Through questionable booking, a stock market crash, fan discontent, and the unfortunate loss of JTG, WWE has provided audiences with, if nothing else, a lot of great in-ring action. Here are my personal picks for the ten best bouts so far in 2014.
10. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena vs. Cesaro vs. Christian vs. Sheamus (WWE Elimination Chamber, February 23)
As long as the performers cut a watchable pace in the epic-length Chamber matches, and there’s some creative mayhem taking place between the chain-link walls, it generally adds up to a great match. This was no exception, and it even came with some added drama: would Bryan avenge his exclusion from the Royal Rumble match and become WWE Champion? A spurned Twitterverse, led by a bat-wielding Mick Foley, glued their eyes to the action.
Bryan, of course, didn’t win here, succumbing to Corporate Kane (RepubliKane?) in a screwy finish. Cena ..click here to read more
Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, john cena, Natalya, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, The Shield, triple h, WWE NXT
The Vaudevillains; what more can be said about Aiden English and Simon Gotch’s dual moniker? If you don’t watch NXT, you’re missing something else: English parlays his operatic Broadway gimmick into a tandem with Gotch, a turn-of-the-century strongman with an exaggerated boxing stance and Snidely Whiplash-mustache.
Making their entrance to lively piano music through a black-and-white lens, configured with old-timey film quality, the Vaudevillains are an instant sensation. Already, the hip-to-the-room NXT crowd at Full Sail has taken to chanting “PUT YOUR DUKES UP” at the manic Gotch, who looks like he should be conspiring to fix matches with Ad Santel and Joe Stecher.
In 2014, a wrestling crowd that increasingly appreciates in-jokes, outlandish unreality, and full-blown absurdity takes to the Vaudevillains like Deadheads to a Jerry Garcia resurrection. Admittedly, it’s hard not to be charmed by the duo: any wrestlers who perform unrealistically with the gusto and enthusiasm that English and ..click here to read more
The Vaudevillain, WWE NXT
C.O.O. Triple H hosted a media conference call on Wednesday to promote Thursday’s WWE NXT special on the WWE Network. The call was dominated by wrestling media who were able to pull some interesting nuggets out of the Game.
This was a real interesting media call as it featured questions entirely from pro wrestling media. My hunch is that when the WWE schedules these calls, they are looking for mainstream media attention. That may be bad news for them but it was certainly good news if you follow the “dirt sheets.”
Here are just a couple of highlights from Triple H’s media call…
- NXT will have a bigger presence on the WWE Network as the Network grows. What that entails I am not quite sure. They could also have a bigger presence next year at WrestleMania.
- If it were up to Triple H, WWE NXT would air live every week. Financially though ..click here to read more
triple h, WWE NXT
Among the sights and sounds of 2014, the most indelible is perhaps the city of Pittsburgh rejecting the 2014 Royal Rumble match like a poorly-matched kidney transplant. With no Daniel Bryan in sight after Rey Mysterio entered thirtieth, nearly 16,000 fans booed as though Donald Sterling was doing open mic at the Apollo.
While Bryan is deified by fans of all walks, backgrounds, tastes, and viewership levels, his core group will always be the internet wrestling community, or IWC. His loudest supporters will be the ones who watched him in those bingo halls and rec-centers that Michael Cole harped upon a few years back. Fans who followed him on his journey toward becoming Ring of Honor World Champion remain the backbone of the grassroots leviathan that is his superstar celebrity.
Bryan’s not alone. CM Punk, Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, and even Luke Harper, for their renowned indy exploits, have built-in fanbases ..click here to read more
Is it my imagination or has NXT sprung a leak?
First, it was Alexander Rusev who finally, after weeks of video and entrance teases, made it all the way down the ramp to the ring on Raw Monday night and made mincemeat out of Zack Ryder.
Then Paige, the NXT women’s champion, showed up on the same program and did something that no other Diva on the main roster had done in the previous 300 days – defeat AJ Lee for the WWE Divas title.
On that same program, we saw video promos heralding the return of Bo Dallas and the arrival of Adam Rose. Dallas, as you recall, made his WWE splash last year in the Royal Rumble by eliminating Wade Barrett and holding his own in the ring. Rose, a rising NXT star, likely will be on the main stage sooner rather than later.
And if you read other Internet reports, more ..click here to read more
I wrote a blog last night criticizing the WWE decision to heavily promote NXT on the WWE Network. While I still stand by the fundamental idea of the blog I will admit one thing. NXT Arrival was the best WWE show I have seen in years.
I can’t recall a time in recent memory where I have watched a show like NXT Arrival and marked out as heavily as I did. Quite honestly it was probably back when I was calling matches on the independent wrestling scene for CZW or the first couple of Ring of Honor shows. Nothing I have seen since then has had the energy, passion, and fun-factor of NXT Arrival.
Let me make something clear. I don’t think that the WWE could ever survive in its current model by producing an in-ring product like NXT Arrival on a week-to-week basis. I get the fact that this is something ..click here to read more
One of the big selling points in promoting the WWE Network was the presence of NXT. The development center will be welcomed with a special and more attention than it ever received which may or may not be a good thing.
I don’t want to focus on the event itself. I want to take a look inside the idea of NXT and NXT Arrival. The WWE needed original programming on its network. It looked internally and took a program it had already been producing and repurposed it. While NXT has been available on Hulu, it was never pushed by the company up until now.
I saw this as a huge problem from the start. My argument was that the company was taking all of this green talent and exposing them before they were ready. Were they already exposed to the Hulu audience? Yes but that was not the WWE Universe. NXT is ..click here to read more
Welcome back to another edition of WWE Wrestler of the Week! This is the final winner for the month of January. This week not only included the regular WWE television programs, but the Royal Rumble pay-per-view as well. This week’s winner made history at the Royal Rumble and reminded us of a storyline from 1993 too. The WWE Wrestler of the Week is NXT Superstar Bo Dallas.
I would like to give an honorable mention to the runner-up for this week, The Rock. Although it was predictable and expected, The Rock did end CM Punk’s 400-plus day reign as WWE Champion. The Rock cannot win the WWE Wrestler of the Week due to only participating in that one match, but it was obviously a big one. WWE also decided to end the pay-per-view with the WWE title match as opposed to the Rumble match. I wasn’t surprised, but was hoping for ..click here to read more
Bo Dallas, Royal Rumble 2013, Wade Barrett, WWE NXT, wwe raw
Hello people, and welcome to the rant. Before I get into it, Night of Champions happened… Have to say I wasn’t a fan of it. I’m not even talking about HHH going over Punk, which I was all right with. Yes, it makes no sense for HHH to go over; but I’m satisfied with the fact that it took a Truth Hurts, a Jackknife Powerbomb, and several Pedigrees to finally put Punk away. What I do have a problem with is Beth Phoenix jobbing to someone that makes no sense for her jobbing too, and John Cena winning the belt yet again. You telling me that with everyone they have on the roster on RAW, they have no one else to give that bloody title to for more than a month? Oh, I digress…
The show opens up with Percy Watson ..click here to read more
AJ Lee, Darren Young, Hornswoggle, JTG, Maxine, Percy Watson, Titus O'Neal, WWE NXT, Yoshi Tatsu
Welcome to the 9/16/11 edition of Friday Night SmackDown! as we head into Night of Champions. Normally, I would order the NoC PPV, but this year’s card just isn’t doing anything for me. Not even the greatness of CM Punk and Alberto Del Rio are a big enough selling point for me. Looks like I’m waiting until at least Survivor Series before I buy another PPV.
Anyway, the show starts off with Justin Roberts introducing Edge back to SmackDown!, as the show is in Toronto, Edge’s hometown. Rehabilitation doesn’t appear to have been as kind to Edge as some others. His arms are looking rather skinny (skinnier than normal), while he’s getting some pudge around his face and gut. Not a lot, but it’s showing. The crowd goes nuts for Edge, and he says misses that, and that it ..click here to read more
AJ Lee, Beth Phoenix, Christian, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Derrick Bateman, Edge, Evan Bourne, Great Khali, Heath Slater, Jinder Mahal, Justin Gabriel, Kofi Kingston, Natalya, Night of Champions 2011, R-Truth, randy orton, Sheamus, Sin Cara, The Miz, Trish Stratus, Wade Barrett, WWE NXT, wwe smackdown
Howdy y’all, and welcome to the rant. This week’s WWE NXT rant takes place in Toronto, Canada. Or, as WWE likes to call it, Bizarro Land. See they call it that because it’s the only place where Cena gets booed… wait no, its really not. Well, it’s definitely the only place that cheers the heels… no. Wait a minute, we cheer the heels a lot in the states as well… Kind of a double standard you have there WWE.
We start the show in the ring with Matt Striker. He says typically he’d be starting the show off by introducing us to a challenge… that is a lie, we haven’t had a challenge on the show in months. This by the way, is not a bad thing, it’s a good thing. Striker then goes on and on ..click here to read more
AJ Lee, Darren Young, Derrick Bateman, JTG, Matt Striker, Maxine, Percey Watson, Titus O'Neil, Tyson Kidd, William Regal, WWE NXT
Hey guys. My apologies for my absence last week; but last week was just a recap show talking about the best NXT alumni in the WWE right now. In summary: Keep an eye on Wade Barrett, Daniel Bryan, Alex Riley, and AJ. There you go, I saved you 48 minutes.
Our show this week opens with a recap of Darren Young beating up Matt Striker after Striker tried to make peace. They make sure to show Regal then running in and chasing off Darren Young as we cut to the opening. We come back for the first disappointing thing of the night, as Jack Korpela has replaced the departed (to ESPN) Todd Grisham. I have nothing against Jack, but I was hoping Scott Stanford to be the replacement. He’s not terrible, but its like they gave the ..click here to read more
AJ Lee, Darren Young, Derrick Bateman, Matt Striker, Titus O'Neil, Tyson Kidd, William Regal, WWE NXT, Yoshi Tatsu