Monday, February 28, 2011

It's a Sin

Late last week, the WWE unveiled it's newest signee, the high flying luchador Mistico.  He'll wrestle here in the United States as Sin Cara.  My longtime friend the Old School Warrior, a masked man himself, reacted to the news on My 1-2-3 Cents over on YouTube.  He's a little excited to say the least.

I tend to agree with many of the points OSW makes in his video rant.  Sin Cara has some truly amazing moves and will only add more depth to the WWE talent pool.  It seems to me that over the last year, the WWE has finally started to look at more "wrestler" types and not so much the muscled up meat head. 

Daniel Bryan is kinda leading that charge in my opinion.  His work really speaks for itself.  I think that Kaval could have offered more,  but unfortunately creative couldn't come up with anything for him. 

With guys like Bryan, Chavo Guerrero, Rey Mysterio, Evan Bourne, Justin Gabriel, and others I think it's time to start the Cruiserweight division again.  And please, keep Hornswoggle out of it.  This could also open the door for the return of Kaval. 

I'm not 100% optimistic that the E will restart this division, but I think signing a 175 pounder in the former "land of giants" is a step in the right direction.  Let's just hope this trend continues and we get some more sport and a little less entertainment.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

KISS: Keep it Simple Stupid

I’ve mentioned before how Wrestlemania 27 doesn’t yet seem to have that IT factor. But there is one aspect of the build to Wrestlemania 27 that I am thrilled with so far. All the matches that are being booked are based on simple premises.

Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio: Del Rio won Royal Rumble and therefore gets a title shot.

Miz vs. John Cena: Cena won Elimination Chamber to earn a title shot. Cena feels he’s had a lackluster year and wants to prove he’s still got it. The Miz wants to prove he is the best.

HHH vs. The Undertaker: Two legends wanting to battle it out at the biggest show of the year. This match does have the potential to have more outside factors added to it in the coming weeks. But right now it’s simply a fight between the last two guards of the Attitude Era.

CM Punk vs. Randy Orton: Punk wants revenge for Orton costing him the World Title two years ago. Guess his schedule finally cleared up enough for him to work Orton into it. Randy wants revenge for Punk costing him the WWE title a month ago.

Cody Rhodes vs. Rey Mysterio: Rey messed up Cody’s face forcing Cody to miss the Royal Rumble and Elimination Chamber pay per views taking away his chance to main event Wrestlemania. Because he didn’t get the match he hoped for, Cody wants to take out his frustrations on Rey. 

Five matches with five simple reasons for taking place at Wrestlemania 27. Fans don’t need a flow chart to keep track of who’s good and who’s bad. There’s no outside the ring accomplices to get involved and muddle the build up.  The one exception being the New Nexus hanging out with CM Punk, but in that case it gives a reason for Punk and Orton to not be in the ring together until Mania. Orton can spend the next six weeks fighting off the Nexus members as they try and weaken him before Punk steps into the ring with Orton. This is what has been missing in wrestling for the past few years.

In the title matches, the titles are presented as the major prize.  The champions want to retain the title and prove their greatness. The challengers want to win the title either to reclaim past glory in John Cena’s cases, or cement their legacy in Alberto Del Rio’s case. Hopefully the Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team titles will get the same respect. Though, I won’t hold my breath.

If you think back to most of the major storylines or angles, the ones most memorable are based on simple foundations. Hogan/Andre, Savage/Steamboat, Flair/Rhodes, Horsemen/Sting, Austin/Rock and Bret vs. Owen were all feuds either centered on revenge or respect. I guess you could say when it comes down to it; the three R’s are all you need. Revenge, Respect or Rassling. Focus on that and you should have the fans eating out of your hands and handing over their money to see the match.

Will the build up to Wrestlemania 27 continue to be basic and emotionally charged? We’ll have to wait and see. So far the road to Wrestlemania doesn’t seem to have any potholes. Hopefully we’ll get to Atlanta without any problems and the show will exceed all expectations. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback Friday: Nature Boy is Born

Ric Flair vs. Shawn Michaels
February 25, 1949: Richard Morgan Fliehr is born on this day 62 years ago.  We know him today as "the Nature Boy" Ric Flair.  Woooo!

I've posted before about Flair.  He is my all time favorite.  I was honored to see him inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame nearly 3 years ago.  It was an emotional night then and 24 hours later when he wrestled what we all thought was going to be his last match at Wrestlemania 24 against Shawn Michaels.  Then I marked out the next night on Monday Night Raw when Flair said goodbye with the help of his friends like Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, JJ Dillion, and Barry Windham.

Photo by Chad Smart
I didn't even mind it when Flair returned to be in the corner of fellow legends "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka, "Rowdy" Roddy Piper, and Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat" as they faced Chris Jericho at Wrestlemania 25.  He got into the ring with Jericho at the end and was saved by actor and "The Wrestler" star Mickey Rourke.

But you just knew Flair wasn't content standing on the sidelines.  He wanted to wrestle again.  Vince McMahon and company did not want that.  They wanted a good will ambassador.  Things didn't work out and Flair left the WWE in 2009.

Then he climbed back in the ring to face Hulk Hogan on his "Hulkamania Tour" in Australia.
The two were trying to relive and recapture something that was done almost 20 years prior in the WWF.  Hogan would sign with TNA and bring Flair with him, to do more wrestling.  I was not happy to see that.  I enjoy Flair on the mic.  I would have just kept him as a manager, but he had that itch, I understand.  But wrestling in hardcore matches with Mick Foley is not doing anything to help Flair's legacy.

I know he recently had a dispute with TNA over pay.  I'm guessing since he's back on Impact, that those issues have been resolved.  Even though I don't want to see him in the ring again, (because I paid $1,400 to experience his send off) I would love for him to come back to the WWE in a managerial role.  The E is in need of a good heel manager(s) and Flair would fit the role perfectly.

But since it's Flair's birthday, I'll let him make the wishes.  Have a good one, Natch.

Fool Me 100 Times, Shame On Me

By Chad Smart

I type this shortly after TNA Impact went off the air. TNA had promoted the final minutes of Impact as being the "most shocking of the year. Guaranteed." I did not have high hopes for the surprise given TNA’s track record. But I was curious as to what was going to happen. Paint my face red and call me a sucker because I wasted 15 minutes of my life watching the least shocking event of the year.

I mentioned in the last blog about the poor decision to tape next week’s Impact while this week’s Impact was on the air. Does TNA not understand how the Internet works? Do they not realize that five seconds after something happens anywhere in the world, it will be posted for the whole world to read somewhere online? With the popularity of Twitter there is no such thing as a taped surprise anymore. I bring this up because 90 minutes before the end of Impact, I knew what happened at the Impact tapings rendering the surprise irrelevant.

So what was the "most shocking moment?" As Mike Tenay and Taz were running down the line up for next week’s show, Taz says the production team has a video to show. The video comes up and it is a 90% similar video to WWE’s 2-21-11 Undertaker promo that had aired on Raw the past two weeks. At the end of the TNA video, there’s a shot of boots and a trench coat, then the numbers 3-3-11 appear before the video fades to black. Let me restate, TNA’s "Most Shocking Moment of the Year. Guaranteed" was a copy of a WWE video.

In case you don’t understand, after the 2-21-11 video aired, rumors started that Sting was finally going to make his WWE debut and wrestle the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. So essentially what TNA did was take those rumors and used them to promote Sting’s return to the company. On one hand I can appreciate that and may consider it to be clever. If TNA would have ran the spot during Impact and had Tenay and Taz play off it in a humorous manner, it could have worked. Promoting it as something shocking implies TNA thinks it was a major happening. Personally, I don’t see how a guy, who has been in your company for the better part of the last six years and has never wrestled for WWE, returning after a 4-5 month sabbatical is that big of a deal.

As for Sting’s return, I won’t spoil next week’s Impact in case someone reading this hasn’t read the spoilers and is looking forward to seeing him in the ring. I will say my self-imposed TNA sabbatical is back in effect. And I will issue and open challenge/plea to TNA management and creative personnel, turn of WWE programming and focus on your own company. WWE has five hours of programming throughout the week they don’t need two more so be different. And for the sake of my sanity, stop promoting "the most shocking," "the most impactful, "the most anything." You are quickly entering later era WCW Tony Schivone territory. Present your shows as quality programming and let the fans reactions determine is something is a major event.

I am going to try and not write anymore about TNA unless they do something that actually entertains me or they make a move in a positive direction. But what will I write about instead?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wolf! Wolf!

By Chad Smart
Are you familiar with the story of the boy who cried wolf? It’s a tale about a boy who’s herding sheep and keeps yelling wolf to get some attention. Each time he yells, villagers come running to help attack the wolf only to find out there is no wolf.  Finally a wolf does show up and the boy screams, WOLF! at the top of his lungs.  The villagers, tired of his false alarms do not come running to protect the boy and the boy ends up being torn apart limb from limb by the wolf.  Okay, so I don’t know if that’s how the story actually ends, but it’s close. The main point being the villagers got tired of false alarms and decided to ignore the boy the next time he yelled wolf.

I bring that up because I think TNA should change their name to CWW (Crying Wolf Wrestling).  In the past six months, they hyped up “THEY” were coming twice and both times “THEY” turned out to be guys already a part of the TNA roster so they end result didn’t live up to the hype. Plus “THEY” were basically the 50th incarnation of a NWO storyline so it wasn’t a rehash of an angle that’s been stale for over ten years.

Now, three weeks after the second debut of “THEY” and a week before the return of Hulk Hogan and the renewing of vows between Jeff and Karen Jarrett (tangent: has there ever been a wedding angle besides the Macho Man, Miss Elizabeth wedding that was good?) TNA is running advertisements encouraging fans to make sure they see the final moments of the 2/24 Impact for the “most shocking moment of the year.”  Currently in the world of wrestling, the most shocking moment of the year was the return of The Rock to WWE. So TNA  thinks they have something more impressive than that.

I haven’t read anything that would reveal what TNA is hinting at in the advertisement. I’ve seen the spoilers for the show and there’s nothing that was taped in front of the Impact Zone audience that would come close to living up to the hype of “most shocking moment.” But then we’re talking about TNA.  They would hype a match between Brian Kendrick and Douglas Williams as the “most shocking moment.”  The question is, does TNA actually have something up their sleeves or is this more fake hype in an attempt to get people to watch?

I have no idea what TNA has in store for the end of Impact. The only thing I can think of, given TNA’s track record, is there will be a promo video hyping the debut of some new talent. Talent that would most likely be an ex-WWE wrestler. If this is the direction they’re going, the only two names I can think of that may mean something are Chris Jericho and Batista. Given statements Jericho has made over the past couple of months, I can’t see him showing up in TNA. Batista has been off the radar since his departure from WWE last year. I think he left because he wanted to try his hand at MMA. I could see him showing up in TNA to collect an easy paycheck but would that be “most shocking?” But again, look at TNA’s track record.  They have ex-WWE wrestlers show up on an almost monthly basis. It’s no longer shocking when someone shows up. It’s more shocking when three months go by and a wrestler doesn’t show up. So I’m hoping this isn’t what TNA has planned.

Outside of new talent, what else could get fans talking and attract new fans? Making Impact live every week?  Since they’re taping  the March 3 Impact at the same time Impact is airing (tangent: why is TNA taping a show while their show is on? Do they not want viewers? Could they not tape on Friday?) I don’t think that will be the event they’re hyping. I just realized I’m writing this in anticipation of an announcement from TNA. TNA has not said they’re going to be making an announcement, but rather the events in the last moments from the most shocking surprise of the year.

I really don’t know what to expect. I guess that’s a good thing. I’m open to being surprised and hope TNA can deliver this time. Color me cautious though because I’ve been listening to TNA yell wolf for 8 years. What they have planned for the final moments should 1)make sense, 2)build interest in the following week’s show and 3)not center around Eric Bischoff. Otherwise it will be more of the same from TNA and at some point all the villagers are going to get sick of hearing cries of wolf and simply stop paying attention.  

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Evan Bourne vs. Jack Swagger MITB Wrestlemania 26
By Chad Smart

There has been a lot of talk lately about how Wrestlemania 27 doesn’t seem to the "IT" factor that is normally associated with the biggest show of the year. I’ve mentioned before how having The Rock as Guest Host for the show seems like a desperation move in order to get people interested in the show. While looking at confirmed and rumored matches for the show, I was struck with the realization WWE is in somewhat of a rebuilding phase.

Think about it for a second. The three main events of Wrestlemania 26 were; Edge vs. Chris Jericho, John Cena vs. Batista and Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels. Half of those guys are no longer part of the WWE roster. Triple H and The Undertaker have returned from lengthy breaks just in time to start hyping a match between two of the biggest stars on the roster. Then you have Randy Orton and Edge who have had a handful of high profile or main event matches at the previous five Wrestlemanias. And of course there’s John Cena, who will be taking part in his seventh consecutive Wrestlemania world title match. What about the rest of the participants?

Current WWE Champion, The Miz is making his third (or is it second) appearance at Wrestlemania. Wrestlemania 25 saw The Miz and tag team partner John Morrison lose a tag title unification match in a match before the show went on the air. Last year, The Miz and tag partner The Big Show retained their tag team titles in the opening match of Wrestlemania 26. In three years, The Miz has gone from barely being on the show to opening the show to "main eventing" the show. While that’s an impressive path, few expect Miz to retain the title and thus his match with John Cena has the stench of "been there, seen that."

The challenger for Edge’s World Heavyweight title, Alberto Del Rio wasn’t even a member of the WWE roster a year ago. Off the top of my head I can’t think of another wrestler who debuted at Wrestlemania in such a high profile match. Maybe Brock Lesnar did, but by the time Wrestlemania rolled around, Brock was a bonafide star. If Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel can hang on to the tag team titles until April 3, and get a match on the show, they will also be making their first in ring appearances at a Wrestlemania.

The original Nexus when they were still rookies.
Heath and Justin’s Corre brethren Ezekiel Jackson and Wade Barrett also have the potential to make Wrestlemania debuts. Rounding out the group of possible debuts are New Nexus members, David Otunga, Husky Harris, Michael McGuillicutty and Mason Ryan. The last two most likely high profile wrestlers earning their Wrestlemania badges are U.S. champion, Daniel Bryan and potential rookie of the year Jerry "The King" Lawler. That’s 11 guys who have never fought at Wrestlemania. If they all make it on the show, I’m willing to bet it would be the most first time showings on one card since Wrestlemania 1.

If you remove Kane’s 12 Wrestlemania showings, the rest of the roster not yet mentioned have only had about 30 Wrestlemania matches combined. (I made that number up since I didn’t feel like actually doing the math. Hopefully you get the point I’m trying to make.) The majority of those matches have been the annual Money In the Bank which serves as a way to get more people on the show. So even if a wrestler has wrestled at Wrestlemania it’s been in a non-major match.

With the breakdown of talent out of the way it becomes somewhat clear as to why Wrestlemania 27 feels like it’s lacking the big time feel. I may be reaching a bit here with the following comparisons but I think WWE is in a similar place to where they were for Wrestlemanias 11, 15, and 19. WWE has reached a point where most of the wrestlers who have been on the focus of the company have left and it’s time to push new, younger talent. Unfortunately, they haven’t done a good job of getting that talent ready to immediately step in and take the place of the departing wrestlers. I don’t say that to demean anyone. Simply saying there aren’t any larger than life personalities, except The Miz, ready to take the keys and drive the car. Hence the return of The Rock to create some buzz. But we’re talking about Wrestlemania. The main event could be an Iron Man match between two guys plucked off the street and it would still pack 50,000 fans into the arena.

Wrestlemania 27 may not live up to the hype of previous Wrestlemanias but I’m going to predict a few years from now we’ll look back on that night in Atlanta as a beginning of a new era in WWE history.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Me & "Hacksaw" tough guy!
I've waited for several weeks for a new Hall of Fame inductee to be announced.  Finally that wait is over.  And if you missed it, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan will join Shawn Michaels in the Class of 2011.

I've always been a fan of the "tough guy." I followed him in his days in Bill Watts' MidSouth and then UWF.  He battled the likes of One Man Gang, Ted DiBiase, and "Dr. Death" Steve Williams.

When Duggan jumped to the WWF in 1987 as a full fledged patriot wielding a 2x4, I was hooked.  There was something entertaining about the guy.  His feuds with Iron Sheik, Nikolia Volkoff, and Harley Race kept the undercard fun.
Who remembers when Duggan and Race slugged it out all throughout the 1987 Slammy Awards show. I remember Race being in a tux and Duggan sporting a tuxedo t-shirt and going toe to toe on stage, in the crowd, and outside the show.  It was great.

Duggan's biggest claim to fame in the WWF(E) was winning the first ever televised Royal Rumble on USA back in 1988.  I had picked either the Ultimate Warrior or Junkyard Dog to win it all.  I was happy that Duggan won, as back then I marked for the faces on the card.  Duggan also became the "King of the Ring" by beating Haku for the crown.  I still have the WWF magazine somewhere with the King on the cover sticking his tongue out with the crown over his eyes and giving the thumbs up.  He eventually lost the kingdom to Randy Savage.

One other notable Duggan memory was Wrestlemania 5 and his battle with Bad News Brown.  He had his board, Brown had a chair and they clashed.  When it was over, they both got disqualified.  At the end, they cut to a shot of Duggan in the ring and he had a bunch of snot and boogers in his mustache.  Jesse Ventura had a field day on commentary.  It's something I still laugh about every time I watch the match or think of that day.

As you can see, I even had the LJN Hacksaw figure.  His plastic 2x4 is long gone though.  I remember I had to order that figure off the back of a Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine as I couldn't find him in the store.

Anyway, I was sad to see Duggan leave the WWF in 1993.  I'm currently reading Bret Hart's book, and it sounds like he was actually let go.  I thought he left to cash in at WCW as the company was throwing around Ted Turner's money picking up all the WWF alumni they could.  His run in WCW was successful in terms of winning gold.  He beat "Stunning" Steve Austin for the U.S. title and eventually lost it to Vader.

One thing I didn't like about Duggan's WCW run was when they turned him heel and had him join Team Canada.  It just didn't fit his persona.  It was much like Sgt. Slaughter's ill attempt at being an Iraqi sympathizer back in 1991.

Hacksaw at Wrestlemania 24
Duggan has had some health problems too, most notably surviving kidney cancer.  If that doesn't make you a "tough guy" I don't know what does.  I was happy to see him return to the WWE in 2006 and shout "HoooOoooOooo!" at Lita backstage.  He wrestled for a bit too, putting over the younger talent.  I got to see him compete in a Wrestlemania preshow battle royal in Orlando back in 2008.  The winner got a shot at the ECW title.  I may have been the only person in the stadium hoping Duggan won.

I'm proud to say I'll be on hand at the Hall of Fame ceremony this year to watch "Hacksaw" take his spot.  How do you like, tough guy?

It Doesn’t Matter If You Win or Lose

Sheamus at Wrestlemania 26

Dusty Rhodes would often make reference to the pay window (or, da pay windah, if you wheel) when doing commentary. He was referencing the desire to come out victorious in the match because the winner would receive more money than the loser. This idea has lost it’s meaning now that everyone knows wrestling matches have predetermined outcomes and the wrestlers get paid the same rather they win or lose.  

Besides the pay window aspect, while watching Elimination Chamber, I started thinking about how winning and losing don’t matter to today’s wrestling fans. It’s all about perception and promotion.

Since winning the King of the Ring tournament on November 29, 2010, King Sheamus has one only one televised match. Sheamus won his Elimination Chamber qualifying match on February 1, 2011.  Even though he’s only won one match in almost three months, his position on the upper tier of the card is secured. Sheamus still gets presented as a threat to any other wrestler and usually gets the chance to cut a promo during Raw.

Daniel Bryan after the Hall of Fame ceremony
On the flip side, Daniel Bryan, the current United States champion who has a better win loss record than Sheamus is viewed as being below guys like Sheamus, CM Punk, Big Show and other main event talents.  Some may argue that based on the reaction to the Daniel Bryan/Miz match from the 2/14/11 Raw but I’d counter by saying the fans got into the match because of the quality of the match itself not because of the participants.  Focusing on the presentation of the wrestler, Daniel Bryan is acknowledged as a master of submission holds, but he doesn’t get put on the same pedestal as other superstars. Michael Cole goes out of his way to bury Bryan on commentary. I guess the thought is because Cole is such a shill for The Miz, his condescending remarks about Bryan will help get the fans behind the US Champ. I don’t understand that line of thought, but it is what it is.

Really, when was the last time a win-loss record mattered when it came to the booking of matches in wrestling?  How many Inter-Continental title matches did Dolph Ziggler lose before finally winning the title?  How many matches has Kofi Kingston won and how many World Title matches has he received?  In the same regard, both the New Nexus and the Corre are put over as being threats by the commentators but when was the last time they actually did anything threatening?  The wrestling product is more about the sizzle than the steak.
I should probably bite my tongue because my next comment is probably going to insult the majority of the people who read this blog.  Today’s wrestling fans have a sheep like mentality. At least that’s the only way I can explain the popularity of Randy Orton. If WWE wants to make someone a star, all they have to do put him or her on TV week after week in meaningful segments and eventually the fans will buy into the wrestler being someone they should cheer.  
On the same train of thought, even if a wrestler gets weekly airtime, if they’re not presented as a threat or major league talent, the fans will treat the wrestler as nothing more than filler or a prime time to take a bathroom break before the real stars hit the ring. 

Santino vs. Chavo Guerrero August 2009
Santino Marella is the only person I can think of who sort of straddles my examples.  Santino got weekly exposure but was never promoted as someone who was ever going to be main event caliber material. However, due to charisma, Santino managed to get the crowds behind him. I think another guy who could be a break out star similar to Santino is Zack Ryder. 

Unfortunately Zack Ryder gets less airtime than arena security.  If you haven’t seen Zack’s YouTube channel, check it out and tell me this guy couldn’t be a star based on personality alone.

Leaving WWE and shifting focus to TNA so I can’t be accused of bias, promoting wrestlers is something TNA has yet to learn. Dave Lagana on his I Want Wrestling site had a write up on February 4, about how John Cena has been presented as the face of WWE and had the company revolve around him. In their almost nine years of existence, TNA has failed to build their company around anyone for longer than a few months. Instead of making any of their wrestlers appear as superstars, TNA has a problem of making their entire roster look like wannabes. Whenever they start to promote someone, a former WWE wrestler will show up on the scene and the TNA guy gets told they aren’t fit to lace up the ex-WWE wrestler’s boots because TNA guy never wrestled up north. 

Next time you watch any of the weekly wrestling programs pay attention to how the company presents a wrestler and how the fans react to the wrestlers. Let me know if there’s any wrestler who doesn’t fit into my reasoning. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hail to the Chief

Courtesy: WWE
Since it's Presidents' Day here in the United States, I thought I'd have a little fun with today's post.  Although my thoughts are on tonight's Raw and finally finding out who is behind the 2/21/11 promo. (Besides the Undertaker that is)

For younger fans, you probably don't remember the days of wrestling when there wasn't a general manager coming out during each show and putting matches together on the fly.  It's been a standard now in the WWE for years now.

Back in the 1980's and early 90's, there was one man who ruled the WWF from his office in Connecticut.  That man was former Canadian promoter Jack Tunney.  He was the "president" of the WWF for about a decade.

The cool thing about Jack Tunney back then was that he rarely was on TV.  Not like today when we see Vickie Guerrero, Teddy Long, or a lap top computer making interruptions on a constant basis.  Sometimes the GM becomes the focus of the show, which takes away from the rest of the program.

Tunney did make some big "decisions" in his time in office.  He suspended Andre the Giant back in the late 80's.  With Andre gone, the WWF was able to sign the elusive Giant Machine from Japan.  He was really cool.  In 1988, he stripped Ted DiBiase of the world title after Andre won it and surrendered it to the Million Dollar Man.

I remember the decision Tunney rendered that made me scratch my head the most was when he declared that there would be no rematch between Hulk Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior.  (Warrior had pinned Hogan for the world title at Wrestlemania VI)  I don't remember the exact wording, but it was something about there being too much risk of getting hurt.  Umm, isn't it wrestling?  I know, I know it was all just a storyline, but that was pretty weak even for 1990.

Tunney also chose Randy Savage as the number one contender to Ric Flair's world title at Wrestlemania VIII and declared Bret Hart and Lex Luger co winners of the 1994 Royal Rumble.  He left the WWF shortly after that decision and was replaced by longtime commentator and former wrestler Gorilla Monsoon.

Tunney disappeared from wrestling and passed away in 2004.  He was 68 years old.  The saddest thing I read about his death was that no one from WWE showed up at his funeral.  Wow.

So the next time you hear "Excuse me!" or "Pardon the interruption..." think of the man who helped lay the groundwork for the wrestling figurehead, Mr. Jack Tunney.

Eliminating Any Surprises

 I didn't get to watch the Elimination Chamber, but my tag team partner Chad did.  Here's a recap of the show from him.  By the way, I was 5 for 5 on my predictions.  But I think Stevie Wonder could have seen the results coming.  I was happy to hear Christian is back.  Should make things interesting on SmackDown!  Now Chad's wrap...

The Elimination Chamber pay per view is in the books. If this show were a WWE wrestler, it would be Randy Orton: bland, boring, and ultimately forgettable. But we now have the two main events set for Wrestlemania … or do we?

In the opening match, Alberto Del Rio marched onward towards Wrestlemania defeating Inter-Continental champion Kofi Kingston in a non-title match. I’m not as sold on Del Rio as most fans seem to be, so I wasn’t too interested in this match. When the match was over I was more interested in seeing Kofi go on to face the World Champion at Wrestlemania than Del Rio. While I think Del Rio may pan out to be a future main event caliber talent, I think rushing him to the main event at the grandest stage of them all will backfire. Especially if he wins the title because where else is there for him to go once he’s reached the top?

I was surprised to see the Smackdown Elimination Chamber match as the second match on the show. I thought they’d hype up Dolph Ziggler’s firing and potential replacement in the EC match. Instead there was no mention of someone taking his place. Teddy Long simply came out and introduced Big Show as now being in the match. Very underwhelming. At the start of the match I commented to my friend I was texting during the show the only logical winners based on the entrants were Edge and Rey Mysterio. When they were the last two men standing, I actually started to think Rey had a chance of winning. After what seemed like a hundred 619s, Edge finally put Rey away to retain his World Title.
After the match, Alberto Del Rio attacked Edge working over Edge’s arm until a returning Christian made the save. I would have rather seen Christian in the actual match, but I think his post match save will somehow lead to either a Edge-Del Rio-Christian 3-way dance at Wrestlemania, or potentially a 4 Way with Rey Mysterio added as well. If the plan is to elevate Del Rio to champion, having him win over three other guys will make the win appear more impressive.

As expected, Corre members Heath Slater and Justin Gabriel regained the tag team titles. Now that they’re champions they can appear on both Raw and Smackdown. I’m guessing there’s some loophole that will allow Wade Barrett and Big Zeke to show up with them. This will (or should) lead to a tag title match at Wrestlemania against two members of the New Nexus.

Jerry "The King" Lawler failed in his attempt to win the WWE Title from The Miz. I actually thought they might do a title switch and then have Miz regain the title on Raw with help from Michael Cole. I was surprised Cole didn’t interfere in the match. No one thought Lawler would go into Wrestlemania as champion so The Miz winning was the right call. The biggest question coming out of this match is how will Jerry Lawler react on Raw to the way Michael Cole berated him on commentary throughout the match.

In the biggest upset in wrestling history, John Cena won the Raw Elimination Chamber match. Wait, did I say upset? I meant, most predictable outcome. The match went the way I expected it to play out. R-Truth and Sheamus were there to fill two spots. John Morrison did some crazy parkur moves. Randy Orton and CM Punk continued their feud while John Cena was put into his seventh consecutive Wrestlemania title match. Eighth if you count his US Title win over Big Show at Wrestlemania XX.

In non-wrestling action, Booker T. introduced Trish Stratus as a trainer on the new season of Tough Enough. Vickie Guerrero came out and pleaded for the WWE Universe to ask Teddy Long to rehire Dolph Ziggler. Teddy came out and said he had rehired someone. That someone turned out to be Kelly Kelly who Vickie had fired a couple weeks ago on Smackdown. I forgot about that when I wrote my piece of firings in wrestling meaning nothing. Kelly tried to attack Vickie but was ambushed by Lay Cool. Trish Stratus returned to save Kelly and to my disliking, a former wrestler was put over at the expense of current talent.

Overall, take away the non-wrestling stuff that should have been saved for Raw or Smackdown and the show was decent. Nothing Earth shattering or must see, but nothing completely offensive. The only major negative was the commentary. Booker T made me miss Matt Striker. The Book man talked too fast and seemed to think he had to carry the conversation even though there were two other guys at the commentary desk with him. Michael Cole outdid himself in topping his previous level of annoyance. The constant bickering with Josh Matthews and Booker while ignoring the action inside the ring ruins any show. I find it hard to believe anyone in upper management within WWE, or even Cole himself can listen to his performance and think it adds anything positive to the show. I guess as long as Cole is "the voice of WWE" it’s something we the fans will just have to deal with unless we make use of the mute button.

With the last stop before Wrestlemania (you know, except for the next six weeks of Raw and Smackdown) in the books here’s what I’m thinking could be on the drawing board for Wrestlemania 27:
The Miz vs. John Cena
Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian
Justin Gabriel/Heath Slater vs. Husky Harris/Michael McGuilicutty
Jerry Lawler vs. some combination of Michael Cole/Alex Riley
Ezekiel Jackson vs. Big Show
The Rock doing an hour of improv comedy.
Now the attention shifts to Raw to see the revelation of the 2-21-11 vignettes and how that will impact Wrestlemania.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

You're Fired

Dolph Ziggler at Wrestlemania Axxess in Phoenix
By Chad Smart
On the 600th episode of Smackdown, we saw Edge get stripped of the World Championship, fired, re-hired and win the World Championship back.  On the other side of the ring, Dolph Ziggler was awarded the title, lost the title and was fired.  This means at the Elimination Chamber pay per view, Edge will be defending the title against four other wrestlers instead of five. Unless, Dolph finds a way to get rehired and finds himself back into the match.

Are we wrestling fans really supposed to believe Dolph is fired from WWE? Once Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long fired Dolph, wouldn’t the anonymous Raw GM computer send Dolph an email and hire him?  Dolph has been on Raw the past couple of weeks, and while his win-loss record wasn’t the greatest, he still showed himself to be a worthy competitor and would make for a good addition to the roster.

Vickie Gurrero at Wrestlemania 26 Axxess
If the Raw computer doesn’t hire Dolph, even with Teddy Long back, doesn’t Dolph’s girlfriend Vickie Guerrero still have some power to reinstate Dolph? If she doesn’t, what will be the point of keeping her around on Smackdown?  Is there some other young wrestler she’s going to hook up with as her new boy toy?

Back to the “firing.”  Even with Dolph taking to Twitter and playing up his firing as legitimate, when was the last time someone got fired in wrestling and was actually, you know, fired? The fired angle has been done so many times in wrestling it’s lost any real meaning.  There are two possible scenarios that could come from this that I wouldn’t mind seeing.

The first would be Dolph coming back wearing a mask.  Dusty Rhodes did this when he became the Midnight Rider. Andre the Giant became the Giant Machine.  Brian Pillman was the Yellow Dog. Even Hulk Hogan used this gimmick as Mr. America.  I’m a sucker for this storyline. But given the creative aspect of today’s wrestling writers, I have doubts it could be built up with any interest. It’d probably last until the next pay per view and then Dolph would be unmasked and shuffled back into the pack like nothing happened.

The other scenario is someone takes Dolph’s place in the Elimination Chamber match.  As of Saturday afternoon, is reporting the match will only have five participants, but I can see someone getting added at the last second. Kevin commented on Undertaker being added, but with the build up to his return on 2-21-11, I can’t see him being an unannounced participant. The potential two names I’d like to see are either a returning Christian or Alberto Del Rio.  Christian coming back could add a new dimension to the title match at Wrestlemania. Alberto Del Rio put Christian on the shelf, and Christian and Edge are former tag team champions. I could see either Christian winning or having Edge eliminate him last to retain the title and somehow this leads to a triple threat match at Wrestlemania between Del Rio, Edge and Christian.  I have trouble seeing a straight up one on one match between Del Rio and Edge as being Wrestlemania worthy. 

The other scenario is after beating Kofi Kingston earlier in the night, Del Rio decides he wants to be in the Elimination Chamber so he can win the title and go into Wrestlemania as champion.  Del Rio gets eliminated from the match and loses his guaranteed match at Wrestlemania that leads to either a triple threat or fatal four-way match being set up at Wrestlemania. This is simply fantasy booking based on my opinion Del Rio isn’t ready for a Wrestlemania world title match.

Maybe a collector's item since he's "fired"
So it appears WWE has done a good job of creating interest in what will happen at the pay per view and what will become of Dolph Ziggler. I offer this advice to Dolph; if you want your job back, simply buy a ticket for Smackdown every week and constantly interfere in Edge’s matches. After a few weeks he’ll get fed up and demand Teddy Long reinstate you so he can have another match with you. It was that simple for John Cena to get his job back. It will probably work for you as well. 

Elimination Chamber Predictions

The road to Wrestlemania makes a stop Sunday night for the Elimination Chamber.  But even after the dust settles, we're still six weeks out until the big event.  So anything can happen as they say.

I'm going to attempt to throw out some predictions, but I'm not 100% confident in my choices.  But I'd also be curious to hear what you think.

The Miz (c) vs. Jerry 'the King' Lawler: Rumors are swirling that the King will beat the Miz and lose the belt back to him the next night on Raw.  I really hope that's NOT where we're headed.  The Miz needs to soundly defeat the King and move ahead to focus on Wrestlemania.  Most, if not all of his victories so far have had an asterisk beside them.  His win over Kofi Kingston on SmackDown should be credited to the distraction by Alberto Del Rio.  And speaking of that match, it was the WWE Champion vs. the Intercontinental Champion.  21 years ago such a match headlined Wrestlemania (Hulk Hogan vs. the Ultimate Warrior).  As my friend Chad pointed out, the Kingston-Miz match was merely filler on free TV.  

Anyway, despite the rumors, I predict the Miz gets the win over Lawler in some tainted fashion and we get either King vs. Cole or King vs. Alex Riley at Wrestlemania.  Or maybe both of them in a handicap match.  God help us all.

My Prediction: The Miz

John Morrison vs. CM Punk vs. Randy Orton vs. John Cena vs. Sheamus vs. R Truth: Why, oh why is R Truth in this match?  I'd really like to see John Morrison win, but I know that will not be happening.  They're going to have to go with a proven main eventer for Wrestlemania, since presumably the champion (the Miz) has never main evented the big card.  And since it seems that CM Punk and Randy Orton have unfinished business, I'm picking Super Cena to win this match that he "really needs to win" and go on to Wrestlemania and walk away with the WWE championship again.  *Yawn*

Fantasy booking sidenote:  Just as it appears Cena is going to win, the Rock enters the chamber and delivers the Rock Bottom and allows Morrison or Punk to pin Cena.  

My Prediction: John Cena

Drew McIntyre vs. Wade Barrett vs. Edge (c) vs. Rey Mysterio vs. Kane vs. ????:   Since Dolph Ziggler was "fired" from SmackDown! Friday night, the WWE has announced that Edge will only defend against 4 opponents in the Elimination Chamber.  My gut tells me someone else is going to end up inside the cage. Most likely the Big Show, but I've heard other speculation that it will be the Undertaker, to further throw some mystery into the 2/21/11 promos.  I don't like the idea of it being Taker, simply because I don't want him to win the match, and why waste his return on him losing?  Although it would make some sense to bring him in to go after Kane and Wade Barrett, getting a two for one deal.  The more I sit here and write this, the more that starts to make sense.  Ahh, this is making my head hurt.  Must move on...  

Edge has some momentum again after winning the World title again Friday night.  It seems to make the most sense to keep the belt with him, so...

My Prediction: Edge

Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Alberto Del Rio:  I'm having trouble confirming if this one is for the Intercontinental title or not.  Interesting that they're putting the number one contender for the World title in a match against the IC title.  I'm going to assume the title is NOT on the line, and say it would only be logical for Del Rio to win to continue his momentum into Wrestlemania.  Having him lose to Kofi wouldn't be a bad thing necessarily, but Kofi has been so misused by the company.  That's a story for another day.  Like the Miz, Del Rio needs a few victories over some of the upper card guys to prove that he deserves to be in the World title match at the biggest PPV of the year.  He's told us time and time again, now he needs to prove it in the ring.  And I know he's already beaten Kofi, so why pay to watch them wrestle, right?

My Prediction: Alberto Del Rio

Santino Marella & Vladamir Koslov (c) vs. Heath Slater & Justin Gabriel: This seems like a last minute, oh we need another match on the pay per view, type of match.  I've complained time and time again about the state of tag team wrestling, so you don't want to hear that again.  We've seen these two teams go at it several times before.  I'm predicting the Corre wins the tag team titles to set up a tag team title match against two members of the Nexus at Mania.

My Prediction: Slater & Gabriel

As of Saturday afternoon at 3:40 CST, that's all the WWE has announced for matches.  Just 5.  I guess that's enough.  Wouldn't be surprised to see some type of Divas match thrown in too.  Based on SmackDown, I'm guessing Layla vs. Eve.  Eve goes over.

What are your 1-2-3 Cents?  Comment and don't forget to subscribe to My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flashback Friday: Gone Too Soon

Winning the NWA World title May 6, 1984 (Courtesy: WWE)
February 18, 1993:  Through the years, we've seen a lot of wrestlers pass away too soon.  But on this date back in 1993, one of my heroes died.

I've talked before about Kerry Von Erich in previous posts.  As a kid he was without a doubt my favorite wrestler.  When he beat Ric Flair for the NWA World title in 1984, I marked out big time.  I was only 11 years old and remember being so proud that he won the belt, not just for his late brother David, but for all of us fans who supported him. (Remember,  I was a kid)

The first wrestling magazine I ever bought was the October 1984 issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated.  Kerry was featured on the cover with the NWA title and a story about his 3 weeks on top of the world.  I was sad that his reign as champ was so short, but even after he lost the title back to Flair (who kicked off his third reign as heavyweight champion), he was still my hero. Kerry went on to do big things in his native Texas.

You all know the story of his famous family and the company his father, Fritz, ran.  I would tune in each week to watch World Class Championship Wrestling.  It aired on Sunday mornings at 10 a.m. in St. Louis, right before WWF Wrestling Superstars, which followed at 11 a.m.  The Von Erichs were the epitome of the perfect wrestling family, or so it appeared on TV.  Little did I know as I watched each week that the brothers had their demons.  Even as an adult though, I can accept their shortcomings and still remember them for the work they did in the wrestling business.  I got to see Kerry wrestle live in person.  It was 1985 in St. Louis. Kerry beat Flair by disqualification as the two met in a world title rematch.

In 1986 he was in a motorcycle accident that forced doctors to remove his foot.  Of course, we the fans didn't know about that until it was revealed after his death.  I've read that Kerry was lucky to survive that accident.  Opinion time: I think the pressures of being a wrestler, the tragedies his family had already faced (the deaths of two sons at that point: Jack and David),  and his return to the ring too soon after the accident all lead to his dependency on drugs.  I'm not making excuses, I'm just calling it like I see it.

Kerry went on to be successful even though he was never truly 100% after the accident.  He won the USWA title and battled Jerry "the King" Lawler in several memorable matches to unify Kerry's belt and Lawler's AWA world title.  The King won that epic match, in which Kerry bleed like a stuck pig.

"Texas Tornado" wins the IC title (Courtesy: WWE)
I marked out like crazy once again when I read in a copy of PWI that Kerry was headed to the WWF.  Only now, he'd be billed as the Texas Tornado.  I think the announcers referred to him as Kerry Von Erich a few times, but really pushed the new moniker.  It seemed appropriate enough, but with his pedigree, why change anything?  Of course Ricky Steamboat was simply "the Dragon" and Davey Boy Smith was only known as "the British Bulldog" at this time.

It seemed as if Kerry arrived in New York at the right time.  Brutus Beefcake, who was the number one contender to Mr. Perfect's Intercontinental title had been hurt in a para sailing accident.  Injured so badly, he had to drop out of his title match against Perfect at SummerSlam.  Kerry stepped in and won the title in just over 5 minutes.  Again, big time mark out moment for me, even though by this point, I was 17 years old.  Some things never change.  But my excitement turned to disappoint when Kerry lost the title back to Perfect just a couple of months later.  At least his run was longer than his time as world champ.

After that loss, Kerry wrestled on the mid card, facing Perfect in rematches.  He also battled the likes of Ted DiBiase and Dino Bravo.  Eventually, he started putting over guys climbing the ranks like the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels.  I had read at one time Vince McMahon considered Kerry for the spot that eventually went to Bret Hart.  But Vince lost faith in Kerry due to his drug problems.  In 1992, he left the WWF and wrestled again briefly in Texas.

He was facing prison time for drug charges, and on February 18, 1993 put a bullet through his heart.  I was in college then, and this was still before the Internet.  I remember someone who lived on my floor in the dorms told me he had read in the newspaper Kerry committed suicide.  This had to be a day or two after his death.  I went to the library to get a copy of the paper and confirm this information.  I was devastated.  Another Von Erich gone, Kerry was the fifth son to die prematurely.  My hero was gone.

2009 Hall of Fame Ceremony
In 2009, Kerry and the rest of his family get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.  It was a long overdue honor and I'm glad I was able to witness it in person.  It would have been better to see and hear Kerry accept the honor, but his big brother Kevin spoke fondly of his famous family that night.

So today, I remember the late, great "Modern Day Warrior" Kerry Von Erich, 18 years after his untimely death.  RIP Kerry.  Heaven needed a champion.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thoughts from a Smark

Chad meets Delirious
By Chad Smart

It’s been a few days since The Rock made his return to a WWE ring. In the time between Raw going off the air and me sitting down to type this, I’ve surfed the web reading message board post after post and watching various YouTube videos of people talking about The Rock. After reading and hearing all these comments I’ve come to the conclusion I really am on the outside of the wrestling fan bubble.

While I think The Rock is entertaining and it’s nice to see him come back to where his career started, I don’t think it’s the greatest moment in wrestling history. First off, I was never a huge fan of The Rock’s. Yes I found him entertaining on the mic, but felt his wrestling skills were slightly above average at best. The way he would oversell moves, especially the Stonecold Stunner, was annoying and would take me out of the match. I know in today’s wrestling landscape actual wrestling skill is in the lower top five qualities needed to be successful, but I’m old school. I got interested in wrestling before it was 95% about personality and charisma so I still prefer to see a good 15 minute wrestling match instead of a good 15 minute promo.  And that’s why I’m not as into The Rock’s return as others apparently are.

As I said in the last blog, Rock more than likely will not be wrestling at Wrestlemania so people who order the pay per view, or attend the show live simply because of The Rock are doing so to hear him repeat catchphrases and insult other wrestlers.  I can’t understand spending $50 or more for that purpose. But I’m getting off topic. This wasn’t supposed to be about The Rock’s return as it was supposed to be about moments in wrestling that had you jumping out of your seat cheering and simply being a fan.

I’ve been a fan of wrestling for about 28 years. In that time I’ve seen just about every storyline and angle that keep getting recycled and reused. I’ve been an internet wrestling fan for about 15 years. I think that has led me to become very cynical and jaded towards the current wrestling product.  When you read stories of behind the scenes power plays and manipulations it taints your view as a fan. If the Internet had been around in the 80s, would Hulk Hogan have gotten as much hatred typed at him as Triple H has gotten because of allegedly refusing to put over other talent?  Getting back on topic.  Due to web cynicism, it’s hard to truly get excited for events because nine times out of ten, I know they’re going to happen before they happen.

Had I not read The Rock was contender for the Wrestlemania host, or read his comments that he and Vince McMahon were working on something big and it would happen sooner rather than later, I would have probably been more excited when The Rock’s theme music played on Monday night. But because I knew the chances were good he was going to appear, when his music hit, my reaction was, at least it isn’t Justin Bieber.

Going back to comments and videos made in the past three days, I tried to think of the last big moments that had me excited and made me forget about being a smark.  I could think of moments during the Monday Night Wars and the first appearance of WCW in WWF. But I have a hard time thinking of anything in the last five years. I can’t recall any spontaneous “anything can happen” moment.

I remember sitting at Wrestlemania 25 watching the crowd come unglued for the Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker match and my reaction was, this is a standard indy match formula. I couldn’t enjoy the match like the other 60,000 people because I couldn’t let the fun side of my brain overpower the logical side. The same thing happens whenever I watch a John Cena match. Something inside me says no matter what happens, Cena will be standing tall at the end, and therefore I can’t enjoy the match.

We’re six weeks from Wrestlemania. I will be there with Kevin and Travis and while the projected card doesn’t look all that stellar, I am going to try and watch the show not as a jaded, cynical wrestling critic, but as a fan. Can I rewire my thinking and remember what it was like when I watched Wrestlemania 1 live and actually cheered for Hulk Hogan and Mr. T.? I’ll let you know on April 4.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

These Boots Were Made for Stumping...

Yes, it's another post related to 2/21/11.  I'm sure you haven't seen or heard enough about this now infamous date in wrestling.

First and foremost, let me admit to being wrong.  When the promo first aired several weeks ago, I went on YouTube and stated that I thought the mystery man was Skip Sheffield.  I explain my reasons in the video, so I won't waste your time recapping it here.

Clearly, the man in the video Monday night was the Undertaker.  You'd have to be Jake the Snake Roberts after his encounter with Rick Martel's cologne bottle to not see that.  But the one thing that is being talked about now is there appears to be a second man in the video.

Inside, we know it's the Undertaker.  They pretty much showed his face, but then the shot cuts back outside and we see another pair of boots and a trench coat.  The rumor mill is churning and saying it's Triple H and he's stalking the Undertaker to avenge the loss of Shawn Michaels at the hands of the Dead Man at Wrestlemania 26.

This somewhat makes sense.  But one would assume that Triple H would return to stalk Sheamus, who had taken him out and not the Undertaker.  But a Triple H-Undertaker matchup at Mania could make sense if they start laying the groundwork on Monday night (2-21-11)  These two have a history.  It was a decade ago that Undertaker beat Triple H.  Obviously, H has improved and moved up the food chain since that last meeting.  He could pose a real threat to the streak.

Other than John Cena vs. Undertaker, H is really the only other viable opponent who could end the streak. At least now.  Some of speculated that it's Wade Barrett or Kane stalking outside the house in the promo.  I don't think so.  They "finished" off the 'Taker by burying him alive, so why would they stalk him now?  Triple H makes the most sense, if they sell it with the "you ended my best friend's career."

But even with this seemingly logical premise there are still those who believe Sting is somehow associated with the promo.  I will be shocked if it's Sting.  Really at this point it makes no sense to bring him into this angle.  I'm not even sure how they'd work Sting into Wrestlemania if he were to sign.  We're only 7 weeks away from the big event, but with so much TV time between now and then, I'm sure something could be worked out.

In any event, my money (which isn't much) is on this 2-21-11 promo leading us to another Undertaker-Triple H match at Wrestlemania.  And just to throw in some extra interest, Shawn Michaels will be the referee for the match.  There, I said it.  Of course, I may have a change of heart come 2-22-11.

Thanks for reading, and please check out and subscribe to My 1-2-3 Cents on YouTube.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

ROCK-ing Wrestlemania

"Stone Cold" Smart vs. the Rock
By Chad Smart

Finally … The Rock is making his return to WWE. He has been announced as the special guest host for Wrestlemania 27. This is a big deal in the wrestling world, and thankfully the rumors of the host being Justin Bieber were only rumors.

But is it really something to get excited about? Will it make Wrestlemania a must see show? I may get some heat for what I’m about to write, but in my opinion this is nothing more than a desperation move by Vince McMahon.

We’re currently less than seven weeks away from Wrestlemania. The biggest show of the year and based on current story lines the only foreseeable matches are; John Cena vs The Miz, Edge vs. Alberto Del Rio, CM Punk vs. Randy Orton and possibly Jerry Lawler vs. Michael Cole.

Outside of those top of the card matches the only other match with seeds being planted is Big Show vs. Ezekial Jackson. Out of these matches only the Cena/Miz match up feels like a Wrestlemania worthy match. Alberto Del Rio, while getting the push of a lifetime, getting a title match at Wrestlemania feels rushed. CM Punk and Randy Orton will most likely have some interaction with each other for the next seven weeks making their match anti-climatic. Unless Jerry Lawler lays a beating on Michael Cole so severe Cole never commentates another match, what’s the point of having two announcers wrestle on the grandest stage of all? In other words, what is going to make this year’s Wrestlemania feel important?
That’s why I think Vince McMahon is panicking and figured he had to do something big to get people interested in Wrestlemania. So he brings in "the most electrifying person in all of entertainment" to get people excited. The Rock has not been in a WWE ring in almost 7 years. And outside of appearing at the Hall of Fame ceremony three years ago, he’s had very little to do with WWE since transitioning from wrestler to actor. Unlike Steve Austin or Mick Foley who continued to make appearances after they retired and subsequently diminished their aura, The Rock still has that larger than life wrestling persona in the eyes of the fans. Announcing him as host of Wrestlemania has people already contemplating ordering the pay per view simply because of The Rock will be there.

The Rock recently stated on his website he won’t wrestle again. He achieved all his goals during his time in WWE and has nothing left to prove. If that is indeed true, it would stand to reason the only thing The Rock will be doing at Wrestlemania is talking. Now there’s no denying The Rock’s ability to entertain when he has a microphone in his hand. I would even say he’s a better talker than wrestler so him not wrestling will be more entertaining than if he were to have a match at Wrestlemania. The pay per view costs around $50, I think. Are fans really going to shell out that kind of money simply to hear The Rock spout off catch phrases? Maybe I’m underestimating the power of The Rock, or the mindset of wrestling fans, I just can’t imagine anyone spending money simply because of one person.

During his return to Monday Night Raw, The Rock verbally ran down John Cena. I know Cena is the modern day Rock, but what was the point? John Cena has in the past criticized The Rock for walking away from wrestling fans and for turning his back on wrestling in general. Those comments though were done in various interviews and not on WWE programming. Most fans probably aren’t aware of Cena’s comments therefore The Rock making fun of Cena came out of nowhere since both guys are fan favorites. In addition to the insults being out of place, Cena didn’t come to the ring to confront The Rock. Are we to think Cena had left the building or wasn’t watching or listening while The Rock was in the ring? I don’t know how many appearances The Rock will make on WWE programming before Wrestlemania so maybe he’ll show up next week and Cena will confront him then. If that happens, assuming The Miz retains his title and Cena wins the Elimination Chamber match as is expected thus creating their title match at Wrestlemania, the focus gets shifted from a title match to a match that isn’t going to happen. So I will once again scratch my head and question what is the point of The Rock mocking John Cena?

This also leads to one of my biggest complaints whenever a former superstar shows up in WWE. Even if it’s only for a one time appearance, the former superstar usually gets to make a current superstar look like a fool. Steve Austin made Muhammad Hassan, Carlito, Santino Marella and others look foolish during his returns to WWE programming. I know, some will justify it by saying those guys weren’t on Austin’s level so him getting himself over at their expense isn’t a big deal. I disagree. It’s all about the message being sent to the viewer. If guys are treated as subpar talent, fans will see them as subpar talent. Instead of having past superstars bury up and coming talent, the guys who’s have achieved super stardom should be used in a manner that elevates the current wrestlers. Maybe I’m putting the cart before the horse and this won’t happen, but I’ve seen the scenario enough to be concerned. 

My final question is why does Wrestlemania need a guest host? There have been 26 Wrestlemanias so far and none of them needed a host. Yes there have been celebrity guests used as everything from timekeepers to ring announcers to commentators, but none were hosts. What exactly will The Rock be doing as host? Is this a way to create excitement because there are currently no Wrestlemania level matches outside of of John Cena vs. Undertaker, and that doesn’t appear to be in the cards this year. My suggestion for WWE creative for the next year is to start elevating talent and stop rushing through every possible match up so next year something fresh can be booked for Wrestlemania 28.

While I don’t think The Rock is needed at Wrestlemania. I will be there in person and will more than likely be cheering along and playing sing along with The Rock while he busts out all the catch phrases. What I’m hoping for is at least one big time Wrestlemania match. Is it too much to ask for a wrestling show to provide one good wrestling match?

Will Wrestlemania 'Rock'?

The real People's Eyebrow
Unless you've been living under a rock, pardon the pun, you know that THE Rock, Dwayne Johnson is back with the WWE.  At least for now, as he is the "guest host" for Wrestlemania.

I love the Rock.  He's one of my all time favorites, as I've posted in a previous blog.  He is a character who brings a lot of excitement and energy to the product.  And let's be honest, since he left several years ago, there's been a huge void.  I look forward to seeing him live at Wrestlemania, as I never got a chance to see him as "the Rock" in person.  Except for when he inducted his father, Rocky Johnson into the Hall of Fame back in 2008. But this will be different.  He'll be at Wrestlemania. 

My only concern is does Wrestlemania need a guest host?  This year, the answer is probably yes.  I've discussed the potential card with some of my friends, and it's really not got that "Wrestlemania" feel to it.  Of course that could all change in the coming weeks, I really hope it does.
Really though, Wrestlemania is the biggest event on the wrestling calendar.  It really doesn't need a host, does it?  I hope this doesn't turn into a typical episode of Raw when they were doing the guest host thing.  Will the Bella Twins be draped over Dwayne like a cheap suit?  Will the Rock actually wrestle?  I'll admit, I haven't seen all of Raw from last night, I will watch it soon, but there is already buzz of a John Cena-Rock match at Mania.  That has the potential to be huge. 

We know the Rock is still in shape and relatively young (he's only a year older than me) and I think he could still "go."  But will he?  Does he need to?  He has nothing left to prove and putting Cena over isn't exactly something Cena needs either.  I did see the open to Raw where Cena plead his case about "needing" to win the Elimination Chamber because he had a "bad year."  Whatever.  That promo made me want to puke.  I had no sympathy for the guy's character.  In real life, I'm sure he's great, but the TV version of John Cena has gotten old.  But I'm digressing again...

Bottom line, I'm glad the Rock is going to be at Wrestlemania, but I still question whether the event needs a host, and what exactly his role will be at the event.  I'm just glad it wasn't one of the rumored hosts like Bob Barker or Justin Bieber.

If ya smell what the crock is cooking.