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How I would’ve booked The Rock vs. John Cena Day 1 to WWE WrestleMania 28 – Inside The Wheelhouse

February 23, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

John Cena vs. The RockIt was a match that was scheduled the day after Wrestlemania 27. For the first time ever the WWE had 364 days to build one match, a dream match, on their biggest stage and at their biggest event. But for some reason the longest possible build for any Wrestlemania match in history hasn’t really connected on the level of build that it could have ever reached.

Go back to the day after Wrestlemania 27 when the match itself was officially signed. Up until that point both wrestlers made it clear that they did not like one another at all. Perfect, that’s what fans like to see two wrestlers, whether they are heel or face that does not like one another; it connects emotion to the angle. Hell the night before the match was officially announced The Rock had cost John Cena the WWE Championship in the main event of Wrestlemania 27.

How does the WWE follow up that angle to further the build to John Cena vs. The Rock at Wrestlemania 28, a match that would take place 364 days from then? With the both of them saying they “respect one another” and shaking hands, because you know, that’s how I would embrace the guy who made me lose the WWE Championship on the Super Bowl of Wrestling events in its main event match. Right off the bat that beginning angle to kick off the match made no sense to me; why isn’t John Cena trying to get revenge on The Rock for making him lose the WWE Championship!?

So there you go, the match is signed and we have our first match for Wrestlemania 27 basically an entire calendar year away. It’s something different to see in the wrestling industry, especially today but the main point of interest was how would they follow it up and make the match seem interesting?

They followed it up with a small little backstage vignette moment during The Rock’s “Birthday” celebration edition of RAW in his hometown of Miami. I get it, you want to get ratings but I’d rather see maybe John Cena giving The Rock an “attitude adjustment” on his birthday rather then Pitbull rapping to one of his songs or the Miami Heat dancers doing a dance. Wouldn’t that have made sense from a wrestling standpoint? John Cena’s “gift” to The Rock, in his hometown, could’ve been a nice “surprise” attitude adjustment that left The Rock reeling in the ring to end the show.

Is it a heel move by John Cena to do that? Yes. But wasn’t The Rock giving Cena the “rock bottom” at Wrestlemania considered a heel move by Cena’s fan base? Of course it was. You can’t have the two faces do a build-up of backstage vignettes and handshakes; it just doesn’t add any emotion to the angle at all.

Then we are welcomed to what many may call the “Summer of Punk II” where CM Punk was catapulted to the top of the WWE by cutting a now famous promo on a Monday Night RAW on June 27th, 2011. A promo that called out The Rock from being “via satellite” all the time and not really caring about the wrestling world anymore. Even when Punk cut that promo there was no real follow up to anything Punk was saying, The Rock released a YouTube video that briefly mentioned it and that was it. For the entire month there was no interaction between The Rock of John Cena.

To me, spending an entire summer with very little interaction aside from some tweets on their twitter accounts about one another was not doing the match any justice. On the night of the “Money in the Bank PPV” I would’ve done whatever I could to make sure you could fly The Rock from wherever he was filming a movie to Chicago to cost John Cena the WWE Championship and have CM Punk leave the WWE at the time with the gold. I believe that would’ve been absolute money because it would show that The Rock had so much hatred for John Cena that he would cost the company the championship and the entire Chicago crowd & wrestling world would’ve ate it completely up.

Wrestling fans love twists, that’s why the CM Punk angle during the summer was so hot at the time. Because you did not know where the angle was going to turn next, having The Rock cost John Cena the championship against a guy who publicly bashed him in his now famous promo and make the WWE lose their most prized possession would’ve made wrestling fans heads explode. But they didn’t do that and for an entire season of wrestling there was no interaction between The Rock and John Cena worth noting.

As 2011 started to enter the fall word got out that The Rock would be making his in-ring return at Survivor Series 2011 in Madison Square Garden and that he would be teaming with John Cena. It finally appeared that they would be getting somewhere with this angle being that Wrestlemania was about 6-9 months away. The WWE advertised The Rock was going to wrestle, got their tickets sold and that was just about it. The Rock looked terrific in the ring but the moments of building the match once again made John Cena look incredibly weak.

After being pushed by The Rock to get into the ring and celebrate so Cena could hear how much MSG hates him, he was met in the ring with a Rock Bottom. So once again, there was no fight from John Cena when he had The Rock right where he wanted him. The RAW prior to the Survivor Series was the same thing, no fight against one another and it had The Rock show up Cena yet again.

How is someone supposed to get hyped for the Wrestlemania 28 match if John Cena continues to not get physical at all with The Rock? He clearly has a tough time verbally sparring with The Rock so at least him getting physical may even out the odds. And the finish of the Survivor Series 2011 pay-per-view made John Cena look like he was incredibly dumb and weak after he followed up getting rock bottomed by rolling out of the ring hurt. You need to have some sort of back & forth action between the two wrestlers.

Instead of The Rock outsmarting John Cena I would’ve had Cena do the attitude adjustment to The Rock to piss off the entire MSG crowd, at least while the cameras were still rolling. If you wanted the fans to go home happy when the camera are off have The Rock exact his revenge but when you are building towards an epic Wrestlemania 28 match you need to have both guys get over on the other. It just makes basic booking sense to me.

The WWE then followed up Survivor Series 2011 by doing nothing at all between the two. From the day after Survivor Series to the Royal Rumble there was no build-up between the two at all that made me get ready for this Wrestlemania 28 match. Some people have referred to this time as an all-time low in the feud.

I’m sure The Rock & the WWE could have come up with something to just even remind wrestling fans about this match but they did not. I remember reading shortly after the match was announced that there would be a huge push on social networking sites but in the grand scheme of things there really wasn’t that much push on the social network. Even The Rock doing something “via satellite” would’ve helped during December or January, but there was nothing and many fans were left having to remember there was a match between the two in April.

When the match was originally announced I loved the idea of an entire year of build-up for one match at the biggest WWE event of the year. I really felt like the WWE was going to pull it off and be able to do it with such huge wrestlers like The Rock and John Cena. But when you look at all the months prior to now the match has maybe had like a total of 3-4 weeks build-up, I hope that come Wrestlemania season the WWE turns it up and delivers on this dream match.

For more on this topic join us for the Thursday February 23rd edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com or www.wrestlechat.net.

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WWE Wrestlers Upset At The Rock Headlining WrestleMania 28

February 23, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The RockWrestleMania 28 will bring many WWE superstars more fortune and exposure on one night than they have gotten in their entire careers. One would think that a big thank you to The Rock would be in order. Instead he is being rewarded with hostility and bitterness from his WWE peers.

Pro wrestling locker rooms can be a funny thing, especially some of the pettiness that spread over the dumbest issues imaginable. According to a report and an anonymous text message, there is a growing anti-The Rock sentiment growing in the locker room with many feeling that The Rock is appearing for selfish reasons, bumping someone off the show that should have earned the spot. In other words, these guys have lost their minds.

This isn’t a new story. Randy Orton made waves last year when he ripped The Rock for the very same thing when he was asked about The Rock appearing on WrestleMania 27. Once CM Punk began his “I’m not coming back to the WWE” media tour, he also began openly criticizing the WWE and The Rock for his red carpet treatment. Now a new report by my good buddy Mike Johnson over at PWInsider.com brings this locker room dirty laundry right back into the spotlight.

He’s here for himself, he keeps to himself, and he keeps someone who’s actually touring here all year from making a bigger payday at the bigger shows. It’s all about making this the “biggest” Mania of all time. OK, then what do we do the rest of the year? Who’s been made? You think he took ANY blame for Survivor [Series] not drawing? Of course not, but how do you feud with a guy on the Titantron? Cena nailed the guy dead on tonight.

That is just some of the text message Mike received. You can visit the site and read the rest but you get the idea. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer piggybacked on this on a recent F4Wonline.com podcast and revealed that there is a big segment of WWE talent in the locker room that share these very same feelings.

I think this is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever read. WrestleMania 27 drew over one million buys last year. Does anyone think that a WrestleMania featuring The Miz vs. John Cena without The Rock would have gotten anywhere near that number? Is there anything that the WWE has going right now that will draw anything close to the numbers that WrestleMania 28 will draw if it were on top over The Rock vs. John Cena? The shortsightedness here is just unbelievable.

I also find it ironic that while this large sentiment is reportedly growing, nobody has a problem with Chris Jericho, Triple H, or The Undertaker. Chris Jericho is rumored to be in for a short run before leaving to return to his Fozzy duties. The Undertaker has not wrestled this year, and if you look back at his last several WrestleMania matches, has done nothing to elevate new talent. Where is the hate there? How about Triple H jumping into the CM Punk program and now WrestleMania without helping anyone else? Where is the hate?

The biggest difference between those guys and The Rock is that The Rock will make a difference. That difference will equate to a much bigger payday for these guys for WrestleMania 28 in addition to added publicity and exposure for the brand. With all due respect, Drew McIntyre, Ezekiel Jackson, Santino Marella, or any other wrestler who loses a spot on WrestleMania wouldn’t make a darn bit of a difference to the wallets of these whiners.

I can understand the frustration of seeing a guy walk in and get the top spot, but at the end of the day this is a business. If these guys are so upset about this, go back and work the independent wrestling circuit where everyone gets a chance. Otherwise sit back, enjoy the show, and take advantage of the extra eyes and go show The Rock up in the ring in Miami. Either way you are still getting paid and that is really what matters most in this business.

And by the way. At least Randy Orton and CM Punk had the guts to own up to their statements.

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Flashback: WWE Royal Rumble 2011 – A Cynical Look

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

Alberto Del Rio won the 2011 WWE Royal Rumble-My first running diary for pro wrestling since TNA Sacrifice 2010 nearly scarred me for life. However, much like Jake Roberts’ demons, I refuse to relent and I don’t go away that easily. No, I am here. And for the seven of you that read my work and get enjoyment out of it, I WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN!

-Unlike last year, instead of a four man crew, it’s been halved. Dave hasn’t had the temerity to watch wrestling since his hero, Bret Hart, staggered like a zombie at WrestleMania; whereas Rob has a case of the flu so bad, he’s been hacking up chunks of green. And we all thought he’d been watching TNA’s best of 2010. So it’s just brother Josh and I at his shack, and that means less questions from Rob (“When did Kane shave his head?!?” “….the first Bush administration….”)

-So we’re live in Boston for the 2011 WWE Royal Rumble, and we’re in HD! That never happens! Is this a first for WWE? Michael Cole rips off Brent Musberger with “You’re looking LIVE…..” No word if he’s going to cameo in The Waterboy just to hang out with Dan Fouts’ beard.

-Oh wow, Edge is jerking the curtain, defending the World Heavyweight Championship against Dolph Ziggler, accompanied by Vickie Guerrero and her surprisingly attractive ass. Seriously, if they didn’t give her the evil “Wicked Queen” make-up job, she’d be the third or fourth hottest woman in WWE behind Maryse, Kaitlyn, and Heath Slater.

-Vickie gets on the crowd’s nerves by coming out and reiterating the entire “NO SPEAR” angle for the crowd. How low must Smackdown’s ratings be that they have to recap the stories so arcanely? Actually, don’t answer that.

-Crowd sign: “WHAT A MANEUVER!” And they say Vince McMahon wields no influence on the youth of America.

-Dolph gets a rope-hung neck breaker, which looks pretty sweet. Then he locks on the Randy Orton Memorial Chin lock to keep the crowd from getting too excited. It’s why some schools ban colored chalk; can’t have the kids getting overstimulated.

-Speaking of overstimulated, any more shots of Vickie’s ass and I’m going to have to have Josh take over my note-taking. If he gets mad over the condition I leave his bathroom in, I’ll remind him who bought the Tostitos. Well played, Justin.

-Ziggler tries for a rocker dropper, and Edge counters with a powerbomb. Wow, what a spot! It’s like a TNA style spotfest, except they’re actually precise in their execution.

-Edge can’t use his spear, so he settles for his Edgecution DDT that gets two when Vickie stops the ref from counting. The ref seems annoyed; either by her disruption, or the fact that she stole Linda McMahon’s “COUGAR” necklace. Or both.

-Kelly Kelly comes out here to display little talent, er, have a catfight with Vickie. I should note that Vickie’s playing dead after a slap that came careening in at 2 MPH. I’d hide my face too if I was being made legally obligated to have to sell for Kelly Kelly.

-Edge kicks out of the Zig Zag, mostly because there’s a rule that main eventers like Edge don’t lose to moves called the Zig Zag. Then the referee gets knocked out. So there’s interference, a rule that bans a certain move, a catfight with two women who can’t work, and a ref bump, all in the opening match. Somewhere, Vince Russo’s ears are burning.

-With the ref possibly dead, Edge hits the spear anyway, and then plants Ziggler with the Killswitch (lifted from his fake brother Christian) and retains the title. Hey, despite my jokes, that was a damn good match. Ziggler’s the ideal over-selling heel, and Edge is enough of a pro to hold it all together. Despite the overbooking, I’m pleased.

-Sidenote: Dolph’s “I am Perfection” theme may be the song I come out to at my eventual wedding, possibly edging out my perennial pick of Rob Conway’s “Just Look at Me”. And THAT is hard to do.

-Ad for Wrestlemania 27, featuring various highlights from last year. Where’s Vickie’s Hog Splash?

-Michael Cole was none too pleased about Edge’s chicanery, but he IS pleased that his hero, The Miz, is up next. I think Cole’s blind devotion to Miz is as enjoyable as Bobby Heenan’s outright impartiality toward Ric Flair twenty years ago. Excuse me while the internet collectively gives me an electroshock.

-Yes indeed, we open with two World Title matches, as The Miz defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. Cole gushes about Miz, talking about how even the little kids he talked to earlier are thrilled with Miz as champion. Matt Striker: “Who let you talk to little kids?” Was that line directed toward Cole or Jerry Lawler?

-Please fire Justin Roberts. You can buy Miz a second jacket with the surplus.

-Crowd seems a bit dead for Miz/Orton. It’s not like they exhausted the crowd with sheer overbooking in the opening match, right? Oh wait, they did. My bad.

-Orton and Miz are doing their basic offenses, so I’ll take a moment to note that Jack Doan, the referee, is still employed by WWE after twenty years. This is the kind of information you don’t get on other sites. All you get is “CENA IS GAY!” You might get that here as well, but you get this too.

-Miz with a chinlock on Orton. That’s like hitting Undertaker with a Tombstone. Or spending Ric Flair’s life savings on booze. You just don’t steal another man’s move like that.

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-Matt Striker: “Randy Orton’s arms are so long; you’re in jeopardy if Randy can grab you!” Not true, Matt. He’s got that Darth Vader choke in his arsenal somewhere, I’m sure. Also, if Miz can grab you, you’re probably in jeopardy as well. Not as much as when Randy and his longer arms grab you, but still….

-Randy Orton busts out the superplex in honor of his dad, Cowboy Bob. I hope that’s the only thing of his dad’s that he busts out. No sense in bleeding on Miz and giving the champ Hepatitis C.

-Orton busts out the Christy Canyon flying mount-and-thrust, or the Lou Thesz Press to the rest of us. Then he adds the Garvin Stomp for good measure. When you absolutely, positively need to push someone as a top good guy that will only shoot himself in the foot with outdated and/or sexually awkward looking moves, call Randy Orton. I’m waiting for him to add the Killer Bees ear-clap to his moveset.

-Orton hits Miz with a mediocre Angle Slam. HE’S UP TO 1999! Next week, we might see a Twist of Fate! Well, we might see one on Impact, but who in the Hell watches Impact?

-Orton goes into the setup for the RKO, and the crowd’s happy because that means we might see the match end, bringing us one step closer to the real main event. Ahh, but wait, Nexus is on their way to the ring, probably to protest that crappy Angle Slam that Orton did. Orton responds by throwing Miz’s toady, Alex Riley, approximately 75 feet across the arena into them. But CM Punk screws Orton with the Go to Sleep, allowing Miz to sneak out with the win. Decent match, made better by Michael Cole’s insanely biased commentary. Nothing’s sucked tonight, which is a winning proposition.

-Note on Michael Cole: those of you who hate the man with passion and won’t shut up about it, congratulations: you’re keeping him on the air. NO ONE gets thrown off of WWE TV if they get this kind of hate. Wanna see Cole vanish? STOP TALKING ABOUT HIM! Being ignored erases you faster than a Chris Benoit match. But for my sake, keep the hate flowing. Cole’s just fine by me in this role.

-Elimination Chamber hype video. Did the voiceover guy call it the “Chamber of Horrors”? THE REFER-EYE CAM IS COMING BACK! AND SO IS THE CHAIR OF TORTURE! WWE GOT MY LETTERS!

-Cody Rhodes, meanwhile, can’t compete tonight because he’s ugly. Oddly enough that never stopped his dad.

-A handful of fans are asked to pick a winner, and one guy picks Big Show to win because he’s the biggest guy in there. He was also the biggest guy in there…well…every other year he was in it. It’s fans like that that keep Vince McMahon rich. As well as the one fan who picked John Cena for representing West Newbury, and bugged his eyes out for full effect. Even Abyss thought that guy’s acting was way over the top.

-To waste time before the Rumble, we have to have the women wrestle, and the Mystery Raw GM (my money’s on Bushwhacker Butch) changes it to a four way with Eve now involved. The crowd is confused. I’m just happy to see Eve.

-So Eve joins Divas Champion Natalya, Michelle McCool, and Layla in a hastily assembled match. The highlight is Natalya locking Eve and Layla in a double decker Sharpshooter. WWE may be PG, but they’ll bust out the contortionist porn when needed.

-Matt Striker properly calls a Michinoku Driver, and Jerry Lawler’s never heard of it before. In addition to the Wellness Policy, does WWE provide day care for Alzheimer’s patients?

-Eve scores the upset pin on Layla with a perfect moonsault, which makes her the “Anti-Lita”. Decent spots, not much else, crowd didn’t seem to care. You can almost smell the “Will they just get to the Rumble?” scent in Boston right now.

-Meanwhile, Gail Kim and the Bella Twins fight over Daniel Bryan. Now’s a good a time as any for Bryan to bust out Tommy Dreamer’s “I’M HARDCORE, I’LL TAKE ALL THREE!” speech, paraphrased. Hey, if you’re going to push someone, give him a REAL push.

-Thanks to Finger Eleven and their non-PG sounding name for providing tonight’s music.

-And now, after the annual statistical video package, IT’S TIME TO RUMBLE! Vince McMahon decided to up the stakes and put forty entrants in it this year, because things are always better when they’re bigger. Other examples include Mariah Carey and….well, that’s about it, really.

-#1 is CM Punk, but before we can begin, his Nexus stable and The Corre have a skirmish. Michael Cole sends everyone else back to the locker room on behalf of the mystery GM. Well, that was pointless.

-#2 is Daniel Bryan. We get a weather update on the bottom crawl, warning of a flash flood all throughout America due to the smarks wetting themselves. Not to worry; I have my waders in the truck.

-Punk and Bryan work fluid to start, though they disappoint the ROHbots by not activating some force with a pair of interlocking rings, and then burning John Cena alive. Oh well, maybe next year. Justin Gabriel of The Corre is #3, and because he never worked for ROH, the ROHbots will be happy to know that Bryan tosses him first. Linda really wants that G4 vote in 2012, doesn’t she?

-Zack Ryder is in at #4, and Striker drops a Nasty Boys reference. *checks list* Ok, they’re not currently in TNA, so no reprimand from Vince necessary. Out goes Ryder. #5 brings us William Regal, and he and Bryan exchange European uppercuts and forearms. Flood waters rising….nerd piss flowing…..

-Ted Dibiase is #6, followed by John Morrison at #7. Morrison proceeds to steal the show by getting knocked off the apron by Regal, but he catches the rail, walks the rail, jumps to the ringsteps, and walks back in. I predict 2011 is going to be Morrison’s year. YouTube is going to keep this man alive.

-#8 brings us Yoshi Tatsu, and #9 is Husky Harris, thus bringing an end to the smaller technician streak. Regal was dumped out a little while ago, but since everybody else was in awe of Morrison’s Spiderman impression, it kinda went unnoticed. #10 is a surprise, Chavo Guerrero, and he unloads some Three Amigos on the group. #11 brings us Mark Henry, who dumps Chavo and Yoshi just to clear some space. For himself, obviously.

-#12 is JTG. If anything important happens, you’ll be the first to know. *hums to himself*

-#13 gives us Junior Perfect, aka Michael McGillicutty. Can’t they just call him Joe Hennig? Or give him an easy last name, like Jones? Here’s Mike Jones! Would anyone object? Anyway, he dumps JTG. Sadly, he doesn’t swat his gum into the crowd. Dibiase is gone as well. Imagine that: the son of the Million Dollar Man is tossed by the son of IRS and the son of Mr. Perfect. It’s a shame they pulled British Bulldog’s son for being even blander than all three of them combined.

-#14 is Chris Masters, and #15 is David Otunga. The Nexus quartet teams up. Sing along everyone: bye bye Bryan, bye bye Masters, bye bye Morrison, bye bye Mizark. #16 is Tyler Reks. Bye bye Tyler. #17 is Vladimir Kozlov. Bye bye Vlad. Nexus is turning into a Jobber Momentum Prevention Task Force. I like them.

-#18 is R-Truth. Bye bye Truth. They even do charismatic midcarders as well!

-#19 is Great Khali, who chucks out Husky. Maybe his dad wouldn’t let Khali join the Varsity Club. That said, Khali should add the Rick Steiner headgear to his look. Would that be too much to ask?

-#20 is Mason Ryan, recompleting Nexus as a foursome, and he dumps Khali to make a name for himself. They’re going full gore with this Batista thing, aren’t they? All he needs is about six tricep injuries and the willpower to deflower half the Divas locker room. Also, he needs to injure his arm while jogging. Don’t give me that look, it actually happened to Big Dave!

-CAN YOO DIG IT…..SUH KAH!!!!! Booker T is #21 and the place goes berserk! He cleans house for a while and gets off the Spinarooni, but Ryan dumps him to further his hardcore push. Booker was all “WE NEED SOME PERSONALITY IN HERE!” and Nexus, minus Punk, was all “nah”.

-Meanwhile, Punk’s facials are a hoot. He’s got that disturbed cult leader thing down to a science. His sudden, serious glare when John Cena is #22 sells the moment perfectly. Ryan, Otunga, and Junior Perfect are gone within six seconds of each other. CENA’S GOING TO OVERCOME THE ODDS! Well, it’s about TIME they went in that direction! Then, to turn the tide, Hornswoggle meanders in at #23. Then Cena dumps Punk. Goodbye, G4 vote.

-#24 and #25 are Tyson Kidd and Heath Slater respectively. Both get embarrassed by Cena and Hornswoggle before being eliminated. The piss flood has stopped, and now I’m seeing traces of blood. God I hope Bob Orton’s not responsible; it’s up to my shins…

-#26 is Kofi Kingston, and he and Cena exchange words while Cena points at the WrestleMania logo in the rafters. I think Cena said to him “Good luck in your third straight Money in the Bank match.” And then they fought. Easy to see why; that hurt.

-#27 gives us Jack Swagger to create the illusion of starpower, and then my boy Sheamus is #28. Why’s he my boy? Because he threw out Hornswoggle. MY BOY! #29 is Rey Mysterio, who takes Swagger out of the match. Hey, remember when Swagger was World Champion for 3 months? How long ago was THAT? What do you mean it was last year? Really? Wow, things go south quickly.

-#30 is Wade Barrett. I believed I was almost done this rant, but no; Vince had to expand the match. This will be good for Barrett; for once, he gets to main event a show where the buyrate will be good. He should try and take credit for it.

-#31 is Dolph Ziggler, trying to earn another shot, and #32 is Kevin Nash’s crippled, slightly brain-damaged older brother. Oh, wait, sorry, that actually IS Kevin Nash. Good lord. Next time CM Punk wants to show the horrors of leading a life of excess, he should just show footage of Nash coming to the ring. Nash does boot Mysterio in the face for old time’s sake. Kinda wish he lawn-darted him into a trailer again as well.

-Crowd chants “LET’S GO DIESEL!” There was a time when I’d help Red Sox fans beat up Yankees fans, but now I’m not even sure about that.

-#33 is Drew McIntyre. He and Nash should have a walking race. That would be a nice three hour PPV: who can walk from their couch to the fridge in the fastest time? We may even need an overrun.

-#34 is Alex Riley, who brings Miz with him to do commentary. Wade Barrett dumps Diesel, which improves the median pace considerably. Not to worry, Big Show is out at #35 to slow things down again. He and Nash have a staredown in passing. I hope Show remembered to lock his 144 oz cooler; Nash can’t be near that thing unsupervised. #36 is Ezekiel Jackson, because somebody distinctly yelled “KEEP THE PACE SLOW!” Show tosses Ziggler, and then to make me happy, throws out McIntyre. Then Jackson dumps out Show. If I alternate between happy and annoyed any more, people are going to mistake me for Naomi Campbell.

-#37 brings us Santino Marella, who gets mauled and knocked under the bottom rope. This may become important later.

-#38 is Alberto Del Rio, whose entrance takes up the duration of the next time frame. That’s just in time for Randy Orton at #39, who attacks Del Rio on the way in, and then Kingston and Sheamus are history. Also, Alex Riley went out somewhere in there, but like you, I don’t really care how either.

-#40 is Kane. So this gives us Kane, Cena, Orton, Del Rio, Barrett, Mysterio, Zeke, and Marella who is still dead on the floor. If you had this as your final eight, you either work for WWE, or you’re the guy from the Dead Zone and you touched Vince’s clammy hand. If you’re fortelling death, please do something, man. Especially if I’m involved in any way.

-Kane dumps Ezekiel. Never woulda guessed.

-Mysterio eliminates Kane, but then Barrett dumps Mysterio to bring it down to a final four. Well, technically, final five with Marella still as a corpse. Orton and Cena have the epic staredown, which was epic in the sense of “Listen to the crowd epically not react!” I think everyone was still waiting for Triple H to come in. I love when rumors raise expectations, and then they get killed.

-Oh wow, Riley provided a distraction for Cena, and then Miz ran in to toss Cena out! Cena promises Cole that this isn’t over and then leaves. If that was Hogan, he would have dumped everyone out and posed for fifteen minutes. I’m glad it’s not 1988 anymore.

-Out of nowhere, Barrett chucks Orton, and then Del Rio throws out Barrett to win! BUT WAIT! Santino slides in, making this the most bizarre final pair since, well, probably One Man Gang and Jim Duggan in 1988. HISTORY IN THE MAKING! Santino lands the Cobra on Del Rio and over celebrates, leading to Alberto eliminating Santino to win the Rumble. Wow. Never would have guessed that, and it shows the kind of faith WWE seems to have in ADR. Rumble was slow in spots, exciting in others, and never terribly boring. Will be interesting to see where they go with Alberto as the face of a new generation.

-CYNIC SAYS: Well, that was certainly a different show. The two World Title matches were good (especially Edge-Ziggler), the Women’s match didn’t suck, and the Rumble provided some great moments and jaw-dropping surprises. I’m sure the road to Wrestlemania will have many more twists and turns, but for the time being, the Rumble stands as a welcome attraction, as it tends to do.

Thumbs up, easily.

Justin Henry is a freelance writer whose work appears on many websites. He provides wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture columns for CamelClutchBlog.com, as well as several wrestling columns a week for WrestlingNewsSource.com and WrestleCrap.com. Justin can be found here on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/notoriousjrh and Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/cynicjrh.

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WWE Best Pay-Per-View Matches Of 2011 DVD Review

January 17, 2012 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Best Pay Per View Matches Of 2011 DVDEvery year, WWE does one of these DVDs, bringing you what they consider the best matches featured on PPV each calendar year (although they always make the DVD before December is over, leaving off the last PPV of the year in the process. I have never understood this.

This is especially true considering how good TLC reportedly was.). While WWE television was really hit-or-miss during 2011, they had a pretty strong calendar year in regards to quality PPV matches. If you don’t believe me, check this DVD out for yourself. The Best Pay-Per-View Matches of 2011 features 14 matches from this past year, spanning most of the PPV events.

While I had originally seen most of the matches on this set, there were a few that I had never seen and had only read about. I don’t order every PPV event like I used to years ago, not only because it’s usually not worth it, but generally, I can’t afford to do so anyway.

So, while this set was mostly a rerun for me, there were some good matches on here that were fresh. At the same time, there were matches on here that, in my opinion, didn’t belong.

While the best match of the year CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank-is included (as well as an awesome video package for CM Punk that led to the match), one other match from that PPV is conspicuously absent. The set does feature one of the MITB matches from the event, but the WWE chose to show the one from RAW, despite the one from Smackdown! being vastly superior.

While the RAW match was decent, it featured a mess of an ending thanks to a busted ladder, as well as a very predictable winner in Alberto Del Rio. Meanwhile, the Smackdown! match was solid from top to bottom, featured great outings from Sheamus and Wade Barrett, and an awesome ending featuring a total dark horse winning, that being current World Champion Daniel Bryan. While I’ve seen both and both were good, there really was no comparison, and the Smackdown! match should have been the one to be featured.

Aside from those, we also get the great ladder match that saw Christian win his first World title, defeating Alberto Del Rio, a good match between CM Punk and Rey Mysterio from Capitol Punishment (one of Mysterio’s better performances in years), and a surprisingly good match from Night of Champions that saw Mark Henry win his first World title from Randy Orton. I thought this match would really suck, but Henry put in one of the best performances of his career and looked like the monster he should in the process.

There are some other good to great matches on this set, but as we all know, even on a “Best of” DVD, there’s going to be some matches that suck. I know a lot of people liked the Cody Rhodes/Rey Mysterio match from Wrestlemania, but watching this one the second time around, I’m still not impressed.

At the time, Cody Rhodes wasn’t even remotely impressing me. I’m still not a fan of his now, although he has greatly improved since then. However, he was just okay in this match. Not horrible, not great. The other match on here that I really disagree with is also from Wrestlemania. The 27th installment of ‘Mania was one of the worst ones of all time, in my opinion, and the Triple H/Undertaker No Holds Barred Match from the event is one of the reasons why.

I know there are a lot of people who will disagree with me and think this is one of the greatest matches of all time, but I just don’t get it. The match was a total clusterf*ck featuring a needless amount of finisher kick-outs, botch after botch after botch, and a horribly predictable ending that saw Triple H tap out to the worst version of the Hells’ Gate submission I have ever seen.

It also didn’t help that the WWE refused to acknowledge that Triple H and ‘Taker had already faced each other at WM 17, when both guys were 10 years younger, much healthier and put on a much, much, MUCH better match. Fortunately, Triple H redeems himself later in the set with a good No Holds Barred Match with CM Punk from Night of Champions (although the ending left something to be desired thanks to interference from Awesome Truth and Kevin Nash).

Then there’s the obligatory divas match. While I am a big fan of women’s wrestling, let’s face facts-most WWE divas matches suck something awful, and Kelly Kelly should never be featured on a “Best of” DVD of any kind, save for maybe a compilation of women who look like they’re constipated 24 hours a day. Fortunately, the right woman went over here, but Beth had to carry Kelly the entire match in order to make it even remotely watchable.

Aside from these few complaints, overall, the set is pretty good, and features a pretty solid lineup. Not the best matches the WWE has ever done, but overall, definitely some of the best of the year. Plus, contributions from John Cena and Randy Orton are kept to a bare minimum, which is always a bonus. If you didn’t get a chance to watch a lot of the PPVs from last year, you could do much worse than get this DVD.

The DVD versions will feature:

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler
Royal Rumble – 30th January, 2011

Elimination Chamber Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Edge vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Wade Barrett vs. Kane vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Big Show
Elimination Chamber – 20th February, 2011

Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes
WrestleMania XXVII – 3rd April, 2011

No Holds Barred Match
Undertaker vs. Triple H
WrestleMania XXVII – 3rd April, 2011

One Door Closes, Another Open Up

Ladder Match for the Vacant World Heavyweight Championship
Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio
Extreme Rules – 1st May, 2011

Rey Mysterio vs. CM Punk
Capitol Punishment – 19th June, 2011

Raw Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Alberto Del Rio vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger vs. R-Truth vs. The Miz vs. Alex Riley vs. Rey Mysterio
Money in the Bank – 17th July, 2011

A Message From CM Punk

WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. CM Punk
Money in the Bank – 17th July, 2011

One More Time

No Holds Barred Match for the World Heavyweight Championship
Christian vs. Randy Orton
SummerSlam – 14th August, 2011

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry
Night of Champions – 18th September, 2011

No Disqualification Match
Triple H vs. CM Punk
Night of Champions – 18th September, 2011

Divas Championship Match
Kelly Kelly vs. Beth Phoenix
Hell in a Cell – 2nd October, 2011

Triple Threat Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship
John Cena vs. CM Punk vs. Alberto Del Rio
Hell in a Cell – 2nd October, 2011

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Mark Henry vs. Big Show
Vengeance – 23rd October, 2011

Blu-ray Exclusives for the set:

Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
WrestleMania XXVII – 3rd April, 2011

Rey Mysterio vs. R-Truth
Over the Limit – 22nd May, 2011

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Randy Orton vs. Christian
Capitol Punishment – 19th June, 2011

Rey Mysterio, John Morrison & Kofi Kingston vs. The Miz, R-Truth & Alberto Del Rio
SummerSlam – 14th August, 2011

Christian Discusses His Match with Alberto Del Rio at Extreme Rules

Cody Rhodes Discusses His Match with Rey Mysterio at WrestleMania

Dolph Ziggler Discusses His Match with Edge at Royal Rumble

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

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Best Pay Per View Matches of 2011 [Blu-ray]

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WWE Unveils Top 25 Matches Of 2011 List

December 28, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Undertaker Triple H WrestleMania 27WWE.com is wrapping up the year online with its lists of the best of 2011. One list in particular that is getting a lot of attention is the WWE top 25 matches of the year. If the intention was to provoke mass chaos from the IWC, well mission accomplished.

Unlike a lot of my fellow breather I don’t tend to overreact to these WWE lists. To me, every list you’ll see on WWE.com is both subjective and political. To put it simply, voting for anything other than Triple H vs. The Undertaker as Match of the Year may be just enough to get you fired in Stamford. Hence, take this list for what it is and live with it.

At the same time, it is always fun to look back and debate the merits of year end awards. Everyone’s tastes are different (as you can plainly see on our very own WWE Year in Review here on the website) so to me, nobody necessarily has the right answer yet it is very easy to come up with some unpopular ones.

Let’s take a look at the list of top 25 WWE matches of the year in order as posted on the website and see what, if anything can be read into it.

25. Rey Mysterio vs. Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 27
24. Yoshi Tatsu vs. Tyson Kidd from NXT
23. Edge vs. Kane Last Man Standing match on SmackDown
22. CM Punk vs. The Miz vs. Alberto Del Rio TLC match from at TLC
21. Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes Street Fight on SmackDown
20. The Miz vs. John Morrison Falls Count Anywhere match on Raw
19. SmackDown Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber
18. Randy Orton vs. CM Punk Last Man Standing match at Extreme Rules
17. Alberto Del Rio vs. Rey Mysterio on Raw
16. Randy Orton vs. Dolph Ziggler on Raw
15. Mark Henry vs. Daniel Bryan Steel Cage match on SmackDown
14. Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett Tables match at TLC
13. CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio at Capitol Punishment
12. The Miz vs. John Morrison vs. John Cena Steel Triple Threat Cage match at Extreme Rules
11. Mark Henry vs. Big Show at Vengeance
10. SmackDown Money in the Bank Ladder match at Money in the Bank
9. Edge vs. Dolph Ziggler at Royal Rumble
8. The Rock and John Cena vs. The Miz and R-Truth at Survivor Series
7. The 40-man Royal Rumble
6. Christian vs. Alberto Del Rio Ladder match at Extreme Rules
5. Rey Mysterio vs. John Cena on Raw
4. Raw Elimination Chamber match at Elimination Chamber
3. Randy Orton vs. Christian from Over the Limit
2. CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank
1. Undertaker vs. Triple H at WrestleMania 27

It is hard to argue with the top three, although I do have an issue with the RAW Elimination match making it in the top five over the SmackDown match. It may not have been as glamorous, but that SmackDown Elimination Chamber match was worlds better than the RAW match (in my opinion), and those final ten or so minutes with Edge vs. Rey Mysterio may have been the best ten minutes in a WWE ring all year.

I am thrilled to see the recognition that Christian vs. Randy Orton from Over the Limit is getting on the WWE website. As you can see in our WWE 2011 awards blog here, that was my vote for Match of the Year. I also have no problems with Rey Mysterio vs. John Cena landing in the top five. I wouldn’t even have a problem if someone wanted to make a case for number one.

Now the debate over one and two will be one you will read on many pro wrestling forums and blogs over the next week. For me, I enjoyed Triple H vs. The Undertaker more than Punk vs. Cena. The atmosphere for Money in the Bank was second to none, but the match didn’t do a whole lot for me. Take that match and put it in another ring and I think it would have been average. Take the WrestleMania 27 match and put it somewhere else and I think you get the same thing. Again, it is a matter of taste and for me I’ll go with the WrestleMania 27 match.

The rest of the list is fairly uneventful other than the lack of recognition of the other Orton vs. Christian matches, and the travesty of listing the SmackDown Elmination Chamber match at 19. Other than that I think what this list shows more than anything is what a down year the WWE had inside of the ring. There is only a handful of what I’d call “great” matches after the top five on this list. The deeper story here is a fairly moderate year for the WWE inside of the ring as opposed to most years where the company has had a solid ten great matches over the course of 12 months.

So what do you think of the list? Did they miss anything? Do you agree with their top pick? If not, what was or are yours? Leave a comment and let’s spark some debate!

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The Camel Clutch Blog WWE 2011 Year In Review

December 28, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

CM Punk wins the WWE title at Money in the BankThe World Wrestling Entertainment certainly had an interesting 2011. The WWE saw the return of a legend, the emergence of a new hero, & several surprises in and out of the ring. Rather than look back myself at the WWE 2011 in review, I am joined by a collection of pro wrestling writers from CamelClutchBlog.com.

WWE Wrestler of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Randy Orton: I know, I know this one is going to anger some readers, especially you CM Punk fans. Heck, I am even upset at myself after years of Orton hatred, including writing many blogs criticizing Orton for his laziness and repetitive matches. However, something clicked in the Viper and across a 12-month span I think he had the best matches in the company.

What really impressed me most about Orton was his versatility in 2011. It isn’t that hard to have great matches with Christian Cage, but Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler, CM Punk, and Cody Rhodes as well. Other than Money in the Bank against Cena, I can’t recall many “great” matches that CM Punk had in 2011. Other than Money in the Bank and wrestling Rey Mysterio on RAW, I can’t recall any other “great” matches that John Cena had in 2011. Daniel Bryan never had the opportunities throughout the year. To me, nobody did it better than Orton in 2011 who had a career year inside of the ring.

Jeff Peck of Wheelhouse Radio – CM Punk: There was no other wrestler in the WWE in 2011 that had more of an impact or a banner year like CM Punk did. He started 2011 with a “TV feud” against John Cena, formed/took over the “new nexus” and had a pretty good feud with Randy Orton that led to a Wrestlemania match. Not a bad year for a wrestler already and then he cut the promo of the year on June 27th, 2011 that led us to what some may call the “Summer of Punk II.”

He helped recapture the imagination of wrestling fans that felt like they were no longer in tune with the product and was part of a very memorable match & angle at Money in the Bank 2011. There were times he may have fallen off a bit in 2011 but there was no doubt that he was a top wrestler for the WWE when he captured the WWE Championship in historic style at Madison Square Garden at Survivor Series 2011. CM Punk is my choice for the 2011 WWE Wrestler of the year.

Thomas Holzerman of The Wrestling Blog- CM Punk: I’m picking CM Punk, but it’s not as much a no-brainer as one might expect. Mark Henry, yes, the same Mark Henry who as recently as four years ago was sent to the wasteland of ECW, came on strong and became as feelgood a story as a monster villain ever could. Here was a guy who was being ribbed to the point of almost quitting within six months of receiving the push of his life. All he did was go out and split wigs, induct people into his Hall of Pain, and bring back the chip on his shoulder that made him such a dynamo in said ECW stint.

That being said, Henry’s year was epic because of the execution. Punk’s year was epic because he potentially changed landscapes. He moved mountains. He started a revolution. Granted, that revolution is still in its early stages. It might fail to gain traction. But why dwell on the negative here when most of what Punk has given us has been positive? Match after match, promo after promo, he made wrestling fresh and new again. He gave it promise and purpose. Henry followed the script excellently, but Punk tore it up and rewrote it. That’s why he’s the wrestler of the year.

Brett Clendaniel of WrestleChat.net – CM Punk: I think this one should be unanimous. While there are a few guys that really went above and beyond this year, none really elevated their status the way CM Punk did. Punk went from a guy mired in the upper-mid card to a guy that some reports are saying is positioned to be the new face of the WWE going forward. He’s really the first main eventer to really connect with that 17-34 male demographic since “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock. Whether it was his now-famous worked shoot, his great matches nearly every time he steps in the ring, or his promo’s in which he doesn’t hold back, CM Punk has just resonated with fans of all ages. Even thought ratings may not be showing results at the moment, talk to any wrestling fan and they’ll tell you that the WWE is better today because of CM Punk than they were in January of 2011 when he wasn’t in the spot he is now.

Honorable Mention: Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Randy Orton, Robert Roode, Cody Rhodes, Eddie Edwards & John Cena.

Jerome Wilen of ProWrestlingRingside.Blogspot.com – Mark Henry: The best career move that WWE creative did in 2011 is when they took a gamble and turned Mark Henry heel. I never really cared about Mark Henry until he became a monster heel. He has done very well both in his role as an unstoppable heel champion even when “injured.” He deserves kudos for stepping up his game with improved mic skills and doing crazy stuff such as “injuring” a sound technician on an episode of SmackDown by tossing him like a rag doll. His unpredictable character is something that has been missing from wrestling for a long time and is one of the main reasons I won’t read the spoilers so I can be surprised at what he might do next as a part of his “House of Pain” gimmick. Finally, WWE has a talent who was basically a circus side show during the attitude era with worthless storylines and gimmicks can now be taken seriously not only as a legitimate heel, but a force to be reckoned with that has the World Heavyweight Championship belt.

Terri Bey – Mark Henry: I know it is not going to be a popular choice as there was CM Punk who is the obvious choice with his brilliance on the mic and in the ring. John Cena, the cash cow, is probably another obvious choice, as Randy Orton would have been, but my reasoning is that Henry has been in the company for over a decade, and was given so many goofy gimmicks, a couple of them to make him quit, but he stood in there. This time, they pushed him as a monster, and he responded with some of the best work on the mic, and in the ring. He is taken seriously as a monster heel. Most people know he isn’t a great catch as catch can worker, but he has taken what he can do, and made it work. He also has done a great job as a heel World Champion. Smackdown ratings have been around 2 or so since he has been champion as well.

Dustin Nichols of NerdsLikeMe.Blogspot.com – CM Punk: Punk went from a sometimes main-eventer/mostly mid-carder earlier this year into a bonafide main eventer in a matter of weeks. A lot of it can be credited to his “work-shoot” promo on John Cena that has now become part of his gimmick, but at the same time, Punk has worked his ass off to get to the spot he’s in right now. He’s excellent in the ring, can work with nearly anyone, and has proven to be the most entertaining talker to hit WWE in many, many years. As the year ends, he is the current WWE Champion (and a 2-time champ for the year), and his first run with the belt, despite being short, was one of the most memorable runs in a long time thanks to a very hot storyline, engaging promos, great in-ring work and almost universal support from the crowd. As an added bonus, 2012 appears to be more of the same good fortune for Punk.

Steve Urena – Mark Henry: Now a lot of people are going to choose CM punk but we all knew CM Punk was great at what he does, plus he has won the world title before. I’m going to pick a wrestler who showed determination and drive and transformed himself into something new.. Mark Henry. Mark Henry at the beginning of the year was a teddy bear, a loveable babyface who was big on the outside but soft on the inside. I was always a fan of Henry since he transformed from sexual chocolate into a menacing figure and thought that he could be a menacing and powerful monster of a character. Fast forward to the draft lottery and Mark Henry turns on John Cena. What a moment. That teddy bear that everyone had grown to cheer for had turned into a grizzly bear and finally, we saw fire in the eyes of Mark Henry. We also saw a lighter Mark Henry as Henry went down in weight in order to be a better performer. I was looking forward to seeing him on SmackDown and figured he would be in a main event feud at some point and his run has been better than anyone expected. He started off in the mix with Christian and Sheamus then moved onto Randy Orton. His Hall of Pain will be memorable for years to come due to the brutality and the way he has handled giants. His matches have become so much better than they have before and I look forward to his title matches whenever they come on Pay Per View. Who would have thought that the guy who impregnated Mae Young would be a monster heel champion? I love it and Mark Henry deserves it. Mark Henry is my pick for wrestler of the year for his improvement and his brand new attitude.

WWE Story of the Year

Eric G – Edge retires: I went back and forth on this, CM Punk’s push, and Punk’s lack of impact on business but I think at the end of the year, there is nothing bigger than one of the biggest stars of the last decade walking away for good.

It is funny because in another era, fans would still be talking about the retirement of Edge. Yet I think fans have become so cynical and rightfully so, that they all believe Edge and even Shawn Michaels will be back in the ring at some point. I am not buying it. Medically, it just doesn’t appear in the cards. I was not necessarily the biggest Edge fan when he was around, but I have certainly noticed the difference since he left. For me, this is the biggest story of the year.

Jeff P – The return of The Rock: Besides CM Punk’s promo from June 27th, 2011 there was only one other moment that grabbed the attention of wrestling fans, new and old in one night. February 14th, 2011 “the most electrifying man in all of sports and entertainment” made his return to the WWE for the first time in seven years. It was The Rock and he announced that he was “hosting” Wrestlemania 27 & that he would never leave the WWE ever again.

Thomas H – The WWE Network: For me, the story of the year was the announcement of the WWE Network. Wrestling had always been at the mercy of network executives who were stingy with their timeslots until WWE, which has had a history of entrepreneurial endeavors, decided they wanted to control the content themselves. This is what a bold decision looks like in 2011, just like the decision made in the early ’80s to go national or in the early ’90s was to go live every Monday on cable television. Whether it works or not will be a different story; we shall see in 2012 whether that happens. For now though, the story is that they have the testicular fortitude to follow through on this, and as a fan, I hope they succeed.

The return was a moment once again where people were talking, fans that missed out check out his return on YouTube videos and were excited to see one of the wrestlers that defined a generation return back to his roots. The return led to what was the groundwork to a match between The Rock & John Cena for Wrestlemania 28 and what maybe a part-time role in the WWE as The Rock promised. It was something many wrestling fans thought they’d never see again but for that night the WWE and The Rock surprised & shocked the wrestling world by returning in grand fashion.

Brett C – (For the Second Year in a row) The Influence of Social Networking on Professional Wrestling: Ya know, I took a bit of a beating last year when I chose this as the big story of the year over a few others. Looking back, I really pat myself on the back for being absolutely right. Look at how many times a Superstars Facebook or Twitter account is mentioned on any show. Watch at how we have “Trending Topics” pushed down our throats on live TV. The story of the year once again was the impact that these things had on what we saw on our screens. The “Internet darlings”, as we’ve all been called multiple times, have really had our voices heard. Look at every WWE champion right now – CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Zack Ryder, Cody Rhodes, Beth Phoenix, and AirBoom. All young, entertaining athletes who the “smarks” around the world have been begging to carry belts for a year now. The WWE has seemingly given the Internet what they’ve been asking for. Hopefully it’s not so that they can throw it up in our faces in a month or two if ratings continue to go down the toilet. In 2011, superstars on Twitter were the gifts that continue to keep on giving. Matt Hardy being arrested, hinting at suicide, and being arrested again were probably the big Twitter moments of the year. But then there’s also people like Goldust who was banned from the site for multiple months after the WWE received numerous complaints about the way he treated fans. We saw superstars have their pushes (John Morrison) abruptly stopped, debuts (Brodus Clay) put off, and ex-employees (Chavo Guerrero, Michael Tarver) use it rip current WWE main eventers to shreds. Let us not forget Michael Cole getting tons of heat for tweeting gay slurs and Vick Guerrero and Karen Jarrett getting into a virtual cat fight that lasted quite a few days.

Honorable Mention: Death of “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Return of The Rock, and Edge’s Retirement.

Terri B – 11 Time WWE/World Champion Edge Suddenly Retires: I don’t mean for this first couple of sentences to get personal, but here goes. On January 8, 2011,ironically five years to the day that Edge won his first WWE Title, I was second row ringside at Rupp Arena for a house show. Edge had just beaten Kane in a very good street fight. He was a ten time World Champion. He went around, and shook hands, and grabbed mine, and shook mine. I gave him a present which was a set of photos of him and Umaga tag teaming that I had taken, ironically in Rupp 2 years prior.. He had painted his face and body like Umaga. The last words he would say to me (I had met him twice before) was Thank You. Well, little did I know that would be the last time I would ever see him perform live, as on April 11, 2011, on Raw, at Bridgeport , CT, he announced he was forced to retire due to spinal stenosis in his neck. It was a shock to me, as well as to wrestling fans, and to the industry, as well as to WWE.  WWE gave him a great sendoff, but also had to do a draft earlier than usual. Even though Edge , per interviews, happy in his retirement, his absence leaves a void, especially on the Smackdown side. One can sense his talent not being there. Edge was kind of , and this is about the best analogy I can come up with, kind of like a chair that was always there. After all, he was with the company for 12 years or so. I started watching in 1998, the year he was first with the company, so I saw his career blossom from beginning to end. I am glad he had such an illustrious career, but his absence is strongly felt, and his impact on the WWE product is missed. Edge was a hell of a worker, even after the injuries (neck, pec, achilles, etc) started to take a toll. He continued to have awesome matches, even right up till the end. Edge also was a hell of a promo man. He was one of the best on the mic. In my opinion, he is one of the best heels ever. The sad part about the retirement is that he was JUST getting over as a babyface, a role that he was pretty decent at, but he was in his element as a heel. His retirement was heartbreaking, as no one wants to see a proud athlete lose his/her career to injury, but it was good that there were a lot of his peers saying great things about him, and having met him three times, I can confirm he is a great person. He is sorely missed, and he is missed on WWE, but his health must come first. Thank you Edge.

Dustin N – The CM Punk Money in the Bank Angle: The story of the year is the same as the angle of the year, as far as my vote is concerned. When it was confirmed that Punk was indeed leaving WWE after MITB and had not signed a new contract, it seemed like a surefire bet that Cena would walk out of the PPV with the WWE title in tact, despite being in front of a very hostile Chicago crowd against the city’s favorite son. Instead, Punk not only walked out of the Allstate Arena with the WWE title in his grasp, but continued to rub in the face of the company, including a very famous incident where he showed up at the San Diego Comic-Con with the belt and began yelling at Triple H via megaphone. Add in all of the build-up to this match over the previous few weeks where no one was sure what was going to happen-including, apparently, a lot of the employees on the WWE roster-and it made for one of the most interesting stories to come to wrestling in a long time, both inside the ring and out. While Punk was on a crusade to change wrestling because it was no longer fun, something amazing happened: fans watching actually began having fun watching these events unfold. Punk made a lot of us remember what wrestling once was and could still be again. Granted, it mostly turned into an angle and a re-birth for CM Punk’s character (a welcome one at that), but for those few weeks, CM Punk and WWE reminded me just how much fun wrestling could be if done right.

Steve U – The Rock Returns to WWE: Besides my match of the year candidates, I never felt so much joy and jubilation in wrestling until I heard IF YA SMELLLLL… What the Rock is cooking. He came back and I was 7 years old again. I remember being in my college dorm room with my friends watching Raw trying to guess who the guest host would be. We figured it could be the Rock with John Cena hinting at it but we hadn’t seen the Rock in years so it could have been anyone. Once he appeared came down the ramp and did his shtick and called out Cena I was ecstatic. Then when he challenged Cena for Mania and showed back up at Survivor Series I was elated. I got the chance to see his first match back and he hasn’t lost a step. Fans woke up and maybe him coming back means better business for wrestling… even if it is via satellite.

WWE Match of the Year

Eric G – Randy Orton vs. Christian Over the Limit, May 22, 2011: This is what I wrote on the CCB immediately after watching the match. “I can’t say it enough, this was a great match. I would give this Match of the Year for the WWE at this point, even over Triple H vs. The Undertaker. For all of the psychology Triple H vs. The Undertaker lacked, Orton vs. Christian had it. I can’t think of a better match that Randy Orton has ever had.”

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I stand by that today. I think this series was the best the WWE has had since Shawn Michaels vs. Chris Jericho in 2008. My favorite portion of the series was the first few matches where the WWE booked them both as babyfaces. It was everything a championship rivalry should be between two “heroes.” Even after the heel turn, the matches continued to get better and while some were fantastic, I don’t think anything was better than at this stage in the feud.

Jeff P – CM Punk vs. John Cena (Money in the Bank 2011): This was a real tough one to choose because there were some really good matches this year from Randy Orton vs. Christian at Capital Punishment to Triple H vs. The Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27. But when it comes down to a match that you will most remember in 2011 it will have to be Punk/Cena from Money in the Bank 2011. It had people talking leading into the match and it had people talking after the match.

Thomas H – CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011: I racked my brain thinking about other matches that could be here other than CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank. I tried and tried and tried some more to make rationalizations for affairs like Punk against Dolph Ziggler on the RAW after Survivor Series, or any one of the Randy Orton/Christian matches or even the Punk/Cena rematch at SummerSlam. I just couldn’t do it. Punk and Cena were embroiled in a perfect storm. They were two guys who always had good matches with each other, wrestling in front of the most insanely hyperactive crowd in recent memory with a once-in-a-lifetime situation. There were so many outside factors. Would Vince McMahon try to re-create the Montreal Screwjob? Would Punk really walk out of WWE with the Championship if he had won? Would the crowed really have rioted if Punk lost?

For the amount of hype and questions and mystique around the match, it delivered. No movement was wasted. The crowd was intense and hanging on every moment, every little turn of action. There were the sweeping tropes for the fans at large, and there were Easter eggs for the more hardcore fans, the most noticeable being Punk celebrating with Ace Steel and Colt Cabana after a successful suicide dive to the outside. The end of the match might have been the most positively memorable PPV close in history, with McMahon and Cena showing how much the WWE title meant to each of them in their own different ways. And then, just like that, after the decision and the awarding of the title, Punk was gone. He kissed McMahon and WWE goodbye for the time being, and he was gone.

For a resolution that only really served as a bookmark for the future, more final chapter, it sure was as memorable as a complete ending.

The story telling in the match was classic yet basic as Cena & Punk put on a really good match. It told a story inside the ring and fed off the electricity that sat outside it. You were on the edge of your seat because you wanted to see what would happen next. The match itself was the most talked about match in 2011 in any wrestling company and therefore is the reason why I choose it as my WWE Match of the Year.

Brett C – CM Punk vs John Cena at Money in the Bank: The match that REALLY put CM punk on the map as a guy who could be the face of the company. I still remember that night like it was just yesterday. Social networking was abuzz just wondering if it really would be CM Punk’s last night with the company. Him leaving the company seemed like a certainty, but as the show grew near, SWERVE was on everybody’s mind. This match was absolutely electric. I, personally, can’t think of any match in the last 5 years (that didn’t involve the Undertaker and Wrestlemania, anyway) that had a crowd so invested in it. And KUDOS to the fans at Chicago on that night for making this match what it was. If you ever need proof that an audience is just as pivotal to how a match will be looked back upon historically as the actual ringwork itself, look no further than this one. It was reminiscent of John Cena and Rob Van Dam at One Night Stand. This match was also a clinic in how a main event should be done. As I wrote right here on the Camel Clutch Blog (http://camelclutchblog.com/july-17-2011-the-day-john-cena-proved-to-be-money-in-the-bank/), CM Punk may have walked out of Money in the Bank as the Superstar, but it was John Cena who actually proved to be “Money in the Bank.”

Honorable Mention: Randy Orton vs Christan “Over the Limit”, Undertaker vs Triple H “WrestleMania 27”, Davey Richards vs Eddie Edwards “Ring of Honor: Best in the World”, Christian vs Alberto Del Rio “Extreme Rules”, Any Match featuring Dolph Ziggler or Daniel Bryan, Any Match not featuring Sin Cara

Terri B – Edge (C) vs Rey Mysterio vs Kane vs The Big Show vs Drew McIntyre vs Wade Barrett in an Elimination Chamber Match at Elimination Chamber 2011 for the World Heavyweight Title: This category was hard for me to decide. There were several candidates for “WWE Match of the Year that I could have went with. I loved the HHH/Taker match at Mania 27, either of the Cena/Punk matches, and the Edge/Ziggler World Title match at Rumble. However, this particular match at Elimination Chamber 2011 was just brilliant from start to finish. The big men, Kane and Show were great, and Barrett, and McIntyre did great jobs. I thought McIntyre stood out especially well. However, it was Edge and Rey Mysterio who really were outstanding and showed why they were the amongst the best in the wrestling business. They worked well with the other participants, but when it came down to the two of them, the match went to another level. The last ten minutes of this match is worth the DVD. The false finishes, and Rey’s acrobatic antics were fantastic. Watching both men kicking out of each others’ finishes was awesome. The match ends with Edge spearing Rey in the end, and you see both guys laying there wiped out. Great stuff. Of course, you had Del Rio attack Edge post match, and Christian came to the rescue, and then Edge , I believe spears Del Rio, and takes his belt to the back. The other matches I mentioned were great, but this match impressed me the most this year.

Jerome W – The Undertaker vs. Triple H WrestleMania 27: Undertaker and Triple H at this year’s WrestleMania 27 was the best match on the entire card.  For the most part, WrestleMania’s have been lackluster, but these two seasoned veterans of the game (no pun intended) showed the world they “still got it” with a match that had suspense and some really great action and even both of these talented superstars supposedly getting fined $2,500.00 with Undertaker taking an unprotected chair shot to the head during the match.  The match had some great near falls showing that Undertaker actually could possibly lose the match (even though I expected him to win clean over Triple H).  Both Undertaker and Triple H told a great story in the ring, thus deserving of match of the year for 2011.

Dustin N – CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011: While most are probably going to go with Triple H/Undertaker from Wrestlemania 27, I won’t be going that route. Sorry, but I really thought that match sucked. Instead, I’m going to have to go with CM Punk vs. John Cena at Money in the Bank. Never before was the future of a wrestler so up in the air. Would Punk lose and ride off into the sunset, or would he win and take the WWE title with him elsewhere? Punk and Cena faced off in Punk’s hometown of Chicago, and not only did they blow the roof off the place in front of a hot and hostile crowd, but Punk proceeded to get the match of a lifetime out of John Cena, proving that, when he chooses not to be Superman, Cena can actually put on a good performance. Yes, there were some botches in the match, and yes, there were probably better matches from a technical standpoint, but the still-excellent quality of the match combined with the atmosphere puts this one over the top.

Steve U- Tie between the Undertaker vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania / CM Punk vs. John Cena MITB: I can’t decide which match is better because I was so emotionally invested in both and they both stick out to me as phenomenal matches this year. These are how matches should be. You should be on the edge of your seat caring about who is going to win the match. Both had stipulations with two things at stake. The WWE Title and the Undertaker’s streak two of the most important things at stake in WWE. Taker/ Triple H brought a whole new level of violence to the Streak and Cena / Punk felt like a change was coming when Punk won. They both deserve match of the year and I don’t think anything else can hold a candle to those two matches this year.

WWE Angle of the Year

Eric G – The Rock vs. John Cena: The easy answer here is CM Punk but I think the way the angle ended really hurt it here. Plus, when you look at The Rock vs. Cena you can’t even touch the impact on business that it has had over any other angle the WWE has booked in 2011 and at the end of the day, the success of an angle comes down to business and this one is money in the bank (no pun intended).

I love that the WWE embraced the Cena hatred here and used it as the catalyst for The Rock’s return. The WWE could have easily pretended to ignore the obvious and had Cena and The Rock shaking hands and becoming best friends on night one. Instead they allowed The Rock to call out the yellow elephant in the room and the results thus far have been tremendous.

I don’t think anyone would argue that the dynamic between The Rock vs. Cena is what put the highly successful WrestleMania 27 over the top. The promos in and out of the ring leading up to the show were some of the best I have seen on WWE television for years. The angle has certainly had its ups and downs but overall it continues to be the most compelling in major league professional wrestling as far as I am concerned.

Jeff P – CM Punk’s promo from RAW Roulette on June 27th, 2011 that elevated him: You didn’t know if it was a shoot or a work. You couldn’t believe what you were hearing what CM Punk was saying on your television as it was happening. You were texting your friends to turn on WWE RAW right now whether they were current wrestling fans or former wrestling fans. It accomplished what it needed to do & that was make people talk about it and to sell a match/feud.

Thomas H – CM Punk: Great angles come in many different shapes and sizes, but sometimes, the best stories come from things that don’t feel like stories at all. When CM Punk came out wearing a Steve Austin t-shirt on June 27th to cost John Cena his match with R-Truth, no one thought anything of it. It was standard operating procedure to have this kind of chicanery pervade the main event. However, when Punk took a microphone, sat Indian-style and proceeded to drop a pipebomb that shook the WWE to its core? Yeah, that moment started what should have been a revolution. For two months, the illusion that wrestling was cool again was prevalent throughout the landscape. Of course, Triple H and Kevin Nash had to glom the spotlight for themselves, but during that two month period, everything was alright with the World Wrestling Entertainment.

Thankfully, they’ve begun the course-correction back to having that feeling again. Was some of it lost thanks to the regression to the mean that happened between SummerSlam and Survivor Series? I think so, but it can be gained back if the people who stuck by continue to send out word that something new and different is happening in WWE, in wrestling.

Who knows if the Punk/Cena match would have even been considered a match of the year candidate if it wasn’t for the promo he cut on June 27th, 2011? The greatness of this promo will have to be determined for years to come due to the path of success CM Punk will take from here on out. As of right now it has helped make CM Punk a marketable face for the WWE, a star that adults watch the WWE product can relate too and still gives you that “man vs. machine” attitude that made Stone Cold Steve Austin so popular. It’s talked about now and it will be talked about for years after, it was without a doubt the angle of the year.

Brett C – CM Punk’s Worked Shoot & All That Came With It: Noticing a pattern here yet? Yeah, I’m all about CM Punk this year. The worked shoot promo that we’ve all watched many, many times now was one of the most memorable thing we’ve ever seen in years. In a time where every single thing that happens is pretty much leaked on the Internet before eyes ever see it, this was one of those magical moments that literally had all of us sitting there with our eyes wide open, jaws dropped, hair standing up, and our ears wanting to hear more. What followed with Punk crashing the WWE events at Comic Con, showing up at Indy events, and his Twitter trash talk was just as good. Based on the WWE booking we’ve seen over the years, I think it’s pretty obvious that this was mostly CM Punk’s idea. Truth is, there’s really no angle that was even close to this, but I’ll list a few honorable mentions anyway.

Honorable mention: Randy Orton & Christian’s feud, Beer Money’s trek/feud towards the TNA Heavyweight Title, and Kevin Steen being fired/rehired by Ring of Honor.

Terri B – CM Punk going “inside” with his promos, and his taking the WWE Title home with him: Well, for me, this one was easy, andwas a no brainer. I thought this was awesome. Here he was, watching Cena getting thrown into a table, I believe, by R Truth and Miz, and Punk sits down on the top of the ramp, and cuts a promo that includes a lot of “inside” stuff. I was like, “WOW.”  The whole thing was cool. WWE bungled it by bringing Punk back too soon (one week)but I loved his running his yap talking inside stuff, I didn’t think Kevin Nash (who can’t cut a promo to save his life) needed to be dragged into the angle, but I loved how Punk took Nash to school on the mic. I loved his verbal spats with Triple H as well. Why John Laurinaitis is involved, I have no idea. He can’t cut a promo either, and Punk owns him too. However, overall, I loved this angle.

Dustin N – The Summer of Punk: I’m starting to sound like a broken record here, but the “Summer of Punk” was just too good. While Punk’s contract was legitimately expiring at the end of Money in the Bank, no one really seemed to know what was going to happen next. Punk threatened that, if he won the WWE title, he’d take the belt with him to other promotions such as ROH or All-Japan. While most believed it was an angle, Punk was so good in his role as a bitter soon-to-be former employee complete with “work-shoot” promos that no one really knew what to think. When I watched it, I guessed it was probably an angle, but at the same time, there was that little sliver of doubt that maybe, just maybe, this was real. Furthermore, I know a lot of other fans felt the same way. In this day and age where wrestling fans are more jaded and cynical than ever (Yours Truly included) and spoilers are available the second a TV taping has ended, it’s hard to fool fans. When you as a promoter or wrestling promotion can create even that tiny sliver of doubt that I mentioned, you know you’ve got a great angle on your hands.

Steve U – CM Punk holds the WWE Title Hostage: No one saw this coming. This angle just happened out of nowhere when CM Punk got a live microphone. When he unloaded on WWE management people felt the same anger and disdain that Punk did after he dropped his “Pipe bomb.” The angle did fizzle out a little bit later but it got CM Punk on a main stage which works for me. When Punk held the title hostage I had to tune into Raw just because I didn’t know what was going to happen next. It should have went longer but for those few weeks wrestling was hot again and for that I commend Mr. Punk.

Dustin Nichols – As always, feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/XDustinEFLX, and if you like Married…With Children, you can follow my Al Bundy parody account at http://www.twitter.com/bundyisms. Also follow my personal blog at http://nerdslikeme.blogspot.com (feedback is welcome).

Steve Urena – - [email protected]. Enjoy!

Brett Clendaniel is the owner and managing editor of http://www.WrestleChat.net.

Terri Bey currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling, NFL, and other sports/pop culture related subjects. Her work has appeared in BleacherReport and for F4WOnline.com. Terri can be found here at Facebook- http://www.facebook.com/TerriBey and at Twitter- http://www.twitter.com/missedgehead

You can follow “The Champ Jeff Peck” on Twitter at www.twitter.com/therealjeffpeck you can also follow Wheelhouse Radio on twitter at www.twitter.com/thewheelhouse and you can e-mail them @ [email protected]

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

For more from Jerome Wilen check out his website, Pro Wrestling Ringside – http://prowrestlingringside.blogspot.com

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Early WrestleMania 28 Predictions – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 15, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

John Cena vs. The RockIn my eyes the road to WrestleMania 28 has unofficially began already with the Survivor Series PPV a couple weeks ago which saw the first physicality between The Rock & John Cena since WrestleMania 27. The moment leads us to a build up for the next couple of months towards WrestleMania 28 and with that I believe we have seen the seeds planted for other WrestleMania 28 matches. With that being said let’s take a look at my early WrestleMania 28 predictions as of December 2011:

The Rock vs. John Cena (confirmed)

Nothing to discuss here as it’s official; it’s a dream match that still needs a good build the next couple of months to give us something we really want to see come WrestleMania Sunday. 10 years ago they gave us The Rock vs. Hulk Hogan at WrestleMania 18 and similar to Rock/Cena it was a dream match fans wanted to see. The only exception is that build was six weeks and not 12 months, I wonder if the WWE can give fans that same feeling we all got back when Hogan/Rock happened at WM 18.

Daniel Bryan vs. World Heavyweight Champion (confirmed…we think)

Despite formally announcing his plans to cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at WrestleMania 28 weeks after winning it in July, it looks very unlikely at this point that Daniel Bryan holds off from cashing in the briefcase. He’s already attempted to do it during one episode of Smackdown and won the title from Mark Henry until the result was overturned by Teddy Long due to Henry being injured. While he may not be headlining WrestleMania 28 in a World Heavyweight Championship match, it appears his career is going to be very bright come time for Miami.

The Miz vs. R-Truth

As of right now this looks like a match that could very well happen at WrestleMania 28. R-Truth is “injured” (suspended) until 2012 which can give them a pretty good shot at building this match up for WrestleMania. Leaving these two months without any type of physical altercation (like Sabu/Taz from ECW) can make people want to see this match, which is a classic buildup to any match, even two guys who you may not want to see wrestle in Miami…as of right now of course.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho

This potential matchup all rests on what will happen on January 2nd, 2012. Are the “ItBegins” promos for Chris Jericho or maybe another wrestler (i.e. The Undertaker)? If Jericho returns in January, which I believe he will, it will help build to a CM Punk/Chris Jericho WrestleMania title match that will make any wrestling fan very happy.

Mark Henry vs. Alberto Del Rio

Del Rio and Henry are two guys who have been great soldiers for the company for the most part of 2011 but can easily get lost in the shuffle the next couple of months (i.e. Wade Barrett 2010). The WWE wants to make Mark Henry a face again and I believe he can really fit the mold of a big time face pretty well and there is no better heel in the company that can help make that happen right now than Alberto Del Rio. Let’s be honest, if it wasn’t for ADR who knows if CM Punk would’ve been accepted by the entire “WWE Universe.”

The Undertaker vs. Triple H

They left WrestleMania 27 leaving a rematch between the two for a year later wide open. This is wrestling’s current “Super Bowl” matchup sans any dream matches (Cena/Rock, Lesnar/Austin, Austin/Punk) that would happen at a WrestleMania. Like I said before the “ItBegins” promos could also be for another wrestler, with some thinking it could be The Undertaker. A match between these two again is something fans want to see thanks to the great show they put on at WrestleMania 27 an even better buildup (something they didn’t have last year) could make this match an unforgettable one.

Kevin Nash vs. Big Show

It was teased last year after Nash was eliminated from the Royal Rumble and it didn’t happen which wrestling fans didn’t seem to mind. It looks like Nash is on the active roster for the foreseeable future which would put him in a slot for a WrestleMania 28 match this year as of right now. Nash vs. Big Show would be a good “special attraction matches” that we typically see at WrestleMania, it wouldn’t be the most technically sound match but it will do what it’s intended to do.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Zack Ryder

I’d love to see the WWE hold out for Zack Ryder’s petition for a United States Championship match until WrestleMania 28. Let the petition grow because at that point it could reach millions of “signatures” and make fans really want to get behind an “underdog” who is being held down by the “suits” of the WWE. Zack Ryder has a ton of appeal to the fans and they seem to really get behind him, a good build of this petition angle would be fun to see grow and conclude at the biggest event of the year.

Sheamus vs. Wade Barrett

To me this would be a great opportunity for a “passing the torch” match or a “these guys will be headlining WrestleMania’s for a while” match. Sheamus and Wade Barrett were looked at as future megastars at one point and are back as poised to be these stars yet again. Giving these two stars the WrestleMania spotlight can help define a future rivalry ala Austin/Rock because I believe they can have that same rivalry feel to it.

For more on this topic join Eric Gargiulo & myself for the Thursday December 15th edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site.

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Triple H Is WWE’s Current Savior – Inside The Wheelhouse

October 27, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Triple HDays after WrestleMania 27 it was rumored that this was the beginning of the end for Triple H as a full-time performer in the WWE. It was believed that he was being groomed to eventually take over for Vince McMahon and when it came to his in-ring career it would be sporadic at best. When Triple H made his on-camera return back before SummerSlam it was a differently looking Triple H, gone was the trademark WWE authentic t-shirt, the blue jeans, wet hair and Poland spring bottle. He was not the Chief Operating Officer of the WWE and looked the part on television as well as he was clad in your typical business attire, it appeared that in-fact the days of “The Game” were now over for a full-time basis.

It was believed by any WWE fan watching the programming towards the end of the Summer that Triple H would fill the “Vince McMahon role” on television from here on out and if he were to get into a ring it would be for a big event or a bigger storyline deal. And boy, if you put those odds down in Vegas you were just as much a sucker like the rest of us. Since the weeks leading up to and shortly after SummerSlam has been just about the only time where Triple H was actually looking like the predicted statement that opened this very paragraph.

What led to this sudden change in adjustment to the path of Triple H on WWE television? Was it due to the health of Kevin Nash that led to him replacing “Big Daddy Cool” at Night of Champions? Was it because CM Punk just wasn’t getting over like he was poised to be? Or was it the drop in RAW ratings during a time many on the internet called one of its “best times in WWE television in years?”

I think many of those things I listed above could really be pointed towards why Triple H was basically brought back as a full-time in-ring performer as of late. I’d personally lean more towards the ratings side of things since many who watch the current product are sick of John Cena and Randy Orton being pushed down the throats of fans who watched on a weekly basis. While CM Punk looked to be and I think eventually will be, the guy that rejuvenates the product, they needed a veteran name to come in and help the product, enter Triple H.

Imagine a fan from 2011 telling a wrestling from 2003 – 2005 that Triple H would be the WWE creative team’s savior for the failures that have exhibited on weekly television for the last couple of years. That wrestling fan from 2003 – 2005 might have given up on the WWE and wrestling in-general if they were told that the future would hold Triple H becoming a savior for a fledging product. Remember what 2003 – 2005 was like on WWE television?

Those were the years of Triple H being rewarded the World Heavyweight Championship without ever defeating anyone, Triple H eventually defeating Goldberg, Kevin Nash and Scott Steiner in feuds and the Triple H who was hated by the internet so much for everything that they saw on television & what was rumored backstage. This was all a result of Triple H being jammed down the throats of wrestling fans, winning every single feud and destroying any push whatsoever for any new wrestlers (ala Randy Orton in 2004). It’s almost like Triple H was the heel version of what John Cena is for the faces in the WWE today, I guess if history repeats itself come 2018 we will get a John Cena return to save wrestling fans from fledging product.

And talk about a confusing way to usher Triple H back into full-time in-ring duty again. He returns as the C.O.O. & is on both television shows, then the entire WWE roster hates him & turns their back on him and then in a state of mass confusion it was revealed he was serving as the RAW GM for the entire time he was back on the last show he was referred to as the RAW GM. While this type of shenanigans has affected CM Punk, it actually hasn’t affected Triple H all that much.

It certainly appears that the in-ring career of Triple has most likely been extended from now until the end of the year and most likely leading up to Wrestlemania as he was “laid out” by Kevin Nash this past week on RAW. A Triple H/Kevin Nash feud is most definitely not going to ignite the wrestling world on fire but it will bring people to follow it on RAW, Smackdown and on PPV no matter how much we may disagree with it, especially in 2011. A Triple H/Nash feud wouldn’t be a bad match to have on the middle of any PPV card.

It took sometime for me to figure it out but even come to grips with it but Triple H has been a positive force for WWE television since his return in early August. The ratings have spiked up from the downtime in the Summer (not sure if that’s because of the Summer vacations but creative will probably thank Triple H for that) and the storylines, while confusing at times, have been entertaining but not historic in any sense. While we may have all thought CM Punk would eventually be the savior & he may still be, for the time being, it’s been Triple H who has kept the WWE ship afloat.

While we may not want to, we should all bow down to “The Game.”

For more on this topic join Eric Gargiulo & myself for the Thursday October 27th edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com and can be downloaded in the “Real Guy Radio” section of the site..”

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Updated – Brock Lesnar Returning To The WWE…In WWE 12 (Video)

October 11, 2011 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Brock Lesnar WWE 12THQ and the WWE revealed the upcoming WWE 12 roster over the weekend at the SummerSlam 2011 Axxess event. The upcoming WWE video game will feature all of the obvious WWE superstars, legends, and quite possibly even the UFC’s biggest star.

The big WWE 12 video game event at Axxess saw THQ and the WWE announce rosters, show videos, release cover information, and more. Of course all eyes were set on the segment of the day where the roster would be revealed. While most of your typical names like Randy Orton, The Rock, and John Cena were announced, several surprises were announced as well. Yet the biggest surprise is rumored to come in a few weeks.

Brock Lesnar will be returning to the WWE. As a matter of a fact, that Lesnar vs. The Undertaker match a lot of fans have been waiting for may be right around the corner…in WWE 12 that is. Yes, Brock Lesnar is expected to be a part of WWE 12 as a playable professional wrestler. It’s not WrestleMania but this is likely the best you will get for the immediate future.

Lesnar is recovering from successful colon surgery and is reportedly in seclusion at home. Lesnar has reportedly cut off most communication during recovery and is taking a hiatus from his professional life. Lesnar is rumored to break that hiatus this October when he is announced as a playable character in the WWE 12 game and will take part in the marketing campaign to coincide with the announcement.

I have also heard rumblings that Paul Heyman will be joining Lesnar in the game as his manager. Wrestling Observer editor Dave Meltzer teased the news after the Saturday roster reveal on his F4Wonline.com website with the following blurb.

There is at least one if not more major characters that will be announced in the future, a major one in September.

The WWE, Lesnar, and the UFC have been reportedly in talks for awhile about getting Lesnar back involved in the company. The biggest negotiation reportedly came last year through early this year when the WWE tried to broker a deal to get Lesnar to return to action at WrestleMania 27. The UFC reportedly shot that deal down but the lines of communication were left open. There are also talks about a future Brock Lesnar DVD chronicling his WWE career.

I have to say that I am really surprised by the move. For his time in the UFC, Lesnar has been the biggest draw among the current roster of fighters. Lesnar was obviously a big draw to the appeal of the first two UFC video games. As a matter of a fact, Lesnar was even on the cover of the first UFC Undisputed game. By allowing him to appear in WWE video games it is fair to question whether Lesnar’s overall appeal will be watered down. On the flip side, maybe it actually enhances his appeal at a time when he is at a career crossroads coming back from injury.

There will be a total of 77 playable characters in WWE 12. 63 were announced yesterday, leaving another ten. I have also heard rumors of Hulk Hogan being a playable character in the game although the buzz on that has kind of died down. Demolition, Arn Anderson, Booker T, and Kevin Nash will also be in the game.

Update: Dana White has been confirmed that Brock Lesnar will be in the game. He told TMZ.com, “I love WWE and I have nothing but love for Vince McMahon — I’m totally OK with Brock being in the game.

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Randy Orton: The Evolution of a Predator WWE DVD Review

August 26, 2011 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Randy Orton: The Evolution of a Predator DVDRandy Orton the Evolution of a Predator is the newest WWE DVD featuring a WWE superstar. The three-disc set features one of the better documentaries the WWE has produced in a long time. For a guy that never liked Orton, it was hard to come away without a new found respect for The Viper.

The WWE tends to run hot and cold on their superstar home videos. Some like the Randy Savage will feature hosts chiming in between matches while others like the Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels DVDs are produced as a documentary. The Orton DVD falls into that category and sans a few goofy WWE moments, it is one of the best docs the WWE has produced in years.

In the ten years that Randy Orton has been a WWE superstar, he has only started to come out of his shell over the last year. Orton has done a great job since turning babyface of becoming one of the most media and fan friendly WWE superstars in the company. This new side to Orton’s personality shines throughout the entire DVD as Orton comes across as a genuinely good guy who is doing his best to turn the corner and bury the terrible reputation he earned during the first half of his WWE career.

The WWE starts out at the Elimination Chamber 2011 show, 42 days out of WrestleMania 27. The DVD follows Orton on the road and at home from the Elimination Chamber through WrestleMania. It told a story, but it seemed kind of odd since Orton wasn’t in anything significant at the show. I think it would have made more sense to start at WrestleMania and end with Orton winning the WWE world heavyweight title from Christian, which also would have included Orton’s reaction to being drafted to SmackDown.

I can’t get inside Orton’s head but he came across as honest and candid throughout the entire documentary. Unfortunately you had some WWE moments such as Orton asking the cameras to take a break while they filmed him in the locker room after being pinned by CM Punk in the Elimination Chamber. However, there really weren’t many other moments like this but it just seems kind of silly when you are trying to tell a true story throughout the DVD.

In addition to Orton, his wife (the real one, not the actresses), Triple H, John Cena, Cowboy Bob Orton, and Arn Anderson give comments throughout the DVD. Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase also get into the mix when the Legacy is discussed. Stock interviews with Ric Flair and Batista are also cut into the DVD, but Triple H and Anderson probably offer more insight than anyone on The Viper.

The overriding theme of the DVD is that Orton couldn’t handle success early in his WWE career and spiraled out of control. Orton talks about his reputation for being a jerk and the DVD contains many candid moments outside of the ring backing up those stories. Triple H says that Orton was always good with him while Cena said he used to think Orton was a “d*ck.” I can’t disagree after seeing a lot of the early clips of Orton at autograph sessions and outside of the ring.

One thing that really grabbed me was Orton at home. Like him or not, he comes off as a very happy family man. Orton cites the birth of his daughter as the moment he turned around his life and I don’t doubt it. The guy is just glowing every second he is shown with his daughter. It is a side to Orton that you will never see on television and really makes you want to root for the guy.

He also appears to be great with his fans. I have heard this in general about Orton that out of everyone in the WWE, he is one of the best with his fans. Of course it is easy for Orton to go out of his way with fans when cameras are on, but all you have to do is follow his Twitter to see how authentic his relationship with his fans is. I remember reading a story about Orton at WrestleMania 26 Axxess telling fans to stop him if they see him on the streets for an autograph. I believe it and Orton even talks about how odd it is that he keeps getting request from the Make a Wish Foundation due to his many years as a dastardly heel.

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Orton gives a fairly detailed account of his background coming into the WWE. There are several clips of Orton wrestling in high school and plenty of pictures of Orton as a kid. Orton goes into great length about the story of his AWOL in the marines and provides a lot of context to a story which for years was simply reported as Randy Orton was a deserter.

Orton has also gained quite a reputation lately for his media appearances. The DVD follows Orton on a couple of those experiences. One was just downright embarrassing and it had nothing to do with Orton. Orton appeared to enjoy the appearances which probably isn’t easy when he has to get up early in the morning after a late night of travel to do. This is quite a change from the Randy Orton who flipped out on Mexican television two years ago.

One of the most talked about aspects of this DVD will likely be Orton discussing his issues with drugs. Again, I don’t know the man to tell you what is entirely true or false but the guy seems to be completely honest when reflecting back on his addiction. Orton tells a story about almost dying from an overdose and credits his family for helping him get on track. Triple H comments about how frustrated he’d get with Randy because he saw so much talent in him but he kept screwing it up. There is some great stuff here and another reason you really want to root for the guy after watching the video.

Of course Evolution and Legacy are discussed. Two things immediately come to mind when watching these segments. One, they really blew it with Ted DiBiase two years ago. Two, Evolution was really something special for its time. Members of all of the groups talk about working with Orton. Cody and Ted specifically talk about Orton being hard on DiBiase during Legacy, while Triple H compares Orton in the ring to Shawn Michaels.

Again, they follow Orton through WrestleMania 27 filming him backstage at several WWE events. Orton appears to keep to himself for the most part backstage. Orton also acknowledges his numerous shoulder injuries and visits WWE trainers often following matches to take the necessary precautions. You also really get an idea of how hard matches like the Elimination Chamber are on the body when you see Orton in the trainer’s office the day after the show.

I didn’t get too much into the matches because quite frankly, they didn’t interest me. However, if you are an Orton fan you can’t help from being excited about the match choices. But for me, my interest lied only in the documentary portion of the set.

Overall I would highly recommend the documentary. I came away from it thinking a lot differently about Orton than I ever did before. The clips are great and the documentary tells a great story about a guy struggling everyday with redemption and the power of family. If not for a few WWE moments, I would probably say that this was the best documentary ever produced by the company. I won’t go that far but it is certainly one of the best and well worth a spot in your collection.

Disc 1

I Am Randy Orton
The Road to WrestleMania Begins
Preparing for the Chamber
Embarking on a Path of Destiny
Training Days
The Elimination Chamber
Facing the Media
The Next Diamond
Signs of Trouble
Dealing with Injuries
The Legend Killer
The Man of Destiny
Punked Out
Coming Home
A Hard Lesson to Learn
Evening the Odds
The Mecca
The Price and Reward of WrestleMania
Making a Difference
Dark Days
Madison Square Melee
Randy’s Redemption
Axxess to the Apex Predator
Legacy
The Day Has Arrived…
I Won’t Be Your Hero
The Evolution of Randy Orton

Disc 2 – Matches

Randy Orton vs. Slick Robbie D
OVW Christmas Chaos – January 31, 2001

Randy Orton vs. Hardcore Holly
SmackDown – April 25, 2002

Randy Orton vs. Shawn Michaels
Unforgiven – September 21, 2003

Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy Orton vs. Rob Van Dam
Armageddon – December 14, 2003

Handicap Tag Team Match
Randy Orton, Ric Flair & Batista vs. The Rock & Mick Foley
WrestleMania 20 – March 14, 2004

Hardcore Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Randy Orton vs. Mick Foley
Backlash – April 18, 2004

Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy Orton vs. Edge
Vengeance – July 11, 2004

Handicap Casket Match
Randy Orton & “Cowboy” Bob Orton vs. The Undertaker
No Mercy – October 9, 2005

Disc 3 – Matches

Randy Orton vs. Kurt Angle
Vengeance – June 25, 2006

Legend Killer vs. Legend
Randy Orton vs. Hulk Hogan
SummerSlam – August 20, 2006

Texas Bull Rope Match
Randy Orton vs. Dusty Rhodes
The Great American Bash – July 22, 2007

Triple Threat Match for the WWE Championship
Randy Orton vs. Triple H vs. John Cena
WrestleMania 24 – March 30, 2008

“I Quit” Match for the WWE Championship
Randy Orton vs. John Cena
Breaking Point – September 13, 2009

Hell in a Cell Match for the WWE Championship
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
Hell in a Cell – October 3, 2010

Randy Orton vs. CM Punk
WrestleMania 27 – April 3, 2011

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Randy Orton vs. Christian
SmackDown – May 6, 2011


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