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WrestleMania 26 Delivers Disappointing Buyrate

May 11, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WrestleMania 26 DVDThe WrestleMania 26 buy rate is in and nobody is celebrating in Stamford, CT. The biggest WWE event of the year drew 885,000 buys worldwide. The number is down from WrestleMania 25 and a huge disappointment for a WrestleMania event that featured Bret Hart, a strong card, and the end of Shawn Michaels.

The 885,000 buy rate is disappointing considering that early projections looked to be well over 1,000,000 buys for WrestleMania 26. I am not big into writing about buy rates because at the end of the day, I don’t think pro wrestling fans really concern themselves too much about buy rates. I have never seen a WWE fan go crazy over a big buy rate, although I have heard many complain about crappy shows. But I think this is big news and worthy of discussion as this is in my opinion a reflection of the current WWE climate and a big alarm for a change.

I have to admit, I was pretty surprised at the WrestleMania 26 buyrate. In my opinion, WrestleMania 26 had one of the better lineups as opposed to WrestleMania events in the last several years. I thought the promotion for Batista vs. John Cena was excellent as a main-event. The return of Bret Hart sparked enough interest that his first confrontation with Vince McMahon drew a 4.1 rating in the WWE RAW overrun. Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker are two WWE stars that have transcended several generations of fans, so the interest in a match that could end the career of Shawn Michaels should have been a big draw in itself. So why the low buy rate on a WrestleMania that should have been an easy success?

For one, Ric Flair killed the golden goose of wrestling retirements. The emotion and memories of the retirement of Ric Flair are still fresh in the minds of WWE fans. Equally fresh are the reappearances by Flair on WWE television fighting Randy Orton in a Street Fight and now wrestling on TNA Impact. The appeal of a wrestling retirement match is over. I don’t think anyone expected or expects Shawn Michaels to stay retired, other than Shawn Michaels. Unlike Flair, Shawn Michaels doesn’t look old or broken down and quite frankly, looks better in the ring than arguably everyone on the roster. Rarely has anyone other than Jack Brisco walked away and never come back in that kind of situation. WWE fans know it and they aren’t buying it (no pun intended).

The WWE also got too cute with the Bret Hart angle. The fact that they even turned this into an angle is surprising in itself because nothing here needed to be done. There was enough history here to sell this match without any gaga or soap operas. The car accident angle turned a lot of the older fans off who tuned back in to watch Bret Hart. The explanation worked but it was a bit corny. In the end, I think a lot of people had tuned out by that point anyway who would have bought this match on seeing a lot less scripted in the build to the Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon WrestleMania match.

The WWE Guest Host idea is working short term but killing the WWE long term in my opinion. I think that way too many wrestling fans have become so turned off by the horrendous comedy and endless array of D-List celebrities. It is working in the short term as a television show because you are getting some new viewers in to check out the celebrities and maybe boost the ratings. But, those aren’t people that are going to pay $50 to watch WrestleMania 26. Those people tuned out a long time ago and aren’t coming back until this thing runs its course. Stephanie McMahon recently compared it to SNL, the big difference is that when people tune into SNL they want to see comedy. When wrestling fans tune into WWE RAW, they want to see WWE wrestling.

A lot of UFC fans and writers are pumping their chests out about the low buyrate. There is a belief that by the UFC broadcasting UFC 111 the night before WrestleMania 26 that they stole customers away from the WWE. I don’t buy it at all. I really don’t think there is as big a crossover of pro wrestling and MMA fans as some think. The UFC has never done any damage at all to WWE RAW when they have gone head to head with live Monday shows. While I do think that there are some crossover fans that may opt one over the other on a particular weekend, the numbers are so miniscule that they really don’t factor into the equation.

The technology when it comes to Internet users pirating live streams of pay-per-view boxing, WWE, and UFC events has vastly improved. The UFC has been more reactive in this regard to stopping pirated streams than the WWE has. One theory may suggest that WWE fans are getting smarter and would rather find a live online stream than pay $50+. Again, I don’t necessarily buy this theory when it comes to WrestleMania. I definitely think when it comes to a B-level WWE event, a fan may choose to find a live stream rather than waste their money but this is WrestleMania. I think that if a fan wants to watch WrestleMania that WrestleMania would be the one show a year that they would shell out the bucks for to watch comfortably or with friends rather than stay in alone and watch it on some jumbled stream in front of an 18” monitor.

Finally, the booking just flat out sucks these days in the WWE. I really enjoyed the booking of the Batista vs. John Cena feud, but that didn’t make up for the rest of the show. Angles and feuds are being thrown together without reason or conclusion at a pace that even makes Vince Russo scratch his head at times. The WWE is also forcing issues and stars down the fan’s throats that they just honestly don’t want to see. It has gotten to the point where you can miss three month’s worth of WWE television and not miss a thing. Even Vince McMahon blamed the creative process for the disappointing WrestleMania 26 numbers on a recent conference call to WWE shareholders.

I hope for the sake of wrestling fans that the WWE will use this information as a wakeup call. At least for now, it sounds like Vince McMahon is looking to react to this and make some hard changes. However, if the last few WWE RAW television shows are any indication than the WWE could expect an even lower number for WrestleMania 27. Considering that Flava Flav and Jon Lovitz will be WWE Guest Hosts for the next two weeks respectively, I don’t see any changes coming in the near future.

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WWE WrestleMania XXVI DVD Set Released Today

May 04, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WrestleMania 26 DVDThe biggest WWE event of the year is now available on DVD. The WrestleMania 26 DVD will be released today. WWE fans have several WrestleMania 26 DVD options to choose from. There are 2-Disc, 3-Disc, Blu-Ray, and exclusive K Mart editions of the WWE’s blockbuster event of 2010.

What I really like about WrestleMania DVD releases is that the WWE goes overboard in offering extras with the purchase. It is almost impossible for any WWE fan to turn down the $25 purchase with the extras in addition to owning one of the most historic WrestleMania events of all-time. This year, several versions will allow WWE fans to choose how much extra they want with their WrestleMania 26 DVD.

The standard WrestleMania 26 DVD is anything but standard. In addition to the full WrestleMania 26 show, the collection will include the USA Network broadcast of the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony. Retail prices range anywhere from $17-$30 for this 2-Disc edition of the WrestleMania 26 DVD.

Order the Wrestlemania 26 2-Disc DVD.

For a few dollars more, WWE fans can own the WrestleMania 26 Collector’s Edition DVD. This is really the set to buy as you get three DVDs with this set. The set includes the full WrestleMania 26 event in addition to the full unedited 2010 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, as well as the final WWE RAW and WWE SmackDown shows before WrestleMania 26. Retail prices range anywhere from $26-45 for the WrestleMania 26 Collector’s Edition DVD.

Order the WWE: Wrestlemania 26 (Collector’s Edition).

The WrestleMania 26 Blu-Ray edition will not be released until July 6. This set features the entire WrestleMania 26 event, the 2010 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, matches featuring the WWE Hall of Fame inductees, and the WWE RAW and SmackDown go-home shows.

Finally, K Mart will have an exclusive WrestleMania 26 DVD bundle. The standard 2-Disc edition will include a bonus The Greatest Superstars of WrestleMania DVD. I own The Greatest Superstars of WrestleMania DVD and it is really a tremendous collection of WrestleMania matches. I checked the K Mart website and I see nothing as far as any ordering information. I’d recommend visiting your local K Mart if you wish to purchase the WrestleMania 26 K Mart exclusive DVD.

The WrestleMania DVDs generally sell pretty well, so I’d suggest ordering one as soon as you can. Overall the event wasn’t the greatest, but you get a lot of value for your buck with these sets. I have always enjoyed the full WWE Hall of Fame ceremonies, so I will probably grab the WrestleMania 26 Collector’s Edition DVD just for the ceremony alone. The Hall of Fame ceremonies are 1,000 times better than the television broadcasts when you get to watch them uncut and unedited. Additionally, the WWE RAW and SmackDown shows were tremendous leading into WrestleMania 26.

The WWE WrestleMania 26 card…
Big Show & The Miz vs. John Morrison & R-Truth – Unified Tag Team Championship
Randy Orton vs. Ted Dibiase and Cody Rhodes – Triple Threat Match
Jack Swagger vs. Christian, Kofi Kingston, Evan Bourne, MVP, Drew McIntyre, Matt Hardy, Kane, Dolph Ziggler, and Shelton Benjamin – Money-In-The-Bank Ladder Match
Triple H vs. Sheamus
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk – If Rey Loses he Joins SES
Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon – No Holds Barred Lumberjack Match
Chris Jericho vs. Edge – World Heavyweight Championship
Vickie Guerrero, Michelle McCool, Maryse, Layla, & Alicia Fox vs. Beth Phoenix, Mickie James, Gail Kim, Kelly Kelly, & Eve – 10 Diva Tag Team Match
John Cena vs. Batista WWE Championship
Undertaker vs. Shawn Micheals Streak vs. Career

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WWE Extreme Rules Preview and Predictions

April 23, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Extreme RulesThe WWE returns with its second installment of WWE Extreme Rules this Sunday night. The WrestleMania fallout will take center stage with a series of WrestleMania 26 rematches all contested under Extreme Rules. This year’s show has loads of potential but can the WWE capitalize off of its WrestleMania momentum this Sunday at Extreme Rules?

Unlike WrestleMania 26 which featured Shawn Michaels vs. the Undertaker, WWE Extreme Rules doesn’t boast of any particularly intriguing matches. There is only one match on top different from WrestleMania 26. Yet every match does have a gimmick or stipulation which ensures an action packed WWE event. Let’s take a look at some of the top matches at WWE Extreme Rules.

John Cena vs. Batista in a Last Man Standing Match for the WWE title

How could the hottest WWE feud going into WrestleMania 26 turn into one of the least interesting feuds in less than a month? I don’t know how, but the WWE has dropped the ball a bit on this one in my opinion. Cena made Batista tap out at WrestleMania so I am not sure why we are even having this match.

John Cena vs. Batista definitely wasn’t the best match at WrestleMania 26. But, it was arguably the most over with the crowd. There is great chemistry between these two and these two guys have the potential to steal the show. I really don’t like the Last Man Standing stip for this one. It seems like Cena is in one of these kinds of matches every few months.

I don’t see any way that Batista wins the WWE title here. He tapped out at WrestleMania and really hasn’t been too strong following the big event. On the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Batista win the title here with the WWE world champion being drafted to SmackDown. In the end I look for Cena to retain and Batista unable to answer the count.

Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton in an Extreme Rules Match for the WWE world championship

This may be the most awkward main-event of the new decade for the WWE. These two guys have had issues immediately following WrestleMania, but they aren’t gelling for me. There doesn’t seem to be too much chemistry between these two. I think a big part of this is that the WWE Universe still isn’t buying Randy Orton as a babyface. Compound that with the feeling that most fans see Jack Swagger as a fluke champion and this feud is doomed.

Hopefully the Extreme Rules will camouflage all of the defaults and make this an entertaining match. Orton has had some pretty decent matches at these Extreme Rules and One Night Stand shows, but Swagger is no Triple H. Orton pinned Swagger a few weeks ago which leads me to think that Swagger will get his win back here. If the WWE is truly committed to Jack Swagger, he should win clean at Extreme Rules. That may be pushing it, but I like Swagger to leave WWE Extreme Rules with the WWE world championship.

Edge vs. Chris Jericho in a Steel Cage Match

Some will argue that these two had the better match at WrestleMania 26. They certainly did a lot of new moves and kept the crowd on their feet from the start of the bell. Unlike Swagger and Orton, these two guys have tremendous chemistry. I am really looking forward to seeing these guys in what should be their blowoff match.

If this is truly their blowoff match, I expect Edge to win. Jericho got the win at WrestleMania and it is time to return the favor. There is a big part of me that feels that these guys got short changed a bit. I think they should have left the title on Jericho at least through Extreme Rules to keep this a main-event feud. At this point the feud almost seems irrelevant, although I like their matches.

Once again, I look for Edge to take the win here. Edge is rumored to be joining the WWE RAW roster, so it could also be a case of Edge doing the favor on the way out. Looking up and down the lineup I can’t see any reason that these guys won’t steal the show. I look for an Edge win, but a Jericho win would be a tremendous boost to his heel persona on the post-WWE Draft SmackDown.

Triple H vs. Sheamus in a Street Fight Match

I may be the only one, but I am really enjoying this feud. A lot of fans were upset that Triple H won their match at WrestleMania 26. The critics felt that Triple H should have put Sheamus over in such a big spot. I wasn’t so quick to jump on the Triple H hate bandwagon. Before I criticize the booking here, I want to see how this plays out. Maybe Sheamus gets his win back after all and these two are back to an even series.

Triple H may not be the best wrestler in the WWE these days but he is still one of the best at the Street Fight. He gets it and has rarely had a bad Street Fight Match. I thought he and Sheamus had good chemistry at WrestleMania 26 and I really don’t mind seeing them wrestle again. The WWE writers have done a pretty decent job of continuing the angle and giving fans a reason to want to see these two go at it one more time. I look for lots of blood, brawling, and some tables out of these two at WWE Extreme Rules.

I will go out on a limb and predict a Sheamus win here. There is no point to having these two guys wrestle twice if Triple H is winning both of them. A win here would not only be huge, but it would also reinforce the toughness of the Sheamus character. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see Sheamus win clean. Sheamus wins and evens up the series at one a piece at WWE Extreme Rules.

The entire WWE Extreme Rules lineup…
John Cena vs. Batista…Last Man Standing match for the WWE Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk…Hair Match (If Punk is defeated he loses his hair)
Jack Swagger vs. Randy Orton…Extreme Rules Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Triple H vs. Sheamus…Street Fight
Edge vs. Chris Jericho…Steel Cage Match
JTG vs. Shad Gaspard…Strap Match
Michelle McCool vs. Beth Phoenix…Extreme Makeover Match for the for the WWE Women’s Championship

Pre-order the WWE: WrestleMania 26: Collector’s Edition DVD set

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Flashback: Ric Flair’s WWE RAW Farewell

April 02, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

ricflairThe WWE Universe is still in shock about the retirement of Shawn Michaels. The Undertaker pinned Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 26 to send HBK into retirement. The WWE sent off Shawn Michaels in style with a farewell tribute on WWE RAW. However, as moving as Shawn Michaels’ farewell was it was the farewell to Ric Flair that still has fans and WWE superstars talking.

I thought it would be a great opportunity to look back at what some people call one of the greatest moments in WWE and pro wrestling history. It was two years ago, March 31 2008 when the pro wrestling world stood still as Ric Flair walked that aisle for what we all thought would be the final time of his career. While the moment may be slightly tarnished by Flair’s eventual return to the pro wrestling world, the night the WWE paid tribute to Ric Flair will still go down as one of the most special nights in all of pro wrestling.

It is rare that anyone does a retirement ceremony right in sports or entertainment. Unfortunately, retirement ceremonies cease to exist or usually come too late for the fans truly appreciate the greatness of the individual. On March 31, 2008 the WWE did it right with a retirement ceremony for the ages dedicated to the “Nature Boy” Ric Flair.

Ric Flair wrestled what we were all led to believe would be his last match at WrestleMania 24 against Shawn Michaels. A Shawn Michaels kick to the chin theoretically ended the career of one of the greatest wrestlers of all-time. WWE Raw allowed Ric Flair to give a farewell address to the fans. The farewell address turned into one of the greatest moments in wrestling history.

Ric Flair came out at the end of the show to say farewell to the fans, his peers, and the pro wrestling business. Ric Flair gave a modest speech and looked all cried out by this point between the WWE Hall of Fame two days earlier and WrestleMania 24. The WWE for all of its issues,  showed more class than even the biggest sports organizations in the world with the way they followed Flair’s speech.

Immediately following Flair’s speech, Triple H hit the ring. Is it me or do you always have the feeling in the back of your head, “I think he may turn heel” every time Triple H hits the ring with another babyface? Anyway, Triple H hit the ring and proceeded to thank Ric Flair and pay homage to his favorite wrestler and close friend. Who knew the party was just getting started?

Triple H then proceeded to bring out several very special guests from Ric Flair’s past that wanted to pay tribute to the former world champion. For the first time in twenty-years, the combination of Four Horsemen including Barry Windham, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, J.J. Dillon and Ric Flair appeared on live television together. As someone that grew up as a big Four Horsemen fan, this was an amazing moment in wrestling history. I predicted a Four Horsemen appearance at WrestleMania 24. So I got it one day wrong, but I am glad someone got it right after all.

The Four Horsemen weren’t the only ones from Ric Flair’s past to pay tribute to Flair. Flair’s greatest rival, Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat was next to walk down the stage. This was another great moment as just one hour earlier, Raw showed clips of the classic Flair vs. Steamboat match from WrestleWar 89′. Other notable guests from Flair’s past included ex-Horsemen Dean Malenko, former rival and tag team partner Greg “The Hammer” Valentine, former world champion Harley Race, and of course Flair’s family.

The show closed with members of the WWE roster hitting the ring including Ric Flair’s ex-Evolution mate Batista, John Cena, and Chris Jericho. The rest of the WWE’s roster surrounded the ring and said thanks to a man that has influenced every single wrestler in one way or another that you watch in a pro wrestling ring today. The show ended with Flair in tears, hugging his family and a unison fans and wrestlers screaming “Thank you Ric.”

Sadly, Ric Flair would tarnish this moment by returning to the ring both in Australia and on live United States television for TNA Wrestling. It didn’t come as much of a surprise as Flair started telling people in interviews shortly after the ceremony about how much he missed the ring. Regardless of how things turned out today for Ric Flair, nobody can ever take away this great moment in pro wrestling history.

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Inside The Wheelhouse: Shawn Michaels has left the building

April 01, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Shawn MichaelsAs I watched WWE WrestleMania 26 this past Sunday night I couldn’t really come to grasp at the time that it would be the last time that I watched Shawn Michaels wrestle. Maybe it was due to the fact that most wrestling fans including myself figured that HBK would lose at WM26 to The Undertaker and end up retiring. It was well known that Shawn Michaels days in the wrestling ring were coming to an end and that the spotlight on the showstopper himself would turn off in Glendale, Arizona for the last time.

When I turned on Monday Night Raw this past Monday I could not help be happy that the WWE was going to give the sendoff Shawn Michaels deserved by allowing him to come into the (naturally) main event segment and say farewell to the wrestling fans. As I watched the highlights of Shawn Michaels’ career unfold in every package prior to commercial break I could not help but begin to think the same thing that Shawn Michaels would echo during his speech this past Monday Night. That for the last near twenty years of my life Shawn Michaels was part of my life as a wrestling fan.

That’s when Shawn Michaels retirement finally begun to sink in. I’m in my mid-20s and have been watching wrestling since I could remember. My generation of wrestling fans grew up with things such as the end of Hulkamania’s run in the then WWF, the “new generation”, WWE Superstars on Saturday mornings on the Fox 5 affiliate in the New York area and the start of Monday Night Raw. Those were cherished memories of my youth as a wrestling fan and many of those memories contained “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels.

Many wrestlers from the era have come and gone, including my favorite wrestler from that era in Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Bret Hart never had a sendoff from the WWE and hence I never really got that feeling that Bret’s days in wrestling were gone, he kind of faded away for a time period only to thankfully return to write a good ending to his wrestling career. During the attitude era it was The Rock and similar to that of Bret Hart, he too never got a formal “farewell” to the wrestling fans and faded away into a movie star.

The time period that I grew up in as a wrestling fan was defined by the two remaining wrestlers on the WWE roster that was on the first Monday Night Raw back in January of 1993. Ironically and poetically it was the two wrestlers that were in the main event of WrestleMania 26. Of course I’m speaking of The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.

Despite Bret’s return to the WWE, The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels were the last two keys left in my youth as a wrestling fan. I have watched them grow as I have grown over the years. Whether it is every Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Thursday or Friday, they were constantly in my life and entertaining me every time they pass through the curtain and into the ring.

Now it was time say farewell to the man, the showstopper, the main event, the icon, “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. In what will go down as one of the greatest WrestleMania & Monday Night Raw moments of all-time in WWE history we got to see, feel and hear Shawn Michaels say goodbye to the wrestling fans as a in-ring performer. We got to hear him openly discuss his career, the obstacles he endured and what everything he did in the wrestling ring meant to him.

As I look back at the career of Shawn Michaels you can not help to feel that this man was a success story. There was a dark period of time in his life, where he was away from the wrestling fans, out of the spotlight that seemed to follow him for most his life and I remember during 1998-2002 that I would “pop” every second Shawn Michaels returning to the WWE. While he never wrestled during that time and we as fans didn’t know what was going behind the scenes it was great to see that “boy hood smile” appear on our televisions.

The return of Shawn Michaels in 2002 was something all wrestling fans waited for. I felt that this return (and I’m sure Shawn did too as well) was going to be short lived. That we were going to see Shawn Michaels go out on his terms and the way he should have gone out all along. Nearly eight years later and we finally say farewell to the “icon.”

The final run in Shawn Michaels’ career really defined the new chapter and life he embraced in his personal life. He came back to the WWE as a family man, a husband and a father. He found god and embraced a lifestyle completely 360 degrees different then his lifestyle during his first run in the ring. But one thing remained the same, his knack for the spotlight, his ability to wrestle at an all-time high all the time and being what he said he always was…”the Showstopper.”

Prior to leaving the WWE this past Sunday he even buried the hatchet with Bret “The Hitman” Hart. Their relationship was of much built up frustration and dislike between the two. It was amazing to see the two put everything in their past aside, embrace a new relationship as friends and co-workers. I was even happier to see Bret Hart put over HBK on this past Monday’s Raw and vice versa. You could the emotion from both was heartfelt and it was what they truly felt about one another.

Shawn Michaels has left us with countless classic matches, some that rank in my Top 10 favorite matches off all-time. Quite frankly when you think of it, whether he won or loss, most of my favorite matches of all-time include Shawn Michaels. He truly was the greatest in-ring performer of all-time.

The emotion on this past Monday Night when Shawn bid farewell was one of the most emotional moments in wrestling history. As I said before I could not help but realize as he spoke the words himself, that he was part of my life for the last twenty years. He was there on the television week after week, or on VHS or on DVD, he was there. This was his farewell to us and our farewell to him.

As a wrestling fan & a fan of Shawn Michaels I can not help but wish nothing but the best to him, to his family and to his future in his time away from the ring. If I ever get the opportunity to sit down or greet Shawn Michaels face to face I will simply say the same words that the fans in Arizona spoke at WrestleMania & Raw this past week. That is quite simply “Thank you Shawn.”

Shawn Michaels, in my opinion the greatest wrestler of all-time has bid us farewell from active competition. He will be missed but his legacy will live on forever. Whether you loved him, or you hated, you will never ever forget him. As Shawn Michaels simply put this past Monday Night, it started the same way it ended…

“Shawn Michaels has left the building.”

Farewell HBK, we will miss you.

We want you to share your favorite Shawn Michaels’ moments and matches with us as we pay tribute to “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels for this week’s edition of “The Still Real to Us Show.” Then find out of your favorite HBK moments and/or matches made the air by downloading this week’s edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” around 3pm ET on Saturday April 3rd over at www.wheelhouseradio.com!

If you have any questions or comments for Eric Gargiulo and I for this week’s “The Still Real to us Show” please e-mail us at [email protected]

Jeff Peck is the producer for the “Wheelhouse Radio” program that airs every Sunday – Thursday @ 8pm ET/5pm PT at www.blogtalkradio.com/thewheelhouse and at www.errorfm.com @ 2am ET/11pm PT

Jeff also co-hosts “The Still Real to us show” with Eric Gargiulo which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site. There you can also download many different shows including “The Wheelhouse”, “24 on 24″ and “Lost: Smoke Monsters and You.”

If you would like to subscribe to “The Wheelhouse” on iTunes simply subscribe for free at iTunes by typing in “Wheelhouse Radio!”

You can follow “The Champ” Jeff Peck on twitter by going to www.twitter.com/therealjeffpeck or you can follow Wheelhouse Radio! on Twitter by visiting their page @ www.twitter.com/thewheelhouse. You can also e-mail them @ [email protected]

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Jack Swagger Cashes In and Wins The WWE World Title

March 31, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Jack SwaggerIn an unexpected WWE twist, Jack Swagger cashed in his Money in the Bank at the WWE SmackDown tapings and beat Chris Jericho for the WWE world championship. Jack Swagger became the sixth WWE superstar to cash in his Money in the Bank and win a WWE championship. Swagger becomes the 36th WWE world heavyweight champion.

Jack Swagger’s quick WWE world title win may be the most surprising title switch in years. While Sheamus’ WWE championship win late last year was a surprise, this one is just a shocker. I don’t think anyone expected the former ECW champion to win a WWE title in the near future. Certainly, nobody expected Swagger to dethrone Chris Jericho with his Money in the Bank win. The entire scenario is as big of a surprise as they come in pro wrestling.

Jack Swagger won Money in the Bank at WrestleMania 26. The win guaranteed a Swagger a title shot whenever he wanted. Swagger tried to cash it in on Monday against John Cena on WWE RAW, but the match never officially started. Later in the night, Swagger was squashed by both John Cena and Randy Orton in a tag team match. Quite frankly, by the end of the night Jack Swagger looked like a total joke. Apparently it will be Swagger who has the last laugh on everyone.

Jack Swagger is one of the last of a dying breed of amateur wrestlers who were recruited coming out of college by the WWE. Swagger is a real All-American wrestler as an amateur standout at the University of Oklahoma. Swagger began training in the WWE developmental territories in 2006. Swagger defeated Matt Hardy for the ECW world title in 2008. While Swagger may look like a flash in the pan, he has actually been working at this for awhile and has been in the WWE plans for a couple of years now. This was a move expected at some point, but a move that didn’t look like would be happening anytime soon after WWE RAW.

The disappointment here is that we get yet another quick WWE title run by Chris Jericho. Since coming back to the WWE in 2007, Chris Jericho has had several WWE world championship title reigns. Unfortunately they have all been short, transitional title reigns. The quick title switch really doesn’t make any sense on the surface due to events coming out of WrestleMania 26. Jericho defeated Edge at WrestleMania 26, but the door was left wide open for a series of rematches for the title. The switch throws a big monkey wrench into the feud and raises a lot of questions about whether Chris Jericho and Edge continue their feud or go in separate directions with Jericho feuding with Jack Swagger.

The title switch to Swagger whether it be short or lengthy, is a bold move by the WWE. Over the last several months, the WWE has really stepped up the opportunities for elevating some of the younger WWE stars into main-event wrestlers. Swagger and Sheamus especially seem to be benefitting from a changing of the guard in the WWE. Swagger’s background as an amateur along with his charisma could turn him into a surprising success if the WWE lets him ride with the belt for awhile.

With another Money in the Bank match on the horizon, it will be interesting to see if Chris Jericho enters the match and shoots for revenge against the new WWE world heavyweight champion.

Pre-order the Wwe: WrestleMania 26: Collector’s Edition DVD set

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WWE WrestleMania 26 Preview and Predictions

March 26, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Shawn Michaels vs. John CenaAll eyes will be on the WWE this Sunday when WrestleMania 26 comes to pay-per-view. Hardcore and casual pro wrestling fans will be watching WrestleMania 26 to see everything from the WrestleMania return of Bret Hart to arguably the most anticipated rematch in WrestleMania history. WrestleMania 26 on paper looks to be the biggest WrestleMania of the last several years.

Over the last few years, WrestleMania has centered around one match. Last year, it was Shawn Michaels vs. the Undertaker. The year before that was Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show. WrestleMania 23 was all about Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley with the celebrity involvement of Donald Trump and Vince McMahon. For the first time in several years, WrestleMania 26 will feature more matches with potential to steal the show than almost any other WrestleMania event in the history of World Wrestling Entertainment.

The very first blog written on CamelClutchBlog.com was a preview of WrestleMania 25? Last year I wrote, “On paper, this year’s show is very disappointing. I was extremely critical of the lineup during the last few weeks of my radio show. When I think of WrestleMania I think of big, first-time main-events. This year’s show is the antithesis of that. This year’s lineup is a big wakeup call to the problems that the WWE have had in elevating young talent. It is definitely not a good thing when the main-event is a match we have seen several times in the last twelve months. With that said, let’s break down the top matches.” That all changes this year, so without further delay let’s break down the top matches at WrestleMania 26.

Streak vs. Career: The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. These two WWE superstars have arguably had the greatest series of matches in WWE history. Go back to their 1997-98 rivalry and I dare you to find anything but a great match between these two legends. It surprised nobody when Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker stole the show last year at WrestleMania 25.

The WWE has been shoving their WrestleMania 25 match down our throats since the day after WrestleMania. Needless to say, this year’s match has a ton of expectations that may be bigger than these two 40+ WWE legends can produce. I’d expect nothing less than another classic between Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker. I also foresee another situation involving a cameraman as that seems to be a signature spot between these two. I’d also anticipate them to play off of the spot last year when the Undertaker almost killed himself crashing on the floor.

The big question here more than any other match is the result. The immediate guess is that Shawn Michaels isn’t retiring. However, there have been rumors for the last three years that Shawn Michaels has been looking to hang it up. I have talked to several wrestlers over the years that know Shawn pretty well that have indicated that they think Shawn Michaels’ retirement is imminent. Yet, it just seems like such a quick way to end such a legendary career. As much of a cop out as it is, the match can go either way.

My prediction may be a bit out there, but it is something that I have been feeling for a few weeks now. I will go out on a limb here and predict that Shawn Michaels loses this match. I will go out on a limb even further and predict that Triple H turns on Shawn Michaels and costs him the match. I have been feeling a Triple H turn for awhile now. Now that Randy Orton is a babyface, there are no top heels on WWE RAW if Batista remains on SmackDown. There is just something about things said between Michaels and Triple H on interviews that lead me to believe something is brewing here.

WWE Championship: Batista vs. John Cena. If you would have asked me two months ago about this match I would have groaned and told you that I had no interest in seeing it. Yet, after several weeks of incredible buildup on WWE RAW, I am really intrigued by this one. Out of every match on the show, I think the WWE did the best job promoting this one. Yes, the angles between Bret Hart-Vince McMahon and Shawn Michaels-The Undertaker have been great. But most fans wanted to see those matches anyway. Here is a situation where the WWE took chicken droppings and turned it into chicken salad.

I don’t have high expectations for this match. Show me one John Cena WWE match that is different than the other and I would tell you that you doctored the footage. On the other hand, Batista has quietly had a tremendous string of great WrestleMania matches. Batista has said many times over the years that he takes a lot of pride in trying to steal the show at WrestleMania. Could Batista’s motivation be enough to put this one over the top?

At this point, I think Batista has the potential to be the hottest star in the WWE. They have done such a great job of turning Batista around from a stale babyface into an incredibly hot heel. I feel he has much more heel charisma than any of the other top heels new or recent. Unfortunately, WWE RAW has no champion right now if Batista remains a SmackDown star. With that said, I predict John Cena takes the WWE title in what could be Cena’s greatest WrestleMania match of his career.

WWE World title: Chris Jericho vs. Edge. For some reason or another, this one just isn’t clicking for me. In what should be one of the most anticipated matches on the show, I almost feel like this one is an undercard match. The match is many months in the making once Chris Jericho trashed Edge after he suffered an injury, which put him on the shelf for several months. The former tag team champions will duke it out for the honors of SmackDown’s top championship.

I think a big disconnect here for most WWE fans is Edge as a babyface. After over five years of being one of the most devious heels in the WWE, he just magically appears as babyface? There wasn’t any setup or anticipation here to get the minds of WWE fans simmering for that big turn. As for Jericho, as great as he is he really hasn’t been booked on a main-event level over the last several months. These two have a lot of convincing to do in my opinion come WrestleMania 26.

That said, I think the match will be fantastic. If Edge and Chris Jericho are given enough time, it is possible that they could steal the show over the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. Both guys have a ton of pride in having great WrestleMania matches. It has been over five years since Chris Jericho has had the opportunity to compete in a WrestleMania main-event. Both guys are good friends so the trust factor is there as well, which is big in a situation like this. I would expect nothing short of a great match between these two and if not for the Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels, a show-stealer.

I really lean towards Chris Jericho walking out of WrestleMania 26 with the belt. Edge has already speared Jericho several times, so he doesn’t need his heat back. As a matter of a fact, a Jericho loss would almost make this feud a total squash. Not to mention that a loss greatly helps Edge get some much needed sympathy from the fans. Look for Jericho to cheat a win and retain the title at WrestleMania 26.

No Holds Barred: Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon. Whoever thought we would be reading that? Bret Hart will make his first WrestleMania appearance since his WrestleMania 13 classic, to wrestle 60+ Vince McMahon. It may not be flashy on paper, but I don’t think there is anyone that isn’t getting excited about seeing Bret Hart back in a WWE ring.

I expect a ton of gimmicks and gaga in this one. One could almost be assured that members of the Hart family will be involved. Bret Hart practically said so in his promo on the go-home WWE RAW show. I would also not be surprised to see an appearance by the “Boy Wonder,” Shane McMahon for one night only. Unless Linda or Stephanie is running in, Vince is going to need backup and Shane works in this situation.

I don’t expect much from Bret Hart. As nice as it is to see him back in the WWE, he looks heavier and slower. Hey, I hope I look half as good as he does at his age but this isn’t the same Bret Hart we have been accustomed to seeing over the course of the last three decades. Vince McMahon can only do so much, which is scary considering how limited Bret may be inside of the ring. I expect a lot of brawling, some blood, and a broken table or two between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon.

I have a real sneaky suspicion that this feud is far from over. I expect this one to roll over into Extreme Rules with possibly a Submission Match or Stretcher Match. I predict a major screwjob here which leads to a Vince McMahon win. Do you really think you aren’t going to see a screwjob here?

Triple H vs. Sheamus. This is a very odd match to say the least. This feud came out of nowhere and for the first time in years, Triple H is not wrestling in a main-event match at WrestleMania. For the new kid in town, this is a make or break opportunity for Sheamus. Anything less than a very good match could mean the end of the run for Sheamus. Talk about pressure!

I will stick with my theory from above in that Triple H will be turning heel before the night is over. Sticking to my prediction, I think Sheamus wins this one. For one, a win by Sheamus presents a great opportunity for the youngster to get over in a big way at WrestleMania. Two, Triple H will get his heat back at the end of the night by turning on Shawn Michaels. Three, this could set up another series down the line similar to Triple H vs. John Cena in which Trips lost the first one and thus the two were able to play off of it years later. I expect a lot of brawling, but nothing great given the time frame that they will likely get. In the end I look for Sheamus to take the win here and get his steam back for a long run in 2010.

Other Matches:
Money in the Bank: Christian vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Jack Swagger vs. Montel Vontavious Porter vs. Matt Hardy vs. Evan Bourne vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston
WWE Unified WWE Tag Team Championship: ShoMiz (The Big Show and The Miz) vs. John Morrison and R-Truth
Triple Threat match: Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

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Inside The Wheelhouse: Breaking Down WrestleMania 26

March 26, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Shawn Michaels and the UndertakerVery rarely do I decide to sit down and do a blog on pay per view predictions but this pay per view is on a whole different level. As many wrestling fans know around the world, this is our Super Bowl; this is the Mecca of all the other wrestling events in the world. This is WrestleMania 26, the “showcase of the immortals,” the “granddaddy of em’ all” and I feel like this year those phrases will live up to the card the WWE has put out for their biggest show of the year.

I will breakdown each match giving my prediction on what the outcome could be this coming Sunday on pay per view. I will breakdown the match as I can in so many words but if you’re looking for a good show to listen to this weekend to get ready for WrestleMania 26 go to www.wheelhouseradio.com on Saturday afternoon and download this week’s WrestleMania 26 preview edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” with Eric Gargiulo and I. I swear it will be an awesome show and should be a lot of fun to talk about. Enough with the cheap plugs on with the preview of the show!

ShoMiz (The Miz & The Big Show) vs. John Morrison & R-Truth for the Unified Tag Team Championship

First off I believe I speak for a good percentage of wrestling fans when I say that we are happy to see the Tag Team Championship return to WrestleMania and we are not talking about the bonus match on the DVD. While we still wait for an Intercontinental Championship match to return to the WrestleMania card, this match will do for now as it gives us an actual Tag Team Championship match. Now onto the Tag Team Championship match itself.

I really am skeptical on this match first off because of how thrown together it comes off. There was little to no build for this match originally yet creative in the last couple of weeks has given us reasons to actual take this match seriously. While as a fan of wrestling I would have preferred an actual established tag team taking on the ShoMiz (i.e. The Hart Dynasty, Cryme Tyme), R-Truth and John Morrison being involved is still just as good.

The Miz has been without a doubt one of the most improved wrestlers since last year’s WrestleMania and has made a decent amount of wrestling fans forget about his reality television reject past. His promos are solid, he is a great heel and his ring presence is improving. He definitely deserved a spot in this year’s WrestleMania and it is shocking that he is going into as a double champion.

This match can go many ways as there have been rumblings about turning Morrison back to a heel. I feel that would be the best way to take his character right now as he has gotten a little flat in months since becoming a face on Smackdown. He was an entertaining heel similar to that of The Miz and if you asked me a year ago which one would be the bigger star come WrestleMania 26 from the Miz/Morrison tag team I would say Morrison without a doubt. It appears as of now I am wrong with that prediction.

Morrison could turn heel on R-Truth and set up a decent mid-card program on Smackdown and let ShoMiz continue to hold onto the gold over on the Raw brand. What I would like to see is that this feud goes over to when the draft happens in April. Miz and Morrison on the same brand would be fun to watch with the United States Championship on the line.

What my prediction is for this match is that come WrestleMania 26 ShoMiz will go over clean on Morrison and Miz to retain the Unified Tag Team Championship. ShoMiz is more established in the fans eyes as a Tag Team and are doing a good job making the Tag Team Championship somewhat important. ShoMiz retains but I see some sort of program (whether it be Morrison/R-Truth or Morrison/Miz) coming out of this match.

Prediction: ShoMiz

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

This match has the makings of being one of the “unforgotten” good matches at WrestleMania. It would be a good opener to start off the show to get the crowd into as Mysterio is really over with the crowd while Punk is one of the top heels on the Smackdown brand and can really get the crowd to hate him. I see this match being very enjoyable to watch this coming Sunday in Glendale, Arizona.

The Mysterio/Punk match has been built up for quite sometime and it was interesting to see WWE pull the trigger on this match being official just a couple weeks ago. That being said, the buildup has been great to watch and the spotlight it has received for a possibly opening/mid-card match is worth praising WWE creative for. Creative has helped make this match that much more important by adding a little twist that if Mysterio does lose he must join the Straight Edge Society.

The stipulation is going to make the fans that much more interested in the match itself as Mysterio is beloved by many fans of the WWE, while Punk has become so hated in the past year. Punk and Mysterio will put on a great match without a doubt and it should setup a further storyline coming from these guys following WrestleMania. Where creative takes the match itself is going to be interesting to see as a wrestling fan.

If I’m creative I put Punk over Mysterio and have him team up as part of the Straight Edge Society. While Mysterio as a heel will never work in the WWE, it will pull at most fans heartstrings similar to when HBK joined up with JBL a year ago. It’s a reluctant face doing a job for the heel due to some sort of stipulation. It gives the program a greater chance to grow and set up a future match where Rey Mysterio gets the opportunity to break free from the Straight Edge Society.

The match and program have potential for being the WWE’s best angle in the coming months that has nothing to do with a Championship on the line. If WWE puts Rey over I would guess this angle is dead as could be following post-WrestleMania with a potential follow-up match at Extreme Rules in April. But I truly believe the best thing for this program is to put CM Punk over Mysterio at WrestleMania 26 making Rey a member of the Straight Edge Society. My prediction is the “Straight Edge Savior” pulls out a victory in Arizona.

Prediction: CM Punk

Money In the Bank Ladder Match: Christian vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. MVP vs. Matt Hardy vs. Evan Bourne vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston

This M.I.T.B. ladder match is the biggest M.I.T.B. ladder match since Chris Jericho proposed the idea prior to WrestleMania 21 five years ago. It has the most competitors in the match with a total of 10 being involved and it could be the final send-off as a mainstay at Mania year after year once it receives its own PPV come July. There are many ways this match could go and it’s nice to see WWE also reward some of their work horses throughout the year to be part of this underrated spectacular of a match.

I have always been a huge fan of the M.I.T.B. match at WrestleMania because they pull out all the stops in the match and give the fans an entertaining twenty minute match with a very huge stipulation involved. The briefcase with a contract for a World Title shot whenever and wherever is a pretty big deal in wrestling terms and even bigger that every person who has every “cashed in” (noticed I didn’t say won M.I.T.B. at Mania…Mr. Kennedy…) the briefcase has gone onto win a World Championship.

The match itself has a lot of wrestlers in it that really haven’t broken through the glass ceiling of Wrestling and could use this match to take them to the next level. The M.I.T.B. match has propelled wrestlers such as Edge, RVD and CM Punk from an upper mid-card wrestler to a top Main Eventer in the WWE. The match is truly important when it comes to the future of the business in that particular year’s time.

When you look at the competitors you have to believe that the two favorites to rise out of this match are Kofi Kingston and Drew McIntyre. While not taking anything away from the other eight competitors, but when you think you future of the WWE these guys instantly come to mind to me. With that being said there has to be a clear cut winner to win M.I.T.B. this year.

I have to go with the current WWE Intercontinental Champion Drew McIntyre in this one. The WWE has really done their best to make him a star (Vince McMahon rub, IC Title, etc.) in recent months and I feel like they are going to continue to do so at WrestleMania. They are playing off of this whole “undefeated” angle lately where despite losing matches (to Kane and Matt Hardy), he is still considered undefeated because the WWE Chairman continues to wipe away the losses from his record. That little angle has given him decent heel heat heading into WrestleMania as well as putting a spotlight on him as we head into the match itself.

The WWE wants to strap the rocket ship to him as well and I see Drew McIntyre pulling away with the win & briefcase at this match. There have been some rumblings lately that creative may actually pull the trigger on the winner of M.I.T.B. cashing in his title shot at WrestleMania this year. Which makes a lot of sense since it may be the final M.I.T.B. ever at WrestleMania as it gets its own PPV and it makes even better sense when it comes to who I think will win the World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania 26. But you’ll have to wait for that in the next couple of blogs.

Prediction: Drew McIntyre

Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes

I have talked about this Randy Orton/Legacy angle so much now that it’s starting to make me feel sick how much I have blogged about it on Camel Clutch Blog in the last month. The simple fact is this angle & match made me extremely confused on where WWE was taking this entire thing. One week you believe one thing, the next week you believe another and then the week after that you believe another thing. This has been the worst buildup of any of the WrestleMania matches on the entire card by far.

As many people who have read my blog in recent weeks or heard me on “The Still Real to Us Show” know, I’m not sold on Randy Orton being a face in the WWE. To me he makes a better heel then anything and can not make the simple heel to face turn that someone like Edge made in recent months. I believe the fans want to cheer him as a heel and not a face. That’s why I believe if WWE is committed to making Orton a face they have to do it in a tweener kind of way.

He has to be a modern day “Stone Cold” Steve Austin character without too much copying of what Austin did in the late-90s. He has to give an RKO to not only a heel but a loveable face as well. It will mold “The Viper” into a decent character to cheer for. What WWE did in late-2004 by turning him into a face was horrible, he reminded me of some boy band reject.

So while I still don’t believe that turning Orton face is the right thing to do, I can still see some potential in it. As for the match itself I truly do not know what to expect. The WWE hasn’t really planted any seeds of distrust amongst the members of Legacy until the last Monday Night Raw prior to WrestleMania 26. So we really don’t have a potential for Legacy to turn on one another but of course it will happen at some point in the match when the other person who is not pinning Orton realizes that it’s a Triple Threat match and not a handicap match.

Orton is by far the favorite in this match with many different angles possibly coming out of the outcome. You can have one of the Legacy members turn on the other to join back up with Orton, making Orton a heel again and giving him the victory. Or you can have Orton stay a tweener/face and put him over Legacy because Rhodes & DiBiase just can’t co-exist in the match, which could also set up a Rhodes/DiBiase program.

There are many ways this match could end up and I’ve beaten this subject up to death in the last month so no sense in breaking it down anymore. Either way I see this match being a short term program and it’s more of a way to build Rhodes and DiBiase as we get closer to the WWE draft where the official end of Legacy takes place with them on different brands. This match is doing nothing more but making Rhodes and DiBiase legit wrestlers and possibly making “The Viper” a legit tweener/face heading into the summertime.

Prediction: Randy Orton

Triple H vs. Sheamus

Like Punk vs. Mysterio, this match can also be an “underrated” match on a deep card for a WrestleMania. Almost like a forgotten match up until you watch the DVD again and say to yourself how good of a match it really was. I’m actually really looking forward to the match on many levels due to what it could mean for a guy like Sheamus, who is clearly a future star in the business.

This will be the first WrestleMania that Triple H is competing in (he was injured at WrestleMania 23) since WrestleMania 17 that he will not be involved in the Main Event spot for a World Championship. That is almost ten years where we don’t have Triple H involved in the World Championship angle heading into WrestleMania. That is a pretty big deal to wrestling fans because of how consistent “The Game” has been every year leading up to the “super bowl” of the sport.

That little statistic right there works in the favor of a guy like Sheamus. It instantly makes the match look and feel important because of whom he will be entering the ring with at Glendale, Arizona. This match has the makings of turning Sheamus into a “transition champion” in the eyes of some and into a legit “main eventer.”

Triple H outside of the wrestling ring truly sees something in Sheamus that we may all see at WrestleMania 26 because he has been a big behind the scenes supporter of making the “Celtic Warrior” a star. What that also means for wrestling fans watching WrestleMania this Sunday is that we will get everything from Triple H to make us believe that Sheamus is an actual future and current star in the wrestling business. The potential for this match in huge and should be the official catapult to take Sheamus to the next level.

With that being said I actually believe that the WWE may put Sheamus over Triple H at WrestleMania 26. For as much flack as Triple H can tend to receive from wrestling fans you have to admit that the guy puts over the talent when it counts the most. Look at his track record at WrestleMania’s when it comes to putting over talent and taking them to the next level.

At WrestleMania 20 he put over Chris Benoit, at WrestleMania 21 he put over Batista, at WrestleMania 22 it was John Cena, WrestleMania 24 it was Randy Orton. He has a really decent track record of putting over talent and helping catapult them to the next level of their wrestling careers, the same level that Triple H himself belongs to. I believe Triple H sees a lot in Sheamus and he will be doing the same to help make him a star this Sunday at WrestleMania 26.

Prediction: Sheamus

Bret “The Hitman” Hart vs. Vince McMahon

No wrestling fan ever thought they would see Bret “The Hitman” Hart ever again perform for the WWE and let alone perform at WrestleMania. Hell many wrestling fans thought they would never see Bret Hart put the tights on ever again period. Let alone be it a match with Vince McMahon at WrestleMania 26.

This match obviously has the most history then any other match on the rest of the card as this is something that has been building in the wrestling industry for thirteen years. That is more years then a good percentage of wrestling fans tuning into Raw and Smackdown every week! It was a truly great moment to see Bret Hart return this past January to the WWE as I am a huge fan of Bret Hart’s growing up. When I was watching WWE when I was younger this was my favorite wrestler.So for him to be back with the WWE and wrestling at WrestleMania, it’s a very special moment to see and I expect to see Bret Hart give whatever he has left in the tank to this match.

It’s very hard to argue that Vince McMahon despite not being an actual trained wrestler does not bring it to WrestleMania when he performs. His matches at WrestleMania have been actually pretty memorable and he has entertained the heck out of the fans of the WWE. Look back at his track record of WrestleMania matches and it’s hard to argue that they haven’t been entertaining.

WrestleMania 17 he and “his son” Shane McMahon put on a show with their street fight match. At WrestleMania 19 he and Hulk Hogan also put on a hell of a show for the fans giving us a match to remember. Then finally his match at WrestleMania 22 with Shawn Michaels was also a very entertaining match to watch. Despite being in his 60s and the owner of a billion dollar company he still gives it his all at WrestleMania and I don’t expect anything less this Sunday.

The “No Holds Barred” feel gives the match a whole different perspective that we will witness making it a match that should be brutal and entertaining to watch. It’s pretty obvious that the WWE has held onto the “sharpshooter” spot since Bret Hart’s return for a reason and I look for it to be a “WrestleMania Moment” this Sunday in Arizona. Watching Vince McMahon tap out to the move that Bret Hart made famous after years of historic animosity and hatred between to two should give a good ending to what was a rough thirteen years away from the WWE.

As a wrestling fan and even more a huge fan of Bret Hart’s, I’m just happy to see Bret back in the WWE, looking healthy and great, having a great attitude and finally burying the hatchet to a low point in his life & career. This match will give wrestling fans new and old a great feeling to finally see this chapter end this coming Sunday. It should be extremely fun to watch and I expect “The Hitman” to go out in style.

Prediction: Bret “The Hitman” Hart

The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

If I was booking WrestleMania 26 this weekend this is the bout that I would have to close the show. When you look back at the last 15-20 years of the WWE there are no two guys that have defined the WWE more then The Undertaker and “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. Granted both are towards the end of the career and this may be the very last WrestleMania for one, if not both. It may also be one’s final match.

The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels mean so much too many wrestling fans around the world for their years of service in the WWE. They are both heavily respected amongst many fans and wrestlers themselves. If this is the last toast for HBK we are sure to not miss the entertainment “Mr. WrestleMania” will give us this Sunday.

It’s going to be very hard to repeat the magic these two guys had in the ring at last year’s WrestleMania. To out do and out perform last year’s classic of a match will be a task in itself for these two wrestlers. But if you were to put money on two guys to come through at WrestleMania it is without a doubt these two wrestlers by far.

There is a lot riding on this match going into Sunday. On one side you have the heavily respect and heavily honored “undefeated WrestleMania streak” that belongs to The Undertaker. On the other side you have the career of one of, if not the greatest wrestler of all-time in Shawn Michaels. This is without a doubt the most anticipated match for wrestling fans this Sunday.

When it comes to previewing this match there really is nothing much you can say, both of these guys will put on a hell of a show for all of us wrestling fans. This match may not live up to last year’s match but it will most certainly not disappoint at all. Whatever these two guys have in the tank we will get and this match alone could be the price of admission for WrestleMania 26.

As for a result in this match I believe The Undertaker will come out victorious in this one and improving the undefeated streak to 18-0. The rumor is this is the last hurrah for Shawn Michaels and that he plans on retiring for good following WrestleMania 26 this year. Shawn has two young kids at home and understandably wants to take time off to be with them. The years of punishment to his body are also enough cause to finally hang up the boots.

If this is the last hurrah for Shawn Michaels then he will be truly missed and all wrestling fans our truly thankful for the entertainment he has given. I will save a farewell blog to Shawn Michaels if it does happen but for now I believe it does. Either way this match is going to be extremely fun and exciting to watch.

Prediction: The Undertaker

Chris Jericho vs. Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship

This Main Event match truly is not getting the just it deserves in my opinion as I felt like it has taken a backseat to the Cena/Batista and Undertaker/HBK storyline when it comes to order of importance. With that being said I expect Chris Jericho and Edge to completely tear the house down this Sunday. These guys are two of the best in the game today and should really work well together; I am stoked that it will be on the stage of WrestleMania.

I think the fans are still having a tough time embracing Edge as a true face still but he seems to be gaining momentum heading into the event due to the way he’s been booked in recent weeks. While I will miss “the ultimate opportunist” side of the Edge character, I must admit I enjoy the face Edge with the humor that he has. It is strange to see him as a face after all these years of being a dominating heel but it is starting to catch on with me.

As for the match I feel like it may be the best match on the card, while it may not be the most memorable (I fully expect Undertaker/Shawn Michaels to take that honor), it will be the match people are talking about the next day. You can’t deny that we may be having a match with what could be the two present time best wrestlers in the business today. These guys have carried the ball in the WWE for quite sometimes in the ring, outside the ring, on the microphone, by giving the best angles etc. These guys deserve to be in the Main Event spot and more importantly deserve for it to be a Jericho/Edge match.

When it comes to selecting a winner in this match I expect to see Edge win the World Heavyweight Championship. The long journey back from his injury, to returning to win the Royal Rumble and then finally to win the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 26 is a really good story for wrestling fans to get a hold of. Edge makes a really good champion and it will be interesting to see how he molds into a World Champion as a face for the first time in his entire career.

Now when it comes to this match this is where I make my bold prediction for the matchup. As I have teased before in one of my earlier blogs previewing WrestleMania; there has been a rumor going around that this is finally the year someone cashes in the Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania as it will most likely be the last time M.I.T.B. is at WrestleMania once it gets its own PPV starting in July. I predicted for Drew McIntyre to win the M.I.T.B. ladder match and earn the right to a title shot whenever and wherever he wanted it in a year’s time.

Who better to have someone cash in the M.I.T.B. briefcase on then Edge. He is coined as “The Ultimate Oppertunist,” had it done to him once before by CM Punk, but this time it would be different following an expected amazing match with Chris Jericho. It would set up a new fresh feud with Edge/McIntyre, give a “WrestleMania moment” and make Drew McIntyre a legit star in the WWE.

But we can save that bold prediction that could be formed into a blog depending on what happens Sunday in the future. When it comes to this match, I see Edge winning and regaining the World Heavyweight Championship after an amazing battle back to get in the ring following a devastating injury back in June. This match should be a lot of fun to watch and possibly be the best match overall.

Prediction: Edge

John Cena vs. Batista for the WWE Championship

If someone told me a year ago that I would be pumped up to watch this match at WrestleMania 26 I would not believe them at all. But the truth is I am. I’m pumped up for this match because this has been the best angle going into this year’s WrestleMania by far.

Love Cena & Batista or hate them but you can not take away how well this angle has been portrayed on television in the last month. The MVP for the “Road to WrestleMania” has to be without a doubt Batista for his great work as a heel these last couple of weeks and frankly months since he made the turn. His character has become more dimensional and a lot more entertaining to watch then the face he has been portraying since WrestleMania 21.

While a lot of people will criticize these guys for their wrestling ability in the ring, I still expect an entertaining match come from them. They may not be Michaels/Undertaker or Jericho/Edge but you will still get an entertaining match this Sunday from the both of them. You may get the best match in their entire careers.

Let’s be honest here. Whether we like it or not these are the two guys that were given the flags in the post-attitude era of the WWE. Both of them had an entire WrestleMania molded around them becoming huge stars and becoming the flag carriers for the next generation of the WWE (WrestleMania 21). Not many stars get that kind of treatment to close a chapter of the WWE and usher a new one in with them as the person(s) leading the charge.

Look at the history of when the WWE used a WrestleMania to usher in a new era of their company. At the first WrestleMania you could argue it was the birth of the Hogan era in the WWE at that time. At WrestleMania 6, it was the baton being passed from Hogan to the Ultimate Warrior. That really didn’t work. At WrestleMania 10 you had Bret Hart become the flag holder for the “new generation.” At WrestleMania 14 you had Stone Cold Steve Austin ushering in the “attitude era.” WrestleMania 21 was about Cena and Batista becoming the next stars in the company for the next chapter of the WWE. It was a huge deal and a huge honor.

So when you look at this match as a wrestling fan you have to admit, whether you like it or not, that this match between Cena vs. Batista at WrestleMania, is a big deal. The WWE creative team has made it into a big deal and I fully expect this match to close the show at WrestleMania 26. It is that important to the WWE and by far the most heavily promoted match on the “road to WrestleMania” this year.

The angle of Cena never being able to beat Batista has been played really well. It gives the fans more intrigue then that of it being a big deal due to them being the top stars in the company for the last five years. While you have that angle of Cena never being able to beat Batista you also have the equally great angle of Cena receiving the baton from Steve Austin at last year’s Hall of Fame ceremony. The jealousy and anger Batista has shown from that particular incident has been great to watch.

While the match will more then likely not steal the show nor won’t be the most memorable match on the card, it does have the opportunity to be a surprise bout for how good it could be. Both of these guys are the top stars in the WWE and they deserve to be in this spot at WrestleMania. It truly has that “big game” or “super bowl” feel as the main event of WrestleMania.

As for the match I feel like we will finally see John Cena defeat Batista and regain the WWE Championship. It will end the event on a good note for a good percentage of fans watching at home and in the arena. While it may not be a 5-star match, I fully expect it to be more entertaining then most wrestling fans expect it to be.

Prediction: John Cena

Like what you have read? Download this week’s edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” around 3pm ET on Saturday March 27th over at www.wheelhouseradio.com to find out Jeff Peck and Eric Gargiulo’s predictions for WrestleMania 26 this weekend!

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WWE WrestleMania 26 Picks

March 26, 2010 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WrestleMania 26As the end of March approaches, the grass is a little bit greener. The birds are singing loudly at ungodly hours of the morning. Spring is in the air. What does this mean? The start of Major League Baseball? Screw that! The Grandaddy of Them All is just around the corner; WrestleMania 26 comes to us live this Sunday from Phoenix, AZ with a stacked card. The biggest stage in sports entertainment is set, so let’s look at the lineup & predictions for this year’s huge PPV event.

Singles Match:
Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk

If Mysterio loses, he must join the Straight Edge Society

CM Punk is the best thing to happen to SmackDown!, if not the entire WWE since going heel & forming the Straight Edge Society. The rivalry has been brewing for a while now on TV & comes to a head at WrestleMania. Mysterio has been beyond stale in what seems like forever now. Either turning him heel (which won’t happen) or placing him in the Society as the rebellious member could make for some interesting TV post Mania.

Predicted Winner: Rey Mysterio (He’s a HUGE merch seller & a hero to kids.)
Who Should Win: CM Punk (Freshen up TV, make the feud longer, & give kids a straight edge idol…if you didn’t figure it out, I loathe Rey Mysterio & haven’t found him watchable since being pushed for the World Title after Eddie Guerrero’s death.)

Triple Threat Match:
Randy Orton vs. Ted DiBiase vs. Cody Rhodes

It’s safe to say the Legacy stable is over. It has been portrayed as more dysfunctional than a marriage on the Jerry Springer Show for the past couple months. Part of me thinks the booking of this angle has backfired. If anyone, DiBiase & Rhodes should be seen as the faces as they try to step out of Randy Orton’s shadow. Yet the crowd seems to have turned Randy face. Should be an interesting match as DiBiase & Rhodes seem to have come into their own as part of Legacy.

Predicted Winner: Randy Orton
Who Should Win: Ted DiBiase (WrestleMania is a night where stars are born. This could be a million dollar night & a chance to shine for Ted DiBiase.)

Unified Tag Team Championship Match:
ShowMiz (The Big Show & The Miz (UC)) vs. John Morrison & R-Truth

It will be nice to see a Tag Team Title match at WrestleMania NOT bumped for Kid Rock this year!!! This one should be fun all around & I don’t know which way it will go. I can’t wait to see Miz & Morrison in the ring against each other again.

Predicted Winner: ?
Who Should Win: ShowMiz (Awesome team & longer reigns with the Unified Tag Belts give the championship meaning.)

Singles Match:
Triple H vs. Sheamus

I think I’m probably the only person on the face of the planet who gets a kick out of Sheamus; an angry, Irish ginger is just fun to watch. Sheamus had a great 2009 as a fast rising star within WWE, even capturing the WWE Title. Hunter always brings his A-Game to Mania. Should be fun to watch.

Predicted Winner: Sheamus
Who Should Win: Sheamus CLEANLY over Triple H. If booked that he doesn’t need to cheat to win, it makes him more believable to the fans.

Money In the Bank Ladder Match
Winner gets a guaranteed title shot which can be cashed in anytime for up to a year:
MVP, Christian, Evan Bourne, Kane, Dolph Ziggler, Shelton Benjamin, Jack Swagger, Matt Hardy, Drew McIntyre, & Kofi Kingston

HELLO SPOTFEST! I seriously can’t wait to see what sick moves involving ladders come into play during this one (I’m looking at you Evan Bourne, Shelton Benjamin, & Kofi Kingston). This one’s really, really tough to call. A lot of good talent in here that are ready for the big one.

Predicted Winner: Jack Swagger
Who Should Win: Christian (He led the ECW brand for a while as its champion. Time to see what he can do as WWE Champion eventually.)

Streak Vs. Career; No Count Out & No DQ
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels

I don’t know how last year can be topped. I really don’t. And I will make the same argument as I made last year. If anyone is going to beat the Undertaker at WrestleMania, it should be someone who’s career will gain a huge boost from doing so (if done this year, my pick would be The Miz). HBK going over ‘Taker at Mania serves no purpose. It should be a good match, but I don’t think it will live up to the hype.

Predicted Winner: The Undertaker
Who Should Win: The Undertaker via interference from Triple H. If I was booking, turn Hunter heel & have him be the man that costs his best friend his career.

No Holds Barred Singles Match:
Vince McMahon vs. Bret “The Hitman” Hart

Who would have ever thought we’d be seeing this match? This is probably the one thing on the card I’m most excited for strangely enough. A match 13 years in the making based on a real life situation. It definitely writes itself. Look for Vince to definitely try to screw Bret on the Grandest Stage of them All.

Predicted Winner: Bret Hart
Who Should Win: Bret Hart (though it would be tremendous seeing Vince winning & becoming an even bigger heel)

World Heavyweight Championship:
Chris Jericho (C) vs. Edge

Do I really need to write anything for this? Seriously. We all know how it’s going to go. Look for this one to definitely be the match of the night.

Predicted Winner & New World Heavyweight Champion: Edge
Who Should Win: Edge (With the Draft coming up, time to start putting the best rosters possible together. Edge is always a strong champion & the feud between him & Jericho needs a resolution.)

WWE Championship:
Batista (C) vs. John Cena

John Cena’s up for a shot at the WWE Title at WrestleMania…*GASP*…WHO DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING?!?!? This one can only go one way after what transpired at the Elimination Chamber.

Predicted Winner & New WWE Champion: John Cena
Who Should Win: Batista (Not because I’m tired of watching John Cena, but because if he’s kept on Raw, more people are going to tune in over TNA (not that that’s hard to do) to see who’s chasing a heel champion as opposed to John Cena performing his 5 moves of doom & uttering catch phrases.)

There you have it. 9 strong matches & what is definitely the strongest WrestleMania offering in some time. I’m looking forward to it. Phoenix will never be the same, & you never know what to expect with WWE, especially at WrestleMania.

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