Thursday, February 28, 2013

WWE on ESPN

 
If you haven't heard yet, ESPN is covering pro wrestling. Not only does their off-shoot site, Grantland.com, have an article every couple of weeks by the Masked Man, but each Tuesday ESPN features a WWE top ten ranking system. It is put together by Jon Robinson.
 
This is what Jon's bio says about him, "He's been covering the gaming beat professionally for over 15 years, starting his career writing as "Johnny Ballgame" for GamePro magazine before becoming the founding editor of IGN Sports. Robinson co-wrote the book "The Madden Phenomenon," and his two latest works, "Rumble Road" and "WWE My Favorite Match," were released by Simon & Schuster in July 2010 and July 2012". Sounds like a pretty cool guy. 

Usually I agree with his rankings. He is pretty dead on with his criticisms and praise. He also agrees with me that the WWE Wellness policy is about as believable as that dude from "King of Queens" getting married to that hot chick with attitude. Man that show is great on mute. Almost as good as "Boy Meets World" the college years. Topanga. Yeah.

If you haven't, swing on by and check out this week's rankings and a small rant from Mr. Robinson. It is his neighborhood after all.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Punk vs. Cena


Not going to do a lot of talking today. On Monday fans witnessed maybe the greatest match in RAW history as CM Punk faced off with John Cena to see who would go to WrestleMania to face the Rock for the WWE title. It was a match two years in the making.

It all began in Las Vegas during the summer of 2011 when Punk grabbed a mic and tore the wrestling world a new ass. He then went to Chicago, beat John Cena for the title, and left through the crowd leaving fans to wonder what would happen.

The two faced off again at Summer Slam to battle in a champion vs. champion match after Cena won a newly minted WWE title when CM Punk left the company. He returned and claimed to be the real champ. Cena and Punk had another classic. Once again CM Punk won.

They weaved around each other for awhile and even had another massive match at RAW 1000 when Punk started his turn to the dark side. The match was over shadowed by CM Punk laying out the Rock. That led to Punk vs. Rock at the Rumble. If you're wondering, CM Punk won this match against Cena too.

The loss by Punk to Rock at the Rumble led to the match Monday night. The crowds knew both had a heated on and off feud. They had an emotional investment in the match. Cena had done everything in the WWE except defeat CM Punk. It was the perfect storm as all of this came together to give us, the WWE fans, a match for the ages.

That is the Cena vs. Punk feud in a nutshell. Now if you missed the epic match from Monday, here it is. Big props to the WWE for putting this match online with the commercials edited out. It's awesome!


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Monday Night RAW: Powerbombs and Piledrivers and Hurricanranas, Oh My!


Buckle up Dorthy, this isn’t Kansas anymore, it’s the road to WrestleMania! Lately when I have been really excited for an episode of Monday Night RAW I am usually cursing my television by 9:30. I could do the same with this episode because it had its head scratching moments. For one, this is the second Monday Night RAW in February where the WWE champion didn’t even bother to show up. And no, recap clips don’t count. Come on Dwayne, you’re better than this.

Why the WWE dusted off that old video of John Cena and JBL from when WWE went Hollywood I don’t know. I get that the Oscars were last night, but is your go to footage a few weeks before WrestleMania a video from 8 years ago. A silver lining is it did make me realize that John Cena has won 10 WWE titles in less than 8 years. CM Punk held his last reign for over a full year (Cena did have a year run, but who really talks about it. That’s sad). This means tonight’s main event is truly a battle of quality vs. quantity.

CM Punk’s two WWE title reigns are both more memorable than all 10 of John Cena’s reigns put together. The first being the infamous Vegas promo and the Chicago title win that ignited a national fever dubbed “The Summer of Punk”.  The second was a win with less fanfare but resulted in the longest title run since Hulk Hogan in the 80’s when the WWF was running wild. Both are signature achievements in the WWE history books while John’s runs as champ are mere footnotes.  He did get to make 12 rounds, so that’s special.

I could bitch about a lot but if the WWE gives me two segments like the opening and the main event, then I’ll happily shut my trap. That was probably the hottest start to Monday Night RAW in 2013. I can hate on Vince McMahon but the man is a top tier worker. Paul Heyman is no slouch either. The two are always must watch TV.

Brock and HHH stole the show with an amazing brawl and Lesnar took one hell of a hard way gash. With the WWE cutting back on blood during matches, it really stands out as something special when it happens; even if it is by accident. I think Lesnar looks scarier when his face is covered in his own blood. That dude is fierce as in if we both ended up in a jail cell together then I would just accept the fact that I’m his wife.

That opening had the place going nuts and would be hard to follow. That is why the WWE has guys like Dolph Ziggler to handle such sticky situation. Poor Dolph can’t even get a TV entrance, which is an insult cause the guy made Ryback look like a million dollars. You can tell that the months working with Punk have helped develop Ryback. He and Ziggler had a good match to get things started on RAW. I know some don’t enjoy the circus around Dolph but I think AJ and Big E add a lot to his persona. I say add more people to the mix. What is David Otunga doing?

The CM Punk promo wasn’t his best. It actually felt out of place on the show. It did serve two purposes. One is that it hyped the main event for later. That is always good, and something the WWE tends to skip over. The second is that it began his build towards believing himself a “god”. He is calling himself immortal and legendary. Who else could say that? I bet it is the same guy who is undefeated at WrestleMania. My fingers are crossed.

They inducted Donald Trump into the Hall of Fame. I think it is kind of fitting that he goes in around the same time that the WWE is doing a crazy right wing nut character. Will Trump ask Del Rio for his birth certificate? I don’t have an issue with him being the celebrity inductee. It’s in New York and Trump is a symbol of New York like rats, urine filled subways, and the Jets.

Mark Henry beats up Khali. I approve of this. It was short. It was sweet. It helped push Henry as the biggest baddest dude in the WWE. It’s simple and I like simple. Plus it keeps Khali from trying to wrestle, which benefits us all.

It looks like Jack Swagger won’t be suspended. The WWE Wellness Policy is a joke. Again I will state that this runs parallel with the McMahon life motto of, “Money over morality”. Remember kids don’t do drugs, unless you’re making us rich. In that case, roll a fatty and go make some Youtube videos with the dwarf from Lord of the Rings.

I liked the Miz TV segment. If the Dallas crowd wasn’t a total waste then that would have gotten a bigger reaction. Uncle Zeb is a great character. Jack Swagger is truly taking a back seat to him. It works because Swagger is a better second fiddle than a leader. Alberto Del Rio came off strong and held his own against Wilford Brimley (diabetes). This will pay off down the line because one of the arenas is going to have a lively crowd that will give these men the reaction they deserve. Given New York’s strong relationship with this country’s immigrant population, I would say that WrestleMania should be an interesting crowd.

They sure as hell put the duo of Zeb and Swagger on TV a lot tonight. They got a long segment, a tease on the all-important WWE app, a match with Miz, and some video promo time. I don’t mind it because this whole thing is going to take a few cracks with the bat to get established. I will say that every time I see the videos from Zeb’s basement all I can think to myself is, “Johnny Lawrence grew up and left the Cobra Kai dojo to join a militia led by Gwildor from He-Man”.

It’s Old School RAW next week. The WWE then gave us a match straight out of the 80’s with Cesaro vs. Orton. Or should I say Nikita Koloff vs. Jake “The Snake” Roberts. Another fun match as both men work really well with each other. Cesaro does what mid-card champs do and jobs to Orton. No shame it that, just wish it didn’t happen so often.

Sheamus likes movies. He makes fun of Wade Barrett. Wade gets cocky. It is a simple build to what should be a good feud. Still confused because I thought Sheamus also was feuding with the Shield. I guess he can take on four men at once. He probably will and win. It’s not a far stretch when the tag champs beat the former #1 contenders blind folded with an arm tied behind their backs. 

The Prime Time Players are finished. I don’t care if they tag together until 2020, they are finished. You can’t take a team serious that just lost to a blind folded one armed team. That is literally losing an ass kicking contest to a one legged man. Darren Young should start filling out applications at Home Depot, his future is bleak.

R-Truth and Rhodes was a backdrop to Sandow setting up a future singles match. They are getting closer to a Rhodes Scholars reunion. The announcers try to insinuate that Rhodes and Sandow are more than friends. Billy and Chuck are jealous. It should be a good low-card tag feud for both teams. Not much more I can say about this.

Dean Ambrose is clearly the breakout star of the Shield. Seth Rollins is getting better every week, and this was clearly his best promo, but Ambrose has it all. In baseball they would call him a five tool prospect. It would seem the WWE is setting up another WWE All Stars vs. The Shield match for WrestleMania. I think Orton is on that team. I would even say Chris Jericho too. Maybe Ryback is the third. All in all I am enjoying their run so far, but it could get stale unless The Shield moves beyond flavor-of-the-month six man tags.

The Miz wrestled Jack Swagger. They had a good match. Both men can bring it in the ring. Swagger and Colter are starting to gain momentum with the fans. The WWE again tries to bait the right wing media by name dropping Ann Coulter. This match established how deadly the Patriot Lock is as a finisher. The next few weeks should be interesting. I don’t see Swagger losing much going into Mania. He needs to look almost unbeatable.

John Cena did a promo. He now cuts a promo the way a 5 year old tries to tell a story. It is usually all over the place with tons of misplaced energy. His parents shouldn’t let him have sugar so late on a school night. At least he mentioned his match coming up unlike some current WWE champions had forgotten to do two weeks ago. (7 minutes without mentioning the Elimination Chamber, come on Dwayne!)

If John Cena and CM Punk want to put on matches like that then screw the Rock. He can stay home for WrestleMania. That was probably the best match Monday Night RAW has seen since Jeff Hardy vs. The Undertaker in a ladder match. I would pay to see them wrestle one more time. It is that damn good. The last ten minutes of the match was as close to perfect as I’ve seen.

I liked that they showed Cena pulling out new tricks to beat Punk. At first Punk would counter his usual move set like the double shoulder tackle. He even countered the STFU. That is when the first banned move came into play. Always fun to watch the announcers squirm when somebody uses a crippler crossface. Chris Benoit would have been proud. John Cena also debuts his Powerbomb, and I hope he keeps it in his arsenal. It looked really good.

Then CM Punk pulls his own banned move and does the Piledriver 80’s style. Word is Vince McMahon blew his top when that happened because the move has been outlawed for years. Goes to show how much Punk and Cena not only trust each other, but understand their value in the company. It’s not like they’re going to get suspended. The crowd lost it for such a basic maneuver. It is dangerous, and can cripple, but this match was the kind of match where you push the line a bit. Kudos to both men for going beyond the limit.

Again the end was classic. It’ll be hard for any Mania match to top that last ten minutes. They told an epic story that neither man’s best was going to be enough to beat the other. They went at it like Apollo and Balboa by trading haymaker type move after haymaker type move. They should issue this match at wrestling schools as a requirement for graduation.

You can criticize Cena’s hurricanrana all you want. It was sloppy, but when a man his size does that move, it is impressive just to see it. Also he should thank Punk for protecting him during the move as he kept Cena from getting lawn darted in the middle of the ring. With that performance, John Cena deserves to be going to WrestleMania; I hope the Rock remembers to show up too.

There were some holes in this week’s episode but the good by far outweighed the bad. I’ll take that every single week with a smile on my face. I’m geeked to watch Main Event and Smackdown this week. I can’t wait for next Monday.

I want to know where CM Punk is going from here. I want more of Brock vs. HHH. I want to see how Uncle Zeb and Jack Swagger continue to grow. I want to find out what the Shield will do next, and if Orton will pay for his RKO. I also want the WWE champion to appear. That is a lot of wants.
Until next week, you can't always get what you want but if you try sometimes, well you might find you get what you need. This week I wanted the Rock, the Undertaker, and Jack Swagger suspended. I must have needed CM Punk vs. John Cena. Needs are always better than wants.

Plus I got to make three different Uncle Zeb look-a-like jokes. Dude must make a killing at the carnival running the mustache rides. And I’m out…

Monday, February 25, 2013

Armchair Booker: Pot & Politics


It’s Monday! That means a new WWE Monday Night RAW, and answers to the biggest questions of the week. Last Wednesday morning Jack Swagger was busted for pot possession in Mississippi, putting his World title shot at WrestleMania in jeopardy. This tossed a huge wrench into the plans of the WWE as they try to keep a public image that stands firm against drugs. They also have to weigh that against the instant media coverage Swagger’s new character has garnered them. It’s a sticky situation for any creative staff.
When I was booking I never had to deal with drug busts but I had my share of last second roadblocks. An instance I can think of is when I first started with the MMWA in northern Michigan. We were days away from the 1 year anniversary show.  One of the big matches being promoted was “The Future” Chris Sabin vs. Jerry Lynn. It was going to be the match we used to sell DVDs and help out our television product. I mean the two could have a five star match in wheelchairs.
Then I got a call on Friday morning from Chris that the night before he had wrestled for Ring of Honor. He got an eye injury that not only split open his eyebrow but almost closed the eye completely. It was a nasty injury and it happened only 48 hours before our event. Luckily he didn’t have a concussion, but he wasn’t at full strength.
At first he said he could try to gut it out, but I didn’t want to put him in any danger as he was just getting in with TNA and ROH. I wasn’t going to be the booker that cost him his career because I strong armed him into wrestling with a bad eye. Just try to run around your house with an eye patch on, now imagine doing it in a 16 foot ring with one of the best athletes in the business. Not exactly the safest environment. We had to call an audible.
We ended up shuffling the card and making Jerry Lynn’s opponent the MMWA champion Nate Webb. The two are really good friends and always have fun matches (usually with dancing). We put Sabin and me in Webb’s corner as I was doing an onscreen heel sports agent character that represented Sabin, and now had just signed Webb. During the match Nate ended up breaking his pinkie into what looked like an “L”. The match was cursed but it still came across great on camera.
We played up the angle that Lynn and Webb respected each other as the match went on. In the end Sabin and I jumped Jerry Lynn to save Nate’s title. Webb got angry that we would do such a thing and got in between us. This lead to an attempted attack on Nate, but soon he and Lynn teamed up to clean house. Nate became an instant face, and we put the ball in motion for a Lynn/Webb against Sabin/??? match in the future. It turned lemons into lemonade for the MMWA.
Now the WWE is in a similar situation. They need to make some serious brownies out of Swagger’s weed bust. This is how I would do it.
The Jack Swagger character isn’t relying on Jack Swagger. That is the beauty of it. He actually is the hammer for Uncle Zeb, who didn’t violate any wellness policy. In the WWE Wellness policy it states that Swagger could be fired, but since it is a first time offense then he should receive a 30 day suspension. I would suspend him on Monday night.
He and Zeb would come to the ring and talk about how a “real American” like Jack Swagger is hounded by the government but millions of illegals are free to take our jobs, our healthcare, and our education. Zeb says that Swagger will be suspended for 30 days because he is an honest man that does the right thing and accepts his punishment unlike people like Alberto Del Rio, who should deport themselves.
Swagger then leaves the ring to begin his 30 days as Zeb turns his attention towards Glenn Beck, Alex Jones, and Fox News. I for one wouldn’t break character. I get why the WWE did the now famous green screen promo, but I’m not one to knock down the fourth wall. Let Zeb call all of them out for anything and everything. Say they don’t support “real Americans” who speak the truth without sugar coating it. If the news outlets bite then it is free pub. It shouldn’t be the focus of the feud, but an off shoot to generate buzz.
Each week have more promos from Zeb and interaction in the ring with Alberto Del Rio. Zeb can do commentary during Del Rio’s matches to push the storyline. Let him really get into it with ADR, and even do an in ring debate one week. The tension the two can generate from just being near each other should help build the hatred for Zeb and the want by audience to see him get his.
Eventually it ramps up into Zeb getting Del Rio hot and bothered to the point that he wants to knock Zeb’s lights out. That leads to Del Rio’s buddy Ricardo Rodriguez trying to fight Zeb and challenging him to a match on Smackdown. Zeb agrees, but only if Del Rio is banned from ring area. He can make comments about not trusting the two and even toss in a couple of inflammatory remarks.
The match between Zeb and RR is promoted for the March 29th edition of Smackdown. The two hype it with promos through the night. I even would do a segment where Del Rio gives Ricardo that “win one for the Gipper” speech in the backstage area where he’ll watch the match.
During the main event it is back and forth with Ricardo getting the upper hand (as he should against an elderly man). Shortly into the match Jack Swagger comes from the back as the two beat up Ricardo in the ring including slapping on the ankle lock. Alberto Del Rio comes to make the save but the damage is done. The announcers play up the fact that Swagger’s 30 days ended on Tuesday.
The next Monday on RAW both Swagger and Zeb are back in full action with a match against Sin Cara. Swagger gets the dominant win and tosses Sin Cara from the ring like a piece of trash. The two cut a mean promo about this Sunday at WrestleMania and their quest to save this country. Del Rio comes on the screen standing next to Ricardo, who is in a walking boot. They are in Swagger’s locker room and say they are so happy that Swagger is back that they wanted to throw him a fiesta. The two trash Swagger’s locker room and really do a number on the “Don’t Tread on Me” flag. I would even burn the flag as it hangs on the wall. Let that be the closing shot before commercial.
On Friday’s Smackdown do a pick your poison match where Swagger picks Del Rio’s opponent and vice versa. Zeb picks the Big Show to face Del Rio. It is a good one off match with the biggest man in the WWE plus it has some heat from their recent feud. Del Rio picks Rey Mysterio to face Swagger. He is a big name and it fits with the anti-immigration theme.
Swagger bests Mysterio with some underhanded tactics by Zeb in the first hour main event. In the closing match of the night Del Rio and Big Show wrestle until Del Rio is about to win. Then Swagger and Zeb come down to beat Alberto down. Ricardo tries to get involved but he gets crushed by Swagger.
If they could pull it off I would do a spot where Swagger grabs ADR’s ankle and drags him up a turnbuckle. He could do a top rope ankle lock that has ADR swinging upside down. As he swings the Big Show comes over and delivers a KO punch that flattens ADR. It all goes to black with Swagger and Zeb standing over Del Rio with the World title in hand.
At WrestleMania both men have a tight back and forth matchup. Zeb and Ricardo on the outside doing their thing with Zeb constantly getting involved to give Swagger the upper hand. Eventually Zeb and Ricardo are in the ring with Ricardo still wearing the walking boot. He delivers a big kick to the groin with the boot that sends Zeb to his knees and out of the ring. The crowd will pop for that spot.
Swagger goes after Ricardo as he quickly powders out of the ring. Swagger is against the ropes as he grabs Ricardo by the collar to try and drag him back in. This is where Del Rio school boys Swagger for the three count. Jack and Zeb lose it by bashing Del Rio including a Swagger bomb through the Spanish announce table after the match.
Then Zeb gets on the mic and says America is the land of opportunity. He invites Dolph Ziggler to come down as Swagger drags Del Rio into the ring for an ankle lock. Zeb can say that it might not be Swagger who wins the title but a full red blooded American is walking out of WrestleMania as champ.
Dolph comes to the ring to cash in the Money In The Bank briefcase. Swagger keeps the ankle lock on as Zeb continues to taunt Del Rio. When the bell rings for Dolph the two leave the ring and Ziggler quickly covers Del Rio but only for a two count. Dolph can’t believe it. Del Rio gets some fire as he hobbles on one leg. In a few minutes it is clear that Del Rio is injured and Dolph eventually is too much for the champ. He gets the three count on Del Rio, but only after it is clear that Del Rio is far from 100%.
Now Dolph is the World champ, and Del Rio has an even bigger issue with Swagger without putting the title on the guy who got popped for pot. Alberto can feud with Swagger for a few months as Dolph gets his reign as World champion established against challengers like Randy Orton and Sheamus. Eventually Del Rio overcomes Swagger as the storyline comes full circle with Del Rio finally getting his rematch at SummerSlam against Dolph Ziggler. That match, and feud, is a story for another time.
That is how I would book the Swagger angle with the handicap of a 30 day suspension. It isn’t ideal because you always want a talent on screen but with a talker like Zeb that can be worked around. I believe the theme of the feud is hot enough to really build interest. Immigration is a huge issue in this country and has supporters on both sides. That alone would be enough to keep Del Rio and Swagger strong going into Mania.
I wouldn’t put the title on Swagger because I’m not a supporter of rewarding guys who do stupid things like get suspended. That doesn’t mean you can’t make money with him. He and Del Rio could make some big money in a non-title feud that helps put Alberto over. The Swagger and Zeb characters have a lot of run in them. They can have feuds with numerous talents over the next year. You just don’t make him a main guy until you’re sure he won’t find himself with a second strike.
I’m excited to see how the WWE handles things. It would seem right now that they are more concerned with the buzz being generated by the character than with the actual feud. I hope that doesn’t become the focal point of this as Swagger and Del Rio both deserve more respect than being the side note of the situation. I guess we’ll know a lot more by tonight.
Check back tomorrow for the RAW review as big things are brewing for tonight. The Undertaker is back. John Cena will face CM Punk. Plus Vince McMahon wants to fight Paul Heyman. That is a packed show without the Swagger and Del Rio angle. Now I just wonder if The Rock will show up or does he have a hangover from the Oscars. I mean he had to be drinking, it’s not like he was winning anything.  Until tomorrow, remember the McMahon life motto, “Money over morality”.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Walking Deadman


Most of the WWE house shows are a fun time but nothing ground breaking happens. There is some local flavor tossed in by the talent like Ric Flair talking about a bar he'll be at, or a bad guy making fun of the nearest university. It's fun for the whole family. You get some beers. You hit the merch tables. You might even get to see a glimpse of your favorite superstar outside the arena. But it isn't normal for ground shaking events to happen.

It's rare for a World title to change hands at a house show. It's unheard of for the WWE title to change hands. Hell, since the Rock became champ the WWE title hasn't even been to a house show. Yet last night in Waco, TX the fans got a huge surprise that nobody was expecting. The Undertaker returned!

It turns out Wade Barrett and Damien Sandow were talking smack to Sheamus. The Ginger Warrior said he had a partner backstage. Then the bells hit. You can see the entrance below:



Now the questions will begin. Was this his official return or was he just there because the show is a couple hours from his house? Will the Undertaker be at WrestleMania? Who will he face at WrestleMania? Why does crazy shit always happen in Waco, TX?
 
When it seemed that this would be a slow week, and all the attention was on Jack Swagger, the WWE pulls a quick one that turns the internet on it's head. The dirt sheets have been going nuts. I for one believe this is Taker sending a message that the rumors about him taking this Mania off are beyond false. He is coming to New York and he is going to put the streak on the line. The man he'll face looks to be CM Punk. That would mean this Monday that Punk loses to Cena, and we have the wheels set in motion for two big matchups at Mania.
 
Punk vs. Taker & Cena vs. Rock 2! Holy Crap!
 
Check back in tomorrow for my "Armchair Booker" article covering the Jack Swagger situation plus I'll touch on any new Undertaker news that might come out. Until then enjoy the Walking Dead tonight as Waco, TX enjoyed it last night.

Break Down The Fourth Walls!!!


Since Wednesday evening when the story broke about Jack Swagger getting caught by the Mississippi police with pot in his car, the internet had wondered how the WWE would respond to the situation. Would Swagger get fired? Would he be suspended? Would he start driving the roads with Randy Orton? Right now none of these things are happening because the WWE decided that Swagger's first duty was to stand beside Dutch Mantel as he ripped Glenn Beck a new ass. Watch here:


 
It would seem that we'll have to wait until Monday night to find out what the future holds for Jack. Right now it looks like the buzz he has created with his TEA party character is worth more than the negative image a drug bust comes with. Fox News took the bait. Alex Jones took the bait. Even the Beckster took the bait. They all gave the WWE more free pub than The Rock has gotten the McMahons in two months.
 
Rumor is that this thing has gotten so red hot that Stephanie McMahon called her writing team in late Friday night to figure out a way to insult Beck on RAW since Glenn turned down the invitation from the video above. It is surprising that Beck wouldn't jump on this. The WWE reaches a lot of people and Beck lives off monthly subscriptions for his snake oil.
 
Then again, unlike the WWE, Beck realizes that more people line up to the box office if they think the show is real. Going on RAW, and standing in the ring with two characters that mirror Beck's persona, only shines a light on Glenn that he might be the biggest worker in the ring.
 
Looks like the outrage and free press of the right wing has saved Jack Swagger. He might have lost a chance to carry the World title but he could be the biggest draw coming into WrestleMania, and McMahon's always choose money over morality. Maybe this was the best time to get busted for pot. Especially when you have a bigoted "get out of jail free" card like Alex Jones or Fox News.
 
I'm working on an "Armchair Booker" for Monday. I'll look at how I would have addressed the Swagger situation and the weeks leading up to WrestleMania. I'll talk suspension. I'll talk angles. I'll even give my finish for Mania. Check back in on Monday for that.
 
Until then, remember it's all entertainment, just don't try it at home. Like singing Glee songs in the shower. There are others to think of in this world. Like roommates or neighbors or your twenty cats. Glee fans... they know that shit is fake, right?


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Rebuilding The Razor


A follow up to the story of Scott Hall joining Jake "The Snake" Roberts at the home of Diamond Dallas Page to begin Yoga rehab and healthy living. The picture above is Hall's first workout with DDP. He looks how you'd expect a man at rock bottom would look.

Hall's battle with booze and drugs had once been a funny joke among fans and wrestlers. I remember during the NWO he was once on the home shopping network. He was cracking wise that his cup was full of vodka and that the hosts knew what he liked. Now I look back on it and maybe Hall was cracking wise, but three sheets to the wind.

This crusade to save Scott Hall all came from when DDP and Jake Roberts called Hall on DDPtv. Razor is clearly either drunk, high, or both during this call. The video was posted during the first of the year but Hall asked for it to be pulled. Now earlier this week it was put back up with an intro from Hall.


 
It's a sad and inspiring watch. You really pull for the guy because he comes off as a nice guy that can't get out of his own way. I hope this is the final chapter in a happy ending. I might have to go try this Yoga thing, it does so much for people with bigger issues than a spare tire.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Weed The People


Oops!

It looks like Jack Swagger isn't as mad at things illegally coming across the border as Uncle Zeb, unless it is people. The new #1 contender for the World championship at WrestleMania found himself on the wrong end of the bong this Wednesday morning. He was tagged by Mississippi cops for driving all over the road. When pulled over the police found some patriotic pot in his car. Turns out Jack likes to toke and travel.

All joking aside, this is a major black eye for Swagger. He is in the middle of his biggest push since joining the WWE. He has a fresh new character that was starting to get a major media buzz. Fox News covered him and all the rest of the right wing talk bubble had him in their feed. Sure they hated Swagger & Zeb, but it got people talking. That is never bad, especially for a heel. Now it is all in jeopardy.

The WWE has been pretty tight lipped when it comes to what the results of this will be. They taped Smackdown already, and have no plans of editing the show, which has a heavy dose of Swagger. The real action won't happen until Monday night. The WWE wellness policy, and past history of those like RVD & Randy Orton, would point to a 30 day suspension.

Luckily for Swagger WrestleMania is 40 days away. Even luckier is that most of his new character relies on the mouth of his new manager, Uncle Zeb. Those that don't know, Zeb is wrestling legend "Dirty" Dutch Mantel. He is famous for single handedly saving Puerto Rican wrestling. He knows his shit and he'll know how to save this situation.

Now the WWE could do the harsh thing and fire Jack Swagger. It's listed as an option for punishment in the handbook. I just don't see them doing it for pot, which has become the most socially accepted illegal narcotic in America. I really believe they'll do the 30 days and weave it into the storyline. It's simple and it pleases all parties involved.

No matter what happens Swagger will probably see the speed of his rise up the WWE ladder only be equaled by the speed that he falls down it. This is a shame since he is a very talented in ring performer. He finally got a good talker in his corner. He was about to make some real money in this business. Now all of that looks to be up in smoke.

If you've missed the new direction of Swagger, here is the debut of the new "Real American":


This story will continue to dominate the headlines as the WWE is overseas this week and nothing big should happen. I would expect some kind of announcement on WWE.com in the next 48 hours. It will make for interesting booking and that has inspired me to put together another edition of "Armchair Booker". Look for that this weekend. Until then, smoke em if ya got em. 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Saving Private Razor


When I was growing up one of the coolest things was Saturday morning wrestling. You'd wake up, eat a big bowl of Captain Crunch, watch some cartoons, and finish the morning with an hour of WWF wrasslin'. A ton of today's legends debuted on that show including Razor Ramon.

I used to clean my room as I had the television on in the background. When I first saw Razor Ramon, I stopped cleaning. I was instantly a fan. He was just full of charisma and the Razor's Edge is still a cool move. I would say that while Hogan slamming Andre hooked me into wrestling, it was Saturday mornings that kept me coming back because of guys like Atom Bomb, Scott Hall, and 1-2-3 Kid.

Fast forward a few decades, and now Razor Ramon has become a victim of his demons. The stories of drug induced incidents by Scott Hall are multiple Google pages long. He is probably the poster child for letting the party never stop. Much like Jake "The Snake" Roberts, who might be more infamous for smoking crack on film than for his years of being a top WWE star.

Jake fought his demons and looks to be on the mend with help from Diamond Dallas Page. The former WCW icon has now become the undisputed champion of Yoga. Yes, I said Yoga. DDP a few years back was on his way to being in a wheel chair with multiple back issues, but turned to Yoga, and is now healthier than he has been since his prime.

Page healed himself and now he is doing his best to heal Jake Roberts. The latest member of Team Redemption is Scott Hall. The former "Bad Guy" is staying with Roberts and Page as they try to bring Hall back from the abyss. Kevin Nash, Hall's best friend has doubts. He went on this rant on Twitter when he found out about Hall's new attempt at sobriety.

"I love everyone telling me about what Scott needs, been dealing with this for 20 years. Scott will get healthy when Scott wants 2 period.

Yeah, over a million dollars at the world's best rehab facilities, I've always said what about yoga.

This has nothing to do with me. This is on Scott and him alone. He knows he's loved. I've been there since day one. Nothing I can do. Only Scott.

If you have not lived with addiction, then you should shut the fuck up. Pray... really my prayers go unheard? Love 2 one that loves not himself.

I have seen the damage done, family, children, how dare you sit at your keyboard and judge me or those that have suffered along with this man.

Scott told everyone 2 months ago he was going to DDP's, going to be there that weekend. Show me the tape when he walks in the door.

Got to love Twitter, one of my best friends is "going" to Atlanta and some mark asks me what do I think of The Shield. Why, they going to rehab?

Jake was clean when he went to Dallas, Scott will die during the detox stage. That's real world not bullshit.

Does anyone realise Scott will die if not taken to a hospital and clinically detoxed? You fucking idiots...... Yoga great. 20 years of abuse?

Did Scott know he was on that call live, that's fucked up. I would never have my friend saying over and over he lives on vodka, don't work 4 me.

Q: I really hope Scott gets the help he needs but do u believe he will actually go to Atlanta to stay with DDP? - A: NO.

This is my friend's life, not a PSA. You want the truth? It's not for you to know."


It would seem that Nash believes that Hall is past good living as the solution and believes without licensed medical attention his friend will be wrestling with angels. He might know better as he has been there since day one. In a shoot interview he even talks about drugs and Hall. Check it out:


 
This just shows how when you're young you never think anything will catch up to you. They avoided the cops then, but maybe had Hall been arrested, then he mights not be as far gone as he is now. I know as a fan of Hall that I'm really hoping for a happy ending to this story. Let's all just keep our fingers crossed that DDP can save Hall, because the next step isn't who he will stay with, but who will be Scott Hall's pallbearers.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Jimmy Jacobs Podcast



Over the weekend I talked about Jimmy Jacobs and Steve Corino doing a shoot interview together. It looks great. I'm a huge Jimmy Jacobs fan. I have been since I met in early 2000. He was "Jumping" Jimmy Jacobs. He would come to the ring wearing a big goofy hat and jumping around on a pogo stick. He also struck a cord with the fans. He came to the promotion we worked for as the little brother of Blitzkrieg Kid, and in months was shoe horning his way into the main event picture. He proved you can't keep true talent down.

One of my favorite dirt sheet sites is Lords of Pain. They put out a Podcast featuring an interview with Jimmy. It's a really good listen. They talk business, Olympics, WWE Hall of Fame, Age of the Fall, and Big Stars that act like morons. I recommend putting in the earbuds and letting this play. Like I said, it is a very entertaining interview.

Check it out:


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Monday Night RAW: New Beginnings

This weekend was a long and crazy one. I made the nine hour trek back to Michigan to see my mom, then hauled ass back yesterday. Luckily I made it back in time to see RAW. It was a short visit, but always good to see her. For those regularly following this blog, I’ll let you know she is in high spirits and hasn’t let cancer take the smile off her face.

Normally it is Monday Night RAW that has a moment (or an entire hour) that takes the smile off my face. This week I can’t say that. Following a strong pay per view the WWE hit the ground running on the road to WrestleMania. Not only was the announcement of New Orleans huge for next year’s Mania, but the overall three hours was jammed packed with goodness.

The start with Cena and Punk again showed that Superman in Jorts isn’t in Punk’s league when it comes to mic work. Cena is completely over the top and looks like an idiot. Punk baits him into putting his rumble golden ticket on the line and he jumps in feet first. Remember kids eat your fruity pebbles and say your catchphrases so you can grow up to be a meathead sucker. Now next week we get Punk vs. Cena in the main event. I like that and the ratings should be good.

Mark Henry is a beast. Since coming back he has looked amazing. I don’t know what a feud with Khali is going to do for him. I hope that isn’t his WrestleMania opponent. Maybe the WWE is building towards a massive six man with Khali, Tensai, and Brodus vs. Henry, Big Show, and ?.

I actually wouldn’t mind combining the circus of Khali (with Hornswoggle & Natalya) and the sideshow of Brodus & Tensai (with the two big booty strippers). While we’re at it throw Santino & Zack Ryder in there. Oh a big 10 man tag of the goofballs vs. the ass kickers. That would be a good Mania undercard match. Plus I want to see Natayla dancing with the big booty strippers. Yeah, that’s good stuff.

It looks like The Miz and Antonio Cesaro will continue their feud over the US title. The WWE doesn’t do hardcore matches very much anymore. This was some decent plunder and the win by the Miz signals that these two will probably dance once more at Mania. I’m guessing a flag match. Good opening hour match up. I like the logic of the follow up to a DQ loss is a no DQ weapons match. It’s simple and makes sense. That figure four is still ugly.

Zeb and Swagger are a good heel gimmick. Some say it is racist, and it is. It also is how a large sect of people in this country (and my office building) think. I’m very involved in politics, and that kind of speak with that “don’t tread on me” flag in the background aren’t a rarity in this country. Hell that video could have been a weekend segment on Fox News. I do like how the WWE is trying to really push that these are crazy views. I still believe this feud between Del Rio and Swagger would have been better post-Mania.

The Bryan and Kane slow split continues. We do get two good singles matches out of it. That is good. The bad acting between Vickie and Heyman continues. We get an in ring segment with them later. That is also good. I kid about the bad acting, the backstage promos just stick out lately. I think it is the way they are shooting them that changed.

Del Rio vs. Dolph was a fun match and just a way to keep Alberto strong while reminding us Dolph has the money in the bank. The tease and the stealing of the case was great. Kudos to the WWE for keeping the MITB case fresh for this many months. Dolph has kept that case longer than anyone else, but he needs to act soon before it gets stale.

Wade Barrett is pushing his movie. Sheamus has a Hollywood friend who is the real star of Wade’s movie. Sheamus insults Barrett. Now we have the seeds for a feud. It is simple, but it makes sense. I wonder how Bo Dallas will play into this story. I don’t see Sheamus wanting an IC title run. I could see him as the guy that costs Wade the title on RAW against Bo Dallas and then Sheamus & Wade have a physical match at Mania. Fingers crossed.

The mixed six man tag was what it was. They got Tensai and Brodus more established as a team. They got dancing involved to get the crowd hyped. The big booty strippers danced and wrestled. A nice way to lighten the mood before Uncle Zeb comes out to talk about “Real America”.

They are really putting a lot behind Jack Swagger. Uncle Zeb is great on the mic. He always has been. I like when the WWE does something like this because wrestling has always been an exaggerated microscope to look at our current culture. ECW was the grunge and anti-establishment movement of the 90’s symbolized in a wrestling promotion. Sgt. Slaughter joined Iraq’s army to fight Hogan. It is what wrestling does well. It finds the real life heroes and villains, then lets the masses watch them fight. I know I’d like to punch people like Zeb in the face on a daily basis. Now millions will pay to see it.

Swagger has always put on good matches when working with good talent. He can’t carry talent, but he is a serviceable hand when working with talented wrestlers. Daniel Bryan is a top three talent inside the ring. Their match was really strong and did a lot to make Swagger look like a true threat to the title. If ADR is the worker he looks to be then him and Swagger should have a great match at Mania. Again I just wish this feud was saved until after Mania for the summer months. I would have liked to see Swagger’s gimmick develop more against like Rey Mysterio or Sin Cara.

Side note: I’m like 2.3% hoping that Del Wilkes does a WrestleMania run in as The Patriot to help Del Rio. Or even help out Swagger. Sure Wilkes is 50, but when has that ever stopped wrestlers from returning for a final run. Imagine the Patriot in the background standing beside Swagger as Uncle Zeb cuts his “Real America” promos. It would be a unique visual.

Brad Maddox is now the assistant to the temporary figure head of RAW. So what. I have no care for this character at all. Maybe now that he has a solid spot (kinda) on the roster I’ll develop a care for him. As of right now I couldn’t tell you if he appears on TV or not because he isn’t a blip on my radar, just a fly in my soup. We do get Vince McMahon fighting Paul Heyman next week. I like it.

HOLY CRAP! That six man tag was awesome. During the promo with Jericho I had the feeling he would turn on Sheamus and Ryback to be revealed as the man behind The Shield. I was wrong and I’m glad. I really hope Jericho is part of the Shield’s match at Mania. He works well with all three members. I don’t think the WWE can keep doing thrown together six man tags with the Shield, but for right now it is awesome stuff.

They had that crowd going last night and could do no wrong. In fact I would take a photo of that match and put it in the wrestling dictionary next to “Hot Tag” because they had like three of them last night. I could have watched those six wrestle for an entire hour.

Kofi and Sandow happened. It was merely taking place so R-Truth could come back and so that he could tag with Kofi against Team Rhodes Scholars. I’m in favor of that. I hope both stay in the tag division, especially with Kane and Bryan headed towards singles action. Nothing truly special here.

Kane and Orton was fun. They push the breakup of Team Hell No. Orton gets a win to stay strong after losing the chamber match last night. This was a match serving multiple purposes. Another strong segment for the WWE.

The Rock strolls down to the ring for his end of the show segment. The ratings info shows that is when he needs to come out. Plus it lets him swear and talk about sex organs. Without a true opponent for WrestleMania yet, he unveils a new belt. I also like that when he was about to announce who he wants to face, the music cut him off. They’re leaving the door open for Rock vs. Punk 3 and Rock vs. Cena 2, or Rock vs. Cena vs. Punk. It keeps me interested for the future, and that is all I ask for.

As for the new belt, I’m a fan. It looks way better than that spinner belt. An upgrade and, as the picture from above shows, the side plates are interchangeable. Right now they have bulls for Rock. They could end up being “X’s” for Punk or Mini-spinners for Cena. Randy Orton could win it and they could use pot leaves. Hell Steve Austin could win it and they could be smoking skulls. I like the option to individualize the title to fit the champion. They could also just put the generic “WWE” plates in after Rock drops the belt. Either way it is a better title than what they have had for 8 years.

The new title gives the WWE product a feeling that a new era really is upon us. The booking would say the same thing. Swagger is getting a monster push. The Shield is beating everyone under the sun. CM Punk was presented as Rock’s equal on the PPV with a legit gripe that he had Rock beat in the center for the ring for an 18 count. All in all, it is a new beginning for the WWE and I’m digging it.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Happy President's Day

It's President's Day! Happy federal holiday to the 44 men (and soon to be women) who helped lead this country to a place where a man can spend his Monday Nights watching adults in spandex beat each other up. America mother fucker, 'Merica!
I'm hoping to get a review of the Elimination Chamber pay per view up before RAW tonight. Until then enjoy this great "Abe Lincoln is a pro wrestler" commercial from a few years back. Freed the slaves, and then cut a promo. Love that guy. He really put over John Wilkes Booth over in their feud. Probably while they don't do chairs to the head anymore.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Rhodes Scholars ReUnion Tour


I mentioned this picture in my Crystal Ball post on Friday. It seems that the break up of Team Rhodes Scholars might have been short lived. They even have reunion shirts. The duo got paired again during a panel with the New Age Outlaws last weekend.

While some think this was for the event, the idea of a reunion for a barely established team is awesome. Not only will it sell merch, but I think it could do a lot for the team. Both Sandow and Rhodes have great personas, but this is a terrific wrinkle. I hope the smartest team in the WWE is back in action.

I also hope it is against the New Age Outlaws. Both Road Dogg and Billy Gunn are working for the WWE offices these days. They have been on house shows as an added treat. The rumor I hear is that they are being kept off TV because the WWE believes they are way past their prime. Has the WWE brass watched Khali wrestle?

While NAO may not be the team they used to be, they have enough knowledge in the tag division to help build the titles back from the scorched earth the WWE has left the tag straps in. They don't need to have the titles, but they can teach new teams how to be champions. I for one am fully behind a short WrestleMania run for the Outlaws ... even more so against Team Rhodes Scholars.

I also found this shoot interview by Billy Gunn and Road Dogg. It is an audio interview, enjoy!


Saturday, February 16, 2013

Buy This!


It's no secret that Steve Corino is a fan favorite around these parts. You can put Jimmy Jacobs on that list too. One of the best things to come out of the destruction of Kayfabe is shoot interviews. There is a metric ton of tapes full of great shoot interviews. This latest from both Corino and Jacobs is sure to be a hit.

I think the best shoot interviews are probably the ones over the years put out by Jim Cornette. He usually doesn't pull punches and has some great stories. Sabu did one a few years back. It was kinda weird because he kept acting like he thought the camera was off. Now there is the "Full Case of Tales" series from High Spots.

Take a wrestler(s) and mix in booze. Soon the stories flow like wine. It is a nice concept. For one the alcohol relaxes those who need it. Also it gives a great excuse when a wrestler crosses a line. Don't blame me, I was drunk.

Give this preview a look and go buy the DVD. Believe me it will be worth it. Plus it supports both Corino and Jacobs. That is always a good thing. Buy it, Watch it, and laugh.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Quazi’s Crystal Ball: The Elimination Chamber

(None of These Men Are In A Chamber Match)

We’re on the road to WrestleMania. Right now it is time for that pee break at the shady rest area with holes in the stalls known as, “The Elimination Chamber”. Normally this pay per view isn’t anything special, and just aligns the last few pieces headed into WrestleMania. This year is a bit different. The Rock is champion. The pay per view now only has one chamber match. Also John Cena has found his own Macho Man & Miss Elizabeth, and formed a Mega Powers for this generation. I’ll let you guess who Liz is and who is Savage.

Since this pay per view is sandwiched between the two biggest events on the WWE calendar, it traditionally gets lost in the shuffle. The WWE rolls out two chamber matches for the titles, the rumble winner waits to see who emerges, and the WWE sells tickets based on plunder. This edition of the Elimination Chamber PPV has a different feel to it. It feels like a real event and not a pit stop on our way to bigger and better things.

A lot of this is due to The Rock. He and CM Punk will once again headline a pay per view and make the namesake of the event part of the undercard. The Chamber match has a variety of intriguing storylines. A case can (and will) be made for all six men to challenge for the World title. The World title should be wrapping up a decent feud. Alberto Del Rio is now a full-fledged face and that means this feud has run its course. Finally, The Shield goes toe-to-toe with the WWE all-star team of John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback (A.k.a. The Just-Us League). I don’t know who is winning, but I know which Jort wearing superhero isn’t taking the pin.

Now I’m going to crank my Vanilla Ice station on Pandora and get this preview and prediction going … A1A BEACHFRONT AVENUE!

Brodus Clay & Tensai vs. Team Rhodes Scholars – Internet Pre-Show Match

The Rhodes Scholars broke up a few weeks ago to try their hand at singles action. I don’t think they have won a match since. I don’t even think they have lasted longer than 5 minutes. Now they’re back as a tag team. I did see a funny picture over the weekend of Rhodes and Sandow at a press conference with the New Age Outlaws where they had a “Rhodes Scholars Reunion Tour” T-shirt. If that is the direction they are going with this then I am a big fan of that. I like them better as a team than as singles. They are good times on the mic and in the ring.

Tensai and Clay are the bastard child of one of the worst segments in WWE history. Tensai danced and Clay acted like a bad Saturday morning cartoon. Now they are a tag team. They are even asking the twitterverse for a new team name. I’m guessing it will be unveiled during this match. My vote goes to, “Monsters of Funk”.

This will probably be the easiest match to call during the event. There is no chance that the Rhodes Scholars derail the Funk Train before it gets out of the station. It should be a nice 8 minute match. Maybe even get the Rhodes Scholars back in the tag division. If that happens then we all win.

Winner: Clay & Tensai (and wrestling writers when the two dancing ladies touch butts)

Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka – WWE Divas Title

Kaitlyn makes her first pay per view title defense. Tamina Snuka can wrestle. I’ll be in the bathroom. I am guessing this match goes on between the Chamber match and the Rock vs. Punk main event. Nothing to really preview here. If the WWE isn’t going to invest time into developing this division, then I’m not investing mine in talking about.

Winner: Kaitlyn (and my beer soaked bladder)

Antonio Cesaro vs. The Miz – WWE United States Championship

I am a big fan of Cesaro. He is so talented in the ring, and I enjoy his promos. Some knock his ability with the mic, but I laugh every time he talks. His character and persona is a fresh twist on a classic heel. He also happens to be one of the strongest wrestlers the WWE has ever had. This past Monday when he tossed The Miz around like a small child was a very cool sight to see.

Miz has been a pin ball for the WWE. He is announcing for their Main Event show. He is kind of feuding with Dolph Ziggler as Ric Flair’s protégé. He also is dropping CM Punk on his neck. This feud has been a good undercard battle, but like Del Rio & Big Show, these two need fresh fights. It has run its course and I believe Miz needs something to help develop this “New Nature Boy” gimmick.

This should be another solid bout. Cesaro can help protect Miz in the ring. Miz isn’t a slouch himself. I think this is a perfect opener for the pay per view. It should also help catapult Cesaro into a higher standing with the WWE audience. His next feud needs to be with an upper mid-card talent. I just don’t see Miz as the US champ. It seems like the title does more for Antonio. If Miz wins that would be the shocker of the night.

Winner: Antonio Cesaro (and America... ‘Merica!)

Alberto Del Rio vs. The Big Show – WWE World Championship

This is the feud that will never end. I haven’t been a fan of this for the past few weeks. It just never seems to get legs as the storyline progresses. I like both men. I think Big Show is a good cocky heel. He should because he’s the biggest meanest man alive. I also like Alberto Del Rio as a baby face. The transition is complete. The two of them together just haven’t clicked for me.

I’m assuming this feud wraps up and both men go their separate ways. Gee that is being said a lot for this pay per view. It should be a good match but they started this feud with a plunder match and are wrapping it with a traditional singles match. That is some backwards booking, but it helped achieve the new fan friendly Del Rio. I again can’t see Big Show walking out with the strap. Too many great contenders in the Chamber match for Del Rio.

Winner: Alberto Del Rio (and the male scarf industry)

The Shield vs. The Just-Us League

Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns have been the best thing the WWE has done in a long, long time. They are the Nexus with better writing. They are three talented performers with each having a unique persona that sets them apart. Ambrose is the crazy mastermind with a silver tongue. Rollins comes off as the daredevil willing to do whatever to achieve his goal. Reigns is a certified nasty beast with some great charisma. The WWE has protected them with a limited amount of wrestling including never giving away matches for free on TV.

John Cena has to wait until Mania to get his title match. That means he has time to fight The Shield. He has two new buddies in Sheamus and Ryback. They are all muscle heads who can’t stand that three punks like the Shield think they can be main eventers. They don’t even have biceps on top of biceps or veins shooting out of their necks, what kind of main eventers could they be?!? It would seem that Cena and company are the symbolic glass ceiling coming for the new guys. They are the Just-Us League.

Traditionally this is where Cena crushes the Shield and uses their momentum to propel himself into WrestleMania. The Shield has been so protected that I think the WWE doesn’t want to do anything to stop their rise. I don’t see Cena taking the pin as he needs to be untarnished when facing the WWE champion in New York. I also don’t see Ryback getting beat as he continues to build a strong following. That means it looks like the ginger warrior is going to get a 3 second tan.

Winner: The Shield (and Smarks around the globe)

Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Mark Henry vs. Jack Swagger
Elimination Chamber Match: Winner gets a World title shot at WrestleMania


This is a true crap shoot of a match up. I have no real clue who is going to walk out and face Del Rio for the title at WrestleMania. All six men have great cases for being the one to get the chance.

Bryan and Kane are still tag champs. They are headed toward a split. I don’t think either is getting a title shot because there is still more to be done with the duo. They have both been great assets for the company, but neither needs the title picture right now. I see them squaring off at Mania, possibly in a singles match for the tag titles.

Chris Jericho would be my dark horse but he seems to have unfinished business with Dolph Ziggler. Unless Ziggs cashes in the money in the bank on Del Rio, then Jericho isn’t winning. Now if Dolph does win the title from Del Rio that changes things. Jericho would be the top choice to win this thing. Right now I think the WWE is going to ride out Del Rio for a bit longer.

Jack Swagger is coming back with a vengeance. His new persona with manager Uncle Zeb is tailor made for a feud with Del Rio. He is the right wing crazy nut job that thinks immigrants are ruining this country. He’s a real American patriot. He’s Ted Nugent with a bowl cut. He needs to build this character. His shot at Del Rio is probably happening post-Mania.

Reefer Randy and Mark Henry are the true two when it comes to this match. I am fifty-fifty on both. Orton has a long history with Del Rio, and that could help sell this match up as now Del Rio is the baby face & Orton is heading toward heel status. The WWE could use this few weeks to make the turn and give Del Rio a very creditable win at WrestleMania.

Mark Henry is a beast and has come back stronger than ever. He is tearing the WWE midcard a new ass. He, like Swagger, might be too fresh to challenge for the title. His character is so established though it might not matter. I just don’t think losing at WrestleMania is going to be good for the long run. A Henry vs. Del Rio match at Summer Slam might be better.

Winner: Randy Orton (and his pot dealer… puff puff RKO!!!)

The Rock vs. CM Punk – WWE Championship – Rock Loses Title on DQ or Count Out

The Rock won the title and the WWE championship hasn’t been seen on a house show since. It also didn’t appear on an episode of RAW two week ago. Hell the champ forgot for 7 minutes during his promo this week to even mention the pay per view this Sunday. He did have a Super Bowl commercial, and three major motion pictures coming out, so that balances things out.

There is no doubt the WWE is better with The Rock in the fold. He brings casual fans back to the product. He sells tickets. He just doesn’t need the WWE title to do so. The guy sells tickets if you promote that he will be doing a cooking demo in the ring. Pancakes with The Rock would be the highest rated segment on RAW. It just stings to purists like myself that the WWE’s top title has been M.I.A. from the product for nearly three weeks. It shows that the WWE really cares more about the “E” than the “W”.

CM Punk on the other hand has been lights out since losing the title. He has carried this feud on his own. His promos are top notch. He has been tearing the house down in the ring with any talent on the roster. The Alfred to his Batman, Paul Heyman, has been on a solid run too. Add it all together and it turns this rematch into one of the biggest matches of the year. No thanks to the WWE champ.

Again the two will have a great match. I would think better than their Royal Rumble show down since Rock has gotten some ring rust off and they both have a feeling for one another now. The stipulation came out of nowhere, so that has to play a role. Also Brock Lesnar is always lurking in the wings. I think shenanigans will unfold. I just don’t see the WWE dropping the idea of Cena vs. Rock 2.

I could see Punk winning by DQ or Count Out, and the stipulation being disputed the next night on RAW. Something like Vince’s voice on the phone was doctored by Paul Heyman and HHH comes out to throw out the decision. That leads to Brock and HHH getting in each other’s faces. This would be the kick off to their WrestleMania match. That would mean the “winner” on the pay per view would be …

Winner: By Shenanigans, the NEW WWE Champion CM Punk (and house show audiences)

The only match that hasn’t made the card is an intercontinental title match for Wade Barrett. I assume his next title defense is against Bo Dallas. They might save that for the next night on RAW. It wouldn’t surprise me if they had some kind of angle during the PPV like a backstage attack during a promo.

From top to bottom this looks to be one of the best pay per view offering the WWE has had this year. The Rock being on the card makes anything look better, but there is 3 quality main event matches here. It bodes very well for the strength of this year’s WrestleMania. As a wrestling fan, I’m getting spoiled in 2013. Aside from that 9 PM hour a couple weeks ago on RAW, that still hurts.

I recommend shelling out the cash for this show. It should have a couple twists during the broadcast. Don’t do it in HD. It isn’t worth the extra 15 bucks. Use that money to get beer. It makes the Divas match more entertaining, or at least makes sure you have a reason to use the bathroom when they come out. Drunk or pissing, either way you’re a winner!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

It Came From The Indies

(Click the picture to order the iPPV)

The internet has brought us lots of cool things. Mostly celebrity sex tapes and cute cat videos, but also tons of indie wrestling. Unlike less than a decade ago, promotions don't need to find a TV station with decent rates to get their product out to the masses. Every week promotions, like Prime Wrestling based in Ohio, are putting out top tier television through YouTube. Also the surge in Internet Pay Per Views has opened up regional promotions to global audiences.

One of my favorites is Prime Wrestling. A lot of my old friends work for the company, so I have a soft spot for them. They have been around in one form or another for a couple of years, and usually deliver an entertaining product. Their big events have included bloody brawls and mega stars. This weekend they return to iPPV.

The WWE maybe rolling out the elimination chamber for 50 bucks this Sunday, but the best bang for your buck is getting the iPPV from Prime Wrestling. The Main Event should be a great match with top indy star Johnny Gargana defending his title against one of my favorite bad guys going today, Krimson.

In the past Krimson has made a name for himself by being in two of the most brutal matches in Prime history against Jason Bane and Matt Mason. Johnny Gargano has spent the past year having maybe the most dominant year in independent wrestling. He is not only the Prime Wrestling champion, but is also going over a full year as the reigning Dragon Gate USA champion. A very impressive feat for any worker.

Aside from this guaranteed-to-please main event, Prime Wrestling offers a roster comprised of the best talent on the Midwest wrestling scene. This includes G.R.o.W. favorite N8 Mattson, Tough Enough star Matt Cross, and a slew of other gifted wrestlers. The Facade vs. Louis Lyndon showdown for the television title is a dark horse to steal the show. You don't want to blink watching that matchup.

There is a myriad of options for your wrestling dollar this weekend. I suggest getting out of your comfort zone and checking out what Prime Wrestling has to offer. It's probably double the action for a third of the price.

That means more money left over in your pocket. That means you can buy more celebrity sex tapes. I'm just suggesting. You could put it in a Roth IRA and save for the future. Oh who am I kidding, you're buying sex tapes. Chyna didn't make a sequal because nobody bought the first one. Hell, you probably stumbled on this blog because a porn site re-directed you here ... I read my google analytics, but I digress. Before checking out Pressure Rising watch the latest episode of Prime TV below. It has a really good matchup between Gargano and Cross. Enjoy!



Tune back in tomorrow for my preview and predictions of the WWE Elimination chamber.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sweep The Leg


Two things I enjoy in life are the original Karate Kid movies and Spyder Nate Webb. If you haven't seen the Karate Kid movies then stop reading my blog. Stop doing anything in your life until you go watch the trilogy. The ones with Will Smith's kid or Hilary Swank's boobs don't count. You need Macchio and Miyagi only!

If you've never heard of Spyder Nate Webb then I'm sorry. He is best known for being the tall one among the horde of hardcore midget wrestlers. He also was on that MTV wrestling show. Spyder is good times, all the time. He drinks beer, sings karaoke, and incites dance offs in the middle of riots. When you see Nate Webb on a card, you know something enjoyable will happen.

That includes the merging of two worlds. Here is a video of Spyder Nate Webb wrestling for Combat Zone Wrestling. He unleashes the feared crane kick. So now Johnny doesn't have to feel bad since two people have fallen for this telegraphed move. This is a cool moment and a small taste of what it is like to hang with Spyder Nate Webb, minus the sore liver.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Monday Night RAW: Hugs and Headlocks


Did you know there is a pay per view this Sunday? If not then the WWE did a good job of telling you. Almost the whole three hours this week had some role in the Elimination Chamber event this weekend. The WWE champion also appeared for a quick cup of coffee, and a shitty story. I feel special.

Maybe it was me, but this week seemed to have more bad acting than usual. Some of the promos, in-ring and backstage, came across as scenes from a soap opera. Even Paul Heyman and CM Punk pulled the over-the-top dramatic act. I think they were trying to make fools of themselves, but it continued through the night.

I guess it all got started when Paul Heyman came to the ring. He was being topical by resigning, as the Pope did earlier in the day, and talked about how the WWE is against him. It was a good promo that told a good story. It might have been drawn out. The end where CM Punk almost begs Paul to stay in his corner was the campiest the duo has been during their run. I couldn’t tell if they were making fun of the situation, or if this was just some class A crap acting. Also did Punk wink during their hug? Is he turning on Heyman? Or did I just see things?

Mark Henry crushes things. There is nothing fake or campy about him. I only wished he would have smashed Khali quicker. It would have saved us from watching Khali try and wrestle. He could have done just a bum rush to start the match, and then do the kill-the-midget spot.  I’m being nitpicky, but more destruction & less Khali are good things. Mark Henry looks fantastic in his return. A great addition to the WWE roster for WrestleMania season.

Vickie and Paul have more bad acting. Vince calls on the phone. He agrees to Heyman’s stipulation that if Rock gets DQ’d or counted out, then he loses the title. I have a feeling that Vince’s voice was faked. It makes no sense that McMahon would give Heyman air to breathe, let alone a stipulation in his favor. Prepare for this to play into Sunday, as in Rock gets DQ’d and then the decision is upheld on Monday. I smell a Rock vs. Punk vs. Cena match at WrestleMania.

Jericho vs. Bryan was a really fun match. While I enjoy Team Hell No, Daniel Bryan is ready to be a top singles star for the WWE. He can have a good match with anyone. He can have amazing matches with the other main event stars. I really hope Bryan and Cena can have a nice feud once Superman in Jorts gets out of the title picture. I think they could do good things for both men’s current status in the company. The elimination chamber match this Sunday is shaping up to be a strong bout.

John Cena, Sheamus, and Ryback toss around 3MB and then cut a promo. Nothing new here. Pretty text book way of pushing the super baby faces, or as I call them “The Just-Us League”, before the pay per view. It should be a hot 6 man tag on Sunday.

Big Show and Alberto Del Rio continue their feud. I have no interest right now. They aren’t doing anything bad, but their segments don’t get me excited. Show is mad that people are laughing at him. ADR is learning how to be a good guy. I like both men, just not in this feud anymore. Hopefully after Sunday they can both go their own way. Del Rio’s match was a glorified squash. Poor Sandow.

Jack Swagger is a crazy right wing nut job now. Uncle Zeb is going to do a lot for Swagger. I bet Ted Nugent and Rush Limbaugh are fans. The former Dutch Mantel is one of the best minds in the business. He has made a lot of the big names people know in this industry. Swagger has always lacked that kind of long term mentor to teach him the little things. He has always been gifted, but now Swagger may have found the key to breaking through. He looks to be building towards a show down with Alberto Del Rio. I hope they hold off until after WrestleMania. That could be a strong summer feud. Look for Swagger to pick up at least one pin in the chamber this weekend.

I have friends who like Wade Barrett. He just doesn’t do much for me. He never did on NXT. He never did as the leader of the Nexus. He doesn’t now as the IC champ. The Bo Dallas program is a good one. Barrett needs a big time feud to push him. He’s another guy who could benefit from a long summer program with somebody like Daniel Bryan or Chris Jericho.

Miz got his receipt from this weekend. The whole match up with Cody Rhodes’ Mustache was a backdrop to continue the Cesaro feud. Antonio, who is one strong gentleman, does an amazing spot with the Miz. He swings him around and smashes his body into the guardrail repeatedly. I enjoyed this, and look forward to their singles match this Sunday.

Now Cesaro and Barrett don’t have matches this Sunday. Normally I would say they would both get matches. In fact I believe Barrett will face Bo Dallas during the internet pre-show, and Cesaro will face Miz during the pay per view. Maybe they can do Barrett & Cesaro vs. Miz & Dallas in a tag match. It would be another way for Dallas to pin Barrett and move their feud along. That would be a good 8-10 min pre-show match.

My crystal ball is working overtime. I called Jack Swagger’s gimmick last week. Now Brodus Clay and Tensai are squashing tag teams. I like them as a team and it looks like they’ll get a couple weeks to build their reputation. Their finisher of a running head butt followed up by a senton splash is a strong finisher. When they get the fluidity of that finisher worked out it will look super cool. Especially for two big men with tons of agility.

The Shield cuts their longest promo. It is nice, but it didn’t have the same energy they have had in the past. It felt like they were just off the mark. The good guys come out and clean house. Brawling into the stands always looks good on camera. The crowd got hyped for this segment. Again this looks be a great match up for Sunday. I’m thinking two pro-good guy segments on RAW means a win for the Shield on the pay per view. I just don’t know who takes the pin in that one. Odds are on Sheamus.

Kane versus Dolph Ziggler was a fine television main event. They both had good reasons for being in the chamber. Kane is starting to get testy with Daniel Bryan. Dolph wants to get his hands on Jericho. Only one man can continue their path. They have a good little match with some shenanigans by AJ and Big E. In the end Dolph learns he is better off on his own than with his traveling psycho circus. Looks like Kane and Bryan are headed to splitsville before Mania. Dang I liked them as a team.

Last week The Rock didn’t even show up. Now we wait until the very end of the show for him to come out. He tries to pretend he had an indy career because he wrestled for a few months in Nashville for 40 dollars. Less than a year later he was on the WWE main event roster. Not exactly a story of struggle. We did however get a story from the Rock.

That was the most boring promo the Rock has cut since his return. He really thought he had gold with that “crackhead” line. Too bad it bombed. It bombed every time he mentioned crackheads. First rule of comedy is when a joke doesn’t fly; you don’t keep trying to make it work. The Rock does little to really help push the main event this Sunday. It again was about The Rock, and his glorified past. You know the one where the cool 15 year old Rock is drinking in bars and driving stolen cars.

Punk comes out with Paul Heyman and they remind people there is another person in the match this Sunday besides Rock & his ego. They puff chests at each other, and then a brawl breaks out. Punks steals the title, as he should, and in a few minutes Punk does more for their match up than the champ has done in two weeks. But Rock did have a Superbowl commercial and 3 movies coming out, so that helps numbers … riiiigggghhhhttttt. 

I have a feeling this stipulation was tagged onto this match because the WWE knows that the Rock won’t lay down, but they can’t keep the title on him. I am calling something screwy this weekend. Maybe Brock attacks Punk to get Rock DQ’d. Maybe Rock gets demolished by Brock and gets counted out. I just can’t stop thinking they are going to uphold the title with this decision and end up with the Rock vs. Punk vs. Cena for WrestleMania. In the end that is a better match than Rock vs. Cena. So I’ll take it.

This is the current card going into the Elimination Chamber PPV:

WWE Title
Rock vs. CM Punk
If Rock gets DQ’d or Counted Out he loses the title

World Title
Alberto Del Rio vs. Big Show

The Shield vs. The Just-Us League

Elimination Chamber
Chris Jericho vs. Kane vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Jack Swagger vs. Mark Henry vs. Randy Orton
Winner gets a world title match at WrestleMania

WWE Divas title
Kaitlyn vs. Tamina Snuka

Not Announced: Wade Barrett IC title match up & Antonio Cesaro US title match up

I’ll have another edition of Quazi’s Crystal Ball to give a preview and predictions for this Sunday. Look for that this Friday afternoon. Until then, Elimination Chamber looks like a strong pay per view. One of the best non-major pay per views of the year. Kudos to the WWE on really bringing it this WrestleMania season, minus an hour of programming a couple of weeks ago. I’m still going to therapy for that. I need a hug.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Wrestling Artifact

 
Last week I talked about the 10th Anniversary of when Chris Hero faced CM Punk in a 90+ minute match for IWA: Mid South. It was the hottest feud on the indy circuit at the time, and had the early days of the internet tape trading world going crazy. A truly amazing feud and moment in the history of professional wrestling.
 
Also last week the English discovered Richard III buried under a parking lot. I focused my studies in college on Shakespearean lit and politics. I wrote one of my major papers about the role of Richard III in literature and his standing as Shakespeare's defintion of pure evil.
 
I argued that Richard was the only one of Shakespeare's villians who had no redeemable qualities and that his only true joy in life was the displeasure of others. Add in the fact that he was real, and it made him even scarier. The merchant wanted a pound of flesh, but he still had the purpose of twisted justice to redeem his actions. Richard III was just cruel for the kicks. He would have made a good heel.
 
Now the two stories from above are kind of combined as Dave Prazak, a big name behind the scenes in indy wrestling, has posted the commentary notes from that epic Punk vs. Hero match up. These notes were written up by Hero and given to Prazak to use during this marathon match. It details the thick history between the two men, and has some cool little gems tucked away. This piece of wrestling history is like finding the former king of England underneath a Nissan. Here is what @DavePrazak posted:
 
 
For those who are geeky about wrestling and it's history, like I am, this is like finding the booking sheet for WrestleMania 3. A very cool part of a big time wrestling moment.
 
RAW is live from Nashville tonight. I hear the Rock will actually show up. So nice of the WWE champion to grace us all with his presence. Must not have a Hollywood knob to polish. Brock Lesnar will be in the house with Paul Heyman. Plus more on the Shield vs. The Just-Us League.
 
Also CM Punk took a nasty bump this weekend on his head when the Miz screwed up a move (shocker). The reports are conflicting to his condition. Punk claims to be ok. WWE officials are worried he is more injured than he is letting on. After losing Stone Cold, Edge, and many other to neck injuries, I know the WWE is walking on egg shells right now. We'll see how recovered Punk is tonight.
 
Check back tomorrow for the Monday Night RAW Review.


Friday, February 8, 2013

When Hero Met Punk


Yesterday was a pretty big day in pro wrestling history as Kassius Ohno, formerly known as Chris Hero, pointed out on twitter.







For those that haven't seen the match, or the segment about it on the CM Punk DVD, then you are missing out. This was the hottest feud of 2002-03 in the mid-west indy circuit. The WWE was training fans that matches lasted 6 minutes. Hero and Punk were wrestling a series of matches that totaled three hours for the IWA:MS title. I never got to see it live as I didn't start working with Ian Rotten and IWA:MS until late 2003-04. I did however get a copy of the tape and watched it a few times because it was a true classic.

For 90+ minutes these two kept the crowd in the palm of their hands. The last part of the match is maybe the best wrestling I have ever seen. Just think about this, the crowd had seen these two go for nearly 70 minutes and yet were standing, cheering, for the last 15-20 minutes of this match up. It took almost a year to build up the feud, but it showed that with time & talent in wrestling, anything is possible.

Ohno celebrated by having his teeth kicked in last night in FCW.
 
CM Punk also tipped his cap to Ohno's teeth and their anniversary 

I couldn't find any highlights or match clips from the epic encounter. I was able to find this music video from their 56 minute TLC match that lead to Hero vs. Punk for 90+ minutes. It is a physical, brutal match, but also has loads of psychology. A rare thing for hardcore wrestling. Enjoy this four minutes of when Hero met Punk.