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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

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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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Samoa Joe and the WWE Are Not a Match

February 24, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Samoa Joe is only days out of TNA Wrestling and there is already a major campaign to bring him to the WWE. Some of the WWE’s biggest personalities are pushing for the former TNA champion, yet the reality is that the window of opportunity for all parties has closed.

The Samoan Submission Machine finished up a ten-year stint in TNA this week with a simple goodbye on Twitter. Joe stunned fans and media alike when he posted his farewell tweet which sent the Internet into hysterics over the possibilities of Joe coming to the WWE. A subsequent report was encouraging after it was reported that Triple H is interested in the big man.

Wrestlezone.com reported that Triple H has interest in bringing Joe in while the CEO Vince McMahon has zero interest in bringing in the big man. Further reports seem to indicate that Joe already has strong feelers out there, yet none are reported to be WWE. While the thought of seeing Joe in the WWE is certainly intriguing, I don’t think it benefits either one at this point.

I used to be a big Samoa Joe fan, like most of you. He was a hard worker and routinely stole the show in TNA with matches against Kurt Angle, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Low Ki. That said, I have no idea where that Samoa Joe has been in recent years. Sure we’ve seen glimpses, but the Samoa Joe I have seen on television over the last year is slower, heavier and uninspired. A far from cry from the crazed maniac that tore it up for many years prior in TNA, and prior to that on the indys and ROH.

Put yourself in Vince McMahon’s shoes. You have a locker room full of young, athletic, processed, talent. The company is going through something of a rebuilding period, pushing new stars as it recognizes that John Cena and Randy Orton need help. The company has also invested millions into a talent development program, identifying specific types of wrestlers the company is looking to mold into a future superstar. So again I ask you, where does Samoa Joe fit in?

I take nothing away from Joe in the ring…when motivated. He’s awesome! But how do you explain the last few years. Sure, you can say that Joe was unmotivated in TNA. Most of us would relate to that. However, is that what you want to bring into the WWE locker room? As we have all seen, most WWE talents will go through a challenging period where they are not necessarily used to their potential. Some unfortunately never get out of that dark hole. How they respond is generally what makes or break them in the WWE. We’ve all seen Joe shut down under these circumstances. With more competition and a different system. there is a much better chance he’d be miscast in the WWE. Is he going to fight his way out of it like Daniel Bryan and CM Punk did or is he going to fold up and turn it off like Mistico did?

I would dare say that Joe is better off not going to the WWE. He won’t have the opportunity to shine like he would if he went to New Japan, NOAH, Ring of Honor, or Lucha Underground. He will be sent immediately to NXT, cast alongside talent that aren’t nearly as polished as he is. The system will try and break the habits most of us would enjoy seeing him bring to the WWE. He’ll come out either a different wrestler or a failed experiment. Sure Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were able to maintain their foundations, but the same biases that the company would have against Joe weren’t there. Those guys had a much better chance to succeed.

With all due respect to Steve Austin and Paul Heyman, they aren’t seeing the big picture. They are seeing Joe’s talent which is very special, yet they aren’t taking into account the fit between Joe and the WWE. It just isn’t there and for that, I hope both parties keep their distance and proceed with business as usual.

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Probable Card and Match Rumors

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

It looks like we finally have the blueprint of the main WWE WrestleMania 31 card. The main card may lack the zest of last year’s event, yet the excitement coming out of Fastlane is a sign in the right direction.

There were no real surprises at Fastlane, especially if you have been following the backstage rumors and social media spoilers over the last few weeks. But what we did was a rock solid direction heading into the big March 29 event. I was underwhelmed a few weeks back when the card looked to be taking shape, but Fastlane offered a glimpse of hope. Here is what I took away coming out of Fastlane, as well as the latest news and rumored matches.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE world title - This one is going to be a lot of fun for all of the wrong reasons. While I do think the WWE needed to focus on Reigns, it was clear at Fastlane that the fans aren’t buying him. This match could get Goldberg-Lesnar ugly really fast without some creative booking. It’s unfortunate as I think six months ago this match could have been big. Yet the WWE booking of Reigns has been so terrible, that they have single-handedly ruined this guy’s momentum. The only answer here is a double-turn at Mania otherwise it will get real ugly by the end of the match.

The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt - I don’t know how you can logically book this match. So Taker is going to return to shut a nobody up that called him out once and ignore Heyman and Lesnar’s mockery over the last year? The only reason the Undertaker should be returning is to avenge his loss to Brock Lesnar. Granted, they may be saving that for Texas Stadium but if so, Taker should not be wrestling at all. Maybe make a surprise appearance? That said, the reaction at Fastlane for Bray Wyatt’s promo was promising. If I was to base interest in this match on the crowd heat at Fastlane, I’d guess that the fans are really going to be into this match. It will be different and I hope Taker can silence his critics. I just can’t help but think about all of the money being left on the table with a Lesnar rematch.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. title - I’d expect some kind of stipulation to be added here. I liked their match at Fastlane a lot. I’ll disagree with a lot of people and tell you that I thought it was the best match of the night. I have no problem seeing them wrestle twice. The finish was kind of wonky, but I never have a problem with seeing a really good match twice. Cena as U.S. champion is interesting as well. Quite honestly I’d put Rusev over here and build him up for a run with Reigns or Lesnar for the title. But I’ll save that for my predictions blog.

Sting vs. Triple H - When Sting and Hunter set the table for this angle at Survivor Series I was about as disinterested as I could get in this feud. I had zero interest in watching these two wrestle. That said, I am actually looking forward to the match coming out of Fastlane. I think they had great chemistry in Memphis and I think that they can really pull something good off here. Sting has his limitations as we have seen in TNA. Sting has also had some decent matches with the right guys in TNA so it isn’t as if he is done. The chemistry is working for me here and I have to hand it to these guys. They completely turned me around at Fastlane. Mark my words, this will be the main-event of WrestleMania. It won’t be the last match but this will be the match that draws the most interest and gets the most attention by the time we get to the event.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton - I think we can all agree that Jon Stewart of the Daily Show will play a part in this match. That’s fine, although this angle does not seem very organic at all. It will be great publicity for all involved. Quite frankly I am not sure how WWE pulled this one off. They did and it will happen at Mania. I think they’ll have a good match, maybe the best on the card if given time.

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus - All of the latest rumors point to a Bryan vs. Sheamus rematch. According to several reports, this was the direction they wanted to go in all along. It seems like a huge waste of Bryan and a big dropoff from a year ago. The WWE are determined to squash the Yes Movement and this is a step in the right direction. It’s a shame but I can’t see we didn’t see it coming.

There are other probable matches like Ambrose vs. BNB with a stip, something with the Rhodes brothers, and maybe the Bellas vs. Paige and a celebrity tag team partner. Overall it is a pretty solid lineup for Mania. Nothing stands out and while it is not nearly as exciting as last year, it is a far cry from WrestleMania 9 as well.

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WWE Fastlane: Will History Be Written Between Triple H and Sting?

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

Triple H fired the first salvo when he and Degeneration X invades the WCW offices. Now, it would appear Sting is going to fire the final shot at WrestleMania 34 days from now.

Yes, Sting versus Triple H is finally going to happen. This may also be the only time we see WCW’s living legend in a WWE event. Honestly, I have my concerns.

If you would like a history lesson, it started in 1998. On episodes of Raw is War in April and May DX went to war with WCW, with whom the WWF were in direct competition at the time, through a series of legitimate visits to WCW headquarters and live events. On April 27, 1998 Raw is War and WCW Monday Nitro both took place in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia, a mere 19 miles apart. D-Generation X traveled from the WWF show in Hampton to The Scope in Norfolk and shouted insults against WCW through a bullhorn, as well as mentioning the fact that WCW gave out free tickets to fill up arenas for television while sporting black armbands with the acronym POWCW (Prisoner of WCW), which referenced Kliq members Scott Hall and Kevin Nash.

They then tried to enter the arena via a loading dock, in their army jeep before being stopped by someone closing the door. They also attempted to forcibly secure meetings with Nitro’s executive producer Eric Bischoff and WCW owner Ted Turner at WCW headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Another segment used computer graphics to make it appear as if Triple H had flown over the arena where WCW Nitro was taking place and wrote “WCW Sucks” and “DX Says Suck It” in the sky.

Now wrestling and the Sting/Triple H confrontation has come full circle.

Everything Triple H said at Fast Lane was right – the fact Sting “was” WCW and while wrestlers came and left, Steve Borden remained to the end of the promotion, defending it against opponents within the organization and against the common enemy – DX and the WWE.

In the end, we know what happens, the takeover, the control and the fact Sting held out longer than any other former WCW wrestler to finally join the fray and fight the good fight. Now, it shall be so. The match that we all thought at first when there was rumors of Sting’s signing with the company would be against the Undertaker is now against the man who as Triple H put it so eloquently, he helped put his competitor out of business, meaning Sting was looking for work.

My only issue with a match like this, much like the match been Floyd Mayweather, Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, it is 10 years too late. Yes, it is a chance for WWE fans to finally see the Icon of this business get in the ring with one of the greatest of all time. But can Sting, who will turn 56 years old just before the match, deliver a 5-star performance? Will Triple H carry the man 11 years his senior?

I hope it is not a match like we have seen in years past with Sting and Hulk Hogan and Sting and Ric Flair – two greats who have been in the ring well past their prime.

The match is set. Now will it live up to the hype?

Here’s hoping Sting did not set himself up for failure. That would only mean another star proved he was past his prime. And in this case should never have gotten back in the ring – regardless if he was the last piece of WCW’s puzzle to finally give into the WWE machine.

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WWE Fastlane Results and Recap: Reigns Wins, Rusev Retains

February 22, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE is in full WrestleMania 31 mode now that Fastlane is in the books. The angles and Fastlane results now paint a clearer picture of the road to WrestleMania, which doesn’t necessarily look a whole lot different than it did prior to Sunday night’s pay-per-view event.

I really enjoyed this show a lot. The show had a real nice pace and there wasn’t a bad match on the show. It was a great appetizer for WrestleMania and I would go as far as to say that the show exceeded expectations. The show really did a nice job of getting me excited for WrestleMania. I’d highly recommend checking out the replay if you missed it.

Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan to retain his match at WrestleMania 31. This was a poorly booked match. Reigns was booked as the sympathetic babyface with Bryan playing heel. At one point Bryan nailed a kick in Reigns’ liver and the announcers played it up referencing Reigns’ hernia. Reigns sold for awhile after that. The rest of the match saw Bryan in control with Reigns going for comebacks. Reigns nailed Bryan with a spear on a second attempt at a running knee for a clean pin in the middle. The fans hated this. I have to admit, Cena and Rusev blew this one out. There was something missing here and I think it goes back to how the guys were booked. It made Reigns look weak,  Bryan look like a heel, and the winner was booed. Reigns walked out slowly trying to get some cheers going and the crowd was dead silent. Great job creative!

It would appear that the WWE are back to plan A and will proceed with Lesnar vs. Reigns in a singles match. Anything can happen and it is still possible that Bryan gets inserted into the match. However, with the way the match and post-match festivities played out, it would surely indicate that Bryan is doing something else.

The WWE has a problem with Reigns…a big problem. It is a lot like Lex Luger. They pushed Luger hard and the fans rejected him, yet not nearly at this level. It was obvious tonight that fans aren’t invested into Reigns as a babyface. The WWE have nobody to blame but themselves because he was over at one point.

Rusev defeated John Cena in a long match. I liked the match a lot and the crowd was really into it by the end of the match. The match had almost the same psychology of the Lesnar vs. Cena match from Night of Champions. The story here was that Cena threw everything at Rusev and he still couldn’t beat him. The finish came when Rusev had the camel clutch on Cena. Cena was about to break it but Lana came in the ring and distracted the referee. Rusev broke the hold and kicked Cena low and then in the face. Rusev then went back to the Accolade and an unconscious Cena lost.

I think they should have saved this match for Mania. The fans were split early but were all into Cena by the end of the match. I am not sure how invested fans really are into seeing Cena go for revenge at Mania. Regardless, it looks like that is where we are going.

Bray Wyatt called out the Undertaker tonight. They set up an entrance as if the Undertaker was coming out. The casket opened up and it was Wyatt. It was a cool segment but I still don’t understand it. Logically, why would the Undertaker come back for anything but avenging his loss to Brock Lesnar? Paul Heyman and Lesnar have mocked him for a year yet he’ll come back for a new guy who just called him out? It makes no sense. I think that the WWE is leaving some major money on the table here. Imagine the intensity and the passion fans would have to see Undertaker shut Heyman and Lesnar up after a year of trash talk. Taker could have come back, won the Rumble, and put up his career vs. Lesnar’s title in a rematch? Anything would have made more sense than Taker coming back to answer Wyatt’s challenge.

Sting and Triple H had their confrontation. Triple H made Sting an offer to align with the Authority. Sting remained silent. Triple H and Sting then brawled a bit. Hunter got the advantage by hitting him with a microphone. Hunter went for the sledgehammer but was cut off by Sting with a bat. Sting backed him into a corner and pointed to the WrestleMania sign. Sting finally left Hunter laid out with a Scorpion Death Drop. This was pretty exciting…predictable but exciting. The match was officially announced later in the show for Mania.

Randy Orton finally returned tonight. Orton ran in after the Seth Rollins six-man tag team match and attacked the heels. Orton’s return has been held off for awhile. All rumors indicate that Orton will wrestle Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 31 with Jon Stewart of the Daily Show involved. Orton was over huge with the crowd and the fans ate up all of his RKOs.

Well it looks like we have a pretty good idea of what WrestleMania will look like. It won’t look much different than what has predicted and reported here and elsewhere over the last few weeks. I wouldn’t call it underwhelming yet I wouldn’t call it exciting either. Here is what the WrestleMania 31 card looks like coming out of Fastlane…
Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE world title
John Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. title
Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose for the I-C title
Sting vs. Triple H
The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt
Randy Orton with Jon Stewart vs. Seth Rollins

Full WWE Fastlane results and winners..
Roman Reigns defeated Daniel Bryan in a  Number One Contender Match
Rusev defeated John Cena via submission to retain the United States Championship Match
Nikki Bella defeated Paige to retain the WWE Divas Championship
Bad News Barrett defeated Dean Ambrose by DQ to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd defeated the Usos to win the WWE Tag Team Championship
Triple H and Sting met face to face
Goldust defeated Stardust
The Big Show, Kane, and Seth Rollins defeated Erick Rowan, Dolph Ziggler, and Ryback

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WWE Fastlane Predictions and Preview

February 19, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE will be launching the inaugural Fastlane this Sunday night. The prelude to WrestleMania will see a highly anticipated match up, an early WrestleMania 31 contest, and the first-ever advertised WWE special event appearance from the man called Sting.

Fastlane will replace the annual Elimination Chamber event. Unlike the Chamber show, Fastlane will be devoid of gimmick matches and strictly serve as an appetizer to the big March event. While I wouldn’t call it a strong show, I would see it is one of the more intriguing shows in recent memory. Let’s break down the top matches and events and make some predictions.

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan in a Winner meets Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 Match - This is without question the most intriguing match of the year thus far. Reigns and Bryan is not a match I would have expected to see pre-Mania. Sure, I could see these guys headlining SummerSlam or Survivor Series but I didn’t expect it this soon. Thanks to some rowdy fans in Philadelphia and some post-Rumble adjustments, we are getting this one several months early.

I have written a lot on this match, two full blogs to be exact. However, things continue to change and the landscape has evolved since both blogs. Originally the plans were for a Reigns vs. Brock match at Mania. New rumors indicated that those plans changed and Bryan would now be inserted into a Triple Threat Match. At this point I don’t think there is a predictable way to go here.

This reminds me a lot of the Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels match at King of the Ring 1997. The match made no sense, it featured two babyfaces, and one was obviously the company guy against a guy who was on the descent. At the same it made no sense for either guy to put the other one over. The match ended with a double DQ and no winner. I would be surprised if we don’t see the same result repeat itself in this match.

Roman Reigns has a ton of pressure on him here. If Reigns is expected to be the guy that delivers main-event singles matches, it all starts here. He’s been given everything he needs to succeed here. If you can’t have a good or even great match with Bryan than his promos are the least of his problem. I have no doubt that Bryan will do everything he can to get a great match out of Reigns. Anything less than a pretty good match could really hurt Reigns’ chances of going over at Mania.

I am going to predict a non-finish here. I don’t think either one of these guys are getting pinned. I do think that Bryan is not nearly as over as he was last year and that could cause the brass to re-think their Triple Threat plan. Yet unless I hear different I think both guys come out untainted. I expect this one to end with some interference from the Authority and a big groan from the audience.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the US Title - WWE fans are getting this one early. These guys were penciled in for WrestleMania which makes this booking a bit odd. However, it wouldn’t be the first time we saw a WrestleMania match. I like the match, like it a lot. I love most of what they’ve done with Rusev and the fact they held him apart for Cena for a year was just brilliant.

I wouldn’t expect a great match, although I do think they have it in them to produce one. I see a safe match with both guys saving the full effort for Mania. Putting Cena over here makes no sense at all, although after the Royal Rumble booking I don’t have a lot of confidence in logical WWE booking. I do love the idea of Cena as U.S. champion, I just don’t want to see it prior to Mania. I look for Rusev to go over here. I would suspect that a ref-stoppage finish that involves Cena’s eye, either Rusev spiking it or threatening. Anything but a big win hurts interest in seeing Cena seek revenge at Mania.

Triple H and Sting Confrontation - Like you, I have always wanted to see Sting in the WWE. However, I have to admit that Sting vs. Triple H was not a dream match on my list. Regardless, we are getting it one way or the other so why complain. I expect the usual RAW confrontation you’d expect from both, but I do think Sting gets laid out this time around. I think you need to lay him out in order to create a demand for a match.

Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett for the WWE Intercontinental Title - I like this match. I also think that Dean Ambrose is the biggest waste of talent I have seen in the WWE in quite some time. I love the potential of this match. I think you have two guys here who are very talented and looking to steal the show. I don’t expect Ambrose to win the title and quite frankly that may be a good thing for him. At the same time I certainly don’t want to see him lose clean which is what I think happens here.

Full WWE Fastlane card and matches…
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan – Number One Contender Match
John Cena vs. Rusev – United States Championship Match
Paige vs. Nikki Bella – WWE Divas Championship
Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose – WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Uso’s vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd – WWE Tag Team Championship
Triple H and Sting meet face to face
Goldust vs. Stardust

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WWE NXT is Better Than RAW and SmackDown

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

The evolution NXT has experienced since doing live events on the WWE Network has been simply amazing. In my opinion, ‘NXT Arrival’ on February 27th, 2014 was the day NXT was officially put on the map. Wrestling fans were able to watch NXT on other streaming platforms prior to their debut on the network but they got a better opportunity to see what The Ascension, Paige, Adrian Neville, Bo Dallas, Sami Zayn and others were all about because of the promotion NXT was getting on WWE programing.

Prior to ‘NXT Arrival’, the likes of Cesaro, Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Rusev, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins all graced the NXT ring. Today, NXT is five live events in and they have talent like Baron Corbin, Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, Tyler Breeze, Charlotte, Sasha Banks and Kevin Owens bringing down the house.

Something started to change and it was impressive. After the Fatal 4-Way match between Neville, Zayne, Breeze and Tyson Kidd then the Zayn vs. Neville match at ‘R Evolution’ the thought really started creeping into my mind. After ‘Rival’ it solidified my opinion that day in and day out, NXT is a better product than RAW and SmackDown. After ‘NXT TakeOver: Rival’ was over I was so impressed I started to examine why NXT was so good. The reaction NXT received on social media was amazing so I clearly wasn’t alone. One of my buddies whose been a wrestling fan his entire life and someone whose opinion I respect texted me, “There are very few moments that make you feel, ‘that’s why I love wrestling’ and tonight was one of those nights.” It was clear; something special was definitely going on in NXT.

After some of the events over the last month, it’s pretty clear to me that NXT is as good as it is right now because of Triple H. He is the sole decision maker when it comes to booking and he’s nailing it. He has a reputation for burying guys and having a set image for what a superstar should be, but when he was on Stone Cold Steve Austin’s podcast, I was never more confident that he has what it takes to lead the WWE into the future. His vision, ideas and opinions have led to a snowball effect that’s making the entire NXT product the best to watch.

In response to a question on twitter, Tripe H said that he sees NXT “Standing on its own as a brand, but is not only a pipeline-but an alternative.” When I saw that I immediately took it to another level. NXT is now the “better alternative.” It’s obvious that NXT is not a minor league feeder system for the WWE anymore. Right now, today, NXT is a superior product and makes the WWE Network worth the $9.99 all by its self.

His desire for longer storylines and unscripted promos tells me that he gets it and makes me very excited for not only the future of NXT, but of RAW and SmackDown. He is a fan of the slow burn and that’s one of the biggest things lacking in the WWE today. Fans with short attention spans and the desire for instant gratification is really weakening the product. Yes, Daniel Bryan was an example of a slow burn but that was fan created. Bryan winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania was not the plan. In NXT, the Zayn-Neville program is a prime example. It was a nice, long feud that was capped off with a great moment. As fans, we need to be patience because with main event feuds, the payoff is almost always worth it.

Another thing Triple H talked about with Stone Cold was scripted promos. He likes promos to be more natural and doesn’t believe everything needs to be scripted. Also, with Triple H in charge, the wrestlers have a choice. If a guy likes to be scripted that option will be there for them, but if they have the ability and want to be more impromptu, then they will have the option to ad-lib their promos. Nothing sounds better than a wrestler who can free style a promo. Everything is scripted in the WWE right now and it’s obvious and weakens the product.

Of course there cannot be a strong product without the performance of the wrestlers. There’s a great mix of up-and-comers and experienced indy guys in NXT right now. I honestly believe that if it were up to Vince McMahon, a lot of these guys would not be where they are today. Some of the best workers in NXT history are not typical WWE guys. Owens and Wyatt look out of shape. Neville, Itami and Balor are obviously too small. Bottom line, NXT provides these guys a platform to prove they belong and can be spectacular on the big stage. Also, the willingness to give wrestlers from “Ring of Honor,” “New Japan Pro Wrestling” and other organizations a chance is really changing the game.

Finally, the pacing of NXT is perfect. The weekly shows are an hour and their special events are two hours. On Stone Cold’s podcast Triple H also mentioned how he wished RAW went back to two hours. NXT does not waste time with pointless promos or recap fillers. There are times when RAW will go 20 minutes before any action takes place. Specifically on the special events, the show flows so nicely and is an easy product to watch and enjoy.

So, because of the decision of Triple H, NXT is a better and more enjoyable show than RAW or SmackDown. Everything he believes in is showing, and is creating a ripple effect throughout the organization. From the performers he hires, length of shows, freedom of the promos and the length of programs, NXT is in a great place to not only be an alternative to WWE, but maybe provide the fire of competition they have been lacking for so many years. I will continue to tune into RAW and SmackDown because I enjoy many of the workers, but just know NXT is my show of choice.

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Seth Rollins Wants to Wrestle Triple H

February 06, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins is arguably the brightest star ascending in the WWE. The former Shield member owes a lot to Triple H in and outside of the ring which is why he’d love to pay him back with a one on one match in a WWE ring.

Seth Rollins is an exception to the rule. Rollins has arguably been the most successfully elevated wrestler under the current WWE Creative regime. Now don’t misunderstand me, Rollins is still not booked to his potential. However, in terms not badly screwing up a push this is probably the best example in the last three years.

Rollins has also turned into a great media interview. Rollins doesn’t work the interviewer and generally opens up about the current state of his career and the WWE. Right now I don’t think there is anyone better with the media in the WWE than Rollins and John Cena. That is why when I see the headline “Seth Rollins interview” I stop and read.

Rollins gave a very interesting interview to Talksport.com. Rollins talked about a number of things but none was more evident than his man-crush on Triple H. It is apparent by reading the interview that Hunter has been a great influence on Rollins’ career and for everything his critics hate about him, Rollins has given his supporters ammunition to fight back.

“If you look at what he’s done in our industry over the last 20 years and his position in the company, It is incredible.
“He thinks about things so differently too. You may not think that about him – a lot of people may think he’s very vanilla or cut and dry – but man, he thinks about things so differently and he absolutely loves WWE. Just loves it, it is his passion.”

In other words, Seth Rollins is a Triple H guy and that is why he will probably sustain his position for years to come. Rollins respects Hunter so much, he envisions a match with him as somewhat of a personal dream match.

“I wouldn’t mind having a match with Triple H some day, a singles match,” said Rollins, 28.

“I know that’s interesting considering our current affiliation, but there doesn’t always have to be an element of hate involved there – it could be a competitive match.

“He’s someone who is a measuring stick, he’s done a lot for me specifically and I’d just like to test the water at some point. I think it would be a really interesting match up.”

Rollins summed it up with the ultimate compliment, one I can’t recall hearing from a top guy since Dave Batista ascended up the cards.

“For me, he’s been an incredible mentor. You really can’t ask for a better mentor than himself.

Check out the entire interview where Seth sings more praise for his boss anmd talks about the WWE Performance Center at Talksport.com

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