Subscribe

Roman Reigns Must Turn Heel at WWE WrestleMania 31

January 29, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE Universe is in a tailspin following the finish to the Royal Rumble. The groundwork has been laid and while it may not have been the plan, the best thing for business is to turn Roman Reigns heel at WrestleMania.

I hate to be one of those kneejerk reaction kind of bloggers. I really try and take a step back and analyze a situation before I make a radical suggestion and believe me, this is a radical idea. The WWE creative machine have been hard at work on the Roman Reigns babyface plan for over a year. Deviating from the blue print is something I don’t take likely.

At the same time, any successful company in or out of wrestling have been companies that have reacted as opposed to dictated. Wrong reason or not, the WWE reacted last year to the Yes Movement and it paid off with one of the most exciting Mania matches in recent memory. Imagine for a second what would have happened if the WWE stayed the course and firmly held Batista as a babyface? It would have been a disaster and fans would have been turned off, some tuning out. It could be worse for Reigns as Batista was never a long-term plan.

The plate has been set for a classic double-turn at Mania. Brock Lesnar has been booked like a babyface for weeks. I don’t necessarily like it, but that is how he has been portrayed. His comeback win on Sunday at the Rumble enough evidence to convince me that he really he is a babyface. Whether he stays or goes, Brock could always be a tweener and wrestle both heels and faces. He is the perfect partner to make this turn work.

It is also a great excuse to keep Paul Heyman around. Heyman booked this very same angle when he turned Sabu on Taz and flipped Bill Alfonso. The very same angle! Reigns desperately and I mean DESPERATELY needs a mouthpiece. Give Heyman the microphone, make Reigns a monster, and you are picking up right where you left off with Brock. Imagine if Brock does stick around. Imagine Heyman running his mouth for a few months about Lesnar the way he did the Undertaker with Brock coming back for revenge at SummerSlam.

The money for Reigns was to have him chase the title. That never happened. There was never a prolonged chase, ala Daniel Bryan last year for the title. That money could be saved for a future babyface turn in a couple of years. The money is in Reigns being a bad-assed heel and paying money to see the heroes conquer the impossible villain. In other words, the WWE gets their Brock Lesnar but this guy is full-time and he is not going anywhere.

There are enough challengers to carry Reigns as heel WWE champion from now through WrestleMania. Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, and yes John Cena are all matches that be sold as headline WWE title matches. I think if held off, Reigns vs. Cena or Bryan could actually be pretty big. Even bigger could be a Mania 32 showdown with The Rock. This is a lot more enticing than Reigns’ list of heel challengers which boasts of Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt. Can you follow the money here?

Not only is this the right choice, quite frankly I see this as the only choice. The WWE have completely blew it on Reigns being a big-time babyface champion. They don’t have enough guys ready to challenge and he certainly isn’t ready to carry that ball. The booking is so freaking easy, even Vince Russo could do it.

On second thought…

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

WWE Creative Needs An Overhaul

January 28, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It’s easy to boo Roman Reigns but the Royal Rumble fiasco is symptomatic of a bigger problem. The Reigns revolt caps off a decade of consistently poor creative and ignorance that has produced absolutely zero new superstars and has done more to damage careers than enhance them. It’s time for this department to start taking some accountability and it starts right at the top with the Chairman of the Board and his hand picked successor.

WWE fans find themselves in the same spot they were last year. Frustrations are peaking once again as the company has sealed themselves into a bubble, isolated from the fans, forcing a superstar on its customers. Many bloggers and pundits are looking for answers, most accusing the WWE creative hierarchy of ignorance while I tend to look at more at the obvious. This writing team and it’s commanders in chief are inept at their jobs.

It’s easy to sit back and criticize booking based on personal tastes. Whether you were a fan in the 80s or last month, no booking period has ever given you everything that you wanted. This isn’t even a case of the company getting its top guys wrong. That isn’t the issue. The issue here is that an objective look at this writing regime and its process over the last several years concludes that this writing team has done more harm in elevating talent and creating elite superstars than any other in the history of the WWE.

Stone Cold Steve Austin was the first guy to my knowledge to question the writing process to the head cheese, Vince McMahon. Austin asked Vince why it took so many writers, some with no pro wrestling knowledge, to book a company that was successfully booked by less than a handful of guys for decades. Vince gave him the “Oh Steve the business has changed” line and he’s right, it has changed. The WWE business model no longer elevates talent to the top of the card and has not been able to figure out how to do it since about 2010.

The current state of the WWE is full of guys that are what many in the business would call great hands. As a supporting cast, this may be the most talented supporting card that the WWE has ever produced in my lifetime. From bottom to the middle, it is hard to argue with the quality of most WWE talent yet there is a gap and it is a big one from middle to top. That gap continues to widen and Roman Reigns is the latest example of a company that continually fails to put guys in the right positions to make that leap.

I don’t know what it is because as many have said, it’s not rocket science. Booking pro wrestling is not that hard and elevating guys to the top is a lot more simple than Vince McMahon wants you to believe. Yet for whatever reason the WWE Creative department continue to muddy up the process with their terribly scripted promos, illogical storyline progressions, 50-50 booking, lack of continuity, and cartoon-ish character development. The more they tinker the bigger the misses and there is plenty of evidence to back that up.

The Miz, Jack Swagger, Dolph Ziggler, Christian, Mark Henry, Dean Ambrose, Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk, Ryback, and Bray Wyatt all come to mind as misses. Hear me out before you argue CM Punk. These guys were all identified at some point as guys the company wanted to elevate to the top. Everyone here at some one point garnered some momentum and were on their way to the top of the cards. All of these guys were able to create some buzz, acquire fan support, and appeared poised to fill one of those coveted top spots. That was of course until the creative team started to work their magic (I’ll call it black magic in this case), get cute, and successfully booked these guys all back to the middle and lower cards where they started from. At the end of the day the creative team did nothing to put these guys in a position to succeed, yet there has been minimal accountability for these failures.

But there have been some hits! Yes, there have been some hits. CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, and even Ryback for a short time were able to breakthrough and reach the top of the cards. In the case of Punk, if you look back at his pre-pipe bomb angle he was positioned a couple of times to move up the cards yet wound up in an eventual descend each time. The difference between all of these guys and the above is that their rises came about organically. Their success had absolutely nothing to do with the writing. Ironically the only thing that kept these guys from staying in those top spots was the creative team. It was the crack creative team that got cute and tinkered with an entity that was already appealing to fans. In the case of Ryback, he was never able to get his momentum back and was eventually sent back to the openers. Punk was talented enough to withstand it, yet even Punk never fully reached his potential thanks to the meddling of Vince, Hunter, and friends. Daniel Bryan is still a question mark. He already withstood the tinkering of the fall of 2013. We won’t know for a few months whether he’ll get past this phase.

And then of course there is Roman Reigns. Reigns has been groomed for the last year and a half for his WrestleMania spot. There were always questions around the pick, but Reigns had the buzz and the fans loved him. That was until the creative team started to spend more time with him. Reigns as a character has not been the same since creative made him a priority. His scripted promos are awful, his character choices lack logic most of the time, and the persona he has morphed into over the last several months is a complete 180 from the persona that got him over. He is just the latest victim of Vince’s writing army and the next miss on the list of victims.

The answer is obvious. Whether it is Vince, Triple H, the writing army, or the process, something has to change. Everyone always says that Vince signs off on everything so I’ll put the blame there. Vince doesn’t even know who he is writing for anymore. He is completely out of touch with the majority of his fan base and all you need to do is look at the current economics of the company to support that. None of his superstars sans Brock Lesnar invoke any of the passion past top guys both heel and babyface have received from the fans. The creative just isn’t connecting and the lack of successful ascensions (no pun intended, well maybe a little) is all of the evidence you need to see this.

It’s Roman Reigns this year, it will be somebody else next year. Until Vince and his writers learn how to adapt and react instead of dictating to its fans, no new talent will be able to sustain a top spot and that is very disappointing. At some point the creative team needs to take a long hard look in the mirror and accept some accountability. Nothing will happens until the process changes and that is unfortunate for the next “chosen one.”

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

New WWE Mantra: Fix the Solution, Avoid the Elephant in the Room

January 28, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The snow storm in the northwest may have been the best thing that could have happened to the WWE after the fallout of the Royal Rumble pay-per-view from Sunday night. The impromptu “Raw Review” did a lot to confront some of the major issues form the events of Sunday night, but did not completely reverse the fact hundreds of thousands of fans, whether in the arena in Philadelphia or hose who bought the WWE Network or a cable buy, are not happy with the Rumble match, the ending to the night and the fact the first PPV event of the year left us all feeling a bit empty inside.

It’s unfortunate the brunt of the backlash has been thrust toward Roman Reigns after he won the Rumble match to a chorus of boos and chants for the Russian Rusev rather than the man who was passed over for Batista last year for reasons we all still scratch our heads and ask, “Did that really just happen?”

I guess if there was no Batista and a fraudulent Rumble win last year, there would not be a “YES” movement like there was and no Daniel Bryan title win in The Big Easy.

Like someone said to me the other night, there is no veteran to come in and save the WWE from itself right now. Those days when a Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan or Steve Austin grabbing hold of an arena and holding it hostage until the fans in their seats and at home are delirious with excitement and hope are gone.

The WWE’s coverage of Brock Lesnar and his interview with Michael Cole was potentially the best of Raw, bringing the events of WrestleMania XXX full circle with what the company hopes will be a colossal confrontation with Reigns at the company’s signature show in 63 days.

Right about now, Vince McMahon and his cohorts (including Triple H and Stephanie McMahon) are praying for forgiveness and hope the next two months can lead to enough buildup that fans will acquire cases of amnesia and forgive the three-headed monster for not reaching deep enough to see problems that could exist for not having Plan B and Plan C in their hip pocket.

This used to be a trademark of McMahon back in the days when sports entertainment was new and fresh and the Internet was not the watchdog of the industry and bloggers and media types like myself couldn’t voice their opinions about the death of kayfabe.

When asked, Lesnar said he hoped Reigns was ready for the challenge of facing the man who is currently the baddest ass on the planet and the man who self-promoted himself as being on a roll. The WWE should think the wrestling gods right now for that “roll” because along with Seth Rollins and John Cena, Lesnar saved the pay-per-view from becoming the worst piece of paid-wrestling viewing we have seen since he later stages of WCW’s death.

The people laid the Smackdown on the WWE this time – not the other way around.

Please understand that in light of what has taken place in the last 48 hours, the events are not the fault of Reigns. He is just the puppet that the WWE wants to try to get past the Cena Revolution and the carnage left behind by management and creative writers trying to escape the problems that exist from continually placing a gold strap on the should of Cena, Randy Orton and anyone else that has a 10-year ring license (Daniel Bryan, excluded) that for some reasons means they know what it is to sell at the gate and keep the green machine flowing into WWE coffers.

The WWE is slow playing its hand when it comes to WrestleMania, probably because Vince McMahon has no idea how he really wants the event to breakdown. Reigns had all the momentum in the world before a hernia operation sidelined him. The symbolism of The Rock getting in the ring and passing the torch to the younger Reigns couldn’t work with the Philadelphia crowd, some of the hardest fans to please in the country in any sport.

Add to the fact that we saw this between Rock and Cena a couple of years ago and it proves that McMahon likes to go to the well more than once too often. It is more than possible McMahon at 69 years of age is finally losing his magic stroke?

Maybe the WWE should go back to its “TV-14” rating and get more familiar with chair shots and blood and potentially more violent content. It would bring back the masses, but not solve the issues that exist with programming, script writing and fan dissention. That comes with time and the belief the WWE really does support a changing of the guard and will work to make WrestleMania the best it can be.

Sting should have been in Philadelphia. He should have been the veteran to get the crowd delirious with excitement. The Rock getting in the ring was the most electrifying failure in his Hall of Fame career. And it made no sense. McMahon sent him out there – hoping to change the temperature of the climate in the arena. It did not work. The WWE now has a Batista-like situation on its hands.

While Batista was visibly pissed off in the Rumble match at the way fans reacted to him, which made matters worse, Reigns has been the heir apparent for some time. The WWE brought him along with The Shield for the ride and now, he must balance Disney World on his shoulders – like it or not, ready or not.

It isn’t Reigns’ fault the WWE universe doesn’t want him in the main event. It’s not his fault the fans wanted to see more of the Triple Threat Match between Seth Rollins, John Cena and Brock Lesnar. It isn’t his fault wrestling sensibilities have changed. Blame it all on McMahon and Triple H and the idea of the Authority.

But by the same token, Reigns must stand up after what happened at the Royal Rumble and help fix it by getting better on the mic and in the ring. And most of all use the experience as a lesson that will ultimately make him the champion the champion needs him to be.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

Roman Reigns As A Human Actually Works

January 27, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

A year ago following Royal Rumble Abortion Mark One, Batista was receiving the Joan of Arc treatment in his clumsily-designed victory. Between that, Daniel Bryan’s utter absence from the Rumble match itself, and CM Punk’s startling walk-out from WWE, it seemed as though a star was born out of the wreckage of a gimmick match gone bust.

Indeed, Roman Reigns couldn’t have been booked a whole lot better in last year’s Rumble. He eliminated 12 men, which stood as the new record. He scowled, punched, speared, and roared with the intensity that Goldberg had used to forge his own name in 1997-98. Angry fans after Sunday night may find it sacrilegious to even compare Reigns with “The Man”, but it’s not too much of a stretch.

Up until Reigns regretfully served up ipecac-laced coffee to the McMahons this summer, he’d cultivated a Goldbergian image of muted monster, one that can break ribs with a charging tackle, or collapse you with a leaping punch, his mane of hair whipping like Predator dreadlocks.

Much like Goldberg, Reigns’ appeal was twofold. There’s that force of nature element already mentioned, and then there’s the aura of mystery surrounding them. Goldberg barely spoke. The only sentences he seemed to speak once upon a time were merely sentences in the academic sense; they were more or less grunts that took on an extra syllable.

Same with Reigns. While Dean Ambrose delivered his manic soliloquies, followed by Seth Rollins delivering hard-boiled dialogue with a raspy drawl, Reigns would merely punctuate the sentence with a chilling thud, his expression barely changing as he would say all while saying very little.

The dynamic worked, because all we knew about Reigns, character-wise, was that he was a scary guy that indiscriminately hurt people in some grasp at the vague idea of justice. When Goldberg was notching off that undefeated streak, it was all ‘arrive, kill, leave’. Same with Reigns. And that’s how we like our monsters: inhuman. There seems to be little chance that a wrestler can tightrope the pencil-thin line between wrecking machine, and articulate everyman. Mark Ruffalo’s price-tag for playing The Hulk in WWE would be astronomical.

If you’re going to humanize the monster, you run the risk of killing off the mystique. To this day, exasperated fans will bring up Goldberg’s early foray into WWE where a twitchy Goldust placed his silky wig upon the monster’s head, and Goldberg simply smiled, rather than doing what the old Goldberg would do, which is rip Goldust’s head off, and place it on a stake like Colonel Kurtz.

We all knew something was up when Reigns, post-hernia surgery, took part in satellite videos to assure everyone of his imminent return. When it became apparent that Reigns’ line-reading was less lively than your phone company’s automated menu, the aura cracked and snapped. Reigns was no longer the icy killer; now he was Frankenstein’s mumbling monster trying to flirt with the manufactured Bride.

Since no other wrestler received so much airtime while injured (save for Triple H’s “Beautiful Day” videos thirteen years back), the horror became apparent: THIS GUY is on the fast track to going to WrestleMania, and these are the promos we’re going to be hearing along the way.

If Reigns had his larynx crushed in a tragic dune buggy accident instead of suffering an incarcerated hernia, he doesn’t get booed so caustically at Sunday’s Rumble. If you can’t talk, you don’t have to take Vince McMahon’s hack-work scripts and then try to succeed with them. Granted, Vince could just as easily have had Reigns communicate through piano playing like Holly Hunter, since a film released in 1993 is on-par with McMahon’s pop culture awareness (see ‘Is, Whoomp There It’ from the Rumble).

The awful satellite chats gave way to in-arena script-recital, featuring such anti-classics as “Sufferin’ succotash” and a Jack and the Beanstalk monologue that was roughly the length of a Tarantino director’s cut. That’s probably the biggest reason Reigns was booed out of Philadelphia. If Daniel Bryan doesn’t win, that sucks, but had Damien Mizdow, Dean Ambrose, or Dolph Ziggler won, the sting would have been lessened considerably. All three are also underdogs championed by the dedicated viewer, so no booing would have been necessary.

Reigns, meanwhile, through his promos has crystallized into the obvious chosen one of a regime that constantly clashes with fan sensibility, and lost that killer’s edge that made him the last hope against Batista one year ago. It’s akin to being neutered. Bryan, Ambrose, and Ziggler all have an edge about them to some degree: Bryan’s remarkably human, Ambrose is masterfully spastic, and Ziggler’s sure to leave veiled comments about what a soulless hellhole WWE is on his Twitter, so you can’t really accuse any of being corporate lapdogs. Reigns bellowing “BA-LEE DAT” with all of the rigidness of a rusty crowbar while cribbing Merrie Melodies for promo fodder is the antithesis of that.

Then something happened Monday. With Raw officially snowed out, WWE made use of their studios for in-house interviews, including one with Reigns that was shockingly authentic. Reigns spoke about his family ties, and touched on the negative crowd reaction. That last point was way too close to the smiley Cena-esque concept of, “They can cheer or boo, they paid their ticket and I respect them all” patter, but it sure as hell beats him saying something like, “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack won the Rumble, using his mighty fist.”

The monster’s been humanized, and yet it seems like the road to revitalizing the monster could be legitimate humanization. We lionize the human Bryan, and that makes his kicks and dives more believable: because we *want* to believe in him. Promos like this one, where Reigns comes off humble, realistic, and personable would do more good than trying to recreate Cena’s pandering-for-kids crap, which nobody does well, maybe even least of all Cena.

This won’t end the Reigns hate overnight, but it’s a move in the right direction. Which begs the question: if WWE knows how to make their wrestlers look good on TV, why does it take a snow day for them to actually put these steps into motion?

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

Roman Reigns Comments on Getting Booed at the WWE Royal Rumble 2015

January 27, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Roman Reigns got the Batista treatment from rabid WWE fans in Philadelphia after winning the Royal Rumble. How would Reigns react to getting booed out of the building during his defining moment? It didn’t take long to find out.

Irate fans in Philadelphia took their frustrations out on Reigns after Daniel Bryan was eliminated early in the Royal Rumble. The hostile crowd made Reigns and the WWE look like fools, practically turning Reigns heel before the biggest run of his career. Reigns however took it in stride…at least on camera in this WWE post-match exclusive.

The WWE released a video on YouTube documenting Reigns day, beginning with Reigns walking into the building. The video was shot like a documentary and featured pre and post-match locker rooms with the former enforcer of the Shield. The video ends with a humble Reigns commenting on his win and fan backlash.

You know, what? I went out there, I did my thing. One hell of a crowd, you know what I mean? Whether it’s love or hate, if I can be out there that’s all that matters for me. If I can go out there and they’re going to make some noise… they’re going to do what they want, and that’s cool. They paid their money, they can do whatever they want, they can cheer, they can boo. As long as I can be a part of it and do my thing, I’m smitten, man.

Well that was certainly a much different take than when he was asked about his critics in an interview a few days before the Rumble on CraveOnline.com.

Yeah, I think it’s hard not to pay attention these days with all of the social media networks and all of the different outlets. It’s so easy to connect with fans nowadays. You know, I have a Twitter and things like that. I’m not a crazy Twitter guy to where I’m tweeting out stuff every day and rarely even once a week, do I tweet. But I mean, occasionally, I read some stuff.

The funny part is, you have a guy like me who is kind of getting like a mixed vibe from time-to-time. I get a lot of love and then you’ll get the hate in the middle of it but its just funny, the perspectives you know, the differences between the love and the hate. As far as the hate, it makes me laugh. Everybody is a critic. Every critic I’ve ever had, they weren’t wrestlers [laughs]. Every wrestler I’ve ever had critique me, they were always into my stuff or what I’m doing out there. For a non-wrestler, someone who doesn’t even know how to lock up, and if we did lock up, they wouldn’t know what to do, for them to critique any of us, it really does pop me.

That’s what haters do. They hate because they hate their lives.”

Looks like someone got himself a media coach.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

No Riot Necessary: Just Unsubscribe from the WWE Network

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

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

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

Roman Reigns Talks Haters and WWE Royal Rumble

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

“That’s what haters do. They hate because they hate their lives.”

Roman Reigns has been groomed by the WWE to be the next John Cena of the company. Reigns is certainly following along that path as the superstar is starting to hear his fair share of boos. The difference between Reigns and Cena is that Roman is just a wee bit more sensitive about them.

Wow is all I can say after reading this interview with Reigns. Part of being the next face of the company requires Reigns to be a media pro. Reigns will be expected to give many interviews in that spot and I think it is pretty safe to say he could use some media training. If this interview is any indication of Roman will handle the pressure of that top spot I think it is safe to say that he isn’t ready.

Reigns talked to Crave about these “haters” and the possible fan reaction he could get at the Royal Rumble if he wins over Daniel Bryan. Roman says it is okay because the only people that hate him are people that don’t wrestle…you know the people that buy the product.

Yeah, I think it’s hard not to pay attention these days with all of the social media networks and all of the different outlets. It’s so easy to connect with fans nowadays. You know, I have a Twitter and things like that. I’m not a crazy Twitter guy to where I’m tweeting out stuff every day and rarely even once a week, do I tweet. But I mean, occasionally, I read some stuff.

The funny part is, you have a guy like me who is kind of getting like a mixed vibe from time-to-time. I get a lot of love and then you’ll get the hate in the middle of it but its just funny, the perspectives you know, the differences between the love and the hate. As far as the hate, it makes me laugh. Everybody is a critic. Every critic I’ve ever had, they weren’t wrestlers [laughs]. Every wrestler I’ve ever had critique me, they were always into my stuff or what I’m doing out there. For a non-wrestler, someone who doesn’t even know how to lock up, and if we did lock up, they wouldn’t know what to do, for them to critique any of us, it really does pop me.

What a terrible answer. Reigns is essentially telling the world that the only people who hate him are non-wrestlers and he really doesn’t care about them. Call me crazy but that reads to me as if Reigns is saying he doesn’t care what fans think nor respect them. It is fairly evident that the Rumble scenario is in his head and it’s getting the better of him.

This really is a problem. Sure you could say that I am making a big deal out of one interview but this is a guy that will be expected to handle a lot more pressure than the Philadelphia crowd at the Royal Rumble. If this guy is already melting down at this stage of the game, the WWE really needs to rethink its strategy moving forward with Reigns.

Reigns also talked a bit about setting the record in last year’s Rumble match for eliminations.

The first thing was “Man, my hair is so poofy right now. Why’s it so dried out?” Then I was thinking well, I’ve been in there for thirty minutes and that’s what happens and you can’t hold that moisture, man. I was just taking in the moment. It was a cool situation. The fans as usual, WWE Universe, they are extremely vocal. They’re unlike any crowd in the world and they were on fire that night so to just have that moment and feel that rumble, it’s a real thing. The crowd when it starts to come up, you can feel the ring shaking when they start stomping their feet and making that noise. It was just a surreal moment to see myself and Dave in there as the final two.

You can check out the entire interview over at Crave.com.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Predictions and Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 30 Man Royal Rumble

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

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

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

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

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

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

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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

Roman Reigns’ “Face” Time May Be Short in WWE

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

It may be hard to believe, but the WWE may already be planning a heel turn for Roman Reigns before he captures the WWE World Title at WrestleMania.

OK, it may not be hard to believe, but wouldn’t it make more sense to see how the future champion (according to me, the WWE Universe and any online publication you read) does as a face champion before making the turn to the dark side? Maybe not.

As read on inquisitr.com, Reigns — who is supposedly WWE’s golden boy, and star of the future — has been cutting some horrendous promos on WWE television ever since he returned from injury in December, and the reason could be — according to F4WOnline’s Bryan Alvarez — that WWE could be planning on turning Reigns heel.

With Brock Lesnar likely leaving WWE after WrestleMania 31, WWE will be in need of a main-event caliber, monster heel, and Roman Reigns could be the man for the job.

Reigns hasn’t been getting the reaction from the fans that WWE has been wanting him to get leading into the Royal Rumble, where Reigns is expected to win, and head to the main-event of WrestleMania 31, where he’ll win the WWE championship. As a result, WWE may be looking to do with Reigns what they did with The Rock early in his career, which is turn him heel, then when he’s ready, turn him back babyface, and hopefully he’ll be WWE’s next mega-star.

It makes sense, but in the short run, the company needs Reigns to work on his delivery on promos and take down the big men of the company on his way to face the reigning, defending WWE World Champion in Lesnar. I like the idea of McMahon and his cronies wanting to set Reigns’ career path along the same lines as his cousin, The Rock, but Reigns can never reach the super stardom that was achieved in the past by arguably the greatest and most popular wrestler ever in the company.

To help Reigns with his journey, it is reported that McMahon himself has been writing all of Reigns’ promos as of late, and is adding comedy to them to humanize Reigns so the WWE fans can relate to him. Vince McMahon’s vision for Reigns is to make him a carbon-copy of John Cena, which many pro wrestling critics don’t believe will work. I for one do not like the idea either, and the comparisons to Cena and Reigns are as off as night and day. But the idea of Reigns playing the role of the perennial heel in McMahon’s circus makes plenty of sense. He looks as uncomfortable at being a face as Kane playing the role model role in the WWE.

The beginning premise of being a champions decades ago in professional wrestling was to be good looking, a well-spoken performer and a little bit better than your opponent. Reigns can be all that – sans the talking part. Maybe he should be paired with a manager. I hear Paul Heyman may be looking for a client after WrestleMania XXXI when Lesnar departs from the ring to the octagon. The thought of Heyman becoming Reigns’ mouthpiece with a WWE World Title on his shoulder is what is good for business and leads to a war of sorts with Cena, Bryan, Dolph Ziggler and anyone else they throw into the picture.

How Seth Rollins fits into this program is anyone’s guess, but if Rollins and Reigns do battle before the eventual switch, WWE fans would FINALLY (in my best Rock voice) have want they wanted with two fresh faces challenging for the company title.

The Reigns heel turn is probably inevitable, and makes perfect sense. But for a moment, no actually a little span of time, can’t we just enjoy the idea of a new superhero fighting the bad guys of the WWE without the names of Cena, Bryan or Ziggler being mentioned? That might be too good to be true.

WWE: ECW Unreleased Volume Three

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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