Kane and Daniel Bryan Set for Epic WWE Confrontation

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

Mark Henry had a run as the World Champion. The Big Show has had multiple runs as WWE Champion and veterans like Batista and Chris Jericho have taken shots at trying to claim the WWE Title. Now, finally after changes in programming and the reemergence of Evolution, The Authority’s “enforcer” Kane is going to get a chance at title glory.

The only thing I can say is that it is about freaking time. If there is a wrestler in this company that has deserved a shot at title glory, it is the one of the most respected men in the locker room. The fact that both Kane and Daniel Bryan have worked well together in tag team wrestling and on other sides of the ring makes for a very enjoyable program heading into Extreme Rules.

Whether Kane wrestles under the guise as a member of The Authority (after recently being called out by Stephanie McMahon) remains a mystery. But regardless of what side of the ring Kane stands on, the WWE Universe want him to have another title run before he retires from the business. When it comes to his craft and how is performs in the ring, there may not be a better example in the Big Red Monster.

Kane has won 18 total championships during his WWF/E career, including being a three-time world champion (having held the WWF Championship, ECW Championship, and World Heavyweight Championship once each), and is also a 12-time tag team champion, having held the WWF/World Tag Team Championship, WCW Tag Team Championship, and WWE Tag Team Championships with various partners. He also is a Money in the Bank winner.

Jacobs made his first television appearance with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) as Dr. Isaac Yankem, DDS, Jerry Lawler’s private dentist, in a vignette on the a 1995, episode of Raw. Placing emphasis on Jacobs’ imposing height and weight, Yankem was portrayed as a monstrous figure whom Lawler had hired for the purpose of ridding the WWF of his longtime nemesis, Bret Hart.

But after the dentist went back to his practice, the Red Monster made his mark in the company that has continued on today.

It has been a belief of mine since he left the ring on a regular basis to become a figurehead in The Authority, Kane has been misused and the in-ring ability is something this company sorely lacks. As a veteran of the company and a performer who has put many wrestlers over, there is a snap in his work, wrestlers are protected in the ring by his ability and he sells like few others.

And especially in this program, the in-ring chemistry and psychology between he and Bryan – even when they were together as Team Hell No – was better than most we have seen since the days of the Attitude Era. Would the WWE take the strap off of Bryan o quickly after he won at WrestleMania? Probably not. But the foundation is there for this feud to move beyond Extreme Rules – before someone like Brock Lesnar takes the title off Bryan at SummerSlam.

Personally, I think Kane deserves another shot at the title, but the WWE has done such a good job of building the Daniel Bryan character up over six months, that the loss by the extremely popular and talented Bryan this early in the title reign would be disastrous to not only Bryan’s character, but all the planning of the company toward the summer.

Kane presents the perfect opponent in that he will challenge the title gently and aggressively, but will not obtain the one thing he richly deserves. While Kane should have the title, he will do what is “best for business” and put Bryan over further than he already was.

In the end, that is just plain Kane.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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WWE Wrestler of the Week: March 22nd-28th, 2013

March 29, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Wrestler of the Week is back with three superstars earning a 2-0 record for the final full week of March 2013. As much as I hate having ties and recognizing more than one superstar, we have to give credit to these superstars for going undefeated for the week.

Interestingly, Kane is one of the superstars who went 2-0 this week, but his tag team partner Daniel Bryan did not. Team Hell No had another victory over the Prime Time Players on the March 25th edition of Raw. If I had a nickel for every time we saw this match with the same outcome, I swear I’d have at least fifty cents. WWE either needs to introduce new heel tag teams or just use the ones they have more often. In any case, while Bryan’s week was done at this point, Kane’s was not. The Big Red Machine would score a victory over United States Champion Antonio Cesaro on Main Event. Cesaro should not be losing this much, especially to someone like Kane. Then again, this argument can be made for a lot of superstars like Dolph Ziggler and Wade Barrett.

Another WWE superstar with a 2-0 record this week was the World’s Strongest Man Mark Henry. He definitely holds the record for being discussed the most in the WWE Wrestler of the Week series. If you look at records since his return, no one has a better winning percentage than Mark Henry. This week was not any different. After defeating Zack Ryder quickly on Smackdown, Henry was victorious over the Usos in a handicap match on Raw. Henry continues to prepare for his upcoming match with Ryback, who was also victorious in a handicap match on Raw.

The final WWE superstar who went 2-0 this week, and the most surprising member of this group was The Miz. The Awesome Superstar has not been particularly successful since turning babyface, but this week was certainly a good one for Miz. On Smackdown, The Miz defeated United States Champion Antonio Cesaro. The Miz used the figure four-leg lock to secure the win over Cesaro. The United States Champion had an awful week this week, despite defeating Alberto Del Rio by count out on Raw. Regardless, while the win didn’t make complete sense, Miz scored his first victory over a champion for the week. He also defeated Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett on Raw. Miz and Barrett will square off for the title at WreslteMania 29. With two wins over the two midcard champions this week, could this be a sign that the Miz will win?

While Antonio Cesaro certainly didn’t have a great week, Kane, Mark Henry and The Miz all did. Each one has a scheduled match at WrestleMania 29 with Kane and Miz involved in championship contests. While Miz will try to reclaim the Intercontinental title in his match against Barrett, Kane will join his partner Daniel Bryan against the team of Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston.

Who do you think deserves WWE Wrestler of the Week the most? If I could only choose one I would go with the Miz. This is due to the fact that he hasn’t been winning lately and he scored victories over two champions this week.

Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Camel Clutch Blog each and every Friday for a new (unless Mark Henry keeps winning) WWE Wrestler of the Week!

Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and host of OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW!? PWPRadio’s weekly radio show covering all wrestling news and rumors. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out You can also like GWP on Facebook here.

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WWE Elimination Chamber 2013 Takeaways

February 18, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE 2013 Elimination Chamber event is history and the table is now officially set for WrestleMania 29. Now that the dust has settled, let’s take a look back at the results and key takeaways from the prelude to the biggest event in WWE history.

I thought it would be an interesting idea to reflect on the Chamber show and take a look at where things are going, superstars on the rise, superstars on the decline, and try and make sense of the big picture heading into WrestleMania. My key takeaways from Sunday’s event are…

– I am less excited about The Rock vs. John Cena 2 than ever before. I don’t know what it was but it hit me during the WWE championship match that The Rock has peaked for fans like me. I don’t know what it is but he has now wrestled three matches since returning and he has done nothing special in any of them. He’s crisp but there just doesn’t seem to be a whole lot to his matches other than him selling for 20 plus minutes leading up to the payoff. It really dawned on me last night how much Cena vs. Rock is going to suck. There is no real issue between them and their interaction has gone from great to fairly ordinary since they first crossed paths two years ago. I can honestly tell you that if it weren’t for the website here I’d have no qualms about skipping this year’s WrestleMania.

– WrestleMania 29 is going to be huge! How can I say that after just trashing a main-event that would keep me away from the show? Simple, I am not the target audience and you probably aren’t either. The WWE will be targeting fans who don’t watch on a regular basis, see Rock vs. someone they know, and buy the show on The Rock. The match is best for business and when you add that with a card featuring Brock Lesnar, The Undertaker, Triple H, CM Punk, and Chris Jericho you have one of the most loaded lineups of stars in recent memory.

– The WWE has no idea what to do with Dolph Ziggler. The logic of him not cashing in Money in the Bank makes no sense at this point. I could see him waiting around but why would anyone holding the briefcase not cash in at WrestleMania? Just the fact that Ziggler was booked in a throwaway match that wasn’t even advertised last night tells me that they have no idea what to do with him. He had a ton of momentum coming out of TLC after his big angle with Cena and he has slowly faded down the card ever since. I understand he needs to take a backseat to guys like Rock, Brock, etc but what’s the plan here? I am starting to worry that the window is closing on Ziggy.

– Daniel Bryan may be the most entertaining guy in pro wrestling. The utilization of Bryan is amazing to me, or should I say lack thereof. This guy is over every time he steps into the ring with fans chanting “Yes” and “No” right along with him yet he has been reduced to a low-mid card star. I don’t know if he’d ever be a huge draw but I am watching guys with much bigger pushes than him get zero crowd reactions while this guy is not only stealing the show in the ring, he is stealing it with his gimmick as well. I’ll gladly admit that he makes me laugh every time I watch him. I love watching the guy and wish they’d do more with him.

– Team Hell No are the best tag team act to come along in years. Nobody has cared about a team in the WWE in years like the fans care about Bryan and Kane. The idea of taking Kane and turning him into a comedy act doesn’t sound enticing on paper. Yet these guys make it work and have tremendous chemistry. It appears that they are on a collision course which I hope gets derailed because I think it is way too soon to break up this act.

– Ryback is going heel shortly. Ryback pulled the ultimate heel move by walking out on his partners, even if it was after the match. The WWE really blew it with him by shooting him into the angle with CM Punk without giving him the title. He’s peaked at this point as a babyface. He does have some real potential as a monster heel and could wind up doing big business with Cena if that is the road they travel to SummerSlam or Survivor Series.

– I love Jack Swagger but it’s too soon. I am a bit of a hypocrite here because I have been complaining for years that they need to do something with Swagger. I just think that this quick push is the wrong idea as has been proven time and time again in the WWE. Anytime they take a guy who has been beaten for awhile and give him a quick top-heavy push, it never works. Fans need awhile to forget about the loser and embrace the new winner as a serious threat. Look at CM Punk as what to do and Swagger’s first title run, The Miz, Ziggler, and countless others of what not to do. I would have loved to see Swagger get a program with someone like Jericho through WrestleMania and then challenge for the title around SummerSlam. As Jeff Ross says, “too soon!”

– The Elimination Chamber is the best gimmick match in the WWE. For the last several years, the Elimination Chamber matches have been fantastic. This year’s was no different and I think the match has gotten to the point where it is even better than the Royal Rumble. This is one of the few matches that I look forward to every year and it gets better with age. Booking is the key and they really booked a great six for this year’s match. I also love the idea of only one match per year. Two on the same show takes away a bit of the luster. Move over Royal Rumble, hello Elimination Chamber.

– CM Punk is at his all-time best. I have never been a big Punk fan but I will be the first to tell you that he is at an elite level right now. I don’t know if there is anyone who has had better heel psychology in the last several years than this guy has right now. Everything he does means something. The way he looks at the crowd, the way he moves, the facial expressions, his ring psychology are all at a different level right now than almost anyone in the business. Maybe he is one of those heels that actually works better without a championship? The combination of he and Heyman get more heat by the week! I don’t know where you go with him after The Undertaker match at WrestleMania but whatever you do, don’t turn this man babyface ever again!

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WWE TLC 2012 Buyrate Released

January 31, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2012 buyrate is one of the more eagerly anticipated buyrates in recent memory. How would the event do without a true main-event? Well, that all depends upon your expectations.

The buyrate is in and I’d say it is…well okay. The show did an estimated 170,000 buys. The number is down from the previous year which featured Alberto Del Rio vs. CM Punk vs. The Miz for the WWE title at 179,000 buys. The show is a much larger dip from the 2010 event which featured the John Cena vs. Nexus conclusion.

One piece of this that does interest me is how the replay did. The show had very low expectations going in but turned out to be one of the better shows of the year. Both The Shield vs. Team Hell No and Dolph Ziggler vs. John Cena turned out to be great matches. I would suspect that a big part of that number came from fans who wanted to catch the replay after reading all of the great reviews.

I’d say the number is a huge disappointment coming off of the number CM Punk vs. Ryback did at the Hell in a Cell which did 200,000 buys. The WWE really caught lightning in a bottle with Punk and Ryback at that particular time, thanks to a John Cena injury. The original main-event for TLC was Punk vs. Ryback in a rematch. I have to think that the number would have been higher with the original main-event.

I’d say that by looking at the card on paper that 170,000 is a fairly respectable number. I am sure having Cena beat Ziggler on RAW before the match didn’t help, but nonetheless they were able to put together a somewhat sensible storyline in a short time for the match.

As for The Shield, I didn’t think there would be that much interest from casual fans in watching these guys debut. I think they are going to have a tougher time than some think of getting over to the mass audience. Unfortunately Daniel Bryan and Kane had been booked as something of a comedy act up to that point which also didn’t help.

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John Cena Is The WWE Royal Rumble 2013 Winner

January 27, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The 2013 WWE Royal Rumble results were probably the most predictable of recent years. John Cena eliminated Ryback to win the Royal Rumble and The Rock won the WWE championship from CM Punk. The two will collide once again at this year’s WrestleMania 29.

This year’s Rumble was worlds more exciting than last year’s with a few surprises. The Rumble started off with the first surprise as Chris Jericho entered at #2 to start off with Dolph Ziggler. I read and heard a lot of rumors before the show but this was not one of them. Jericho was a well kept surprise. Jericho and Ziggler picked right up where their feud left off last fall. Cody Rhodes was third which gave the heels a two-on-one advantage.

Santino Marella was the first one eliminated, shortly after he entered at #5. Goldust was another surprise entry. He and his brother Cody went at it which he’d actually been building up on Twitter. The 2012 Rumble winner Sheamus entered at #11. He eliminated Titus Young and David Otunga quickly. Cody wound up eliminating Goldust. I think there is more to come between those guys with a possible WrestleMania match.

Kofi did a fun spot where he fell onto Tensai’s back outside of the ring but did not touch the floor. Kofi then asked JBL for a chair. Kofi then hopped on the chair like a pogo stick and made it back to the ring. He’s certainly no John Morrison is he? Unfortunately he was eliminated quickly by Cody once he made it back inside of the ring.

The Godfather was another surprise entrant at #17. Unfortunately he was eliminated within seconds by Dolph Ziggler. As a matter of a fact his music was still playing as he got eliminated. This year’s favorite John Cena entered the Rumble at #19 to a mixed reaction which turned to boos when he came in and fought off a bunch of the Rumblers. Cena quickly eliminated Heath Slater and Cody Rhodes. Bo Dallas (the NXT tournament winner) squared off with Cena once Cena settled down. Damien Sandow entered at #20 and went after Dallas. Jericho tried for the Walls of Jericho on Cena with no luck.

Daniel Bryan got a huge “Yes!” chant when he entered at #21. The announcers went out of their way to put over Bo Dallas, so look for some big things out of him in the near future. Daniel Bryan eliminated Kane. Bryan wound up falling into a Kane hug which was a pretty cool spot. Randy Orton entered at #26. Orton RKO’d Zack Ryder and quickly threw him over the top rope. Jinder Mahal got the lucky #27 spot. Cena eliminated Cesaro by backdropping him over the top rope. The Miz (with an injured ankle) entered at #28 and wound up brawling with Cesaro on the floor as Cesaro was heading back to the locker room. Sin Cara returned and entered at #29. Bo Dallas eliminated Wade Barrett, who wound up laying out Dallas on the floor in what looked like the start of a feud. Ryback rounded out the field entering at #30.

Ryback eliminated Sandow, Sin Cara, and The Miz quickly. Ziggler eliminated Jericho by nailing him with a superkick while Jericho was on the apron. Orton laid out Cena, Sheamus, and Ziggler with RKOs. Ryback reversed Orton’s attempt and clotheslined him over the top rope. Sheamus eliminated Ziggler with a Brogue Kick while Ziggler was on the apron.

It came down to Cena, Ryback, and Sheamus. Cena and Sheamus doubled on Ryback. They squared off in what was arguably a disappointing crowd reaction. Sheamus hit White Noise on Ryback. Ryback dumped Sheamus over on a Brogue Kick attempt. Ryback and Cena were the final two. Cena locked an STF on Ryback. Cena carried Ryback to the ropes. Ryback hit a Thesz Press on Cena. Ryback went for a powerslam which Cena reversed and dumped him over to win the Royal Rumble.

This was one of those situations where I think you had to go with the obvious. Other than swerving the fans it made no sense to put anyone over here but Cena. As over as Ryback was it wouldn’t have made any sense at this point to promote him over Cena to the WWE championship match at WrestleMania. I can’t say I’m excited to see Cena headline another WrestleMania, but it is hard to argue against last year’s numbers.

The Rumble match was one of the more exciting Rumbles in recent years. Bo Dallas probably came out of it with more of a boost than anyone. I am curious to see if they play anything off of Cena and Ryback. I predict that Ryback goes heel after WrestleMania and winds up wrestling Cena at SummerSlam.

The Rock ended the sixth longest reign in WWE championship history by defeating CM Punk after 434 days as champ. Punk worked over the midsection most of the match, playing off of the “internal bleeding” that The Rock suffered in his The Shield’s attack. Rock turned things around by going after Punk’s injured knee. Punk reversed a GTS into a Sharp Shooter attempt but Punk rolled it into an Anaconda Vice which didn’t pan out. Rock eventually got the Sharp Shooter on. Punk got a rope break. Punk really sold the knee at this point.

Punk went for a GTS on the Spanish Announcer’s Table. The table actually wound up collapsing. Rock was holding his knee. Rock hit a Rock Bottom on the floor. Both men made it to the back to the ring. Punk nailed a head kick and both men went down. Punk went after Rock’s injured knee. Rock hit a clothesline, spine buster, and went for a People’s Elbow. The lights went out (always happens when Heyman is around doesn’t it?). The Shield attacked The Rock and Triple Powerbombed him through a table on the floor

Punk limped to the floor to drag Rock back into the ring. Punk pinned The Rock for three. Vince McMahon then made his way to the ring. Vince was about to strip Punk of the title before The Rock cut him off, “We aint ending this night like that.” He said he wanted to take the title from him and asked to restart the match. “You heard the man restart the match!”

Punk immediately attacked The Rock. Punk hit a flying elbow off the top rope for a two count. Punk then signaled for the GTS. Rock reversed and hit a spine buster followed by the People’s Elbow for the win and the title in a pretty decent match. The win marks The Rock’s eighth WWE championship. Expect the WWE to get a lot of mainstream publicity for this one.

Unlike previous years there is no anticipation or question regarding what championship Cena will choose to challenge at WrestleMania. This rematch between Cena and The Rock has been in the making for awhile. I can’t imagine it beating the numbers set last year but it is a safe bet nonetheless. The only question I have is whether the WWE will let The Rock be The Rock this time around instead of being more concerned with protecting Cena’s image. I certainly hope the promos are more WrestleMania 27 than 28.

Alberto Del Rio opened up the pay per view with a title defense against The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match. Bret Hart endorsed Del Rio before the match. I thought it was a fun match, yet nothing close to any of the recent Sheamus vs. Big Show matches. The finish of the match came when Del Rio got Show in a cross armbreaker and Ricardo Rodriguez tied up The Big Show to the ropes with duct tape, thus preventing Show from getting up before the ten-count. Michael Cole thought it was “brilliant.”

Overall I thought it was a pretty good show. You aren’t going to find many WWE pay per views as entertaining as this one was from start to finish. Well worth the money if you are holding out for the replay.

Full WWE 2013 Royal Rumble results & winners…
The Rock defeated CM Punk for the WWE championship
John Cena won the 2013 Royal Rumble
Team Hell No defeated Team Rhodes Scholars to retain the WWE tag team championship
Alberto Del Rio defeated The Big Show to retain the WWE world heavyweight title in a Last Man Standing Match
Antonio Cesaro defeated The Miz to retain the WWE U.S. championship

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WWE 2013 Royal Rumble Predictions & Preview

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

This Sunday from Phoenix, Arizona is the most anticipated Royal Rumble in the history of the pay-per-view. The road to WrestleMania begins on Sunday night. We will finally have the WWE Championship match between CM Punk and the Rock. The Rumble match will give us some indication as the direction WWE is going towards WrestleMania.

I consider this pay-per-view one of the most enjoyable and difficult to predict. The WWE title match is 50/50, it could go either way. While there are only a few favorites to win the Rumble, it is still difficult to predict.

However, I will do my best and with that here are my predictions for WWE Royal Rumble 2013.

Preshow: U.S. Champion Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz

This Sunday prior to Royal Rumble, Antonio Cesaro will defend his U.S. title against the Miz.

This match has been building for a while so it should not come as a surprise that this match is happening at Royal Rumble. The only issue I have is that it is on the preshow and not on the main show.

WWE could have had a Divas Championship match or Royal Rumble qualifying match as their preshow instead and moved the U.S. title to the main show.

In any case, I still don’t think it is time for Cesaro to lose his title. He did win the belt during the preshow of SummerSlam, but he has become too big of a superstar to lose it during a preshow.

Also, the Miz has been improving his character as a babyface, but he has not become such a major player that he should be the one to dethrone Cesaro.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro (Still United States Champion)

WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No vs. Team Rhodes Scholars

Once again we will see Team Hell No against Team Rhodes Scholars for the WWE tag team titles.

What will make this time different from other times?

The outcome.

This feud has lasted a very long time, partly due to the fact that they are the only two legitimate tag teams in WWE. There are other teams, but Team Rhodes Scholars have been the only team anyone has ever thought would defeat Team Hell No.

The Royal Rumble would also be the perfect time for Kane and Daniel Bryan to begin to split up as after losing the titles, they can each try to win the Rumble match. It would have seemed less likely for either to win if they were still WWE Tag Team Champions.

Winner: Team Rhodes Scholars (NEW Tag Team Champions)

World Heavyweight Champion Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show (Last Man Standing Match)

Another rematch we will see at the Royal Rumble is the World Heavyweight Championship match between Alberto Del Rio and the Big Show. I have no problem with this match happening again as Big Show deserves a rematch after losing the title. However, there is no reason for this to be another Last Man Standing match.

An “I Quit” match would be preferable, but the repeat of the stipulation actually has me thinking about a possible cash-in.

Honestly, the longer Ziggler holds the Money in the Bank briefcase, the more I think he won’t cash in until after WrestleMania.

However, if someone is laid out for at least ten seconds, it would be the perfect opportunity if Ziggler wants to cash in. In addition, he could theoretically cash in early in the night and then win the Rumble, which would be very interesting.

In the end, I believe WWE is building Del Rio to be their next top Mexican babyface and therefore, will have him keep the title for the foreseeable future.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio (Still World Heavyweight Champion); No Cash-in.

WWE Champion CM Punk vs. The Rock

Finally, the Rock has come back…to challenge the WWE Champion, CM Punk.

The most anticipated WWE title match in Royal Rumble history will come this Sunday and it seems as though people are very mixed in who they think will win.

Will The Rock be the one to end CM Punk’s reign?

My head says The Rock will win, but my heart says he won’t.

Either way, whoever loses, will most likely enter the Royal Rumble and make it to the final four.

With the Shield not allowed to interfere, it seems as though someone else will most likely interfere. The top two candidates to help CM Punk are Brad Maddox and Brock Lesnar. Therefore, my money (figuratively, not literally) is on one of those guys helping Punk allowing him to win.

Winner: CM Punk (Still WWE Champion)

30-Man Royal Rumble Match

John Cena is by far the favorite to win the Royal Rumble match, mostly due to the expected Rock-Cena II match at WrestleMania 29.

However, I don’t necessarily think that the match will happen. I also don’t think John Cena needs to win in order for it to happen.

As I said before, I expect Punk or Rock to be in the Rumble match, whoever loses the WWE title match. I expect Punk or Rock, John Cena and Ryback to be the final three in the Rumble.

Until Big Show lost the World Heavyweight Championship, I would have said Ryback was going to win the Rumble and challenge Big Show. My thoughts and plans hit the fan when Del Rio became the new champion.

I still think it is Ryback who should win the Rumble match. He is being groomed to be a top star in WWE and a Royal Rumble win would be perfect for him. I am just not sure how WWE plans on using him at WrestleMania now.

It is also possible that the loser of the Rock-Punk match wins the Royal Rumble. I think a triple threat match involving Cena, Rock and Punk for WrestleMania would be much better than Cena-Rock II.

Therefore, I hope Ryback wins, but I think the winner will be Cena, Rock or Punk.

Winner: John Cena OR Loser of the WWE Championship Match

What do you think of my predictions? Who do you think will be the winners at WWE Royal Rumble 2013?


Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and host of OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW!? PWPRadio’s weekly radio show covering all wrestling news and rumors. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out

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WWE Royal Rumble 2013 Predictions and Preview

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

Wrestling fans, it’s that time of year again. We are about to embark on that march to Wrestlemania 29 which takes place in April at the Metlife Stadium in New Jersey. As there are prep races for horse racing’s’ Kentucky Derby (100 days away), WWE has its PPVs to prepare its fans for the “Granddaddy of them all.” The first PPV they start with, is the Royal Rumble.

The Royal Rumble PPV features several matches as the under card, the two title matches, and a couple of lower level matches. The main event is the 30 Man Royal Rumble. Two men start, and in 90 second intervals, another man joins the battle, till all 30 participants have been entered. Eliminations are done when a competitor is thrown over the top rope, and BOTH FEET hit the floor. The winner of this match goes on to main event Wrestlemania for one of the WWE/World Titles.

Past Rumble winners have been from up and coming talent to established stars. I personally prefer an up and coming talent win the Rumble as they “need” the win more. Superstars such as a young HBK, HHH, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Edge, Undertaker, and even Vince McMahon have won this match. Chyna and Beth Phoenix are the only two women to have entered the Rumble.

This year’s Royal Rumble takes place this Sunday, January 27, 2013, at the US Airways Arena in Phoenix, AZ. The buildup to the card has been hit or miss. Only the two Title matches have gotten any sort of attention, particularly the WWE Title. I think on the Raw go home show, the PPV was forgotten. I still can not get John Cena’s horrible promo out of my head.

That being said, here are my predictions for this Sunday’s Royal Rumble:

YouTube Match: WWE United States champion Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz

I am very non-committal on this match. I am still not into the anti-American gimmick that Cesaro is doing. They did this with Bret Hart in 1997, and Cesaro is no Bret Hart. Miz is alright as a face. It seems forced.

Prediction: Cesaro wins

WWE Tag Team Championship: Team Hell No (c) vs. Team Rhodes Scholars

This feud has been a lot of fun. I am enjoying it. Who knew that Bryan and Kane could take an anger management angle, and make it terrific? I love it. I just LOVE Team Rhodes Scholars. I like Sandow a lot. He is so awesome. Poor Cody and that mustache he has. However, he does a great job.

Prediction: I am thinking there will be a title change here. Team Hell No will somehow implode, and Team Rhodes Scholars will be your new Tag Team Champions.

World Championship in a Last Man Standing Match: Alberto Del Rio (c) vs. Big Show

This feud has been alright. I am loving Del Rio as a baby face. Before he came to WWE, I believe he had played a babyface for years in Mexico, so it seems like the baby face role suits him well. Big Show is Big Show. I do hope that this match is the blow-off to this feud.

Prediction: I am thinking that Del Rio retains. He just got the title. It would make no sense to give Show the title back. My pick is Alberto Del Riiiiiiiiiiioooo. My apologies to Ricardo, as I just had to do that.

WWE Championship with the stipulation that if the Shield interfere, CM Punk (c) will be stripped of his title: CM Punk (c) vs The Rock

This feud has been awesome. Both guys has been on point with their promos. Paul Heyman has been gold. Glad to see him back. I am not the biggest Punk fan, but got to give him respect.

Prediction: The Rock is going into the match “injured” because of the Shield’s attack. That gives him an out for losing the match which I think he will. Paul Heyman’s taking that very annoying (in my opinion, X-Pac heat annoying) Brad Maddox under his wing is a wild card. Vince said the Shield’s banned, but said nothing about Maddox. I wonder if Maddox plays a role to cost Rock the match.

Anyway, I still think Punk’s long reign continues, so Punk wins one way or another.

The 30 Man Royal Rumble

Several men have declared themselves for the Rumble. WWE could go all sorts of ways. Dolph Ziggler could win, and essentially have two shots at becoming champion, as he still has the MITB briefcase. WWE seems to be behind Ryback, so he could be a possibility. Of course, there are the old guard, such as Randy Orton and John Cena.

Prediction: I am going to guess that John Cena takes it. Cena is rumored to have a rematch with the Rock at Mania. Of course, I thought that match at Mania 28 was supposed to be “ONCE in a Lifetime,’ but silly me. The Rock could win the WWE Title at Elimination Chamber and the rematch would be for the WWE Title.

Predictable, but that is what I think happens. Cena doesn’t NEED the win, but that is whom I think WILL.

Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

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WWE Wrestler of the Week: January 11th -17th, 2013

January 18, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

This week’s WWE Wrestler of the Week is not just one superstar, but two. I am not cheating in any way because this week the winner is a tag team. Although Alberto Del Rio shocked us all when he won the World Heavyweight Championship, he didn’t have a match at all on Raw. On the other hand, our tag team winners were successful in matches on both Raw and SmackDown, in addition to another hilarious backstage segment on Raw. This week’s winners are Kane and Daniel Bryan, also known as Team Hell No.

On the edition of SmackDown that aired on January 11th, Team Hell No faced off against the Prime Time Players. Although the PTPs were the number one contenders for the tag titles not long ago, Team Rhodes Scholars have taken their place. As a result, the PTPs have become another jobbing tag team. This match was not any different. Kane delivered a chokeslam to Darren Young for the win. This match seemed like it was just another excuse to give Team Hell No an easy win and some TV time. Prime Time Players are not a serious threat to the tag titles at this time.

On Raw’s 20th anniversary show, Team Hell No were in separate singles matches against Team Rhodes Scholars, but before we discuss those matches, the highlight for me came backstage.

Dr. Shelby made his return to WWE TV for a follow up session with Kane and Daniel Bryan on their anger management. Shelby brought in Team Rhodes Scholars to provoke Team Hell No, but instead they seemed to provoke Shelby. Team Hell No’s therapist was amusing as usual, getting frustrated with Rhodes Scholars so much that he joined Kane and Daniel Bryan in a YES! chant.

I’ve said this when Dr. Shelby first began appearing on WWE TV and I will say it again – he should be Team Hell No’s manager. I understand that Kane and Bryan don’t need a manager. They are entertaining all on their own and don’t need someone to do their mic work for them. However, Shelby just adds more funny and entertaining aspects to the situation. It could also eventually lead to Shelby turning on Team Hell No and managing Rhodes Scholars when they win the tag titles. Book it.

In terms of Team Hell No’s matches on Raw, Kane faced off against Damien Sandow. Once again, Kane delivers a chokeslam to claim victory over his opponent. Kane continues to dominate in both singles and tag team action as if he was a young, more successful Isaac Yankem. I find it interesting that Kane and Undertaker have been some of the most reliable superstars who continue to work healthy as ever. Even when their characters get old, they make a tweak to keep themselves fresh and relevant. Lucky WWE.

Daniel Bryan took on Cody Rhodes in a match on Raw, which resulted in another win for Team Hell No when Bryan made Rhodes tap out to the Yes Lock. Bryan should be pushed as a main event star sometime in 2013, but he is a professional who will be successful in any situation. He was especially funny when he mentioned how he likes how Kane is able to light things on fire simply by lifting in his arms for whatever reason. Kane returned the favor by complementing Bryan’s beard. As a beardsman myself, I appreciate Bryan’s beard and love how his and Cody Rhodes’ moustache are very over with the crowd. This proves you don’t even need to be that great of a character as long as you have facial hair. If only Skinner were so lucky.

That’s it for this week’s edition of WWE Wrestler (or tag team) of the Week. Do you agree with this week’s winner? Why or why not?


Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report andhost of OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW!? PWPRadio’s weekly radio show covering all wrestling news and rumors. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out

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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 ( and Facebook (

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The Camel Clutch Blog WWE 2012 Year In Review

December 27, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The World Wrestling Entertainment certainly had an exciting 2012. The WWE saw the dominance of a champion, the breakout of new stars, & several surprises in and out of the ring. Rather than look back myself at the WWE 2012 in review, I am joined by a collection of pro wrestling writers from

WWE Wrestler of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – CM Punk: It is hard to argue with CM Punk in 2012 and this comes from someone who isn’t the biggest fan of Punk. If you are basing this on success in the ring, there was nobody better in the WWE. He went undefeated for the year as WWE champion. In the ring I think it was arguably his most solid year. Punk had tremendous matches with Ziggler, Cena, and Bryan specifically. On top of that he segued from babyface to heel without missing a beat! While I do think Ziggler had the best year inside of the ring I think Punk gets the edge as undefeated champion.

Jeff Peck – CM Punk: When you hold the WWE Championship for over a year in this current era of professional wrestling then there is no one else who should be honored as the WWE Wrestler of the Year. CM Punk was given the ball to run with heading into 2012 and I thought he has done a fantastic job of changing the landscape in the WWE throughout the year. This was a career year for Punk and he deserves the unanimous recognition as the WWE Wrestler of the Year.

Dustin Nichols – CM Punk: As much as I wanted to give the nod to another man this year (if for no other reason than the sake of variety), my vote once again goes to the current WWE Champion, CM Punk. Punk has been champion for over a year now, breaking several records in the process. In addition to that, he has had amazing matches with each and every single opponent he’s been given, knocking them all down in the process. When Punk returned from his two-week hiatus last year, one thing he stated was that he wanted to make the WWE title mean something again, and I think it’s safe to say he’s done just that. Despite some hiccups here and there, Punk has made the most of everything he’s been given, and has truly solidified his status as a main eventer and a star player in the process.

Thomas Holzerman – Daniel Bryan: This is easy. It’s Daniel Bryan. It always has been Daniel Bryan. Of course he brought it in the ring. That was never in question. Whether it was on pay-per-view against Mark Henry, Santino Marella (inside the Elimination Chamber), Big Show, Sheamus (except at WrestleMania), CM Punk, the Rhodes Scholars, or The Shield; or on free TV against those opponents plus John Cena or the Prime Time Players, Bryan went full-tilt week in and week out. Many had questions whether he could fully adapt to the WWE style, especially as he moved into the main event, but he’s kept a lot of the things that made him an independent favorite while integrating things that have endeared him to WWE fans. However, it’s out of the ring where he’s shown the most growth. His segments have become must-see, even if they might be death for anyone else. Segments where he had to meet with the shrink over his anger management issues were hilarious and engaging mainly because of what he brought to the table. He and Kane arguably carried RAW during the post-SummerSlam period out of the ring with their interactions with each other. He’s a success story, and most of it was by sheer force of his own will. If that doesn’t scream “Wrestler of the Year,” then I don’t know what does.

Seth Guttenplan – CM Punk: Last year CM Punk made a huge impact on WWE with his pipebomb promo that led to him winning the WWE Championship in July and again in November. Since November 2011, Punk has not lost the title. Punk has made history in 2012. He became the longest running WWE Champion in Raw history. 2012 was CM Punk’s year. He went from being the top face of WWE (alongside John Cena) to being the top heel of the company. He made history this year and therefore, he deserves to be WWE Wrestler of the Year.

Eric Darsie – Dolph Ziggler: I might get some heat for it but who had better matches than Dolph Ziggler in 2012 in the WWE?  CM Punk?  Dirt sheets and smart fans are pooping upon his title run.  John Cena?  It all depends on who he faces.  Triple H?  Undertaker?  Brock Lesnar?  The Rock?  Those four men haven’t had enough matches to place them anywhere near as “the Wrestler of the Year,” in my opinion.  Chris Jericho?  If he had a full year, he defiantly would have been in the running.  But for Ziggler, opening the year challenging CM Punk for the WWE title at the Royal Rumble and closing the year defeating John Cena in a Ladder match at TLC to retain his Money in the Bank contract, no one had a better 2012 than Dolph Ziggler.

Giri K – CM Punk: CM Punk! Is there anyone else? Don’t say Sheamus!

Steve Urena – CM Punk: No question about this here.  When you hold the World Championship for an entire Calendar year with matches that make the championship look like the ultimate prize, you get my vote. CM Punk had a stellar year and the matches speak for themselves.  Matches against Dolph Ziggler, Chris Jericho, Kane, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Big Show, and Ryback all stand out as being very entertaining and physical. CM Punk had his breakthrough moment last year and he has definitely become a big star for WWE.

Martin Stezano – Daniel Bryan: After a small blip in the radar at WrestleMania, Bryan started his whole program with Kane, and the two formed Team Hell No and really reinvigorated the tag division. I mean look at how many solid tag teams there are now (Prime Time Players, Rhodes Scholars, Sin Cara and Rey Mysterio, etc). I hope that one day Bryan makes his way back into the WWE Title hunt, which will make his 2013 even better than his 2012.

WWE Story of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – RAW goes to three hours: I had a few different ideas on this one but to me nothing matches up against this one. The other story to me was WWE and TNA wrestlers appearing on each other’s shows (Flair at the HOF and Christian at TNA’s Slammiversary) but in the end neither had this kind of impact. RAW has had its flirtations with three hours but this is the first time the show was expanded on a regular basis. It completely changed the flow of the show with some weeks dragging and some producing the most solid television shows of the year. It is also a move that has the potential to do more impact to overall business than anything else in the WWE. It will be really interesting to see if three hours continues in 2013. I think it does.

Jeff Peck – CM Punk’s lengthy WWE championship reign: There was no bigger story in 2012 then CM Punk holding onto the WWE Championship for over a year. It is such a big story because the WWE just doesn’t do that type of length with a Champion anymore. It used to be a staple in professional wrestling for a Champion to hold onto the title for a long-time but as wrestling continued to evolve so do the length of title reigns. The WWE gave CM Punk the ball to run with the Championship belt for over a year and he did a really good job representing the company as it’s Champion.

Thomas Holzerman – Brock Lesnar returning to the WWE: This would be Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE for me. He left on somewhat acrimonious terms, but his return is proof that money can unburn any bridge. Lesnar’s return was notable in how much of a surprise it was, even up to the moment when he came back to F5 John Cena. Even more interesting has been his sparse use. Nary a mention of Lesnar has been made since his SummerSlam victory over Triple H. What kind of return is WWE getting on their investment? Are we going to get a heavy dose of Lesnar going into WrestleMania season? Will he re-up after Mania? These are all interesting questions as part of a story that has been, to me, far more intriguing than any appearances a certain movie star has or will make for them.

Dustin Nichols – CM Punk’s WWE championship reign: I think the story of the year is pretty easy, and that is CM Punk’s historic reign as WWE Champion. Yes, there were other big stories like Ryback’s rise and Brock Lesnar returning part-time to the WWE, but I don’t think either of those were as big as Punk’s run as champion. Not only has he had match after match that could be considered a MOTY while holding the WWE title, but he has also helped rebuild credibility to the championship while continuing to hold it for a length of time that is pretty much unheard of in this day and age. As of today, Punk has held the title during this reign for 404 days, making him the sixth-longest reigning champion in a single reign in company history, and the longest-reigning champion on the modern roster, beating John Cena’s longest reign by 24 days thus far. Plus, he clocks in at 10th place for most days as champion across his two reigns, putting him at 431 days. This is a feat we may not see for a very long time, and I doubt anyone on the current roster will bump him off his spot.

Seth Guttenplan – Jerry Lawler’s heart attack: While initially I was thinking CM Punk’s title reign, I am going to choose an out of the ring incident – Jerry Lawler’s heart attack. Although this story occurred on September 10th, it has had a lasting effect on WWE. Prior to this incident, Michael Cole was a heel announcer who at times was feuding with Jerry Lawler. This incident turned Cole face and aside from his botching lines recently, Cole is much more entertaining and respected as a face commentator. Jim Ross filled in for Lawler while he was recovering and JBL returned to commentary as well. The trio of Lawler, Cole and JBL has been on commentary for pay-per-views recently. This is a good thing as we continue to have our classic Cole and Lawler combo, but now with a true heel color commentator. Jerry Lawler’s heart attack showed how well WWE handles serious situations under pressure. Cole was a professional and WWE had the right people there to take care of Lawler and follow the correct protocol. Lawler’s heart attack was also used in a storyline to give Punk and Paul Heyman even more heat than they already had. While questionable, the segment was effective. Finally, Lawler’s heart attack will have effects on how older wrestlers. Ric Flair may be used differently after Lawler’s incident. While Lawler’s heart attack occurred towards the end of the year, it will have a lasting effect on the wrestling business.

Martin Stezano – The influx of new talent: I know I’m going to seem like I didn’t watch any wrestling before like November this year, but I think the story of the year is the new influx of talent we are seeing every week in the WWE. It started with Dolph’s win at MITB and the seemingly real commitment to take his character to the next level. The arrivals and pushes of Antonio Cesaro and Damien Sandow helped too. Ryback’s rise to WWE title contender has been fun to watch (even if he stole from Goldberg, who wasn’t an original character to begin with anyway), but the last few weeks have really surprised me.

Eric Darsie: CM Punk’s WWE championship reign: Though it hasn’t made the impact we thought we’d see, how often these days do we fans go crazy if someone holds a championship title for more than a few months?  I feel like Punk holding onto the WWE title for over 400 days has to be the WWE Story of the Year because it’s once story we cannot put the final touches on until after it is written.  Look at when Cena held the title for 380 days; look at Diesel when he held it for 358 days.  We can’t see how successful CM Punk’s title reign is until after we see the full stats of ratings, buy rates, etc., until he finally loses the title.

Steve Urena – Brock Lesnar returns to the WWE: After Brock Lesnar’s crushing defeat to Allistair Overeem , a lot of wrestling fans entertained the notion of a Brock Lesnar return to WWE. A lot of people thought it would never happen due to the lawsuit and the walkout of Brock Lesnar in 2004. Then it happened, the night after Wrestlemania.  John Cena calls out the Rock and all you hear is Terminator like music of Brock Lesnar. Everyone went crazy and it was great.  WWE’s homegrown ass kicker returned leaving many fans drooling over who his next opponents will be.

Terri Bey – Edge going into the WWE Hall of Fame: My selection for Story of the Year of 2012 for WWE happened the night before Wrestle Mania 28 at the WWE Hall of Fame at the American Airlines Arena. Eleven time World/WWE Champion Edge, who was forced to retire on April 11, 2011 due to spinal stenosis in his neck became the youngest inductee to the WWE Hall of a Fame at age 38. He joined Mil Mascaras, Mike Tyson, Ron Simmons, Yokozuna, and the Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Tully Blandchard, Arn Anderson, Barry Windham, and J.J Dillon ). It is the story of the year, in my opinion, because even though it is a huge honor, and with his accomplishments, he certainly would get in anyway, but one gets a sense that he could have done more. Had he not gotten the neck condition, I think he really could have had a couple more productive years. It kind of reminds me of former 49ers QB Steve Young. Regardless, it is a great accomplishment for Edge to have had a 20 year career (he started at 17), and finally wind up in WWE, and end up in WWE’s Hall of Fame. That’s my pick for story of the year.

WWE Match of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena from Extreme Rules 2012: Triple H vs. The Undertaker will probably be the popular choice but this was my personal favorite. I don’t know if it was the hype, the intrigue, or just the excitement of seeing Brock back but this worked on every level. The match played out in the ring exactly as you’d expect a match between a former UFC fighter who knows how to wrestle would against an experienced WWE wrestler. It was one of the most brutal matches of either man’s careers and blew away Brock’s other match with Triple H. I know Cena won and I know that will tarnish the match for some, but for me it didn’t get better than this in 2012.

Jeff Peck – The Rock vs. John Cena WrestleMania 28: I know the match wasn’t pretty but there are very few matches nowadays that get fans actually excited to watch them. In the same sense there are very few matches nowadays that fans don’t know who will actually win. That was The Rock & John Cena from WrestleMania 28 and in my opinion it lived up to that “super bowl match” type of feel. When we look back at this match historically it will be up there with Rock vs. Hogan from WrestleMania 28 due to the sheer “dream match” moment that we strive for as wrestling fans.

Dustin Nichols -CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan No DQ from Money in the Bank 2012: Honestly, I could make a case for Sheamus/Ziggler on Smackdown! on June 19th. Although most people have forgotten about it, it was a brutal, fast-paced 15-minute match that saw Ziggler and Sheamus just pound the living hell out of each other, highlighted by Ziggler bumping like an absolute lunatic. However, as much as I enjoyed that match, I’m giving the nod to Punk/Bryan’s No DQ match at Money in the Bank (w/AJ as special referee). Although their Over the Limit match was tough to beat, Punk and Bryan took a look at it and said, “We can still do better”. Guess what? They did just that. In addition to the great love triangle story involving AJ that was on prominent display during the match, Punk and Bryan absolutely tore into each other for nearly a half-hour. Yes, there were plenty of weapons and whatnot used, but these two proved that this kind of match can be brutal without relying on weapons as a crutch. In addition to the brutal weapon shots, they traded countless holds and simply beat the living hell out of each other with their hands and fists for a bulk of the match. People had been dreaming about these two guys headlining a major PPV for a major title for years, and when Punk & Bryan were given that opportunity, they basically told everyone that doubted them, “THIS is why we’re here. We dare you to say we don’t deserve it now.” Although these two had fought in several amazing matches this year, the culmination of the feud was, in my opinion, their best outing.  Add in AJ playing the psychotic, love-torn referee who added just enough to the match without distracting from the competitors (a nearly impossible feat in guest referee matches), and everything clicked just right that night.

Thomas Holzerman – The Shield vs. Team Hell No and Ryback TLC Match from TLC 2012: I haven’t seen every WWE match I wanted to see this year yet, so this is a bit of an incomplete choice. However, of those I have seen, I have to go with the best match at the last pay-per-view event WWE put on this year, the six man match between the Shield and the freedom force consisting of Bryan, Kane, and Ryback. This was a pitch perfect brawl for what the tone of the Shield’s mission in WWE has been so far. It was chaotic, hardcore, and most-importantly, smart. If their aim was to make the Shield look like a trained force of strategic killers, they hit it with flying colors. Plus, the big bumps in this match were epic, especially Seth Rollins going from the ladder through the two tables.

Steve Urena – HHH vs The Undertaker w/HBK as referee WrestleMania 28: No other match this year had as much emotion and great storytelling as this match. I was on the edge of my seat for the entire thing and it suspended my disbelief and took me on an emotional roller coaster. Sure there were other great matches this year but this one had raw emotion.

Seth Guttenplan – The Rock vs. John Cena WrestleMania 28: While The Undertaker and Triple H’s end of an era match may have taken home the Slammy Award for Match of the Year, my WWE Match of the Year belongs to two different legends or future legends of wrestling – John Cena and the Rock. Plus, unlike the end of an era match, the once in a lifetime match was unpredictable. I never doubted for a minute that Triple H would defeat the Undertaker at WrestleMania 28. However, it was really difficult to predict the winner between John Cena and the Rock. If John Cena won, the Rock would disappear for some time and Cena could proudly brag about defeating the Great One. If the Rock won, where would it leave Cena? And how would the Rock follow up his win? Well, WWE provided us with answers. Brock Lesnar came back to feud with Cena. The Rock, on the other hand, stated his next goal was to become WWE Champion again. The Rock will have the opportunity to become WWE Champion in just a few weeks, while John Cena is still John Cena. Whenever you have two icons facing off at WrestleMania, and they deliver the way Cena and Rock did, you have the WWE Match of the Year.

Eric Darsie – WWE Championship match: CM Punk (champion) defeated Chris Jericho from WrestleMania 28: Even though this match was buried underneath the Undertaker versus Triple H inside the Hell in a Cell and the Rock taking on John Cena at WrestleMania, this match had to be one of the most underrated matches at ‘Mania.  If it wasn’t for the Rock’s return at WrestleMania and if something would of went wrong inside the Hell in a Cell, this match between Punk and Jericho would of stolen the show.  Watching it back, easily an overlooked classic.

Giri K – Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar SummerSlam 2012: Lesnar vs. Helmsley was not a traditional pro wrestling match. As one of my friends put it, Lesnar was like a dog that just won’t let go of the shin. He attacked Helmsley’s arm throughout the match (May I draw comparisons with Vader-Sting Slamboree 94?). Right from the start Lesnar had only one intent; break Helmsley’s arm and make him submit. As such, the match may not have crescendoed; it stayed flat, which was slightly disappointing. Only slightly. But then that’s how real fights are supposed to look right? You don’t suddenly get a second wind, hulk up, and pick up a victory. You hang on and stick to the basics. Lesnar – Helmsley did just that.

WWE Angle of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena: I think you can tell by this point how big of a fan I was of this angle and this match. I loved every part of this.  Starting the angle off with Lesnar F5’ing Cena and kicking his hat set a tremendous tone to the entire angle. The whole idea of Cena not  being afraid to admit he was scared and Brock coming back to beat up the illegitimate wrestler was gold. Both also cut the best promos of the year in my opinion on both sides of a feud. . It didn’t hurt that you started the angle off in front of the hottest RAW crowd of 2012 also didn’t hurt.

Jeff Peck – The return of Brock Lesnar: The night after WrestleMania 28 will go down as one of the best “night after WrestleMania RAW’s” for sometime. The crowd in Miami was one of the most historically classic wrestling crowds of all-time and the moment of Brock Lesnar returning to the WWE was just amazing. The best part about this moment is that a week before no one even knew about a potential Brock Lesnar return, it just sort of happened days leading up to WrestleMania 28. Lesnar’s music hit, the crowd went nuts and the rest was history.

Dustin Nichols – (Tie) AJ/Punk/Bryan love triangle & The Shield: Unfortunately, this one is harder to pick. Although we got some great matches and some great new stars this year, the angles themselves were mostly forgettable. However, there were two that really stood out for me. First is the aforementioned is the AJ/Punk/Bryan love triangle that also featured Kane on a few occasions. Everyone was excellent in their roles, and AJ really came into her own as a standout performer. The other one is the most recent invasion of The Shield. Although the angle is still in its infancy, I think it’s off to an excellent start and will only get better. The Shield features three men that fans have been clamoring to get their call-up to the main roster for some time now, and instead of just bringing them up as regular talents, they have immediately been thrust into the main angle on RAW involving WWE Champion CM Punk. Not many young, up-and-coming stars get such a major break so quickly, and Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose & Roman Reigns are all making the most of their time. Now, this obviously could change down the road (see: The Nexus), but for now, it’s a very intriguing storyline that has everyone talking, and that’s a good sign of things to come.

Thomas Holzerman – Daniel Bryan and Kane: Going from my choice of Wrestler of the Year, it’s gotta be Kane and Bryan going from enemies to frenemies to best of friends. There was not a dud segment between the two guys all year. They grew together to become a legitimately great tag team in the ring. Plus, there were a lot of great moments. No matter who you are, it tugged at your heartstrings when they hugged it out. In a company where storytelling isn’t much of a strong suit all the time, they got this angle right.

Seth Guttenplan – Team Hell No Go To Anger Management: What was one of the biggest criticisms of WWE over the last few years? The divas division and the tag team division. Well, WWE fixed one of those problems and it all started with anger management. After watching Daniel Bryan freak out and show off his anger as most frustrated wrestlers do, WWE sent him to anger management. However, he was not alone. WWE sent Kane as well. The anger management angle with Kane, Daniel Bryan, Dr. Shelby and others were by far the most entertaining, hilarious and creative segments on WWE TV this year.  There has yet to be another team capable of stopping Team Hell No, but the anger management, diner and overall harmony of Kane and Daniel Bryan give them the WWE Angle of the Year.

Steve Urena – The Rise of Ryback: Fans have been clamoring for a new star and this year we got one in the form of a hungry powerhouse named Ryback. Fans were skeptical of the big man due to his size and him fitting the mold of a stereotypical WWE superstar but he caught on. His catchphrase is as loud as ever and you can tell that he wants it. Ryback came into the fold and was not forced down our throats and in 2013 Ryback looks like he will be a big star and title holder for WWE. This was just one of my favorite storylines this year and the fans were into it.  Yes diehard wrestling fans may hate Santino Marella, but I am a fan. The guy is always entertaining, always gets a reaction, and works his ass off. So when Randy Orton couldn’t compete in the Elimination Chamber a lot of fans cried in anger that his replacement was Santino Marella, but I knew he would take advantage of the opportunity and deliver. The match was amazing and the fans were so loud hoping for Santino to win. He showed that he could hang with the main eventers and I hoped that this would mean a chance for Santino to be elevated. I was wrong but like Santino I won’t give up on the guy and I hope in 2013 he breaks through to the next level and gets back up there.

Honorable mention:  Santino Marella becomes the Milan Miracle at Elimination Chamber

Eric Darsie – CM Punk demanding respect: There weren’t that many angles I felt were memorable in 2012 and since the 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw, CM Punk has been on a rampage demanding respect.  Granted seeing the Rock back and having his match with John Cena at WrestleMania was huge but that match didn’t live up to what people expected.  For the second half of 2012, CM Punk gave us fans something to hate him for, him being a jerk for being the longest reigning champion in 20 years.  To me, this has to be the WWE Angle of the Year.

Martin Stezano – The Shield: For me, the best angle of the year, by far, was The Shield. I know it came on late, and it’s still in its infancy, but I haven’t been this interested in an angle since CM Punk’s MITB match against John Cena. That angle made me buy a PPV for the first time in years and years, and The Shield is really making me want to tune in to every show again.

WWE Breakout Star of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Dolph Ziggler: Now I know that Ziggler has been around for awhile and is even a former champion but I think that 2012 was really the year that made Ziggler. His record was nothing impressive but the guy hit on all cylinders every time he was in the ring. I can’t think of another guy who had very good-great matches every night as much as Ziggler had in 2012. Starting of 2012 he was perceived as just another guy. Ending the year he is seen as one of the big stars heading into 2013.

Jeff Peck – AJ Lee: AJ Lee was the breakout star nobody saw coming until she was directly in our face and when she was, we realized how good of a performer she truly is. The best thing about AJ Lee is that she also broke out without ever winning a Divas Championship this year; she didn’t need the title because she was that good of a wrestling persona. To me, the sky is the limit for year in 2013 and that in this coming year we will also be making comparisons of her being a “modern day Miss Elizabeth.”

Dustin Nichols – Dolph Ziggler: This one is going to be the hardest for me, as there are a lot of stars right now in WWE who are right on the verge of breaking out. My main choice has to be Dolph Ziggler. Although Ziggler has always been a great talent and seemingly on the cusp of breaking into the upper echelon of WWE, he’s always come so close, only to have his push put on the backburner. Now, however, there seems to be more intent than ever to get Ziggler solidified as a main eventer. He has been having the year of his career in 2012, headlining several PPVs, winning MITB and being the sole survivor in his match at this year’s Survivor Series, just to name a few of the highlights. Rumor has it WWE is very much behind him in making him one of the top heels in the company, and may have him successfully cash in his briefcase before the year is out. Other noteworthy talents have been both members of the Rhodes Scholars-Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow, as well as the returning Wade Barrett (who is another favorite behind-the-scenes, reportedly). Although Sandow is still in his infancy as far as his character goes, he’s a pet project of Triple H, and I have a feeling he is going to see some major success in 2013. As for Rhodes and Barrett, I honestly would not be surprised if either or even both were holding the main championships by the end of next year. I used to slag on Rhodes a lot, but he’s really grown on me over the last year or so, and has really come into his own as an excellent worker and a great all-around performer. He went from a generic heel to an intelligent, calculating narcissist over the last couple of years, and the transition was seemless. Sandow has been one of the most over heels from the very beginning, and I absolutely love his gimmick. Barrett had a rough start this year, spending most of the year out with an injury, but he has come back with a new demeanor (and thankfully, a new finisher), being repackaged as badass bare-knuckle fighter who not only wants to fight, but loves to do so. This is the exact kind of edge Barrett has needed for a while, and he’s really been coming into his own over the last few months.

Thomas Holzerman – Antonio Cesaro: Ryback might be the obvious choice to most, but really, he was given all the tools to succeed. My choice is Antonio Cesaro. He spent the first part of his WWE call-up as fodder between a NPC feud between Teddy Long and Aksana, but from there, he made us forget he was even attached to that story. He has pretty much made the Festivus Feats of Strength an all-year thing with his Neutralizer, and just when you start to admire him for the sheer spectacle of his deadlift finisher or at how he can shoehorn a spectacular European uppercut counter into a match, he plays the anti-American character with such an understated panache. It’s way too subtle for WWE, but it works because he’s so good.

Seth Guttenplan – (Tie) Ryback, Daniel Bryan and AJ Lee: Ryback re-debuted after WrestleMania and has not looked back. He spent a few months squashing jobbers and then was instantly pushed into the main event scene. When Mick Foley and CM Punk had a stare down that left the hardcore legend on the ground, Ryback inserted himself into the feud. Since then, Ryback has been feuding with Punk in the main event of the past few months, but unable to win the championship. Daniel Bryn began the year as World Heavyweight Champion until he lost the title in 18 seconds to Sheamus at WrestleMania 28. Since then, Bryan has become the most over superstar in WWE. He feuded with CM Punk over the WWE title in some of the best matches of the year. After the feud, he helped reignite the tag team division with Kane, as discussed earlier. Let’s also not forget about how he has the most popular catch phrase since Stone Cold Steve Austin’s “What!?” AJ Lee may be the dark horse in this competition, but think about where she was in April and where she is now. She began as Daniel Bryan’s girlfriend who he mistreated. Then, she began the whole crazy chick angle, which continues today. She left Bryan at the altar to become the Raw general manager. Most recently, she was associated with the top star of WWE in John Cena until she turned heel at WWE TLC 2012. AJ has certainly made strides this year and 2013 may be an even bigger year for her.

Steve Urena – AJ Lee/ Ryback/Daniel Bryan: Yes a three way tie. AJ Lee became the top diva for WWE this year after relative obscurity last year on NXT and Smackdown. She brought a new take on what a diva should be this year and fans were attracted to it. Ryback I already explained in the WWE angle of the year and Daniel Bryan was made this year. He held the World title for the first part of the year in great matches against giants like Mark Henry and The Big Show and after losing to Sheamus at Wrestlemania the entire WWE Universe took notice of Bryan.  Yes he was loved by the internet and hardcore wrestling fan faithful , but this year he became mainstream.  He turned everything he was in this year into gold and made himself  a true WWE superstar.

Martin Stezano – Dean Ambrose: All due respect to Dolph Ziggler, but the breakout star of this year, for me anyway, is Dean Ambrose. I’d heard a little bit about Ambrose during his FCW/NXT days, including catching a bit of his feud against William Regal (Steven? The Real Man’s Man?), but I never saw enough of him to truly see that star potential. I’m sure if I had tuned into FCW more, I soon would have seen what he has to offer.

Giri K – Antonio Cesaro: Antonio Cesaro has done something most other superstars have failed to do. He brings respectability to the WWE US Championship. He may not have had the fan fare associated with breakout stars, but he is firmly ensconced in our psyches. No squashes. No mindless pushes. But he looks strong and here to stay.

You can follow Jeff Peck on Twitter at To listen to more Wrestling awards for 2012 tune into “The Still Real to Us Show’s” 2012 End of Year Wrestling Awards show available for download on Thursday December 27th at WrestleChat.Net &

Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.

Martin Stezano is a lifelong wrestling and sports fan. You can read more from him at his sports blog,, and check out his lighthearted look at his corporate day job at

Seth M. Guttenplan is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Reportand host of OH YOU DIDN’T KNOW!? PWPRadio’s weekly radio show covering all wrestling news and rumors. To read more from Seth follow him on twitter (@sethgutt) and check out

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at,, and on Twitter @IAmDarsie.

You can email Steve Urena @ [email protected] or follow him on twitter @SteveUrena

As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter at ,and if you like Married…With Children, you can follow my Al Bundy parody account at Also follow my personal blog at (feedback is welcome). Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out my mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

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Terri Bey currently blogs for about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for Terri can be found here at Facebook- and at Twitter-

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