Saturday, January 29, 2011

Huge Spoiler: Two Former World Champions Set to Return in the Royal Rumble

**Warning, spoilers ahead, don't read if you wan't to be surprised**

We are only a day away from the 2011 Royal Rumble, and in what I would say is a major surprise it is being confirmed that both Kevin Nash and Booker T will be returning to WWE in the Royal Rumble match.  This is VERY uncharacteristic of WWE since usually they believe it has to be ALL young guys ALL the time, but I'm all for mixing things up and getting some veterans back in the mix. 

Of course people will complain that Nash can't work etc. etc......but he's one of the best mic guys to this day and can help get stories over without a doubt, and is also in the best shape of his career.  We've also heard an unconfirmed rumor that Nash has dyed his hair black, leading to rumors of him reviving his "Diesel" character which he worked as during his initial WWE run in the 90's.  I personally don't think a Diesel is happening, but rather that Nash is trying to bring back a younger look to fit in with the younger WWE if he did indeed dye his hair.

Rumors on Booker T's return have been on and off for about a year now, but it looks like it's finally happening this time.  Booker cancelled some appearances he had going on this weekend which started the rumors, and now we know the reason why as he is also set to return in the Rumble.  Booker has been away from WWE for a few years now, so he's coming in fresh, but it will be interesting to see how WWE uses him.

Of course I believed that both of these guys were a lock to be returning to TNA, since TNA is already in the process of bringing back the Main Event Mafia and both Nash and Booker T were founding members of that group.  Now TNA will have to put together whoever they can without two of the big players if they still plan on making the group work.

So with this big news going down, the hype is officially on the Rumble.  It will be interesting to see WWE debut the first ever 40 man Royal Rumble, and it looks like we know 36 of the 40 counting Kevin Nash and Booker T.  Be sure to check out Cap Allen's post for a great full preview of the 2011 Royal Rumble.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

2011 Royal Rumble Primer

I love the Royal Rumble. Outside of Wrestlemania, it’s the best event of the year, in my opinion. This year WWE has not done a very good job of hyping it up. They are marketing it as the “Biggest” Rumble ever. They are trying to sell it on the fact that it has 40 entrants. The problem is having 40 people doesn’t increase the very small number of people that can actually win the Rumble.

The Rumble will be won by one of these guys: Mysterio, Cena, Del Rio, Sheamus, Triple H, Morrison, Punk, or Barrett. That’s it. Just 8 men. The other 32 have no chance. If you want to throw in Big Show, McIntyre, Kofi, and Swagger, go ahead. That’s still only 12 out of 40. And those last few are a bit of a stretch. I really can’t see Swagger, Kofi, or McIntyre winning it. So let’s not bother with them. But I am on the record mentioning them so if one of them wins, I’m still right!

Let’s look at the contenders:

BIG SHOW: He almost was on the previous list of guys that have a very slim shot because, well, he has a very slim shot. He has nothing going on now except that he’s big and gets thrown into random situations and knocks people out. Oh joy.

REY MYSTERIO: He’s kind of a dark horse. He’s won it before and still is very popular. But we’ve seen the "biggest little man" act before and we’ve seen it result in a Rumble win. It was nice and felt special. Now, it would be the same thing again. It would be a big surprise if Rey pulled it off.

JOHN CENA: Ugh. Please no. PLEASE NOOOOOO. This may be the biggest Rumble but it’s lacking star power. Who else is it going to be? The seeds are already being planted with the Miz, and he’s starting to focus on the Rumble, which means Cena is probably the favorite. I know, I know…but he is.

SHEAMUS: A couple months ago I could see it. But he hasn’t been made to look strong since winning the King of The Ring. He has decisively lost to Morrison a number of times. It would make little since for him to win. He’s coming off a tag team win this past Monday night but that does little to change my mind.

CM PUNK: Ok, he might do it. He’s a star and a former champion and the Rumble is one of the few things he has not won. Plus he has the Nexus in there to help him out. He has little heat with the Miz but Miz might not be champion when Wrestlemania comes around. The only other thing Punk hasn’t done besides win the Rumble, is main event Wrestlemania. After Cena, I think Punk has the best chance.

WADE BARRETT: It’s not that he doesn’t have the talent, the heat, or the endorsement of McMahon He has all that stuff. He will have the Corre to help him, like Punk will have his guys. (They couldn’t come up with something better than Corre? Really?) But he’s young. He’s not as established as Punk. He’s got plenty of time to win titles and Rumbles. And he’s definitely not ready to main event Wrestlemania. I would be surprised if he wins it.

ALBERTO DEL RIO: See above. He will probably be a champion before Barrett and has a better chance than Barrett because he’s been wrestling a lot longer. But he’s still not established enough. I’d give an outside shot, better than Sheamus, Show, and Mysterio, actually. But can you see him walking (or driving) out last at Wrestlemania? Me neither.

TRIPLE H: OK, I’d be in favor of Triple H coming back and winning it. I’d prefer that over Cena winning it. It would a bit of a payback for HHH to come out last and eliminate Cena, since Cena did it to him a few years ago. There’s a lot against it, though. Does WWE really want to continue this trend of guys coming back from injury and winning the Rumble as a “surprise entrant”? Wouldn’t it make sense for HHH to target Sheamus when he comes back? Is HHH even going to come back and be in the Rumble? Triple H has been quoted recently talking about winding his career down and not having to be champion to still be important. And he’s going to come back after months and win the Rumble and main event Mania? I just have my doubts. If he’s in it I think he's right with Punk as a big favorite behind Cena. But that’s a big IF and there would be lots of issues to deal with afterward.

JOHN MORRISON: Another sleeper pick. I for one, would love for Morrison to win this thing. What a breath of fresh air it would be to see Morrison win it. He’s got a decent shot. I see him on the same level as Del Rio right now. Think Jeff Hardy a few years back, before he won the belt. He should get some title shots in 2011 and will probably come up short for awhile, until he finally gets the belt. He will get it at some point. I believe that. I don’t think he wins the Rumble though. Like Del Rio, I just can’t see him main eventing Wrestlemania. Not yet. But, I will go on record right now and say I think he wins the Money in the Bank this year, assuming they have it Mania. If not, then at the MITB pay per view.

EDGE, ZIGGLER, MIZ, and ORTON: I would not be surprised if, say, Miz loses to Orton and then is in the Rumble and wins it. I could see any of these 4 doing that. And if that does happen, if one of the losers in the 2 championship matches somehow gets in the Rumble, that guy is my official pick. Just wanted to throw that out there.

OK, I’ve analyzed it. And it’s time for a pick. With no inside info or anything, I’m going to pick CM PUNK to win the 2011 Royal Rumble. Which means Miz will lose the belt to Cena between now and Wrestlemania. And to be honest, I’m going with Punk purely because I just can’t pick Cena. I just can’t.

Who is your pick?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Who will topple Immortal?

In the past few months, since their formation at last October's "Bound for Glory" PPV, Immortal has dominated TNA both in and out of the ring. Despite Mr Anderson's unexpected world title triumph over "The Anti-Christ" Jeff Hardy at this month's "Genesis" PPV, the huge heel stable holds the TV, Tag Team and X Division belts.

With most of TNA's gold around the waists of Immortal and with Bischoff stacking the odds against Mr Anderson, in order to ensure a speedy transition of the World Title back to Jeff Hardy, who will rise up and topple the despotic supergroup?

The first option I would instigate to garner fan interest would be to have cracks emerge between Hogan's boys (Bischoff, the Hardy Brothers, Jeff Jarrett, Abyss) and Flair's Fortune (AJ Styles, Kaz, Beer Money). With Fortune now holding all of Immortal's gold and with Styles clearly begging for a chance to be the "top dog" in the company once more, a division would be easy to accomplish storyline wise and could be further fuelled by Flair and Hogan's long standing bad blood. This option would accomplish many things in TNA: elevating Fortune to be THE dominant group in the company; prove the younger guys have the edge on the relative veterans of Immortal; and a great way to remove Hogan/Bischoff from the company (at least from an on-screen role).

The second option I could see TNA more likely to go with would be the return of another powerful group: Main Event Mafia. With the brilliant storyline that is straying between real life/fiction between Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett, TNA seems to be edging towards a full blown war between Angle and Jarrett's "security blanket" Immortal. As Kurt is heavily outgunned at the moment, it would make sense for him to call on people he trusts to have his back and assist in the destruction of Jarrett/Immortal. Who better to fit this criteria than Scott Steiner, Sting, Booker T, Kevin Nash (?) and maybe even Samoa Joe? With this option TNA does run the risk of undermining the abilities of its younger stars like Styles, Matt Morgan and the MCMG, but the stable battle would be extremely entertaining and could open the door for Samoa Joe to return to the main event scene and even for Fortune to assist in Immortal's downfall, maybe at this year's "Lockdown".

One thing about the Immortal formation however, is that TNA has given itself a plethora of story strands it could choose and a mulitude of "dream" matches/mic showdowns that could occur (Steiner/Flair "shoot" promo anyone?!).

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

"Macho Man" Randy Savage Returns to WWE Games in "All Stars"

The upcoming video game "WWE All Stars" just got a major boost in interest, as part of the announcement of the initial roster was the one and only "Macho Man" Randy Savage.  If I'm not mistaken, this is the first WWE game to feature the Macho Man since the "Royal Rumble" game from the mid 90's on Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo.

As a bonus we get a promo from the Macho Man himself that features such great delivery, it once again shows us how certain legends should still be delivering on TV and showing the new era how it's done.  Macho's first interaction with WWE in years was in 2010 when Mattel announced we would FINALLY be getting a line of Macho Man figures, which has been probably THE most requested figure over the years but couldn't get finalized until recently for one reason or another.  With Macho getting figures and now involved in games.....does this mean a WWE Hall of Fame induction or even a return to WWE TV is out of the question?

The WWE All Stars game itself is an over the top arcade style game, which means realism isn't what's being aimed for here.  Think of "NBA Jam's" over the top antics for a basketball game, only in wrestling form.  The characters are exaggerated, as are the moves, so this isn't the type of simulation style that WWE's "Smackdown vs. RAW" series goes for.  I really prefer the more realistic wrestling games so this All Stars game looks like something I may play for awhile and have some fun, but may not have much long term interest in. 

The partial roster is listed below, followed by the great Macho Man promo along with footage from the game.  "WWE All Stars" is in stores March 29, 2011.

John Cena

The Rock

Andre the Giant

Bret Hart

Rey Mysterio

Triple H

John Morrison

"Macho Man" Randy Savage

Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat

Big Show

Kofi Kingston


The Million Dollar Man (GameStop Exclusive)

Ted Dibiase (GameStop Exclusive)

Monday, January 17, 2011

The 2011 Royal Rumble Set to Feature 40 Superstars

In a bit of a surprise being the event is less than 2 weeks away, news broke today that this year's Royal Rumble will feature a record 40 WWE Superstars.  This opens up a few possibilities as far as adding more excitement and unexpectedness to the match, although the small group of guys who have a chance at winning will probably remain the same.

The Royal Rumble began in 1988 as a special aired on USA, featured 20 Superstars and was won by "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan.  The first Rumble mainly featured mid card guys, and was seen as a bit of a test run for the event.  In 1989 the event was bumped to a 30 man match, and featured the top stars of the era such as Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, Big John Studd, Ted Dibiase etc.  The 30 man number has been tradition for over 20 years now, so this years event is quite and upgrade.  Adding 10 more to the match opens up the door for possible legend appearances, or maybe the debut of a debuting star or rookie from Florida Championship Wrestling.

The other interesting detail will be if WWE alters the interval time for entering Superstars.  In the traditional years a new Superstar entered the match ever 2 minutes, but the interval time has varied over the years from 1 minute to 90 seconds.  With 40 Superstars the intervals could be less and the match could still go a decent amount of time.

This change may add a needed upgrade to the event, since it's remained the same for years now, although as I mentioned, many fans may already realize who does and doesn't have a chance of winning going in.  1992 was the best Royal Rumble of all time in my opinion being it featured an awesome array of top names, many of who had a chance of winning.  Ric Flair entered at number 3  in 1992 and went on to win the match and the WWE Championship, and I don't believe I've seen a better Rumble yet, although there have been a few over the years that were quite entertaining.  With the slump WWE is in, change is good, and hopefully this change will make for a better overall Rumble.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Val Venis Shoots on the Hardy's and More

For those who are unaware, former WWE star Val Venis has been on a crusade as of late to tear apart and trash Matt Hardy and virtually everyone he is associated with, including his brother Jeff.  Val has been voicing his opinions on his Twitter page on Matt's talent, his background, the way he presents himself online, and everything else about the Hardy's careers. 

Now Val has taken things a step further, as he posted the following video tonight, where he once again trashes the Hardys, and even head Smackdown writer Michael Hayes who was influential in the early WWE careers of the Hardys.  Val has also trashed the Hardy's "OMEGA" promotion that they ran in their years prior to WWE, and has been rumored to possibly start again in the future.  Val has endorsed the promotion "Elite Xtreme Wrestling" that he works for in Arizona, claiming it features real pro wrestling unlike OMEGA's "trampoline backyard wrestling." 

Matt Hardy has yet to comment directly about this situation, claiming he won't respond to negativity, but Venis has been in a war with Hardy fans for over a week now, and things are sure to heat up once this video makes the rounds across the net:

For Val Venis fans in Arizona, he will be appearing at the big EXW "Bad Intentions" show taking place this weekend in Prescott, Arizona.  Venis will be challenging for the promotions heavyweight title.  Also on the card are former WWE star and Tough Enough Trainer Bill Demott, and former TNA star "Rellik."   More information on the official Elite Xtreme Wrestling website.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Don't Miss Out on Ring Of Honor

Not much is mentioned about Ring of Honor and it's a shame because ROH deserves better. If you have HDNet and have never checked out ROH, take my advice and do yourself a favor and see some of the best in-ring action the sport has to offer.

From Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson), to Desmond Wolfe (Nigel Mcguiness), to CM Punk, to Samoa Joe, to Christopher Daniels (who has returned)to the newly signed Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, the ROH product is about one thing - wrestling.

ROH will be criticized because the product is almost TOO wrestling oriented. Recently ROH has tried to add more interview time and develop storylines but it largely has not changed, and that is a good thing.

In a two hour WWE or TNA show we hardly get more than 30 - 40 minutes of actual in-ring action. ROH usually surpasses that number in a one hour time frame. The guys to really keep an eye out for, if you want a five star match, are Roderick Strong, Eddie Edwards, and Davey Richards. Richards reminds me of a Benoit/Lance Storm combination in the ring. If you get a chance to see either Richards vs. Tyler Black (WWE development talent Seth Rollins in FCW) match in 2010, they are as good as, if not better, than any match you saw in '10.

The reason why I'm saying all this is because time is running out for ROH on HDNet, and therefore running out on you to see ROH. The contract is up in April and ROH will be without a TV home. Hopefully they will get a new network and continue to be on the air, but if not, use the last few months to catch ROH, if you can. You won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Shawn Michaels: First Inductee into 2011 Hall of Fame

It was announced Monday Night that Shawn Michaels would be the inaugural name for this year's class of Hall of Famers. No one deserves this honor quite like the Showstopper, the Main Event -- Mr. Wrestlemania himself, Shawn Michaels. He has a 20-year storied career like no other, and trying to list why he should be inducted into the WWE's version of Cooperstown is bound to leave out some of his amazing stats. But here goes nothing: Grand Slam Champion. Winner of Wrestlemania XII Iron Man Match. DX Founder. Was in the first Hell in the Cell match. The list goes on.

All you really need to know is that when Shawn enters the ring, he will give you a show that you have never seen before. Why? Because he can.

Congrats, Shawn, for an amazing accomplishment to an even more stellar career. Can't wait to see you make another Wrestlemania moment in April.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Matt Hardy Debuts, Mr. Anderson Wins Gold at TNA Genesis

TNA Genesis felt like a bit of a reboot/fresh start for the company as every title changed hands and the much anticipated debut of Matt Hardy took place.   I personally was surprised that Hardy debuted with such little fanfare, as there wasn't a huge amount of buildup for RVD's mystery opponent.  I knew Hardy might be an option but I figured he would come in with a lot more hype,and a lot more intrigue surrounding if Matt would side with or against his brother Jeff.  As it stands now, Matt (with a new dread locked look) defeated RVD and will side with Jeff for now in Immortal. 

The other big occurrence was the impromptu match between Mr. Anderson and Jeff Hardy for the TNA Title.  Anderson defeated Matt Morgan to become the number 1 contender, but Eric Bischoff came out following the match to tell Anderson that his match would take place right then.  Jeff Hardy came out in street clothes and smoking a cigarette (to no doubt once again put across to fans how bad of a heel he really is) and made it look like he was in for an easy win.  Anderson kept kicking out and coming back, and eventually scored the pinfall with the "Mic Check" after multiple run ins from Mick Foley, Ric Flair, Matt Hardy, RVD, Bischoff, etc. and is the new TNA Champion.

TNA starts 2011 with all new champions in Beer Money as the new tag team champs defeating the Motor City Machine Guns, Abyss (who replaced AJ Styles due to injury) winning the TV Title over Doug Williams, and Kazarian as X-Division Champ over Jay Lethal.

Now the questions begin as to where they go now.  Will Hogan be back in the picture soon?  Immortal seems to lose some steam without Hogan as their main leader.  Will Matt Hardy spark some interest?  And can Mr. Anderson do the job as the top face and champion for the company?  We will begin to see some answers as TNA tapes Impact tomorrow in Orlando which will begin airing this Thursday on Spike TV.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Alberto Del Rio - WWE's Next Headline Star

Since Alberto Del Rio's debut last year, he has quickly made an impact and is already a major player in WWE.  Unlike most new talents these days who have to start at the bottom and work their way up slowly, Del Rio seemed to jump right in to some major feuds and get a major push.  One major reason for this may be that unlike most new talents that come from WWE's Florida Championship Wrestling, Alberto Del Rio is no rookie in the wrestling business.

Alberto Del Rio is actually a 10 year veteran in wrestling, wrestling the majority of his career as "Dos Caras Jr." around the world.  Del Rio is actually the son of Mexican wrestling legend Dos Caras, and the nephew of the legendary Mil Mascaras.  Del Rio even competed under his mask in Florida and in dark matches before finally unmasking for his new character.  Del Rio also has a legit MMA record of 9 wins and 5 losses, all of which were fought with the Dos Caras mask on.

As Del Rio has established himself as a major player in WWE, the signs are starting to appear that WWE is ready to elevate him to main event status.  This past Monday, many of us questioned why Alberto Del Rio randomly had a match on RAW against R Truth when Del Rio is a Smackdown star.  Well no real explanation was given, but it was an attempt to get Del Rio over to the fans on RAW and hopefully want to watch him on Smackdown.  Then last night on NXT, Del Rio's personal ring announcer requested to take his place in the battle royal, which booking wise was a way for Del Rio to not have to lose and look bad in the match. 

Del Rio's first big feud has been with Rey Mysterio from the get go, and with things likely wrapping up soon between the two, it's a safe bet that Del Rio will be pushed as the rich, arrogant World Champion that everyone wants to see beat.  It's smart business, and Del Rio has the "it" factor to pull it off.  So don't be surprised if Alberto Del Rio is the top guy on Smackdown within the next 6 months in my opinion.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

R.I.P. Ruth Bollea (Hulk Hogan's Mother)

Our condolences go out to Hulk Hogan who lost his mother Ruth on New Years Eve, she was 88 years old.  For any of us that are old school fans who group up in the Hulkamania era, Hulk's parents were seen the very night Hulkamania was born on January 23, 1984.  As Hulk celebrated backstage with Mean Gene, his parents Peter and Ruth Bollea were seen congratulating their son as his monumental win (see picture) 

Through the years, as Hulk's legend grew and more documentaries and books about his life were written, Ruth was seen regularly talking about her son and his life.  Hulk stated on his Twitter page that his mom was his biggest fan, and it had to be even harder being it fell on a holiday.

Once again PWR sends our condolences to the Hulkster in this rough time.