Monday, May 24, 2010

Who's the new Raw GM?

The identity of the new Raw General Manager is buzzing all over the Internet. After all, it's got to be somebody good/controversial since past GMs include Eric Bischoff, Stephanie McMahon, Vickie Guerrero, Mike Adamle, Johnathan Coachman and Vince McMahon. Right?

Somehow, word got out that it's Abraham Washington. Yup, the guy who had a talk show that pretty much wasted about 20 minutes of ECW. Since ECW departed earlier this year, Washington has been hanging out in FCW doing color commentary. Will he be any good in this new role? Well, he did have a stint as FCW GM...

Since part of me is hoping the above information is simply rumor, here are some ideas I have:

Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan, whatever you want to call him) would be an interesting choice considering his friction with Michael Cole. Also, with his experience in Ring of Honor, he could bring a fresh perspective to Raw. I'm sure he would personally love to get his hands on the WWE or World Heavyweight Championship, and perhaps he could do that as GM, especially considering how many guys could be really injured and out after the Over the Limit PPV last night...

William Regal (one of guys who actually taught Danielson the business) is another choice. His rookie was eliminated from NXT, he was the WWF commissioner and he is a one-time manager of Raw and ECW. This also works with Teddy Long being a face manager on Smackdown-- a lot of times they like one to be face, the other heel so there are different conflicts on the shows. Plus, I like his character better when he's able to be manipulative.

Bill Goldberg is my last choice. He was tweeting a couple of months ago that he was working on a deal with the WWE, so this isn't that much of a dream. He is somebody who can get an incredible crowd reaction just by moving his pinkie. But, does he have management experience, you ask? Well, he was a contestant on "Celebrity Apprentice" this year (yeah, Maria did last longer). A one-night a week commitment probably won't conflict with his filming schedule for his DIY show "Garage Mahal" either...


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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

And then there were five...

After a couple weeks of, um, challenges, I guess, we finally got an interesting NXT show last night with not one, but three eliminations. Both Michael Tarver and Daniel Bryan were eliminated for replying they would eliminate themselves in an interview last week, and Skip Sheffield was eliminated in the Pro vote.

These eliminations did not surprise me, and here's why:

Michael Tarver - He was always in bottom in the voting and the best reaction he got from crowd was last night when he was eliminated. And by best reaction, I mean a reaction.

Daniel Bryan - As I pointed out when he was announced as a "Rookie," Bryan, better known as Bryan Danielson, had only been with the WWE for a few months. Now, he certainly wasn't a rookie in the wrestling industry, which could have meant WWE was trying to put him on the fast track. However, I also looked at as maybe he was just filler/decoy, you know, to give the up-and-comers more experience in their ranks to help train them. Maybe the WWE was using him to draw viewers. Maybe Danielson was using the WWE to make his name bigger. Those are the feelings I got after watching NXT evolve.

Since making the real name reveal last night, I also wonder if he will be hanging around on Raw or Smackdown and actually will be on the fast track, and that is why the format of the show changed... they'll have the one winner with all the perks, but just like Tough Enough and the Diva Search before it, and few will still end up with contracts.

Skip Sheffield - This guy just can't get a break. He was on Tough Enough 4 and was eliminated. Still, I like him. I don't think he should have been the winner, but he is strong supporting character, and if you don't have those strong supporting characters in your undercard, you really have to consider if it's worth paying money just for the main event. I think he'll be back also, just maybe a little while after this NXT season/series ends.

So, who do I think is going to win? I certainly like all four at the top (sorry, Darren, you're good, and I have the same feelings for you as Sheffield). I think David Otunga and Justin Gabriel have the most immediate potential.

Otunga may be another filler/decoy to promote NXT outside of the wrestling community (the man was on entertainment news programs promoting the show), but that also makes him a star with crossover potential. He can also do both heel and face, which is important for the writers.

Gabriel has the high flying impact fans love. He also has a face the marketing department will love. He has the FCW background, which shows he's made it through the ranks and may be someone the WWE wanted to expose to viewers before debuting him on Raw or Smackdown.

I think both Wade Barrett and Heath Slater have made an impact and can be stars, but I think Otunga and Gabriel are the ones who can legitimately mix it up with the big guys now.


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Monday, May 3, 2010

Dawn Marie rescues wrestlers

As a valet, Jersey girl Dawn Marie would do what she could to help the wrestlers she managed. Today, she helps every wrestler in a different way.

She is the founder of Wrestlers Rescue, an organization based in New Jersey that helps with the health care needs of retired professional wrestlers.

"We are very blessed in this business, but many things in this business need to change," she said. "If we work together, we can make changes."

And changes she has made. The charity was founded two years ago and has already met its five year goals. They have a talent booking agency- with support from wrestlers from Angelina Love to Jimmy Snuka- to raise funds for the cause. Wrestlers can book their travel through their agency to raise funds for the cause. And, as of March, they now offer insurance programs for active and retired wrestlers and fans.

"I'm making the business better," the Jersey native said, adding the team is working on a new set of five year goals to be released later this month.

Dawn Marie came up with the idea after seeing how many in the business came to help her when she needed to raise funds for her sister-in-law's medical needs. She started the charity to give back to the community that helped her.

It also serves another desire for her. She didn't get the chance to pass the business along to others when her contract with the WWE was released during her maternity leave.

"This business only exists if you pass it along," she said, explaining Jimmy Snuka had passed it on to her. "He expected me to pass it to someone else."

Her son is now 4, and he doesn't know what his mom does, even though he did recently discover her action figures.

"He just thinks everybody has a mama doll," she said.


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Sunday, May 2, 2010

The best show in your town

If you are a wrestling fan in New Jersey, and I'm assuming you are since you are reading this, and haven't found your way to a National Wrestling Superstars show yet, you are really missing out. Here's my top ten list why:

10. Just like the WWE, tickets start at $20* for adults, but they stop there, too. That means for a $20 seat, a wrestler may slap your hand as he makes his way to ring. (*Prices may change from venue to venue, also like the WWE)

9. Great for families-- children will even warm up to the scarier guys!

8. There's humor. For example, at last night's show, The Giant Silva competed in a Gulliver's Travels match against the ZWO, the Zoo World Order. They came out to VooDoo Child and the first "animal" to get the mic opened up his brief promo with "Let me tell you something, brother..." Oh, and yes, the ZWO were all men dressed as animals like a goat, monkey and tiger. They did animals actions, and competing against a 7'7" man, climbed on top of each other's shoulders to attempt to fight him.(By the way, the Giant Silva won and carried the Goat Boy out of the ring in a giant fishnet.)

7. The Jersey Shore Madman Slayer. This guy's ring entrance is a sight to be seen. He wears a straight jacket and violently throws himself around the ring until he gets the jacket off. Then, he is fed items to calm him. Last night, some Christmas lights dangling above the ring were casualties of his entrance.

6. The performers know what they're doing. Don't think this is an untelevised Heat. The wrestlers are great at getting reactions from the fans and they do as crazy moves as the ceiling will allow. I'll admit, when the more experienced guys perform, you can see a difference, but in most cases (because I was once at a show with dead parts, but, hey, the big three wrestling shows on TV all have dead parts) it is still an amazing experience.

5. Fans really get to interact with the stars. Before the show, the special guest headliners and the regulars are out at tables for you to meet and buy their merchandise. Then, at intermission, the wrestlers are out again for you to get photos with them.

4. They travel all over the Garden State, so it's likely you won't have to drive far to get to a show. Next week, they will be in Manville (Friday, May 7) and Middletown (Saturday, May 8) and later in the month they will have shows in Kenilworth, Flemington, Bergenfield and Livingston.

3. Every seat is a good seat. Because they are at smaller venues and not huge arenas, you will be close to the action no matter where you sit.

2. There's always former or current TV star headlining. Last night, I saw former WWE Champ Tatanka. You can see Rikishi and the Blue Meanie next week. Snitsky is trying to throw somebody through a table or a door somewhere each month. Current TNA stars like the Black Machismo and ODB have also made appearances and competed with the NWS stars.

1. Fans are appreciated. Really, the fans are treated as part of the family. They celebrate birthdays by bringing the individuals in the ring and giving them gifts. Last night, a regular fan who died of cancer the night before was given a 10-ring salute and had the show dedicated to him.

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Saturday, May 1, 2010

JR Silenced

Jim Ross is still employed by the WWE, but don't expect to hear his voice during a broadcast any time in the near future. His 17-year talent contract - the one that makes him an on-air personality - ended yesterday. He will continue to work for the WWE behind the scenes in his other job with the company in talent relations.

Good Ol' JR has not sat at the announce table since his third Bells palsy attack left him with full-blown Bells Palsy in October. His first attack was in 1994 and his second was in 1998.

"The WWE engaged in talks with me on Thursday of this week to discuss a new job description that would include what I am now doing along with other talent relations oriented matters," JR said in his blog last night. "I am considering this offer and trust that a decision will be made soon regarding this opportunity."

JR also let his fans know he is not angry, but disappointed, and that he would have liked to do a farewell broadcast before his contract ran out. He also noted he has interest in doing radio, and that his "dream job" is to be the voice of the Oklahoma Sooners, but that job is not exactly available.

"I have been blessed with a remarkable career and truly feel that I have much more to contribute and will be able to do so on the next leg of my journey on my own terms," JR said.


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