paul Heyman ranting and raving about how his client conquered John Cena at SummerSlam, I don’t expect too much from Lesnar. The number of appearances will not increase. I expect him to compete at Night of Champions, Survivor Series, Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. If everything plays out the way they want, Brock will lose the title to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. For the record, I fully expect that to happen.

On a side note, I can’t believe the WWE would allow Cena to be destroyed like. I really hope they let that soak in and keep Cena off TV for a couple weeks. Just enough time for him to heal up and set up the rematch at Night of Champions.

The Showoff is Back
When the Miz returned with the new gimmick I expected it to be great. The first couple times he was on TV, it seemed as thought he regained some of what he had when he was the WWE Champion. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long to see that it wasn’t working. When he won the IC title at the Battleground my expectations grew. Fast forward just 28 days and we have a new Intercontinental Champion. Obviously, I wasn’t the only one who felt his new gimmick wasn’t working so they put the title on the right guy.

There was a period there where I did not think we would ever see Dolph Ziggler in a relevant match again. Out of nowhere, things started to change and Ziggler started winning matches again and being featured on TV. He should have won the title at Battleground but Miz performed like the true heel that he is and stole the victory from Dolph. It was pretty clear at that moment they would be in a feud together for that title and they fixed their mistake and put it on the Showoff.

The title doesn’t make the wrestler the wrestler makes the title. I’m confident, especially with the big title with Brock, Ziggler will be able to make the IC title relevant again. You can’t deny his ability. Outside of the size, he really does have it all. He is great in the ring, awesome on the mic and the fans love him. It seems his career is back on track and a program with Bad News Barrett, when he returns, will be great entertainment.

The Shield = The Future
All three former members of the Shield are in spectacular position to succeed. Who would have thought that the WWE would have three potential main eventers on their hands when they broke up the Shield?

The long awaited match between Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins delivered. Not only did it deliver, they had the match of the night. It’s obvious that Rollins is booked for success. He’s holding the Money in the Bank briefcase. As long as he doesn’t pull a Damien Sandown, he will be holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He’s got the look, the moves and the voice to be the top heel in the company. I expect Rollins will hold onto that briefcase for a long time and cash in at the latest possible moment. Trust me, he will not be cashing in on Brock Lesnar. How great would it be if Rollins cashed in on Roman Reigns? That is a big time program I hope we see in 2015.

Dean Ambrose is beyond anything I was expecting when he became a singles wrestler. He’s the most entertaining of all the former Shield members and becoming one of my favorites to watch. His demented and crazy personality is awesome and he backs it all up in the ring. I truly hope the WWE sees what they have in him and continues to build him up. No doubt, he has what it takes to be a top face or heel in the WWE.

Sunday night was a huge opportunity for Roman Reigns. Of the three, he’s clearly way behind when it comes to in-ring performance and promo skills. The thing he has over Rollins and Ambrose is the look and size. Unless you’re blind, you see that the WWE is building Reigns to be the next top baby face in the company. Early on I thought it was going to be an easy transition. As time went on and he kept the Shield attire and entrance music, I was losing faith. Then, the more we saw him compete on his own, I wasn’t sure he has the in-ring skill set to make it. He didn’t have the best match of the night with Orton but he cleared a huge hurdle in my opinion. For now, I’m slowly climbing back on the Reigns hype train. Lucky for him, he has plenty time to grow and improve.

Other Notes:
Sunday night was a must win for Bray Wyatt. If he lost to Chris Jericho, I truly believe he would be finished as a potential super star. I had complete faith that Y2J would do the right thing and put Bray over. He did and hopefully they close this program out with a great trilogy match, pushing Bray to the moon. He has so much potential, and I have no doubt he can be an Undertaker/Mankind type of performer.

I really don’t like what they are doing with Cesaro. Actually, I hate it. I know he is on hold with his push, but he could still be dominating the midcard. Losing a pre-card match to Rob Van Dam is a joke. He is a spectacular performer and should be winning matches, plain and simple.

AJ and Paige are great and I hope they keep their program going for a while. By far the best female program I’ve seen in a very long time. They are both very talented wrestlers. Hey Divas division, it’s time to step it up.

Speaking of Divas action, Stephanie McMahon is a phenomenal heel but the Bella’s are just not good. That program should be so much better but it’s doing absolutely nothing for me. Even Daniel Bryan thinks it stupid.

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