Tuesday, November 30, 2010

One King Crowned, Another Dethroned

Jerry "the King" Lawler at Rent One Park, May 2010
First, congrats to Sheamus on being crowned the new king of the ring in the WWE.  I had picked John Morrison to win it all, and at least he made it to the finals.

This post is more about my thoughts on the original "king" of wrestling, Jerry Lawler.  Before last night, I had never realized "the King" had never been in a match for the WWE(F) title.  I did know that he has never competed in a Wrestlemania.

So last night's title shot at the Miz was a first for Lawler, but I think we all knew the Hall of Famer was going to simply be putting over the new champion, which at this stage of his career was the only thing to do.

But I am disappointed that Lawler, a former AWA world champion never at least competed for the world title during his early days in the WWF.  Instead it always seemed he was being used to put over other guys.  And not even the younger crowd all the time.

The King of the Ring tournament on pay per view always featured Lawler in some way.  At least in the early days.  In 1993  he attacked Bret Hart during the Hitman's coronation ceremony that set up their feud.  Then 1994, he put over "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and in '95 Hart got revenge again in a kiss my foot match.  The Ultimate Warrior took it to the King in 1996.  In 1997, Lawler made it into the tournament, but lost early to Mankind.

Lawler spent all of his time in the WWE behind the mic.  He was always primarily presented as an announcer and not a wrestler.  Of course, we all knew his history from the Mid South, AWA, and USWA; but he was utilized very rarely in the WWE ring.  I never really understood why.  Early on when he arrived, he could have been included in a Wrestlemania, especially in the mid 90's when the talent pool was  a bit dry.

I like the King.  I like the Miz more though, so of course I'm glad he retained the title last night.  Lawler still looks great for 61.  I know he still works a lot on the independent circuit and in Memphis.  I saw him wrestle back in May on an independent show.  He showed Kevin Throne why he's still the King.

So I'm happy Jerry Lawler finally got his WWE title shot.  Now I just hope he can get on a Wrestlemania card too.

Monday, November 29, 2010

iAy Carumba!

Courtesy: the Bleacher Report
As you probably all know by know, Juan Cena has made his official WWE debut.  The Mexican cousin of former champ John Cena wrestled Wade Barrett and the Miz in a title match last night.

Not bad for a new comer to automatically getting in the world title hunt.  Of course I'm being sarcastic.
Unless you're living under a rock or you live under powerlines, you know Juan is in fact John.

The WWE could have gone through a little more thought with this gimmick in my opinion.  I watched some footage of last night's match.  Besides the purple mask, there's no difference between Juan and John.  I thought we'd get more than that.

One suggestion I heard was have him unmasked at some point to reveal Darren Young.  I don't think they can do that now since we've seen Juan's skin tone.  They should have had him in a full body suit, like the Consquistadors.  (Remember them?)

I also think they could have modified some of his move set.  In last night's match it was your typical Cena one-two attack.  The Miz ended up winning by pinning Wade Barrett.  But after the match, Cena does the Attitude Adjustment to Alex Riley and the Miz.  The fans seemed to enjoy it though.  Not sure what the millions and millions watching at home will think.  We'll wait and see.

I'm hoping there is no Juan tonight on Raw.  I really hope the focus is on the King of the Ring and not Cena.  He seems to overshadow things when he's around.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Long Live the King

Another "king" will be crowned in the WWE Monday night as the 19th tournament is held on a special 3 hour Raw.  Most of us know about the pay per view and Raw tournaments, but back in the mid 80's, there were several kings crowned.

I remember back in 1986, being at a WWF house show in St. Louis that was being touted as a King of the Ring tournament.  Harley Race won that one by pinning Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat in the finals.  Of course, Race was already "the King" as that was his gimmick when he arrived earlier that year.

In 1993, the first ever PPV KOTR was held, with former world champion Bret Hart being crowned.  In the years that followed though, the tournament served as a stepping stone to the title.  In many cases anyway.  Triple H, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, and Kurt Angle are just a few who got the royal treatment before winning the world title.  Then we had "Mr. Ass" Billy Gunn, Mabel, and Ken Shamrock who never quite achieved world title success.

The most recent King, William Regal, seemed to lose his momentum after being suspended by the WWE shortly after his coronation.  That was about two years ago, now it's time to crown a new king.

I must say, I like the 8 participants in this year's event.  I feel like any one of them is capable of winning this.  In other words, it's hard to pick a winner.  Past tournaments were a little lopsided, especially back in the 80's.  Did anyone really think Boris Zhukov or "Iron" Mike Sharpe would get the crown and scepeter?  Even the qualifying matches for this year's could have gone either way in most cases.  And here's a little fun fact.  In 1988, "the Outlaw" Ron Bass pinned Shawn Michaels in the KOTR tournament.  Wow.

John Morrison in action at Wrestlemania 26
I believe John Morrison has all the tools to win this tournament.  He's been in the WWE for a while now and besides a run as Intercontinental champion, he's not had much of a singles push.  With big wins over Chris Jericho and Sheamus over the last few months, he's proven to me he's ready for the next level.

Winning the King of the Ring would propel him into the title hunt.  I definitely don't think Morrison would "Billy Gunn" this opportunity.  So as of right now, John Morrison is my pick to win the King of the Ring.  However, I know history is not on my side, as most of the time the winner of this tournament is a heel.

Sheamus vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 26
One other thing I like about this year's tournament is there are no former world champions in it,  except for Sheamus.  I'm not sure if that's good or bad for the Irish man.  My hope is that he will not win it, as I'd like to see someone who hasn't really contended for the world title be in the hunt.

But Sheamus has been doing the job lately to John Morrison and Santino.  Could the crown be his reward?  I could see that happening, and Triple H returning to ruin the coronation.  After all, he's a past KOTR and the "King of Kings" as he taught King Booker a few years back.

Kofi at Wrestlemania 26.

Kofi Kingston has been in a bit of slump lately.  It seems to have all started when he lost the U.S. title to the Miz late last year.

But he put on a helluva show at Wrestlemania 26 though.  Kofi seems to do well in the Money in the Bank matches.  He's a solid worker, dedicated, and over with the fans.

That being said, I'm not sure that he'll win this tournament.  Although I do think he's ready for the main event rub.  I didn't really care for the way they booked him in the Randy Orton feud.  I felt even then he deserved to go over in that program.

Another reason I don't think Kofi will win, he's already got King in his name.  We can't have King Kingston can we?  It just doesn't sound right.

Courtesy: WWE

Initially when I read who was in the tournament, my pick to win it was Ezekiel Jackson.  But after some discussion with a fellow fan and some thinking, I'm taking it back.

Since returning from his injury, Zeke has been unstoppable.  But victories over Zach Ryder, Alex Riley, and The Brooklyn Brawler hardly make you ready for the spotlight.

But the dude has a lot of potential.  I think I liked him better as a monster heel though.  I'm hoping Zeke doesn't get lost in the shuffle.  Being crowned king could be a great springboard for him, and just what he needed since he never really got to enjoy his reign as ECW champion.

Drew McIntyre climbing to new heights at Wrestlemania 26
Of the heels in this tournament, Drew McIntrye is without a doubt my favorite.  I think he's got a lot of potential but is still trying to find his way in the WWE.  A brief run as Intercontinental champion helped him, but his reign was marred with some bad booking.

Then his run with Cody Rhodes as tag team champions was laughable.  Not even sure why the WWE went there with that one.

Drew draws that natural heel heat.  He thinks he's better than everyone else and people hate him for that.  He reminds me a of young Triple H when he had the blueblood gimmick, and when he was crowned KOTR 13 years ago.

Cody Rhodes slugs Mark Henry at a house show.

Cody Rhodes is another guy with a great deal of potential, who seems to be floating around on Smackdown! right now.  But I expect big things for him in the future too.

I must admit, I'm not a big fan of the whole "Dashing" gimmick, but he seems to be making it work.  Since the split from Legacy, I think both he and Ted DiBiase have struggled to carve out a new niche and find their own identities.  Personally, I thought it was too early to split up that group.  He and DiBiase made an excellent tag team.  I would have rather seen them pushed as a duo and have another run as tag team champions.  Cody is good, but I don't think he's good enough to win the KOTR.

Courtesy: WWE

Alberto Del Rio has enjoyed quite the push since arriving in the WWE.  A win over Rey Mysterio on TV.  Hanging with Edge.  And beating the Big Show (albeit by countout) are just a few feathers in his cap so far.  He is also "responsible" for taking Christian out of action.

However, he came up short at the Survivor Series.  Is that an indicator of things to come? Again, this is a hard tournament to pick a decisive winner, and I would not be surprised at all by a Del Rio victory.  My gut tells me though that a Raw guy is going to win, since the tournament is being held on Raw.

Daniel Bryan leaving the Hall of Fame ceremony
I know I picked John Morrison to win in my earlier analysis, however I really like Daniel Bryan to win as well.  The one thing that may prevent that from happening is the U.S. title.

But it would make sense for him to win, especially with the Miz being world champion.  These two have a history and it would seem logical to have them meet again.  However, what's logical doesn't always come to fruition.

That being said, I don't think Daniel Bryan NEEDS the crown to propel him into the world title picture.  He's got the ability to wear the belt one day without having to go through a coronation ceremony.

So as you can see, I'm still going back and forth on who will win this.  I won't be disappointed in any of these guys.  I mentioned how I liked the fact that most of these guys haven't been to the top of the mountain yet.  That's good and bad.  The problem with it is there are no established guys in this tournament to put over any of the young talent.  It would have been nice to see Randy Orton, Big Show, or Edge give the rub to the future main eventers of the company.  No matter what, I don't think this tournament will disappoint, and I can't wait to see who's crowned king.

Friday, November 26, 2010

My "Match" with Billy Gunn

Me with Billy Gunn & Ian Rotten on set (2005)

There's a picture you don't see every day.  A news anchor, a former wrestling champion, and a hardcore wrestler. But I have proof it happened.

It all started in early 2005.  My friend Chad was telling me about a wrestling organization called IWA: Midsouth.  Ian Rotten was the man in charge of the group.  They put on shows in the Kentucky, Indiana, and northern Illinois area.

Chad had the idea of getting the group to come to southern Illinois. In 2005, the indy wrestling scene here was hurting pretty bad.  WWE had run a house show in the area in ages, and besides the prices were steep and when they did come close to the area, it was an hour drive.

I'm not sure if Chad emailed or called Ian, but I remember Ian ended up calling Chad at the station.  The two talked for a bit and set up a night to meet for dinner.  Ian would be visiting the area to scope out locations and get a feel for the area.  Chad and I met him at Applebee's.  Ian was joined by Mickie Knuckles, who went on to wrestle briefly for TNA as Moose Knuckles.  Seriously.

It was a very surreal feeling.  I was unfamiliar with Mickie's work, but I had seen Ian wrestle on the old ECW from the mid 90's.  I remember his bloody (that's putting it mildly) battles with his "brother" Axl.  The two ripped each other to shreds with a variety of weapons, including barbed wire covered baseball bats.

Meeting Ian you could tell immediately he was a wrestler.  His forehead was scarred over from years of being split open.  He walked with a bit of a limp.  The years had definitely taken a toll on his young body.  He's only a couple of years older than me, but that was hard to tell.

We exchanged hellos and quickly found our table.  I'll never forget, Ian ordered the endless riblets basket.  As we made small talk, we started to discuss ideas for bringing his company to southern Illinois.  Ian was a really nice guy.  Pretty soft spoken from what I remember, considering his persona in the ring.  

We figured out that the Herrin Civic Center would play host to the night of wrestling on April 1, 2005.  The event was named April Bloodshowers, and former WWE tag team champion Billy Gunn was to be the headliner.  In the weeks leading up to it, Chad and I hit the streets of southern Illinois (several different communities) hanging up posters promoting the show.

"Wrestling" Billy Gunn on the Playstation.
We made arrangements for he and Billy to appear on our morning show the day of the big event.  Since Chad was the director of the morning show, we wanted to make the appearance something fun.  The first hit (yes, we scheduled two during our 60 minute show) I just did an interview with Ian and Billy about the show.

The second hit we decided to have a little fun.  Chad brought in his Raw vs. Smackdown! game for the Playstation and created a wrestling character in my likeness.  Of course, since Billy had worked for the WWE at one point, his character was already a part of the game.  So live on the news at 6:40 in the morning, I battled Billy Gunn on the video game.  I think it's a safe bet no other news anchor in America can make this claim.

Billy was extremely cool.  I was totally star struck and incredibly nervous throughout both interviews.  It was hard to focus on the game and do the interview at the same time.  Of course, Billy laid the smackdown on me.  Luckily it was just my likeness.  I have video of this event, but unfortunately I'm having trouble uploading it.  I'll try again and post it when I get it figured out.

He signed the action figure that Chad had bought prior to the event.  The best part, just before they left to go back to their hotel, Ian asked if I'd be the ring announcer for the night.  How could I turn that down?  Of course I said yes.  If I had butterflies in my stomach before the morning show interview, I had eagles bouncing around at the wrestling show.

More on that experience to come.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Turkey Talk

Happy Thanksgiving.  In honor of the big day, I decided to take a look at the biggest turkey in the history of the business.  No, not Hulk Hogan...

The Gobbledy Gooker:  I remember the hype leading up to the 1990 Survivor Series.  A giant egg, and the teases as to what or who was inside.  Finally, Thanksgiving night the egg hatched just in time for the Pay Per View.

Reaction wasn't good to the costumed bird, who was played by Hector Guerrero.  He danced with "Mean" Gene Okerlund and ran into the ring, hit the ropes, and did some flips.  He and Gene did some more dancing while Gorilla Monsoon and "Rowdy" Roddy Piper did their best to sell what we were seeing.  At one point Gorilla called the winged wonder "a hit with fans."  Umm, Gorilla, with all do respect, give me a break.

The bird brain made a few appearances on WWF TV over the next few months before seemingly flying into extinction.  I don't remember him actually wrestling.  Did he?

Actually, I don't think the Gooker was as bad as others did.  Sure, it was a huge let down.  I'm not sure what fans were expecting.  I don't even remember what I expected.  Heck, that was 20 years ago.  Hard to believe, right?

Not long after the hatching, the Gooker was history.  That is until 2001 and Wrestlemania 17, where the most infamous turkey participated in the gimmick battle royal.  As you can see, the costume is different, but the man behind it is still Hector Guerrero.  Eleven years later, the crowd was a bit more receptive to the festive fowl.

Gooker wouldn't last long in the battle royal.  In fact he's was the second man (or bird) tossed over the top rope.  But even after that elimination, the bird would rise again, almost like a phoenix.

This time though, the role of the turkey was the diva Maryse.  She donned the feathers, beak, and wobbler and served as a special guest time keeper for a six diva tag team match around Thanksgiving.  It was all a ruse though, as the bird that's usually preyed upon, became a bird of prey.  Maryse, still in disguise attacked Melina.  She assaulted her with the head of the costume and event threatened the "King" Jerry Lawler when he tried to help.   And don't forget how much trouble she had shedding the feathers and big yellow feet.  That was pretty comedic too.

I like the fact that they bring back old gimmicks like that from time to time.  I never really had any beef (pardon the pun) with the turkey, but I know a lot of fans have called it the worst gimmick of all time.  Personally, I'd take the Gooker over the Red Rooster any day.  And now he's officially a member of the WWE Alumni on

Happy Thanksgiving readers!

Note all images come from the WWE.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No Puede Ver Conmigo

Cena vs. Legacy at a Cape Girardeau house show
 That title, in case you don't speak Spanish, translates to "You Can't See Me."  It's a phrase you'll likely be hearing in the coming weeks. 

That's because several websites are reporting the WWE is teasing Juan Cena, the cousin of John Cena at some of its upcoming house shows.

Will Juan borrow a mask from Rey Mysterio? 

This move does not surprise me at all.  I figured he'd come back as some sort of masked character.  But I don't necessarily think it's a good idea.  I don't want to judge the angle before it's executed.  But I think they could have taken a different route with it.

If they really wanted to sell the whole firing, the first thing they should have done is remove all references to John Cena from the WWE website.  I will give them credit for removing his bio from the Raw page.  But as soon as you log in there's a huge banner with Cena's picture, along with other superstars for the National Guard.  He's also front and center on the poster for the Royal Rumble.

After talking with my wrestling buddies, (no not my stuffed Ultimate Warrior and Million Dollar Man) the idea was floated that Cena should work some indy shows to sell the angle.  Imagine having the opportunity to see John Cena wrestle in some high school gym or armory. 

Of course, I don't know what's in the heads of the writers.  Who knows where this angle is headed?  Do the writers?  I say that will a little bit of humor.

What would the Midnight Rider and Yellow Dog think of all this? 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Era of Awesomeness

Me & the Miz
 Regular readers know I'm a big fan of the Miz.  And not just a fair weather fan.  I really like the guy.  The character as well as Mike Mizanin.  I met the Miz almost a year ago when he was doing the promotional stuff for a house show in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

I've blogged about this before, but I'll say it again for those who didn't read my "Hi, I'm Awesome" post.  The Miz was sleep deprived and I'm sure not looking forward to the day filled with interviews with TV guys like me, radio stations, and newspapers.  But he was very cool.  Awesome even.  He opened up during our interview about the road he traveled to get to where he was (at that time he had just won the U.S. title)

Since then, he's won and lost the U.S. and picked up the tag team title with the Big Show.  I'll admit back when he and Morrison split, I thought he'd be the "Marty Jannetty" of the team.  But the Miz worked hard to become a breakout.  He made himself unique.  He shed that persona he had with Morrison.  That's something I think Morrison has just recently started to do and is finally enjoying some success now.

The Miz winning the WWE title last night came as no surprise to me.  And probably not to most fans.  He's arguably been the fastest rising star of 2010.  I was a bit surprised he cashed it in so soon.  I thought the storyline might have extended into the new year.  That being said, I really hope he has more success as a Money in the Bank winner/title winner than previous guys.  Jack Swagger's reign was lackluster to say the least.  And C.M. Punk was booked as a weak champion I thought. 

The Miz plays a great heel.  But I think fans are starting to buy into his character.  I hope they find a way to keep him as a "bad guy." I also think it would be great to see him enjoy a lengthy reign on top.  It's time for some new blood, so I hope this stays the trend.  I don't want to see John Cena come back in a month and win it.  Or Triple H return from his injury and win. 

I want to see the Miz defending the WWE championship at Wrestlemania.  Now that would be awesome!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Survivor Series Hangover


So the 24th annual Survivor Series is officially in the books.  I did not watch the show, so therefore, I don't feel it fair for me to comment on the action of the matches.  But I will talk about the outcomes and what I think that means for the immediate future.

Let's start at the top.  Barrett vs. Orton did not end the way I figured it would.  I really expected a John Cena heel turn.  On one level the outcome makes me happy.  I really don't think Wade Barrett is ready to be WWE champion yet.  I do think he will be eventually though.  Another aspect, hopefully this means we won't get Cena vs. Orton at Wrestlemania now.

So where does this leave Cena?  Obviously, he isn't really "fired."  Although my friend Chad wondered if Dixie Carter had contacted Cena after the show last night.  Got a good laugh out of that one.  Will the WWE try to work some sort of old school angle where Cena returns under a mask?  Will the Raw GM override the stipulation?  Or will Cena go to Smackdown! defeat Kane for the world title and go on to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania?  I wouldn't be shocked by any of these scenarios.

Are Orton and Barrett over?  Who will be the next contender?  I like the idea of it being someone who hasn't been in the title picture before, but besides the Miz, who else (heel wise) is ready for that exposure on Raw?  Sheamus' last two title reigns were pretty lackluster though.  At this point, I feel like I'm over him.  At least for right now.  And no one else from the Nexus really stands out as being a title contender.  At least not yet.  Can we get a third consecutive Orton/Barrett match on PPV in December?

Over on the Smackdown! side just reading the results of the Edge-Kane match confused me.  I guess I'd have to see it to fully understand.  But I'm guessing since it ended in a "tie" that we're not finished with this program.

Natalya winning the Divas title surprised me.  I figured they'd play more of the hunter game with her instead of the hunted.  I like Natalya and I guess this victory really signifies the cutting of the ties with the Hart Dynasty.

The two secondary title matches went down as I figured they would, and from what I've read they were both pretty good matches.  Again, my friend Chad said the undercard was great.  It was the main events that were lacking.  Seems to be a trend these days.  I personally am looking forward to getting more guys like Daniel Bryan, the Miz, Kaval, etc into the world title picture.  Here's to hoping they develop some tag teams to give Justin Gabriel and Health Slater some competition.

With that being said, I hope John Morrison's victory over Sheamus puts him in contention for something other than saving Santino each week.  

The elimination match offered no surprises.  But you had some fresh talent in there that could have gone over, but didn't .  I figured Big Show would survive.  Was slightly surprised to see Rey at the end with him.  Maybe they'll form a tag team now.  (Just kidding)

Looks like we're just under a month before the next big event: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs (oh my!)  It'll be interesting to see where things go from here.  I guess tonight we get some answers.  

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Survivor Series Predictions

Another Pay Per View, another round of predictions.  I'm very indecisive on most of these matches.   But here's what I'm thinking at this very moment.  Again, I'll say I think the singles matches should have been made into traditional elimination tag team matches, but I'm not getting back on that soap box.

John Morrison vs. Sheamus:  Sheamus has beaten Morrison in all their encounters on Raw.  But Morrison seems to be getting a mini push right now, and honestly,  I like that.  I think Morrison has a lot of potential and could be a main eventer over the next year or two.  I think this match with Sheamus could be the make or break point for Morrison's immediate future.  So, I'm going to go out on a limb and say Morrison wins this match.  But I don't think it will be the end of this feud.  I thought we might get a surprise return out of Triple H, causing some sort of interference and allowing Morrison the win, but I don't know that they'd "waste" his return as an unadvertised thing.

Natalya vs. LayCool:  As much as I'd like to see Natalya win this one, I don't think she will.  If she does, who will she have to defend against?  Right now Alicia Fox, LayCool, and Maryse are the only heel divas on the roster.  (I think that's right)  So the number of possibilities are limited.  Plus, I really think LayCool makes a great heel tandem, and having the belt on them makes fans want to see someone kick their bony little butts.  And I really think they're waiting for Beth Phoenix to return before taking the straps from Michelle and Layla.

Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater vs. Vladamir Koslov & Santino Marella:  Not a big fan of the tag team situation right now.  I'd hate to see them hot potato the belts like they have been doing over the past few months.  I think they need to keep the titles with the Nexus and let these two grow as a team.  More importantly, they need to develop more teams so they have quality opponents to defend against.  So while I like Santino and Koslov, I'd like to see Justin and Heath leave with the titles.

Team Mysterio vs. Team Del Rio: The only tradition Survivor Series match on the card.  This one is a wild guess.  Not sure what to expect here. I'll go with the baby face team winning.  Maybe Big Show as the sole survivor, setting him up for a run against Kane for the world title.

Kane vs. Edge: Based on my previous prediction, I'm going with Kane on this one.  He's been on a pretty good winning streak on PPV, beating Undertaker three months in a row.  I like Edge, but I'd also like to see Kane finish out 2010 with the world title.  I think a lengthy reign makes the belt seem like it's worth a little more instead of these title changes every three or four months.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Kaval: This one is for the Intercontinental championship.  I like Kaval a lot.  He was my favorite rookie on NXT 2.  But he's been jobbed out constantly on Smackdown!  Was that just him paying his dues and getting the big payoff tomorrow on PPV?  Not sure what to think here.  I'd like to pick him as the winner, but my gut tells me Ziggler wins this one, or at least leaves the building with the IC strap around his waist.

Daniel Bryan vs. Ted DiBiase: Take about rushing a title match with little to no build up.  How much of a build was that for this one?  30 seconds?  And they didn't even announce it on Raw, we heard about it first on  Lame.  They could have had these guys, along with a few others team up and do a traditional elimination match and develop something for the next pay per view.  That being said, I really hope Bryan goes over here.  But I think this has a chance to develop into a nice feud, so I hope that don't just rush through this and move on to the next program for each man.

Randy Orton vs. Wade Barrett: Freed or Fired for John Cena.  My bet, Cena goes with Wade and turns heel, leaving all his pretween fans with tears rolling down their chubby little cheeks.  Wade becomes the champion (I still think it's too soon) and we get a heel Cena vs. a face Randy Orton at Wrestlemania 27.  The powers that be will justify it being something "new."  Of course, I'm not sure they can hold off that long.  We'll see.

So that's it, my thoughts at this moment.  Of course that's likely to change, but I'm going to stick with it.  The other factor I haven't included here is the Miz.  I can't see him cashing in now, especially when he keeps talking about doing it.  But with him no where on the card, I can't see him not making some kind of appearance.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another One (Actually 8) Bite(s) the Dust

"Happy Thanksgiving, you're fired."  I'm sure that's probably not how the conversation went Friday, but four WWE Superstars, two divas, a referee, and a member of the creative team were all "wished well in their future endeavors" by the company.

The E seems to do a house cleaning like this a couple of times a year.  And to be honest, I'm not overly shocked by the choices they made this time around.

Me & Jillian Hall at Wrestlemania 26
Of all the people released, I'd say Jillian Hall surprised me the most.  True, she hasn't been on TV in quite a while.  I'm not even sure when her last match or appearance was.  She seemed to have a pretty good gimmick that got heat.  I'll be curious to see if she ends up in TNA, especially since her gimmick in the WWE was to spoof Hulk Hogan's daugther Brooke.

Got to meet Jillian briefly at Fan Axxess at this year's Wrestlemania.  She was nice and didn't sing, which I appreciated.

Sorry to see her go, as it looks like the company is really lacking in the heel diva division.  I think now it's just LayCool and Alicia Fox, right?  Hopefully Jillian finds something else, because like I said, I think she played the annoying heel character very well.  That is a compliment and not an insult.

Vance Archer aka Lance Hoyt was hardly used at all after splitting with his partner Curtis Hawkins.  While I wasn't a big fan of either guy, I think the E is lacking tag teams and they could have at least tried to make these two work together and develop into something.  Same goes for Caylen Craft who was one half of the "Dudebusters."  And for that matter Luke Gallows.  I thought the Straight Edge Society had a ton of potential, but for whatever reason the group was split up.  I've talked before that they do that a lot with teams/factions these days.  I wonder how much longer the Nexus will be around.

Shad of Cryme Tyme fame was also let go.  This one was a little surprising.  And I only say that because I'm surprised his former partner JTG wasn't the one who was let go.  I thought with the booking they were going to make JTG the "Jannetty" of the team.  I would suspect he won't survive the next round of cuts.

Referee Aaron "Goose" Mahoney is gone too.  Not to sound mean, but I didn't recognize his picture when I looked him up.  I guess I don't pay as close attention to the officials as I should.  There are a few I recognize.  Smackdown! creative team member Chris DeJoseph was the only behind the scenes guy let go.  Not sure what his background was, but personally I think more guys (and gals) with wrestling experience should be making the creative decisions.

Money Inc. & Tiffany
Finally, diva Tiffany was released too.  With her recent arrest and all the talk about it, I wasn't shocked over this one.  I'm curious to see how much longer her husband Drew McIntyre sticks around.  Will it affect his status with the company?  Will he want to stay?  Only time will tell.

I think Tiffany simply got lost in the diva shuffle. She's a cookie cutter diva.  Nothing really set her apart from the others.  Again, we met her at Wrestlemania as you can see.  Nice woman.  Very pretty.  I'm sure she will move on to other opportunities.

With the infusion of younger talent on the show and all the NXT guys getting signed, or at least most of them, I think more talent will be cut in the coming weeks/months.  On the watch list:  JTG, Darren Young, Michael Tarver, Yoshi Tatsu, Joey Mercury, and Curtis Hawkins.  I'm also going to throw Alex Riley on that list, simply because of his recent DUI arrest.  I know others have been busted before, but it seems with all the recent media scrutiny, the company isn't screwing around.  If he's not released, I would suspect he'll face some form of punishment over the next few months.

Again, to those who were released, best of luck in your future endeavors.

The Wizarding World of Wrestling

Since today is the opening of the new Harry Potter film, I decided to let my inner geek out completely and dedicate a post to some of the wizardly and magical superstars of years past.  Here are the only three I could come up with.  I'm sure there are more.

All photos are courtesy of unless otherwise noted.

Oz.  Now I don't remember a whole lot about Oz.  I do recall him being based on the character from the Wizard of Oz.  But what I don't know is if he used any kind of "magic" when in the ring, other than the ability to make an audience disappear.

Oz of course was played by Kevin Nash, and when he first appeared in WCW in 1991 he got a lot of hype.  But I think it was more of a case of "all show and no go."  The only match I remember with him was one where Ron Simmons handed him his ass.  This was just about the time Simmons was rising up the ranks.

So while Oz was far from great, it did create a silly gimmick for us to look back at and mock nearly 20 years later.  Who would have thought back in '91 this guy would go on to win the WWF and WCW world titles?  Same guy, different character I suppose.

Papa Shango.  He wasn't really a magician or a wizard.  More of a voodoo guy with mystical powers.  After all, he made the Ultimate Warrior throw up on TV.  Remember that? Or what about the stuff he'd do to the jobbers he was facing.

His big break came at Wrestlemania 8 when he "interfered" in the match between Hulk Hogan and Sid.  This promoted the return of the Ultimate Warrior.  The two feuded for the months that followed, with Shango doing the job.

Eventually, he would take his smoking skull, bone necklace, and other voodoo tools and leave the WWF.  While the character was gone, the man behind the skull face and blazin' tattoos would soon return.  This time, Charles Wright was Kama: The Ultimate Fighting Machine.  Then he became Kama Mustafa and joined the Nation of Domination.  That character turned into the Godfather before becoming the Goodfather.  Lots of gimmicks for the Wright, but the
Godfather was arguably the most popular with fans.

But Papa Shango may go into the book of awesomely bad gimmicks.  It was an odd time in wrestling.  Although I guess each era has its share of hokieness.

Phantasio.  Remember him? If not, don't worry.  His act didn't last very long. I actually saw him wrestle at a Superstars, Raw, Coliseum Home Video taping in the summer of 1995. It was in St. Louis and his opponent was Rad Radford.

Phantasio had wrestled in USWA as Spellbinder.  I think his gimmick was similar.  As you can see, he was the precursor for the "Crow" Sting.

He wore a mime mask to the ring, and once he arrived, he removed it and revealed the white and black face paint.  He would do tricks for the kids.  This was all at a time when the WWF was coming off the steroid trial and allegations of sexual harassment.  Vince was covering his bases and adding as many "kid friendly characters as he could.

This was also the era of Who?, the Goon, and TL Plopper.  Phantasio must not have cast a good enough spell on the powers that be, as he was only with the company for a few months.  He apparently also wrestled on the first TNA pay per view back in 2002, but only that one night.

So, Muggles I hope you enjoyed this one.  Until next time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Going for the Gold(berg)

Courtesy: WWE

You've probably figured out by the picture above this isn't a post about the View's Whoopi Goldberg, but instead Bill Goldberg.  Or just Goldberg, the former WCW and WWE world heavyweight champion.  Today my thoughts on Goldberg and his "worthiness" of being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Earlier this week, Triple H and Shawn Michaels were in Atlanta (site of Wrestlemania 27).  The two were being interviewed and the question about the Hall of Fame came up.  A lot of people are speculating the theme will be a WCW one because the company was based in Atlanta for so many years.  And of course, the biggest name from the last couple of years of WCW was of course Goldberg.  So naturally, fans (at least some of them) are foaming at the mouth over a possible Goldberg HOF induction.

Both members of DX shot down the idea.  Of course that doesn't mean a whole lot, but they went on to explain why they don't think the football player turned pro wrestler is worthy of the honor.  Triple H told SB Nation Atlanta report Jason Kirk this, "We get that all the time. We call a guy to honor him in the Hall of Fame, and he goes, 'I want to do an angle. I want a one-off. I need a hundred grand," Triple H added. "So when you say, 'What about Goldberg,' no offense to Bill, but you've got guys like Bruno Sammartino that were legends with longevity that should be in there, but they're holding out because they think they've got one more run. Just using Bill as an example, how many years did he wrestle? Not many." 

Shawn went on to say to that he's against the idea of Goldberg going in now, not because he isn't talented but because greatness doesn't happen in a few years.  

Goldberg himself acknowledged Hunter and Shawn's comments and said they were entitled to their opinion.  He went on to say, "They do have a point if induction is based on tenure."

I have to agree with the former tag team champions on this one.  For starters, I was never a big fan of Goldberg.  Personally, I thought WCW crammed him down our throats as a way to fight the Stone Cold Steve Austin craze that was sweeping the wrestling world in the late 90's.  Goldberg's time in the squared circle was short.  He was with WCW from 1997 to 2001.  He wrestled briefly in Japan for about a year, and then spent about a year in the WWE, where he won the world title ironically from Triple H.  

Unless I'm mistaken his match with Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania 20 was his last.  That would give him  a little less than seven years in the ring.  Does that make him worthy of the Hall of Fame?  Maybe eventually, but not now.  When you've got guys like Bob Backlund, Bruno Sammartino, Randy Savage, and the Road Warriors not inducted, I don't believe Goldberg should be in there.

But on the flip side, there are some names in there that probably don't "deserve" to be.  No offense, but Koko B. Ware comes to mind immediately.  Pete Rose, William Perry, and Bob Uecker too.  I'm not a fan of the "celebrity wing."

That being said, I think it depends your prospective.  After all this is a hall of fame for a "sport" with a determined finished.  WWE controls how the matches end, they control who gets into their hall of fame. It is one of my favorite parts of the Wrestlemania weekend.  I know it's something the wrestlers take serious, but is it something fans take serious?  I kind of feel like Hulk Hogan and to an extent Ric Flair turned their back on the concept when they did the whole angle with their rings and Abyss earlier this year.  Epic failure in my opinion.

According to a poll on the Bleacher Report 38% of fans said "no" to Goldberg being inducted into the HOF.  36% were in favor.  The rest said not yet, but maybe in the future.  I'd say that's the category I fall into.  Although his tenure was short in comparison to most of the men and women in the Hall of Fame, I do think he made a significant impact on wrestling, whether you're a fan of his or not.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Saving Survivor Series

All images courtesy of the WWE.  
Sorry, another rant about the Survivor Series as we draw closer to this year's event.  Gotta say, I'm really disappointed in the card.  We've seen all of these matches before.  I understand they have to recycle some of the matches, but wow.  There's nothing to set this card apart and give it that "Big 4" feel.  But that ended a long time ago.

I know we'll never go back to the way things were in the early years of the pay per view.  A card with nothing but elimination tag team matches.  But I think they could go back to that concept and it wouldn't hurt a thing.

Watching Old School Raw the other night made me really think about wrestling and how things used to be.   My friends and I discussed it briefly.  Was Old School Raw so enjoyable because the storylines and characters were better back then or because we were reliving something from our childhood that we enjoyed 25 years prior?  It seemed like the characters back then were larger than life.  Now, they just seem like everyday guys.  And we're saturated with five hours of original programming each week (six if you count NXT) and a monthly pay per view.  Sometimes two.

So I've done some thinking, and here are some ways I think Vince McMahon and the creative team behind him could restore the reputation of the Survivor Series and make it one of the "Big 4" PPVs.

Eliminate the Elimination Matches

Stop having elimination matches on Raw, Smackdown, and pay per views.  The only time we should see an elimination tag team match is at the Survivor Series.  That would require a major change to the September PPV, Bragging Rights.  I've got ya covered.

Keep the title, but make it a tournament style event.  It could be an 8 man, single elimination tournament.  Four guys from Smackdown and four guys from Raw.  Make the final match a best two out of three falls.  Your four guys on each show could qualify for the tournament in the weeks leading up to the PPV much like they qualify for the tag team match.  Whoever doesn't qualify could wrestle in matches against non qualifiers from the other show.  Then you tally up the total amount of wins for each side and present the trophy that way.

While this idea is far from perfect, I think it goes back to my original point of keeping the Survivor Series a special event with its own identity.  It also creates a special niche for Bragging Rights.  It could also be a jumping point to Survivor Series to set up an elimination match involving the eight tournament participants.  Just a thought.

No Title Defenses

I liked the idea of having Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant or the Honky Tonk Man and Randy Savage as captains of opposing teams at the Survivor Series.  It looked like these matches were important enough to have the champ involved in them too.  It lent credibility to the concept.  

In this day and age, we see the champ defend the belt or at least wrestle on a nearly weekly basis, plus each month on pay per view.  Having them as a part of a team, leading a group into battle would give today's generation of fans something different.

Ideally, the WWE champion would captain a team against another group from Raw.  And the World champion would lead his team into battle with another group from Smackdown.  Same goes for the Intercontinental and U.S. champions.

I'm still not sure how to handle the tag team champions, since the tag team division is dismal at best right now.  It would be hard to have a 20 man (10 tag team) elimination style match now days.

Bring Back the Team Names

Team Mystero and Team Del Rio are not very catchy.  Not very original either.  While "the Dream Team" and the "Rude Brood" were kind of hokie, they made the event a little more fun.   I'd also try to fit the personality of the members together.  That might not always work though.

I'm still undecided on the size of teams.   Four or five.  That's the question.  I think with the number of guys on the roster (36 on Raw and 27 on Smackdown) and the potential matches, I'd go with 8 five man teams and one Divas match. So this year it would be

1.  Randy Orton's team vs. Wade Barrett's team.
2.  Kane's team vs. Edge's team.
3.  Daniel Bryan's team vs. Ted DiBiase's team.
4.  Dolph Ziggler's team vs. Kaval's team. 
5.  LayCool's team vs. Natalya's team.

These ideas could of course be tweeked, but I think it's a pretty good way to restore the Survivor Series and make it a pay per view I'd actually be interested in ordering again.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Thoughts on Old School

Me being "old school" in 1996
Wow.  The WWE took us back in time last night and in my opinion did not disappoint.  The Old School Raw was one of the most entertaining shows the E has put together in some time.  Of course, as I've stated before, I'm a "fool for old school" so it didn't make much to impress me.

First, I really liked the fact that they dedicated 3 hours to the show.  The intro with the old Raw theme music was great.  Also really enjoyed the fact that they used the old WWF logo on the turnbuckles and the red, white, and blue ropes for the ring.

The little pre recorded messages in the box above the ring also sold the night.  The only thing I think I would have done differently is have Vince McMahon, Jesse Ventura, and Bruno Sammartino calling the action.  That would have been a great one to pull off, but I know with Bruno's bitterness, that would never happen.  I would have liked to seen at least one match with Jesse and Vince behind the mic.  Although I guess we got that a few months back when Jesse hosted Raw. 

Cole was fine in his role, but I felt at times like he was being overly critical of the product, which I guess is his new "character."  Then he'd try being funny and doing the Vince McMahon impressions.  I don't get it.  I did like that they had him in the old school jacket with the logo and the interview segments and "Update" with "Mean" Gene Okerlund.  The voiceover by "Lord" Alfred Hayes and the impersonator were classic too.    I thought having the Fink throughout the night was classy too.

I felt bad laughing at the jokes LayCool hit Mae Young with, but it was quite funny.  But of course you had to expect the other divas were going to come out.  Man, she smacked the crap out of Layla.  I wonder how that hand is doing that she delivered so many years ago.  Is it an arm yet?

Great to see JR back.  Didn't realize just how much I missed him until he came out and did commentary.  And it was a good match between Jack Swagger and Daniel Bryan.

Piper cut a really good promo during the Pit segment.  Made some good points about the guys who never held the belt.  Seemed like he was speaking from the heart and not trying to memorize a script.  I wonder if he was allowed to go off the cuff, or if they had his lines for him.

Introducing all the legends was great too.  Wish more could have been a part of the show.  Of course some are under contract with TNA, others just didn't want to come.  There were more on hand than I expected to see.  I'd really like to see the WWE do this at least once a year.  Someone suggested to me they do another one with a WCW theme after Wrestlemania 27 since they'll be in Atlanta.  Bring back guys like Lex Luger, the Steiners, and the Midnight Express. 

In closing, I wish they would have made some kind of Legends vs. Superstars Survivor Series match.  Or even one where they had legends teaming with superstars.  Oh well, maybe next year.

Long live the Old School!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Ooh Yeah!

Courtesy: WWE

Instead of just playing the Pomp and Circumstance today, "Macho Man" Randy Savage will be hearing happy birthday too.  Today is the former world champ's 58th birthday.  So in honor of the big day, I decided to share my thoughts on some of his biggest moments from the WWF.

I remember when Savage first arrived back in 1985.  Every manager was vying to lead the newcomer to the top.  Bobby Heenan, Mr. Fuji, Freddie Blassie, Jimmy Hart, and Johnny V were all determined they should be the one.

Then Savage shocked the crowd when he announced a lovely young lady simply known as Elizabeth would be his manager.  In real life, she was also his wife, but that didn't come out for several years in the storyline.

Savage was just what the WWF needed at that time.  He was a great heel.  Spoke with a weird voice.  He was also very athletic.  It didn't take long for the world to take notice, and not just because of Elizabeth.  Savage was flamboyant, but still tough.  Remember his long, flowing robes.  He was the WWF's answer to Ric Flair in terms of his outer ring attire.

It was a matter of months before Savage won his first title.  He beat Tito Santana for the Intercontinental title in February 1986.  Then was got involved in a silly feud with George "the Animal" Steele, all for the love of Miss Elizabeth.  As a kid, I remember hoping that the Animal would win their battle on Saturday Night's Main Event, in which the winner got the hand of Liz.  Savage of course won, but used some underhanded tactics to get the job done.

It wasn't long after that, that Savage and Ricky Steamboat started their feud.  Savage viciously attacked the Hawaiian superstar after a match and "crushed his larynx" with the ring bell.  Steamboat was gone for months rehabbing and vowing revenge.  And that's exactly what he got at Wrestlemania III.  Steamboat took the belt from Savage, ending a 13 month title reign.  That match still holds up as one of the best from a Wrestlemania.

That match was probably the beginning of Savage's face turn.  A few months later when the Honky Tonk Man won the belt, the WWF needed a hero to go after him.  Savage turned out to be that guy.  What made him an even bigger hero that night was when Elizabeth got shoved by HTM, and she left to get help.  That help came in the form of Hulk Hogan, creating the "Mega Powers", the most awesome duo in all of wrestling.  Okay, I'm being sarcastic, but the force was one to be reckoned with.  The relationship helped Savage capture the WWF world title at Wrestlemania 4 in a one day, 14 man tournament.

Savage spent the next year defending the gold against heels like Big Bossman, Ted DiBiase, Andre the Giant, and Akeem the African Dream.  Bad blood (Elizabeth) rose between Hogan and Savage, and set up the perfect storm.  The Mega Powers exploded, with Hogan being the face and Savage returning to his heel roots.  Being underhanded wasn't enough though and he lost the title to Hogan.

That sent Savage into a bit of obscurity.  He feuded with the likes of Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Dusty Rhodes, and the Ultimate Warrior.  But never really returned to his "main event stature."

His retirement match loss to the Ultimate Warrior paved the way for another face turn and reunion with Elizabeth.  The two wed at SummerSlam and soon Savage would be reinstated as a wrestler.  He went on to beat Ric Flair at Wrestlemania 8 for his second WWF title reign.  Flair eventually one the title back, and Savage again spiraled in the abyss of WWF.

He did some announcing, some wrestling and finally left the company for WCW in 1994.  I've read he left because he wanted to wrestle more and Vince was using him as an announcer.  I've also heard there's an even juicer reason for the departure but I don't know the whole story or if it's even true, so I won't go there.

Savage won the world title a few times in WCW before finally calling it a day.  He did have a comeback of sorts in TNA a few years ago, but he didn't stick around long.

I'd love to see him inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame someday.  I certainly think he's earned a spot there.  Hopefully if it's a clash of egos that's keeping him out, those issues can be resolved.

Happy birthday Macho Man.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fool for Old School

Me as the Million Dollar Man at Wrestlemania 26

As you can probably guess, I am a big fan of the old school wrestling.  Pretty much old school everything.  I am really looking forward to tomorrow night's "Old School Raw" event.  I'm not exactly sure how they're going to pull off the night, but I'm sure the visions in my head are much grander than what will actually happen.

While I think it's important for the new talent to be the showcase of the night, I really hope they don't have the old guys getting beat up all night.  That would really suck.

So far, from what I've read many of my favorites will be returning.  Of course, we won't see Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan for obvious reasons.  Personally, I'd like to see every Hall of Famer there who isn't under contract with TNA.  I'd also like to see other legends who haven't yet been inducted.  Guys like the Honky Tonk Man (already read he won't be there), Kamala, One Man Gang, Demolition, etc.

Something else that the writers are going to have to balance tomorrow night is the promotion of the Survivor Series.  At last check, there were only 3 matches announced.  Edge vs. Kane, Wade Barett vs. Randy Orton, and LayCool vs. Natalya.  

So far, no traditional 5 on 5 matches announced.  You gotta figure there will be some kind of Nexus vs. Raw/Smackdown thrown in there.  But I'm also wondering if we'll get some Old School Team vs. Raw roster or even Old School vs. Old School match there too.  It could be interesting or it could be a disaster.

In a nutshell, I like the old school concept, but I have concerns on how they present it.  With 3 hours to kill tomorrow night, I'm hoping we get some kind of Piper's Pit segment thrown into the mix too.  I'm also hoping for a few surprises.  Guys we haven't seen in a while, dig it?

Saturday, November 13, 2010

iViva La Raza!

Eddie Guerrero's Hall of Fame induction: 2006
Eddie Guerrero has been gone five years now.  Today is the anniversary of his death.  The first time I really remember watching Eddie wrestle was about 15 years ago when he was in ECW.

I was in college at the time and ECW came on late at night on ESPN I think.  I remember channel surfing one night and stopping when I came to the show.  Eddie was wrestling Dean Malenko and the two put on a helluva show.  Those of you who watched ECW back then know what I'm talking about.  The two were so smooth and so good together in the ring.

It wasn't long after that Eddie and Dean and Chris Benoit all got plucked from ECW and went prime time with WCW.  I continued to watch him and his radical buddies climb the ranks of the company.  But it seemed they all hit that glass ceiling and really climbed past the mid card status.

I was excited in 2000 when Eddie and the other Radicals jumped ship and joined the WWF.  I watched with high expectations that the foursome would make a difference.  I think it's fair to say that Eddie and Chris did.  They took different paths, but both climbed the ladder of success.

Some of Eddie's more memorable moments in the WWE for me were his "love affair" with Chyna.  It's where we learned all about "Latino Heat!"  I can still hear him calling Chyna his mamachita and begging for her forgiveness after cheating in a match with her.  And who could forget that infamous shower scene with the Godfather's hos.  That ended the relationship with Chyna (whom Eddie was engaged to)

Eddie's tag team run with his nephew Chavo was awesome too.  The matches Los Guerreros (who adopted a "we lie, we cheat, we steal" attitude) had some great matches with Kurt Angle & Chris Benoit and Edge & Rey Mysterio.  All six men involved in that feud worked their asses off in the ring.  It was a great time in the tag team division.

Another memorable angle for Eddie was the one against Rey Mysterio in which Eddie claimed to be Rey's son Dominic's Papi.  The marketing campaign that went along with that was classic with fans showing up to arenas wearing "I'm Your Papi" t shirts.  The two had some great matches, including their battle at Wrestlemania 21.  Sadly, it would be Eddie's last Mania.

My favorite time for Eddie was when he won the WWE title from Brock Lesnar.  It was such an amazing moment.  A true David vs. Goliath.  It was a big win for the "little" guy.  A man who was held back and disrespected (in my opinion) during his days in WCW.  (remember the Latino World Order or the Filthy Animals?)  Eddie's win was great, but unfortunately it was the beginning of the end of his life.

His title defense against Kurt Angle at Wrestlemania 20 had one of the most memorable finishes of the night.  Eddie had untied his boot and when Kurt locked in the ankle lock submission he slipped out of his boot and surprised Kurt with a roll up.

But probably even more memorable was the moment later in the evening.  Chris had just won the World Championship.  Eddie of course had successfully defended the WWE championship and the two embraced and posed together in the ring.

It's hard to believe that less than 3 years later both men would be gone.

Eddie's life ended way too soon.  I think he was on the verge of another run with the WWE title.  How great would that have been?  Rightfully so, Eddie was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame the following spring during Wrestlemania weekend.  His friends remembered him fondly as they inducted him and his wife, Vicki and two young daughters accepted the induction on Eddie's behalf.

That's now Eddie's legacy.  I was happy to read that his oldest daughter, Shaul, has signed a developmental deal with the WWE.  I hope that she is treated with more respect than Eddie's widow has been.  I also wish her nothing but success as she follows in her famous familia's footsteps.

God bless you Eddie, rest in peace.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Let's Make a Deal

I don't watch a whole lot of TNA.  But I am familiar enough with the storylines and most of the guys and gals on the show.  So today, I wanted to have a little fun and list the Top 5 from TNA that I would like to see in the WWE at some point.

These are all guys who have NOT  competed in the WWE.  Of course, I'd like to see Kurt Angle and Mick Foley come back to the E in some capacity one day.   Add Ric Flair, Mr. Anderson, RVD, and Jeff Hardy to that list too.

Disclaimer, none of these photos are mine.  Most likely they're from TNA, via Google image search.

1. Samoa Joe: I've only seen Joe wrestle in person one time.  That was up in Chicago at an ROH show Wrestlemania 22 weekend.  He was part of the war with CZW at the time.  I'm not even sure if he wrestled or just fought Necro Butcher.  I remember sitting shoulder to shoulder in the crowd, when the action spilled out of the ring.

Joe and Butcher were beating the hell out of one another.  They knocked over chairs in the crowd and were throwing punches right in front of us.  We were so close, we probably could have reached out and tag them.

That night, I kept calling Joe "Rikishi 2.0" because I'm a WWE mark and that's how I roll.  Plus I think it annoyed my friend Chad.  Ha.

Honestly, I was impressed with Joe.  I always have been.  He seems like a legit bad ass and moves around the ring pretty well.  But if he did ever move to the E, I wonder how they would change him.  Would they ruin the gimmick or make it better?   The E has a tendency to take things that are popular elsewhere and turn it into something lame.  Joe is still pretty young too, 31.  Plus I found out we share a birthday.  Awesome.

  2.  A.J. Styles: Obvious reasons here.  He is one of the best high flyers out there.  And the WWE seems to have a new interest in that breed of wrestler.  Evan Bourne, Kaval, Justin Gabriel join veteran flyers Rey Mysterio and Chavo Guerrero (he counts, right?)

A.J. has proven himself in the ring with multiple TNA title wins.  He's gone at it with some of the best including Kurt Angle and Sting.  And now he's under the wing of Ric Flair.

He's still young too.  Only 32, and could definitely add something to the product.  A.J. could wrestle with the cruiserweights or be a contend for the WWE or World Heavyweight champions.

While doing some research for this post, I discovered A.J. did wrestle on WWF Jakked about a decade ago.  He was also offered a developmental deal, but he turned it down.

I think had he signed it back then (2002) he probably would have ended up lost in the shuffle.  Going to TNA and becoming an established superstar was probably the best thing for A.J.  Hopefully one day we'll see his talents in the E.

3.  Jay Lethal: I'll admit, I don't know a whole lot about Jay Lethal, but I do enjoy his impression of "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  He seems to have the look and the skills to get over the the WWE fan base too.

He has most recently worked with Ric Flair, which can only make the guy better.  Plus, Jay is young.  Only 25, so I'm sure there's chance of seeing him pop up in the E at some point.  If nothing else, maybe to induct Savage into the Hall of Fame one day.  Ha ha.

4.  Beer Money, Inc.:  Yes, I realize there are two men here, but I'm counting it as one acquisiation in this top 5.  My list, my rules.

Anyway, I really don't ever expect to see this tandem in the WWE.  That's mostly because of the fact that the E has the reputation now for destroying teams.  Are there any duos there right now that were together at this time last year?  Sure, the Hart Dynasty, but mark my words, they'll be split up before the end of the year.

James Storm and Robert Roode were both members of successful tag teams in TNA.  Then the two were put together.  I think this combo has had more success than America's Most Wanted and Team Canada.  They work well together and have been tag champions three times now.

They're also a part of Immortal and will continue to learn and grow under the likes of Ric Flair and Jeff Jarrett, and I guess even Hulk Hogan.

5.  Sting.  Yes Sting.  Watching wrestling in the late 80's and early 90's, I always wanted Sting to go to the WWF.  How awesome would it have been to see him and the Ultimate Warrior together again.  This time as big time superstars.  Again, I was young and markish at the time.

I'm not sure how Sting went all of his career without gracing the WWE with his presence.  We all know Sting has the goods.  Of course time is catching up with him.  Will he ever make it to the E as an active wrestler?

My guess is probably not.  But a guy can dream, can't he?  Of course, I would have liked a Sting-Shawn Michaels match.  Edge would be another good opponent.  Maybe even the Undertaker.  Two of the biggest "franchise" players of all time squaring off.  Of course time has taken it's toll and this match would have been better about 10 years ago.

So there you have it.  My list of TNA wrestlers I'd like to see in the WWE.  I'd say with the exception of Sting, the chances are pretty good we'll see all of these guys jump ship at some point in their careers.

Someone else I'd like to see, who isn't with TNA anymore is Awesome Kong.  I think she'd definitely shake things up in the divas division.  She and Beth Phoenix could have some epic battles.