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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Will teams of five indeed strive to survive?

It has been the entire theme of Survivor Series past (at least for the most part,) the 8 to 10 man Elimination Matches. I'm a big fan of this PPV for the Survivor Series matches themselves, so needless to say I get a little pissed during the years that they have little to no Survivor Series Matches themselves. Sorry, but Elimination Chamber doesn't do it for me. Would you scrap the tired and true Royal Rumble format in place of a "Monster Mash" Battle Royal? I would certainly hope not. I'm a big fan of gimmick matches and consistancy, so I'm all for sticking with what brought them to the dance.

Now that we're past the tapings we're unofficially a week past Cyber Sunday and have only announced the WWE Title Match. That's fine and all, there's still time to let feuds culminate in the traditional elimination matches. Seeing as how they've been going with the 6 match PPV format as of late, here is my dream Survivor Series card. I will officially crap my match if any of this actually happens though...

The Great Khali, Mark Henry, Big Daddy V, and MVP, and Edge vs Batista, Undertaker, Kane, Matt Hardy, and Ric Flair (Hyping the returns of both Edge and Flair)

Rey Mysterio, Chuck Palumbo, Jimmy Wang Yang, Jesse, and Festus vs Finlay, Kenny Dykstra, Chris Masters, Deuce, and Domino (Yang's kind of the Wild Card, but it evens things out)

CM Punk, Tommy Dreamer, Stevie Richards, Balls Mahoney, and The Boogeyman vs John Morrison, Kevin Thorn, Elijah Burke, The Miz, and Nunzio (The ECW Roster actually gets a payday!)

Triple H, Jeff Hardy, DH Smith, Cody Rhodes, and Hardcore Holly vs Umaga, Mr Kennedy, Carlito, Shelton Benjamin, and Charlie Haas (of course everyone not named Triple H or Umaga would be considered filler)

Santino Marella, Lance Cade, Trevor Murdoch, and The Highlanders vs Paul London, Brian Kendrick, Hornswaggle, Ron Simmons, and Steve Austin (okay this one is stretching it a little but why the hell)

Beth Phoenix, Melina, Victoria, Layla and Jillian Hall vs Kelly Kelly, Mickie James, Maria, Torrie Wilson, and Michelle McCool (When was the last time they had a Women's Survivor Series Match?)

There you have it. While it breaks the mold and has 7 matches on a $40 PPV, I could justify spending the money on a card that looks like this. And keep in mind I haven't felt any PPV this year outside of The Royal Rumble or Wrestlemania worth going to a Sports Bar to watch for the price of dinner...


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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

New Pro Wrestling Illustrated Features Jericho Interview

Available today on newsstands is the new issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated, which has Triple-H on the cover. This issue includes the transcript from an in-depth interview conducted with Chris Jericho by one of PWI's most respected writers.

As the tagline reads, "After completing work on his book, 'A Lion's Tale: Around the World in Spandex,' Chris Jericho spoke with Senior Writer Dan Murphy about his life after wrestling, the creative process, and how the biggest story of 2007 affected not only his life, but also his book."


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Backstage Raw News

Even though Chris Jericho did not show up (on camera),WWE and Jericho did a lot to try to swerve the fans last night.

For starters, one of my colleagues confirmed that Jericho actually cut his autograph signing - at the University of Penn Barnes and Noble - short last night, offering no real excuse. Those in charge of the event claimed after he left that he had to make it to the arena as soon as possible.

WWE also had the staff of the Wachovia Center block off an entire quarter of the stadium that overlooks the loading docks below. These docks are where the wrestlers arrive and leave, and also where they film the parking lot segments. Traditionally, they tend to block off access to this section whenever there's somebody showing up that they want to keep as a surprise.

I was also excited to see that Jason Static had a match against Ron Simmons, presumably for Heat. Static was actually my first interview for an Introducing column upon joining Pro Wrestling Illustrated! I called and left him a voicemail while he was in the ring, but, unfortunately, the match did not last as long as my voicemail.

Mick Foley's appearance was a complete surprise to just about everybody in the arena. He arrived presumably in a limo and was quickly escorted inside. Perhaps he was the real reason for the blocked section of the arena.

Even though I did not actually make it backstage, I did have a guy on the inside who confirmed the presence of Foley well before the start of the show.
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Why We Watch...

I distinctly remember the beginning of my relationship with professional wrestling. I was taking advantage of the opportunity that having a babysitter gives you. Long past my bedtime, I was sitting on the couch in my pajamas. With a tootsie pop in my mouth, I flipped the channel to Saturday Night's Main Event. I saw Hulk Hogan and Randy "Macho Man" Savage and it was as if He-Man had become real. The fuse was ignited that night that would eventually make the MegaPowers explode at that year's WrestleMania. During a match with the Twin Towers, Savage was tossed violently into Elizabeth. Hogan went to the back to help her, leaving Savage alone to face Akeem and the Bossman. I thought back then that if I only had a few minutes with Hogan and Savage I could help them squash their beef. Twenty years later, I still feel that way.


Sooner than later I found the National Wrestling Alliance/World Championship Wrestling on TV. I remember being amazed watching an I Quit match between Terry Funk and Ric Flair on free TV at the Clash of the Champions.

I loved the main events, but I always had an eye towards the midcard. It always seemed to be the case that I would find a cool heel to enjoy just up until they turned him babyface and the whole world loved him. Examples of this were Shawn Michaels and The Rock. About the only heel that didn't lose something when he became top mainstream babyface was John Cena, and that's cause half the fans still hated him always.

There is something special about feeling ownership of a wrestler, and I'd argue that that is why we watch. Remembering Bret Hart's days in the Hart Foundation or Steve Austin's days in the Dangerous Alliance make it that much sweeter when they meet as major stars at WrestleMania 13.

Today I look at Shelton Benjamin and Elijah Burke with the same anticipation I have previously looked at Brian Pillman, Randy Orton, Buff Bagwell, and Droz with. Of course sometimes it works out, and sometimes it doesn't.

Still, it's hard not to be cynical when you can think fondly on the old days and imagine Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Sting, The Ultimate Warrior, Rick Rude, Vader, Jake Roberts, Arn Anderson, Ted Dibiase, and others at their peak.

It's also difficult to remember tag teams like Demolition, the Road Warriors, The Rockers, Doom, The Skyscrapers, the Midnight Express, and so many more and not long for them.

Even the days when WCCW, USWA, or GWF would come on ESPN on Wednesday afternoons bring some nostalgia.

By comparison when you compare today's wrestling atmosphere to all the memories of the past 20 years, it just doesn't compare. Still, we watch…

We watch because we are waiting for the next big breakthrough. Will it be Mr. Kennedy? Will it be Jeff Hardy? Only time will tell.

We watch because some of those larger than life characters we remember are still around like the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, and they have been intertwined with those we've learned to care about in the meantime like Edge, Triple H, and Rey Mysterio.

We watch because even though we aren't likely to see a big interesting defection the way we did during the old WCW/WWE days, we can still mark out months after waiting for Chris Jericho to return on TV, because that moment when he does will undoubtedly be incredible.

We watch because Cody Rhodes and DH Hart keep us grounded and remind us where we came from. We watch because new generation stars like AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels show us where we are going.

We watch because every week Jay Lethal or Santino Marella is going to do that little something extra that makes us smile.

No matter how disillusioned we get with what wrestling is and no matter how much better we think it could be, we watch.

Now I am certainly not going to sit in any bleachers and cry that it's still real to me, damnit. I am not sure that it ever was real to me. It was larger than life.

A few weeks ago I sat at a local Indy show in the bleachers about to cry because the first half of the show was incredibly bad. It picked up though, and by the end I felt I had gotten my money's worth.

In a time where the most newsworthy wrestling happenings involved Candice Michelle falling on her face, I struggle to write, but I refuse to just dump on the product.

Is it easy to come up with anti-WWE and anti-TNA banter? Of course. Right now I probably like wrestling less than I have at any point in the past 20 years, but still I watch.

Professional wrestling seems to have cast a weird spell over thousands. It's one that those who aren't under will never understand. Those of use who are don't even get it sometimes.

Maybe I will never get the wrestling show I wish for until I get to heaven. I assume that at 25 years old, by the time I get there all my favorites will be there with me.

Rest In Peace to all the former warriors of the squared circle. Your contributions are why we are here today. You are fondly remembered and greatly missed.

The Outcast, the Legend, the Wolf is back for another opinionated commentary:

When I first read the teaser to your current column, I thought that Vince had fired the fans again, but then I wondered, how can you fire someone that you haven't paid, have constantly berated for being wrong, whom you've constantly given one thing when they've been asking for something completely different, who have seen your ass more times than they've seen Jenna Haze's (and seeing as most of the core fans are teenage boys with internet service, that's a lot of times!) and with everything that you've done they keep coming back for more as if the cookies on this side of the fence are better.

But since the column isn't about US getting fired, I'll talk about the guys that you mention while I keep checking the mail box for that check from Vince (hell, with all the ideas that he's stolen from the internet, I'm shocked that he hasn't sent out a check, and that he keeps shutting down e-feds. they're a gold mine to him!)

Seeing Teddy Hart get the axe is SOOOOOOOOOOO Shocking to me (did I lay on the sarcasm enough? Ya think so? Ok, moving on) why do people keep signing this guy? (quick check on the last name and ok, I guess we know!) Ya think if Kid Kash were Kid Hart that he'd get that many chances? Exactly. I say, let the guy rot in the independents until he gets his desire, energy, and a respect for the business that he is riding the coattails of. If he ever grows up and stops using his name as a springboard then things might turn up better. If he does not, then he'll be the worst Hart ever (Including Bruce. C'mon, he might have been all right in the ring, but he had the personality of a cheese-it!).

To Ryan O'Reilly and Krissy Vaine I have this to say: HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!! You two are the dumbest mutha f*ckas on the planet! You wait until you get called up to leave the company? If you two are really in love, suck it up (once again this is a FAMILY show, so minds out of the gutter) and deal with it. You obviously don't care about the business if you are ready to leave the biggest company around so that you can be close to each other. Hell, one Sunday a month you'll be in the same building, and that right there is more than I see my wife sometimes AND WE LIVE TOGETHER! Go to TNA where you'll be two more people who don't get any face time and wonder why you chose love over the passion for the business that brought you both together. See what happens if you two don't last. You won't get another chance that easily!

As far as Daivari is concerned, the guy lasted longer than I ever expected one they bailed out on the whole Hassan thing (although if they put them on Raw and run with it, they would've been KILLER heels) he had a decent run, made what I'm sure is a decent amount of money and I'm sure had a blast for the most part living his dream (unlike Hollywood Hassan who seemed to only want fame!) Good Luck to him, although he'll need a little bit of a gimmick change.

Now for the release you've all been waiting for me to comment on, King BOOKA And Queen Sharmell! For someone who gave everything he had for the last zillion years or so, did everything that he was asked since he's been apart of the WWEmpire, they treated him like crap the entire time, and he didn't deserve it! Should he get a title run on his way out of the door? No, but a nice send off would be better than "The WWE has come to terms with..." It's insulting to him and anyone who is a fan of his. But then again, something tells me that if Shane pissed off Vince enough (We all know that Steph couldn't possibly piss him off, so it'll have to be Shane) then the only thing we'd see is "The WWE has come to terms with the contractual release of one Shane O' Mac. We wish him well in all future endeavors." All kidding aside, if Book wasn't so closely linked to WCW his send off would be much more celebrated, no matter what. Just look at how many times Hogan's gotten the warm send off, and Vince HATES him now! Not that Book was ever at Hogan or Flair levels, but you get the idea. All in all, I hope that TNA gives him a short, midcard send off for a couple of months, and he beats someone like Christian Cage or Scott Steiner in his "final" "big two/three/four" match.

Then again, knowing TNA, they'll sign him and (Points thumbs at himself) R...V...D! And recreate the most misused and misguided tag teams in the history of wrestling. RVD and Booker should've never been a team. That's almost as dumb as X-Pac and Kane!


I agree Wolf. X-Pac and Kane were a horrible tag team. Here, watch the greatest tag team of all time in the match that made me a wrestling fan.





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Sunday, October 28, 2007

“HITMAN” PUTS HIMSELF IN THE CROSSHAIRS FOR TELL-ALL MEMOIR

By Anthony Kingdom James for ProWrestlingPundit.blogspot.com

When I was in my early teens, growing up in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough, my friends Bobby and Wayne introduced me to the exciting world of professional wrestling. Soon, we were watching every minute of every match we could get our hands on. There was Jim Crockett’s NWA from the Mid-Atlantic States. Verne Gagne’s AWA from the mid-west. The hours upon hours of Japanese tapes the Wayne brought home from his job as a dish-washer in a local sushi restaurant. The three hours of Bill Watts’ incredible UWF promotion that my cousin had on tape. A new version of Stampede Wrestling was being shown across Canada on TSN. And of course, there was Vince McMahon’s WWF.

Back then, there were three wrestlers in the WWF (now WWE) that I couldn’t get enough of: The Dynamite Kid, Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart and Bret “The Hitman” Hart. The latter two formed a tag team aptly named “The Hart Foundation”. When we wrestled on the lawn next to our apartment building, that’s exactly who Wayne and Bobby and I thought we were. Dynamite, The Anvil and The Hitman. Then, as well as now, I was shaped more like Neidhart, so that was the part I played... but man, did I want to be Bret Hart.

As the Dynamite Kid’s body succumbed to years of abuse in and out of thering and Neidhart’s star faded, I followed along as Bret Hart’s career blossomed. From opening match “jobber” to mid-card workhorse to World Champion to icon, Hart grew in both stature and ability.

When I became a professional wrestler myself, I was still always more Anvil than Hitman but I tried to emulate Hart in small ways. When I finally had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Hart in January 2006, he had been living in Italy for some time after remarrying. I tried to soak in every moment I could; asking him questions, listening to his stories... catching him up on NHL and CFL goings-on. And still, those few days only gave me a small window into this man who was still a personal hero to me.

Now, Bret Hart has thrown that window wide open for fans and detractors alike to get a good look at the life of the man behind “The Hitman”.



"Life as a pro wrestler is highly addictive”, says Bret Hart in his new autobiography "Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling". "Once you get a taste for it, your old life fades away and disappears", and oh, what a strange new life awaits those who join Hart and make the journey.

Hart describes a life that harkens the reader to thoughts of living within The Matrix. He paints a picture that makes life on the road as a wrestler sound vibrant, colorful and adventurous yet fraught with pitfalls and temptations. And much like Keanu Reeves’ character of Neo, Hart must learn a very special and sometimes logic-defying fighting system to survive in this surrealistic world. When Hart occasionally disconnects from that life, a life he knows isn't quite real, it means returning home to the drabness of marital strife and the type of familial in-fighting that most people attribute to Shakespeare's writing.... or possibly an
episode of some tawdry afternoon talk show.

The 7-time World Heavyweight champion calls upon over two decades worth of audio journals he recorded during his time on the road as the foundation for writing the monstrous 500+ pages of this book. Hart chronicles his long struggle to protect the honor and integrity of his wrestling persona while admitting to a laundry list of indiscretions in his personal life and Hart's recounting of his life as meticulous as it is scathing. On one hand, Hart praises himself repeatedly for his professionalism as a wrestler; never missing shows, never injuring opponents, never “screwing” anyone. On the other hand, he frankly admits to dabbling in steroid and narcotics use in the spring of his career and having a voracious sexual
appetite. And while he doesn’t absolve himself of his sins, he at least attempts to justify the latter vice by claiming that chasing women distracted him from falling into the bottomless pit of heavy drug and alcohol abuse that swallowed up so many other wrestlers of his generation.

Part of the fun of this weighty tell-all tome is that Hart doesn’t just employ these moral yardsticks for his own behavior but rather as a set of standards that he held everyone to. Both good and bad, Hart scrutinizes the behavior and the work ethic (or lack thereof) of everyone in his life: wrestlers and employers, fans and family. No one is spared, especially those closest to him.

Hart comes off as thoughtful and well-spoken, truthful and deeply emotional. At the same time, he uses the book to offer himself up as one of many martyrs to the wrestling industry. The problem with this is most people expect our martyrs to be humble and while it might be wrong to call Hart braggadocios neither could you quite call him humble. And although a lot has been said, written and put to film about Hart’s life already, this book is a must.

Growing up as one of 12 children.Trying to measure up to his famous father’s reputation and expectations. Learning the art and science of professional wrestling. The growth of his career. The slow death of his marriage. The infamous, industry-altering “Montreal Screw-Job”. The death of his brother Owen. The accident that ended his career. His stroke and recovery. And all of the friends, enemies, parties, fights, triumphs and tragedies in between.

It’s all there and it’s all true, even the "fake" stuff. In fact, the fake stuff may be the truest of all.

"Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling" by Bret Hart is available now in Canada from Random House Publishing. Visit the publisher’s official webpage for the book at http://www.randomhouse.ca/catalog/display.pperl?isbn=9780307355669

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Anthony Kingdom James is a former professional wrestler living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. James now promotes shows under the banner of The Union of Independent Professional Wrestlers. For more information, please visit UIPW’s official website at www.wrestlersunion.ca
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Brock Lesnar in UFC

It was just a few months ago that Brock Lesnar had his first Mixed Martial Arts fight. On June 2, 2007, Lesnar debuted in MMA when he fought Min Soo Kim, of Korea at K-1’s Dynamite!! USA. Would Brock continue to fight, or would he lose interest and move on to something else?
We didn’t hear much after that. In fact there were a few rumors of Brock meeting with Vince McMahon about a possible return to the WWE. Quietly, I waited anxiously for the big headline to come out, to hear the big news of the contract signing, to see the man pop up on my Monday night TV screen, and witness the shot-in-the-arm return of the “Next Big Thing.”

Sadly, the waiting can now cease, as Brock Lesnar has signed with the UFC.

But although I sit here broken hearted because Brock will not be coming back to WWE, I am not disappointed in Brock’s choice. After all, Brock has been there and done that. He’s a 3-time champion and he already left once due to being unhappy there in 2004. He no longer wanted to compete in WWE and turned his interests to a career in the NFL, before eventually passing on an offer to play pro football in Europe.

When it comes right down to it, Brock is probably the only current wrestler that can make a successful and safe move to UFC.

I say “successful” because he is already a phenomenal athlete with outstanding potential. His combat background is wrestling, which is a sport with one of the highest demands for physical conditioning, and he has obviously learned the art of striking well, as his first MMA fight was stopped by the referee due to strikes. I also say “safe,” because as far as I know Brock has not had any major debilitating injuries. Sure, he had a severe concussion one time in a match against Kurt Angle, but I think anybody would get one if they botched a shooting star press off the top rope and landed on the mat face first.

The truth is, I am a casual MMA fan. I watch maybe 20 percent of the pay-per-views the UFC produces each year. I don’t keep track of the current champions and developments, but I do have the utmost respect for them as athletes. The mere fact that Brock will be fighting there will make me watch more because I respect him as an athlete.

While I don’t see Brock walking into the octagon and becoming a champion right away, I think he has the potential to be a force to be reckoned with there. In fact with the turmoil in the heavyweight division right now, he could see a rather quick title shot.

One thing is for sure, Brock is now doing what he wants to do.

Image Source: Here

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Candice Michelle Falls on RAW



Here is the video of Candice Michelle's vicious faceplant from the top rope last night on Raw. Word is she is out 6-8 weeks with a broken clavicle. Get well soon Candice. More on This Story...

Monday, October 22, 2007

Soup Du Jour: Soups Hot Come And Get It

What do Irv Gotti and Ric Flair have in common? Seriously, what in the world do they have in common?

Look at this: (taken from WWE.com)

Ric Flair: Hey, Irv.

Irv Gotti: Hey, Ric.

RF: How are you, sir?

IG: What’s up, man?

RF: It seems like you’ve been busy. How’s your reality TV show, Gotti’s Way, going?

IG: It’s going good, you know. I like it. I did it, and I really like it....

Lets stop right there.

"I like it, I did it, and I really like it"...Seriously kids "DON'T DO DRUGS". It sounds like Murder Inc.'s boss has been triping way too much. As a matter of fact, why the hell am I even talking about this! Why in the world has the WWE, The leader in sports entertainment, put an ICON with a B-rate producer.

What has Irv Gotti contributed to the planet earth? Ja Rule...please. Ashanti? Now theres an amazonian woman. The second generation of rap wars. Nope he accounts for zero zilch nada zip of anything that could be thought as important.

Then again WWE what are you doing? Your main rival is just added an additional hour to its show and your booking interviews for your website with IRV Gotti. TNA is getting better by the day, and you want your fans, which might not even know who IRV gotti is, to stop and read about Gotti's Way.

Open Message to the WWE:

To whom it may concern,

Your company is in a world of shit. You put all your eggs in the Super Cena Basket and the bottom fell out. You drafted a world of talent to your Raw roster, and squandered it all in order to put over Cena and Umaga. Then when all the true talent is injured you don't even groom talent to come up. Well you could have with Dustin Rhodes... but he is just one ALabama slammer away from TNA. Meanwhile on the ECW/Smackdown branch...this is just like the WCW-ECW angle a few years back. You want them to coinside with one another. 2 Gm's, 2 Heavy weight titles, a lack of Funding and 2 crappy cable spots = disaster. I personally think that UPN was better than Sci-Fi. My old college roommate watched sci-fi. He was a Nerd...do Nerds watch wrestling? NO! They hate wrestlers, They were beat up by those guys in high school. I actually have no clue what Channel Smack down is on. Thats how bad things have gotten. You released a world of talent in the last few weeks...and it could come back and bite you in the ass. Fortunatly for you, I'm still a fan and watch this remedial excuse for story lines and angles...just because the monday night football games have been less than par this year.

Tuna Soup contributor to PROWRESTLINGPUNDIT.blogspot.com



And thats why you always leave a note!
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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Booker T's WWE Debut



With King Booker officially released from the WWE, I figured I'd take a look back at his first match ever in the WWE. I remember thinking that Buff Bagwell would be a huge star in the WWE. He had the look and the "attitude." Well, this match got Buff Bagwell fired, but I never understood why. The reason? I never got to see this match. A very close friend of mine from high school had just returned from being gone for a month. I asked her to be my girlfriend on this night and she said yes. I can recall making out with her on the couch in the basement of her aunt's house and sneaking glimpses at the television as WCW and Booker T made their WWE debuts...

Some interesting side notes:
Scott Hudson and Arn Anderson are the commentary team
Stacy Keibler is the ring announcer
Anderson calls this the most historic night of wrestling ever
Anderson calls Booker T the greatest WCW champion of all time
Hudson calls the WCW title the WWF title
Booker T calls this his worst match EVER!!! More on This Story...

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Transaction Reaction

Professional wrestling is in such a strange place right now. WWE spent the first half of the year convincing Raw fans that John Cena and Bobby Lashley are where it's at. Now, neither are on television.

It's interesting to me that in the aftermath of the WWE banning certain piledrivers, powerbombs, and other high-risk maneuvers that we have seen more injuries to main event caliber wrestlers at one time than I can ever remember before. Add The Undertaker, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Triple H, Ken Kennedy, King Booker, and Rey Mysterio to the list of top-level guys who have spent time on the shelf this year. Can we begin to assume that those moves weren't the problem?

With rumors of Chris Jericho's return whirling around the internet, some fans may have missed some noteworthy transactions that happened this week.

Fans eager to see the new Hart Foundation debut on Smackdown were certainly disappointed to find that Teddy Hart had been released. I am surprised that the group made it that far. It is well known that Hart has an attitude problem. Now many fans are wondering where this leaves Harry Smith, Nattie Neidhardt, TJ Wilson and Ted Dibiase Jr. Smith has a tremendous upside, and it's almost unbelievable that WWE couldn't find something for him in the aftermath of Hart's release.

In what I would consider lesser developmental news, Robert Gibson was released from his position as a trainer in OVW. Gibson is best remembered as the ugly member of the Rock N' Roll Express. I personally have always found this team to be incredibly overrated. Don't get me wrong, it's a decent enough gimmick and both guys can work. There is just something that never clicked with me when watching Morton and Gibson. With TNA using teams like the Steiner Brothers, there may be a new way to fly for this duo. It's highly doubtful, however.

While Hart and Gibson were being fired, Ryan O'Reilly and Krissy Vaine decided to quit. Many are scrutinizing the decision of these two young lovers to forgo their WWE contracts. Deny thy McMahon and refuse thy brand, they will no longer be WWE superstars. Does true love trump the greatest opportunity of their professional careers? Sure. If it really were true love, would they have made it through? Undoubtedly. WWE love and WWE contracts seem to be lasting about the same length of time these days. If I were these two, I would have sucked it up. Oh well…

Then at the eleventh hour, WWE announces the releases of Daivari, King Booker, and Queen Sharmell. Now it is no secret that Booker T has long been one of my favorite wrestlers. It's hard to mourn for him however, because there was simply no place for him on the Raw brand. I'd rather see him leave on his terms than be misused for another number of years. The biggest shame is that Booker has been teasing retirement for years now, and he will never get his proper sendoff. Well, I guess that in wrestling I should never say never.

Somewhere in the midst of all these releases, TNA put on their biggest show of the year. Former WWE tag team champion Joey Matthews debuted before the show, and I can only hope that King Booker will follow in his footsteps.

I haven't seen the show, but I've heard nothing but good things. TNA's webpage was down for days in the show's aftermath.

I haven't talked much on TNA lately other than to say that I thought their 2 hour debut was miserable. I stand by that. However, I will say Total Nonstop Action has a lot to be excited about.

First off, LAX is one of the most badass tag teams I have seen in a long time. I loved their run as heels with Konnan as their mouthpiece, and I think they can be just as exciting as faces as long as they aren't tampered with too much. When the tag belts are back on the waists of these guys, a lot will be right in the world of TNA.

For those who are familiar with me, it is no secret that my favorite wrestler of all time is Randy "Macho Man" Savage. Those who would expect me to dislike Jay Lethal's Black Machismo character are dead wrong. It's amazing. The thing that makes Jay so likable is his attention to detail and commitment to the character. TNA made the right decision keeping him the X division champion. He adds a great deal of flare.

Sting winning the TNA World Heavyweight title was certainly the right decision. It set this show apart from your regular monthly TNA PPV and refreshed the whole product. I can only hope that his long awaited feud with Christopher Daniels can come to fruition and be done correctly, but I know better than to hold my breath and wait for that.

TNA has so much talent that I genuinely care about doing things I couldn't care less about. I would love to see the TNA creative team figure out what to do with AJ Styles, Ron Killings, Robert Roode, and Christopher Daniels to really make some money. Hell, I am really digging the whole Steiner's reunion. Is it being done to the fullest? I guess that is arguable.

One thing TNA seems to be doing better than anyone right now is promoting Women's wrestling. That's saying something considering that they have been doing it for only about a week. I watched that Women's gauntlet on Youtube, and I really appreciated the character development and most of the booking decisions. My only real gripe is with the treatment of Traci Brooks. She should be TNA's bread and butter. Maybe I only say that because I am in love with her.

One of the biggest news pieces out of Bound for Glory was that Kurt Angle tried a 450 splash. If at first you don't succeed, do yourself a favor and don't try again Kurt. It was a step above Brock Lesnar's shooting star press, but if I were Kurt I'd stick with the moonsault. Can't fault a guy for trying though.

Last week, I suggested that WWE fans push for Mr. Kennedy for Cyber Sunday. In reality, I was asking for anyone other than HBK. Do I have something against Shawn? Not really. I just want to see some other guys get a chance to shine. It's like knowing Chris Daughtry is going to get a record deal and voting for Taylor Hicks instead. Well, needless to say, I got some feedback.

David Missio decided that he would love to tear me a whole new one…

First of all, I agree with your point on the big gold belt. The bling belt makes no sense around Orton's (or HHH 's or Michaels' or Jericho's) waist and it would be nice to see a reversion to the more
standard, "classic" belt of the past.

In regards to your stance on the Cyber Sunday vote (Kennedy vs Michaels), I have to say that you're completely off base and quite foolish at that. Quite simply, Michaels versus Orton is the better match, and fans should be voting for the match they want to see, not some "send a message" bullshit that you seem to think would have an effect on long term booking. This is akin to all of those morons who claim that they'll never watch wrestling again each time WWE does something they disagree with to "send a message" to Vince and Co. Stop worrying about any semblance of active involvement you have, stop
worrying about sending a message to top brass, and stop worrying about trying to force a minority opinion. The bottom line is that Randy v Shawn makes sense, will be good and deserves to be voted for... besides which, from a storyline perspective, Kennedy and Orton might put on a good to very good match but there would be very little heat to it, unlike the Michaels/Orton bout. Have some perspective and take off your IWC blinders now and then.

Travis Bucklaschuk sent the following perspective:

After reading your column I have to disagree with voting for Kennedy. I really feel he has no right to be in the title picture due to just being back from suspension. Why should we vote for a guy who has damaged the credibility (what it had left) of the company he worked for? I don't particularly care about his wellness violation, but to go on air and run your mouth about how you don't touch any illegal substances, and then to get caught. I feel be needs to stay away from the Main-Event scene really.

Now as for voting in someone younger, I'm all for voting in Jeff Hardy. Sure he has violated the wellness policy, but the guy has never made the WWE look bad like Kennedy did, and it would be quite the throwback to old when the Intercontinental Title meant you had the right for a World Title shot. So really, I'd vote for him over Kennedy and Michaels. After all from the reaction of the crowd, this guy is almost as over as Michaels and Hunter, if not just as over. Wouldn't that be something worth cashing in on?

On a bit of a humorous note, Randy Orton had quite the first WWE title reign didn't he? What was it, five-to-ten minutes long? Well at least he can claim himself as a 3-Time World Champion.

One of my favorite personalities "The Wolf" gave me some more feedback as well

I totally agree with you that a belt change is in order. Vince says that he doesn't want to go the personalization route again even threatening or actually (It's Khali vs Batista forgive me for not paying too much attention to the SD title!) taking away the name plate from the old WCW title was a genus move (has anyone ever thought about that? Maybe Vince is ashamed of Khali even holding the belt. (But then again, Vince has no issue showing off his 60 year old ass on the highest rated basic cable show in the land, so why would he be ashamed of his World Champ? Oh yeah Khali!) Like Vince can't afford to change the title a little bit to match the character? He gave one to Edge (for a couple of days before he jobbed to Cena AGAIN!)

And how about the choices for the WWE Championship match? we've got the choice of a Jesus Freak near retirement (nothing wrong with that, but I don't think that the key demographic of teenage boys really wants to be preached at) and two druggies to choose from. I think it's telling of exactly how tough the 'E is going to be on the abusers when they give a guy whose (ALEGEDLY!!!) already been fired for a Wellness related issue TWICE (well, the first time was before the plan existed, but he was still fired for being a DRUG FUELED FREAK!). Also, the man whose either really got bad luck or is the dumbest man on the planet gets to see if he can take a run for the gold. This gets my brain working. Vince has been trying to push Echo man, since he first dropped his mic (hey now this is a family show!!) and now he's got the chance to prove that he's over by setting up what looks to be an obviously rigged "cyber poll" (god I just felt dirty typing the term "Cyber Poll" i think i need to shower! Wait, I thought Fienstien ran ROH?) So I see things this way: VINCE WANTS YOU TO VOTE KENNEDY.....Kennedy. Does anyone really think that Jeff's really going to get many votes going up against the Born Again former champion and the Golden McMahon (Uh, I mean the one who was supposed to before he opened up a box full of sterriods!) who Vince has a hard on for? (Wait, are you sure that Kennedy's NOT Vince's son? He did want to run an angle saying his granddaughter was his daughter!)

But all (or most) sarcasm aside, I'm actually a fan of Mrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.... Kennedy...............................Kennedy (Even if i can prove that the whole gimmick was STOLEN from me when I was in an E-Fed!!) and I'd love to see him get a title shot. I'm actually thinking that out of the three choices he's the most likely to walk out of Cyber Sunday as the champ. But then again, I want to run a fed where one of my big storylines revolves around Zach Gowin being able to beat The Big Show, so who knows if I'm right about ANYTHING! Keep up the good work and I'll bombard you with sarcasm again!

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Vote for MISTTTTTTTEEEEEERRRR KENNEDY...

Kennedy!

The main event for Cyber Sunday was announced on WWE.com today, and rather than a Randy Orton showdown with either Triple H or HBK with fans picking the stipulations, they can now choose Orton's opponent between Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, and Ken Kennedy. After last night's Raw, fans should vote for Kennedy, and here is why...

John Cena's injury sure has shaken things up a little bit. Does anyone else think that the current title belt should go back on the shelf for a while? The belt Orton currently holds is in the style of the John Cena spinner belt, but alas it does not spin. Still, it looks like a fly peice of bling bling. Cena himself hasn't done the rap stuff for years. Why should Orton not revert back to the "undisputed" style WWE title? I personally would love to see the winged eagle belt return.

Speaking of belts and birds, how about Beth Phoenix. Without doubt she is something to get excited about. PWP writer Daron Smythe has defeated Beth Phoenix via pinfall, and I've heard that he is arguing that he is next in line for a shot at the Glamazon. Good luck with that buddy. Either way, they are working her gimmick to perfection, and finally there is some good women's wrestling back on Raw. I thought when Trish left and Victoria switched brands that we may never see that again. Stupid ass Diva search...

To the Diva search's credit, I actually do enjoy Maria and Candice. While neither of them won that competition, they are products of it. That makes it about as lucrative as Tough Enough, who's pride and joy is former ECW champion John Morrison.

I would say that right now it appears that in order of in ring ability, Victoria remains tops. Right behind her are Mickie James, Beth Phoenix, and Melina. The next level includes your Jillian Hall's and Candice Michelle's, and at the bottom are Maria, Torrie Wilson, and some other nameless worthless bimbos.

Santino Marella continues to benefit from the upswing of not actually ever wrestling a match. His mic work has been histerical for weeks now. Too bad that after Val Venis won an internet poll stating that fans would rather see him as the World Champion than anyone else on the roster, he is doing job duty yet again.

Still, it was nice to see him receive face time rather than ubershitty wrestling personality Hardcore Holly. What type of world is it where the WWE brass see more value in Holly than Venis? Holly has a stupid face, buckteeth, a dumb redneck accent, nothing interesting to say, and is perhaps the most boring wrestler WWE has had in the past 10 years.

He makes Snitsky look like The Rock by comparison. Oh, that's right. Snitsky returned to Raw last night to face Val Venis. Daron Smythe has also wrestled Snitsky, but I am not sure of the result. I wonder if Snitsky had as much bacne then. It's horrible now, which makes me wonder if he stopped taking whatever he was taking when he got his wellness suspension in the first place. Those white lights during his entrance served to make this dude look extra ugly. Still, they are working his ugliness to perfection. Even his in ring work is ugly, but in a way that works for him.

The Bushwhackers 2.0 actually wrestled on Raw last night which makes a few dudes who saw them on the Ontario indy scene happy. Cousin Robbie and Cousin Rory whoa'd and yay'd their way down to the ring with arms swinging for their contest with London and Kendrick. They even stopped to lick a face along the way. Gross...

Anyways, some smart mark buttholes are begging that WWE takes the "handcuffs" off these two and let them show the world what they can do. I'd argue that just about every single wrestler on the WWE roster has the ability to compete at a higher level than they do on a weekly basis on Raw, but WWE has handcuffs on pretty much everyone.

Now what pisses me off is, these are the same people screaming about how terrible John Cena is. How many freaking t-shirts are the Highlanders ever going to sell? I'll tell you, 3000, because that's how many dudes that like wrestling are named Robbie, and will by a shirt that reads: "I'm Robbie!" It's just assinine to me to give these dudes a free pass, but come down on John Cena every week for two plus years.

Now to the beginnings of the WWE title picture. If you are living behind one of Umaga's ass cheeks or all three of Big Daddy V's breasts, you may have missed that that Randy Orton was awarded the WWE title at No Mercy, Triple H defeated him for it, Triple H defended it against Umaga, and then Triple H lost it back to Orton.

Now, many voted Randy Orton the wrestler of the week for the accomplishment of being the last man standing. I would argue that Triple H defeating Umaga and Orton before losing to Orton is a far more impressive feat. Still, I hate Triple H and everything he stands for.

On Raw, he squared off in a handicapped match against both Orton and Umaga. Finally, under the circumstances that he had wrestled three times the night before and was taking on Raw's two biggest heels, Triple H took a freaking beat down. Umaga got a measure of revenge on Triple H for his heelish and unwarranted sledgehammer attacks from months back. All the while Jim Ross screamed at how unecesseary it was for Umaga to rip Triple H apart with his bare hands. Funny how months ago, he popped a raging bbq sauce boner for Triple H beating the shit out of Umaga with a deadly weapon.

Triple H refused medical attention to walk to the back, because he is so bad ass. Remember, this is the dude that got dropped from a car by a crane and wrestled the next week. Last year, Vince McMahon bludgeoned him with a lead pipe, and while Shawn Michaels lay on the mat out cold, Triple H crawled around and attempted to get back up. The dude is a cyborg.

Anyway, the good thing to come out of the whole beatdown was that Triple H got taken out of the WWE title picture. Who got put in in his place? Skinner. Yes that's right folks, Steve Keirn returned to Raw, and apparantely he has kicked that awful tobacco habit. Wait.. Wha? That was Shawn Michaels? No way...

Ok, apparantely Shawn Michaels returned and not Skinner. Wow, totally fooled me. Anyways, now Michaels, Kennedy, and Jeff Hardy will be contending for our votes to face Orton for John Cena's title (I will refer to it as such until the belt design changes).

Now Kennedy has done relatively nothing good since he got on Raw, which has basically killed all his momentum. He jobbed to Super Crazy, was supposed to have killed Mr. McMahon kayfabe until Chris Benoit killed his family shoot, took a wellness suspension that stopped him from being Mr. Kennedy McMahon which I maintain was a blessing rather than a curse, and now he is losing in non-title matches to the guy with the gayest nickname in wrestlng history.

Somehow this has put him in line for a World title shot. Well, we Ken Kennedy fans will take it, because it's about time we had something to be excited about. The best part, the vote is in our hands. Now, I know Shawn Michaels just came back and we are excited to see him dance around and do his JESUS YEAH! entrance pose, but we KNOW that Shawn Michaels will be in the World Title picture and get his match with Orton. Why not make a statement by voting for Ken Kennedy? Of course, this assuming that all of Cyber Sunday isn't a worked fan vote anyway, which it most likely is.

The Triple H/Umaga match logically will get the fans choose the stipulation vote, as it is the only feud on the Raw brand right now with the steam to warrant it. Quite frankly, no one has enough heat to be with Orton in the Cell, no matter how good the match could be.

If you don't live in Mexico and you buy Lilian Garcia's album, may God have mercy on your soul. Go buy Macho Man's album "Be a Man" instead. At least it has long term comedic value.

If you don't vote for Kennedy for Cyber Sunday, I just don't understand. I have been trying to rally you for weeks. It's time to push the new faces of the WWE. Every single time we refuse to let go of the old, we end up in the same old funk. The business does not have to be cyclical. We could vote for Shawn Michaels and he can retire next year, or we can vote for Mr. Kennedy and build towards our future.

If you don't vote for Mr. Kennedy, you are as stupid as TNA for being in talks with malignant locker room cancer Kid Kash. I mean seriously, the guy has no draw value. If you are going to sign a trouble maker, at least sign a guy like Sid, Scott Hall, or try again with the Macho Man. At least there will be some return for your headaches.

Oh, and by the way TNA, your 2 hour Impact premier was terrible to watch, and I hate you for it, because you made one of my best writers, Chris Scott uninterested in coming to work.
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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Beth Phoenix – Bringing Legitimacy to Women’s Wrestling

My idea of an entertaining wrestling match is a well-called bout based on a decent storyline with two or more athletically inclined individuals who have spent the time in the gym with the iron to maintain a healthy physique, featuring athleticism to move explosively, gracefully, and powerfully. It does not matter to me if they are men or women as long as I am engaged by physicality (maneuvers, bumps, and mobility) of the bout and the drama of the storyline.

However, for decades, I have thought that Women’s Wrestling in the WWE was lacking in these qualities, often changing the channel or taking a bathroom break when the Women’s matches came on Raw. After all, the WWE Women’s wrestlers have been marketed as little more than eye candy, historically.

What comes to mind as examples of this eye candy filler featured on the weekly programming?

Melina may be in excellent shape, but if I see her enter the ring with the full split under the bottom rope one more time, I’m going to vomit.

Candice Michelle may be shifting to a more athletic style now that she holds the belt, but I am having trouble forgetting all of her dancing in a circle like a stripper for the first year she was in WWE. My memory’s already too tainted.

These women are not the kind of stars I look forward to seeing on a WWE broadcast. I do not want to see fitness models. I can get that on ESPN2 a couple times a year and be happy. I do not want to see soft core porn. I can get that on Showtime.

Sure, Trish Stratus, at the end of her career, was very athletic, but her credibility was lost early on when she had the make-out sessions with Vince McMahon. Her televised matches were meant more to draw ratings from the 35 to 40-year olds who weren’t getting laid than to feature an athletic wrestling encounter.

Lita was an excellent wrestler, of course. Her time spent in Mexico and the Indy’s made her an outstanding wrestler. It’s too bad her career was shortened by her injuries, relationship problems, and that ridiculous boob job she got before she retired. In the end, a marred legacy.

Certainly, Chyna was a phenomenal athlete, combining plenty of gymnastic-style acrobatics along with her power. I will recognize that there have certainly been a handful of good female athletes in the WWE Women’s Ranks. But all three of these women I just mentioned are out of the business, now. The crop of truly athletic female wrestlers is all but dried up on our TV sets.

Until Now. Enter Beth Phoenix.

Beth Phoenix, whose real name is Elizabeth Carolan née Kocanski, grew up less than an hour from where I grew up. She’s from Elmira, New York. As a teenager, I had to drive past that town on the way to get to the nearest mall.

What the community of wrestling fans may not realize is that Beth Pheonix is truly an accomplished wrestler. She’s not just 5 minutes of eye candy like Maria Kanellis. Beth Phoenix is a true athlete. In fact, as the Iron Sheik would say, Beth phoenix is a shooter.

According to her wiki, she was the first female member of the Notre Dame High School varsity wrestling team. Her legitimate wrestling experience does not stop there. She went on to become the North-East freestyle women's champion (72 kg weight class) in 1999. She was the 1999 women's champion (72 kg weight class) at the New York State Fair Tournament and was named the most outstanding wrestler that same year in the Brockport Freestyle Tournament.

Beth Phoenix dreamed of becoming a wrestler, and she belongs inside the ring.

Her resume makes her one of the most qualified members of the entire WWE roster.

I am a strength and conditioning coach, and I can honestly say that amateur wrestling is one of the most physically intense sports, requiring some of the highest levels of conditioning in order to excel. As a practitioner of many different styles of strength training and conditioning protocols, I respect any wrestler who has risen to be champion at any level.

My hat is off to Beth Phoenix and I wish her the best with her career. I hope this article increases the awareness of just how impressive Beth Phoenix’ athletic background is.

Image sources:
Walking to Ring
Wrestling Team

-Napalm Jedd-


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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Vote For Val - Click Here!

Currently on WWE.com, they are running a poll asking who should be the next WWE champion. Val Venis is dominating the whole Raw roster with 46 percent of the vote. Apparantely everyone else sees the undeniable talent in the ring and on the mic, and want to see this guy do more. Click the link to see the results as they were at 9:00 on Thursday night. Then click the Vote for Val link at the top and support Venis!

Brian Kendrick 0.13 %
Carlito 0.69 %
Charlie Haas 0.05 %
Cody Rhodes 0.23 %
Daivari 0.79 %
Hacksaw Jim Duggan 0.13 %
Hardcore Holly 0.11 %
Jeff Hardy 3.26 %
King Booker 0.33 %
Lance Cade 0.02 %
Mr. Kennedy 7.26 %
Paul London 0.73 %
Randy Orton 1.94 %
Robbie McAllister 0.02 %
Ron Simmons 0.66 %
Rory McAllister 0.04 %
Santino Marella 0.18 %
Shelton Benjamin 0.58 %
Snitsky 13.76 %
Super Crazy 0.09 %
Trevor Murdoch 5.69 %
Triple H 16.36 %
Umaga 0.28 %
Val Venis 46.52 %

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The Cyclical Wrestling Business

So two weeks ago I asked what it is that even makes a superstar? One week ago I talked about professionally wrestling's surprisingly deep free agent market. I got some great responses on a free agent roster that I will share a bit later, but first I want to talk about the cyclical nature of wrestling, because it's an argument that I have heard 1000 times that I am just not buying.

Months ago, Linda McMahon stated that professional wrestling was about to reach another boom period. So what creates these cycles?

Well, the first is simply talent. In the 1980's, Vince McMahon purchased the best superstars from every territory to create his national brand. The chance to see the best of the best from around the world together in something other than a Pro Wrestling Illustrated magazine was undoubtedly exciting, and Vince was printing money.

However, Vince seemed to forget something very important along the way. His business is with human beings. Human beings grow older. Human beings have wants and needs. Pretty soon the early nineties appeared, and many of those from the Rock N' Wrestling Generation had retired. Ted Turner purchased those remaining, much the way they were purchased by Vince a decade earlier.

In the meantime, Vince hadn't created any new stars. He had latched his wagon onto workhorses like Hulk Hogan and let them take him as far as they could pull. So when Hogan was gone, Vince had to turn to Bret Hart and Lex Luger to pull the weight. The results were less than thrilling.

In time, Razor Ramon, Diesel, and Shawn Michaels separated themselves from the pack as special talents. Ramon and Diesel were then lured away by the almighty dollar as well, but luckily for Vince, he had recently acquired the underappreciated former WCW talent Steve Austin, and there was a third generation superstar on the horizon.

Initially Vince stuck with his tired formula. The third generation superstar was called Rocky Miavia, and pushed down the throats of fans as an undeniable babyface. Austin was given the gimmick of the Ringmaster and the Million Dollar Belt to boot. Nothing was going to change ratings until Vince McMahon changed his philosophy.

A rumbling was taking place that would shake the core of professional wrestling. Paul Heyman took a group of WWE and WCW rejects, matched them up with guys no one had ever heard of, and created one of the most exciting products in wrestling history. When the cult following started to become a mainstream fanfare, Vince had the answer.

WWE Attitude took the audience back from WCW and created the second significant wrestling boom of the past 30 years. Much like when Vince McMahon had put all his eggs into Hogan's basket in the 80's, he was going to milk Attitude for all it was worth as the late nineties rolled into the new millennium.

If the Attitude Era were a large plentiful orange in 1997, WWE was still squeezing the hell out of it in 2006 in order to quench the fans thirst. Then one day, Vince woke up and looked at the talent around him. Steve Austin had retired. The Rock had left to go do movies. Mick Foley was not going to be flying off any cages. Instead a new crop of talent surrounded him. Bobby Lashley, Ken Kennedy, Umaga…

Vince decided the first thing to do was release Scotty 2 Hotty. After all, nothing screamed hanging on to 1997 like this guy still doing the Too Cool dance and the worm ten years later.

It was time to shake off a half decade of bad investments. Since the WWF became the WWE, Vince and company have put a great deal of time and money into guys that simply didn't pan out. The emergence of the NWO in the WWE didn't work because of injuries to Kevin Nash and the conduct of Scott Hall. Hulkamania was reignited, but only long enough to give him some big wins over guys like Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and Randy Orton, only to see him disappear again with no real benefit to the company.

For a full year Vince pushed Brock Lesnar on Smackdown and Goldberg on Raw. By the time their dream match was scheduled at Wrestlemania, both had decided that they were done with the WWE, and a retired Steve Austin got the rub from stunning them both on their departure.

WWE chose to let go of the Dudley Boyz. While their routine was admittedly tired, shouldn't they have put someone over on their way out for the future viability of the tag division? What about Christian and Chris Jericho? These guys were in the title picture at Summerslam and then gone before the Royal Rumble.

One can't miss prospect that WWE was looking to was Muhammed Hassan. After the time they put into making Hassan a true contender, he was drafted to Smackdown and then had to be removed from TV for a controversial angle.

It wasn't just the men's department where WWE was hurting. In a short period they lost three of their most established divas as well when Stacy Keibler, Trish Stratus, and Lita all said goodbye.

Just last year The Big Show quit after a lengthy run as ECW champion and a main event program with Degeneration X.

All of these releases as individual instances are not a big deal. All of them together, however, are pretty significant. Figure into that the deaths of Owen Hart and Eddie Guerrero, and you have a recipe for disaster.

It's actually quite impressive that WWE is doing as well as they are right now. With Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and the Undertaker as the corporate backbone, WWE was able to develop John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, and more into this new crop of superstars.

However, just when things were looking up, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, and the Undertaker go down to injuries. Following suit are Rey Mysterio, King Booker, and Ken Kennedy. Rob Van Dam leaves the company. Chris Benoit kills himself. Edge gets hurt. Bobby Lashley gets hurt. Then after Triple H, Mysterio, and the Undertaker come back, 10-12 superstars get Wellness-related suspensions. When those guys on the Wellness suspensions return, John Cena tears his pectoral muscle.

So John Cena is injured and smarks around the world are rejoicing as if the war in Iraq were finally over. I for one don't see the upside.

Say what you will about John Cena, and wrestling sites have about said it all ad nauseam, but John Cena has proven to be something special. His name on the marquee draws crowds, his image on cotton sells t-shirts, his persona both live and on television stays over, and his programs with Edge, Randy Orton, Triple H, Umaga, and others make for damn good wrestling television.

So what do people have to say about the heir-apparent to the WWE throne? He's no Hulk Hogan. He's no Steve Austin. He's no Rock. You know what? That's completely true.

Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, and The Rock are arguably the three biggest stars in the history of professional wrestling. John Cena has commonalities with all three men, but he certainly is not able to fill their shoes.

Like the Rock, Cena came into the WWE as a bluechipper. Fans didn't accept his babyface character, and he was quickly pushed into being a heel and developed his own personality. Like Steve Austin, John Cena became an ass-kicking anti hero, as his foul mouth and controversial actions only endeared him more to the WWE crowd. Like Hulk Hogan, he captured the imagination of children everywhere and became an almost unstoppable force.

What the Rock, Steve Austin, and Hulk Hogan had going for them is that they were allowed to be themselves with the volume turned way up. What John Cena has working against him is that he is expected to be some type of amalgamation of those who came before him.

When Randy Orton was kicked out of Evolution shortly after winning the WWE title, he suffered a similar fate. For months, Orton had developed his cocky legend killer character to the point that fans began to like it. When the time came to pull the trigger on Orton's inevitable babyface run, they placed him on the stage and gave him a Rock-esque promo to cut. It didn't work. Why? Well for starters, Randy Orton is not the Rock. He is Randy Orton.

When The Rock finally turned babyface, he did not magically turn into a new generation Hulk Hogan. He stayed true to who he was, and the fans ate that up. This was the character that fans had grown to love. No one wanted to hear The Rock telling us to train, say our prayers, and eat our vitamins.

The more over John Cena's rap character became, the more he got pushed in a direction where he had to fit a mold that was created before him. Cena has since abandoned the throwback jerseys, locks, and chains that brought him to the dance and has adopted the persona of being "The Marine," a role that was initially intended for Steve Austin.

When given mic time, Cena is rarely ever the brash arrogant kid we grew to love. He is often simply too goofy to be taken seriously. It's strange how the Rock can call Umaga a shriveled up monkey penis and it works, but when John Cena calls the Big Show poopy pants it doesn't. It's the same type of sophomoric humor, but it just rolls off The Rock's tongue more naturally.

Then again, I was 14 when I loved hearing the Rock say those things. I am now 24, and I would hope my sense of humor has evolved. Still, when the Rock makes his occasional appearance, I expect this from him and welcome it. When I see John Cena, I would prefer not to see a subpar rehash of places I have already been.

John Cena has had some fantastic matches in his career. Of course Kurt Angle, Chris Benoit, Edge, and Shawn Michaels had the ability to make anyone look like a million bucks, but Cena's recent Summerslam effort against Randy Orton should also serve to silence a lot of critics.

Cena's reputation as a hard worker is well documented. Often I think the criticism he gets for no-selling moves and having a tired predicatable offense is unwarranted, because I believe this is what he is instructed to do by the WWE higher-ups. If Vince McMahon wanted Cena to deliver a consistently better and more diverse in-ring product, I am sure he could step to the plate.

Case and Point: John Cena's injury is not a positive for professional wrestling. It is very much a negative. What Linda McMahon predicted to be a "boom" period for professional wrestling has become a period where the product is really suffering. Those who have enjoyed the most success due to circumstance thus far? The Great Khali and Hornswaggle. There is something wrong with that picture.

Every move that WWE makes right now is critical. Every signing, every release and every push is essential to sustaining the momentum the company had been building over the past year. Every booking, every storyline and every angle needs to be carefully constructed to maintain the relationships with fans who have tuned in over the past seven years to see people who may or may not be on their televisions due to a number of circumstances.

So in this sensitive time period that requires a great deal of focus, what is the WWE doing? A Teddy Long Viagra-induced heart attack and a Hornswaggle/Melina love story. These are two angles that take TV time, and don't build anyone with the ability to draw a dime or even result in a match.

They are building Santino Marella into one of the most interesting superstars on Raw. The problem? On the way there, they are going to further devalue their most underrated talent in Val Venis. Venis has the look, the charisma, and the in-ring ability, yet he is saddled with eternal job duty. What is Marella's ultimate destiny after getting the rub from Val? That's quite simple. He will receive kick-wham-stunner from an inactive Steve Austin. How does this elevate a new superstar? It doesn't.

Triple H gets to destroy Umaga, Carlito, Cade, and Murdoch. Who's next? Well most likely with Cena getting hurt, Orton will be thrown into this match at the pay-per-view and it will be made for the vacant WWE title. It is likely good ole' Trips will bury Orton too on the way to another long meaningless title run, and heck, while he has the belt, let him destroy Ken Kennedy too. What's the point of having something new to look forward to? Right WWE?

Speaking of something new to look forward to, how about Cody Rhodes. Oh yeah, that's right. He is jobbing to Bob Holly. The fans have never accepted Holly as more than a weak midcarder, so Rhodes losing to him on a weekly basis is especially damaging. You think Cody would get a better deal because of his daddy. I guess this is supposed to end with Rhodes earning Holly's respect. Whoopdee shit. I'd rather see Rhodes spit in his face and ask him why in the 15 years he's been in the WWE he hasn't had any real success. Then ask him why he's still going around calling himself Hardcore. In the last WWE Smackdown vs. Raw game, Lawler exclaims, "1998 called, they want their word back." Amen.

Even when Brock Lesnar legit injured Bob Holly, his return to get revenge garnered him no fan support. I am happy Holly beat his terrible staph infection, but that doesn't make him any less boring. Bob Holly never was a star and never will be one. I wish that WWE would wish him the best on his future endeavors, or throw him back on ECW where nothing matters anyways.

If those viral marketing promos are actually for Chris Jericho and not for the new and improved WWE.com featuring old school pics of Dusty Rhodes' valet Sweet Sapphire, wrestling fans around the world need to realize something. I said last week that no one man is going to save the WWE. I take that back. There actually is one guy that has that power. His name is Vince McMahon.

It is up to Vince McMahon and the WWE creative team to build intriguing storylines that make sense, attract viewers, and lead to an even bigger payoff. Until they get that process down, even a returning Chris Jericho is likely to be nothing to get excited about. In fact, he's just another guy for Triple H to run over while we all wait patiently for wrestling's next big boom period.

Chris O offered up his 30 man roster alternative to the WWE

World Championship Division
Sabu
CW Anderson
Rob Van Dam
The Sandman
Steve Corino
Bryan Danielson
Brent Albright
Marcus Cor Von
The Human Tornado

Lightweight Championship Division
Too Cold Scorpio
Austin Starr
Sean Waltman
Jushin Liger
Mistico
TAKA Michinoku
Ultimo Dragon
Matt Bentley
Jack Evans

Tag Team Championship Division
Kings of Wrestling: Chris Hero and Claudio Castagnoli
Jay Briscoe and Mark Briscoe
Joey Mercury and Christian York
The Mexicools: Psicosis and Juventud Guerrera
The Naturals: Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas
Cryme Tyme: JTG and Shad

My fed's roster kinda resembles the original ECW. In the World Title Division there are Originals such as Sabu, Sandman, and RVD. I have guys with technical prowess such as Danielson and Albright. I have a monster in Cor Von, and have Anderson and Tornado in there as heavyweight jobbers. My lightweights are stacked and should provide exciting matches like lightweights in the old ECW. My tag team division is a mix of indy teams like the Kings of Wrestling and the Briscoes, and ex-WWE or TNA teams like Cryme Tyme and the Naturals. If Heyman booked for this fed, it would be able to create a cult following. While it probably wouldn't compete with WWE, it can still be popular on a national stage.

Stephen Straka also gave his 30 man roster
A roster of 30 based on the free agents? Hoo boy.

The first thing I'm gonna do is divide the 30 into groups. 10 slots will be set aside for 5 established tag teams. 6 slots will be for the "devlopers", the type of guys you see winning tons on Heat but jobbing almost everywhere else. Hacksaw and Val Venis for example. Their primary role is to both test the incoming rookies and take under their wings the signed contract that still need some freshening up on the B-show. 1 of the tag team slots will be for this purpose as well. 7 slots will be for the upper-card wrestlers while 7 will be for an X-division.

Tag teams:
- La Resistence; I personally liked their gimmick and they're able to draw heat better than a lot of heels.
- Briscoe Bros.; duh. The only proviso is that they dress up as Mario and Luigi during Halloween episodes. Why? Why not?
- Cryme Tyme; sadly, I never got to see them in any matches aside from squashes but their skits are good for comedy value. Probably most liekly to be the B-show team but again, I haven't seen enough of them to tell.
- Basham Bros.; whatever you're gonna call them, they can be great in the ring if you let them be. Unfortunately, they were used as enforcers, which is never good for your in-ring work.
- Gymini is your "big" team.

Developers:
- Scotty! Even though he's at the tail end of his career, the fans still love the worm and I can see him tearing up the B-show in my promotion.
- Ace Steel; again, getting along in years but still more than capable of main-eventing the B-show. He can also double as a trainer/manager for someone who has a boxing/MMA gimmick given his training ofthe Second City Saints.
- Eugene; it's sad that he never got a chance outside the retard gimmick. I'd probably let him go back to being Mr. Wrestling and make him the heel developer.
-

X-Division:
- Essa Rios!
- TAKA Michinoku!
- Human Tornado!
- Ultimo Dragon!
- Jushin "Thuder" Liger!
- Yuji Nagata!
- Zach Gowen!
In case you haven't figured it out, this will probably be the equivilent of WCW's cruiserweight scene. Lower in the card and don't expect much for English promos but damn if the matches aren't gonna be exciting! Human Tornado gets to be Ken Masters for Halloween. SHOOOORYUKEN!

Upper card:
- Bryan Danielson; DUH
- RVD; ALSO DUH. Robbie V can also do double-duty in the X-division if there's injury or he's not doing anything.
- Mistico; can also slide into the X-division if neccessary
- Big Show and
- Giant Bernard are your monster heels. They can also do double-duty as a monster heel tag team if neccessary.
- Sylvester Terkay; is most likely to have Ace Steel as his trainer/manager
- Brent Albright and
- Monty Brown to round things out

Ideally my promotion would have a Raw/Heat deal with the A and B-shows. The A-show would be two ohurs long so as to give everyone enough exposure.

Karl Belanger checked in with this note on Pierre-Carl Ouellet
Just a quick note on Pierre-Carl Ouellet. He is now a color commentator for the TNA shows on RDS (Quebec's equivalent to ESPN or TSN). He's actually not too bad and way more tolereable than Lawler.

Last week, to my surprise, there was actually a 3 way match shown with him, Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles on the TNA broadcast that took place in Ottawa (not shown on TNA's regular boradcast obviously). He still looks great despite his age and can still work a crowd quite well. I always really liked him in the Quebecers and was always amazed at how well he could move for a big man. WWE wants their version of Samoa Joe? He'd be the perfect guy (much more so than Umaga I feel).

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Hornswoggle: The Luckiest Little Bastard In WWE

Life is good for the Artist Formerly Known as Little Bastard. Not since Little Beaver getting flattened like a pancake by King Kong Bundy at Wrestlemania 3 has a midget gotten this well of a push in the WWE. It's almost a rule of thumb that if you're Samoan or a midget, you've got a good place carved out for you in Pro Wrestling. Some of the more fortunate like Dink The Clown or Max Mini have their share of the spotlight in the past, and even King Cheesey and Little Boogey got their 15 seconds of fame playing second fiddle to their full size counterparts.

It seemed at first that the little guy was doomed the same fate as Finlay's little troublemaker. Hell, he didn't even get a name until about a year in. But he has certainly lived past his potential as he became the first little person to win a singles title in the WWE. Sure, the Cruiserweight Title has been one of the lowest regarded belts around, but what else was there to do with it other than give Chavo Guererro another run? No offense to Kerwin White, but having the Cruiserweight Title at this point does nothing for him, and is just shows that creative has nothing better to do with the title (and honestly, the same can be said about putting it on Rey Mysterio as well.)


With a limited division, it almost seemed logical to give Hornswoggle the Cruiserweight Title. Some argue that it devalues the title, but the win itself was an upset, and it's not like Jamie Noble was jobbed out by taking the pin from him. It hasn't been defended as actively, but with only a handful of contenders available it's best to try and stretch these things out. The one person that has benefited the most from all of this is in fact Noble. He wasn't doing much of anything before, or at least not anything that anyone's cared about. This feud, while mostly comical, has given give Mr. Noble more TV time than he has had since he debuted as Nunzio's cousin. Now that the Championship is vacated, Noble is the most logical choice to give the title to, as he is now the most over man in the Cruiserweight Division.

Now Hornswoggle is living the good life on RAW. He's involved in a major storyline with Vince McMahon thanks to Spoilers leaked onto the internet that Mr. Kennedy was going to be revealed as Mr. McMahon. Call it pure luck, but this at least guarantees job security for the immediate future. While heavily booked now, one would question what is next for him after this angle dies down? Will he be the latest superstar released because they have nothing left for him to do? Will they bring in another midget for him to feud with? Will he become the newest General Manager for one of the three brands? Only time will tell with Hornswoggle, but for right now things are certainly looking up.

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