Archive for the ‘ Wrestling ’ Category

WrestleMania 28: The Good, The Bad & The Downright Wrong

Another year, and another WrestleMania has been etched into the history books of the WWE.

While I still feel like the WWE is really missing that “wow” factor that it had so many years ago, WrestleMania 28, like any WrestleMania before it, had its highs and lows.  There were moments and matches that exceeded expectations, and those that could have been so much more than what they were.

John Cena vs. The Rock

I think the match itself lived up to what we were expecting.  Chris Jericho said it best when he said, “I think Cena vs. Rock is going to be one of the greatest matches we’ve ever seen, because it’s destined to be that.”  It was two of the biggest stars the WWE has ever seen, and that we thought would never cross paths, going toe to toe in the squared circle.  The atmosphere alone was destined to make the match everything we wanted it to be.

But the outcome… I’m sorry, but I completely disagree with what the WWE did here.  The Rock wins? My, oh my, oh my… Now, I’m not going to pretend to be able to see into the future. For all we know, these two could have a rematch and split the wins.  But if The Rock is packing up and leaving once again, as we all expect him to, this was an atrocious decision to make. And if you know anything about me, you know I hate John Cena.

But the fact of the matter is, tomorrow, and five years from now, Cena will still be here. He’ll be bleeding WWE until the day he hangs it up, and for that reason alone, he needed to come out on top in this match. So Rock wins, and what kind of mileage does he get from it? Nothing, he’s as good as gone again already.  A win in one of the biggest matches in WWE history is worthless where he’s going.

The match itself was great. Rocky clearly got in good ring-shape for the match, as we would expect him to. There was some good back and forth, and nice false finishes.  Rock still has the best arm drag in the business, but it’s not good enough for me to feel good about the final 3-count in this match.

Undertaker vs. Triple H

What can you really say about this match?  As soon as it was announced, I said, “I bet they want to make up for their stinker at WrestleMania 27,” and I stand by that opinion; their match last year was a piece.  The story-telling in this year’s match, with the addition of HBK, was outstanding.

Without question it was the most physical match of the night. Those chair shots had me cringing.  But Shawn, Hunter and ‘Taker all told a great story in there together. I would be comfortable calling this the best match of the night.

And I may take flak for saying this, but it should not be that way. And leads me to my next point:

Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus

Pardon my French, but are you fucking kidding me?

This “match” was an absolute disgrace, and flat-out insulting and disrespectful to Bryan Danielson first, Sheamus second, and the fans third.

I said right off the top that this match would steal the show, and two talents like Sheamus and Danielson going at it easily could have.  I don’t know who Danielson pissed off, or what Vince McMahon was smoking backstage, but this was just mind-boggling.

As I alluded to earlier, newcomers like Sheamus and Danielson hold the future of the WWE in their hands. When guys like ‘Taker and Triple H aren’t around anymore to send the fans home happy, it’s going to be up to these guys to do the heavy lifting. And they should be stealing the show right now at WrestleMania.  And like I said, these two could have, they’re fantastic talents.

Quite frankly, these two are owed an apology in the form of a rematch, with no time limit, so we can see what we should have on the Grand Stage.

Horrible booking.

CM Punk vs. Chris Jericho

Honestly? Nothing special here.

Was it a good match? Absolutely.  But this was one of the matches on the card that had the capability of exceeding its expectations, and I don’t think it did. It was everything it was supposed to be, but nothing more.

The other matches were all filler, and quite frankly I don’t think anyone came here to read about them.

And to come a little out of left field here, this is as good as official: They need to bring Money in the Bank back to WrestleMania. It never should have left.  I can guarantee that probably 99% of the WWE Universe would have rather seen the participants of Team Johnny vs. Team Teddy in a MitB match instead.  It was consistently one of the best matches on the card, and really rounded out the whole show.  Bring. It. Back.

And that’s that!  Another WrestleMania down, and this one was really one of the better ones I’ve seen.  There were some things I didn’t agree with here and there, but I think the good outweighed the bad.  The only thing I’d say is most important right now, is that the young talent starts being given the opportunity to step in and fill the roles that guys like Edge and Triple H are leaving behind. And an 18 second bullshit match is doing the exact opposite.

What did you think of WrestleMania 28?  Share your own opinions, or comment on mine. Let me know!

It’s Now or Never, Cena.

The ‘Road to WrestleMania’ began last night with the airing of WWE’s Royal Rumble 2012, and while there is currently only one match officially announced, and a few predicted, I’m definitely starting to get majorly amped up for WrestleMania XXVIII on April 1.

It’s a known fact that a big part of what makes WrestleMania easily the best pro wrestling show of the year is that every WWE SuperStar on the card gives 110 per cent.  Sure, most of these guys give it everything they’ve got night in and night out, but at WrestleMania… everything is left in that ring.

But you can still end up with a garbage show even if everyone gives it everything they’ve got.  For instance, I could have a spot on the WrestleMania card and give 110 per cent, but chances are people would be pretty displeased with what they were watching.

So far, the card is filling up with guys who can really bring it, and under the bright lights of WrestleMania, chances are pretty low that they’ll disappoint.  Sheamus is headed to the big show, where he’ll probably face Bryan Danielson.  Lots of potential for a great match there, as well as with Chris Jericho vs. CM Punk, another predicted match.  I would gladly sit through a 60-minute Iron Man Match between those two incredibly gifted wrestlers.

But obviously, the one match that every single fan of the business is waiting to see, is hands down the biggest match of this generation: John Cena vs. The Rock.

I realized last night that the WWE is doing the exact right thing with John Cena to set up this match.  Finally, after years of pretending it wasn’t there, John Cena and the WWE are acknowledging the fans who hate Cena and everything he stands for. They’ve even extended a hand to the Cena haters and given them a voice, offering a “Cena Sucks” t-shirt.

After watching the amazing, chill-inducing video package on Cena from the Rumble last night (below), I realized the genius behind these questionable decisions by the WWE. They’ve completely obliterated the heel/face aspect that is usually pivotal to any wrestling match, in order to get the eyes of every wrestling fan in the world on this WrestleMania match.

I didn’t realize the enormity of this match until last night.  It’s not just a blockbuster match for the sake of bringing in revenue, maybe even more-so this is a stage, in front of everyone, for Cena to silence his haters once and for all.

He’s stepping into the ring with one of the very best in the history of the business, and quite frankly, if he can go move for move, hold for hold with The Rock, he’ll have little left to prove to those who have been calling him out for years now.  And I, someone who dislikes Cena, think that’s exactly what he’s going to do.

April 1 the eyes of the entire pro wrestling industry will be focused on one match, but probably more on one man than the other.  For years now, I think Cena has been afraid to try and prove those who hate him wrong, for fear of failing to do so.  But if he can’t do it at WrestleMania XXVIII, he never will. I think we’re about to see a side of him we’ve never seen before.

And the haters… are gonna hate it.

Winnipeg’s Own.

I think most people probably don’t believe in the concept of ‘fate’. I know I don’t.

The notion that I’m not in control of what happens to me, isn’t something that I find very appealing.  But every once in a while, something happens that makes even us doubters pause for just a moment, and go, “Huh…”

In this particular case, four separate occurences happened at just the right moment in time to allow me to achieve probably the most significant moment of my not-yet-existent career.  These things were:

– Requesting a work placement at True North Sports & Entertainment, and not getting it.

– Being placed, instead, at the Winnipeg Free Press.

– Chris Jericho returning to the WWE.

– The WWE scheduling a show in Winnipeg for January 20.

Click to read the article.

On any given day, just one of these things could have happened.  But for whatever reason, they all happened at just right the moment, and I do mean just the right moment, because today is the last day of my internship with the Free Press and my interview with Jericho is in today’s paper.

Not much else to be said other than a definite dream come true for me, it was great to talk to him as a journalist, but it will be even greater, as always, to watch him on Friday night, as a fan.

Break The Walls Down…

My interview with WWE Superstar and Winnipeg's own 'Y2J' Chris Jericho.

Fan or Not; You’ve Got An Opinion.

As my IPP gets underway, I’m interested to get some feedback on Professional Wrestling in general.

Like the title of this blog post says, whether you’re a fan of Pro Wrestling or not, you know (maybe just vaguely) what it is, and what you think about it.

So let me know!

If you’re on this page, and reading this, do me a favour and take two seconds to answer the poll up at the top of the page.  Classmates and friends have been reading this blog ever since it first went up, and I’m interested to know what people really think of the topic I write about most often.

The poll is completely anonymous, but even if it wasn’t, my feelings are never hurt by hearing someone talk about how stupid they think Pro Wrestling is; I hear it all the time.

If you want to go into more detail about your thoughts on Pro Wrestling, please feel free to do so by leaving a comment, or shooting me an email.

So answer the poll, and/or let me know your own personal thoughts on it! I’m always up for having a discussion about Pro Wrestling, whether you love it or you hate it.

Thanks to everybody who takes the time to answer the poll and/or leave me a comment.

The Problem With The WWE.

The WWE, as most everybody knows, is the top dog in the Professional Wrestling universe. The WWE’s brand will be cemented in history well into the foreseeable future as the #1 Pro Wrestling company of all time. So how is it possible that the WWE is not the product that showcases the best wrestling?

Match of the Year?

You heard me correctly.  The other day I showed my mother the Davey Richards vs. Eddie Edwards match from Ring of Honor’s Best in the World 2011.  She posed a question that I think a lot of WWE fans would pose if they watched almost any ROH match: “Why don’t you see wrestling like this in the WWE??”

It’s a great question, with a simple answer: the WWE creates “Superstars”. The focus in the WWE is on creating entertaining TV in the same way that soap operas aim to create it.  There are simply not enough fans of the technique and skill involved in Pro Wrestling to put a company like Ring of Honor at the top of the heap, even if their wrestlers are putting on matches 100x better than anything you’ll see on WWE programming.

Is that to say that the WWE doesn’t have talented wrestlers? Absolutely not.  The WWE certainly has some of the most talented individuals in the game today.  The problem goes back to what I mentioned earlier; WWE’s top priority is turning these individuals into larger than life Superstars. Ask yourself why the entire world knows who Hulk Hogan is (even before Hogan Knows Best), and yet he was and is one of the least talented in-ring wrestlers ever.

Every wrestler that the everyday person knows about was created by the WWE.  The Rock, ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart. In fact, most of those individuals are extremely talented, but it’s not their in-ring ability that they’re known for to most people.  “If ya smell what The Rock is cookin!”, middle fingers, crotch chopping… These are the types of things that non-wrestling fans latch on to, and it’s the type of thing that the WWE still tries to create, while the actual wrestling takes a backseat.

The other thing that the WWE really believes in is nobody out-performing their top stars.  So that means if you’re on a card with John Cena (and if you’re in the WWE, you almost always will be), you aren’t allowed to put on a better show than him.  And to be a wrestler like Bryan Danielson or Matt Sydal and have to tone your abilities down so much, must be an absolute nightmare. And for the actual wrestling fans, like myself, it is almost torturous to have seen what those two can do in Ring of Honor, and then watch their matches in the WWE.

The Briscoe Brothers

There’s been talk that the WWE currently has its eye on some Ring of Honor wrestlers, including Mark and Jay Briscoe, which is fantastic.  But if they bring guys like that over and plan to tone them down, then I will just shake my head.  It’s unfortunate that the only company that you can really make a name for yourself in is the one where you can’t display your full in-ring ability.

I sincerely hope that the WWE is open to changing this in the future. It’s possible to keep the showmanship aspect that makes WWE #1, and also allow your talent to go out there and blow people away.  Look no further than the face of the company, John Cena; loved by people who want to see a larger than life Superstar, and hated by those who want to see a good wrestling match.

Time to change it up, WWE.

Sincerely,

A fan on the fence

So… You Want To Be A Wrestler?

As promised, here comes a review of The Wrestling Road Diaries.

I received the DVD last week, and have since watched it two times all of the way through, and have also been through the deleted scenes/extras as well.  The Wrestling Road Diaries stars Bryan Danielson and Colt Cabana, let’s be real here.  Is Sal Rinauro in the documentary more than anyone other than Danielson and Cabana? Yes.  He’s still barely featured, in both match footage and interview footage. And also his name is misspelled on the DVD cover not once, but twice.  Copy+paste is a great way to make sure you always spell someone’s name correctly.  It’s also a great way to make sure you misspell it multiple times.

The DVD clocks in at two hours and 40 minutes in length, with the deleted scenes tacking on over another hour.  So get your dinner on your lap, and a bucket to pee in because chances are you aren’t going to have any interest in pausing this DVD to get up off the couch; it is that good.

What makes this documentary so great, is sort of the same thing that makes Wrestling With Shadows so great; unplanned events that just happened to come together at the right time. Wrestling With Shadows would have been a good documentary if the Montreal Screwjob hadn’t happened; but it was an amazing documentary because it did.  In that same way, The Wrestling Road Diaries would have been a good documentary if it was just 10 days on the road with these indy wrestlers; but it’s great because it’s Danielson’s last 10 days on before starting with the WWE, and Cabana had just recently been released from the WWE.

What I loved most about the film was that it gave an accurate portrayal of being a professional wrestler working on the independent circuit.  Watching these three young men drive five hours to a town, wrestle a show, get back in their car and start over again, really allows the viewer to feel the tediousness of their living.  It’s a never-ending struggle for 99% of wrestlers working the indies.  All they have is that 1% chance of being good enough to make it to the big leagues.  Most never do.

The film follows the three wrestlers over a span of ten full days, as they travel from city to city, wrestling for the televised Ring of Honor shows, and also local community centre shows in front of crowds of about 50 people.  The documentary does a great job of opening your eyes to the fact that there’s really only the indies and the big leagues like the WWE or (kind of) TNA.  And guys like Danielson can spend over 10 years struggling on the indies, barely able to pay their bills, until catching a break and getting signed to the WWE.

As a wrestling fan, I found the film hilarious.  There’s just something very uplifting and motivating about watching these guys get beat up night after night and still maintain a sense a humour.  Cabana is the comedian of the group, but Danielson definitely has his hilarious moments as well.

I would recommend this DVD to any fan of professional wrestling, whether you’re looking to find out more about the indies or not.  It’s also a fantastic to pick this documentary up, as Danielson is currently sitting on pending World Title run, and Colt Cabana actually had a dark match at the Smackdown! tapings last night, so we could be seeing him back on WWE programming very soon.  I wouldn’t recommend this DVD to non-wrestling fans.  There are plenty of DVDs that I would show to a non-wrestling fan, that would have appeal to them, but this is not one of them.  You need to have a basic understanding of the business before popping The Wrestling Road Diaries in.

The Wrestling Road Diaries can be purchased online at Colt Cabana’s merchandise website ColtMerch.com.  $25.00 for the feature, and $35.00 if you want the deleted scenes as well (highly recommend).

The Wrestling Road Diaries was a fantastic watch for me, as we rarely get such an in-depth glimpse into the actual lives of professional wrestlers.  It’s great to be able to see where Danielson came from, and the struggles he endured for 10 years before catching a break.  This documentary is one of the best I’ve seen in a long while, and I would definitely recommend picking it up.