Saturday, March 31, 2012

WrestleMania 28: Tag Team last minute match

If you were wondering if the WWE Tag Team Champions were defending their title at WrestleMania (or simply just wondering who they were) here's your answer: The Champs, Primo and Epico, will defend their title in a not-so-dark WrestleMania pre-show Triple Threat match.

Did you get all that?

The match will stream live at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow on WWE's YouTube Channel and on Yes, that means you won't have to pay for it. I also saw a report that it would air on the PPV channel, but I do not see that confirmed anywhere by the WWE.

The challengers in this match are The Usos and the team of Justin Gabriel and Tyson Kidd. Gabriel and Kidd formed a team following their match on WWE Superstars this week. Apparently, they figured they could get further ahead in the company as team than as rivals.

Even though I would love to see Jimmy and Jey Uso get a better push, I actually really like the team of Gabriel and Kidd. I think they are both very talented in the ring, but maybe there just isn't enough room for them on the big stage.

Okay, their mic skills could get better. Actually, all these guys' mic skills could get better, which is probably why the Tag Team Championship doesn't get the love it should.

That's why you need managers. They do the talking so you don't, well, look like Johnny Ace out there.

I think the title will change hands to the newest tag team, and this will be such an entertaining match, a decision may be made to throw a quick 60 second recap in between matches during the main PPV.

By the way, I've been keeping a list of all possible suprise guests for WrestleMania who have been working at Axxess, spotted at the airport, or simply mysteriously changed their plans for the weekend. I will post these possible spoilers Sunday morning, and will update throughout the day, if any updates are discovered.

I will also host a WrestleMania chat LIVE during the PPV Sunday night. When the chat is open, I will announce it on my Facebook page and on the Trentonian's Twitter feed, so be sure to follow one or both!

Friday, March 30, 2012

WrestleMania 28: Hell in Cell

I considered copy and pasting my blog post from last year for this installment of Undertaker vs. Triple H. In fact, one of the other windows open on my computer right now is that blog post.

However, there are two things different this year- it will be Hell in a Cell instead of No Holds Barred and Shawn Michaels is returning as special guest referee.

After Triple H's brutal, yet unsuccessful, beating of Taker last year, will the Cerebral Assassin have the advantage this year with his best bud reffing?

Of course not. This will end with Michaels regretfully counting to three as Taker covers Triple H for the win.

I guess you could even say Taker will end up with a Triple Crown of sorts, defeating the King of Kings for the third time at WrestleMania.

By the way, when Taker first faced Triple H at WrestleMania X-7, it was Taker who challenged a cocky Triple H. Last year, Triple H challenged Taker. This year, it was back to Taker challenging. I guess if they have another WrestleMania match, it will be Triple H doing the challenging.

So will there be a fourth match? I say possibly.

The problem is there really aren't very many people worthy (and, possibly, trustworthy) enough to be an opponent for the Dead Man. I can see Triple H teaming with Michaels to take on Taker, who could possibly team with Kane. D-X vs. The Brothers of Destruction? Uh, yeah, I'd pay to see that.

As I said earlier in the week, I could also see Taker challenging The Rock at next year's WrestleMania.

Other guys on the roster I could see facing the future Hall-of-Famer are Sheamus, Kane and maybe even John Cena. Hey, maybe all of John Cena's matches from now on could be "Once in a Lifetime" matches...

Of course, it doesn't matter because, as I've said before, Undertaker will retire with his streak intact. He would lose some of his mystique if he lost. He would turn into that old man who still wrestles from time to time. That can never be Undertaker's character.

Who has fallen to the Undertaker at past WrestleManias? In order, the defeated are Jimmy Superfly Snuka, Jake The Snake Roberts, Giant Gonzales, King Kong Bundy, Diesel, Sid, Kane, Big Boss Man, Triple H, Ric Flair, Big Show & A-Train (Taker had a partner, but he was taken out by FBI before the match), Kane, Randy Orton, Mark Henry, Batista, Edge, Shawn Michaels, Shawn Michaels and Triple H. Undertaker did not wrestle at WrestleMania X or WrestleMania 2000 (16).

In my opinion, the only way the list won't grow is if Taker decides he's done or creative can't think of anyone else for him to defeat.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

WrestleMania28: The leftovers

So Kane is facing Randy Orton, and the match was kind of thrown together like the last two people playing Spin the Bottle.

Orton didn’t figure into the title picture for some reason this time around, possibly because of his concussion sustained on RAW. We don’t know if this was a worked concussion just to give Orton an excuse not to be in the title match or not, but real or imagined, it worked.

So Orton was left without a natural rival for WrestleMania, and he is too big to be dumped into the Teddy vs. Johnny match.Enter Kane, who just spent a month stalking Eve, pounding on Zack Ryder and trying to make John Cena snap. This ended with Kane being thrown in the back if an ambulance and sent on his way.

Instead of crawling back into a hole somewhere back to hell (or Jobberland), Kane rolled off his hospital bed and went after Orton.

Again, it was almost if both were too big a star to be left alone, like a jilted quarterback and a semi-hot cheerleader sitting at home with no prom date 12 hours before the dance.I don’t want to guess which is which.

Either way, there’s no rhyme or reason for this match other than to get them both into WrestleMania. Somehow I doubt they will be seen together again after April 1.

That being said, this is a tough match to call. Gut instinct says Orton wins, but some heels have to win somewhere at Mania and this could be a sleeper spot for Kane.

I’ll stick with the Apex Predator in a match that is potentially entertaining even though it was conceived from nothing.

What do you do when you have pulled the Money in the Bank match from WrestleMania and have a bunch of guys leftover who are worthy enough for some sort of match at WrestleMania? Well, you create a conflict which requires two teams of guys to settle it.

Enter Team Teddy and Team Johnny.

I have mixed feelings about this match. I'm anticipating it because, considering who's involved - Booker T, Khali, R Truth, Santino, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Mark Henry, David Otunga, Jack Swagger and Drew McIntyre - it should be an exciting match, but I also fear the result will be more John Laurinaitis.

(In case you were not aware, McIntyre replaced Christain in the match becaue he was not medically cleared to perform after CM Punk's attack on him Monday night.)

Johnny Ace, even though he can't get through a promo without some sort of flub, gets a reaction from the fans. Teddy got the win when Laurinaitis created a match for them when he took over Smackdown, so now it's Johnny's turn for a win. I also think Teddy Long is right about Eve distracting Zack, costing them the win. Plus, Teddy may want to retire (he is 64 years old).

Then, there's the Albert, A-Train, Lord Tensai, whatever you prefer to call him factor. Two weeks ago, it was rumored online that the wrestler whose real name is Matt Bloom is coming back as Laurinaitis' enforcer. Even though that appears to be Otunga's role (maybe he needs time off to finally marry Jennifer Hudson?), and it doesn't look that way from the promos now airing, that's what was flying around. Of course, Bloom denied it. He denied he even had a contract. At least it looks like he will be a heel. (In case you didn't know, heels lie on Twitter.)

Of course, the rumor could have been spread by WWE to make us think Team Johnny would win. Maybe. Hopefully. Please?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WrestleMania 28: World Heavyweight Championship match

March is the time of Cinderellas in the NCAA basketball tournament, so why not in the WWE?

If teams come from nowhere to make it to the Final Four (even though this year’s group is mostly big-time teams), then two wrestlers can go from last year’s WrestleMania dark match to a title match this year.

Such is the path of Sheamus and Daniel Bryan, who clashed in last year’s afterthought battle that ended up devolving into a battle royale.

Last year, they weren’t worthy of the televised card, and this year, they’re fighting for the world heavyweight title.

Both have had winding paths to get this far.

In 2009, Sheamus was fast-tracked to the top as a villain and a foe for John Cena, and he quickly won the WWE title twice and scored some legitimate wins over Cena.

Then, after losing the title, he was off to Smackdown, where he was inexplicably a border-line jobber after being a two-time champion.

(See Swagger, Jack or Miz, The for reference.)

After becoming a face and being the leader of the WWE’s “B.A. Star” campaign against bullies, Sheamus started to gain momentum again. He dominated his way to becoming Smackdown’s top face and he won the Royal Rumble by eliminating Chris Jericho, who everyone assumed was going to win.

But Sheamus has been riding a huge push lately, and he is now facing history’s greatest monster – or at least, that’s what the crowd would tell you.

Bryan has been getting booed louder than anyone on WWE programming of late, and he is one of those heels who wasn’t even that likeable as a face.

Bryan almost makes Michael Cole look tolerable, and his only value as a face was an alternative to the endlessly boring feud between Big Show and Mark Henry. With those two, as far as I’m concerned, either roll some pies out here for them to eat or break them apart.

Seeing Bryan hold onto the belt one day after WrestleMania would be disheartening indeed, and I think that is a nearly universal opinion.

I’m going with Sheamus to ride the wave and become a champion for the third

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WrestleMania 28: The forgotten champs

Ever since the “American Dream” Dusty Rhodes graced the wrestling world with his powerful charisma and endearing charm, promoters everywhere have hoped to make something of his sons.

For a while, it looked like Cody Rhodes was more Pete Rose Jr. then Ken Griffey Jr., but he has had a long run as Intercontinental Champion.

Rhodes seemed like the third-most talented member of Legacy, but he has progressed farther than former partner Ted DiBiase.

The thing Rhodes and DiBiase have in common is that neither can find a vehicle for their bland personalities. What separated Rhodes is that he is a far better wrestler than he is a promo artist.
I like Rhodes as long as he’s performing and not talking, but during this Intercontinental reign, he has done a lot more of the latter.

He doesn’t defend the belt nearly enough, and the only interesting feud he’s had lately was the one with Booker T, where he clearly got caught in the gravity of Booker’s talent and ability to entertain.

So the WWE, in its infinite wisdom, pairs Rhodes with a guy who’s lasted 14 years in the company but has never found his niche – The Big Show.

The Big Show is, well, big – and that’s his one defining characteristic. In fact, the only way they thought of to get Rhodes some promo points was to play up all the stupid scenarios that Big Show has found himself in over the years.

One point for you, Cody. You’re a tiny bit more interesting than Big Show.

Big Show seems like a heck of a nice guy from all accounts, but the WWE has never found him a vehicle to showcase anything other than his size.

So instead of a show-stealing Intercontinental title match between Ricky Steamboat and Macho Man Randy Savage, or a historic ladder match for the title between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon, we get this.

This stale match illustrates just how irrelevant the WWE has let the Intercontinental title become. I’ll take the Big Show to win, only because we’re all tired of Rhodes talking. But this is just another nacho/beer/bathroom break contender.

For those of you who missed it-- and by the way, I did, too-- the Divas match was announced on an entertainment news program. Not WWE programming.

Since WWE appears to care so little about this match, why should we?

Sure, it was recapped on WWE programming. But, here's the kicker-- one of the participants isn't even a Diva! She's a, well, celebrity reporter who just happens to also be on Dancing with the Stars this season.

Okay, this wouldn't be too big of a deal if perhaps there was another Diva match of some sort, but there isn't one announced. This is the only Diva match, Maria Menounos and Kelly Kelly v. Divas Champion Beth Phoenix and Eve.

That's right, Eve. Not even Natalya is in this match. There are days when I believe the only reason Natalya is still with the WWE is because of her family, because the WWE is family. And Beth stays because of Natalya. Or, their contracts haven't ended yet.

FYI-- an interesting thing happened on Twitter last week... maybe I'm reading too much into this, but maybe Natalya will find her way in the match? Read this:

And Kelly Kelly? There were girls kicked off Tough Enough who can run the ropes far better than she can. Sadly, Maria is probably the stronger one in their pairing. And, because there's no belt on the line, she'll probably pin Beth for the win, again (this will be her third match, each time with Beth as her primary foe, each time with Maria's team winning).

You'll probably miss what happens, because you'll probably be taking your bathroom break then, though. (I wouldn't suggest it, though... I smell Karma...)

Something is wrong with the Divas division. Perhaps it has something to do with the end of the PG-13 bikini and lingerie pillow fight matches. Perhaps it has something to do with the loss of certain Divas just after last year's WrestleMania. Perhaps it has something to do with former Divas trainer Dave Finlay's release from the company about a year ago.

Hopefully, a year from now, we'll have more Divas pinning up strong.

Monday, March 26, 2012

WrestleMania 28: WWE Championship match

We all know who is "the best there is, the best there was, and the best there ever will be," but who deserves the, "the best in the world," title?

That's what WWE Champion CM Punk and Challenger Chris Jericho hope to decide Sunday night at WrestleMania 28.

Jericho started his wrestling career in the Dungeon, training under Stu Hart. He spent time in ECW and WCW before making his way to the WWE in 1999. He took a two-year break from 2005 to 2007, then again from 2010 to 2012.

On this return, he promised, "it will be the end of the world as you know it."

Jericho is best known for being the first Undisputed WWE (okay, that was technically before they got the "F" out) Champion. He is also a former World Heavyweight Champion, WCW Champion, Intercontinental Champion, European Champion, Hardcore Champion and World Tag Team Champion.

Outside of the WWE, he fronts the rock band Fozzy, competed on Dancing with the Stars and even hosted a game show.

It was around the same time Jericho left the WWE the first time that CM Punk, a recently dethroned Ring of Honor World Champion, entered the WWE. However, Punk was far from interrupting big stars. He was sent to WWE's developmental property, Ohio Valley Wrestling and only appeared on the big stage in dark matches.

In 2006, Punk made his debut on ECW. Since then, he has won the ECW Championship, WWE Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, World Tag Team Championship and Intercontinental Championship. He has used his straight edge lifestyle as both a heel and face gimmick.

Outside of the WWE, CM Punk defended women against the likes of Chris Brown.

Will he be able to defend the two titles on the line? Will it be the end of the world as Jericho knows it?

I really think this one could go either way, but I like Jericho's chances because of his failures since returning.

I also think Jericho is the Iron Man of the WWE. Punk is Batman to John Cena's boy scout Superman. Jericho is somewhere in between. He can make the flashiest of entrances, say all kinds of things in the ring and get in bar fights, yet he can still be a quality company representative. He can crossover to the mainstream.

Grandmas who don't watch wrestling know who Chris Jericho is.

That is why Jericho will win.

That is, unless he has some short-term contract that expires April 3...

Sunday, March 25, 2012

WrestleMania 28: The Rock v. Cena

An hour-long special is probably the only thing WWE hasn't done to promote the WrestleMania 28 match they've been promoting for a year, and that is going down tomorrow night before Raw.

Is there really anything else to say about this match?

Okay, here's something... uh, no, it's already been mentioned that John Cena is a former offensive lineman for Springfield College facing the former Miami Hurricane defensive lineman Dwayne Johnson. (Springfield? Is that where Bart Simpson will go in 20 years? The Rock wins this one.)

Okay, how about they both are known vocal artists in the ring... wait, wait, we were reminded of that last week. (The Rock won that one by the way)

Hmm... how about this? Have you heard The Rock is booked for WrestleMania 29 in New Jersey?

Okay, well then. According to an AP story, The Rock is committed to appearing in some function at WrestleMania 29.

Does this mean The Rock, after getting the advantage pre-WrestleMania will lose at the event (as is the case many times), then come on Raw Monday night to demand a rematch next year, before jetting off to film his next movie?

Or, perhaps, will he win and gloat on Raw only to be interrupted with the lights going out and his challenger for next year magically in the ring when the lights return.

Or, no matter what happens, will the WWE not risk promoting a match for a year and attempt to get what the AP writer suggested, The Rock v. Brock Lesnar?

Is it sad that I'm already hyping The Rock's possible plans for Jersey when we are a week away from Miami's WrestleMania 28?

Perhaps that says something about Cena. Perhaps that says something about where my allegiances lie-- Jersey and The Rock.

Okay, CeNation, or whatever you call yourselves, cool down. Let me explain. Just because The Rock has brought it over the past few months, doesn't mean he'll pin Cena at WrestleMania. As I said earlier, in many cases, the person who seems to have the advantage leading into the PPV ends up losing at the PPV.

So, yes, I think Cena will win. I hope, though, that he brings back the Cena that made me his fan. The one who answered Kurt Angle's call for a challenger and beat him knowing all the moves he'd make. The one who could beat anyone, because like us watching, he knew what moves the other guy was telegraphing when he did some sort of stomp, waited for the opponent to stand or whatever.

The Cena who was prepared and smart enough to take on any situation, not the company player who drags us through the same thing every night and only makes us rise from our seats because the trumpets in his music just demand that attention. He doesn't need to go heel, he just needs to be a phoenix.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Extra insight from Four Horsemen legend Arn Anderson

WWE Hall of Famer-to-be Arn Anderson had a lot to say in his interview with Matthew Osborne. Here are a few interesting tidbits that didn’t make the story in Sunday's Trentonian.

Regarding some of his fellow inductees:
“Ron Simmons was a class 1, division 1 stud, no question about it.”
“Mike Tyson sort of had the same mentality we had, which was to destroy the competition. Dusty (Rhodes) would probably agree, since we put him on the shelf a few times.”
“Edge was a great performer whose time was ended too soon. He loves the business, and it wasn’t about the money or the stroke for him. He misses going through that curtain and coming back 20 minutes later exhausted after giving it all for the fans.”

Regarding looking ahead to WrestleMania 28:
“Hell in a Cell … I don’t know how anyone is going to follow that.”
“I’ve become very close to John Cena over the years, and The Rock is a class gentleman and a brilliant performer. This match is going to be a little bit about ego. It should be a physical contest and a great show.”

Regarding an underrated member of The Four Horsemen:
“I’ll tell you the truth, I don’t know if there was anyone better than Barry Windham from bell to bell.”

Regarding whether The Rock is the greatest of all time, a title The Great One plans to claim for himself if he defeats John Cena at WrestleMania:
“There are so many criteria for judging who’s the best. Who has the best body, who’s sold the most memorabilia, are you great on the mic, are you an in-ring performer, did you stand the test of time, etc. There is a long laundry list of criteria that I would use to judge someone, and he certainly fares at or close to the top in almost every category. His time in the business was very productive, and he was able to walk away in good health and do other things and become a worldwide celebrity. He’s certainly been good for the fans and I would say he is definitely among the elite all-time greats.”

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Trading Places: How did John Laurinaitis do as SmackDown GM?


Friday night looked pretty good at first as the lights flashed and the steel cage enclosed the ring. John Laurinaitis gave Jack Swagger his expected rematch against Santino Marella for the U.S. Championship.

It was another good match, with Santino retaining, thanks to a mistake on Vicki's part.

Then, we waited to see how Teddy Long would get Aksana out of her match with Kane. And we got it, when Teddy "faced" Laurinaitis in a "match" which, to cheers of the crowd, Teddy won.

Then, the finale was a six-man tag match. Typical. Even ends with WrestleMania opponents chasing each other out the building.

Let's just say when the Raw GM takes over SmackDown, you expect more. You expect fireworks throughout, and all we got was just SmackDown.

John Laurinaitis, you get a B-. Teddy Long not only got the upper hand in the match, but in performance overall.

Now, of course, the Board will not be convinced in either GM's performance to make changes. I am sure that, possibly by the end of tomorrow night, there will be some sort of mixed-brand match made for WrestleMania to determine GM dominance and to get a few more guys a WrestleMania paycheck.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Trading Places: How did Teddy Long do as Raw GM?

Last week, the WWE Board of Directors decided to settle the situation between Raw GM John Laurinaitis and SmackDown GM Teddy Long, the two would trade jobs for the week to see who would be better suited to run both shows. Last night was Long's chance to shine.

The one time we saw Long was after Laurinaitis (with Legal Counsel/Jennifer Hudson's man David Otunga) interfered with the U.S. Championship match. Long, in a red suit that would make Deion Sanders jealous, and with Aksana and Kofi Kingston in tow, took care of the situation, and eventually got Laurinaitis removed by security.

While there was alot of action outside of the ring, Santino (yes, Santino) really showed, in my opinion, that he is much more than a clown for our amusement. It was like the commotion outside the ring overshadowed Santino's usual antics and helped me focus on how good he actually is as a wrestler. He earned that U.S. Championship.

(Oh, and in case you forgot, Jack Swagger was the champ up until the end of that match.)

As for the rest of the night, well, we only had the show open with Shawn Michaels announcing he would the special guest referee Undertaker and Triple H's Hell in a Cell Match at WrestleMania. Zack Ryder made an appearance. We had Champion v. Champion and their WrestleMania opponents in an expected, yet entertaining match. There were also some great history lessons provided by The Rock throughout the night.

Probably the only downside of the night was John Cena's monologue. I watch wrestling to be entertained at the end of of my day, sometimes to live vicariously through the wrestlers. If I wanted to watch someone sit all alone and just dramatically talk and reflect on life, I'd be watching another channel. I almost feel asleep.

Overall, I give Teddy Long an A- as Raw GM. He got extra points for the suit, in case you were wondering. What did you think?