Saturday, December 28, 2013

AJ Styles Set to Return to Ring of Honor

AJ Styles Ring of HonorThe ongoing saga of AJ Styles' contract situation with TNA is something that has played out over the last few months on TV, but behind the scenes the situation has been more than just a TV angle.  While Styles won the TNA title then "left" the promotion afterward, he has still been appearing in vignettes and touring the world with the TNA belt which looked to be leading to some sort of dual champion situation.  It's been known for months that Styles' contract ran out a while back, but he signed an extension which kept him working through December for the company; now that the extension has run out, it appears Styles really is gone for the time being and is officially making a return to his roots at Ring of Honor.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Huge Rumor: Batista Set to Return to WWE?

Batista WWE ReturnEver since Batista departed WWE in 2010, it seems like every few months a rumor about him returning pops up.  This is especially true during the buildup months to WrestleMania every year, where Batista's name is included along with a host of others as possibly making returns at the big show.  While rumors of a Batista return were still active just a few months ago when Batista visited WWE"s performance center, a leak of information occurred recently that seems to confirm that Batista will indeed be making a return to WWE in early 2014.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

John Cena Saved the RAW Ending, but WWE Fans are Demanding Change

John Cena Daniel Bryan RAWThis past Monday's RAW finally stirred up some interest in what has been a very stale WWE for the past few months in my opinion.  Same old stories, same characters, same lack of anything edgy.  It all came to a breaking point Monday when WWE tried to force ANOTHER John Cena vs. Randy Orton match down our throats as THE biggest match ever....but the fans were having none of it and are rejecting what WWE gives them more loud and clear than ever.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

R.I.P. Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon

R.I.P. Mad Dog VachonWWE Hall of Famer and one of the true old school wild men of wrestling, Maurice "Mad Dog" Vachon has passed away at the age of 84.  Vachon was the exact type of wrestler that we often question as to why they don't seem to exist anymore; wild brawlers that can literally strike fear into the heart of fans due to the realism and brutality on display.

Many may not realize and probably wouldn't even think of it based on his appearance and persona, but Mad Dog Vachon was once an Olympic wrestler that competed in the 1948 Olympic Games.  It was his background as an amateur that initially brought him to the pro wrestling world.  The "Mad Dog" nickname fit Vachon due to his style and look, but also because he worked that style while only standing 5'9.  At first glance he may have looked smaller than most of his opponents, but his brutal style that involved breaking all the rules and using anything he could grab as a weapon before the term "hardcore" was ever imagined quickly did away with any question about his size.  Vachon was a 5 time AWA champion and built a legendary status in the promotion during his feud with fellow Hall of Famer Verne Gagne.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jim Ross Announces His Retirement from WWE

Jim Ross Retires from WWEIn what has to be considered surprising news, Hall of Famer Jim Ross announced his retirement from WWE today.  The news broke on WWE.com and noted that Ross would be focusing on his "personal business endeavors." Many of you may be thinking that "Good 'Ol JR" has been retired for years now since he hasn't been on the RAW commentary team in a long time, but he has always filled many roles in WWE whether it be special appearances on TV, scouting new talent, or even commentary on NXT.  It seemed JR would be in an "employee for life" situation with WWE, but one has to wonder if a somewhat controversial event over SummerSlam weekend had anything to do with this decision.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

On This Day In WWE History: Friday Night Smackdown - FULL SHOW

September 4, 2012 WWE held Friday Night Smackdown TV Taping from the Wireless Centre in Mobile, Illinois. The card consisted of 2 tag team matches and 4 singles matches. In the main event, it was The Celtic Warrior Sheamus going over David Otunga. You can relive the show in its entirety in the video below

On This Day In WWE History: Rob Van Dam vs Stone Cold Steve Austin

 
September 4, 2001 WWF Smackdown took place from the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario Canada. In the main event Rob Van Dam defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin

On This Day In WWE History: Eddie Guerrero vs Chyna vs Kurt Angle

September 4, 2000 Eddie Guerrero defeated Chyna and Kurt Angle in a triple threat on Monday Night Raw to become the new Intercontinental Champion

On This Day In WCW History: Hulk Hogan vs Big Bubba Rogers

September 4, 1995 WCW Nitro aired live from the Mall Of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In the main event Hulk Hogan defeated Big Bubba Rogers

The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family: Which Trio Will Dominate WWE?

For the past year in WWE, there has been an influx of new talent that have come in and made major impacts in rapid fashion.  When The Shield arrived last year, it appeared like three of the top talents from FCW in Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins were being given a major yet mysterious role as they were attacking main event stars and seemingly had a much bigger purpose that would be explained later.  Here we are almost a year later and The Shield is still in the spotlight with all of the members even holding championships, but their back story still hasn't been (and probably never will be) explained.  All the while, a new trio burst on to the scene with a psychological thriller of a back story that seems to keep getting deeper.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The Ultimate Warrior Returns to WWE for 2K14 Video Game

WWE 2K14 Ultimate WarriorFor the past few years the yearly WWE game has featured a surprise star in the game as a pre-order bonus.  The Rock, Brock Lesnar, and last year Mike Tyson have all been big incentives to buy the new game over the last few years, and now WWE's first game by 2K will feature one of the most popular legends of all time as the pre-order bonus.....the one and only Ultimate Warrior!

Friday, June 28, 2013

R.I.P. Matt Borne aka Doink the Clown

RIP Doink the ClownSadly there is another death to report in the wrestling world, as Matt Borne (real name Matt Osborne) aka the original Doink the Clown has passed away at age 56.  Borne was a second generation wrestler as his father Tony Borne (who just passed away in 2010) was a wrestler in the 50's and 60's.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rob Van Dam Set to Return to WWE at Money in the Bank

In a surprise announcement made in a video package at WWE's "Payback" pay-per-view, Rob Van Dam is set to return to the company at the "Money in the Bank" PPV.  Rumors swirled a couple of months ago when Van Dam showed up at the WWE Hall of Fame that a return may be imminent, but there was never any confirmation until the video earlier tonight.

Rob Van Dam was most recently seen in TNA just a few months back, but his entire time there has to be considered a major disappointment.  RVD floundered in meaningless matches for most of his time in TNA before getting a run as X-Division Champion.  We always felt like RVD wasn't utilized to his potential for most of his time in WWE, but TNA was much worse.  It always seemed like Paul Heyman was the only guy that really knew how to book RVD and bring out his main event star power.  I can't say I would be mad to see Van Dam join up with Heyman since he is an original "Paul Heyman guy. "

Sunday, May 12, 2013

TNA Rumors: Christy Hemme Upset over Austin Airies Incident?

Christy Hemme Austin Airies IncidentIf you watched Impact this past Thursday, you saw a rather odd moment where ring announcer Christy Hemme made a mistake in announcing Austin Airies and Bobby Roode as their opponents Christopher Daniels and Kazarian.  The heel immediately reacted of course and hit the ring, with Airies forcing Hemme to correct her mistake and announce them again.  What followed in the next few seconds is what has people asking if Airies crossed the line.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

WWE Rumors: Is John Morrison Set to Return?

John Morrison WWE ReturnYesterday WWE.com ran a story featuring an interview with John Morrison where a variety of topics were discussed, mainly Morrison's new fitness program.  What's odd about this is WWE rarely features a Superstar that isn't currently on the roster unless it's a legend type.  So why would WWE take the time to give John Morrison such spotlight?  Is a return to WWE imminent?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Book Review: The Three Count: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Referee by Jimmy Korderas

Jimmy Korderas BookIf you were a huge wrestling fan in the 80s, can you imagine being given the opportunity to work in the wrestling business at that time around legends such as Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, and Randy Savage?  That's exactly what happened to longtime WWE referee Jimmy Kordereas when his wrestling career started.  Jimmy tells the story of his journey in his new book "The Three Count: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Referee."

I remember seeing Jimmy Korderas referee when I was a kid growing up in the 80s, as his name was mentioned quite often back in the day when referee's names were mentioned more on commentary.  It was very interesting to read how Jimmy got involved in the business and how the iconic figurehead of the then WWF at the time, Jack Tunney, played a big role in Jimmy doing so.  Jimmy tells some great stories about being a fan and moving his way up in the business and being around many of the biggest stars of all time.

Mr. Korderas took part in multiple pay-per-views and of course WrestleManias, and has some great stories to tell from many of the events; probably the biggest of which is the World Heavyweight Title match Jimmy refereed at WrestleMania 24 between The Undertaker and Edge (who wrote the foreword for this book.)  Of course with so much time spent in WWE come some great and sometimes hilarious road stories from his many years with WWE.

While the tone of the book is overall lighthearted, upbeat, and humorous at times, Jimmy was also very close to some of the most tragic deaths in wrestling including Owen Hart, Eddie Guerrero, and Christ Benoit.  Many of you may not realize that Jimmy was scheduled to be the referee and was actually in the ring the night Owen Hart fell to his death.  Jimmy's re-telling of the events from the night Owen died are a real eye opener as he was unbelievably close to it all.  Korderas's friendship with Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit also gives a behind the scenes look at what kind of men they were.

This book is great if you are looking for an unbiased look at the goings-on in WWF/WWE from the mid-80 all the way to the mid-2000s.  Jimmy traveled the world with WWE and truly has some fun stories to tell.  It's a nice look at the inner workings and the role of a pro wrestling referee as well.  Ever wonder what it's like for a referee to mess up a match and then have to face Mr. McMahon himself in the locker room?  You will find out what it's like in this book.  Pick up your copy of Jimmy Korderas's "The Three Count: My Life in Stripes as a WWE Referee" below:


 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Dolph Ziggler Cashes In and Wins the World Heavyweight Championship

Dolph Ziggler World ChampionIn front of what can be described as the most wild and insane crowd for RAW in many many years, Dolph Ziggler gave them what they wanted by finally cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Alberto Del Rio and winning the World Heavyweight Championship.

Del Rio had just wrestled a handicapped match against Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter during which the fans almost immediately began a "We Want Ziggler!" chant.  As Del Rio sold a leg injury after the match, sure enough Ziggler's music hit and he headed toward the ring with AJ Lee and Big E Langston in tow.  The electric atmosphere was all too perfect for Ziggler to finally cash in and win the title.  The crowd blew the roof off the IZOD Center in New Jersey as Ziggler scored the pinfall and Ziggler was fired up to finally have his moment.

The fans tonight will be something that is talked about for a very long time.  As we all know RAW can sometimes drag and put out matches no one cares about, but these post-WrestleMania fans made every bit of RAW worth watching. Ziggler's title win was electric, and definitely got more or a reaction than anything at WrestleMania 29.  A rematch with Del Rio will probably be the first obstacle for the new champion, but judging by the crowd's reaction Dolph Ziggler is due for a lengthy title reign.

WrestleMania 29 Delivers Major Predictability

John Cena WrestleMania 29The results of WrestleMania 29 have the Internet buzzing, and for mostly negative reasons.  I gave it a night to let it all sink in and really think about what happened last night at MetLife Stadium.  The atmosphere was there, the crowd was rabid at times, and the matches themselves were overall very good and felt WrestleMania worthy.

The problem (at least for me) lies with the fact that this might have been THE most predictable WrestleMania ever.  We speculated almost 2 months ago on potential WrestleMania 29 matches and results, and the actual results were almost everything we hoped would NOT happen.  We hoped Cena didn't beat The Rock just to get his win back (which he did,) we hoped Brock Lesnar wouldn't have to give Triple H his win back (he did, which has destroyed Lesnar's image as a legit killer from UFC,) and the rest of the results were nothing that shocked anyone.

Undertaker Wrestlemania 29The Undertaker defeated CM Punk in what was probably the best match of the night.   This result didn't upset me since The Undertaker's streak is something that has become WrestleMania tradition, and The Undertaker STILL goes out there and outperforms just about everyone on the card.  The only title changes that occurred were The Miz winning the Intercontinental Championship from Wade Barrett (on the pre-show) and of course Cena winning the WWE title.  Maybe the only somewhat surprising result was Mark Henry beating Ryback clean, which I for one did not expect (so much for Ryback's push as well.) 

The biggest possible surprise that could have happened was the John Cena heel turn that everyone is still hoping for.  The night seemed so run of the mill up to the main event, that it seemed like something BIG was possible in the main event.  The way WWE had the 3 top matches back to back to back was very different, and the way Cena and The Rock just hit the ring with no special entrances or anything all seemed to signal that the ending was going to be big.  Instead we got the dreaded situation where The Rock acts like he's just fine with Cena suddenly, shakes his hand, and salutes him as if to pass the torch.  Only problem was, no one clapped or cheered, the whole situation was met with boos as ANYone with a brain could've seen coming miles away. 

WWE forced us to endure more of the same with John Cena, and now we're left with more repetition.  Is there ANYone in WWE you would care about Cena feuding with?  He's faced almost everyone multitudes of times, and now guys that still had fire like Brock Lesnar have been deflated by losing matches that could have kept them strong.  WWE simply refuses to shake things up, and now we are left hoping they have some big plan under wraps for RAW to make things interesting after WrestleMania gave us no surprise results, cameos, or turns.

Trish Stratus Announces Pregnancy at WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony

Trish Stratus PregnantCongratulations are in order as newly inducted WWE Hall of Famer Trish Stratus saved a little surprise for her induction speech over the weekend, as she announced she will be "delivering a little...Stratusfaction" this September.  Trish is indeed pregnant with her first child and the timing couldn't have been better to make her Hall of Fame induction even more special.

Of course with Trish's induction and being the fact that she is only 37 years old, any talk of a "surprise" this weekend would have had to do with her returning to the ring.  It's obviously going to take a little longer now, but Trish's inductor Stephanie McMahon as well as Trish herself made reference having at least one more match in the future. 

Trish is without a doubt an innovator in the Divas division that deserves to be in the WWE Hall of Fame, and it was very cool for her to save something special under wraps until her induction.  Congrats to Trish Stratus and her husband Ron.

Related:
Remember When...Trish Stratus Returned to Raw?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Will Fandango Be the Star of WrestleMania 29?

WrestleMania 29 FandangoYes, many of you probably have confused looks on your faces right about now.  Fandango?  Star of WrestleMania 29?  But he hasn't even wrestled a match!  And that's exactly my point.  This year's WrestleMania is filled with rematches and rushed scenarios to get all the major players on the card, so the in-ring debut of a new character with a lot of hype (and heat) really stands out.

The promos for "Fandango" started months ago, and quite frankly they seemed like it would be a goofy character straight out of the mid 90's that would undoubtedly flop.  Surprisingly the way they've debuted the former Johnny Curtis as Fandango has created rabid crowd reactions since the fact is he has yet to have an actual match.  As you've seen all these weeks, the guy is stuck on how everyone pronounces his name, and refuses to wrestle every time it is mispronounced.  This has given Fandango the unique opportunity to have his first actual match at WrestleMania 29 against Chris Jericho.

This character is said to already be a favorite of Vince McMahon, and we can see why.  While it is a character straight out of the 90s, that isn't a bad thing at all.  Fandango is a cocky heel that does a lot of talking, but can get in the ring and kick some ass when the time comes as we've seen with his beatdowns on Jericho.  With all the heat the guy has, seeing Jericho finally get his hands on Fandango at WrestleMania of all places should create an electric atmosphere.  It reminds me of a passing the torch moment, as Fandango will most likely (and should) defeat Jericho which will immediately elevate him as a major player.

If you think about it, are you really into the build for the main WrestleMania matches?  Sure they'll be entertaining, sure they will have the Mania vibe with all those people in MetLife Stadium, but the card is no doubt lacking a feeling of freshness.  Mania used to be the place to see matches and moments you couldn't see the rest of the year.  This year, while it might be sad, the most fresh thing on the card is......F-A-A-A-N-D-A-N-G-O.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ric Flair's Son Reid Dead at 25

RIP Reid FlairShocking and sad news to report today as Ric Flair's 25 year old son Reid was found dead this
morning at the age of 25.  Reid is known to many wrestling fans for being involved on WCW Nitro in the late 90s as a kid at his dad's side.  Reid had since become a pro wrestler himself and was actively competing on the independent scene as well as in Japan.

There are no details as of yet on Reid Flair's cause death as of this writing, and we are all in hopes there is no connection to his 2009 arrest for drug possession therefore we won't speculate.

Reid was always talked about as a great amateur who had the ability to make it in pro wrestling, unlike his brother David who obviously didn't inherit his father's skill.  Reid debuted in 2008 in a much talked about match where he teamed with his brother against the Nasty Boys, with very special referee Hulk Hogan.  Since then it had been expected that it was only a matter of time before Reid popped up in TNA or WWE. 

This is without a doubt a devastating day for Ric Flair who as we all have seen is always highly emotional about his family.  Our condolences are with the Nature Boy as are those of the entire wrestling community.  Below is a match featuring Reid Flair from Japan that happened less than 2 weeks ago, and shows what a promising young talent he was.


 

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Watch "GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling" Online Free

The Gorgeous Ladies of WrestlingIf you were a wrestling fan in the 80s, you no doubt either watched or have at least heard of GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.) GLOW was an all girl wrestling show that was syndicated across the country right alongside wrestling giants of the time like the WWF, NWA, and AWA.  But GLOW just wasn't any plain old women's wrestling promotion; those that watched it knew it was like nothing wrestling had ever seen.  These ladies were setting a standard before the term "Diva" or "Knockout" were even thought of, and had quite a story in the process of making it as far as they did.
 
The documentary "Glow: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling" tells the entire story of how it came together and talks to many of the show's stars.  Mt Fiji, Matilda the Hun, Godiva, Tina Ferrari (who later became WWE's Ivory,) Little Egypt, Hollywood and Vine, and Americana were just a few of the names that really give you an idea of how diverse the characters on this show were.  If that's not enough, just take a look at the now famous GLOW intro that included a group rap (hey it was the 80's):
 

 
 That intro might give you an idea of what was so different about GLOW.  It wasn't just women's wrestling; it was way over the top characters, it was comedy skits in between the matches, it was a ring with pink ropes and neon signs, it was in a word....FUN. 

This show obviously never took itself too seriously; it's tongue in cheek humor were a welcome change at the time, especially for a kid like me who turned on this show and saw all these crazy cartoony characters.  There were clearly defined "good girls" and "bad girls," and every one of them had a character of some sort.  Some may have not appreciated at the time for it's campy nature, but now many look back at GLOW as one of the most unique shows in wrestling history.
 
The documentary below is very well done, and not only tells the story of GLOW from the performers themselves but also catches up with what many of the girls have done since.  The highlight is the GLOW reunion organized by Little Egypt which sees many of the girls reunite for the first time in 20+ years.  If you were a fan from that era or just enjoy wrestling documentaries this one is definitely worth viewing:
 


 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Bella Twins Return to WWE

Bella Twins Return to WWEIn what was a bit of a surprise on RAW last night, the Bella Twins made their return to WWE in a backstage segment with Team Rhodes Scholars and Kaitlyn.  It's been almost a full year since we reported the Bellas were leaving WWE and the angle where Eve Torres "fired" them to explain their departure occurred.  Now the Bellas are back to aid what can only be described as a floundering Divas division.

We mention that the Bella Twins' return is a bit of a surprise mainly because there had not been any rumors of their return, but maybe it's not all that surprising since as far as anyone knows the Bellas are both still dating WWE Superstars.  A few pics landed online a few months ago revealing that Brie Bella is dating Daniel Bryan while Nikki Bella is with John Cena.  If those 2 relationships are indeed still in tact, their return to WWE makes a lot of sense.

The Bellas have always been a unique act and really could've done a lot more if they were given more of a spotlight.  Of course WWE's TV-PG stance holds a lot back, mainly the divas.  Imagine if it was the Attitude Era and we still had bra and panties type matches mixed in with meaningful Diva matches, the Bella's star would shine brighter than ever and they would no doubt get more notice.

Nikki and Brie Bella are back to hopefully bring some much needed interest to the Diva division.  Oh, and if you had trouble distinguishing which Bella is which, one noticeable change will help you out now that the Bellas are back.  Yes, Nikki Bella got breast implants during the twins time away, so just remember - Nikki is the one with the boobs!

Bully Ray is the New TNA Champion and the Leader of Aces & Eights

TNA World Champion Bully RayTNA Lockdown gave us the big payoff to the near 9 month Aces & Eights angle and solidified the company's new top star.  Bully Ray was revealed as the leader of the group, as he defeated Jeff Hardy for the TNA World Title. 

For the past few months speculation has run rampant that the leader of Aces & Eights might turn out to be Jeff Jarrett or Eric Bichoff, which would have been somewhat predictable because both were ousted from the company in separate storylines.  As the story rolled on, Bully Ray's name started coming up as possible group leader after the way he's been positioned the past few months.  Many felt Bully was the ONLY option if they really wanted to gain something from the big reveal; that being a much needed solid top heel.

The Bully Ray turn had become somewhat obvious the past few weeks since the over the top push of Bully being so proud of being Hulk Hogan's "son-in-law" and his corny smiles and comments about being so in love with Brooke Hogan were just too much to believe given the source.  Hulk solidified the turn in a pre-match talk with Bully where he talked about his match with Andre the Giant and gave Bully the advice to "make sure they remember you"....which pretty much told us the turn was coming.

While I agree that Bully Ray is one of the top heels in wrestling that just needed 1 last little push to become THE top heel in TNA, the logic behind all of this that bothers me.  If Bully Ray has been the leader of Aces & Eights all along, why has he been in matches with them and getting beat down by them for months now?  Will they explain that Bully wasn't hitting them hard in those matches?  Will they say that Aces & Eights guys are so tough that they beat each other down for the sake of their cause?  I just hope they explain this SOMEhow. 

TNA has sorely lacked a super strong top heel for a long time now in my opinion. Bobby Roode and Austin Aries are good heels, but have been much more suited in their tag team than the main event situation.  Bully's transformation of his persona into a top singles guy has been awesome to watch, and he is ready to carry the company as the strong heel champion.  With TNA on the road weekly starting this week, this was probably the best move they can make given the lack of any big name free agents currently on the market.  Hopefully TNA can keep the momentum going and can make sense of the Aces & Eights story in the coming weeks.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

R.I.P William Moody AKA Paul Bearer

R.I.P Paul BearerShocking news to report tonight as one of wrestling's most legendary managers, William Moody AKA Paul Bearer AKA Percy Pringle has passed away.  Few details are known at this point, but this is a huge loss to the pro wrestling world as Moody left a legacy with each of his personas over the years.

I personally first saw Moody as Percy Pringle in World Class Championship Wrestling during the mid-80's.  Pringle was quite the mouthpiece for a variety of talents at the time.  It was weird a couple of years later to see Pringle as a good guy manager after being one of the companies top heels for so many years against the likes of the Von Erichs. 

An even bigger surprise for me was in 1991, as this new manager debuted who would be replacing Brother Love as the manager of The Undertaker....his name was Paul Bearer.  Bearer was indeed Percy Pringle reincarnated into a ghoulish over the top figure that would come to be a legendary part of The Undertaker's history over the years.  Bearer was there for so many historical Undertaker moments, including many of the famous WrestleMania matches during "the streak." 

During his long and storied WWE career, Bearer also managed the likes of Mankind and of course Kane.  It seemed like Bearer would always reinvent himself especially during the Attitude Era and was always involved in many of the big stories of the time. 

Over the past few years, Paul Bearer made multiple returns to WWE as his connection with The Undertaker and Kane lived on.  It was apparent Bearer would always be a part of the WWE family, and his legacy will never be forgotten as I'm sure WWE will be giving William Moody more than his just due.

 Below I've included an awesome video which is a pictorial history of the career of Bill Moody/Percival Pringle/Paul Bearer....R.I.P to one of the greatest of all time:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jack Swagger Arrested and Charged with DUI and Drug Possession

Jack Swagger arrestedIn what definitely has to be considered a case of "worst timing ever," Jack Swagger was arrested last night in Mississippi after the Smackdown tapings.  Officers determined Swagger was under the influence and also found marijuana in his car after pulling him over for speeding. Swagger has since been released and according to TMZ, WWE didn't have much to say about the matter so it remains to be seen what action if any they take.

Swagger just returned to WWE and has received a big push since his return, getting both a manager in Zeb Colter  AND a win at Elimination Chamber which tentatively has him in line for a world title match at WrestleMania 29.  It remains to be seen if WWE will make changes now to the WrestleMania 29 match as punishment to Swagger, or if it will be swept under the rug now that Linda McMahon's campaign is over. 

It's pretty surprising that guys who have been around a decent amount of time and who have been waiting to final get a big opportunity like Swagger has finally been getting can still screw it up.  The DUI is one thing, but the pot makes things worse since WWE is always pushing their anti-drug message.  If you suddenly see Alberto Del Rio with a new WrestleMania opponent, there's only one person to blame.  Apparently a "Jack Swagger America" is a drunk and high America....yes I said it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WWE Finally Debuts a New Championship Title Belt

New WWE Championship Title Belt
 
It's hard to believe that we have had to endure 8 years of the horrific belt that has represented the WWE Championship.  Back when John Cena debuted a spinning United States Title around 2004, it was inevitable that he would also ruin the WWE Championship if he ever won it.  He won the belt, and did indeed ruin it by making it a spinning rap inspired "bling" belt that ONLY would've been suitable for his initial title run.  The worst part is every time Cena has lost the belt to someone over the years, that person used the belt as well without commenting about how bad it looked and how a new version was badly needed.  Thankfully The Rock finally fixed all that last night.

In his "championship celebration" last night, The Rock finally said all the things we've said about the belt for years: it looked like a toy, it took away from the title's prestige, and a title belt should NEVER spin (they actually brought back the spinning version of the belt for this segment, but I believe an actually spinning version of the belt hasn't been used for a few years now.  The Rock then officially retired the old spinner, and debuted the brand new WWE Championship belt.

Now on to the belt itself.  We actually reported a first look at the new WWE belt last year, and as it turns out the pics were pretty accurate as far as initial design goes. The main plate features a giant WWE logo with "Champion" under it.  It's a pretty straight forward approach and definitely isn't the "bling bling" look of the old belt.  The side plates feature Brahma bulls so it is apparently customized specifically for The Rock right now, although I would definitely think they will change when someone else wins it.

So the question is, is this belt better?  In my opinion it is, but I wouldn't consider it GREAT.  I have lived through many versions of the title (Hulk Hogan had 4 versions throughout his initial title run from 1984-1988,) so I may be biased toward the more traditional look.  This belt seems to feature more leather than gold on the main plate, which is definitely a different approach.  I also like the old "global" style belts that got the message across that the champion was a world champion, this belt sends a definite message that it's all about "WWE" as the giant logo tells us.  I can't complain too much because just about ANYthing is better than that awful spinner, now let's just hope Cena doesn't bring it back when he wins the title again. 

What are your thoughts on the new WWE Title belt?  Do you like the new design or prefer something more old school?  Do you agree the spinner should never (EVER) be seen again?

Monday, February 18, 2013

WWE Elimination Chamber 2013 Lays the Groundwork for WrestleMania 29

WWE WrestleMania 29Going in to last night's Elimination Chamber pay per view, we knew that it would pretty much lay out what some of the main WrestleMania 29 card would look like.  Things haven't been totally clear up to this point, but the Elimination Chamber results have at least given us an idea of what the WrestleMania title matches will most likely be looking like.  The Rock and Alberto Del Rio kept their respective titles, and Jack Swagger emerged as number 1 contender to the World Title which tentatively set up the WrestleMania title matches.  Here is a look at those matches along with the other 2 rumored main event matches: 

John Cena vs. The Rock 2 - Well, this isn't what I was hoping for.  I feel like the Rock/Cena feud played out last year and gave the fans what they wanted.  They went all out in cutting each other down in every way possible last year, and now all that's left is for Cena to get his win back and earn The Rock's respect.  I personally don't care to see it, and don't care for knowing the WrestleMania main event result 2 months before the event.  The only thing that could halfway save this will be if CM Punk complains about his match with The Rock and somehow gets added to this match, making it a 3 way.

Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio - This one came as a real shock.  Last week when Jack debuted his new manager Zeb Colter, I knew it would finally mean big things for Swagger since a manager is exactly what he needs.  I didn't think he would make such a big impact so fast, but it was a very nice change of pace to see someone different jump into the title picture.  While that's all well and good, I feel like this match may get changed before all is said and done.  With Randy Orton barely losing Elimination Chamber match, Dolph Ziggler still carrying the Money in the Bank briefcase around, Mark Henry making a huge impact since his return, and of course Big Show still looming, it's hard to say where Del Rio's World Heavyweight Championship will be come Mania time.

The Undertaker vs. CM Punk - This match is a big question mark at this point.  Punk lost again to The Rock at Elimination Chamber, so there are 2 paths I could see this going.  Tonight's RAW will probably tell the story as we will see if Punk decides to go nuts about last night's loss, or moves on to a bigger challenge. If The Undertaker is physically able, Punk will most likely be the challenger to "the streak" this year.  If it happens, this will probably be the most intriguing match on the card.  Punk has been the new shining star in WWE for the past couple of years, and his "pipe bombs" being unleashed on WWE's most legendary figure would make for great TV.  The question is, will The Undertaker hold off so he can make it until WrestleMania 30 instead.

Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H 2 - Again, another case of a rematch that really doesn't NEED to happen.  The groundwork was already laid when Brock attacked Vince McMahon a couple of weeks ago and injured him.  Triple H coming back for revenge makes sense, but just like Cena/Rock, we've already seen it.  Brock could be bringing WWE so much more attention coming off his UFC run if he was demolishing guys and taking titles.  The argument may be Brock isn't around full time, but WWE could work it out if they really wanted to get the most out of Brock.  Please don't give us another scenario where Brock has to put over Triple H just to give HIM his win back too, talk about a momentum killer.

So this is what the four top matches for WrestleMania 29 look like as of now.  Of course things can change at the drop of a hat, and I hope they do.  WrestleMania should be something special that you can't see anywhere else, not full of rematches we've seen in the past year.  If these are the top 4 matches, hopefully they can keep the undercard interesting enough to fill things out.  With the Hall of Fame induction of Bruno Sammartino going on that weekend, it should be a very special weekend with a card that hopefully delivers to the rabid New York/New Jersey crowd.  What changes would you make to the WrestleMania 29 card to make the most of it?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Scott Hall Set to Move in with DDP and Jake Roberts

I feel like this post is quite a bit overdue, because what Diamond Dallas Page is doing to save lives is in a word - phenomenal and deserves to be recognized.  For the past couple of months I've been following DDP's mission to save Jake "The Snake" Roberts from his years of alcohol and substance abuse problems that had sadly become one of the things Jake is most well known for.  It was over 15 years ago that we saw Jake in "Beyond the Mat" which documented just how bad his problems were and how far he had sunk.  There was no improvement over the years, and Jake truly seemed like a lost cause.

In what has to be considered somewhat of a miracle, Jake has turned his life around and is literally looking better than he has in over 15 years....all thanks to Diamond Dallas Page.  For the last few years DDP has been spreading the word about yoga and the program he started known as "DDP Yoga"; it has helped many people, including many wrestlers who have used his system to help their bodies recover from injuries etc.  DDP reached out to Jake Roberts and offered to move him into his house, get him clean, and rehabilitate him physically and mentally.  Of course there was much doubt that this would work since Jake is so notorious for going back to his bad habits, but the results have been amazing.  Just take a look at DDP's Youtube channel and watch the videos, the story is truly awesome as it progresses.

What was extra cool about the story is hearing DDP talk about when he first became a wrestler at age 35, and how Jake was one of the few that believed in him and helped him along the way.  DDP now gets the chance to return that favor in the best way possible.  Of course with the dramatic turn around of Jake Roberts, many people began to wonder if DDP could help another legendary wrestler whose notorious spiral downward is on the same level of Jake's: that is of course being Scott Hall. 

Hall is another former major star who just 10 years ago was a top name in any company.  His substance abuse problems were apparent even during his major run in WCW as part of the nWo, and he hasn't been able to stay on the right track since that time.  Hall looked great in TNA just 3 years ago, but again that run didn't last long.  We posted the Scott Hall story on ESPN E:60 that aired in 2011, and it really depicted the problems Hall has dealt with for many years.  Hall is another guy that has a long history with Dallas Page, as Page managed Hall in WCW before he was even a wrestler, and of course Hall helped launch Page's big run as a name in WCW.

After receiving a text from Sean Waltman (X-Pac) who let him know about the situation, DDP made a call (not the first attempt) to Scott Hall and recorded himself and Jake talking to Hall about joining them at the house.  This video really tells you how bad off Scott Hall is.  Hall tells them directly that he's "dying" and was having vodka for breakfast.  Hall was in really bad shape during this call, but by the end it sounds like Hall is ready to make an attempt to turn things around just like Jake has.  DDP is doing amazing things with these guys that even multiple stints in rehab couldn't do for them.  These are guys who seemed like they were lost causes for many many years and were quite possibly at death's door.

Hopefully Scott Hall follows through with this, and soon we'll be watching another awesome turnaround just like we have with Jake Roberts.  DDP is really making a difference and is literally saving lives.  Here is the phone conversation DDP and Jake have with Scott Hall:

***Note: The video was removed by DDP after Kevin Nash voiced his displeasure with the conversation being recorded.  DDP plans on showing Hall the video when he arrives and clearing it with him before putting it back up.  We will add the video back here if/when it goes up.***
 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Just Who is Zeb Colter?

Jack Swagger with Zeb ColterIf you watched RAW last night, you might have been thinking "who is THAT guy with Jack Swagger?" as Swagger made his way to the ring accompanied by an older guy who wasn't exactly dressed like your common WWE Superstar.  As the camera zoomed in, might first words were "is that Dutch Mantell?!"  Indeed it was wrestling veteran Dutch Mantell who was also known as "Uncle Zebakiah" in WWE in the mid 90's as he managed the "Blu Brothers" and Justin "Hawk" Bradshaw who of course we now know as JBL.

Many WWE fans probably don't know that Dutch Mantell has worked around the world both as a wrestler, and one of the most renowned creative minds behind the scenes. It's been widely reported and even confirmed by Steve Austin that Dutch Mantell is the person that named him "Steve Austin" after Steve needed to change his last name of "Williams" since "Dr. Death" Steve Williams was already a star in wrestling.  Mantell also groomed guys like Kane and even The Undertaker early in their careers.  Mantell has seen much success creatively in Puerto Rico, and was a huge factor of the success of the TNA Knockouts division about 5 years ago when it was red hot.

Dutch Mantell vs. Jerry LawlerSo my first thought as I saw Dutch coming down the ring with Swagger was, "Well they re 'in Nashville which was one of Dutch's stomping grounds, this must be some sort of 1 shot special deal." After all it looked like Dutch was dressed in pretty regular clothing and didn't do much at first.  My second thought was "I wonder if they will acknowledge him as Dutch Mantell or "Uncle Zebakiah" and acknowledge his WWE past.   After Swagger demolished Zack Ryder, he grabbed the mic and announced his good friend "Zeb Colter."  I liked that they halfway used Dutch's old gimmick but made it a little more real than the mountain man gimmick this time around.  What followed was "Zeb" explaining that he was an angry Vietnam veteran that is pretty anti-American now, and in my opinion gave us a great old school promo that can really be built on with Swagger.  The character seemed like a throwback to the days when wrestling actually featured characters that played off current events or something you might actually see in everyday life.  An angry army veteran that wants to speak his piece?  I like it.

I couldn't help but feel this one was of the best parts of RAW.  Sure younger fans may be wondering what the hell it was all about, but seeing a veteran that knows how to groom talent behind a guy that's been lost in the shuffle for years was a perfect match to me.  If you remember I included Swagger on my list of 5 wrestlers WWE should sent to Japan, and that was because he has such talent but had no direction whatsoever.  Putting him with Dutch Mantel could be just what he needs, as he is already showing more of a mean streak as evident last night.  Giving him an actual story and pairing him with a guy that knows how to pull it off is just what the doctor ordered.  Of course WWE could screw this up and drop it by next week, but I'm really hoping not.

It was a real shock to see such a journeyman type like Dutch Mantell pop up again on RAW, and it really has me wondering if Triple H once again is behind bringing in veteran talent coming in to help in areas that badly need it.  For more on Dutch Mantell/Zeb Colter, check out his official blog at The World According to Dutch which features some great stories spanning his entire career.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Book Review: The Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling

Road Warriors Book ReviewThe Road Warriors are without a doubt one of the (if not THE) greatest tag teams in pro wrestling history.  Finally getting a book on the Road Warriors career was awesome, and extra cool for me since I can say The Road Warriors played a huge role in getting me hooked on wrestling in the mid-80s.  "The Road Warriors: Danger, Death, and the Rush of Wrestling" is written by Road Warrior Animal (Joe Laurinaitis) with Andrew William Wright, and features a foreword by "Precious" Paul Ellering which was a very cool touch.

The book is a nice overview of the "LOD's" career, with Animal quickly getting through the early non-wrestling days since he realized that everyone really wants to hear about the wrestling for the most part.  If you have seen the Road Warriors WWE DVD, this is pretty much the written form of that with more details and stories mixed in.  We first go into Animal and Hawk's early days in wrestling coming up at the same time as other names such as Rick Rude, John Nord, Nikita Koloff and Barry Darsow.  Animal also tells the story of how he was paired with Hawk, and how their characters evolved over the years into the iconic look we all know.  Later on Animal even goes into how his brothers got into wrestling, one of course being "Big Johnny" John Laurinaitis.

Animal goes into more detail than he did on the WWE dvd about the duo's trips to Japan, where they became iconic stars before they even arrived in WWE.  I was actually a bit surprised that Animal didn't spend more time on their initial WWE run, but overall while that run only lasted a couple of years.  It was around this time that Animal divulges a lot of information on how Hawk's substance problems became apparent.

One of the best parts of the book is the collection of rare Road Warrior photos from throughout their career.  Being an LOD fan since the mid-80s, it was cool to look back at all the memories.  As far as complaints go, there wasn't much I can say I disliked.  There were a couple of stories that didn't quite add up or seemed a bit off time frame wise, but the same could be said for almost all wrestling books. 

Overall I would say if you are a die hard Legion of Doom/Road Warriors fan, this is a great book to read.  If you are more of a fan of the era itself, this book still has some great stories about all the big stars from the 80s and 90s.  Reading the story of the only tag team to win the WWF, NWA, and AWA tag team titles in their career is without a doubt quite a ride.  I waited many years for a book on The Road Warriors, and this book was an enjoyable look at the greatest tag team of all time.


 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bruno Sammartino is Finally Being Inducted Into the WWE Hall of Fame

Bruno Sammartino WWE Hall of FameIf there is 1 person above all others that should be in the WWE Hall of Fame but isn't yet, it's "The Living Legend" Bruno Sammartino.  There are plenty of names out there that should be in The Hall but aren't yet, but Bruno is THE guy since he was really the top guy in WWE longer than anyone else.  Bruno has been at odds with WWE for years now over the general direction Vince McMahon has taken the industry etc., and has always refused any invitation from WWE to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.  Word has it that Triple H is the person that is responsible for finally getting Bruno to agree to be inducted after months of meetings to work out a deal.  Today WWE.com issued a press release stating that Bruno Sammartino will finally be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year at Madison Square Garden.

With all the recent talk about CM Punk's historic WWE Title reign this past year, the man who's record will most likely never be touched is Bruno Sammartino.  Bruno is the longest reigning champion in WWE history; defeating Buddy Rogers in 1963 and holding the (then WWWF) belt for almost 8 years!  Bruno is also the first ever 2-time WWE Champion as he regained the title in 1973.  Champion or not, Bruno was the top draw in WWE for nearly 20 years, and has always been regarded as one of the guys that HAS to be in the WWE Hall of Fame if it is to be considered legit.

Bruno joins another long term WWE Champion in Bob Backlund in this year's Hall of Fame class, along with Mick Foley and Trish Stratus to comprise what is so far one of the best classes in years.  The Hall of Fame takes place at Madison Square Garden on April 6, 2013.  The night before WrestleMania 29 will be very historic, and the induction of Bruno Sammartino will be a can't miss moment for true fans of pro wrestling.  Here is a great video from WWE on Bruno's wrestling career:



Monday, January 28, 2013

The Rock is Once Again WWE Champion...but Where Do We Go From Here?

The Rock WWE Champion The 2013 Royal Rumble has come and gone and despite much speculation, WWE didn't throw us any curve balls as far as the Royal Rumble winner and WWE Champion going into WrestleMania 29.  The Rock is once again WWE Champion after defeating CM Punk after a restart due to The Shield's interference, thus ending Punks record setting title reign.  In the other main event match, John Cena won the Royal Rumble after last eliminating (and pretty much killing the momentum of) Ryback.  So as of now a Rock vs. Cena rematch seems to be the direction WWE is sticking with.

Of course if the Rock/Cena rematch is what WWE is sticking with it's hard to argue that it will do good business since last year's match did so well, but they also gave us a lot in the buildup to last year's match which is why many fans on the Internet are still hoping WWE swerves us and gives us a totally different main event.  All this build just to see Cena get his win back from last year does not sound captivating at ALL to us.  The Elimination Chamber event is still to come before WrestleMania 29, so there is a slight chance things could get shaken up.  But if that were to happen, what other match possibilities are out there?

The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar - This match has been talked about since Brock returned to WWE last year.  The match would have a bit of history behind it since Lesnar won the WWE Title from The Rock at Summerslam 02, and the issue was never really resolved.  Lesnar has just re-signed with WWE, so a scenario that would see him return due to being pissed off that The Rock was able to waltz in and get a title shot unlike Lesnar got would make a lot of sense.

The Rock vs. Ryback - This match would be tough since Ryback has lost a ton of momentum after all his losses, and especially being so easily disposed of in the Rumble.  This match is a stretch since Ryback probably isn't ready to face off with The Rock - especially on the mic.

The Rock vs. CM Punk - This match makes total sense since obviously Punk would want a rematch after the Rumble's controversial match.  There has been talk of a possibly triple threat match with The Rock vs. Punk vs. Cena.  I'm usually not a fan of triple threats, but at least Punk might add a little something to the same old Cena vs. Rock banter.

We've got around a couple of months to go on the road to WrestleMania 29, we're hoping it's not going to be full of the same hype for another Cena vs. Rock match that will only lead to Cena getting his win back.  We can't imagine another long Cena title reign doing the same old thing and beating everyone.  The same grace would be a Cena heel turn which would make him an entirely new character, but we've been hoping for that for around 5-6 years now....and we'll probably just keep hoping.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Breaking Spoilers: New World Heavyweight Champion Crowned at Smackdown Tapings


**Spoiler warning: don't read this post if you want to be surprised**


With The Rock returning Monday on RAW, the early "Road to WrestleMania" vibe is already in the air which means you can expect the unexpected for the next few months.  That very vibe was evident tonight as the World Heavyweight Championship changed hands at the Smackdown tapings when Alberto Del Rio defeated The Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match for the title.

With Del Rio recently turning face and Ricardo Rodriguez being used to help get him over as a good guy, defeating the Big Show will definitely propel Alberto back to a top spot in the company.  This title change really comes out of the blue, since it seemed Big Show was in the midst of a long reign that would go until at least WrestleMania.  All this could be to set up a rematch at The Royal Rumble that would see Show regain the title after claiming he wasn't actually pinned or submitted in the Last Man Standing match.  There was some early buzz that Ryback would take on Show at WrestleMania, but this title change may turn things more toward an Alberto vs. Dolph Ziggler title match at 'Mania.

Things are heating up in WWE right now, and they are making an effort to bring back some "must see TV" since the ratings have been low the past few months.  Alberto's title win will air this Friday on Smackdown, along with The Rock's first appearance on the show in 10 years.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

What Will the WWE Title Picture Look Like Going Into WrestleMania 29?

WrestleMania 29 RybackWrestleMania 29 CM PunkWrestleMania 29 John Cena


With the 2013 Royal Rumble approaching quickly, ratings pretty much in the dumps, and a ton of scenarios that could lead into WWE's biggest show of the year, today I'm taking a look at what the possibilities are for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 29.

Usually around this time every year, it's pretty clear what the title match at WrestleMania will be.  This year is a different story as there is so much going on with so many different talents, it's hard to say where things will end up.  For starters, we have the longest reigning champion in years in CM Punk.  Not since the 80's has a champion reigned for over a year, which will obviously make any kind of title change mean more if it were to happen.  For the past year, the common thought has been that The Rock was coming in at the Royal Rumble and winning the title for his "one more time" championship run regardless of who it was against.  That may very well still be the case, as Rock beating Punk for the belt would definitely create some buzz especially since The Rock is such a mainstream star now.  If the Rock DOES win the title, it will definitely point towards Rock vs. Cena 2 at WrestleMania 29.

The question is, do people WANT to see that match again?  The Rock defeated John Cena cleanly at WrestleMania 28, everyone was happy, and the "Once in a Lifetime" concept worked just fine.  Does anyone really want to see Cena get his win back, thus earning The Rock's respect?  I don't.  What about a Punk vs. Rock rematch?  I'm not very interested in that either.  Rock vs. Punk on the mic alone will be great, but their Rumble match should get the job done on that story in my eyes.  Then there's the idea that this year's breakout star that made that made a huge impact on the WWE scene could be involved in the title picture - that man is Ryback.

Ryback burst onto the WWE scene this year and was in the WWE title hunt after just a few short months.  CM Punk has escaped 2 encounters with Ryback already, but Ryback's momentum has sustained and it's only a matter of time before fans demand Ryback get a fair shake at the belt.  A Ryback vs. Punk match wouldn't carry much of a WrestleMania feel since the match has happened a couple of times, and could possibly happen again this Monday.  Could WWE shake everything up Monday and have Ryback beat Punk?  Or will they risk him walking away without the belt once again.  Then there's the off chance WWE could go with Ryback vs. The Rock if either man wins the belt before WrestleMania.  There is definite intrigue there, but coming up with a finish for that one could be tricky.  Ryback vs. Cena is another possibility that would split the crowd and make for a hot title match, but would strand Rock and Punk in non-title matches.

WrestleMania 29 is shaping up to be a star studded event with a ton of possibilities.  The Undertaker's streak will most likely be on the line again against whoever he chooses, Brock Lesnar is still under contract to WWE, Triple H can always throw the tights back on, and even Steve Austin has stated he is open to another match under the right circumstances.  With so many talent possibilities on the show, the actual WWE Title match they go with will hopefully be something that feels WrestleMania worthy.  There is always the chance WWE could get really crazy and shake things up using Dolph Ziggler's Money in the Bank briefcase in the mix, but these 4 guys are who I see as possible WWE Title match guys this year.  Which WWE Title match do you really want to see at WrestleMania 29?