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WWE Hall Of Fame 2015 Ceremony Videos and Ring Presentation

March 29, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Hall of Fame 2015The 2015 WWE Hall of Fame will go down was one of the most emotional ceremonies in recent memory. Tributes to the late Randy Savage and Connor “The Crusher” left plenty of tears while Kevin Nash and Madusa provided the laughs and entertainment.

The entire ceremony was streamed live on the WWE Network. You really can’t beat the bargain of getting the entire ceremony and WrestleMania 31 for less than ten bucks. If you decided to pass on the Network, the WWE You Tube channel provided a compilation of speeches and moments including Vince McMahon presenting the class with their Hall of Fame rings.

The 2015 WWE Hall of Fame class….

  • Kevin Nash
  • “Macho Man” Randy Savage
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • Rikishi
  • Tatsumi Fujinami
  • The Bushwhackers
  • Alundra Blayze
  • Larry Zbyszko
  • Connor “The Crusher” Michalek

Check out the playlist of videos below along with the entire ceremony on the WWE Network…for just $9.99. It’s a great way to kill four hours today as you count down to Mania!

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Vince McMahon Trying To Sign Brock Lesnar Before WrestleMania

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

Brock Lesnar is a lucky man! The WWE world champion is about to become combat sports’ hottest free agent. Vince McMahon is up against the clock as he hopes to mitigate a potential public relations disaster.

We all saw it coming…well everyone but Vince McMahon. When Brock Lesnar returned to the WWE in 2012 with a contract that would come due after WrestleMania, most predicted that this would blow up in Vince’s face at some point. Yet for some reason Vince ignored the warnings and did the unthinkable, booked Brock as an unbeatable champion going into Mania without a contract renewal.

This is much different than the Montreal Screw Job. Vince had Bret under contract and allowed Bret to go negotiate a new deal. The WWE was involved in a ratings war with WCW and the business was just much different. Bret wanted to stay but Vince wanted him to go. Vince wants Brock to stay and Brock wants to test the waters. Again, how did nobody see this coming?

Brock’s unstoppable reign as WWE champion is one year too late. Brock renewed his contract in 2013 and signed a two-year extension. This storyline could have been booked going into WrestleMania 30 with none of the ramifications that Vince faces in 2015. Was the timing right? Probably not with the Daniel Bryan explosion, but Brock was locked up for another year. This is bad for business and great for Brock.

Dave Meltzer on his latest F4Wonline.com podcast reported that Vince is working feverishly to re-sign Brock before Mania. Meltzer speculates that Brock will probably play it out and hit free agency. With the UFC and Bellator salivating at the chance of bringing Lesnar back to MMA, the WWE champion has several options. The only leverage Vince has in enticing Brock to re-sign is to keep the title on him post-Mania. However, most reports indicate that Brock isn’t the kind of guy to get excited about an extended WWE title reign.

In an incredible twist of irony all roads lead back to CM Punk. Yes that CM Punk. If it were not for CM Punk walking out of the company last year and signing with the UFC, there would be less of an urgency to keep Brock. In today’s WWE economic model it may not necessarily make sense to keep him from a dollars and cents standpoint. However, thank to Punk, Vince does not want to give investors the impression that he is losing his big stars to the UFC. Vince, Triple H, and many WWE executives have told their shareholders for years that the UFC is not a competitor. That can’t be said anymore if he loses two of his biggest stars to the rival organization in less than a year.

My gut feeling is that Brock walks out of WrestleMania a free agent. No matter what Vince offers him, it makes no sense for Lesnar to re-sign before talking to the MMA groups. Even if he doesn’t want to fight, the negotiations will only earn him leverage for a new WWE deal. Unless Brock is really enticed by a path which includes retaining the WWE title at 31, it makes no sense for him to re-sign.

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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The Roman Reigns Debacle: Where Did It Go Wrong?

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

Some are calling Roman Reigns the least over WWE superstar to headline a WrestleMania. That is high praise considering it wasn’t even five years ago that Miz was headlining. Where did it all go wrong for the former member of the Shield?

Consider this for a second. It was only a year ago that Reigns was tapped to be the next John Cena of the WWE. Today many will argue that the experiment with Reigns has failed. Who is to blame for the colossal descent is a matter of opinion. Is Reigns to blame for not being able to achieve the success he was slotted for or is it the WWE Creative Team who may be responsible for the worst booking of anyone on the ascend in the last decade?

So where did things go off of the rail for Reigns? Let’s start back at WrestleMania 30. Reigns was booked as part of a quick six-man tag team match with the Shield against the New Age Outlaws and Kane. Reigns was showcased here and was super over with the fans in New Orleans. The future looked for Reigns coming out of Mania.

Next up for Reigns was a big feud against Evolution. The Shield and Evolution had a pair of memorable matches on pay-per-view shows following Mania. The fans went freaking ballistic for Reigns at Extreme Rules when he hit the Superman punch and spear on Batista for the pin. Reigns was not only over, but he was super over. He looked more than ready to headline Mania the next year and be a featured WWE player in 2015.

Here is where things got interesting. The RAW after Extreme Rules the Shield fought the Wyatts. Bray Wyatt pinned Reigns, with interference from Evolution. The night after Reigns’ star shined brightest he was pinned on RAW. That is just unfathomable if you think about that. Reigns did score the pin over Triple H in the Evolution rematch at Payback. He was still red hot but you have to wonder if the taint of that pin loss to Bray Wyatt hurt Reigns moving forward.

The Shield splits up after Payback and the next couple of months are critical. The WWE could have separated Reigns here and established him as a money singles player. Instead he completely floundered over the next few months. Reigns didn’t have a real purpose and came up short in the Money in the Bank match. Even worse is that Reigns’ ex-Shield partners were picking up real steam with their feud as he took a backseat. Ambrose and Rollins were stealing shows with their rivalry as Reigns bounced around.

Let’s focus on Money in the Bank for a second, which was Reigns first big match away from the Shield on pay-per-view. It is fascinating when you watch back the reaction Reigns got as he was walking down the steps. It was not only nowhere close to the reaction he received just a couple of months back at Payback, but it was far less than John Cena’s. Reigns badly needed to win Money in the Bank or not be booked in the match. Reigns was already struggling and not winning Money in the Bank hurt. It is hard to argue the booking decision since Rollins was clearly much hotter at the time. However, if your long range plan was to rehabilitate Reigns for Mania, they needed to give him the win here.

Reigns spends the next few weeks wrestling Randy Orton repeatedly on television as Rollins and Ambrose are tearing it up. Even worse, now Reigns is booked to lose two big PPV matches in a row. Reigns is booked in a Fatal 4-Way match at Battleground for the WWE championship and loses. This was just pure insanity! The guy you are supposed to be booking as the next big superstar, a legit threat to Brock Lesnar has now come up short in two big matches. I think it was at this point that his goose was cooked.

Reigns would of course take some time off in the fall due to injury. Reigns was just starting to heat up again with a feud against Seth Rollins. Reigns would have presumably beaten Rollins at Night of Champions, although you never know. The biggest problem here is that unlike Daniel Bryan who came back hot from his injury, Reigns was struggling when he went out. He wasn’t hot which meant he wasn’t missed at all by the fans. Even worse, Dean Ambrose stepped into that spot and was far more over with the fans. The WWE tried their best to make sure fans understood that Ambrose was not a top guy but it didn’t matter. He thrived, Rollins remained hot, and Reigns was sitting at home out of sight and out of mind…that was until that infamous RAW interview.

Michael Cole conducted an interview via satellite with Reigns on RAW. The badass, monster, no-nonsense Reigns transformed into a goofy, corny, babyface. Whatever aura Reigns had was destroyed singlehandedly in this one promo. Experts and critics watched in astonishment as Reigns delivered some of the worst scripted promo lines you had ever heard a character like him repeat. It was awful and while they tried to fix this in future interviews, the damage was done.

Enter Daniel Bryan! Bryan left the WWE as champion and red hot with the fans. His presence was missed and fans couldn’t wait to see him return. Bryan announced his return to the Royal Rumble and Reigns’ goose was officially cooked at this point. Even with Reigns struggles, and his struggles started far before Bryan returned, the company still proceeded with plans to give him a Royal Rumble win and a match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. It may have worked if not for the fact that the people’s champion was now back and after last year’s Rumble, it was clear he had to be in it to win it. He didn’t and ever since then, Reigns has paid the price for it.

On top of all of this, Reigns’ character development since September has been downright awful. The person or people responsible for getting Reigns ready for Mania should be fired immediately or resign. They have over-produced this kid to the point that fans just don’t even care anymore. The worst reaction anyone in a WWE ring can get is apathy. Reigns would be better off getting booed out of the building every week. Instead, he receives tepid reactions and fans are more pumped for Dolph Ziggler these days than they are for Roman Reigns.

Who is to blame for this collapse? Reigns has to have some accountability here. Every top WWE superstar said no to Vince McMahon and went to great lengths to protect their characters from Stone Cold Steve Austin to Hulk Hogan to Shawn Michaels to the Rock to Triple H. Reigns has to be his own advocate and if something doesn’t feel right, he needs to fight back. Is it better to be perceived as difficult from the office and stay over or be a yes man and sit back and accept dumb ideas at the expense of your momentum? No successful top guy has ever been a yes man and Reigns has to take some responsibility here for his own demise.

That doesn’t relieve the creative team and Vince McMahon of their failures here. Let’s take silly promos out of this and go all the way back to May 5, 2014 when Reigns was pinned by Bray Wyatt on television. Let’s go back to June and the post-Shield split and the lack of a plan the company had for Reigns. Let’s go back to last summer and revisit booking Reigns in two top matches without winning. The Royal Rumble and his silly promos are an easy cop out. This mess goes back much further than that.

Roman Reigns needs to be rebooted. From his character to his impact as a performer in the ring. Being forced down the fans throats not only won’t do him any favors, it could be the final nail that kills Reigns’ chances as a top guy. Everyone involved need to take a long hard look in the mirror because there is plenty of blame to go around for this debacle.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Latest WWE WrestleMania 31 Rumors: Why Roman Reigns Must Win

March 09, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The rumors are only getting hotter as we get closer to WrestleMania 31. WWE news continues to leak out of Stamford, CT and rather than focus on one story I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few headlines that are buzzing on the Internet.

The biggest story and rumor that I came across has to do with the main-event. Many are all questioning the decision to headline WrestleMania with Roman Reigns. It is obvious to anyone not named Vince McMahon that Reigns is just not nearly as over as other Mania challengers heading into the big show. He is certainly nowhere near as over as Daniel Bryan was heading into last year’s match. So why is Vince the only one oblivious to this and why is he moving forward in spite of the obvious problems with Reigns?

According to several rumors, this all goes back to The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 30 and the streak. The rumor is that Vince used his plans for Reigns to convince Undertaker to put over Lesnar and end the streak. Vince allegedly sold the idea to Undertaker on the fact that Lesnar needed the win so he could in turn put over Reigns this year, thus making Reigns’ win even bigger. Taking Reigns out of the match or going with someone else (Bryan) would be Vince going back on his word to the Undertaker, thus Vince is proceeding with his plan.

That is certainly an interesting take on the situation. Several insiders have accused Vince of being out of touch with the fans and product in recent years. Steve Austin asked Vince personally about it on his podcast. I don’t think there has been better evidence of that than this whole Roman Reigns debacle. However, Vince’s decision to stick with Reigns certainly makes more sense with this little tidbit to consider. If true, you have to appreciate Vince’s loyalty to the Undertaker. At the same time, Vince has to also be loyal to his shareholders. As a public company, there are a lot more people that Vince has to answer to other than the Undertaker. Would he really be that concerned about keeping his word to a superstar on the way out at the expense of jeopardizing his future business? I don’t know if that is commendable or just flat out irresponsible.

Brock Lesnar walking out of RAW continues to be a developing story. Quite frankly there are new rumors popping up daily and at this point nothing has been confirmed one way or the other. However, there are two new rumors floating around regarding the incident. The first one comes via Reddit.com by verified WWE insider MetsFan4Ever.

The argument was that Brock wanted to go to the UFC show this past weekend and discuss a deal. Vince was strongly against this as long as Brock was under WWE contract. Brock stormed out of the building and as we all know, showed up at the UFC show. It’s just a matter of time before Brock is headlining another UFC show.

This adds another layer to the story about Lesnar walking out. What we do know is that Lesnar was advertised on RAW two weeks ago, showed up, and left after a shouting match with Vince McMahon. Dave Meltzer speculated that the disagreement was over something in a new proposed contract. Most assumed that Lesnar showing up at UFC was a result of the argument, not the other way around. True or false, one thing we do know is that Lesnar walked and there could be ramifications…which brings us to our last rumor.

Some insiders are reporting that Brock may “owe” the WWE a date after walking out of RAW. Brock’s contract expires with his WrestleMania 31 match. The new speculation is that the WWE could hold Lesnar to another date post-Mania due to his walkout.

It is certainly an interesting spin to a story with many layers. The WWE may wind up benefitting here if that is true. The RAW after Mania is generally the most exciting RAW of the year. Having Lesnar available and appearing would only enhance what is bound to be a super show. My gut tells me that if the WWE and Lesnar can’t reach a new deal, the WWE lets Lesnar walk after Mania without forcing him to make another appearance. I think at the end of the day both sides know that there is plenty of money left on the table and it is in the best interest of both to remain professional regardless of who winds up with Brock’s services.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Lessons To Be Learned From WWE WrestleMania 1

March 05, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It has been almost 30 years since we packed arenas around the country to watch Hulk Hogan and Mr. T battle Roddy Piper and Paul Orndorff in the inaugural WrestleMania, breaking the record for the most watched closed circuit event in the U.S. at the time.

It is amazing to think that this event is over 30 years old. I feel like it was yesterday that I watched a slow build for the main-event from Roddy Piper and Captain Lou Albano making accusations against Cyndi Lauper, to Lauper and Wendi Richter’s “Moolah’s Going Down” promos, to Piper and Orndorff cracking an egg over a toilet seat on a WrestleMania poster. We practically had a full year of promotion before history was made in New York City.

The formula was brilliant, yet not original. McMahon took a page out of Jerry Lawler and Jerry Jarrett’s playbook and snagged one of the biggest celebrities in the world. The way this played out is incredibly ironic since Vince’s father passed on a similar angle only a few years prior. Before Andy Kaufman stepped into the Mid South Coliseum, he approached Vince McMahon Sr. about doing an angle. Vince Sr. rejected the idea yet for all I know the whole scenario planted a seed in Vince Jr. Keep in mind Vince Sr. also fired Piper and Hogan at separate times, banning Hogan for life only two years earlier.

The master plan played out beautifully. Vince Jr. took over for his father and slowly and deliberately transitioned the WWWF to the WWF. Roddy Piper was signed and his masterful promos were exploited immediately. Hulk Hogan was signed and immediately given the world title and a list of new and old challengers. The entire transition took about two years to get to WrestleMania.

It is impossible to look back at Mania 1 and not compare it to today’s pro wrestling. While Vince still plans out Mania far in advance, the road map looks much different today. Think about this for a second. How big would Hogan and Piper have been if they both lost matches on the way to Mania? Would Piper have still been red hot as a heel if he was losing matches on television during the months leading up to Mania? Would Hogan have been as popular if he were reading scripted promos, losing matches, and showing vulnerabilities leading up to Mania? Would Mania have drawn if Piper or Hogan lost clean at the War to Settle the Score? How about building up a show with matches we have already seen before, some dozens of times? I think we all know the answers.

The irony here is that you would expect a genius like Vince McMahon to evolve over time. Instead if you look back over the last 32 years, Vince has actually regressed as a promoter. Ironic as it sounds, Vince was more edgy and innovative in 1985 than he is in 2015. I can’t think of many or any other CEOs or organizations run considerably better 31 years ago that are thriving today.

The WrestleMania event has become a much bigger extravaganza. The marketing has far surpassed the efforts of the company in 1985. The revenue generated from the event has greatly increased, yet inflation has played a big part in that. The shows from top to bottom are better or worse depending upon your tastes. It is all subjective. Take a look back at the card from March 31, 1985 and I will easily admit that the cards have gotten much stronger since then. Could you imagine WrestleMania headlined in 2015 by a tag team match?

Yet no matter how much money is spent on marketing and how much more time on television the WWE has to promote WrestleMania, the excitement was far bigger in 1985. I can remember watching the 11 PM news and seeing a report about WrestleMania. Heck, that was the only way a kid like me found out what happened in 1985. While the WWE does get coverage in many mediums today for WrestleMania, I don’t recall seeing many evening news reports on the event.

I think we can all agree that there are still lessons that can be learned from WrestleMania 1. Some of these lessons are lessons on failing and some are lessons on how to successfully promote your biggest event of the year. Most of those positive lessons have been ignored or blown off by an ignorant owner who thinks they are archaic. Yet I wonder how much different things would be if that same owner’s house and fortune were all at stake as they were on March 31, 1985. I bet things would be much different and for the better at that.

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Brock Lesnar At UFC, More Details Of WWE Walkout Emerge

March 02, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Brock Lesnar is making the rounds. The WWE champion was show sitting ringside at UFC 184 on Saturday night. The appearance comes just days after Lesnar walked out of RAW leaving many wondering if the WrestleMania 31 main-event is in jeopardy.

This situation is getting crazier by the week. Two weeks ago it was reported that Lesnar was leaning towards staying with the WWE and re-signing as opposed to returning to MMA. A week ago Lesnar and Vince McMahon hit a contract impasse that resulted in Lesnar walking out. Several days later Lesnar is at UFC 184 and we are less than one month away from WrestleMania 31.

Dave Meltzer had some news and speculation on his post-UFC 184 F4Wonline.com podcast. Meltzer reported that Lesnar and McMahon had a loud shouting match last Monday at RAW. Meltzer said it got to the point that some were fearing for McMahon. According to Meltzer, Lesnar was upset about something regarding a new contract. Meltzer said Lesnar left the building and isn’t scheduled for television until next week at RAW.

This all begs the logical question as to whether Lesnar’s status at Mania is in jeopardy. According to Meltzer, the writers asked Vince if they needed to come up with a backup plan. Vince reportedly told them not to worry about it as he is confident that Brock is locked up for Mania. Vince reportedly feels as if he would have grounds for a big lawsuit against Lesnar if Brock didn’t show up, thus he isn’t worried.

I’d worry!

As it stands today Brock is scheduled to wrestle his last match on his current deal at Mania. Yes, Brock is legally obligated to appear on the show. However, Brock has not honored contracts in the past including a previous one with the WWE. Brock has gone to court over these days, including his deal from 2002 with the WWE. I would not be as confident as Vince is that a contract will keep Lesnar from skipping Mania 31.

So what do you do if you are the WWE? By the time Brock gets to RAW next week the word will be out about his contractual disagreements with the company. It looks terrible to have your WWE champion perceived as a lame duck champion heading into Mania. The crowd in California could get real ugly, ruining the main-event if they crap all over it due to Lesnar’s lame duck status. This is not a scenario anyone wants on March 29.

What is plan B? Let’s just say that we are two weeks from Mania and it looks like Brock may skip the show. What does Vince McMahon do? How do you fix this? Is there anything or anyone he can plug into that match to satisfy a WrestleMania main-event? Daniel Bryan is the easy answer. However, I think Vince blew those chances by booking Reigns to beat Bryan clean at Fastlane. John Cena and Rusev are already wrapped up in their own deal. I suppose you could move Seth Rollins and Randy Orton into the mix and make it a Triple Threat Match? Unfortunately there aren’t a whole lot bullets laying around these days to put into that barrel.

Brock returning to the UFC sounds fun on paper but I don’t see it ever happening. Brock wouldn’t stand a chance against most of the top five heavyweights and he knows it. It’s a different sport than it was when Brock reigned as UFC champion. He’d cash in big in Bellator but Brock never appeared to like the easy way out of competition. I think at the end of the day he has no intentions of returning to the UFC. Pro wrestling is his best bet at this stage of his career.

Whether Brock shows up or not, this is getting very tense right now for all parties. I’d say at the end of the day that Brock does not want to burn this bridge down to the ground and he shows up for Mania. But who knows? Maybe he’s had enough and he certainly has the financial means to live comfortably for the rest of his life. All I know is that this is the best WrestleMania drama being written right now and it is all being scripted organically.

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WWE Stars Talk About Meeting Vince McMahon For the First Time

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

The dynamic between Vince McMahon and his wrestlers is always a fascinating topic. WWE.com offered up some new insight with a great piece featuring several WWE superstars who recounted their first meeting with Vince McMahon.

Even guys who worked for Vinnie Mac like Chris Jericho and Steve Austin are always talking to their podcast guests about Vince and his dynamics. Just recently Chris Jericho and Shawn Michaels spent quite a bit of time discussing it. WWE.com nailed down several superstars who recounted some fascinating stories about meeting Vince. John Cena’s may be the best of them all.

“I didn’t have time to be nervous. It was in Chicago, Ill., on the day I had my debut match against Kurt Angle. I wasn’t supposed to have a match that night, but in the final moments, it was decided that I would debut on television against an Olympic Gold Medalist. Higher-ups said, ‘If we’re going to put the kid on TV, he’s gotta meet Vince!’

“They literally dragged me by the arm to Vince’s office, threw me in and asked him, ‘What do you think?’ I had ridiculously ugly, long, super-dyed blond hair that was shaved bald on the sides. He turned around and with a disgusted look on his face, he said, ‘Cut his hair,’ and I was whisked away from Vince like an assembly line.

“That was the first time I met Vince McMahon and he was disgusted to look at me. They shipped me out and I immediately got a haircut, which was not dyed blond, but equally as horrible.”

That is a great story. Think about that one for a second. The man who would later become his flagship initially disgusted Vince McMahon when they first met. It is funny how things wind up playing out sometimes isn’t it?

JBL had another great story. JBL would of course ascend through the ranks and eventually become a WWE world champion. According to JBL if Vince had it his way, JBL would have been performing Swan Lake on Monday Night RAW.

“I had to go up to Stamford to meet Vince for the first time. I walked in the room and it was JJ Dillon, [Human Resources executive] Lisa Wolfe and Vince. He sat me down, and with a complete straight face he said, ‘We’re going to make you a bad guy ballerina.’ I’d always been a cowboy and I’d already told WCW I wasn’t coming. I looked at him and thought, ‘Oh god, I’ve made the worst decision of my life.’ I said to him, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, it’ll be great. You’re going to be a ballerina that’s a real bad guy.’ Then he started laughing and said, ‘No, I like the cowboy. We’ll do that. That sounds good.’

“He threw this contract out there for virtually no guaranteed money and said to me, ‘That contract’s not worth the paper it’s written on. All I can guarantee you is the handshake behind it.’ And that’s all I needed. I could live with that.

“He’s charismatic. No doubt about it. I don’t think anybody’s that ever met him will say any different.”

Wow! Could you imagine? Daniel Bryan describes his meeting and sums it up quite eloquently.

“It was very awkward and very uncomfortable. Vince takes these very long pauses after he asks you a question and you answer him. He’ll just look at you. Some will start talking, which I think he likes because it shows they’re uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable, but I just looked at him. I was waiting for him to talk and he was waiting for me to talk. It was surreal. I was very nervous and even in in my $500 suit — which I thought was the most expensive suit in the world — I knew I was inadequately dressed. This guy has the power to control your destiny.”

Check out the entire article on WWE.com with more comments from WWE superstars and their first meeting with Vince McMahon.

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Brock Lesnar Walks Out Of WWE RAW

February 25, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The big news coming out of Monday Night RAW was not a dull kickoff to WrestleMania. The big story was Brock Lesnar and where he was. Lesnar walked out of RAW and a new report indicates that there could be trouble in paradise.

It was a strange Monday for Lesnar and the WWE. Earlier in the day WWE.com promoted that Brock would be appearing on RAW. Yet by the end of the broadcast there was no Brock and people were talking. Dave Meltzer reported on his podcast that Brock walked out but could not provide details. Well some details have now emerged.

Mike Johnson over at PWInsider.com has the scoop. According to Mike, Brock did indeed walk out. Mike reports that the disagreement was not over anything related to creative. Mike reports that the disagreement was simply over business between the two parties. Mike did not have much more to it other than that Vince McMahon confirmed the blow up the following day at SmackDown.

Ironically this comes only a few days after news broke that Brock was leaning towards staying with the WWE. Meltzer reported in his Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Lesnar was hesitant to return to MMA over concussion concerns and Brock was leaning towards re-signing with the WWE. I do not think any of this is a coincidence whatsoever.

Brock’s behavior has always been a concern by WWE officials. Many believe that John Cena was booked to go over Lesnar in Lesnar’s debut simply because the company was unsure whether Brock would be around long enough to return the favor. That said, there has only been one reported blow up between Brock and the WWE and that was over Cena’s promo after their Extreme Rules match. Other than that, most have painted a rosy picture of Brock and Vince’s relationship.

Meltzer also reported on his podcast that the WrestleMania 31 main-event is not in jeopardy. Brock is under contract and is expected to fulfill all of his obligations. That said, Brock never returned to NJPW to drop the IWGP title but those were different circumstances. Whether the match is in jeopardy or not, there has to be people worried in the company when the headliner walks out a month before the big show.

As for Brock’s future post-Mania, I wouldn’t be too worried. These two parties survived a nasty lawsuit and continue to do business together. Brock had a similar reputation when dealing with the UFC and Dana White would take him back in a heartbeat. I expect things to be smoothed out but until then, I’d be slightly worried if I were Vince McMahon.

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Bret Hart Talks Hulk Hogan, Vince McMahon, and John Cena

February 12, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Hall of Fame wrestler Bret Hart is not one to mince words. While the Hit Man may have forgiven some of his former enemies for past indiscretions, he remains willing to talk about those issues, continuing to deliver sound bites bloggers like me love to write about.

Bret Hart is a fascinating man. Hart has buried several hatchets in recent years yet he is not shy to remind fans and media of the past. You have to give him credit in a sense in that Hart remains consistent with his opinions and commentary, regardless of the political ramifications. Even if it means taking shots at the head of the WWE, Vince McMahon.

Hart was recently interviewed by Sports Vision and discussed a variety of topics, offering interesting insight and a little controversy with various questions. It may be almost twenty-years, but Hart still takes solace in delivering a punch to the Chairman of the Board. Asked about his proudest moment, it wasn’t winning a title or headlining a WrestleMania, it was about the Montreal punch.

“When I stood up for myself in Montreal, and knocked out Vince McMahon for cheating me in that match. I think it’s still defines me as a wrestler, and as an artist, and a talent, and somebody that was betrayed. I’ve always been really proud of how I reacted, and how I carried myself that day. And in the end, I think I proved I was right.”

I will say this. Vince gets a lot of criticism for continuously bringing up the Montreal Screw Job in promos and angles over the last seventeen years. So I have no problem with Bret talking so openly about it. That said, I also have no problem with Vince’s periodic references because if the topic is on the table for one, it should be on the table for two.

Bret was also asked about Hulk Hogan. Bret and Hulk have had a tumultuous relationship over the years. Generally it is Bret who continues to be critical of Hulk and take shots while Hulk seems to give more politically correct answers.

“There’s a lot of wrestlers I worked with in those days that still stop me and tell me that the greatest match they ever had was with me… I take pride in that… I wish guys like Hulk Hogan might’ve had the courage to get in the ring with me, because I maybe could’ve given him his best match that he ever had, also.

“I just think that as wrestling moves into the future, everyday it goes further and further from my day, I look at the wrestlers today and I realize that they’re carrying the torch of my style. It’s not about strongman spots and Hulk Hogan, and putting one hand behind your ear and working the crowd, and stuff like that. It’s about guys that are out there suplexing each other, and doing a lot of complex wrestling moves, and a lot of action. That’s the kind of wrestling that I brought to the game.”

Well maybe I shouldn’t bring this up but Hulk did have the “courage” to get in the ring with Bret several times in WCW and guess what? The matches weren’t that good. Now both guys were in different places in their careers but that answer is a little disingenuous considering that they have wrestled.

I will also say this. Hulk Hogan has drawn a lot more money in his career than Bret and if you look at the biggest draws in wrestling history, there aren’t many Bret Harts on that list. It is a list of guys comprised with a few move sets and not a full arsenal. Also, as someone that grew up watching Bret I think he needs a little more self-awareness. I remember many fans saying during his big WWE run, “You’ve seen one Bret Hart match you’ve seen them all.” Now his matches with Shawn Michaels and Steve Austin are some of the best I have ever seen, but generally Bret delivered a fairly predictable match during his big run. And speaking of guys with limited move sets…

“I have nothing but respect for John Cena and his work rate. He’s one of the hardest working wrestlers there ever was. He’s been a great champion, an inspiring role model. It’s not easy being John Cena and carrying all the weight of the company on your back all the time. What he’s done with Make-A-Wish kids, and kids in general, kids in general around the world. People don’t understand sometimes what it’s like to be John Cena, to understand how much pressure is on him everyday to do the right things and to always be the class champion that he’s been. He’s a tireless champion that gives 100% every night… He could do a little bit better with some of his technical moves sometimes, but I think in the long and short of it, I think John Cena’s established himself to be maybe one of the greatest wrestlers that ever lived. I think he’s an amazing wrestler.”

All in all it is a great interview and I’d recommend checking the whole thing out.

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