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Flashback: Sheamus Is The WWE Royal Rumble 2012 Winner

January 25, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The 2012 WWE Royal Rumble winner was probably not the guy you expected. Sheamus won the Royal Rumble and a trip to the WrestleMania 28 main-event against a WWE champion of his choice. Sheamus eliminated Chris Jericho to win the Rumble and earn his title match in Miami.

Sheamus was certainly one of the dark horses to win the Rumble. I had him at 50-1 odds in my predictions blog. It was a great way to elevate Sheamus back to the championship status he had a couple of years back. I have no problem with Sheamus winning, especially eliminating Jericho and Orton.

The Rumble itself was one of the most disappointing Rumble matches in recent memory. A combination of a lack of big time superstars and a dead crowd made for a boring Rumble. It just felt like a long RAW or SmackDown battle royal for awhile. It was nowhere near as exciting as last year’s Rumble.

The Miz entered the Royal Rumble at #1 as a result of losing to R-Truth on this past Monday’s RAW. The Miz’s former partner Alex Riley was number two. Riley was eliminated quickly by The Miz. R-Truth entered at #3. So wait a second? Truth and Miz wrestled on RAW for the 1 and 3 spot? I just assumed Truth got a late number for the win. Why bother?

Cody Rhodes entered at number 4. Miz and Rhodes teamed up on Truth for the 2-on-1. Justin Gabriel came out to even things up at number five. It wasn’t very exciting at this point to see these four starting off the Rumble. The WWE really has a serious issue with talent depth and it showed all throughout the match starting early.

Primo entered at number six. The Miz eliminated R-Truth at this point by simply throwing him over the top rope. Truth pulled Miz out from underneath the bottom rope and laid him out on the floor. Michael Cole made it a point to clarify that The Miz had not been eliminated as he didn’t go over the top rope.

Mick Foley entered at number 7, bringing the crowd back to life. The crowd loved him! Foley immediately eliminated Primo. Foley paired off with Rhodes for awhile. Ricardo Rodriguez entered at number 8, entering the arena in a 1983 Datsun! The fans were into Ricardo and greeted him with cheers. Ricardo entered the ring and went to town on Cody. Foley and Ricardo teamed up together to eliminate Gabriel.

Last year’s runner up Santino Marella entered at number 9. Santino gave Ricardo a wedgy (what about the anti-bullying campaign?) and eliminated him. Foley and Santino squared off with Cobra vs. Socko. Epico entered at number ten to break up the Socko vs. Cobra match. Epico was quickly thrown out of the ring and eliminated while The Miz recovered and returned to the match. Cody Rhodes eliminated Santino during the melee. Rhodes eliminated Foley as he held a mandible claw on The Miz.

Kofi Kingston entered at number eleven. Kingston wound up paired off with both Miz and Rhodes. Jerry Lawler entered at number twelve. This was pretty cool as Lawler’s music played and he left the announcer’s table and entered the match. The crowd loved it! Lawler dropped the fist on The Miz and then was quickly dumped over the top by Cody Rhodes.

Ezekiel Jackson entered at number thirteen. Remember when this guy was the flavor of the month last spring? Jinder Mahal came in at fourteen and I have to admit that by this point I was ready to rank this as one of the worst Rumbles in history. I also can’t remember a crowd this dead during a Rumble, not that I could blame them.

The Great Khali returned at number fifteen to pick up where his feud left off with Mahal. Yep, you remember that one don’t you? Khali immediately threw Mahal over the top rope and eliminated him. Jackson was next courtesy of a Khali clothesline.

Hunico entered at number sixteen and you would have thought that they were holding this Rumble in a closet by listening to the crowd. Booker T entered at number seventeen similar to Lawler. This was another pretty cool moment. Booker went right after Cody. The crowd came alive with “Booker T” chants.

The spot of the match was The Miz eliminated Kofi Kingston who wound up landing on his hands and hand walked over to the ring steps. Nowhere near as dynamic as John Morrison’s wall-walk last year but pretty cool nonetheless.

Dolph Ziggler entered at number eighteen. Lucky guy got to lose five times tonight. The second (first televised) Royal Rumble winner Hacksaw Jim Duggan returned and entered at number nineteen to a huge crowd pop. He didn’t last long as Cody Rhodes eliminated with a clothesline from behind pretty quickly.

Michael Cole entered at number twenty. Yep, three spots wasted on announcers. Kharma returned and entered at number twenty one. She eliminated Michael Cole. Well he actually eliminated himself by going over the top rope. Ziggler wound up taking her finisher. Oh man, this guy is in someone’s dog house. Kharma also eliminated Hunico. Ziggler came up from behind and dumped her over the top rope.

Sheamus entered at number twenty two. That guy needs new music. He eliminated Kofi Kingston pretty quickly by simply dumping him over the top rope. The Road Dogg returned and entered at number twenty three. It’s been a long time. Dogg did his usual punching and jiving spot. Jey Uso entered at number twenty four. Jack Swagger hit the ring at number twenty five.

Wade Barrett entered at number twenty six. He quickly threw Road Dogg over the top rope. David Otunga entered at number 27, which is the number that holds the most winners in Rumble history. The hometown hero Randy Orton entered at number 28, going right after Wade Barrett. Orton was a one man wrecking crew at that point. Orton eliminated Uso and then nailed Barrett with an RKO, followed by an exit over the top rope.

Chris Jericho entered at number twenty nine. Jericho immediately eliminated Otunga. The Big Show rounded it off entering at number 30. Unfortunately no real big surprises this year as you could see. It was pretty underwhelming at this point as compared to most Rumbles with a whole lot of midcarders and very little superstars.

Show came in and began eliminating guys right away. The final four came down to Show, Sheamus, Randy Orton, and Chris Jericho. All three decided to attack Show. Orton delivered a pretty nice looking RKO to Show. Orton dumped Show, who was then dumped by Jericho. It came down to Jericho and Sheamus.

The best action of the Rumble came during the final minutes between Sheamus and Jericho. They had a great back and forth with a lot of near eliminations. Sheamus nailed him with the Brogue Kick, Jericho fell to the floor, and Sheamus won the match and a championship match at WrestleMania 28.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out. The rumor appears to be that Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk will be wrestling for the WWE championship. Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan is interesting only because they just wrestled last year at WrestleMania in a dark match. I can’t ever recall two guys wrestling a dark match at WrestleMania and returning the next year in one of the main-events. My hunch tells me that it won’t be either of them, not that I would have any problem with watching Sheamus wrestle either guy in Miami.

Daniel Bryan retained the WWE world heavyweight championship in the opener against Mark Henry and The Big Show in a Steel Cage Match. It was fun but hardly what I’d call a great match. It wasn’t bad by any means, but a bit of a waste of Bryan’s great talent. Regardless, hats off to Bryan for making this one entertaining.

Bryan won the match by falling to the floor. Bryan spent most of the match trying to escape. He tried going over and The Big Show caught him at the top. Bryan climbed over but Show held on to his wrist for a few seconds. Show finally released his grip and Bryan fell to the floor, winning the match, and retaining the WWE world heavyweight title. I took this as almost a lock that Randy Orton was winning the Rumble and challenging Bryan at WrestleMania at that point.

As an aside, the announcing here was horrible. On the one hand, you have Bryan now working as a heel while at the same time you have heel Michael Cole continuing to bury Bryan on commentary. It was a mess but it isn’t as if it hasn’t been for well over a year now.

On another side note, Mark Henry didn’t do a whole lot in the match. Henry is working hurt right now and took a backseat for most of  the match to Show vs. Bryan. I was surprised not to see any kind of gimmicked cage for a big Henry vs. Show spot.

John Cena vs. Kane ended in a count out. Cena was booed out of the building which was ironic since they played a 3-4 minute video earlier doing their best to make sure that Cena was cheered. It’s just not working right now and it’s going to get ugly for him in Miami. Cena was dominated for most of the match which the announcers brought up at one point. One thing that did surprise me was that I expected more of an all-out brawl than the actual match, although it did break down into a brawl at the end.

Kane had Cena dominated on the floor and the referee just simply counted them out. Cena fought back and the two fought through the backstage area, almost like out of one of the WWE video games. Cena threw Kane into some trashcans. Kane responded with a few chair shots to the back and laid him out.

Kane then wound up going into Zack Ryder’s dressing room. Zack was there in a wheelchair. Kane attacked him and wheeled him out to the ring. Kane then dumped Ryder out of his wheelchair to the ringside area. Eve ran in to beg Kane off. Kane wound up tombstoning Ryder anyway. Cena finally returned to the ring just as Kane was about to attack Eve. Kane chokeslammed him and left.

This got pretty ridiculous as you could imagine towards the end there. I don’t mind the angle but the fact is that the WWE fans have seen Kane for over a decade and let’s be honest. Kane hasn’t always been this strong. So the idea of a guy they have seen relegated to ECW champion dominating Cena isn’t just very believable. I don’t get it but the WWE appear committed to seeing this angle play out for a few more weeks.

CM Punk defeated Dolph Ziggler (well four times) to retain the WWE championship with the GTS. I liked the match but they appeared a gear short from making this a great one.

John Laurinaitis came out and said in the interest of fairness that he would only officiate outside of the ring, so the match got a real WWE official. Laurinaitis sent Vickie Guerrero to the back. However, the referee wound up getting bumped in the middle of the match. Punk had Ziggler in the Anaconda Vice, Ziggler tapped, and Laurinaitis ignored the move. Laurinaitis then rolled the WWE official back into the ring who was unconscious. Punk then got in Laurinaitis’ face. Laurinaitis missed another cover. Punk got Ziggler up for the GTS but wound up kicking Laurinaitis with Ziggler’s feet. Again, no referee made the count. Laurinaitis and Punk then yelled back and forth. By this time the referee recovered.

Punk later covered Ziggler once again for the GTS and Laurinaitis slid back in and made the three count with the real official. The whole idea here is that Laurinaitis wanted to prove that he wasn’t biased.

I liked the finish but man was Ziggler buried here or what? Ziggler was pinned and submitted about four times during the match. Of course Laurinaitis didn’t make the counts, but it was a bit much for a guy that is really starting to develop some nice chemistry to start the year. Laurinaitis went to the locker room clapping for Punk as Punk celebrated in the ring. Of course this one will pick up again on RAW when Triple H gives Laurinaitis his evaluation.

2012 WWE Royal Rumble results:
Daniel Bryan defeated Mark Henry & The Big Show to retain the WWE world heavyweight title in a Steel Cage Match
The Bella Twins, Natalya, & Beth Phoenix defeated Eve, Kelly Kelly, Alicia Fox, & Tamina
John Cena vs. Kane ended in a double count out
Brodus Clay defeated Drew McIntyre
CM Punk defeated Dolph Ziggler to retain the WWE championship
Sheamus won the 2012 Royal Rumble
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Repost: WWE Royal Rumble By The Numbers Video: 2012 Edition

January 24, 2013 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Originally published on January 26, 2012 - One of my favorite video packages that the WWE produce each year is the Royal Rumble by the numbers. It is one of the rare times that you will see the WWE acknowledge and promote off its history. This year’s video is no exception and includes some interesting Rumble statistics.

The video is only a little over four minutes but boy does it cover an entire history of 24 broadcasted Royal Rumble events. The video differs from year to year with new and updated stats. Here are just a few numbers that I found particularly interesting.

31 WWE Hall of Famers have competed in the Royal Rumble. Great number and a really fun stat. Some notable past Hall of Fame Rumble participants include Ric Flair, Jimmy Snuka, Mr. Perfect, Hulk Hogan, Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Ted DiBiase, and the Macho Man Randy Savage who interestingly enough, is included in the video. The video also notes that 21 of them have headlined WrestleMania.

Shawn Michaels holds the record for eliminating WWE superstars from the Royal Rumble at 39. I do recall some of those early Rumbles where Michaels went crazy eliminating guys but I never expected him to hold that record. Kind of odd that a guy his size holds that record in a match that has featured the dozens of bigger guys from Hulk Hogan to the Great Khali. Kane follows him at 35. Eliminating 11 in one shot certainly doesn’t hurt. The chances are good that HBK’s record will be broken this or next year.

Steve Austin holds the record for most Royal Rumble wins at three. I found that interesting because I always thought there were guys who won more or just as many. It really is something that in 24 years of Rumbles (not counting the untelevised first one), that only one guy has won three. Especially guys like Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, The Rock, and Triple H have participated in Rumble matches in their primes. I would expect this record to be broken at some point as well.

My favorite stat revealed here in the video may be that #1 and #30 have produced the same number of winners in Rumble history. That is a fascinating stat because every year since the Rumble started it was booked in a way that put the #30 spot over huge while predicting an immediate loss for anyone who drew #1. Quite honestly I don’t even know if I would have mentioned that in the video but it could also provide a new spin on the “unlucky” #30 spot in the future.

I was also surprised to find that #27 has produced the most Royal Rumble winners. According to the video, #27 has produced more Rumble winners than any other number with four winners. I am not sure what the significance is, but I think this is something that you will see played up a lot more over the next several years in promoting the Rumble.

Finally, since 1993 55% of the Royal Rumble winners have gone on to WrestleMania and won the WWE championship in which they challenged for. I always thought it was much more but at second glance, it really is a 50/50 split of winners who were victorious at WrestleMania.

There are some more fun stats in the video such as total weight, total number of entrants, total number of live audience members, and much more. I hope you enjoy the video as much as I did.

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Top 20 WWE Pay Per View Matches of 2012

December 31, 2012 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

When you get past the annoying social media trends, infatuation with past stars, and inconsistent booking, WWE produced a number of classic PPV match-ups on the 2012 calendar. Choosing 20 was hard, ranking them was harder. Here is what I came up with for the creme de la creme, the best of the best for the year 2012.

20. World Heavyweight Championship/Elimination Chamber: Daniel Bryan vs. Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Wade Barrett vs. Santino Marella vs. Great Khali (Elimination Chamber, February 19)
You wouldn’t think this one would make the classics list, and early on in the match, it didn’t seem to be a likely addition. What made this match special was the dramatic finishing sequence, in which comedy player Marella eliminated Rhodes and Barrett, and came within believable inches of upending Bryan for the title. Despite the crowd cheering him on, the Milan Miracle succumbed to the LeBell/Yes/No Lock, and Bryan retained.

19. WWE Intercontinental: The Miz vs. Rey Mysterio (Summerslam, August 19)
One of my favorite dynamics: Mysterio’s plucky air assault against a conniving villain who will bump along with the lucha icon. Really, Miz can be hit-or-miss, and Rey, even broken down, gets the best out of just those kinds of foes. A rapid-fire build to the end, including Miz busting out a Liger Bomb of all moves, ended shockingly cleanly, with Rey eating the turnbuckle after a crash-and-burn, and Miz spiking him with the Skull Crushing Finale.

18. WWE Championship/No Disqualification: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (Money in the Bank, July 15)
The only detraction from this one was something I never thought I’d criticize, and that’s too much AJ. Miss Lee was the special referee for this blowoff between two honorable rivals, and it was a chaotic 28-minute affair. When you combine MMA-inspired kicks and strikes with WWE Main Event Style weaponry, it can make for a suitably brutal affair. Bryan’s current run as a main eventer came to an end via Punk hitting a back superplex through a table.

17. Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena (TLC, December 16)
The final PPV match of 2012 hit on all the notes necessary for a satisfying main event: strong booking for both the winner and loser, exciting in-ring action, a hint of controversy, and as a bonus, acknowledgement of the ascension of a young star. Ziggler’s MITB briefcase was at stake against Cena, who had the match won until AJ (she gets around) knocked him off the ladder, allowing for a Ziggler superkick, and contract-retention for the Show Off.

16. Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble, January 29)
Some panned this match for being a tad cartoony, what with the commentators, Jim Duggan, and other non-regulars getting involved, but the silly fun was surrounded by some great action otherwise. Miz and Cody Rhodes had great showings during their respective long durations, Kofi Kingston hand-stood his way into our hearts, and Sheamus and Chris Jericho put together a great extended finish, ending with Jericho being Brogue Kicked into the abyss.

15. World Heavyweight Championship: Sheamus vs. Big Show (Hell in a Cell, October 28)
Even though the Sheamus/Show feud was eventually dragged out like a dead kitten carcass across sun-baked pavement, it at least produced this fun match. In recent years, WWE’s produced a number of epic battles between big men, and this ranks among the best. It’s not often see two devastating moves (WMD Punch, Brogue Kick) kicked out of, but it set the stage for a thrilling finish, in which Show KO’ed Sheamus once and for all to win the gold.

14. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Dolph Ziggler (Royal Rumble, January 29)
This one took relegation to the scrap heap quickly after it happened, and that was due to two reasons. For one, it failed to match the ‘instant classic’ that Punk and Ziggler had on Raw two months prior (Dolph’s “he’s arrived” match), and two, John Laurinaitis’ involvement overshadowed some of the proceedings. Ziggler’s GTS counter into a rocker dropper was sweet, much like the match itself, which Punk won after finally hitting his knee-on-face finish.

13. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler (Night of Champions, September 16)
The elevation of Ziggler continued, even in defeat. After Orton cost Ziggler a chance to cash in Money in the Bank on Sheamus (before Cena committed the same act), the two were linked together for a non-championship-related match at a show that’s designed to feature all title matches. Minor quibble aside, Ziggler and Orton battled in a heated 20-minute war, with many near falls, and ending when Orton countered Dolph’s sleeper into an RKO.

12. WWE Championship/Chicago Street Fight: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (Extreme Rules, April 29)
The blowoff to the insipid “Punk’s really a vicing degenerate with a messed up family” angle was this unfettered fight to the death in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. Both men even wore street clothes for the occasion, giving old school fans some bunkhouse brawl memories. Punk pulled out all the stops, including hitting the Leap of Faith elbow through Spanish announce table. Jericho nearly won with a chair-assisted Codebreaker, but Punk’s GTS would prevail.

11. WWE Championship/Elimination Chamber: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth (Elimination Chamber, February 19)
This one left many of us wondering just how Jericho and/or Punk would lose, and still set up WrestleMania without either man looking weak. After one of the better Chamber matches in recent years, complete with Jericho resurrecting the Lion Tamer on Kingston, Punk knocked Jericho out with a bump to the floor, eliminating him via TKO. Left with just Miz, Punk polished him off with the GTS, leaving Jericho to have an out leading into WrestleMania.

10. Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler (Summerslam, August 19)
Shaking off the disappointment of a pointless, troll-tastic return in January, an uninspired feud with Punk (the writing, not the matches), and the controversy in Brazil, Jericho was able to have one last classic before adjourning from WWE yet again. Opening an average Summerslam, Jericho and Ziggler ping-ponged and bumped for each other to get the party started. After Y2J shook off a ton of false finishes, he tapped Ziggler to his Wal-er, Lion Tamer.

9. Money in the Bank: Dolph Ziggler vs. Christian vs. Tensai vs. Santino Marella vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Tyson Kidd vs. Damien Sandow vs. Sin Cara (Money in the Bank, July 15)
The more discriminating fan was looking forward to this over, say, the Cena/Show/Kane MITB match, since a number of rising stars and internet favorites were involved. Kidd was the unsung hero, making his name on a series of crazy spots (i.e. the mid air twisting sunset powerbomb), while Ziggler continued his subtle suicide with his usual scary landings. Christian had the match won until Ziggler surged in, threw him off the ladder, and claimed the blue briefcase.

8. World Heavyweight Championship/2 Out Of 3 Falls: Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan (Extreme Rules, April 29)
After infuriating many with the 18-second fiasco at WrestleMania, WWE provided a make-good 4 weeks later by booking Bryan in a role he’s seldom played in WWE: a calculating killer who targets an injury and exploits it. Sacrificing the first fall to a DQ, Bryan forced Sheamus to pass out in the Yes Lock to even it up. Bryan couldn’t get the job done, however, and ate a Brogue Kick in the final act. But at least WWE, to their credit, apologized for Mania in their own way.

7. Hell in a Cell: The Undertaker vs. Triple H (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
Though many have heralded this as the hands-down match of the year, I feel there was too much stalling (understandably) to award it the title. It was well built, but just missing that “extra push over the cliff”, to quote Nigel Tufnel. As it was, I dug much of the drama, but felt the parts with Shawn Michaels weren’t needed. Undertaker turning back Hunter’s last-ditch sledgehammer attack before obliterating him made for a fitting culmination of the 20-0 mark.

6. The Rock vs. John Cena (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
Once the pointless concert beforehand came to a merciful end (which included some pretentious purple-haired diva-something or other), Rock and Cena engaged in the big money match, which was equal parts Austin-Rock and Warrior-Hogan. With a more markish crowd, it may have been even more epic, but as it was, it was a great heavyweight battle that will likely lead to a sequel this year. As for round one, The Great One drew first blood.

5. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho (WrestleMania XXVIII, April 1)
After John Laurinaitis affixed a stipulation minutes beforehand, decreeing that Punk could lose the gold via DQ, one’s spidey sense smelled screwjob. Instead, it was a red herring meant to mislead the audience, and hope that Punk wouldn’t get gutted by injustice. An intense battle that slowly worked into third gear, Jericho’s head games only intensified Punk’s resolve, as he finished the former “Best in the World” with an unrelenting Anaconda Vice.

4. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. John Cena (Night of Champions, September 16)
Kinda sad that this was Punk’s first “main event” of the 2012 calendar year, and he’d been champion the entire time. This made up for months of Cena navel-gazing, as the two picked up where they left off the previous summer at Money in the Bank and Summerslam, displaying their remarkable chemistry in a seesaw battle. The double-pin finish would have meant more with a one-on-one rematch, but you know WWE will revisit this soon enough.

3. Tables, Ladders, and Chairs: The Shield vs. Kane/Daniel Bryan/Ryback (TLC, December 16)
You wouldn’t think there’d be a lot of positives to come out of Punk tearing his meniscus, but a dangerous spotfest that gave instantly credibility to three newcomers would be one. The Shield has looked strong since their Survivor Series debut, and they were able to notch a huge win over 3 pushed and established players, in a match everyone was talking about for days. Seth Rollins in particular was made after nearly dying via table bump near the entrance way.

2. Extreme Rules: John Cena vs. Brock Lesnar (Extreme Rules, April 29)
With Lesnar’s return the night after WrestleMania came high expectations for the universally-renowned UFC icon. He immediately entered a feud with Cena, and their fight vignettes hyping their forthcoming brawl were great selling points. The match wasn’t even a match, it was a straight-up fight with lots of blood. After Cena took a hellacious beating for the duration of the contest, he used his chain, and an AA on the ring steps, to win, much to the surprise of many.

1. WWE Championship: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (Over the Limit, May 20)
The two indy darling got to bring their blend of pure wrestling and stiff-shot-laden brawling to the big stage, for the game’s richest prize. Bryan and Punk painted a masterpiece for over 20 minutes, with both men expectedly fighting for the advantage. Bryan worked the arm in a manner similar to Bob Backlund, and ultimately hooked the Yes Lock for a sure win. Punk bridged back into a pinning combo and tapped just after the ref counted 3 on his pin.

Justin Henry is a freelance writer who covers the NFL for FootballNation and professional wrestling on a freelance basis. He can be found at Twitter (http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh)

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How Dolph Ziggler should be headlining WWE Wrestlemania 28 – Inside The Wheelhouse

February 16, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Dolph ZigglerI’ll start off this blog using an analogy for all you Football fans out there and tie it back into the great world of wrestling. Remember all last month how we kept hearing about the New York Giants peaking at the right time? Well if you can transcend that theory into wrestling then it’s safe to say that Dolph Ziggler peaked at the wrong time in the WWE.

Now how can that be? How can a wrestler be peaking at the wrong time? At any moment a wrestler peaking to his full potential or even beyond it is a good thing, right? Well, not if you are peaking right around Wrestlemania season.

Dolph Ziggler has been on a roll lately and has become one of the most entertaining heels in the WWE the last four months or so. I believe this rise to fame really started back at Survivor Series 2011 in Madison Square Garden where he pulled double duty (for another PPV) in-front of a very appreciative MSG crowd. Let’s face it, if the MSG puts you over then you are looked at pretty good in the eyes of Vince McMahon.

For the entire history of the WWE they have used MSG as their barometer of how to notice a talent. Dolph Ziggler was appreciated by the fans in attendance in MSG and since then he really hasn’t looked back since. I guess it is true “if you can make there, you can make it anywhere.”

During that time he did lose to Zack Ryder but we all knew that if it was going to happen it would make room for Ziggler to be elevated even more and it did as he went into the WWE Championship picture on RAW. He would go over on Punk four times over the course of build-up to the Royal Rumble match and was looking like a legit WWE Championship threat. But really got me thinking during this time wasn’t that Ziggler was getting his chance in the WWE, but that it was happening at the wrong time.

Rewind the climb to the top for Dolph Ziggler back to like Summerslam/Night of Champions time period. He would have the same respectful rise in the eyes of the fans, despite being a heel, but his feud with the WWE Championship would be brief leaving the door open for something eventually to happen in his career. Solid wins and a continued build up closing out the year 2011 would leave us with the Royal Rumble time & a prediction that would’ve been just as similar to that of last year’s winner, Alberto Del Rio.

Heading into last year’s Royal Rumble Alberto Del Rio was the clear-cut favorite for all the die-hard wrestling fans of the world. It wasn’t a case of face vs. heel, it was a case of the future of the business and knowing that soon enough Alberto Del Rio could be that top entertaining heel to match the faces of the present WWE. That same feeling is one that fans of started to have for Dolph Ziggler the past couple of months.

But that won’t be happening for Dolph Ziggler as he has peaked at the wrong time this year. Instead of headlining Wrestlemania 28 he will probably be secluded to a match like “Money in the Bank.” Which if he wins and cashes in that night at Wrestlemania will be pretty awesome, but I don’t see that happening just yet.

Ziggler has had his ups and downs (Sprit Squad, Kerwin White’s caddy & de-push in 2011 after World Title match vs. Edge at Royal Rumble) throughout his career & despite the current push he has received in recent months it can be chalked up as the right guy, wrong time, type of scenario.

Dolph Ziggler should be in that role that Alberto Del Rio was in last year. As he is a heel on the verge of becoming a top star in the company and in a Wrestlemania Championship main event match. But he won’t be on Wrestlemania Sunday and that is a shame. While he may not be headlining Wrestlemania 28, I fully expect him to be in the main event mix for Wrestlemania 29 next year.

The star is certainly bright for Dolph Ziggler and it will only be a matter of time he is the top heel in the WWE. What the WWE is waiting for I’ll never know. While it may be the wrong time for Ziggler, he is for sure still the right guy.

For more on this topic join us for the Thursday February 16th edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com or www.wrestlechat.net.

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Has WWE Creative Blown It With Dolph Ziggler?

February 07, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Dolph ZigglerIf there is one thing that the pro wrestling blogosphere can agree on these days it is that Dolph Ziggler is fantastic. Unfortunately all of his hard work will probably result in nothing and he can thank the WWE creative team for that.

I was never a big Ziggler fan and used to tune when he first hit the scene a few years back. I never got him during his WWE world title run and quite frankly, never gave him a shot. But something has opened me up to this guy in recent weeks to the point where I am now convinced he may be the best worker on the roster and I am not the only one.

Follow the social media networks during RAW or read any of the hundreds if not thousands of pro wrestling blogs online and you will find a groundswell of support for Ziggler in recent weeks. It slowly started last year but really peaked with this television series against Randy Orton. Now the man is hitting it out of the park weekly and everyone is noticing…well everyone except the people that matter, the WWE creative team.

In what has to be the most perplexing booking I have seen in a long time, it almost appears that the WWE brass are doing everything they can to stop his momentum. From booking him to lose four times in a row to CM Punk at the Royal Rumble to taking the pin in a Six-Pack Challenge, the WWE appear determined to end his momentum immediately and that just stinks.

Ziggler would be a top guy for life in another era. His amateur wrestling credentials are impeccable but guess what? You’d never even know he was a standout collegiate wrestler for one of the best programs in the country if you didn’t do a little investigative work online. Rarely are his credentials mentioned which is ironic because in any other era, they would be his calling card, and the man would be booked as one of the most serious threats in the company.

What Ziggler has that separates him from even some of the most legendary credentialed pioneers is that he has “it.” In the ring, Ziggler looks like a star, wrestles like a star, talks a star, walks like a star, and shockingly is not booked a star. Ziggler is booked as a doormat, a stepping stone, and what I would call a high-level jobber. For a guy this good, his booking is just downright criminal.

But what is most egregious of all is that the WWE has presented him consistently as this doormat. No matter how much better Ziggler gets, no matter how much support he gets outside of the WWE, and no matter how ready he is to be an elite WWE player, it’ll never work. See The Miz, Jack Swagger, Sheamus, and countless others over the last several years as prime examples of guys that the WWE tried to elevate to elite status that never caught on. The reason these guys and Ziggler won’t catch on is that nobody will ever take them seriously, thanks to their booking history. CM Punk even with his monster push is underperforming in some areas and that all goes back to his prior booking in my opinion.

As much as people like to complain about the WWE booking in recent years, this is the biggest problem of all. Their lack of ability to develop stars into big time money players is hurting the company and will continue to harm them for years to come. Instead of molding and protecting young blue chippers like successful territories and promotions before them, they beat them down into jokes. By the time someone like Ziggler is ready to get the big push, the fans have seen him jobbed out for the last few years and refuse to take him seriously as a money player, thus hurting Ziggler’s ability to draw money at the box office. It happens all of the time and doesn’t appear to change.

Could Ziggler break this cycle? Anything is possible but it is a tough road. One thing Ziggler has over past failed attempts to promote is the ability to steal the show. Maybe with enough great matches, fans can forget the Dolph Ziggler that was pinned four times at the Rumble and beaten twice on RAW in the Six Pack Challenge?

I hope it happens and I am rooting for the guy but the reality is that the chances of Ziggler or anyone caught up in this booking cycle of parity has of climbing the ladder and staying there is not very good.

Dolph Ziggler I am Perfection Authentic T-Shirt

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WWE RAW Supershow February 6 Results – Jericho Enters The Elimination Chamber Last

February 06, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Chris Jericho-WWE RAW is live from Oklahoma City, where Jim Ross will most assuredly look stupid at some point. Maybe Kane will set him ablaze once more.

Opening Segment: Triple H
The watermark for HHH’s theme song (His original Motorhead theme) says it’s “exclusive to iTunes”. Isn’t WWF Volume 5 still in some FYE somewhere? So yeah, HHH says he was going to fire Johnny Ace last week, but because HHH was cut off, Ace gets to appeal to the board this week to keep his job. If I’m ever about to be fired, remind me to bring Undertaker in to distract my supervisor. HHH, of course, points out that he was the first man to ever cause Taker to need to be carried out last year at WrestleMania. Then HHH makes up for his assertion of crippling Undertaker by saying his arrival gives him chills. Well, that’s nice. Except this year. Well, damn. HHH then says he no longer gets that rush when he sees Undertaker. Oddly enough, that’s how I felt in 2002-03. He even plays a video package to show us “the Undertaker he remembers.” He’s talking about Taker like he’s dead. I’ll believe it when Rey Mysterio makes the “UT” armband and drives the hearse to the ring. Oh, and HHH turns down the WrestleMania 28 match, because Undertaker’s too much of a broken down cripple. Then HHH says “maybe Undertaker wants me to end the streak” by referencing Metallica’s “The Thing That Should Not Be”, and says “it’s over”. Then HHH’s song starts, then it….STOPS. DRAMATIC TENSION. Then the lights go out, and we get a video of Undertaker watching clips of last year’s match. Undertaker’s voice is so much raspier and higher now. Undertaker makes his case by promising HHH “immortality” if he wins, while giving Taker a chance to avenge the images of last year as we fade to break.
Segment Rating: 6/10. Hot crowd, but this is just going to drag until Hunter finally says yes. I’m sensing the same dueling promo build that we had last year.

-I hear Ron Simmons is going to the WWE Hall of Fame, which I’m hoping results in the shortest acceptance speech ever.

Match 1: Big Show vs. Daniel Bryan (World Heavyweight)
Well, I guess they’re letting Bryan get used to defending the World Title in the opener, since WrestleMania’s in just two months. Bryan brings the unbearably-cute AJ out, neckbrace and all, presumably to distract Show. Kudos to the fan who yelled “JAY LETHAL” as AJ walked by. Cole dressing down AJ for not seeing through Bryan’s façade is very Monsoon-esque. Show dominates the early going, but Bryan manages to dropkick Show’s knee to take him down, leading to commercial. We come back to Bryan working a half crab, but Show kicks him off. Just once, they should lie about what happened during break, and say Show busted out a 450 splash. Show gets a spear for 2. Bryan counters a chokeslam with a guillotine choke. Show escapes, but Bryan busts out some nerd fu for 2. Show manages to savate kick Bryan off the apron, and the champ claims a knee injury. Show goes on the prowl, but AJ begs him off. In the confusion, Bryan seemingly sacrifices AJ to a charging Show, but Show holds up. Bryan grabs AJ and scrams with her, taking the countout loss.
WINNER: Big Show via count out
Rating: 5/10. Average match, but I do enjoy the many ways in which Bryan tries to escape defeat.

Afterward, Bryan gives Show the verbal business, and claims that Show didn’t stop short the first time with AJ (not Frank Constanza’s move….), and claims he will win at Elimination Chamber. Gotta say, he’s taken to this sociopath role.

-We get a video of Carl Edwards visiting John Cena last week on Raw. Good to see Cena can take time away from worrying about Zack Ryder’s well-being to promote NASCAR.

-Then we get a WWE Elimination Chamber video. It really needs that “by the numbers” feel, so we can have “One. One time, WWE put Big Daddy V in the match as a practical joke.”

-We return from break with….MORE NONACTION. David Otunga’s in the ring, and he’s kissing up to Laurinaitis. Otunga tries to lead the crowd in prayer through Tebowing, but HHH (via Justin Yawnberts) makes a match: Otunga vs. Sheamus. But….but….Otunga’s not dressed to wrestle!

Match 2: Sheamus vs. David Otunga
Does anyone remember when Sheamus ran away from Otunga at Money in the Bank 2010? The sweater vest comes off, and the shirt is ripped open as Sheamus hammers away. Cole even invokes the “not dressed to wrestle” bit, making Bobby Heenan’s ears burn. Otunga gets a DDT for 1. C’mon, just have Sheamus squash him. Otunga dominates for a bit (why?), but takes time to toss the shirt, and Sheamus nails him with the Brogue Kick for the win.
WINNER: Sheamus via Brogue Kick
Rating: 2/10. Not as squashy as it should have been, considering that Sheamus, you know, won the Rumble and all.

In Ring Segment: Chris Jericho
I hope I’m lucky enough to win the LED Lite Brite jacket if it’s ever auctioned off. Jericho’s more “SRS” than light-hearted this week. “The end of the world as you know has arrived.” Jericho has made every other performer in WWE “obsolete”, says he. The locker room, he claims, all want to be like him and steal his ideas. Then Jericho explains his silence, saying the fans cheered him because they’re sheep. He then runs down the Raw upper card, and explains how they each stole an idea of his, with CM Punk being the worst offender, having stolen “Best in the World” from Jericho. He’s here to reclaim what is his, but before he can say another word, we get Punk. Punk creepily stands there with his mouth agape and just drops the mic in front of Jericho, and then holds his title aloft. Then he turns his back, and Jericho makes like he’s going to hit him, but holds up, and Punk just walks off, having trolled the troll. Jericho is infuriated, and Punk just keeps walking.
Segment Rating: 7/10. Enjoyable segment, and I’m assuming we’re going to get it at WrestleMania. I just hope that Punk retains at the Chamber, and then beats Jericho at Mania, so Punk can have an extended reign.

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Match 3: Wade Barrett/Cody Rhodes vs. Randy Orton/Great Khali
Cody Rhodes’ theme song is like Crash Test Dummies meets ABBA. According to Cole, Rhodes and Orton were teammates in Legacy “a number of years ago”. What’s the ECW brand considered, antiquity? The story is that Orton and Khali are uneasy partners, and Barrett lands a neckbreaker on Orton during the confusion for 2. Rhodes takes control on Orton, landing a nice standing dropkick for 2. Rhodes telegraphs his brother’s bulldog, and takes a back suplex. Barrett runs in and Orton lands the snap-slam. Then it’s the draping-DDT as Orton’s dominating. Khali tags himself in, and chops Cody as he attempts the Beautiful Disaster, scoring the pin. Afterward, Khali chokes Orton when confronted, and Orton lands the RKO to counter.
WINNERS: Randy Orton and Great Khali via brain chop.
Rating: 4/10. Weird match with no real flow. Then again, this show has had a weird feel in general. I don’t mind Cody getting pinned, because I doubt Khali’s going to win the IC title or anything

-Cole and Lawler ramble on about Rock/Cena’s Twitter war, as they segue into the Cena suck-up video. Justin runs to the fridge…..

Match 4: Kelly Kelly/Eve Torres/Alicia Fox/Tamina vs. Pin Up Strong/Bella Twins
Wow, a Royal Rumble rematch for free! WE LOVE WWE AND THEIR GIVING NATURE! At least Tamina dropped her “Sonic the Hedgehog” hairdo. Beth and Eve start, and Eve eats a hard clothesline for 2. Beth slams Eve and hard tags one of the Bellas (Brie, I guess), who bullies Eve around. Tag is made to Tamina, who plans Brie with a Samoan drop. Tamina lands the Sortafly Splash for the win.
WINNERS: The Face Divas via Sortafly Splash.
Rating: 3/10. Longest televised match for the divas since last summer, right?

-MORE ROCK CRAP. Now we get footage of him on Leno, airing tonight. Who actually watches Leno? What self-respecting person would put themselves through such manufactured, ass-kissing interviews? I don’t think I wanna know.

-Hey, Ace is here! And he informs HHH that the board seems to be in his favor. Ace tells the board that Shawn Michaels will be here next week, and tells HHH that he promised the board he’d be there. Also, it’s Cena vs. Kane, ambulance match at the PPV. Alright then.

-Apparently, Eve Torres suffered a legit broken nose in that last match, sites are reporting. If she needs plastic surgery to fix it, I doubt it’ll be her first time under the gas.

- For those of you who were watching The Voice at 9:15 PM EST, here’s THE F—ING UNDERTAKER VIDEO AGAIN.

-Josh Mathews interviews Laurinaitis, who thinks he has a great chance at keeping his job. He also hints that the board may not like HHH backing down from Undertaker, that it implies cowardice.

Main Event: CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho vs. The Miz vs. R-Truth vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Dolph Ziggler (One fall, non title, winner is #6 in the Elimination Chamber)
Vickie Guerrero should always have hooker boots on. I think these six can kinda/sorta save the show. Everybody beats up Jericho for his earlier comments, and Punk rolls up Miz for 2. Jericho lays on the floor while the other five men brawl Lotta fast pins as Miz rolls Truth up for 2. Punk goes up and over on the corner knee and Truth misses a flip dive on Miz. That was SCARY. Kofi lands a dive, Ziggler fakes one, and Punk kicks him in the face while Miz checks on Truth as ‘in character’ as possible as we hit the break. When we return, Truth is helped away by officials as we see his head bounce off the floor on the replay. Sincerely hope he’s okay. Punk lands a Mike Bucci Memorial neckbreaker/DDT combo on Ziggler and Miz for 2, and gets a Vice on Miz before Dolph breaks it up. Then Punk gives Dolph a Vice, but Kofi saves. Punk dumps Kofi to the floor as Jericho slowly slides into the ring, reviving the crowd with their staredown. Miz and Dolph attack both men before we get the confrontation, however. Jericho and Miz clothesline each other, but get up in time to give Punk and Ziggler a tower of doom spot. Miz and Jericho try double pins but each only get 2, as Kofi’s kicked back to the floor. Jericho hacks up Miz, but Miz counters a charge and tries the Skull Crushing Finale, but Kofi nails HIM with the TIP. Jericho lands a missle dropkick on Kofi for 2. Kofi gets a springboard cross body for 2, and then uses the “controlled frenzy” to dominate. Jericho misses the Lionsault, but Kofi’s TIP is countered into the Walls. Punk manages to knee Jericho to save. Jericho is tossed, and Dolph cradles Punk for 2. GTS on Dolph, but Jericho pulls Punk out and throws him over the table. Then Jericho pins the unconscious Dolph to win. Jericho poses with Punk’s belt, in Punk’s sitdown style, to end the show.
WINNER: Chris Jericho via CM Punk’s GTS
Rating: 7/10. Good match, tempered only by R-Truth’s scary injury. Looking forward to seeing where Jericho/Punk goes next.

-Backstage, Kane stalks a horrified Eve Torres, and says he’s afraid of himself. Nice, uplifting ending right there.

OVERALL: What a downer from last week. Bizarre pacing, too much talking, R-Truth almost died, and the crowd, while hot to start, was dead by the end. Hopefully, there’s a better go-home show for the Chamber next week, because they wasted an opportunity to play a famously hot Midwest crowd tonight.

Just a disappointment is all.

Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.

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WWE Royal Rumble 2012 Results: The End of the World

January 31, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The 25th anniversary of the Royal Rumble just ended and we have all taken some time to digest what we have seen Sunday night. Chris Jericho stated at the RAW before the Rumble that the end of the world as we knew it would occur. Many fans were upset of what they thought was the lack of follow-up on that proclamation. I attempt to explain how the Royal Rumble DID follow-up and gave us an apocalyptic preview to WWE programming for the rest of the year (or according to the Mayans), the remaining time in human existence.

WWE Championship: Triple Threat Steel Cage Match
Daniel Bryan (c) vs. Big Show vs. Mark Henry

Buried:

Michael Cole’s heel commentary on a heel Daniel Bryan is an ongoing attempt to bury the World Heavyweight Champion. I agree with having a face and a heel commentator, but Cole should be building up D-Bryan as a legitimate champion, a fighting champion, and his repeated successful title defenses against both the Big Show and Mark Henry.

Purgatory:

Steel Cage Matches. Remember when it was a big deal to see a cage match on a PPV? The first Steel Cage match in Royal Rumble history was a bust to say the least. The match wasn’t horrible, but it was by no means great, or even good. No memorable spots, no intense drama, no unpredictability, and the fact that you could even win the match with a pinfall or submission, defeats the purpose of even have the steel cage at all.

In the Abyss:

The rest of the card if that was how you would start the 25th anniversary of arguably the second best PPV of the year and kickoff to the Road to WrestleMania.

Rising from the dead:

Big Show & Mark Henry: Daniel Bryan made these two who individuals, who combine for almost 1,000 lbs. of non-talent, look respectable in the ring.

8 Team Divas Tag Match:
Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Bella Twins vs. Kelly Kelly, Eve, Alicia Fox, Tamina

Buried:

Every WWE Diva not named Beth Phoenix. Drew McIntyre was wrong; this division is an embarrassment to this business!

Purgatory:

The fans who decided to sit and watch this match instead of going to the restroom and getting concessions.

In the Abyss:

The commentators who were so bored that they had to check how many followers they had on Twitter.

John Cena vs. Kane

Buried:

John Cena. Yes, I said John Cena! For someone who is facing the Rock at WrestleMania, Cena looked like every jobber that I saw on Super Stars in the 80’s. The match was long, boring, and put Cena in almost as a pathetic weak state as Zack Ryder. WWE gave us no reason to believe that Cena is even capable of putting on a remotely competitive match against the Great One. FAIL!

Purgatory:

Kane. How can you demolish John Cena AND Zack Ryder AGAIN, and not be included in the Royal Rumble match? Must be someone special taking his spot for the big red machine to end his Rumble appearance streak and chance of breaking HBK’s elimination record.

Drew McIntyre vs. Brodus Clay (The Funkasauraus)

Buried:

Drew McIntyre: He hasn’t been fired yet? He is following in former WWE star MVP’s footsteps in losing every match he is booked in.

Brodus Clay: I’m baffled to why he wasn’t in the Royal Rumble match. He has a crappy gimmick that the fans actually seem to like and you could have had some fun with the gimmick by adding Ernest the “Cat” Miller to the Rumble to have a dance-off before Brodus eliminates him. Instead you have another squash match in a PPV that we could have seen on RAW or SmackDown.

Purgatory:

Cameron Lynn & Naomi: This may be the highlight of your respective careers, dancing in some god awful outfits and not having worse dance moves than Brodus himself.

In the Abyss:

Tough Enough & NXT Contestants: How do you feel that these two beat you to the main roster? I know they suck, but what does that say about your ability and potential?

WWE Championship: Special Guest Referee John Lauranitis
CM Punk (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler

Buried:

Dolph Ziggler’s four victories over CM Punk were erased in less than 30 minutes by four pinfalls in the title match.

Purgatory:

WWE Universe was duped by a bait and switch. You advertise and tease a special guest referee who could affect the outcome of a title match and he doesn’t even officiate that match, nor affect it in any negative way.

30 Man Royal Rumble Match:

Buried:

Dolph Ziggler: Add another loss to his crappy night!

Cody Rhodes: Relegated to eliminating over the hill wrestlers AKA WWE Legends and looking forward to an equally un amusing feud with Gold Dust. Oh by the way he lasted more than 40 minutes and had the most eliminations, before being dumped out easily with Miz by the Big Show!

Miz: See Cody Rhodes minus having to face Gold Dust.

R-Truth: I beat Miz on RAW to avoid drawing #1 in the Royal Rumble so that I could draw freaking #3. Maybe Little Jimmy should’ve drawn his number for him.

Wade Barrett: The Barrett Barrage was non-existent and was owned by hometown hero Randy Orton. He did eliminate the heavy set “Road Dogg”.

Chris Jericho: Returning WWE mega stars usually win the Royal Rumble. HHH, Edge, and Cena all did, but not Y2J. 2 months of videos and hype for nothing.

Rising from the dead:

Kharma: She looked better than ever! I hope she and Beth Phoenix can save what’s left of the Divas division. I’m also interested to see if they will put her in the mid-card mix with her male counterparts.

Great Khali: He looked dominant disposing of Jindar Mahal and Ezekiel Jackson. I’ll admit that I was afraid this goof would eliminate my picks to win: Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler.

Sheamus: A story that belongs in folklore: A former two time WWE Champion and King of the Ring winner who was recently feuding with jobber Jindar Mahal, eliminates the returning Chris Jericho to become the Royal Rumble winner.

Final thoughts:

1. Burying your mid-card talent and top draws so the 3 commentators can enter the Royal Rumble? It means the end of the world.

2. Putting in one-half of two different tag teams= burying an already non-existent tag team division.

3. Not putting your biggest draw in John Cena in the Royal Rumble= catastrophic mistake and huge turnoff to fans.

4. If you can feud with a jobber on Monday Night RAW and SmackDown and a month later become the Royal Rumble winner than it really is the end of the world.

5. If you have to build up a former two time WWE Champion and King of the Ring winner, as the next rising star or top babyface by winning the Royal Rumble, than it truly is the end of the world as we know it!

Roberto Padilla is host of “The Full Nelson Radio Show” Mile High Sports Radio 1510 AM/93.7 FM Denver; Sundays 2-4 PM ET, www.milehighsports.com Internet Sports Station GoMileHigh.com; Wednesdays 9-11 PM ET, www.gomilehigh.com/fullnelson Twitter: Roberto Padilla @HeelTruth

WWE: Royal Rumble 2012

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WWE RAW Supershow January 30 Results – Lobster Head Is The Headliner

January 30, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

john laurinaitis Triple H-RAW is live from Kansas City, the Starbucks to St. Louis’ Tim Horton’s.

Opening Segment: John Laurinaitis
Ace tagging hands with the fans with a forced smile is a laugh, as is Cole’s endorsement. So Ace is looking forward to his performance review tonight, and even sucks up to Triple H beforehand. Laurinaitis says he called it right down the middle at the Royal Rumble. He also talks about the “Elimination PPV”, in his words. CM Punk will defend the WWE Title against Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, The Miz, R-Truth, and Chris Jericho. Looks like a hell of a line-up actually. Also, Beth Phoenix defends her Divas title against Eve Torres, Kofi Kingston faces The Miz, and Dolph Ziggler takes on Randy Orton. Oh, and Daniel Bryan faces CM Punk! This brings Punk out, who begins singing the Goodbye Song. KC should know the words after singing it to Todd Haley last month. Even Justin Roberts joins in, albeit at Punk’s urging. Punk said he’s here to see Ace one last time before the firing, and even invokes Edge’s “suck and blow” line for Ace. Ace wants to begin new with Punk, and Punk offers a GTS instead. Daniel Bryan makes his way out, who happily reminds us all that he’s still World Champion. I NEVER HAD ANY DOUBTS! Bryan says nobody cares about Punk and Ace’s spat, and instead wants to talk about beating two hosses to keep his title. “Punk vs. Bryan” is now trending. You’re damn right, it is. Bryan disses Punk, who “meekly” admits to being the Best Wrestler in the World. Bryan promotes his veganism (“I DON’T EVEN EAT MEAT!”). Punk asks what he DOES eat, and Bryan threatens to stick the pipe bomb up Punk’s ass. Punk offers a compromise: the best wrestling match in the world. I’m down. This brings Sheamus out, who proudly reminds us all that he won the Rumble, and thus gets to choose his opponent. Sheamus doesn’t choose his opponent yet, instead saying to Ace, “May Triple H kick yer arse so hard, you choke up yer lace covered undies”. Alrighty then.
Segment Rating: 7/10. No real heavyweight one-liners, but an enjoyable way to set the tone for the rest of the show. Until Cena/Kane/Ryder/Eve ruin it, of course.

-Just wanted to note that there’s hope for Chris Benoit yet, in regards to the Hall of Fame. If he comes back to life and reinvents himself as an over-the-top character that says silly things, and becomes an overall self-parody, to the point where his bizarre public persona outweighs the capital crimes that he committed, WWE will gladly induct him one day. Hey, it’s worked for Mike Tyson.

Match 1: Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler
I do love the subtle touch of Orton staring down Barrett in the skybox on the way to the ring. Barrett promises a worse punishment for Orton on Friday. He’s going to make him watch Cena and Kane’s Rumble match on loop? Barrett says Orton jumped him in the Rumble when he was distracted by “seven other guys”. Pat Patterson had the same excuse when he lost the IC Title. Ziggler counters a corner charge with an elbow, and lands a dropkick to the back of the head as we hit the commercial. We return to Ziggler working a chinlock on Orton, who rams him in the corner to break. Ziggler manages 2 off of a boot to the face. Orton comes back with a wild flurry, but Dolph gets a dropkick to halt the onslaught. Ziggler gets 2 off of that. Ziggler lands a hangman’s neckbreaker, and then performs a few sit-ups to moisten Vickie’s loins. Speaking of loins, Dolph gets crotched up top, and Orton lands his dad’s superplex for 2. Snap powerslam by Orton, who begins to “vipe up”. Ziggler escapes the hanger DDT and gets a sleeperhold, which Orton counters with a throwoff. Orton gets a rollup for 2, and then Ziggler gets the fameasser for 2. What a match! Ziggler has the Zig Zag countered, and Orton clotheslines him over the top. Dolph takes a CRAZY bump into the ringside barrier. Orton finally gets the elevated DDT, then drops into the prowl. RKO gets the win in one HELL of a match as Wade Barrett observes.
WINNER: Randy Orton via RKO
Rating: 10/10. Just a tremendous match. If we could see what went on during commercial, it’d be easier to rate, but screw it. That’s as close to a **** match as you’ll see on TV these days. Great stuff from both men.

-For my thoughts on last night’s WWE Royal Rumble 2012 results, check out my “Good, Bad, Fugly” review (http://bit.ly/wnY6h7) where I raise the immortal question: how did Michael Cole not notice that Booker T had no pants on?

-Kane/Cena highlights, just to kill my buzz after that awesome match. The only upside is WWE’s using Kane’s ORIGINAL WWE Volume 3 music for the backdrop. Niiiice.

-Ace tries to make nice with everyone including Regal (“How’s your son?” “Daughters….conjoined twins….” “Ahh, right. Well, fifth grade’s a hard year.” “Keep em locked in the attic, actually…” “That’s good!”) in an amusing throwaway segment.

Match 2: Brodus Clay vs. Tyler Reks
Crowd’s a bit more receptive to Clay tonight, after having the unenviable task of trying to breathe life after the Cena/Kane debacle last night. The Naomi/Cameron booty smoosh makes it all worthwhile. Clay adds the Dusty Rhodes elbow to her repertoire. Cole’s better with his subtle commentary, as he and Lawler share some laughs. Reks makes Clay mad with his strikes, and gets a belly to belly for his troubles. What the Funk finishes.
WINNER: Brodus Clay via What the Funk
Rating: 3/10. Standard squash, as the search for a real angle for Clay continues.

-Bryan and Punk have a heart to heart, where Punk admits that the crowd prefers Bryan as an underdog. The two have an ideological discussion over veganism and straight-edge, and Punk punctuates by saying he’s the best wrestler in the world.

Match 3: CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan (Champion vs. Champion, non title)

If they give this match 20 minutes, and ANYONE complains about ANYTHING, I will beat them with Grizzly Redwood’s ax handle. Code of Honor handshake to start. Early exchange leads to a Bryan dropkick, followed by a Romero special, modified with a double leg stomp. Punk has enough and fires back with a snap mare and spinal kick for 2. Punk works a couple of knees into the back, slams Bryan down, but misses the legdrop. Bryan responds with a stiff kick to the face, following by a knee dig into his face. Punk continues with the stomps and works an armlock. European uppercuts follow, but Punk avoids a high kick, and backdrops Bryan out. Punk lands an axe handle to the floor. Things get rough outside the ring and Punk goes over the railing on a whip. Back inside, Bryan works some more kicks and another headlock. Punk escapes with a backdrop suplex, followed by the slingshot clothesline for 2. Backbreaker to follow up on Bryan, also gets 2. Knife edge chops follow, but Bryan whips Punk across. Bryan ends up missing a vertical senton and Punk gets 2. Both men collide and are down as we hit the commercial. Back to action and Bryan works a high arm-wrench. Replay shows Bryan dropkicked the bicep hard during the break. Bryan gets a complicated standing armbar into a pinning combo for 2, drawing oohs from the crowd. Punk crotches Bryan up top and continues with the strikes. “BEST IN THE WORLD” yells Punk as he lands a hurrachanrana off the top. I am LOVING this! Punk hammers away, hits a back kick, followed by a leg lariat. Neckbreaker follows up as Punk sells the arm injury. Corner knee connects, followed by a bulldog (with the good arm). Punk tries the GTS, but Bryan ends up escaping. Punk gets a baseball slide, but Bryan lands a forearm smash on the dive attempt afterward. Super missle dropkick lands on Punk for 2. Bryan kicks away at Punk, but misses a roundhouse, and Punk rolls him up for 2. Bryan gets a rana, but Punk rolls him over for 2. Bryan lands a hard roundhouse for a VERY close 2. Orton/Ziggler had the best Raw match for all of 30 minutes. Bryan sets Punk up top and tries for a superplex, but Punk headbutts him off. Punk lands the Savage Elbow for 2, and the crowd is HANGING ON EVERY MOVE. Bryan gets a crucifix out of the GTS for 2, then tries for the Lebell Lock. Punk escapes and slingshots Bryan into the post. High kick knocks Bryan to the apron, but Jericho hits the ring and takes both men out for the DQ! Into the rail for Bryan! Codebreaker for Punk! Bryan gets the win because he was attacked first.
WINNER: Daniel Bryan via DQ
Rating: 10/10. Wow, something in the water tonight! If Orton/Ziggler was ****, call this ****1/2 before that criminal ending. Just nonstop wrestling, followed by an intriguing ending.

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-Mike Tyson is the celebrity inductee. Yeah yeah, whatever. You’re not killing my buzz after Punk/Bryan. Nope.

Match 4: Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz
R-Truth is on commentary. Hopefully if WWE gives Kofi a push based on his insane handstand at the Rumble, he doesn’t blow it like John Morrison did a year ago. Play the game and be smart, Kofi. You’ve earned that push. Miz is angry about Kofi’s handstand getting so much attention. Miz says he deserves more attention for his duration last night. Miz begins with a waistlock, which Kofi switches into a headlock. Aggressive crossface punches from Miz, followed by a running boot to the head for 2. R-Truth brings back “he kicked my dog / I kicked his cat” for us 9 TNA fans that remember. Kofi manages to get a cradle for 2. Miz gets the corner clothesline, followed by an axe handle for 2, then applies a cravat. Kofi gets a crucifix sunset pin for 2. Miz takes a moment to grandstand, and Kofi gets the pendulum kick in the corner, followed by the super high cross body for 2. Kofi can’t get the SOS, and then avoids the Skull Crushing Finale. Trouble in Paradise hits and Kofi wins clean. Push is on; don’t blow it, Kofi!
WINNER: Kofi Kingston via Trouble in Paradise
Rating: 5/10. Short, albeit very solid match. It’s like WWE’s seeing who wants the bigger matches at WrestleMania.

-Ace is texting backstage, and runs into Otunga, whom he accuses of wanting his job. Seems that paranoia is getting to Laurinaitis.

-Time wasting Rock video from last night plays. I like The Rock, but I didn’t like this video when I had to pay to watch it. Eh, show was in such a good groove too.

-WWE promotes their new web series, in which Daniel Bryan admits he wants to marry Meg Ryan. Hopefully, before 2003.

Match 5: Beth Phoenix vs. Eve Torres (WWE Divas)
Eve emotes “fear”. Not her most embarrassing acting work, I’ll concede. Eve goes berserk on Beth in an attempt to channel her rage, but Beth levels her with a clothesline. Glam Slam finishes immediately after to earn her paycheck. A quick Divas match, I’m stunned!
WINNER: Beth Phoenix via Glam Slam
Rating: 2/10 At least there was a point to it being quick, with Eve’s mind not being into it.

-Afterward, Kane taunts Eve on the titantron, and says he will continue to destroy Zack Ryder until Cena “embraces the hate”, and is going to use Eve to “get his message across”. Eve stands in the ring like a moron, but Kane magically appears behind her. Cena makes his first appearance at 10:49 EST and hits the ring and the two engage in a slugfest. Cena gets the upper hand at ringside, but Kane takes over. On the ramp both men brawl, and back to ringside where Kane goes hard into the ringsteps. Kane takes the steps a few more times, and then Cena blasts Kane in the shoulder with them. And again. “EVERY TIME YOU GET UP, I’LL KNOCK YOU DOWN!” And boom, there’s another shot. Cena clears off the commentary desk. Cena blasts him with the mic, laughs manically, and tries for the AA through the table, but Kane escapes and exits through the crowd.
Segment Rating: 6/10. That did more for their feud than the crowd I spent $45 on last night. Well, okay, we split the bill four ways, but the point is there.

In Ring Segment: The Job Evaluation
Crowd boos Laurinaitis, but they’d kill to have his nephew on the Chiefs. I would for my Eagles too. Fans sing Goodbye (off key), as Ace emotes “concern”. Ace tries to take up for his own cause. “Raw ratings have been up versus a year ago”. What the hell were the ratings a year ago, Impact levels?!?! Anyway, Ace fellates himself on the self-evaluation, and this brings Mr. McHelmsley out. Hunter shakes Ace’s hand, and milks the crowd a bit. Hunter kinda laughs at the fact that Ace gave himself some high marks on the self-evaluation. Hunter points out that Ace stabbed him in the back to take the job. Then Hunter gives him the business, pointing out what Punk has been saying for months (Ace is a lousy executive, failure as a wrestler, etc). Hunter then states that Ace interjects himself into a lot of things to soothe his ego (and Hunter doesn’t?). Then Hunter admits that he and Vince let personal business cloud their judgment, and had to be replaced, just as Ace is doing now. Ace says he’ll do anything to keep his job, and Hunter sees the opening. First, it’s an apology, which the crowd isn’t buying. Some serious heel heat for Johnny Boy here. Hunter appeals to the crowd, and it’s a resounding no. Then Hunter offers Ace a chance to be a wrestler, provided the locker room all gets to kick the crap out of him. But he balks, and has a better idea: the Kiss My Ass Club. Well, that’s not PG at all. Ace applies the Burt’s Bees, drops to his knees, closes his eyes, puckers up and….Hunter just laughs at him. At least there’s no man-ass to be seen. Then Ace gets Future Endeav—or NOT.

GONG!

GONG!

GONG!

The classic “Graveyard Symphony” kicks up, and….IT’S THE UNDERTAKER! Hunter stares menacingly from the ring as The Dead Man slowly walks his way down. We get the in-ring staredown, with Ace nowhere to be seen. Undertaker circles HHH as the music steps before they settle into a frozen stare. Then Undertaker stares at the WrestleMania banner, implying silently what we all know is coming. Then Taker slashes the throat to drive the point home. Then Hunter pats Undertaker on the shoulder and walks away, as if to apparently say no. HHH leaves, as Undertaker is left staring at the banner. Undertaker’s music kicks back up as we go to black.
Segment Rating: 8/10. Funny first half of Ace begging for his job, dramatic close with the HHH/Taker saga.

OVERALL: Yeah, that was the greatest Raw since last Summer, if not since….I don’t even know. Two awesome matches, a killer closing segment, and a minimum of BS. A tremendous first step on the road to WrestleMania.

Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.

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Alternate WWE Plan Had Different Royal Rumble 2012 Winner

January 30, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

John Cena RAW promoI always find it intriguing when a scrapped WWE storyline or booking change leaks out. According to a recent report, last minute second guessing stopped what would have been arguably most polarizing Royal Rumble winner in history.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer newsletter broke the story Sunday night on his F4Wonline.com podcast. According to Meltzer, a plan was in place that would have seen John Cena win the 2012 Royal Rumble. The report further indicates that the plan was changed late Saturday night.

If the reaction that Cena received in St. Louis was any indication, the WWE made a very smart move scrapping this idea. Cena would have been booed out of the building in what probably would have been one of the great live moments in WWE broadcast history. However, the idea that this was even a consideration is stunning.

The report says that the whole storyline here would have been Cena wrestling with the idea of choosing between a championship match or wrestling The Rock at WrestleMania 28. I actually like that and quite honestly, I had Cena as my overall number one pick to win the Rumble when I wrote a blog predicting the winners. The storyline isn’t actually that bad of an idea, I just think the timing is off to do that right now with Cena.

I have mixed feelings on the story. My immediate reaction is to tell you that there would have been an outright revolt from WWE fans if this was to happen. Yet on second thought, it probably wouldn’t have made a darn bit of difference. As I have pointed out numerous times, fans like you and me are the minority. This is a casual audience and quite honestly, the kids probably would have loved it.

The WWE aired a video during the Rumble promoting the good side of Cena outside of the ring. It became evident to me quickly that they are scared to death about Cena being booed out of the building in front of the largest WWE audience to watch the product in years at WrestleMania 28. It has gotten to the point where they are just coming off as desperate and that won’t do many favors for anyone. I am still having flashbacks to that ridiculous video they played before he entered the arena at WrestleMania 27.

Going back to the idea, it amazes me that the company would even consider burying the WWE championships for a second year in a row at WrestleMania. You had Triple H come out last year and say that beating The Undertaker is the only thing that mattered. This year you would have had the Rumble winner pass on challenging the champion to wrestle in a non-title match. Booking like this is the reason that the WWE titles don’t mean much these days.

Sheamus winning surprises me even more after hearing this news. Talk about a drastic change in plans going from Cena to a dark horse? I know there are some WWE fans disappointed with Sheamus winning but looking at this alternative, consider yourself lucky.

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