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WWE Hall of Fame

On January 9th, World Wrestling Entertainment (or WWE, formerly WWF) held the Royal Rumble. This 30-man battle royal determined who will wrestle in the main event at Wrestlemania in just seven weeks. Wrestlemania is WWE’s Christmas, New Year’s and birthday all rolled into one. It’s the biggest event of the year and a spectacle it’s hard to describe unless you see it for yourself.

The night before Wrestlemania, WWE holds its annual Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Every year, WWE inducts roughly seven or eight new entrants. This may seem like a lot, but they usually have two big names, a tag team, a female, a less popular person from an ethnic minority, a manager, a behind the scenes worker and someone going into the celebrity wing. The celebrity wing is how the likes of Drew Carey, Arnold Schwarzenegger and the current President of the United States end up in the Hall.

WWE just announced the first inductee into the class of 2017. It’s Kurt Angle. For those of you who don’t know, Kurt Angle is the only bona fide Olympic Gold Medalist to ever compete in the WWE. Now, there are plenty of good reasons why Kurt Angle should go into the Hall of Fame; but there are reasons I’m surprised he is. His WWE career was impressive; he racked up a lot of accolades and he’s one of the most entertaining performers I’ve seen. On the other hand, he’s had some legal issues. They include, DUIs, reckless driving, and accusations of stalking an ex-girlfriend that required a legal agreement for the two not to interact. Not the most heinous of crimes, and forgivable.

What I find it harder to believe they forgave, is what he’s been doing for the past ten years. Angle received early release from his WWE contract, claiming he needed time off to heal. He promptly went to work for WWE’s competitors, TNA, and worked there the next ten years. He’s already in the TNA Hall of Fame and will be the first person to be inducted into both Hall of Fames. WWE has not always been so kind to perceived slights.

80s star“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka died recently at age 73. WWE aired numerous tributes to the wrestling legend. The thing is, he had recently been charged with third degree murder. He never stood trial because he was judged unfit just 12 days before his death. WWE flirted with bad publicity in celebrating the man’s life. Luckily for them, the media did not pick up on the story.

Some things are unforgivable. On June 25, 2007 wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife, and his 7-year old son were found dead in his home. Learning the news, WWE called off its live show and aired a tribute show to Benoit. Sometime during that show word began to come out that the incident was being investigated as a murder suicide. WWE was left airing the show. When WWE aired its next scheduled show, Vince McMahon (who at the time was supposed to be dead in storyline) gave a heartfelt apology and vowed Benoit’s name would not be mentioned again. He meant it. WWE began systematically erasing Benoit from their history. Old shows were chopped up to remove him. Needless to say, his merchandise never appeared again. Recently, however, with the advent of WWE’s own network and the need for streamed content, WWE has begun showing old Benoit footage with a disclaimer. Benoit will never go in the Hall of Fame.

Speaking for myself, I’m satisfied with that. Chris Benoit was one of my favorite wrestlers at the time of his death. I was hit pretty hard. But it seemed unfair to wipe him off the map. Especially when medical experts have speculated that post-concussion syndrome brought about by Benoit’s wrestling career (in WWE, World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling) could have caused his actions. Benoit himself claimed he had lost track of the number of concussions he had suffered. I’ve heard at least one wrestler (Montel Vontavious Porter, aka MVP) claim Benoit had shown strange symptoms, like losing track of where he was while in the ring. Wrestling may have been what caused this tragedy and, to their credit, WWE have gone to great lengths to reduce the risk of concussion in their matches and non-match segments (aka angles) since. I still own a Chris Benoit shirt. I would never wear it, but I can’t bring myself to throw it away. I try to hold on to the good memories, even with the dark cloud over them. Perhaps WWE is trying to do the same thing.

Posted on February 16th, 2017 by Lucian | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment

We are giving away one of the most surprising (and fun) crossovers in cartoon/movie history, a (Blu-ray+DVD Combo Pack) of The Flintstones & WWE Stone Age Smackdown! It takes me back to when the Harlem Gobetrotters teamed up with the Scooby Gang.

In honor of the movie’s release, we are proud to present The Flintstones & WWE Stone Age Smackdown App. Featured included in the app are: (1) find out which Flintstones WWE star you are via a quiz, (2) downloadable activities you can share with your whole family, (3) watch the official trailer, and (4) a link to buy the movie online (in case you don’t win it). Check it out…

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WWE Battleground

This Sunday is WWE Battleground! First some thoughts on the previous PPV, Money in the Bank. I didn’t to do badly on my last predictions going 2-4. I enjoyed the PPV and I thought both MITB matches were pretty stellar as was the Tag Titles match. There were some duds, including Rusev vs Big E and Paige vs Naomi, but that is to be expected. Anyway, on with the predictions.

WWE Battlefield 4 Way Match

WWE Championship Fatal Four-Way Match
John Cena vs Roman Reigns vs Kane vs Randy Orton

My pick: John Cena

Anyone who thinks they are going to the take the title off Cena after three weeks are deluding themselves, especially as the main event for Summerslam is pretty much set in stone as Cena vs Lesnar. Besides it doesn’t make much sense to take it off Cena and put it on any of the other guys in the match. Reigns needs more time to be built up. Have him win the Rumble and have him take the title at Wrestlemania. Kane is in there to stop Orton from winning the match to force The Authority to go to plan C (a.k.a. Lesna).

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WWE Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal
Alberto Del Rio vs. Big E vs. Bo Dallas vs. Cesaro vs. Curtis Axel vs. Diego vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Fandango vs. Heath Slater vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. R-Truth vs. Ryback vs. Sheamus vs. Sin Cara vs. The Great Khali vs. The Miz vs. Titus O’Neil vs. Xavier Woods vs. Zack Ryder

My pick: Dolph Ziggler
Wildcards: Sheamus, The Miz or Bo Dallas

Whereas the main event is probably the easiest match I could predict the winner. This one I really don’t have a clue. It could be any one of these guys but I am leaning towards four guys in particular. Dolph Ziggler is most dependable guy in the ring and could bring the title back to some sort of relevance again, like my next suggestion Sheamus has done with the United States title. I could see him winning to unify the titles and possibly turn heel in the process. The Miz also seems like a favourite for this match but his last title reign was a disaster but now he is back playing the heel he could use his new gimmick to show off more. My final pick is Bo Dallas, now I’m yet to be impressed with his in ring work but to be fair he’s not been in with any top workers but I love to hate him and the gimmick. That’s what a heel is supposed to do so I would give him a cheap win like having him hide or waiting outside shaking hands with performers or ringside people and then when there is one or two left have him eliminate them. Then do his little victory lap and maybe then bam! Bad News Barrett nails him with the title turning him face and setting up a feud for when he returns. A quick note on Bad News Barrett I hope this injury doesn’t side-line him too long and I hope WWE will give him the chance to get back to his spot because the Bad News gimmick is so over. I would even keep him on TV as he recovers using the gimmick to keep him over.

WWE Battlefield Match

Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose

My pick: Dean Ambrose

This will be match of the night in my opinion. They’ve worked so many times against each other on the indie scene and even in NXT where I saw a amazing match between the two. Ambrose was beaten down quite badly on RAW by Rollin, Orton and Kane. My usual theory is if you get beat or beaten down on the go home show of RAW usually means you’re coming away with the win at the big event. It’s not always right but it’s just a theory. I also think Ambrose needs the win more than Rollins right now. Rollins won’t be cashing in the briefcase for a while and I am sceptical of whether he will have the briefcase. A win could mean Ambrose challenging Rollins at Summerslam for the briefcase and possibly winning it but it’s still too soon commit to that. Ambrose’s gimmick is getting more and more over each week which is good because when they turned Rollins instead of him I thought he might struggle but it’s really working for him. I think this will be a DQ ending with Rollins using the briefcase and setting up the Summerslam match as No DQ which I’m sure will be amazing as well.

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WWE Tag Team Titles 2 Out of 3 Falls
The Uso’s vs Harper and Rowan

My pick: Harper and Rowan

I predicted them to win last time out and was wrong and I’m going with them again but I could also see this feud being stretched out to Summerslam so a win here for them could mean The Uso’s would regain the titles at Summerslam. I really think this could be a contender for match of night, their match at MITB was brilliant and so have their matches on RAW. This another match that could go either way because something on RAW last week or the week before was Harper pinning the wrong Uso which could set up for perhaps a Uso’s win by pulling the old switcheroo but I really do think that Harper and Rowan win here.

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Bray Wyatt vs Chris Jericho

My pick: Bray Wyatt

Wyatt will win here simply because he has to. He’s in danger of losing momentum; I don’t think his feud with Cena did him any favours. Also Jericho is one of the greats so you know you are getting a great match with him and you know he is there to put Wyatt over. They really need to start building up Wyatt as more as unstoppable heel monster with Undertaker effectively retired and Kane looking like he is slowing down. Wyatt will be perfect to pick up the monster gimmick. I see some sort of screwy ending to take the feud onto Summerslam and possibly onto Night of Champions.

WWE Battleground

Jack Swagger w/ Zeb Colter vs Rusev w/ Lana

My pick: Rusev

They finally turned Swagger baby face which is something I’ve expected since Rusev and Lana debuted and going on their Anti-USA tirades. I think the big plus that both Swagger and Rusev have going for them is they have two tremendous talents in Zeb and Lana doing the talking for them. The turn for Swagger and Zeb has been tremendous; I don’t even think WWE could have predicted that it could have been this well received. I think this will be a very back and forth match with Swagger out wrestling Rusev and taking him off his feet though I still see Rusev picking up the win probably off a distraction by the ravishing Russian Lana who I swear gets hotter by the day! I see this going to Summerslam where Swagger will get the win and there will be a celebration ala Lex Luger when he beat Yokozuna at Summerslam 93 except it will be better booked.

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WWE Divas Title
AJ Lee vs Paige

My pick: AJ Lee

I was really torn over this one because whatever the outcome Paige will be turning heel. I could see her winning and regaining the title by heel tactics and then going on full post match beatdown. I think the most likely scenario will be Paige dominating the match and just when she has AJ beat, goes for the Paige turner and AJ counters into a small package or the black widow and gets the win. Then post match Paige flips and turns heel. I was really surprised when they took the title off Paige because I felt she was doing an adimirable job. They just weren’t booking against any of the decent worker on the Divas roster. How they put Naomi and Cameron in Divas titles matches on PPV instead of Natalya who can pull a good match out of any Diva and not afraid to put over a newcomer (see NXT match against Charlotte) is beyond me.

Well there we are folks, Please leave a comment with your own predictions. You can also follow me on twitter @KG4231 where you will find my ramblings on wrestling, film and games. Enjoy WWE Battleground!

WWE Money in the Bank Logo

WWE Money in the Bank is this Sunday and here are my predictions for the championship and traditional MITB style matches that have been set on the card.

WWE Money In The Bank Main Event

WWE World Championship Ladder Match
John Cena vs Kane vs Roman Reigns vs Randy Orton vs Sheamus vs Alberto Del Rio vs Cesaro vs Bray Wyatt

My Pick: John Cena
Wildcard: Cesaro

Now before the IWC goes apeshit listen to my reasoning. This this is the smart choice, if as expected Lesnar will face the champion and win the title at Summerslam, then the only logical choice is to put it on Cena. He and Reigns are the only two pure faces in the match. Sheamus doesn’t count becuase I think he’s going heel soon. So they need a face to go against Lesnar at Summerslam. If you put the title on Reigns and he goes and loses it again Lesnar then you basically kill any momentum he’s going to have.

The wildcard here is Cesaro and if they are ready to push him through the roof already. It’s a possibility that he wins and then turns face on Heyman the next night on Raw saying something like that he doesn’t need him or is tired of him talking about Lesnar when he is now the #1- as in world champion, One idea I could see happening is WWE putting the Briefcase on someone like Kofi Kingston or Dolph Ziggler with the way he’s been booked lately to actually lose the briefcase in a match on RAW. This could put things back on track for WWE’s original plan of Cesaro as Mr. MITB, which he would cash in and beat Lesnar turning face. I dunno, but it’s interesting. Either way, I think Lesnar will take the title at Summerslam.

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The Money In The Bank Ladder Match
Seth Rollins vs Kofi Kingston vs Jack Swagger vs Dolph Ziggler vs Rob Van Dam vs Bad News Barrett vs Dean Ambrose

My Pick: Bad News Barrett
Wildcard: Dolph Ziggler

This was a real tough choice as I had Rollins to win until Ambrose was announced. I figure they will probably keep each other from winning the contract with some pretty cool ladder spots. Let’s face it, Van Dam like Kingston are in there for cool looking spots with the ladders. They are not going to win unless it plays out ala Cesaro beating them for the briefcase. After Rollins it was toss up between BNB and Dolph. Dolph has been in the doghouse of late apparently cos of his injuries, so maybe this would be moment he gets out- but if a face is leaving champion then Dolph I’m afraid I’ve got some BAD NEWS! (sorry, I had to do that quote)

They are probably going with a heel to win the contract and at the moment in WWE there is no one better that Bad News Barrett. He’s has been a revelation since he got back into the gimmick and it’s slowly starting to turning him face. His matches are getting so much better, his IC tournament match with Sheamus was a pure old fashioned brawl and I LOVED it. His match on last night’s RAW with Dolph was amazing too, they had the crowd into it, did great near falls, and some awesome moves. Barrett’s Bull Hammer has become my favourite finisher just ahead of the Cesaro uppercut. They are like Shawn Michaels’ Sweet Chin Music. They can hit them from anywhere and on anyone. No better feeling as a wrestling fan than to see someone who’s got all the momentum in the match to launch themselves off the top rope and then WHAM! Bull Hammer/Uppercut and match is over. Bottom line, I give this to Bad News Barett. He was supposed to win two years ago but got injured. Now is his time; he has the support and he has the great gimmick. Push him now through the ceiling, plus if the idea to is to turn him face then cash it in against Lesnar and that will be the moment that everyone will talk about!

(Disclaimer: I support BNB because I’m English. ’nuff said.)

WWE Money in the Bank

WWE Divas Title
Paige vs Naomi

My pick: Paige

This is the easiest match to call. Paige will win. It’s a shame they are not putting her in the ring with credible divas like Natalya and AJ. They will need to start bringing up Charlotte from NXT soon to give the divas roster a boost with actual talent. It’s also stupid booking as I think Paige winning the match will rank second to the “Story line breakup” of the funkadactyls, does anyone actually care about that by the way? *listens for crickets chirping* Think that Paige will hold the title at least until AJ returns or confirms she’s pregnant. Then Paige will probably be put in a meaningful feud… well, one can hope anyway.

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WWE Tag Team Championship
The Uso’s vs Harper and Rowan

My pick: Harper and Rowan

I feel for the Uso’s, they are a great team but they haven’t been in any meaningful matches since they really won the titles. No feuds (really) and relegated to being Cena’s back up against the Wyatt family. But this could be what they need. I think Harper and Rowan get the titles cheaply, maybe Bray interferes, or maybe a blackout, etc. This would kick start the feud between the two teams where the Uso’s would regain the titles at Summerslam in a gimmick match. Just my prediction.

I hope that you like my predictions, I’m expecting more matches to be announced… I expect Rusev with Ravishing Lana against Big E and possibly Bo Dallas. I don’t care about either match, but I could watch Lana all day long 😉 .

I will be making this a regular column before every WWE PPV.  Please feel free to leave you predictions in the comments as well.

WWE Elimination Chamber

This PPV was the last before the WWE Network launches and it was a serious hard sell for that new service. WWE Pay Per View revenues are about to plunge and it’s vital to put on a good face for the company right now. Notice I said good face for the company not of the company. So what does WWE do? It once again shows it can’t give the fans (or you can call them the WWE Universe if you want to induce vomiting) what they want.

Much of the PPV was fine stuff. The battle between the two most dominant factions of today, the Wyatts and the Shield, was stellar. Despite both being heel teams the crowd was deeply into the match and cheering for both sides. In fact, a “This is Awesome” chant broke out even before either side had so much as touched each other. The match itself lived up to the hype and was, easily, the highlight of the night.

The Diva’s championship match between AJ and Cameron was decent filler with AJ taking a sick looking accidental kick from her bodyguard Tamina Snuka that almost cost her her championship. Fortunately for her, Tamina was also there to attack Cameron and draw a DJ, letting AJ slip away with the title and extend her record-breaking reign.

The Intercontinental Championship match was better than I expected it to be as Big E Langston and Jack Swagger put on a fine opener with Langston retaining.

WWE New Age Outlaws

Beyond that, the booking was mostly a train wreck. The New Age Outlaws were carried to a marginally decent match by their opponents The Usos; but they have no business being in a WWE ring let alone tag team champions. Billy Gunn is 50 years old. Does he have to have a heart attack in the ring like Jerry Lawler before he’ll think about hanging up his boots. A gymnasium somewhere in Newark is missing its headliners because Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are taking a spot on the WWE roster that deserves to go to a younger, more athletic, team.

I have not seen a match as crapped on by the crowd as the Batista/Alberto Del Rio was in a very long time. Despite del Rio coming to the ring faking an injury, claiming to be unfit to wrestler then attacking Batista with a crutch the crowd still started out cheering him. They moved on to cheering for: Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, RVD, Chris Jericho and I think a few others I missed. They even invented a new term “Bootista” that is up there with “Boo-urns” in terms of cleverness. Batisita was meant to be the company’s major face going into Wrestlemania and the fans are so far from backing him they might as well be on another planet.

Which brings us to the main event. Six men put on what was actually a good match. Cesaro got a chance to shine. Christian and Sheamus appear to be set to collide at Mania and this feud was continued with a great Frogsplash off the top of a pod. Sheamus got to Brogue Kick a Plexiglas plate into Orton. The Wyatts reappeared to attack Cena to set up another likely Mania match and Kane again interfered against Bryan. But, in the end, when Bryan was eliminated and Orton retained, the crowd completely deflated. They weren’t angry. They didn’t hate Orton. They simply could not believe that, once again, the WWE had completely ignored the views they had made crystal clear. The fans want Daniel Bryan as champion going into Mania. And continuing to ignore them is going to start driving fans away in droves no matter how cheap WWE Network may be.

WWE Randy Orton

Also, Hulk Hogan is back and will host Wrestlemania. Sure, whatever.

Did you watch the 2014 Elimination Chamber? Will you be signing up for the WWE Network?

Wrestling

Last month we introduced a new wrestling debate column where we let two wrestling fans, dubbed FACE and HEEL, duke it out over a subject (SEE: How Was the 2014 Royal Rumble?). This week they are arguing if it is a good or bad idea for Sting to join the WWE.

FACE: How could anyone argue that Sting wouldn’t be a great addition to WWE? We’re talking about one of the most storied veterans who has never wrestled in the company. Sting would get to cap off his career at the only true major wrestling company left in the world. It’s good for him, it’s good for WWE. It’s good for fans.

HEEL: Here’s a simple fact: Sting is 54 years old. He’s older than The Undertaker. He’s older than Billy Gunn who WWE has foolishly made tag champ again. As CM Punk said, he has nothing left in the tank. What is WWE going to do with him? A match between him and The Undertaker at Wrestlemania would be horrible. A match between him and anybody else would mean that other wrestler has to carry his broken down body. It’s not worth what WWE would pay him.

FACE: There are a lot of things Sting could help WWE with. Under a legends contract he would be a huge draw.

HEEL: Would he? It has been a long time since WCW. Since 2003 Sting has been languishing in TNA, the fed that fans forgot. His cache is past.

FACE: I think you are wrong. There are a lot of old time fans, parents of kids who watch WWE today, who still remember Sting. He’s still a great talker. He could be a manager. He could be a General Manager.

HEEL: Just what WWE needs, more people who can talk and not wrestle.

FACE: Imagine if Sting had even one match left in him. He could put over some young guy. Imagine the credibility that a guy like, say, Cesaro would get from being the man who ended Sting’s career. And you know Sting is a decent enough guy to do it.

HEEL: I say let TNA keep paying his salary. It will only speed them towards bankruptcy that much faster.

FACE: I can’t imagine TNA is paying him that much. So let him earn some real money towards his retirement. Sting’s biggest objection to WWE has always been the questionable content. These days WWE is PG and TNA is TV-14. It’s actually a better fit.

HEEL: It’s the old line: “it’s better to rule in Hell than serve in Heaven.” In TNA, Sting is unquestionably a star. In WWE he’d be one face lost in a crowd of wrestlers past their prime.

FACE: Bret Hart won the United States championship at 52 despite having had a stroke.

HEEL: And vacated it the next week. It was a joke of a win.

FACE: Bottom line, I think WWE can find a place for Sting and it would be the feather in the cap of his career.

HEEL: Bottom line, Sting should stay where he can be of some help, not just fade into the background of WWE.

How about you? Do you think Sting should end his career in the WWE?

Posted on March 7th, 2014 by Lucian | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment

wwe nxtThe NXT program started as a crappy reality TV style show where the results were probably rigged. It was pretty bad. That didn’t stop me from watching it, because it showcased some of the up and coming talent that would form the future of the show. The first winner of NXT season one was Wade Barrett, who is still on the main roster, although I’ve got bad news for him, his new gimmick sucks.

The real story of season one was Daniel Bryan, aka Brian Danielson. Danielson was one of the biggest stars of the indie, Japan and Ring of Honor when WWE signed him. He was horribly misused at first but now he is the most over member of the WWE roster.

Over a year ago, NXT changed its format. Gone was the voting, the eliminations and the stupid ass challenges. Instead, NXT became a straightforward, hour-long wrestling show. Matches and promos were the same as regular shows and the show had its own home, Full Sail University. And, slowly and quietly, NXT developed into one of the best wrestling shows on TV today.

NXT now offers a chance for developmental talent to practice the skills they will need to be a star on WWE. NXT also has a singles, women and even tag team championships. These championships are a bit of a double edged sword. If one wins one then either one must quickly lose it in order to move up to the main roster, or one gets stuck in NXT as champion. Current NXT champion Bo Dallas may have held the title for close to a year; but he’s only had a sniff of the main shows.

Incidentally, Bo Dallas is actually Bo Rotundo, son of Mike Rotundo, aka Irwin R Shyster. Bo’s brother was once known as Husky Harris. But after a successful stint in NXT he has been incredible successfully repacked as Bray Wyatt, leader of the Wyatt family.

NXT Stars

Repackaging stars is a big deal in NXT. It’s how Johnny Curtis became Fandango. It’s how Skip Sheffield became Rybak. There are some people with real potential in NXT at the moment. Alexander Rusev has already been in this year’s Royal Rumble and promos are running for him on RAW and Samckdown.

The tag team champions, the Ascension, have promise. New WWE Diva Emma has been showing up in the WWE crowd. Aiden English, whose gimmick is a Broadway actor and singer, is vastly entertaining. Tyler Breeze, a Milan model who constantly takes selfies with his smartphone and doesn’t like being hit in the face, shows a lot of promise. The problem with the NXT crowds, who are smart wrestling fans, is they tend to cheer the talented wrestlers rather than supporting the faces and booing the heels.

When the WWE network goes live NXT will be there. Four episodes of NXT every month is worth about half the price of a network subscription all by itself. In the meantime, find the show on the internet. If you have only one hour to spare for wrestling each week there are worse choices than NXT.

Posted on February 16th, 2014 by Lucian | Leave a Comment
Filed Under Entertainment
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