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WWE WrestleMania 31 Predictions and Preview

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

WrestleMania 31 is finally here and the big event will go down this Sunday March 29. The WWE card is arguably the most shallow in years, yet there are a few matches to get excited about. Topping last year’s event will be a heavy feat yet the lineup has the potential to certainly exceed expectations.

The beauty of this year’s WrestleMania show for WWE management is that expectations are probably lower than they have been in years. There is no real dream match or scenario to get excited about nor is there a compelling storyline that has fans waiting for a conclusion. Yet the roster is solid and in terms of excitement, I have a feeling most will come away from Sunday night feeling that they got their $9.99 worth.

Let’s take a look at how the main card shapes up, breakdown some matches, and make some predictions for the biggest WWE event of 2015.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE world championship – We all think we know how this one is going to play out yet it could go in a few different directions. Now that Brock Lesnar has re-signed with the WWE, a world of booking options have opened up. The WWE dodged a real bullet by avoiding a lame duck WWE champion situation at Mania.

I think the match itself could be better than people expect. A lot of it comes down to what it follows. If it is following Sting vs. Triple H and Hunter and Sting deliver a fantastic ending, this match could be D.O.A. If there is a buffer between the main-event and the other big matches, I think fans will be more receptive to it. The match placement is critical to this one like no other on the show.

Roman Reigns is expected to win the title here. The win over the Undertaker last year was used to put Brock in a spot to give Roman the ultimate win here. Yet I don’t think anyone will argue that Reigns is not over and could be set up to be a dismal failure as WWE champion. There are also the rumored heel turn scenarios out there which I think are stronger now that Brock is staying.That said, I think the WWE wants to keep Brock heel looking ahead to a potential Rock vs. Brock match next year. I think WWE take the unpredictable route here which is Brock retaining in a hard fought match. I think the Reigns heel turn is coming but it isn’t going down at Mania. I think the idea here is that Reigns is elevated just by going toe-to-toe with Brock in a hard fought war. Brock retaining is a bit anti-climactic, however I think the idea of Brock going over is that they can buy some time with Reigns and shoot that angle later…even the following night on RAW.

Triple H vs. Sting – Don’t be mistaken. This is the real main-event. For better or worse, this match has far more interest going into Mania than any other match on the show. Even I wasn’t interested in this match back at the Survivor Series, yet I have been drawn in over the last few weeks. Sting’s promos have sealed it for me over the last two weeks. Plus no matter what this looks like on paper, Triple H has delivered excellent matches on the last five WrestleMania shows. I can’t imagine him taking a match with Sting if he wasn’t confident he could pull it off.

I would not be surprised to see some kind of interference from a big ex-WCW star. Maybe it’s Ric Flair or maybe it’s Bill Goldberg, but I think WCW is playing into the match on Sunday. This is a tough one because Sting really should win his first match in a WWE ring. However, Sting’s future is dependent on his performance in the ring so there is no guarantee he wrestles ever again past Sunday. For that I think Triple H goes over, although for all of Hunter’s critics he is 2-3 in his last five Mania matches. My gut tells me that Hunter gets the win here but I think this match turns into the show-stealer.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. championship - I never would have predicted that this feud would be so hot. This feud is so hot that Cena has actually been cheered in recent weeks. These guys have great chemistry together and Rusev has been booked solid for a year leading up to this match. Quite honestly you couldn’t ask for better booking on paper sans the goofy “Russian” lawyer last week on RAW.

Does Cena go over Rusev? That is the real question here. We all thought that Bray Wyatt was beating Cena last year and were stunned when Cena pulled off the upset. I think the money in Rusev is challenging for the WWE world title as the undefeated U.S. champion. That would mean that Rusev beats Cena here and beats him again at Extreme Rules. Cena did put Lesnar over three times but that is Brock Lesnar and he did beat Lesnar once at Extreme Rules 2012. If Roman Reigns is leaving Mania with the belt a championship program with the undefeated Rusev makes the most sense. For that reason I predict that Rusev pulls off the upset here and beats Cena clean at Mania.

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker - I never like the idea of keeping an opponent off of television but I have to admit that keeping the Undertaker off of TV has worked in this one. It has created a ton of intrigue and speculation that you wouldn’t have if he was on TV even just once. I haven’t been a big Bray fan but the promos here have been better but the storyline is just kind of odd to me. The idea that Undertaker would return to answer Bray’s challenges and yet completely ignore the taunting and mockery of Paul Heyman for an entire year makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

I think the match will be fine. I don’t think it will be great but I don’t think it will be bad either. The Undertaker is reportedly in much better shape than people think and he looks ready to go. It’s important that he can still go here as there are a ton of reports that they want him for something much bigger next year at 32. for that reason I think Undertaker wins although I think it may be better for business for Bray to win. I think setting up Bray with a win as Reigns’ first challenger is the better path but I can’t see Taker dropping two in a row at Mania.

Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Dean Ambrose in a Ladder Match for the intercontinental title – Get ready for a wild match here! I am going to keep this one short because we all know what to expect in this one. I would be shocked to see anything less than a great match. I’d expect Bryan and Ziggler to steal the show, although Ambrose certainly has the talent to make his mark as well. Bryan losing to Ziggler twice certainly leads me to think he is winning the match. It makes sense as the WWE can placate his fans by giving him a title, albeit a low-level belt. Regardless, we’ll get a great match, a Yes chant, and a belt around Bryan’s waist. Everyone wins!

Full WWE WrestleMania 31 card and matches…
Brock Lesnar (c) with Paul Heyman vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title Match:
Rusev (c) vs. John Cena for the WWE United States Title Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett (c) in a Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Title
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Sting vs. Triple H
AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins
Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd in a Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Tag Team Titles

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WWE Has No Shame

March 17, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I have only been watching wrestling for the last 8 years or so (3 years fully) and honestly I was too young to remember what happened in the 90s, but even non-wrestling fans know that the WWE has done some pretty despicable thing over the years. Many people constantly complain about WWE (particularly Vince) not paying attention to fans, overlooking Superstars, etc., and they have a right too. Now WWE has the right to do whatever they want on the programming, what they don’t have the right to is putting an end to Indy Wrestling.

 Just recently WWE announced that their NXT brand will soon be doing live touring as its own brand, meaning there’s a new promotion in town, a promotion that can single handedly wipe out Indy Wrestling for good! To add insult to injury, WWE recently sent out a survey asking which wrestling promotion(s) people follow. My question is: do they really have no shame? I think that it’s kind of obvious that WWE’s next true goal is to be the only wrestling (sorry, sports-entertainment) company left standing. WWE gets pleasure from devouring their competitors to bits and pieces; Vince has had a desire for it ever since “the fall of WCW”. It’s a fact that shows how shameless WWE is; they’re kind of like that low-life that’s always in the alley.

Some of the promotions mentioned in the survey (ROH, Dragon Gate USA etc.) have sacrificed so much just to get to where they are now, and now there’s a chance that a “brand” that’s been around for 9 seasons (5 of which that sucked) will drive real Indy wrestling promotions straight into the ground. I will admit, I like NXT, I probably like it more than the next guy but it SHOULD NOT replace Indy Wrestling. Indy Wrestling is a lifestyle, being an Indy fan is a lifestyle.

NXT is not a lifestyle because you don’t support anything while watching it; the guys will get a massive paycheck even if you don’t watch. It’s definitely not the same. Guys risk their bodies just to be at the top and to make the ‘big leagues’. If WWE breaks apart Indy Wrestling then how would wrestlers get to develop their talent, sure they can do the Roman Reigns approach of having a wrestling family but that’s all they have. Tell me, where would so many (former) WWE Superstars be without the Indy circuit, your guess is just about as good as mine!

I write less and less articles now because it is so time consuming but I really had to get this topic out to everyone. WWE will absolutely stop at nothing to bring everything wrestling to its knees. WWE has already started to do it to WWE fans as I wrote in my last article “WWE Fans: The Most Uninformed People in Wrestling”, now Indy Wrestling is the last stop on the ride. That is why I am here writing this article. I want to get people informed that there are other options out there for you. You don’t have to stoop to WWE’s level, once they start touring and you are going to their shows, you are now fighting the battle with them.

They will crush wrestling for good and both you and I know it! The future now rests in our hands. We can decide if we go to their shows or not. It is about time we stand up and ‘fight the man, fight the power’, we have to stop this utterly disgusting act from happening. So I beg of you, don’t help kill Indy Wrestling as a whole; it is the last thing some of us fans have before we are stuck with this WWE bullshit. Indy wrestling cannot fight all of its own battle and win without our support. So for the sake of continuing the tradition of Indy Wrestling in the US, go out and support them. No matter how good NXT wrestling may seem, Indy Wrestling will always remain superior to so many people around the world! #SaveIndyWrestling.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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31 WrestleMania Backstage Stories and Urban Legends

March 17, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Some of the best WrestleMania stories weren’t necessarily told inside of the ring. Disagreements, controversies, and changes in plans behind classic WWE matches were kept behind the scenes and kept in the locker room…until now.

31 years of WrestleMania events have produced plenty of headaches for Vince McMahon. It isn’t always easy trying to get WWE stars to do business and it’s even more difficult when you throw in the component of WrestleMania. How Vince McMahon still has a full head of hair is remarkable when you look back at the fires he had to put out.

I thought it would be fun to look back at the stories that never made it to the ring. I have heard plenty over the years through shoot interviews, books, podcasts, and locker room talk. In no particular order of importance here are 31 of what I found to be most the fascinating. Some of these are urban legend, some of these are alleged, most of these true and all are fascinating.

The Big Show vs. Floyd Mayweather WrestleMania 24 - This classic has a few interesting backstage stories behind it. First and maybe the most interesting, the original match was booked to be a mixed tag team match. The original plans had Big Show and Floyd Mayweather penciled in as a team  to wrestle Rey Mysterio and Oscar De La Hoya. De La Hoya turned them down and the match was changed to Rey Mysterio and Floyd vs. Shane McMahon and either Big Show or MVP. Finally the match was changed again when Rey got hurt to the Show vs. Floyd singles match. One more interesting anecdote is that Mike Tyson was furious that Show lost, feeling  that a boxer should not have beaten a wrestler in a wrestling match.

Triple H vs. Sting WrestleMania 31 - The original plans for Triple H were for a WrestleMania rematch with Batista. Batista was supposed to leave in the summer and return for a big Mania program with Triple H. Batista wound up getting a part in an upcoming James Bond movie and pulled out of the match, thus setting up Sting for the spot.

Triple H vs. Daniel Bryan WrestleMania 30 – At one point the WWE had penciled in a match featuring Steve Austin vs. Triple H. The idea would be that Austin was representing Vince in a match to win control of the company. Austin wound up kiboshing the idea when he told the company he wasn’t interested in wrestling. Hunter was then scheduled to wrestle CM Punk while Bryan was penciled in to wrestle Sheamus. Punk walked and thus one of the greatest WrestleMania matches was booked.

Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice WrestleMania 8 – As most know this was originally booked to be Hulk Hogan vs. Ric Flair in the ultimate dream match. The match was even announced at a mock television press conference. Vince wound up changing his mind after the Hogan-Flair match did disappointing house show business.

Shawn Michaels vs. Steve Austin WrestleMania 14 - The WWE Network just did a whole documentary on this so the problems here aren’t exactly a secret. What some may not know is that The Undertaker reportedly had a conversation with Shawn in the locker room regarding rumors about Michaels not wanting to put Austin over. Taker reportedly taped up his fists and made it clear to Shawn that Michaels do what is best for business and put over Austin.

Bret Hart vs. Owen Hart WrestleMania 10 – Arguably the greatest opener in WrestleMania history never would have happened if Bret didn’t go to bat for Owen. The original plan was scripted to program Bret vs. Bruce Hart in the brother vs. brother series. Bret went to management and fought hard for Owen thus sacrificing one brother for another in the spot.

Andre the Giant vs. Hulk Hogan WrestleMania 3 – There was a serious fear that Andre’s health would prevent him from doing the match. Andre’s health was deteriorating badly at the time and the WWE needed a backup plan. Paul Orndorff was plan B. This is why Orndorff turned on Hogan at the time. Orndorff wasn’t booked in anything on the card just in case he needed to be a last minute sub for the giant.

Ricky Steamboat vs. Randy Savage WrestleMania 3 – I don’t know if this goes down as controversial but Steamboat once told me in an interview that Savage had the match scripted out move for move by the time they got to Pontiac. Steamboat said that Savage laid the match out over several pages which was something Steamboat was unfamiliar with as he preferred to call it in the ring.

Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. Roddy Piper & Bob Orton WrestleMania 1 – There was fear that Mr. T would not show up for the match. He was getting cold feet before the match coming out of a confrontation he had with David Schultz at a Los Angeles house show. Piper claims to have cinched up a front facelock which almost passed T out. Piper also flat out refused to put T over. Most speculate Jimmy Snuka was not booked in a match just in case he needed to step into T’s spot if T didn’t show up.

Steve Austin vs. Bret Hart WrestleMania 13 – There are a couple of interesting stories behind this match. The first is that neither Austin nor Bret knew in advance it was going to be a submissions match. Austin said he was red hot when he heard the stipulation announced on television and was worried about having a great match. The other interesting tidbit is that the match was never supposed to happen. Bret was originally booked to wrestle Shawn Michaels in a WM XII rematch. Michaels of course lost his smile and went home thus making himself unavailable for the match. I think things worked out well for everyone in the end.

Roddy Piper vs. Mr. T WrestleMania 2 – Piper took off several weeks to go train with Lou Duva and get in condition for the boxing match. Mr. T obviously did not. Piper’s hands were taped in a fist underneath his gloves. Piper alleges that he was made to tape up his wrists because T didn’t trust him. This was a problem as Piper was supposed to grab the ropes as he went to the floor. Go back and watch the match and you’ll notice Piper awkwardly falling to the floor through the ropes and that was why. His fists were taped in a clench and thus he couldn’t grab the ropes.

The Rock vs. John Cena WrestleMania 29 – What many casual fans don’t know is that The Rock suffered a serious injury in the match. He tore one of his abdomen & adductor muscles off the bone in the middle of the match. Mick Foley remarked in an interview that this was one of the most painful injuries a wrestler could suffer.

Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle vs. Rey Mysterio WrestleMania 22 – Randy Orton was originally booked to win this match and the WWE world heavyweight championship. He did not and that was because he was allegedly caught blatantly smoking a substance that was banned on the wellness policy backstage. He was suspended for unprofessional conduct right after the match.

Roddy Piper vs. Goldust WrestleMania 12 – This legendary match was never in the cards for WrestleMania 12. Goldust was feuding with Razor Ramon at the time. Godlie defeated Ramon for the intercontinental title at the Royal Rumble with the idea of putting a rematch on Mania. Razor wound up unavailable as he was suspended for a Wellness Policy violation before the show and thus the switch was made to Piper.

Bobby Lashley vs. Umaga WrestleMania 23 – The Battle of the Billionaires allegedly almost featured two different wrestlers than Umaga and Lashley. At one point the plan was to pit Booker T vs. Shawn Michaels in the match. Michaels would represent Trump and Booker would represent McMahon. I can only speculate that plans changed when Hunter got hurt and they needed HBK for the main-event against John Cena.

Triple H vs. The Undertaker WrestleMania 27 – This was never the plan going in which is why the storyline came out of nowhere. Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker was actually on the books for WM 27 when Brock was still in the UFC. Vince McMahon was confident Brock could get permission from the UFC to wrestle at Mania. The idea was to put the streak up against the UFC champion. Unfortunately not only did Brock lose his UFC title but UFC president Dana White made it clear that he had no intentions of letting his top draw lose a fake wrestling match at WrestleMania.

Chris Jericho vs. Fandango WrestleMania 29 – Jericho came back at the Royal Rumble as a surprise in what was supposed to lead to a heel turn. The turn would transition him into a high profile match with Ryback at WrestleMania. Vince McMahon allegedly fell in love with the Fandango character and changed plans on Jericho. Jericho was very upset but wound up turning it into a positive and used it as motivation to try and get a great match with Fandango.

Triple H vs. Mick Foley vs. The Rock vs. The Big Show WrestleMania 2000 – Remember how odd it was to see Mick Foley come back for this match just a few months after announcing his retirement? Well that was because it wasn’t necessarily the plan. The original match had booked Chris Jericho in the spot. Vince and company got cold feet about putting Jericho in such a big spot at the time and wound up luring Foley out of retirement for the spot instead.

The Undertaker vs. King Kong Bundy WrestleMania 11 – The streak may have ended here if Vince McMahon had his way. Vince was very high on Bundy at the time and was hesitant on beating Bundy here. The original idea was for Bundy to win with interference. Cooler heads eventually prevailed and Undertaker won but the streak was reportedly in jeopardy here.

Steve Austin vs. Scott Hall/The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan WrestleMania 18 – The original plans here were to book Austin vs. Hogan in a battle of generation icons. Austin wasn’t interested and refused to do the match. Austin worried that the match wouldn’t be good due to Hogan slowing down in the ring. Austin was also concerned with who would do the job. The Rock stepped up and offered to work with Hogan, thus bumping Austin down the card to a forgettable match with Hall.

The Undertaker vs. The Big Show and A-Train WrestleMania 19 – This match changed plans several times thanks to Nathan Jones. Some on the WWE creative end were enamored with Jones’ size while others were scared to death of his inept abilities inside of the ring. The match was changed several times from Jones teaming to not teaming with Taker. Eventually Jones was held out but did make an appearance where he looked every bit as clumsy as some had feared.

Brock Lesnar vs. Kurt Angle WrestleMania 19 – Both of these guys paid a heavy price for this WrestleMania classic. A botched shooting star press reportedly left Brock unconscious for a short portion of the match. But it was Angle who would suffer most as he wrestled with an injured neck throughout the match. Angle was in so much pain that he reportedly collapsed by the time he got to the locker room after the match.

Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena WrestleMania 23 – I remember at the time thinking how odd this match seemed. It didn’t appear to have that genuine organic build that most Mania championship main-events received during this period. That is probably because this wasn’t the original idea. The original idea here was reportedly a rematch between Triple H and John Cena. That was scrapped when Hunter tore his quad in January. It should also be pointed out that the plan the following year was to do the rematch but the company was worried about putting Cena in such a physical match coming off the torn pec so they went with a Triple Threat Match instead.

John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H WrestleMania 24 – According to Hulk Hogan, he was scheduled to wrestle Cena that year at WrestleMania. Take it with a grain of salt because it is Hogan but he claims that he was negotiating a 25-year deal with the WWE that would have included this match. Hogan says that his back went out as he was negotiating and the match fell apart at that point. Hogan has used this story as part of a lawsuit against the surgeons who operated on his back.

Diesel vs. The Undertaker WrestleMania 12 - One urban legend behind this match claims that Nash was supposed to win the match when it was originally booked. The booking was changed of course when Nash told Vince that he was going to WCW. If Nash would have stayed there is a very good chance that the streak would have ended at WrestleMania 12.

Randy Savage vs. Ted DiBiase WrestleMania 4 - Savage defeated DiBiase in the tournament to win the WWE championship which also started one of the greatest builds in WWE history towards a Mania 5 headliner with Savage and Hogan. Was that always in the plans? According to Ted DiBiase it wasn’t. DiBiase claims that he was supposed to win the WM 4 tournament and the title. Savage was supposed to win the intercontinental belt months earlier but the Honkytonk Man refused to put Savage over. Savage wound up going over at 4 as a consolation prize of sorts with DiBiase getting the Million Dollar title to makeup for the change in plans. Ironically DiBiase was also promised the NWA world title at one point and got screwed as well.

Hulk Hogan vs. Sgt. Slaughter WrestleMania 7 - Hogan headlined a memorable WrestleMania match against Slaughter but that wasn’t in the original plans. The original plan was to give the Ultimate Warrior a full year with the WWE championship and rematch Hogan and Warrior at WM 7. Warrior unfortunately did not get over as Vince had expected as champion and called an audible somewhere along the way. This is why Slaughter’s win at the Royal Rumble seemed so sudden.

Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior WrestleMania 6 - I am not sure I buy this one but one urban legend says that this match was not in the original plans. The original booking would have had Hogan vs. Zeus in the Mania 6 headliner. Tiny Lister who played Zeus in No Holds Barred was the first to drop this bomb and has even given interviews telling reporters how much he was supposed to be paid for the match. Imagine how different wrestling history would have been if this plan came to fruition?

Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 14 – According to one urban legend it would have been Bret Hart, not Shawn Michaels doing the favor for Steve Austin if Hart had stayed. The original plan would have had Austin not only getting his win back but getting the WWE championship in the process. In retrospect there is no doubt that things worked out for the better between Mike Tyson and the heel Vince McMahon character coming out of the Montreal Screwjob.

Ric Flair vs. Randy Savage WrestleMania 8 - There is one very important person that wasn’t a fan of this great match and that was Vince McMahon. Blading was not allowed at the time in the WWE and if you remember, Flair bled buckets in this match. Vince reportedly went ballistic on Flair for blading when the Nature Boy got back to the locker room. McMahon was so irate that he came very close to firing Flair on the spot.

Kurt Angle vs. Kane WrestleMania 18 - According to a former WWE writer this was not the original plan for Kurt Angle. The original plan was to book Sting vs. Kurt Angle for WM 18. Sting was negotiating with the WWE and a deal was so close that the writers were told to write him in to the show. Sting was booked to wrestle Kurt Angle who wound up wrestling Kane instead once negotiations fell apart between the Stinger and Vince McMahon. This story explains the quick setup for Angle vs. Kane going into Mania.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WrestleMania 30: A Portrait In Wrestling History

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

WrestleMania XXX
From Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA
April 6, 2014
BACKGROUND
There’ve been angry crowds before in wrestling, but none quite like the hostile horde that was the city of Pittsburgh for the 2014 Royal Rumble. The imaginative and vindictive chants toward Randy Orton and John Cena’s benign World Title match (televised battle no. 6,237 in their lifetime series) were mere child’s play compared to the Royal Rumble match that lay ahead.
A perfect storm flourished from the components of two whirling entities: Daniel Bryan’s exclusion from the 30-man gauntlet, and just-returned (though wholly unwanted) Batista winning the match. The fans in the Steel City unleashed a torrential downpour of anger once Rey Mysterio, the no. 30 entrant, hit the ring, signaling Bryan’s non-participation. Famously, Mick Foley wrote a Facebook editorial following the Rumble, asking unironically if WWE legitimately hated its own fans, the ones who had made Bryan the most unconditionally beloved star arguably since the Attitude Era.
Batista vs. Randy Orton would be the on-paper WWE Championship bout, but the disgusted crowds didn’t end with Pittsburgh. Minneapolis fans at Elimination Chamber booed alleged hero Batista throughout his match with Alberto Del Rio. Crowds across the country relentlessly chanted “CM PUNK”, a callous acknowledgement of the man who walked out of WWE, likely for good, following the Royal Rumble, owing to creative and medical negligence.
With one darling of the discriminating fan benching himself, that left WWE with just Bryan if they wanted to make up for lost goodwill. WWE Network would be finally launching in February, and the pay-per-view model would undergo a significant paradigm shift. To ask jaded fans to drop ten dollars a month for not only a treasure trove of classic wrestling content, but also the monthly pay-per-views at an astronomically-reduced price, was no longer an easy sell.
With WWE fans at their most discontented, and with a very real threat that WrestleMania could be ruined with caustic fan rage, the company had to act.
THE EVENT
Never let it be said that WWE doesn’t listen to the fans. Oh sure, there are times where they completely disregard viewer sentiment, but rarely when staring the lucrative WrestleMania down the loaded barrel.
On March 10, Bryan staged an in-ring demonstration of a couple hundred random fans wearing his t-shirt. At this point, Bryan’s entire story centered around his anger toward Triple H and the Authority for wrecking his main event run in 2013, and the bearded hero was campaigning for a match with “The Game.” When Helmsley and wife Stephanie were unable to quell the vociferous Occupy-esque protest, Bryan was able to goad Triple H into a WrestleMania bout.
Bryan wasn’t finished making demands, and inserted the request that took on the voice of most fans watching: if Bryan beat Triple H, said he, then he wanted to be put into the World Championship bout with Batista and Orton. Past the point of keeping his cool, Triple H agreed to the demand, signaling to the fans that their wish was likely coming true.
A week later, a less-heroic Batista joined Orton in questioning Triple H’s motivation for potentially changing their match on short notice. Angry that the two would even think that Bryan had a chance at being him, Triple H lashed out at his ex-proteges for their whining and lack of faith, and amended the stipulation for his own WrestleMania match: if Helmsley beat Bryan, *he* would be entering the World Title match, thus guaranteeing a triple threat match no matter what.
The day WWE Network launched, another angle would launch itself for WrestleMania. Paul Heyman, on behalf of his client Brock Lesnar, openly lamented that Lesnar wouldn’t be receiving a World Championship match at WrestleMania, and thus put out an open challenge for any wrestler to take on the former UFC Heavyweight Champion on wrestling’s grandest stage. There was even a contract-signing table in the ring to underscore the importance of the challenge.
With such formality at hand, a major opponent was required to answer the call. As is his annual wont, The Undertaker magically emerged from ten months in seclusion to accept a match with Lesnar. A mostly-stoic Lesnar would sign the contract and aggressively shove the pen into ‘Taker’s chest. This led to Undertaker stabbing Lesnar’s hand with the with pen, and then chokeslamming him through the table. No mention had been made of their brutal battles in 2002, though this was the first time Lesnar would be facing ‘dark side’ Undertaker.
In another first, John Cena would take part in his first ever WrestleMania match that wasn’t a) for a title or b) the official main event. The opponent would come in the form of relative newcomer Bray Wyatt, whose raspy, eerie promos evoked memories of Jake Roberts and Kevin Sullivan. Wyatt, along with cult flunkies Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, randomly attacked Cena in a few World Title matches in accordance with Wyatt’s new infatuation: proving that Cena’s upstanding superhero identity was merely a facade.
Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL performed commentary duties. The first pay-per-view to stream live on the WWE Network featured Hulk Hogan as guest host, as well appearances from Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock, plus other legends in backstage comedy bits. Mark Crozer and The Rels performed Bray Wyatt’s theme, while Rich Luzzi of Rev Theory performed Randy Orton’s. The Hall of Fame class included The Ultimate Warrior, Jake Roberts, Lita, Razor Ramon, Carlos Colon, Paul Bearer, and Mr. T. Warrior, tragically, passed away several days later at the age of 54, but not before finally making peace with the wrestling world.
THE RESULTS
Daniel Bryan def. Triple H in 25:58
(Behind Bret and Owen Hart’s epic WrestleMania X clash, this is by and far the second-greatest WrestleMania opener ever. Helmsley was game to keep up with Bryan’s fast-paced physical style, and the result was a surefire match of the year winner for 2014 until Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville topped it, only barely, in December)
The Shield def. Kane and The New Age Outlaws in 2:56
(A simple squash to put the new class over the fogies, which most swear never happens. This would also be one of the last times fans considered Roman Reigns a hero)
Cesaro wins an Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, last eliminating Big Show in 13:25
(What looked like a way to shoehorn thirty upper-midcarders and forgotten-abouts into a match ended up a great vehicle to get Cesaro over as a true star. Sadly, 2014 wouldn’t be this sweet again for him, thanks to a failure to grab some mythical ‘brass ring’)
John Cena def. Bray Wyatt in 22:25
(The morality play at hand saw Wyatt trying to goad Cena into cheating, embracing some sort of inner demons. Cena’s mortal stock proved to be too much, and many felt the wrong guy won. One match later, Cena’s win would be virtually forgotten about)
Brock Lesnar def. The Undertaker in 25:12
(Hands down the most shocking in-ring moment of this millennium. The startled crowd reactions were a story unto themselves as Lesnar felled The Streak clean as a whistle. The entire sequence from Lesnar’s final F5 to Undertaker’s pained exit is forever rewatchable, maintaining its staggering punch. Quite simply, it’ll never be forgotten)
WWE Divas Championship: AJ Lee won a Vickie Guerrero Invitational in 6:48
(The crowd was still catatonic following Undertaker’s loss, summoning only enough strength to dully boo a Nikki vs. Brie Bella confrontation)
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Daniel Bryan def. Randy Orton and Batista in 23:20 to win the title
(And WWE makes good to their fans. Of course, the shock of Undertaker’s loss was still reverberating to a heavy degree, but that didn’t stop the fans from coming alive for each of Bryan’s comebacks and hope spots. Every ten years, it seems a WrestleMania ends with a beloved technician breaking through: Bret Hart, Chris Benoit, and Daniel Bryan)
ITS PLACE IN HISTORY
For the first time since WrestleMania 2000, there were no winners on the show over the age of 40. Cena ended up being the oldest victor, just shy of his 37th birthday.
Of the event’s losers, Attitude Era throwbacks like Triple H, Kane, the Outlaws, Goldust, Mark Henry, Show, and yes, The Undertaker all went down in defeat. In a sense, it felt as if a new beginning was at hand, with yesterday finally losing its footing in the face of Bryan, The Shield, and Cesaro, among others.
The freshness would fade quickly. Bryan needed multiple neck surgeries, the World Title would go missing when Lesnar won it, the Authority angle choked the phlegm out of Raw and PPV, and the ‘Brass Rings’ statement crushed all goodwill. Thank God for NXT.
Ordinarily, the defining moment would be Bryan celebrating, but it isn’t here. Fans knew the ending was coming from the March 10 Occupy segment. Instead, Lesnar standing tall over a crumpled Undertaker gets the nod. Rather than celebrate their chosen one getting what he’d earned, the internet punditry shifted focus toward why they felt The Streak ending was BS.
Any chance to mark out for Bryan’s victory was traded in for the right to hyper-analyze a finish that stunned even the smartest fan. Better to bare your brains than your smile, I suppose.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Matt Bloom Replaces Bill DeMott as WWE NXT Head Trainer

March 10, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Less than a week after allegations went public, former WWE NXT Head Trainer Bill DeMott has tenured his resignation. The resignation continues to raise more questions and polarize the pro wrestling industry.

It didn’t take long for the shat to hit the fin. A couple of days after a post on Reddit.com accused the WWE of failing to thoroughly investigate Bill DeMott’s bullying and use of physical and mental abuse on trainees, the company and DeMott took action. DeMott resigned, while continuing to deny all charges as the pro wrestling industry continues to debate the situation from all sides of the spectrum.

The biggest piece of news that came out of the Reddit.com post is that allegations were made aware to the WWE and Human Resources. The company claimed to have exonerated DeMott after a full investigation. However, this “investigation” soon became embarrassing when one wrestler identified in the complaint to HR claimed that he was never contacted, thus making the investigation look suspect at best.

It didn’t take long for DeMott’s allies in the pro wrestling industry to come out and fully support the former trainer. Chris Jericho was the first to tweet about it, although Jericho later deleted his tweet. Jim Ross wrote about it in his blog, although he kind of danced around the issue and said a lot without really saying anything. Former WWE star Bob Holly criticized DeMott. Lance Storm defended DeMott on Wrestling Observer Live which is also very ironic since Storm was critical of JBL’s bullying when Storm was a trainer in OVW. In other words, everyone is all over the place on this one.

I don’t blame DeMott entirely on this mess. Triple H is not an idiot and most of these allegations have been public for years regarding DeMott. There is almost no way that Hunter has not heard about these allegations. As a matter of a fact, Dave Meltzer reported it was Hunter who instructed DeMott to go harder on the trainees as Trips felt they weren’t in good enough shape. At the end of the day if DeMott was only following orders from above, how culpable is he in this mess?

Unfortunately for DeMott I can’t imagine Triple H’s orders included physically assaulting trainees who are injured, making racist remarks, and making homophobic remarks. The business has changed. Personally, I have never been offended by a word or words but to each their own. Yet at the end of the day he is the head trainer in a publicly traded company. A company who actively markets their anti-bullying and anti-homophobic efforts and campaigns.

I think the bigger problem with DeMott is that he hasn’t produced anywhere close to the quality of new talent that were being produced on a regular basis in OVW. Sure you have the Shield but I am talking about guys who came into the developmental center with little to no training and turned into WWE superstars who draw money. Rusev looks good and the jury is still out on Reigns. Yet this isn’t the kind of production previous developmental coaches offered to the company. Ultimately that falls back on Triple H, who was a critic of OVW. Yet if you look back over the last few years there is nobody that has been developed successfully the way Jim Cornette and Danny Davis produced talent in OVW and that is just a fact.

I don’t think you necessarily have to be a top drawing star to train pro wrestlers. I look at every other sport and see dozens of Hall of Fame coaches and trainers that were average players in their sports. Heck, arguably the greatest NFL coach in history Bill Belichick never even played a down of football in the NFL. Lance Storm is universally regarded as one of the best trainers in the business yet as great as Lance was, I don’t think anyone would call him a big draw. That said, you have to wonder how not only DeMott has kept his job for so long without accountability, but why he was hired for this position in the first place.

The irony of all of this is that many WWE stars have mocked the Power Plant system WCW had for years. Yet if you compare notes, DeMott isn’t accused of doing anything that different from Buddy Lee Parker. Even more similar, the Power Plant ran off several guys that would later become WWE superstars including Batista. WWE creative has been compared to WCW often in recent weeks yet there is probably more that the WWE has in common with WCW these days than ever before and that is pretty scary.

Matt Bloom, the former Tensai has taken over DeMott’s position as head trainer. Bloom was trained by the legendary late Killer Kowalksi, the same trainer that Triple H had. Kowalski was never known for using the tactics that DeMott is accused of using, so I would expect a much different system under Bloom. Bloom was never a big draw but probably drew more money over his career than DeMott did and at least that is a start in the right direction.

The developmental system needed a change and it had everything to do with DeMott. I am excited to see what kind of results Bloom can produce over the next several months. A new head trainer is exactly what the company has needed. It’s just a shame it took a situation like this that got them to move in that direction.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

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Does Anyone Really Care About WrestleMania XXXI?

March 10, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE has lost its mojo. Somewhere on the path toward trying to reinvent the wheel and keep audiences entertained, the big engine that steamrolled through promotions and territories lost steam and now is chugging along like a ’74 AMC Pacer trying to survive another hot summer.

Where did the business I grew up watching, the Grand Marshall of reality television, misstep and twist and ankle?

Wrestling isn’t what it was just five years ago. It couldn’t be by any stretch of the imagination a good product then is just plain bad in a blink of an eye. There is no quick fix in sight. John Cena cannot save the WWE. Daniel Bryan tried, but failed. Vince McMahon wants to go back to the “Bigger is Better” theory of champions and place the title on a guy that looks the part in Roman Reigns, but isn’t like his cousin, The Rock, further damaging the brand.

By god, please have someone send over a shot of adrenaline to give the company some life and ease its pain. The Undertaker can no longer deliver a main event caliber match, but we will certainly put over Bray Wyatt. Triple H isn’t sure he can put together a good match with Sting, who finally gets the WrestleMania moment he deserves – but its 10 years too late. Cena has become the middle man, falling backward to take a giant leap forward, but most of us do not care.

This WrestleMania proves more than ever how troubled the product is. It almost makes ardent fans grab a box of Kleenex as they tune in each week.

Where have all the good men gone? And where are all the Gods? Where’s the street-wise Hercules, to fight the rising odds?

A friend of mine, Jeff Maudlin, asked me a few weeks ago how I felt about the changes in professional wrestling. The times when we were young and watched our favorites on TBS in Atlanta and cable television. We liked the idea of Kayfabe and the mystery surrounding the business, the wrestlers and the lack of social media and internet to “spoil” what we saw for the first time. He asked if I thought the elimination of secrecy hurt what we see today. I replied with a resounding, “YES!”

Wrestling’s greatest character flaw of today is the knowledge that fans know what is going to happen beforehand. Even in a business of predetermination and the quest for suspended animation, knowing how and what will happen has destroyed all “credibility” for the McMahons and those who work to make the product what it used to be. There is no replication here. Hulk Hogan or The Rock are not going to come out of the back and save the show. Ric Flair is not going to make Brad Rheingans look like Tommy Rich. There is no sense in trying to make Dolph Ziggler dance with a ladder.

Vince McMahon created this problem with a monopoly of the industry with no real competition. If the WWE had a WCW-like opponent or the TNA brand was built to challenge the super power on every level, then there would more interest. There is a watered down version of the company because there are too many stars who have stood in the main event spotlight and are trying to hold on to that one shining moment. Some characters will not move from the zenith to help the company grow.

Take that underlying message for whatever it is worth to you.

WrestleMania is 19 days away and frankly, I don’t see myself or Mike Mooneyham or Dave Meltzer or Bill Apter jumping on tables, begging the event to happen. Hell, the fans aren’t doing it, either.The WWE has lost its way, lost its Mojo and cannot find its way out of a paper bag. Until the layers of the onion have been peeled back enough to find the sources of the problem, we will all still wait and hope for wrestling the way it used to be, not the way it can be and more importantly, the way it should be.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

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The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man – WWE DVD Review

March 06, 2015 By: Category: Entertainment, WWE | Pro Wrestling

There is little doubt that the biggest mainstream star to ever come out of the WWE is The Rock. The Rock has been able to parlay his eyebrow raising wrestling career into mainstream movie stardom. The WWE has finally taken advantage of Dwayne Johnson’s grassroots with The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment DVD.

This set of DVDs from the WWE pays tribute to The Rock’s eight year run with the company inside of the ring. The compilation is a story in itself about The Rock’s ability to take the bull by the horn and run with it. The Rock’s road to stardom in the WWE certainly wasn’t paved for him. The Rock had to earn every step he took on his way to greatness.

Unfortunately, the DVDs don’t include any new interviews with the People’s Champ. The DVD is voiced over between matches, similar to an old NFL Films piece. It is understandable that the WWE could not get The Rock to lend his voice to the DVD. However, they could have taken past interview clips as well as new interviews with WWE stars. I didn’t mind it, but they could have done a little better to appeal to wrestling fans.

The set is broken down into three discs. The discs predominately contain nothing but matches featuring The Rock. All of the matches are complete except for one. I will say this about The Rock and his matches and that is there aren’t any boring Rock matches. All of his matches are entertaining and different in some way from the other. The extras feature a ton of promos from The Rock which was far and away the best thing about the set.

The matches are interesting because I am sure a lot of The Rock’s fans aren’t familiar with “Rocky Maivia” Most fans are familiar with The Rock from the early part of the decade. However, The Rock first began his career in the WWE in 1996 with a few familiar faces. The DVD traces all of the Rock’s steps to the top beginning with the kid with the goofy haircut, Rocky Maivia.

The first disc is quite an eye-opener considering the state of the business today. The early days of The Rock-Triple H rivalry are revisited beginning with a 1997 Intercontinental title match. The rest of the DVD features The Rock’s rise from the Nation to the Corporation, to WrestleMania. In retrospect, I wonder sometimes if The Rock-Triple H doesn’t get its due as one of the great WWE rivalries of the 1990s. Most people think of Austin-Rock, but Triple H-Rock feuded often at various stages of their careers. The matches tell a story in itself about two guys battling each other for the top position, ultimately with The Rock taking that mantle.

The second disc features The Rock and pro wrestling during one of the hottest periods of business for the WWE. The Rock’s rivalries with Triple H and Mankind are followed over to this disc. There are some fantastic matches on this DVD featuring The Rock against Booker T, Chris Jericho, and a great match from No Way Out against Kurt Angle. In watching this disc back, it is amazing how different the WWE fan base is today as compared to then. Nobody in years has gotten the reaction that The Rock or any of his matches received during his prime. It is truly an indictment on the WWE’s inability to create superstars over the last decade. The WWE created many stars, but none were as super as The Rock.

Disc three is The Rock at his all-time high in the WWE. Disc 3 kicks off with arguably The Rock’s most famous WrestleMania encounter against Hulk Hogan. The Rock’s WrestleMania XIX showdown with Steve Austin not only holds up, but blows away anything from the last few years. A rare 2002 match from RAW against Eddie Guerrero is a nice gem to the set. This really showcases The Rock in his prime. The Rock is most confident during this era and it shows in the ring. Once again, never a dull moment in a Rock match.

It is obvious that the WWE didn’t put the kind of extra work into this that they did with Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, or Triple H’s DVDs. I can’t blame the WWE for wanting toget something out there to capitalize on The Rock’s current fame. The DVD could have used a little more attention, yet I found it to be enjoyable. I have always liked The Rock and in this day and age, any time I can sit down and watch a few hours of The Rock is a pleasure. This is a great DVD and a perfect stocking stuffer for the wrestling fan on your holiday shopping list.

Disc 1

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Hunter Hearst Helmsley vs. Rocky Maivia
RAW (13/02/97)

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Owen Hart vs. The Rock
RAW (06/04/98)

King of the Ring Quarterfinal Match
Triple H vs. The Rock
RAW (22/06/98)

WWE Championship Match (Final Round)
Mankind vs. The Rock
Survivor Series (15/11/98)

Last Man Standing Match for the WWE Championship
Mankind vs. The Rock
St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (14/02/99)

Ladder Match for the WWE Championship
Mankind vs. The Rock
RAW (15/02/99)

WWE Championship Match
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock
WrestleMania XV (28/03/99)

Disc 2

Steel Cage Match
The Rock vs. Triple H
RAW (05/07/99)

WWE Tag Team Championship
The Rock / Mankind vs. Undertaker / Big Show
RAW (30/08/99)

No Holds Barred Match
The Rock vs. Kane
SmackDown! (30/12/99)

WWE Championship Match
Triple H vs. The Rock
Backlash (30/04/00)

Steel Cage Match for the WWE Championship
The Rock vs. Shane McMahon
RAW (01/05/00)

WWE Championship Match
Kurt Angle vs. The Rock
No Way Out (25/02/01)

WCW Championship Match
Booker T vs. The Rock
SummerSlam (19/08/01)

WWE Undisputed Championship Match
Chris Jericho vs. The Rock
Royal Rumble (20/01/02)

Disc 3

The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan
WrestleMania X8 (17/03/02)

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Undisputed Championship
Kurt Angle vs. Undertaker vs. The Rock Vengeance (21/07/02)

The Rock vs. Eddie Guerrero
RAW (22/07/02)

Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock
WrestleMania XIX (30/03/03)

Extras

Promos
– Heat July 11, 1999 – “Billy’s Prayer to God”
– RAW August 9, 1999 – “The Big Slow”
– RAW September 6, 1999 – “My Name is Kane”
– RAW November 15, 1999 – “Doughnuts”
– SmackDown! August 10, 2000 – “Hermie”
– RAW December 4, 2000 – “Armageddon Opponents”
– RAW August 13, 2001 – “Thomas Jefferson Sucka”
– RAW September 10, 2001 – “The People’s Strudel”
– SmackDown! September 20, 2001 – “Great Balls of Fire”
– SmackDown! January 3, 2002 – “Copacabana”
– SmackDown! January 17, 2002 – “Camera Man”
– SmackDown! January 24, 2002 – “The Charleston”
– No Way Out February 17, 2002 – “NWO”
– SmackDown! July 11, 2002 – “Busta Rhymes”
– RAW March 10, 2003 – “The Superhero”
– RAW June 21, 2004 – “Miami Dolphins”
– The One-Liners

Order the The Rock: The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment DVD set by clicking here.

Order the WWE – The Rock – The People’s Champ DVD by clicking here.

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Ex-WWE NXT Star Claims Bill DeMott Bullied Developmental Talent

March 02, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Bill DeMott was trending on Twitter Monday night and it was for all of the wrong reasons. A former NXT wrestler has accused the WWE trainer of bullying talent via physical and mental abuse while critics are demanding answers.

This isn’t the first time this story has been told and if DeMott remains employed I am sure it won’t be the last. Judas Devlin is the latest former WWE wrestler to break his silence on DeMott. Devlin revealed a pattern of abuse which includes both physical and mental bullying in a recent interview on Vendetta Pro Radio 2K15. As part of the promotion for the interview, Devlin released a 2013 letter he wrote to WWE talent relations about DeMott which has now been posted on Reddit.com.

“I am composing this memo today because I have had a number of serious concerns about the actions and words of head coach Bill Demott during my employment as talent for WWE developmental. Many of these actions I have tried to ignore or hope that they would cease but because they have now put me in a dangerous situation not only for my career but for my personal health and safety I feel the need to speak out to someone of a higher authority. In this memo I will provide details on a series of incidents which underlie my concerns.

I would like to request that this remain in strict confidence as I am afraid that if Coach Demott were to know I spoke out he would find ways to punish me for it. In fact the entire process of writing a letter to human resources has been called a “faggots” way of dealing with problems by Coach Demott.

Physical Injury Due to Imprudent Coaching: The action that has led me to finally speak out happened Thursday February, 28th following our house show. I had taken an awkward hit to my knee in a match and was being examined by Brian Duncan. This hit aggravated a previous injury, one that should never have happened, that I had sustained during a practice drill orchestrated by Coach Demott after practice had already been completed. An MRI revealed a partial tear of my PCL and a strain on a ligament in the back of my knee. I have been told that I can work through it but it may aggravate here and there. This injury can be enduring as many of the superstars on the main roster wrestle their whole careers with it.

I should never have had any issues with this knee but on that particular practice day, after a 3 hour morning session had ‘ended’ at 11 AM, Demott put 280lbs Gary Jackson back in the ring at 11:30 and forced 8 of us to give him 10 takedowns each. After Gary had bumped 60 times in a matter of minutes, I entered the ring and was asked to give him 10 fireman takedowns. On the first one he collapsed from exhaustion while on my back, driving my knees into the mat where I sustained this injury.

The hit I took aggravated it and Coach Demott pulled trainer Brian Duncan and I into the training room and said without any knowledge of my actual injury, “This injury can’t keep flaring up. It doesn’t look good perception wise to us (the office) or for your career going forward.” This injury was treated after the match and I was cleared by Duncan at the time.

Based on Coach Demott’s statement I feel that I am in a position where I have to cover up any injuries I may have otherwise I will be punished or fired. The following week I was in severe discomfort but fearing repercussions I attempted to work through it. Coach Demott has not only instilled this fear in me but I have spoken to several other members of the roster who have been made to feel by Coach Demott that their current injuries are signs of weakness as men, and could potentially lead Coach Demott to advocate for their firing.

On two separate occasions Coach Demott forced me to perform dangerous moves without properly warming up. One incident followed my first evaluation where Canyon Ceman asked me to start working on my parkour and gymnastics moves. It was 7:30 am before practice and he saw me standing in the ring with Enzo Amore and said, “Do a takedown let go of him and do a back flip then go back to him.” The idea made no sense, I was not properly warmed up, and I nearly landed on my head on one attempt. Thesecond incident was before a live event he wanted Oliver Gray to test out his finisher on someone so he grabbed me and forced me to take a high bump on my neck without warming up. I had missed a week of practice because of a neck strain prior to this and Coach Demott was well aware of that.

I have also watched and participated in drills that were hazardous to our safety. He has made us do squats on the top rope including some students who had never been up that high in their careers. He made the beginners group perform monkey flips without a crash pad and the first six who participated landed on their heads and necks and were lucky not to have been seriously injured. The aforementioned drill in which Gary Jackson injured my knee also saw Memo Montenegro injury his neck and shoulder. He was on his 40th bump in 5 minutes and got dizzy before his 7th consecutive hip toss and landed on his head.

Unprofessional Work Environment: The issue of physical well-being is not my only concern. I am an educated individual who worked at Cal State Northridge with Professors and students. I know how one is suppose to conduct one’s self in a professional sense. I also understand that this is a unique business and the lines on proper behavior may be a bit blurred. Yet there is no question that Coach Demott, on a daily basis,not only makes unprofessional choices in words and actions, choices that go against many policies of this company, but choices that have created a culture of fear and negativity in this system. Showing up each day for training is mentally agonizing because of the comments we are all forced to hear. He routinely makes fun of anyone sitting out because of injury and also makes rude comments about people’s names and personal lives and has established a hostile work environment through verbal assaults. To wit:

• Demott constantly refers to Oliver Gray as Joel Pedophile which personally enrages me because I used to help a Psychology Professor in Los Angeles do lectures for sexually abused children. • When Dante Dash referred to his finishing move as the Davey boy, as it was utilized by the late Davey Smith who died tragically, Coach Demott makes the following comment, “The Davey Boy? What turning blue and dropping dead on the lawn?” • Coach Demott told student Enzo Amore that he hopes he dies. • Demott also told our entire morning class and Ricky Steamboat’s class to kill themselves just days after we tolled the ring bell 10 times for the late Mike Graham a former star FCW wrestler, who committed suicide. • Coach Demott routinely bullies Enzo verbally as well as physically. I have seen Enzo on several occasions be slapped in the face by Bill. During one practice he decided to show Enzo how doing a slam wrong could hurt someone, so he picked Enzo up and dropped him without warning directly on his head and neck. He then decided that each time a student slammed his 100lbs heavy bag with bad form that student had to slam one of his peers the same way. Demott found this drill amusing yet each student was put at serious injury risk. • Demott has grabbed an injured David Harwood by his neck pulled him to the office door and verbally chastised him for standing by the ring during practice when he wasn’t cleared, even though he was simply listening to a lecture by Ricky Steamboat. • Demott has kicked Memo Montenegro in the groin and laughed as he crumbled into a heap. Memo being a Mexican immigrant to the United States has a heavy accent, which Coach Demott constantly criticizes and makes fun of. • He routinely will attempt to bust students lip on the bottom rope when they stand to close to the ring. On several occasions he has punished students for mistakes in practice by making them bend forward putting their face near the ropes so that Coach Demott can bounce the rope off the bridge of their nose. • He routinely calls Gary Jackson a fat tub of goo, tells Osmund Cherry who is of African descent, to go back to Africa and most recently has made derogatory remarks about sexual preferences to Brandon Traven. • Coach Demott insinuated that Traven is gay and used the derogatory term “half a sissy” to make fun of him simply because he sat out practice and has had several injuries in the last couple months. This is not the first time he targeted Brandon either. In December I witnessed Coach Demott question Traven about a head injury in the trainer’s room. After Traven explained that a blow to the head in practice had made him dizzy Demott slapped him in the head and left the room. • I witnessed a similar incident a few months ago when Alexander Russev was recovering from neck surgery. Coach Demott saw Russev wearing a NY Jets shirt at practice and not liking that sports team proceeded to physically grab Russev by the collar and rip the shirt off him. Russev was not cleared for any contact at that point and clearly showed physical pain after the incident. Following this incident a group of students were discussing how this sort of thing happened before with an injured Briley Pierce. Briley had a broken leg and Coach Demott kicked him in his medical boot. This happened before I was under contract but it nonetheless seems to fit a pattern of negligent and abusive behavior that I have observed with Coach Demott and is worth investigating further. • According to Oliver Gray, he was once told that if he sat out practice to rest a very bad low back injury that CoachDemott would pull him from the NXT tapings and from attending the Royal Rumble, even though the trainer had requested that Oliver sit out just one practice.

I have been in this system under Coach Demott for 8 months now and was recently told that I am not improving at a rate that is acceptable. I have made concerted efforts in the past to practice more often and work on the parkour moves requested by Canyon Ceman. However Bill has routinely kicked me out of the building after practice including a day when WWE superstar Alex Riley asked me to work on some parkour moves with him. This along with his constant interrupting of practices just to put people down and make negative comments has all but killed any motivation I have to spend extra time around him.

It should be stated that I am not a vindictive person. I am open-minded and do not have a problem with off-color jokes or difficult practice drills. I was signed to this company after Steve Regal told me he saw tremendous improvement in my ring work between tryouts. I told Mr. Regal that I could only imagine how good I could become working 24/7 for this company. I have always been intrinsically motivated and will practice something until I perfect it. Yet I personally feel that coach Demott creates an environment that hinders my opportunities to improve. Coach Demott restricts our practices, instead opting for dangerous and unproductive drills, while constantly verbally assaulting our appearances, personalities, sexual preferences, injuries, and character it seems impossible for me to maximize my time in the ring. In fact even as recently as training on March 4th, guest trainer Lance Storm went out of his way to demonstrate moves to me that Coach Demott had kicked me out of the building for not doing correctly. When I asked him how to do them Coach Demott said, “That was shit Judas, get out of the building.”

Is this the type of work environment that the WWE desires? When can we set up a time to discuss this matter?

In closing I would be remiss if I did not clarify to you that this is solely a problem with Bill Demott and not a problem with the fine coaching staff that has been assembled around him. For example, Ricky Steamboat has been a terrific help to me and always provides me with positive reinforcement and quality examples to learn from. Terry Taylor has gone out of his way to pull me aside and give me helpful advice. Billy Gunn has been an amazingly refreshing force bringing knowledge and enthusiasm that has been extremely beneficial to the system. The changes that have recently occurred in the WWE have been excellent and I am excited for the future plans of WWE Developmental. It is because of these positive attributes that I am expressing my concerns to you. I want to be a part of a solution to the problems that I have listed, one that will lead to future success for the developmental system.”

Now to be fair this is only one side of the story. That said, this is just another in a long line of accusations that have been made towards DeMott by former talent. Kevin Matthews, Derek Foore, and Ryan Nemeth have all made similar accusations. Nemeth, who just happens to be the brother of Dolph Ziggler confirmed Devlin’s memo through a brief tweet.

Please share if you don’t want your heroes abused & mistreated.” – @HotYoungBriley

The irony here is that people are acting as if this is news to the WWE. DeMott has been a trainer with the WWE since 2012. One has to presume that Triple H knows full well of DeMott’s tendencies and abuse. I think it is also only fair to presume that Hunter endorses DeMott, otherwise he would have been gone a while ago. Hunter makes the calls in NXT and the fact that DeMott is still running the show speaks volumes about his support.

It will be interesting to see if the WWE finally caves to the pressure with the latest news. The WWE seem to be more sensitive to social media backlash in recent months than they have ever been. Plus, this does not look good for someone newly appointed to the Board of Directors. I would have to think that action must be taken, especially with all of the work that WWE does with anti-bullying and anti-homophobia groups.

Enough is enough. You want to be treated like a professional company and you want to have a developmental system on par with major sports leagues, than you need to get rid of this guy. DeMott and his bullying are a bad story waiting to happen. Imagine if someone sneaks a camera into one of these sessions and catches DeMott using slurs and bullying talent. That video would become a nightmare for the WWE and it would be best to mitigate that risk now before it winds up blowing up in their faces.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Hulk Hogan Appreciation Night Ceremony At Madison Square Garden – Video

February 28, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE and Madison Square Garden paid tribute on Friday night to the legendary Hulk Hogan. Kevin Nash, Ric Flair, Scott Hall, Jimmy Hart, and Triple H rolled out the red carpet for Hulk and while WWE cameras were not in attendance, plenty of smartphones were.

Thanks to all of the great fans who attended the big event on Friday night, there are plenty of videos floating around YouTube of the ceremony. The ceremony is awesome and the only disappointment in the video is that it didn’t capture what was reported to be a fantastic video tribute of Hogan that played during the ceremony.

It amazes me that the WWE didn’t capture any of this footage for the WWE Network. One of the ideas I proposed a year ago was the Network showing WWE house shows. I think in this case the WWE missed a golden opportunity to either simulcast the event or air it post-produced later on the Network. I think original, special content like that would really help in marketing the network.

Regardless, check out the entire ceremony here below. It’s long overdue and a real classy tribute to a man that sold out many Garden shows in his prime.

WCW Isn’t The Heel Anymore: WWE Turns Its Sworn Enemy Face

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

The punchline is, “D-Generation X fired the first, and most important, shot in the Monday Night Wars.”

As with all things in Triple H’s legacy spit-shining, it’s an absurd statement, and most certainly on the more gut-busting end of the meter. The claim that an Army fatigue-clad DX turned the tide in the Monday Night Wars was first offered by WWE in the summer of 2002 on a show called Confidential, a Saturday night parade of fluff hosted by Mean Gene Okerlund. Some theorize that the statement was made in conjunction with Stone Cold Steve Austin’s ugly walkout of WWE that June (compounded by domestic assault charges later that same week), and the company began a slow whitewash of Austin in order to distance themselves from a potential felon.

After all, nobody was more important than Austin himself to turning back the challenge of Eric Bischoff’s star-studded World Championship Wrestling (well, him and the dips–ts at Time Warner, they’re pretty important as well). If Triple H challenges Vince McMahon to a brawl on the April 13, 1998 edition of Raw, do they win the ratings that night? If Triple H confronts Mike Tyson the previous January, does the news media go just as gaga? Saying Triple H led the charge against WCW is like saying The Departed won Best Picture because of Marky Mark.

Even with Austin restored in his place on WWE’s all-time Mount Rushmore, Triple H is sticking to the in-character claim that he was General Patton with a “Suck It” shirt. Granted, it could be easily dismissed as the claims of a deluded villain, thinking he was somehow responsible for a monumental shift of the upper hand in wrestling lore, but nobody calls him out on Front Street for it. Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and former WCW Champion Booker T say nothing to dispute the claim. Rambling parrot JBL (a pull-string doll could do what he does) will confirm the story, even at one point Monday saying he helped bring WCW down (which is like saying The Departed won Best Picture because of Martin Sheen’s desk blotter).

It is what it is: Triple H has to be the heel, but he can’t be a weak heel. Whether face or heel, his greatness will always be confirmed, never questioned. It’s why Ric Flair was his running buddy on screen for so long, to remind everyone (WHOO!) by God (WHOO!) that Triple H (WHOO!) is the King (WHOO!) of Kings! WWE is to be a living legacy to its inheritor, and history is written blah blah blah.

WCW’s legacy, on the other hand, is a paradox in WWE storytelling. On the one hand, episodes of the former YouTube show “Are You Serious?” would air clips of WCW’s foul-ups (of which there were more than plenty) with an affixed hash-tag, “#WCWRuinsEverything”. Nevermind the irony of WWE, the land of blown opportunity, casting aspersions on another wrestling company’s errors, but the tag is a good look into the mind of WWE thought: maybe if we remind everyone how stupid WCW was sometimes, everyone will forget our own creative incompetence. That “Are You Serious?” aired around 2012-13, over a decade after WCW died, makes the grave-pissing reek of desperation and insecurity.

Insecurity brings us back to Triple H, he of the phallic sledgehammer that symbolizes his might and will. So Triple H rambles about helping put WCW out of business, and makes the story about Turnerland lifer Sting waiting 14 years to exact his ultimate revenge. This is the weird part of Triple H that has to look oddly heroic, even as the obvious villain in the tale. During the Monday Night Wars, fans gradually, then swiftly, shifted to WWE until the ratings were as lop-sided as Rick Allen on a trapeze bar. Only the diehards really stood by WCW as it crumbled without pause.

WWE always taught its fans that WCW was the bad guy in all of it, filling their cards with old fossils (who does this sound like?) while underselling venues (I ask you again) and not pushing the younger talents (maybe WCW didn’t have enough brass rings). Smear tactics in the name of war aside, it’s kinda silly that Triple H is portrayed as both a ruthless asshole that rules as a dictator over his roster (which is fine) while also playing conquering guerrilla that single-handedly altered the course of wrestling history (zuh?).

It’s especially bizarre thanks to the very WWE Network that Triple H and others (understandably) whore incessantly. Thanks to the service, I can watch every WCW pay-per-view ever, plus the first 16 months of Nitro, a period in which the company was as revolutionary as anything we’ve ever seen in wrestling.

1995 episodes of Nitro give us eight-minute junior-heavyweight showcases, rapid-fire stories, and a “who’s gonna show up?” chaotic vibe that blew away the slogging Raw of the time. And I find that most 1995 Raws wipe the floor with the modern product’s awful pacing and self-congratulating, so you can imagine how I feel 1995 Nitro compares to WWE today.

It’s weird, but the very person who will be running WWE when Vince finally goes has actually made me miss WCW, in large part because of his constant mentioning of it. Triple H was once the logo for his own self-importance, but now he’s an avatar for a WWE that makes me miss spectacular alternatives. And forget Nitro; the Network has War Games out the ass. Sure, the 1998 version was crap through a strainer (#WCWRuinsEverything, LOL!), but the 1991 and 1992 editions are a nice alternative to Daniel Bryan and Paul Heyman trying to convince me that Roman Reigns is Jesus in SWAT attire.

There’s a thick, viscous irony in a red-hot WWE once leading the charge against a rotten WCW, followed by an eventually-sterile WWE exhuming WCW through an inadvertent call for sympathy, and a treasure trove of video history that brings back memories.

WCW isn’t the heel anymore. Given what WWE presents to its fans, the departed promotion is now the default babyface.

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