Thursday, December 30, 2010

WWE Set to Close "WWE Universe" Site


A few million fans who take part in WWE's attempt at their own social network labeled "WWE Universe" are set to be disappointed as the site is set to be closed on January 1, 2011.  WWE used the network for fans to talk everything WWE, and even interact with talents who had their own Universe profiles.  In actuality the major social networks like Facebook and Twitter provide everything and then some as far as talking WWE and interacting with talents, and the need for a WWE-only network isn't really necessary.

I never checked out the Universe site much and wasn't really aware it was still going, but apparently it still was and hosted some popular features like live chats with Howard Finkel during RAWs and pay per views, and Jim Ross's "Ross Report." Both of these features will now be featured on WWE.com  and will remain active.  In the announcement of the WWE Universe closing, we are reminded that WWE is still active on the big social networks, and can be found at the following:

* Twitter: twitter.com/WWE

* Facebook: Facebook.com/WWE

* YouTube: YouTube.com/WWE

John Cena out with injury, misses appearance


According to the Baltimore Sun, John Cena missed an appearance in the Maryland city due to a hip injury he received at a WWE house show in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. A WWE spokesperson told the Sun that Cena did not sustain any structural damage and his return to the ring will be a day-to-day decision. WWE.com confirms the story.


Cena was on the card to participate Wednesday in a fatal-four way steel cage match against WWE Champion The Miz, Randy Orton and Wade Barrett.


Here's hoping for a quick recovery. Like him or hate him, Cena is bringing in the audience and the potential for a CM Punk and Nexus rivalry may be the ticket to watch in 2011.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Is Anyone Playing Smackdown vs. RAW 2011?


Over the years on this site, we really haven't covered much when it comes to wrestling games.  Personally the reason for this is that I played wrestling games from the glory period in the last 90's.  WCW vs. nWo World Tour, WCW Revenge, WrestleMania 2000, No Mercy, Fire Pro Wrestling, the list goes on and on.  For some strange reason, while these games set a standard for pure wrestling game fun, just about all of the games that followed over the years got worse instead of better.

For some reason it just seems like companies couldn't follow the example set by the great games, and instead just made up their own games that had unrealistic wrestling, horrible controls, outdated rosters, and no customization.  Even though the Smackdown series of games (Which has evolved into the Smackdown vs. RAW series) seemed to fail in some way every year to me, this year's game seems to be a very well done offering.

Most of the time in Smackdown vs. RAW games, we get a few new features, an updated roster, but overall the same feeling type of game.  You play through a career mode, unlock a few new wrestlers and arenas, and you are pretty much done for the year.  But 2011 they have packed the game with so many unlockables it is a serious task to get through it all.  Not only is there a story mode where you can choose five different stories to play through, all  of which are unique with surprises and twists abound, but now there is "WWE Universe Mode" which is a real time WWE of your own that lets you play through your own WWE calendar of TV shows and every Pay Per View. 

After playing through the stories and enjoying that aspect, I found it odd that I really didn't unlock much.  After some research, it turns out that  I missed a LOT in story mode, and on top of that the WWE Universe Mode has a ton more unlockables to achieve.  The Universe mode is really what will keep me playing for the long haul, since it is endless and you can basically run WWE how you see fit.

If that's not enough, a downloadable content pack was just released that features Nexus members Wade Barret, Justin Gabriel, and David Otunga among others.  Players can customize who is aligned with who and who is feuding, a nice addition that old schoolers will remember from the No Mercy days on N64.  While you can't totally edit current superstars, they've at least allowed us to edit colors to mix things up a bit.

It would take tons of paragraphs to cover it all, but I am enjoying this game more than any other in the franchise, and would recommend this to anyone who enjoys customizing a ton of aspects in the game, and enjoys a huge roster that features just about anyone you can think of in WWE, and some legends mixed in to boot.

12/27 RAW quick hits


I would say overall that RAW was OK. Not great but not bad. Here are some random thought about the show, wrestlers, and angles.

- Ted Dibiase is so far down the ladder, I don't know if there is a way back. He needs a change quickly. Cody Rhodes is doing much better on Smackdown. It’s getting so bad that I wouldn't be surprised if Ted is "future endeavored".

- I like CM Punk in a leadership role, so him leading the Nexus is fine with me and should work out. The problem is Wade Barrett. Where does he go from here? On his own? To Smackdown? Does he turn face?

- Batista and Brock Lesnar...these are guys they are trying to get for Wrestlemania. It’s no coincidence that the announcers and some wrestlers with mic time are bringing their names up.

- Really enjoyed Sheamus/Orton. That's what they need to do more of.

- Not sure about Morrison/Miz at the Rumble. I thought Morrison screwed up when he said the match with him and Miz was next week. Hopefully a no contest of some kind will stop the match and they move it to the Rumble. It's exactly the kind of title match they have for that pay per view event. If not, who will they go with? I heard a rumor Lawler vs. Miz at the Rumble. Please God NO!!!!

- I'm sensing Bryan/Henry/Kid triple threat for the US title. Soon.

I don't know about you, but I am running right out today and grabbing the Bobby Heenan DVD. If you are a younger fan or just not familiar with "The Brain" I strongly encourage you to check it out. It should be laugh out loud funny. His type of character is sorely missed these days.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

WWE Releases Kaval


All I can say is WTF? Talk about not giving someone a chance. Unless there are details we don't know about yet, I would say WWE made a HUGE mistake. What sense does it make for him to win NXT and then lose every match after? And then let him go? If handled correctly, Kaval could make some money for a company. Kaval vs. Daniel Bryan? Hello? That would be gold. There are so many guys that Kaval could have worked with that would have been really great to see. Kofi, Mysterio, Cody, Morrison, Ziggler, etc... Kaval will be OK. He will get back out on the independent scene, I'm sure, and maybe TNA or ROH will come calling. Unless there is more to this, Kaval got screwed..

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's Up: R-Truth Out With Pneumonia


Many media reports are stating that R-Truth is likely to be out of commission for a few weeks after being hospitalized. Mr. Truth (real name: Ronnie Aaron Killings) has been diagnosed with walking pneumonia. According to reports, several WWE superstars rushed him to the hospital after he was having convulsions. Truth was then apparently told that he could have died without their quick reaction because oxygen was not getting to his brain.


Here's hoping R-Truth has a speedy recovery and we will hear him chant from the stands and work the ring soon.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Next Up for Nexus?

This year in WWE story lines has seen many throwbacks to the days of yesterday. Perhaps one of the most surprising is the Nexus, the faction of bitter groupies that decided to rage against the professional wrestling machine after they failed to be declared the season one winner.

Grouping guys together for a common cause is an easy way to incorporate many personalities that may not otherwise see broadcast time. But it could be the launching pad for future WWE Superstars. The Rock first grabbed our attentions as part of the Nation of Domination. Triple H's rise from Degeneration X Version 1.0. The list goes on, and the potential for one of Nexus' members to make it beyond this push is not outside the realm of possibility. Ortunga, for example, has shown some serious ring skills, and he could easily slide in as a new leader for the group if the situation should arise.

Granted, the latest stable is just an 'x' away from having the same moniker as a line of women hair care products. Still, this stable has the stability to make a lasting impact on the business. Are there potential WWE champions among them? Maybe. Maybe not. But 2011 may just see more from the menacing motley crew. If nothing else, we will get to see its inevitable destruction. Mutiny is afoot, as evident by the latest RAW episodes, and no one can expect the guys to be beat up by John Cena every week. True, fans will bore of the back and forth with Cena soon enough. Still, here is hoping that something else can gel from this rivalry and that the writing staff does not snuff it out too soon.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Shawn Michaels Speaks on His Future with WWE

Ever since his retirement match at WrestleMania 26 and subsequent retirement speech the following night on RAW, Shawn Michaels has stepped out of the spotlight in WWE.  His cameo on the Slammy Awards has been the most we've seen from HBK in months.  Of course when a legend if gone for awhile, rumors are bound to swirl.  Rumors of Shawn going to TNA, being the anonymous RAW GM, and in ring returns will always be stirring on the Internet, but now Shawn has decided to communicate directly via Youtube to let his fans know what's going on.

In this video, Shawn reveals that he has basically come to a deal with WWE that will make him available to them whenever he can, and he verifies that we will never see him step into a ring other than WWE's ever.  He points out that he will keep his word and will not be wrestling anywhere, but non-wrestling appearances for WWE will be in his future at some point.  Here is the word from the Heartbreak Kid himself:

U for UNIFICATION

Back in the invasion days, the proliferation of titles was reaching insane levels with the WWE championship, WCW world Heavyweight Championship, Intercontinental title, United States Title, Cruiserweight Title, Light Heavyweight Title, Hardcore title, WWE Tag title and WCW Tag Titles.

The recent trend of the day tends to be Unification.

History tells us us that result of a plethora of unifications and de-unifications, is the re-invention and re-introduction of previously prestigious world titles under their previous moniker, with none of the prestige of the original title.

Here is the History of the Unifications that we have seen thus far:

- In November of 2001, Edge defeated test to unify the US and interconinental titles under the intercontinental banner. The tag titles were unified the same night as the Dudley boys became undisputed tag champs.
- At Vengeance in December 2001, Chris Jericho defeated Stone cold Steve Austin to become the First ever Undisputed world champion.
- In July 2002, The European title was folded into the intercontinental title, In august of 2002, the hardcore was also compartmentalized into the IC title as well.
- In October 2002, The Intercontinenatl title was unified with the WWF world title, but the title picture also expanded as the brand split spawned a set of tag straps for smackdown.
- However this became undone again as the brand split again splintered the title picture, and the WWE title was split off and the WHT was introduced to RAW in september 2002.
- The IC title did a re-appearing act in May 2003 in a battleroyal by RAW GM Stone cold Steve Austin.
- Shortly after the US title was brought back as a smackdown-exclusive minor title July 2003.
- Due to the pathetic utilization of talent, the cruiserweight title has fallen by the waste side.
- After many years of 2 tag titles and no teams, they finally realized the tag division was weak so at wrestlemania 25, they once again unified these titles, but what took so long is beyond me.
- Now after years of two women's titles that were totally superfluous, they have successfully unified those titles.

The title picture is finally streamlining. But don't hold your breath.

Now I heard rumors that they are planning on unifying the WWE and world titles at Wrestlemania 27. Any excitement I have over this is equalled by an overwhelming sense of trepidation, mostly over how this will be booked, but more so over how long it may last. There is the potential to do a repeat of the Vengeance PPV (the PPV where Chris Jericho became the first ever Undisputed World Champion), where each champion faces an opponent and then the winners face each other to unify their respective titles.

These are the kinds of ideas that casual wrestling fan's curse me for, but I know I'm not alone especially in this forum. However were several months away from 'mania, and the world title picture is fuzzy at best.

Here would be my fantasy booking for this Wrestlemania.

Randy Orton, screwed out of his world championship again my the Miz at TLC, Orton goes on a one man rampage and tries to destroy the Miz, This rampage results in Orton being suspended. But it doesn't stop. After attacks on the Nexus amoung others, The RAW GM sets up a long gauntlet in which he must destroy the Nexus amoung others in order to get into the Rumble, after entering he then wins the Royal Rumble and goes on to challenge the Miz for the WWE title.

On the Smackdown side, the injury to the Undertaker is making them think twice about what is happening for their main event. "The Streak" is always a prominent feature of Wrestlemania these days. Whether or not Taker will be able to return from his shoulder surgery in time will determine what will happen here, and is the probably the reason why Kane is in a holding pattern as World Champion. This feud is not over. Unfortunate. Kill me. Why they can't get the title off Kane even using the distraction of Taker to do so, then they can get this over with. If Taker vs Kane is Wrestlemania, they are totally making a mistake. If the title goes on Edge which almost always never lasts long, its not a bad decision. You're almost always guaranteed a great match with edge.

However, the final match should always be a marquee match up, and Orton vs Edge is on paper a good match. Orton fighting back to win the rumble, then take out the Miz and then Edge would just blow the roof off the place, especially since Orton is so hot right now. If Taker is healthy, I see a match vs Cena for the streak as a huge match. But time will tell. But as we all know, a week is a long time in the wrestling business. 4 months is an eternity.

Apparently a new WWE championship belt has been ready since last November, indicating that they have been waiting for something in order to unveil it. Could this unification be the event they are waiting for? And if the unification is what they are waiting for, it would be the proper venue.

What would be your ideas for such a unification if it should occur?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Watch "Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows" Online Free

Thanks to our friends at SnagFilm.com for sending this along.  The classic Bret Hart documentary "Hitman Hart: Wrestling with Shadows" is now available to watch online for free, and we've got it right here at ProWrestlingRoundup.com.  For those of you who have never seen it, this documentary follows Bret Hart during the months leading up to the infamous Montreal Screwjob at Survivor Series 97. 

What's most interesting is that this documentary was just a bio on Bret Hart originally, but the crew happened to be filming during one of the most controversial stories in wrestling history.  The film delivers an awesome look into the backstage goings on in WWE during that era.  Also included is a look at the Hart family, including the infamous dungeon, the history of the Hart's in Canada, and even early glimpses of a young current WWE Superstar, David Hart Smith. 

"Wrestling With Shadows" is great on so many levels, and gives many visuals of the stories told in Bret Hart's book.  Anyone that is a fan on the historical wrestling events, Bret Hart himself, or someone who is just curious on what all this history between Bret Hart and Vince McMahon will surely enjoy this film:


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Potential Challengers for the Miz


I'm back for more fun. I'm going to look into the crystal ball and see what the future of the WWE Championship, and the Miz, will look like heading into the Royal Rumble.

First, we have to get the Randy Orton business out of the way. If you've paid any attention to WWE, and wrestling in general, over the past few years, then you would have noticed that when a new champ is crowned and gives the former champ a rematch, the former champ does not get the belt right back. In the Miz's case this is even more paramount because he had the MITB briefcase all those months. Why have him win the belt, just to give it right back? Makes no sense. So let's assume that Miz somehow gets passed Orton. WWE Cretaive will have the task of making Orton still look strong through this. But that's their problem.

So who will be next? Who will challenge Miz at the Royal Rumble? I'm not going to go through the Santino's of the world. Let's look at challengers with a real shot of moving into a program with the Awesome One. Also, we must be sure to look at the event. The Rumble. The Royal Rumble match is the main event here. It always has been. And because that's the case the WWE sometimes will take a chance and bring along a mid-carder and give them a shot at the championship(s).

Another way of putting it would be the WWE gives guys title shots even though everyone knows they have no shot of winning. This helps the champ(s) look stronger heading into Wrestlemania. Examples of this would be Undertaker over Mysterio (2010), Cena over JBL (09), Batista over Kennedy (07), Angle over Mark Henry (06), and Cena over Umaga. (07)

Since 2005, there have been 12 championship matches at the Rumble. 2 per year. The WWE and World titles. In 10 of the 12 matches the champion has retained. The exceptions to the rule are Cena over Edge in 06 and Edge over Jeff Hardy in 09.

So, let's assume Miz will win at the Rumble and it will be against a worthy, but beatable opponent and hopefully not one of the "main eventers" that litter the pay per view main events month after month. I see two possibilities that fit into this category. Morrison and Bryan. R-Truth would be a third possibility but I think the other two have a better shot because of the built in storylines. Daniel Bryan is a no brainer because he would deliver in the ring, and would lose clean without taking too big of a hit to his momentum. He also has the US title because he made Miz tap out on two consecutive pay per views. That's a built in storyline. Morrison has the tag team history with the Miz and the fans have wanted a program between the two since they split. Morrison has a bigger risk attached, though. I think if he loses clean it will be tougher for him to recover. So what about a triple threat match? Have Miz pin Bryan, so Morrison doesn't look bad.

As for the bigger names, they could go into the Rumble itself. Most of them will. But even with that assumpition, who else would make sense to challenge Miz at the Rumble? HHH is not back yet and he will most likely feud with Sheamus, taking both of them out of the mix. Cena is involved with Nexus and a match with Wade Barrett is on the horizon. Orton, is a possiblity, and they have given some programs 2 or even 3 straight pay per views, so he is a possibility. If WWE doesn't feel Morrison or Bryan are ready then he is the choice. But he could just as easily enter the Rumble.

So there you have it. The crystal ball is a bit cloudy but we've narrowed the field down to 3 possible challengers that make the most sense. If WWE takes a chance, it will be either Bryan or Morrison. If they don't it will be Orton.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Building for TNA's future


After the Bound for Glory PPV on 10/10/10- where Jeff Hardy stunned the wrestling world by turning heel- and the subsequent episode of Impact! where Immortal took shape and formed an alliance with Fortune, TNA seemed to have found a new direction and gained a lot of buzz from fans/critics alike. However, nearly 2 months on TNA has become a little lost once more as to where they need to head to gain a bigger fan base and larger ratings.

Despite Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff and Ric Flair constantly praising their younger charges like Hardy, AJ Styles and Abyss, the veterans- whose prime was perhaps 10 or 15 years ago- have so far over-shadowed the more youthful talent. Whether this is unintentional or a case of egos unwilling to relinquish the spotlight, TNA needs to realise that the wrestling world has always flourished when fresh ideas/stars are allowed to grow and develop.

Looking over the fence from TNA's small holding the big wigs within the company can surely see the greener pastures of WWE's super-farm where the older guys have given way to exciting younger wrestlers such as Alberto Del Rio, Sheamus and the new WWE heavyweight champion The Miz. Sure there is a space for experience but that should be to help push the careers of the superstars of the future. The wrestlers whom the next generation of fans will idolise and connect with as an audience. Despite Ric Flair's undoubtable genius on the mic, no fan- let alone child fan- wishes to see a 60+ year old bleeding like a stuck pig and facing a guy almost a third of his age.

TNA is obviously still a young and inexperienced company but they do have experience within. Experience that should look at the demise of WCW; a company that once beat WWF/WWE for 83 straight weeks thanks to revolutionary ideas and shock factor before crashing and burning spectacularly. Unfortunately WCW let older guys like Hogan, Flair and Nash dictate booking, pay and storylines that ultimately only served them and their selfish goals. Surely Dixie Carter can see a similar pattern emerging within her company.

To build for the future TNA perhaps needs only look back to their recent past. In 2005 TNA was perhaps the most exciting wrestling company in the world thanks to excellent in-ring action centred around the X-Division. Many fans had never really heard much about Samoa Joe, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels, but after their truly brilliant three-way series that spanned months of Impact and PPVs, the wrestling world was declaring these three men- and TNA's X Division- the future of the business. Since 2006/2007 however, TNA seemed to turn it's back on the features that brought the company to the dance, instead opting to push older stars and ex-WWE talent at the expense of their home-grown wrestlers. Maybe the time has come to rid the locker room of the veteran egos and give the ball to the hungry, young stars of tomorrow. Perhaps even reaching out to former fan favourites like Christopher Daniels and Petey Williams, who can reignite the neglected X-Division whilst Styles, Joe, Matt Morgan and Douglas Williams reshape the world heavyweight title picture.

Just a thought.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

MVP Released from WWE

In a bit of breaking news, MVP (Montel Vontavious Porter) has been released from WWE.  MVP was quick to comment on his official Twitter page that he had indeed been released, but had requested it himself and was not fired.  MVP also commented that it was time to "go international & freshen things up."  This is a great move for MVP in my opinion, as there just aren't enough guys that go to Japan and come back much improved like the stars of the 80's and 90's did. 

When MVP debuted in WWE on Smackdown, he was touted as this hot free agent seemingly straight out of Jerry Maguire, who was this huge signing for Smackdown.  To me the angle made NO sense, because we had never seen this guy, yet he's some major star Smackdown just HAD to sign?  After getting past that, MVP seemed like he was going to be a big star, and had a memorable feud with Matt Hardy, and even a long U.S. Title run, but has just stalled out over the past few years and not being put in any major situations. 

Now of course MVP will no doubt be the next big TNA signing rumor, and he's a big enough name to make an impact there when his no compete is up.  One of MVP's biggest supporters is Paul Heyman, who often tweets about MVP and his backstory.  You can tell Heyman could turn MVP into a megastar if ever given the chance.  If TNA did bring in MVP, he obviously would have to come up with a new name, which always hurts to some degree, but MVP would join Matt Hardy on the list of upper level free agent names that could make an impact in TNA if they were brought in and used correctly.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

King of the Ring and 11/29 RAW Reaction


My expectations were high. Coming off a Smackdown show that was heavy on in-ring wrestling, I was hoping the King of the Ring tournament matches would be given the proper time to shine. Instead, they got the usual match times, mostly under five minutes, with the Final getting twelve, which is OK. But RAW was a disappointment overall.

Sheamus winning isn't such a bad thing, although it would have been nice for HHH to show up at the end to start the King of the Ring vs. the King of Kings program. Sheamus has been floating around with not much to do without the Game around. He's lost to Morrison and, of all people, Santino, so he needed to be re-established as a bad ass in our minds because Triple H will be back very soon.

I liked the Lawler vs. Miz match and everything leading up to it. It gave us the direction they are heading with the Miz as Champ. The cowardly heel that needs help or to cheat to win. And that's fine because it can work. Miz can make it work because he's so good on the mic. Combine that with the fact that Vince McMahon loves the publicity Miz has received since becoming the champ and I think he has a shot to hold onto the belt until Wrestlemania. That would be a very nice, long run, by today's standards. Every pay per view he can sneak out of it with the belt, some how, some way, leading up to a Wrestlemania match where he drops it.

The rest of RAW was forgettable. The Cena stuff was no surprise. Thankfully they didn't go with the "Juan" Cena idea. Last night made me think about the "fired" angle. What a waste of time that was. They didn't even let it sit for one week. I was under the impression that Cena was getting some time off to make a movie or maybe just rest. I thought he'd be gone for at least a few weeks.

I mentioned the Miz dropping the belt at Wrestlemania. I hope it's not Cena vs Miz, though, because I'm thinking if Undertaker can go at Mania, Cena would be the best option. Cena/Undertaker would be absolutely huge. It's not a program that has been overdone. I think Cena could make believers out of us all that he can be the guy to end the streak, but in the end he will fall like all the rest.

Cap Allen

Monday, November 29, 2010

KOTR 2010: PREDICTIONS

King of the Ring is here again! In what should be an entertaining 3 hour version of RAW, the first King of the Ring in 2 years will be crowned.

Vince has failed to publish the bracket on the website, denying wrestling smarts and marks alike the chance to fill in the blanks and predict the winner, in doing so, I'm forced to use a little logic and wrestling alchemy to figure this one out.
Of the 8 superstars on tap we have Sheamus, John Morrison, Ezekiel Jackson, Daniel Bryan, Kofi Kingston, Dashing Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre, and Alberto Del Rio.
Sheamus:

He would be one of my favourites to win it all. After being stuck in the wrestling doldrums with a questionable feud with Santino Marella, it's time for him to break out and head back towards a main-event storyline. As we well know, a returning HHH is probably the program he's heading into, so the question is, will Sheamus be the King of the Ring and then be fed to the King of Kings, or will Trips , ruin Sheamus' chance to win it all?

John Morrison:

The question is, is the WWE serious about Morrison's push this time? The Sheamus/Morrison feud was not allowed to play out completely, so I figure this feud will culminated with Morrison Sheamus matchup, the winner either winning it or going to the finals. John Morrison has all the tools, the question would be does Vince have the confidence to push this guy, or is he already a main event cusp guy, who doesn't need to be King?

Ezekiel Jackson:

Big boy. Great steroid look, plus He's on a roll. Perfect chance to get a face over with the fans by winning it all. Got a feeling he'll get screwed, leading to a more serious feud.
Daniel Bryan:
The matches have been stellar, he has been a great US champ, but some of the extra-curricular, female valet nonsense, makes me not want to take this guy seriously as KOTR. Don't get me wrong, seeing this guy win this tournament would be great, but I don't see it happening. They've been in a weird habit of building this guy up, then feeding him like chum to the great white. There are greater things for this guy, and a crown and scepter is just not in the cards unfortunately.

Cody Rhodes:

His star has been rising fast lately. His in-ring and promos have gotten better as his new gimmick appears to have been working for him. Is he ready to add another stripe to his "Dashing" gimmick, or ewe about to see the coronation of King Cody? Seriously? No. Not happening.

Drew McIntyre:

One year ago, this guy came out of nowhere and shocked everyone at Survivor Series. Within a few months he was IC Champ, but now his push is all but disappeared. I figure he is in here as a potential darkhorse, but we all know, he is far from it.

Alberto Del Rio:

Since his debut, his in ring work and promo work have been stellar. His supposed lineage coming from Kings, gives us an idea that this King gimmick could be taken a little bit further. In addition, will Alberto's interference against Rey Mysterio, end up costing him the crown?

Kofi Kingston:

Although a great performer, Kofi's push happened in his feud with Randy Orton. I see no reason for another push with this gimmick. It's absurd.

So after a little stirring, drum roll please.......the King will be:


Alberto Del Rio or Sheamus.

I have a feeling Morrison will be used as a launching pad for the HHH/Sheamus Feud II. I have been wrong before. I've been wrong many times. I've been wrong so many times you can hardly call be omniscient. It all depends on how the bracket is formulated.

With 4 heels and 4 faces, there could possibly be 4 smackdown vs RAW match-ups in the first round. If there are RAW vs RAW match-ups, etc, which would be predictable, and no heat for them especially the heel vs heel match-ups, which is why I choose for the former.

Zeke vs Mc Intyre
Bryan vs Del Rio
Morrison vs Cody Rhodes
Kofi vs Sheamus

In this set of pairings, each one achieves the intended result. Zeke Crushes McIntyre continuing his roll and reaffirming his role as the greatest threat in the tournament. Bryan should pair off against Del Rio or Cody Rhodes, providing a high energy first round match. Sheamus will most likely be in a big guy/little guy match, because a match against Zeke is just not interesting. He will eventually destroy Kofi, but not before taking an onslaught high-flying offense and blown spots.Bryan Puzzles me, because, he either wins his first round match only to lose in heart-breaker, or just gets ripped off the tracks of the Del Rio Express. In The semis I see Del Rio Cheating to beat the big man Zeke, placing him in the finals against Morrison, who must win in this bracket to assure a face/heel matchup. In this bracket Morrison must win, but I see HHH rearing his ugly head here, and either being part of the finish, or determining who goes to the finals, or beating up whoever wins the tournament.

There have been many times where the logical choice was swerved in order to produce a unpredictable result. Either way I see a heel coming out as the winner. It all depends on whether the WWE is intent on using this tournament to re-affirm the status-quo, or to push new and up and coming talent.

If Sheamus wins, HHH comes out and ruins the coronation, but what else is new when it comes to the subversion of new talent in order to hit someone with a sledgehammer and blow some water on the audience. Sometimes it can be so predictable. If Alberto Del Rio wins we can predict the promos on Smackdown will just go to another level.

It's 8 o'clock now. Time to see all my predictions blow up in my face, but mostly to watch 3 hours of tournament wrestling intermixed with infantile garbage, and a masked John, err Cena.

TNA version of what's working, what's not.


Last week I gave you a WWE post about what was working in the WWE and what I thought wasn't working. So, for all the TNA fans out there (*ahem*), here's the TNA Impact version...

"Immortals" is working: For the most part, anyway. There is still a strong resemblance of nWo to me here, which is such a tired gimmick and seems to be the only thing Russo and company know how to do. I will give it some more time, but when we get to the 4th, 5th, or 6th week in a row with the show ending with an Immortal beatdown after interfering in the main event, then this will move to the "not working" category. The group has legitimate workers. Hopefully, they will get to actually "work".

Ric Flair is working: The guy has a new intensity that I love right now. His promos are as good as they have ever been.

Jeff Hardy is working: To be honest I'm a little surprised at how well Hardy has been in the heel role. It's fresh and new and the dark character fits him perfectly. We need an "anti-Hardy" face character now to feud with him. But don't expect that belt to move for a while.

EV2 is Not working: It's time to bury these grizzled old veterans. The ECW originals have been brought back every year or so in some form or another, in one company or another, and every time it's worse then the time before. Just let the ECW legend live on in our memories. Do yourself a favor and buy an old, original, ECW pay per view on DVD. Put it in and enjoy what it truly was, not what it's trying to be now.

The TNA Knockouts are working: After really being a great part of Impact every week about 2 years ago, the Knockouts division fell off the map a bit and regressed. With the addition of Tara and Mickie James, as well as the emergence of Madison, the division has been entertaining again. The brawls are physical and they are taking advantage of the WWE PG rating with the sex appeal of the knockouts as well. Can you say T and A?

The "takeover" angle and Dixie Carter are not working: Again, more "takeover", nWo stuff that we all are sick of. This aspect of the Immortals is the part that should go away. Why does every "owner" or person in charge in every wrestling company have to be a character on TV? TNA needs to get passed this soon, but I doubt that will happen.

Quick "working": Motor City Machine Guns, Matt Morgan, Douglas Williams, and Kaz.

Quick "not working": AJ Styles (not his fault, not being used well), team 3D split, The Pope, Abyss, Samoa Joe, and Jeff Jarett's MMA fighting.

TNA is firmly the # 2 promotion in wrestling and there's nothing wrong with that.

"Juan" Cena Makes His WWE Debut

Well after tonight's WWE house show, we have some indication of how the "John Cena is fired' angle will play out (at least at house shows.)  As the story goes, John Cena reported on his official Twitter page that his "cousin" Juan Cena had just signed with WWE.  Now of course this means that Cena will be doing the classic gimmick of working under a mask and acting like it's really not him when it will be obvious it is.  We've seen Dusty Rhodes use this at the Midnight Rider, Brian Pillman as the Yellow Dog, and even Hulk Hogan as Mr. America.  "Juan" Cena debuted tonight at a WWE house show (see picture,) so this will be the way they will be able to keep Cena on house shows and draw in the Cena fans while keeping the "fired" angle going on TV.  

Now this does not necessarily mean we will see "Juan" on TV ever, since Cena tweeted last week that he had bought tickets to tonight's RAW, so he will be at the show using the "bought a ticket" gimmick for this week at least.  Of course "Juan" could pop up on TV if they go with the usual story that goes with the mask angle, which is the heels trying to unmask the face and prove their identity, while the masked man fights to get the wrestling re-instated.  Last week's RAW was a hit, and I am usually bored to death by RAW, but I will admit they are doing some new things and I am interested to watch this week and hope they can keep up the momentum from last week.

Friday, November 26, 2010

WWE Shop Black Friday Deals

Just wanted to post a quick note to let our readers know that WWE has officially joined in on the Black Friday madness with some great deals for anyone needing to stock up on WWE gear for the holidays.  Not only is almost everything in the shop discounted, but they are adding 20% off your entire order with no restrictions.  So no matter how much or how little you order, you get 20% off.  Quite a deal when you see take in mind that just about everything is sale priced to begin with.  There are WWE T-shirts, DVD's, Action figures, hats, and even Smackdown vs. RAW 2011 on sale.  Also featured are exclusive items from John Cena, Triple H, Randy Orton, and The Miz. 

To take advantage of the 20% off sale, simply click the link below:

Take 20% Off All Orders, No Restrictions at WWEShop.com! Code: BUSTED

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

DVD Review: "Hard Knocks" Wrestling Documentary

"Hard Knocks" is a new DVD that documents various aspect of the independent wrestling scene in England.  What's nice for American fans is that many American stars are featured as they work for the promotions in England.  Featured stars are Al Snow, Mick Foley, CM Punk, Raven, D'Lo Brown, Hardcore Holly, BG James, Billy Gunn, and more.  The documentary portion of the DVD shows behind the scenes clips and interviews from various shows, and also hopeful wrestlers training and showing the difficulties of wrestling school.  While the documentary portion is rather short, the extras on the DVD make up for it with lengthy shoot style interviews with Bob "Hardcore" Holly, BG James, Al Snow, and more. 

Also the extras feature highlights from various shows, and some outtakes such as some hilarious clips of very new wrestling school students who are rather lost in what to do.  I haven't had the chance to see much from the English Indy scene, so this DVD was interesting to watch, and I did notice some of the shows had some great crowds that were very into the show which gave the shows a big time feel.  The DVD should be especially interesting to anyone that is aspiring to be a wrestler, as the documentary is very real and holds nothing back as far as how hard it is to make it in the business.  Also the veterans give tips on what it takes to make it in wrestling, which is valuable information coming from guys that have been there and done that.

The film has been nominated at various film festivals, and it is now available for purchase.  Check out the Hard Knocks trailer below, and below that you can purchase your own copy.



WWE is Bringing Back "Tough Enough"


It looks like WWE is officially bringing back the "Tough Enough" reality show that some of you may remember from a few years ago.  The show brings together hopeful WWE Superstars and Divas, and follows their experience as they train and learn the wrestling business from veteran WWE trainers.  Each week someone gets eliminated until 1 or 2 winners are finally determined.  They have used a few different formats for the show, so no word on how many winners the return of the show will have.

Past winners on the show includ John Morrison, Maven, and Jackie Gayda.  The first couple of seasons were entertaining at times, and showed fans how real wrestling is and how hard it is to even make it through the training.  In the last season they had, the show was done as a segment on Smackdown instead of a stand alone show, and it wasn't near as good.  Hopefully this time they will go back to the old format that featured the contestants going through training and interacting with WWE Stars.  If you think you've got what it takes, check out the official WWE Tough Enough casting call.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Video: Jeff Hardy Shares His Thoughts on CM Punk

A couple of months ago the hottest story making the rounds in the Internet wrestling world was the controversy surrounding Matt Hardy's release from WWE. Much of the controversy came from the story that Matt had been sent home from an international tour due to his "condition." One story making the rounds was that Hardy was passed out backstage, and CM Punk was the one that went and told on him. Matt has since moved on and many are counting down the days until he is free to go to TNA, but in this video Matt's brother and TNA World Champion Jeff Hardy unleashes his thoughts on CM Punk, and holds absolutely nothing back. There is some definite heat on Punk from the Hardy's, and this video explains some of it. Matt also makes an appearance at the end of this video, and both he and Jeff appear to be in an...."interesting state" if you will, but that is just pure speculation on my part.

**Warning** The video contains graphic language and gestures, do not view if that sort of thing bothers you.**

TIME TO CHANGE MONEY IN THE BANK?

When I read CAP ALLAN'S post it made me seriously re-visit something that I had pondered many times over the past few years; the future of the money in the bank.

Although the matches themselves are off the chart, the whole idea of a guy blindsiding another guy and stealing his title seems cheap. However, the whole concept of a title shot that could happen at anytime is intriguing. So the question is, would I keep the concept? Absolutely. However, ever since they expanded the MITB to its own PPV, the multiplicity of briefcases floating around has lessened the value of the original briefcase. Very much like the idea of 2 world titles lessens the value of the WWE championship, and essentially the whole value in being champion, period.

The same here applies to the money in the bank. If they intend on keeping the Wrestlemania MITB, and at the same time preserve the idea of a PPV centred around the concept of each brand also having a case, the proliferation of these cases floating around, has the potential to create a maelstrom of chaos.

Some things have to change in order for this 'automatic sure thing' to become more of an unpredictable wildcard.

The Royal Rumble is an interesting analogy. Back in the 90's and early 2000's, the winner of the Rumble was almost assured to be champion. Then about a few years ago, they decided that "maybe everyone that wins shouldn't win the championship".Thusly it makes it less 'predictable'.

We start with 3 years ago where John Cena makes a surprise return at the Rumble, winning it, but then gives up his title shot and loses the match at the next PPV. 2 years ago, Randy Orton wins the rumble but goes on to lose to HHH. Last year, Edge makes a surprise return to win the rumble, only to lose to chris Jericho at Wrestlemania.

I agree with this idea that everyone that wins the case shouldn't go on to win, and that it shouldn't be a simple case of 'not if' but 'when'. Of the 8 winners of the money in the bank briefcase, 7 of them have gone on to cash it in, all except Mr. Kennedy, who won the MITB in 2007. An injury forced him to vacate the case, and it was thusly passed to Edge who went on to cash it in against the Undertaker. The question is, would Mr. Kennedy have been champion if he had never suffered the injury? Would we still be having this conversation if this was the 'case'.

So what has to change?

Firstly, someone has to go on to lose his challenge for this to have any validity, and I was thinking all along that the Miz would be the one to lose. But based on the rise of The Miz over the past year, with his charismatic promos and improving in-ring work, the possibility of him becoming champion was only a matter of time.

Secondly, would it not be cool if there was 2 guys who wanted to cash their title shot in at the same time? The idea of the multiple cases causes an interesting dynamic that should be taken advantage of.

Thirdly, more challenges for possession of the cases.

and lastly, put the MITB on someone who is up and coming, and not use it as a means to an end for a feud whose time has come and passed 10 years ago (and I'm refering to you Kane).

Congrats to the Miz for making this MITB run quite memorable, and based on the events this past monday, Orton looks in line to win the rumble, and take back his title at Wrestlemania.

Time for a change with MITB?

The best RAW in a long, long, time in my opinion. Maybe the best of the year. Everyone's favorite heel, The Miz, cashed in the Money In the Bank and is the new WWE Champion. While the questions are swirling as to where the WWE will go from here with the title, I have to ask a different question, has the MITB anytime, anywhere, format run it's course?

Those in favor are going to say that it adds excitement, and that is a no-brainer. When the briefcase gets cashed in the arena gets a buzz because they know the title is about to change. Last night, I sat right up when I heard the AWESOME! And his music hit. I knew the Miz was cashing in and I was on the edge of my seat. But the way it's being done, after matches, when the champ is beaten to hell, makes me think that maybe we need a little change. Regardless of the excitement, it's usually not even a match. One or two minutes, if that, and boom! New Champ!

The flip side is to not allow the MITB winner to cash in after the champ already had a match. RVD did that years ago at One Night Stand vs. Cena. It worked and he won, with help from Edge, and the atmosphere was amazing for that match. Maybe you like that batter. I personally would rather keep the anytime, anywhere, excitement the MITB creates. But that's just me.

Orton put up one of the better fights before falling victim like all the rest. I like the concept and I don't want to change it on the surface. I think the WWE would be better served if the person cashing in doesn't ALWAYS win. How about he loses? Or he gets DQ'd? Or how about the person he's feuding with interferes, screwing him out of the title and furthering their feud? Something where it doesn't work every single time. Miz cashed and and while it created excitement, everyone knew he would win the title. I would like to think that's something that WWE would want to avoid as well.

I would love to hear some comments on this. What do you think? Should they change the rules to where its just a title match but not after the champ already had a match? Or make a behind the scenes change so that it's not a forgone conclusion that the MITB winner will eventually become champion?

The Miz Cashes In and Wins the WWE Title

Tonight's RAW was one of the best of the year, with the main hype going in being the John Cena Firing angle.  While the Cena firing delivered in my opinion Cena's best performance in years, there was a lot more going down.  Cena was able to deliver a promo that even made all of us that chant "Cena sucks!" sort of like the guy.  He was believable, and acknowledged that his main fan base are kids and women.  He got everyone involved, and brought out emotion in pretty much every fan in the arena, even if it was laughing along with those who say he sucks. 

The other main happening on RAW (which ties in with the Cena angle as well) was the anonymous GM making a Survivor Series rematch of Randy Orton defending the WWE Title against Wade Barrett.  Earlier in the night, the seeds were planted for how things would go down, as Alex Riley appeared claiming Miz had a "panic attack" backstage and would be unable to make his King of the Ring qualifying match against Ezekiel Jackson.  There was a fishy feeling to that one right away, but I believe it was WWE's way of getting everyone interested and thinking The Miz would cash in tonight. 

As Orton made his way to the ring, The Nexus attacked and injured his knee.  Orton made it to the match, and after a Cena run in from the crowd, retained his title after an RKO on Barrett.  After a brief celebration, The Miz's music hit, and right away we were in full on Money in the Bank cash in mode.  After a brief match, The Miz reversed an RKO into the Skull Crushing Finale to win his first WWE Championship.  The win makes perfect sense, as The Miz is the move over heel in WWE right now, and is ready to take that to the next level.

Tonight felt like a night WWE made some good changes, freshened things up, and maybe even gained some long term interest with the new main event picture.  Cena being gone (or the story of his comeback) will be interesting to follow, as well as Orton and the Nexus's reaction to the Miz winning the title.  I have a feeling we will have some sort of mega celebration on RAW next week, put on by Michael Cole of course.  After tonight, the Era of Awesome has arrived, but will things remain as awesome as they were tonight?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Remember When...The Undertaker Debuted at Survivor Series in 1990

With all the Survivor Series talk going on, and being this is Thanksgiving week, a Survivor Series post is most definitely in order.  Recently I wrote about the main event of Survivor Series 2010, and last year around this time I wrote about how the Survivor Series was once a Thanksgiving Tradition.  Today I look back at once of the most historical moments in Survivor Series history. 

1990 was a great time to be a WWE fan.  Back then, we only got to see the top Superstars battle it out a few times a year, which made for awesome hype and excitement.  We also got months worth of buildup which gave an energy that is lacking from today's pay per views.  One of the most talked about matches was Dusty Rhodes team of the Hart Foundation and Koko B. Ware taking on Ted Dibiase's team of Rhythm and Blues and a mystery partner.  For weeks Dibiase had promised a big, BIG surprise for the match.  As I watched the show live on Thanksgiving Eve in 1990, I remember thinking that this would be Andre the Giant's return to the ring, seeing how Dibiase kept emphasizing the word "BIG" and Dibiase had a history with Andre.

As Dibiase grabbed the mic and announced that his mystery partner was accompanied by his manager, Brother Love, I knew we were in for something new being that Brother Love hadn't managed anyone before.  "From Death Valley....The Undertaker!"  The music was fitting, the look was good, the excitement of seeing a new star was there.  As the Undertaker entered the ring and removed his hat, my first thought was "that's Mean Mark Callous from WCW!"  Knowing that this new Undertaker was someone I watched as a regular wrestler in WCW and now trying to pull off some sort of dead guy character was interesting to say the least to me as a 10 year old who wanted to believe it all.  I guess WWE was so fun at the time, it didn't bother me and it was enjoyable to see this new monster dominate in his debut.  While The Undertaker didn't win in the match, he wasn't beaten either, as he brawled with Dusty Rhodes and both were counted out after The Undertaker had made a huge impact in the match. 

Below is the classic Survivor Series match with Team Rhodes vs. Team Dibiase, featuring the historic debut of The Undertaker:

WWE: Who's Working, Who's Not

The new guy here at prowrestlingroundup.com is yours truly, CAP Allen. I'll be contributing here on at least a weekly basis, hopefully more. All you need to know is I'm going to keep you up to date with everything going on in WWE, TNA, and ROH. Enough about me. Time for my first post.

So what is working in the WWE right now? What isn't?

WADE BARRETTT is WORKING. His mic work has been great from the start, and he's improving in the ring every time out. The Cena/Barrett angle has been very good, and although Cena was "fired", I'm willing to bet this is not over and Cena will return for a final one on one match with his former "boss". In the meantime, Nexus will have to focus on Otunga, Orton, possibly Miz, and maybe R-Truth to keep going until Cena returns.

Speaking of the Miz, he's WORKING too. Everyone loves him, and don't get me wrong, I do too, but this has been a very slow rise to the top. Overall it has been well done, but I keep waiting for him to cash in the MITB, or for him to start getting clean wins over the top players, and it's just not happening.

MICHAEL COLE is WORKING. Now, before you kill me for saying that let me ask you something. Do you hate Michael Cole? Chances are the answer is yes. And guess what gang...that means he's working. You may not like Cole for the reason WWE wants you to not like him, but it really doesn't matter. There is a lot of speculation on where this is going with him. I agree, that this better be going somewhere because if this is just a heel turn for the announcer and is the way he will be from now on without this being part of any angle, then this won't be working for long. But think of all the possibilities, assuming this is an angle, that this can lead to. Cole s the GM, Cole as a member of nexus, Cole losing his job to JR, the Cole and Miz dynamic is interesting as well. So, while you may not like Michael Cole, what's going on with him is interesting and tonight I will be tuning in partly to see if something happens with him.

DANIEL BRYAN is WORKING. This is the wrestling geek in me speaking right now. I watch WWE to be entertained but I also watch because I like to watch good solid wrestling matches. Sadly, those matches are far and few between these days. He will probably never be a world champ, but the guy gets it done in the ring and that has to count for something.

R-TRUTH is WORKING. He kind of is and isn't. The gimmick is awful and he needs something to happen. Hopefully the backstage conversations he's been having will lead to something, hopefully a heel turn.

SHEAMUS is NOT WORKING. I don't think this will last long. He's a Vince guy and they love him so no real worries here. Hopefully, the rub he gave Morrison at SS will help Morrison, and let Sheamus move on to something more important.

KANE is NOT WORKING. A couple months ago he was doing some of his best work ever, but not anymore. They have to get the title off him soon. Paul Bearer was a nice touch but even that is not helping. Kane got a nice title run as a tip of the cap to a great career. But it's time to move on.

EDGE is NOT WORKING. Pains me to say it, because I like so much of what Edge has done but ever since he came back at the Rumble, he just hasn't done anything that interests me. The feud with Jericho should have been epic, but it was just OK. He's a heel, a face, a heel, a face...ugh. And the crap on Smackdown with Bearer in the wheelchair made me cringe as I watched Edge act like a fool.

ALBERTO DEL RIO is WORKING. They love him, I love him, and if you don't, you should love him. You can see him getting better in the ring and his mic skills are great. Just change the ring gear, man. Really. Tell me he doesn't look a little awkward looking with that speedo. He's a pants guy.

BIG SHOW is WORKING. He could be champ at any time due to his size alone. At a moment's notice the WWE could decide to push him as unbeatable for a month and put him in a championship match at the next pay per view. He's playing the comedic face and the Rey Mysterio sympathizer like Batista used to do. And it's working for me right now.

CODY RHODES is WORKING. The "dashing" gimmick is just OK but he's running with it and showing he can get it done in the ring. He needs a program.

DREW MCINTYRE is NOT WORKING. He's lost all his steam. He can wrestle and talk but it seems like creative can't find something for him to sink his teeth into. Why did they bail on the Rhodes/McIntyre tag team so quickly? They could have been Morrison/Miz, maybe even better.

JACK SWAGGER is NOT WORKING. See above. What happened to this guy? he was pushed to the moon and now he's in the lower mid-card area. And that "mascot"? Really? Thankfully that's over. One side note, have you noticed the lisp? It's pretty much gone.

There are others I can go into, but we will be here all day. There are guys that are doing some good things but WWE creative seems to be putting most of their effort into one or two things at a time now, which leaves everyone else just kind of there. The major angles are Cena/Orton/Nexus on RAW, and Kane/Bearer/Edge/Taker on Smackdown. One is doing well (RAW) and the other isn't. But tonight is a night-after-a pay-per-view edition of RAW so hopefully we'll get some new feuds and some fresh storylines.

That will do it for my first post. Hope you liked it. I will be back to discuss RAW tomorrow.

John Cena Fired, But Does Anyone Believe It?

The 2010 Survivor Series has come and gone and basically going into the PPV there was only 1 match that had interest going in (thanks in part to Roddy Piper's awesome promo from last Monday,) and that was Randy Orton defending the WWE Tittle against Wade Barrett with special referee John Cena.  The big stipulation of course was the "Free or Fired" situation, which was if Barrett won, Cena would be free from being a Nexus member, and if Orton won Cena would be "fired" from WWE.  Well as Cena told us Monday, he indeed called it down the middle, and counted the three count for Orton to win and retain the WWE Title.

As I watched the PPV, the hope many people had was this was finally the big heel turn for Cena that would ignite something fresh in WWE's main event picture.  I figured something wild would go down, maybe Cena screwing over Orton and shocking everyone, but no such luck. Now WWE's hope is everyone buying the fact that Cena is "fired" and tuning in to see what happens next.  Cena sold it hard, looking sad in the ring after the match and even doing a walk around the entire arena, as a supposed farewell to all the fans. 

My big question is, does anyone even halfway believe this story at all?  I mean most of us know it's all a work, but this one is hard to even suspend our belief on.  If the story was realistic, Cena would tell the anonymous GM to shove it up his ass and that if he got fired, he'd be heading to a little promotion in Florida for some.....Total Nonstop Action.  Now THAT would be realism, NOT Cena walking around moping and crying like he's a nobody in WWE, and he has nowhere else to go if he's fired.  Anyone with half a brain would think how dumb it would be for Cena to be fired, being he is a huge star like him or not.  He sells merchandise like no one else right now, and has been a main eventer for years.  I could see him coming back as soon as tonight on RAW really, as we can see from a mile away that something will happen to bring him back.  Take note that the anonymous GM never chimed in tonight to officially "fire" Cena, so that door is left open for RAW to set something up there. 

A Cena heel turn would have been nice, but WWE is obviously still afraid to lose all those merchandise sales, so I'm predicting we will see another lame "shocking" story that will bring Cena back, he will squash the Nexus, and WWE will continue on with the Cenation crap for as long as humanly possible.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Luke Gallows, Shad Gaspard, Jillian, and More Released by WWE

In one of WWE's traditional release sprees, coined "Black Friday," WWE has released and wished the the best in their future endeavors to Luke Gallows, Shad Gaspard, Vance Archer, Caylen Croft, Tiffany, and Jillian.  WWE was about due for another big cleanup, and most of these stars have probably been borderline for awhile now.  Gaspard and Archer are two big guys that probably haven't reached their potential in the business, and it's possible that we may at least see Archer back in TNA where he had a decent run under his real name "Lance Hoyt."  Gaspard's team with JTG, "Cryme Tyme," was over for a while but without someone with the creativity of a Paul Heyman or someone similar behind it, it pretty much went nowhere.

Tiffany has been on the chopping block ever since a reported incident at a hotel with her real life husband Drew McIntyre, so that release is no surprise.  Jillian Hall has been used in her comedy role for years now, and it got stale long ago.  She may also be able to find a more creative role if TNA comes calling.  Croft barely made any impact in WWE, and it's a shock he even made the main roster really.  Gallows had the biggest recent role in WWE, as part of the Straight Edge Society.  He's been around WWE for years now, first doing the fake Kane gimmick that probably none of you remember, then as Festus in the team with Jessie, and finally as Gallows.  The S.E.S. didn't have a long enough run, and probably should have been much bigger, but it looks like there was nothing left for Gallows once the group was split up.

Should be interesting to see if any of these talents get interest from TNA, and also if WWE is done cleaning house or if this is only the beginning.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Old School RAW - For the Win...Until Next Week

The Old School RAW was probably the best RAW of the year, kind of sad in a way since we know that next week we'll be back to the same old crap.  WWE really went all out, bringing back the old ring, attires, sets, legends etc.  It was crazy to see all the old 90's stuff back, and it actually felt really fresh.  The same old crap we see every week has gotten REALLY stale, so seeing the old stuff was like a breath of fresh air.  Some of the old features they used even made me wonder why they don't still use them, such as the picture in picture promos like the one Kofi Kingston did.  This was a staple of the 80's and early 90's, and gives guys a chance to get some talking in and make sense of what they're doing.  Also the old set was nice, with the giant RAW letters and just a few fireworks.  We don't need the exact same stage and effects EVERY SINGLE week.

Another thing that majorly stood out, was Roddy Piper delivering on the mic like he's done many times in the past.  His Piper's Pit with John Cena, Randy Orton, and Wade Barret actually made me care about the angle for the first time.  Piper is gold and knows how to get a story over, which is why he should be in a regular role on the Pit to help get stories over.  Speaking of delivering, Jim Ross returned to the broadcast booth as a guest commentator on the Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger match, and immediately had me thinking how SOMEone had to wake up and get JR back in the permanent position he deserves instead of sitting on the sidelines. 

Not everything worked (Mae Young's segment felt a bit forced, but we can't expect much more from Mae these days) but overall it was a very fun show, proving WWE could still entertain us if they try.  The TV-PG thing was pushed way more than it has in a long time, with various cuss words being used here and there......which is nice for adults who don't want to watch a total kiddie show.  I would've like to have seen a legends battle royal on the show, since guys like Hacksaw Jim Duggan, Tony Atlas, and Tatanka were there and geared up and ready, but only made cameos.

I hate to think of the usual crap RAW's returning next week, but in my opinion, if nothing else tonight proved that the legends can be used to enhance what the new guys are doing and can help keep things interesting rather than the same old RAW is BORE that we normally get.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

AN ESSAY: REFORMING THE WWE PPV SYSTEM

I remember back in glory days (and yes I remember them, the 80's), when there was just the big 4; Wrestlemania, Summerslam, survivor series and the Royal Rumble. However, as WCW came into the picture, the number of PPVs started increasing dramatically, to the point when just over 5 years ago, there was 14-15 PPVs. There was a time when these PPVs mattered. There was a time when somebody actually cared. The problem is even though they got the hint, and reduced this number back to 12, we still have a plethora of useless pay-per-views, that all of us can't seem to get enough deep wallets to pay for.

So, about 15 months ago give or take month, the WWE in all its wisdom decided to start changing the names of their PPVs and then adding others, Out were Backlash, judgement Day, Armadeddon, Cyber Sunday (and survivor series), which surprisingly re-appeared (probably after insane backlash from fans, who didn't want a classic PPV slashed) . In was Extreme rules, money in the bank, hell in a cell, TLC, elimination chamber, fatal 4 way, and bragging rights.

I'm all for change. Lack of change causes stagnation (look at the world title picture on RAW for the last year and you'll know what I'm talking about). The problem is the change has to be for the better. There tends to be large emphasis on Gimmick matches or thematic ideas. The problem with this is that some of them work and others do not. Especially when they're pushed to the limit. So I've decided that after doing several Internet vlogs on this subject I thought I'd compile my thoughts on this subject and vent my spleen for all time.

Too many PPVs. Not only do I shell out $39.99 each month and $50 in April, what if I want to go see RAW or Smackdown, or even say, buy merchandise?No wonder Vince is a billionaire. If you want fans to pay their hard earned money, then at least spend the time to make the angles work. 2 weeks between Hell in a Cell and another PPV is is simply obscene. At this rate no wonder their fan base has to emigrated to the UFC (a fact they are in denial of), or streaming it on the Internet. The lack of proper story telling is also feeding this debacle, but that is a story for another time. So because I'm the Antichrist of wisdom, what I suggest is eliminating 2 of
the PPVs and go with a strong 10 PPV system. We start with a strong backbone of the original 4, make these strong and the rest will follow.

SUMMERSLAM
SURVIVOR SERIES
ROYAL RUMBLE
WRESTLEMANIA

We know why Summerslam and Wrestlemania succeed they are big money events and should be booked well in advance, but royal rumble and survivor series are successful for other reasons, mainly because of the purity of the concepts, being original,cool ideas, that you don't get to see very often, and because of what is at stake, the matches are all the more attractive.The Royal Rumble being the one event that even non-wrestling fans will try and catch.

Having said that, I think certain ideas can be tweaked, including the royal rumble. Remember back in WCW that crazy double ring? with 50 men inside?Imagine the rumble was bigger, there was a double ring, it went on for longer and was more intriguing? The chance of this happening is not likely, mainly because the WWE tends to ignore or just out right defecate all over any concept or idea that someone else came up with. Remember Raw Roulette? They have another name for that; it was called the Halloween Havoc pay per view in WCW. And why they even chose to name one of their own PPVs after a WCW pay-per-view (the great american bash), maybe because Vince is a crazy patriot or whatever, but for some reason, that seemed to be a PPV that the WWE could never get right and came to be known playfully as "the Great American Trash", because, no matter what , it sucked year after year. I'm glad it's gone.

SURVIVOR SERIES
I'm glad that they decided to keep Survivor Series, because the idea of elimination style matches is a cool idea, and they should really reserve it for this pay-per-view. All the matches should be elimination style. The Bragging rights idea is cool, but the way it's executed is just garbage. There is no intense rivalry between the two brands because superstars switch shows every 4 months anyway. There is nothing at stake. So why should we care? But with the right
backdrop, such as a Survivor Series elimination style match one brand could be pitted against the other, in an entertaining match for the midcarders, and still captivating if it is booked right. Creating a 7-on-7 elimination match as one of the main matches one month before a PPV who's main theme is elimination style matches, is just poor booking in my opinion.

Another idea would be to eliminate the elimination chamber pay-per-view. Why do you say? Recently the elimination chamber has been used in a messily thrown together shmozes to determine the number one contenders, and out of the blue champions, totally shaking up the title picture for no reason other than they can. The idea of this PPV centered around this concept, so close to wrestlemania is definite overkill for me. However, it made me think of how the elimination chamber match began, and its debut at survivor series. What a match! The idea of 2 brands in there each with their own elimination chamber match, is nothing to be ashamed of, every now and then a little plunder is cathartic, nonetheless. It was a cool match and it's an elimination style match, so the idea of a PPV centered around it is moot. It should return as the centrepiece of survivor series. There's no need for a PPV centered around this idea.

Do I have to site TNA: Lockdown as the reason why the concept of a steel cage centred PPV is wrong? Too much plunder. After the 3rd match, the crowd doesn't care.Do I have to ask why fatal fourway centered pay perviews is not a good idea? We see it all the time. Every week. We see TRIPLE THREATS all the time, why not call a PPV TRIPLE THREAT? sounds cooler than fatal fourway, but woops. You said threat. This is PG product. Can't let that happen. However, there are some ideas that are thematic and have worked well and proven that they sell. They are the following:

MONEY IN THE BANK
NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS

The money in the bank is a huge centrepiece at wrestlemania, and although you're diluting it with its own PPV, the matches are just off the chart, and never fail to disappoint. Keeping it far away from wrestlemania as possible will increase the excitement.

A PPV centered around every champion defending their title is a novel idea, as long as on every PPV every macth isn't for a title. The WWE has been guilty of this over the years.

THE RETURN OF THE KING
One PPV concept that really worked back in the day was THE KING OF THE RING mainly because you rarely got to see tournaments play out, and all the while with something at stake.
However, this time, I think they can tweak it to really mean something. How about the idea that the champions that night have to face 2 other men to keep their title? and when it's all said and done, the tWo champions face each other to be the last man standing, the king of the ring, the undisputed champion. Screw the crown and the throne and the sceptre.Switch it up. Make it cool.

I was a big fan of the extreme rules idea, mainly because you don't see crazy stipulations all the time, especially in the PG rated, post ECW era (or if you simple can't watch TNA). There can be one PPV where there are insane stipulations and high risk matches, like tables ladders chairs, hardcore. This is where TLC belongs, not in its own PPV. The WWE are trying to spread their ideas too thin. Taking every concept they have and trying to push it to the max. Unfortunately, not all of them work. Extreme Rules has the potential to be a great PPV to look forward to if the afforementioned craziness is kept to a minimum leading up to this event.

There are 2 PPVs that i would like to see the WWE bring back, the first is BACKLASH, because I loved the name, and the theme of the PPV was Wrestlemania return matches, and the end of feuds, and the other was NEW YEARS REVOLUTION. I loved the name of this pay-per-view, so appropriate for January, and quite possibly they could use the name as the main theme, where the theme of the pay-per-view revolves or changes year to year. So over the year my PPV schedule would look as follows:

MAY - BACKLASH
JUNE - KING OF THE RING
JULY - EXTREME RULES
AUG - SUMMERSLAM
SPT - NO PPV
OCT - MONEY IN THE BANK
NOV - SURVIVOR SERIES
DEC - NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS
JAN - NEW YEARS REVOLUTION
FEB - ROYAL RUMBLE
MAR - NO PPV
APR - WRESTLEMANIA
 
 
That's it. I'm dry, but I'm always finding new ways to get agitated by the WWE's lack of regard for the fans money, and seemingly the fans lack of regard for their own money. These changes are not likely to be implemented but they sure would go a long way in freshening up the product, but as we all know a good PPV starts with good TV. Good TV starts with good story telling, and stars. STARS. We don't have very many. Don't get me started.Keeping the PPV system exciting is just one gear in the machine, but if the aforementioned isn't addressed, we are going be watching the same thing for a long time to come.