Truthfully speaking a lot of important things happened on the show, but the live New Jersey crowd far surpassed all the in-ring action and story line development hands down. Random chants, enthusiasm, flat out being LOUD…New Jersey fans definitely had their post-WrestleMania game on point.
As exciting as the live crowd was it could also be said that their self-centered antics took away from the wrestlers plying their craft in the ring, as definitely was the case with Randy Orton’s match against Sheamus. When the fans made their first vocally obstreperous stand against WWE’s questionable booking, words “rude, obnoxious and disrespectful” were used to describe the crowd as well.
It’s no secret that wrestlers work their tails off in order to entertain the fans, but there a fine line between enjoying the show as a fan and sopping everything up like lobotomized sheep. Wrestlers including Shane Helms, Sugar Dunkerton, Matt Hardy, Gran Akuma and Lance Storm all chimed in their varying opinions on the crowd’s activity during the actual show; those opinions ranged from chastising the fans to praising the workers and scolding the promoters.
Despite how one may feel about the raucousness of the crowd last night it cannot be denied that the entire audience—the same audience that paid good money to see a post-WrestleMania episode of RAW live (a feeling the Rt. Rev. Showtime and I know very well)—was engaged in the show completely. The crowd was electric and were way more into the show for all three hours than the NY/NJ crowd at the MetLife Stadium twenty-four hours prior. You only get that type of crowd once in a blue moon and it really made the show.
What’s interesting to note is that the crowd didn’t become obnoxious until someone *cough cough* made the call to have Orton face Sheamus despite the overwhelming number of fans who voted via WWE Fan Active to see Orton square off against Big Show (Orton’s 77% to Sheamus’ 23%). What message does that type of booking give to the fans? How does that promote the “interactive” nature of the show and product if you’re willing to blatantly disregard what they fans said they wanted? What does that do to the performers in the ring who have to perform in front of a crowd that’s just been jilted?
Also consider the little traits that make a big difference between a “good” wrestler and a “great” wrestler. Orton and Sheamus barely acknowledged the crowd’s response outside of a few smirks and annoyed grimaces, but even a slight acknowledgement that either wrestler realized the bee ess of the match would’ve most assuredly gotten the crowd back in the palm of their hands. If you think that’s fluff, look at what Fandango’s acknowledgement of the crowd’s rowdiness did for him last night…
On the other hand, look what Sheamus’ post-RAW acknowledgement of the crowd did for him last night…
There are several ways to entertain a crowd; it’s understandable when a crowd gets out of control, but it’s something completely different for any promotion to flip fans off and expect them to be okay with it. In fact this is a major criticism against WWE while TNA is consistently praised for doing the exact opposite. Then again, there was the time when fans chose Desmond Wolfe as the next in line to receive a World Title shot and Sting was announced as the #1 Contender…
At least WWE acknowledged how into the program the fans were; in the end that’s what everyone wants, right? To leave the show entertained with the experience of witnessing the action of WWE live…
Alas, here’s what stood out to me about the show other than the red-hot crowd:
- Dolph Ziggler: Your NEW World Heavyweight Champion
- Tidbits: Fandango and Wade Barrett
- The Brothers of Destruction Reunite…YES! YES! YES!
- John Cena and the Heels of the 21st Century, ft. The Ryback as Your #1 Contender
With three months left until the expiration of his Money In the Bank contract, WWE superstar Dolph Ziggler cashed in his opportunity on RAW, defeating Alberto Del Rio to begin his second reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Last night was a momentous occasion for Dolph, an occasion that prompted the several fans and wrestlers to send congratulations towards the new champ.
There were a few fans, however, that disapproved vehemently with the this recent turn of events:
Overly dramatic exclamations aside, Ziggler’s victory over Del Rio presents fans once again with the eternal struggle with understanding and compartmentalizing their expectations. For months accusations were launched at WWE for their perceived inability to create new stars or push certain stars deserving of a main event status. Dolph Ziggler was one of those stars who fans began to grow lukewarm about (including yours truly) because of his meandering around the mid-card.
All of a sudden Dolph cashes in his contract and believably defeats an injured Alberto Del Rio to become the new World Heavyweight Champion, and a solid number of fans seem largely underwhelmed by the thought of his second championship reign. It’s lose-lose situations like this that put promotions in weird situations; they’re damned if they do or don’t push a guy at a specific time.
Regardless of how one may feel about Ziggler’s victory, the more exciting part of his victory is the prospect of what lies ahead for him. With Big E Langston’s enforcer role still relatively undefined and AJ Lee’s quirky presence easily ignorable, Ziggler’s reign and role as World Heavyweight Champion still needs meaning a depth. Whether he’s a transitional champion or not, there’s got to be something interesting waiting for him in the next few weeks, if not months. Our best bet is to sit tight and at least give Ziggler a chance to prove us that his status as a main event star is or will be a complete bust.
What a difference a day makes…
Fandango went from being one of the most despised gimmicks to debut in the company in recent times to an instant classic overnight. The gimmick feels to be an awkward and unholy mixture between “The Model” Rick Martel and Simon Dean. Whatever the case may be the fans in the Izod Center in New Jersey effectively made Fandango a star. The overly garishness of the gimmick was one thing, but to see and hear 16,000+ fans solidly behind that ridiculousness is pure awesomeness.
Also last night in one of the many WrestleMania Rematch matches Wade Barrett defeated The Miz to regain the Intercontinental Title he lost the night before.
Very few fans can comprehend why the title was hotshot between these men, but there are two things to consider: this isn’t the first time this has happened before (Kane vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin in a First Blood Match at King of the Ring 1998), and now we’re actually paying attention to what happens with the Intercontinental Title.
This “rivalry” between The Miz and Wade Barrett still feels lifeless and inorganic. Some have argued that Barrett deserves to be in the main event picture, but it’s not quite understandable how one can arrive at that opinion given the character’s development since his return to WWE television.
The Intercontinental Championship, and to some extent the United States Championship, both feel like archaic relics that are kept around simply for the sake of novelty and tradition; fans at this point in the business are largely unaware and indifferent of what these titles represent today and represented in the past. While Barrett can bring some prominence to the championship, he can only do so with the help of a performer we actually give a damn about. Unfortunately The Miz is just not that opponent.
This would be one of those moments where WWE’s annual Spring Cleaning event would come in handy, opening the space for new faces and new rivalries. But outside of that, fans can only hope that some new life and meaning is injected into the Intercontinental Championship now that Barrett’s win has our attention.
At one point in time there was good reason to worry about the intended direction of The Shield. After Monday’s RAW, those worries have been sidelined at least for the near future.
The Undertaker was scheduled to make an appearance at RAW, which was an odd thing for Mark Calaway and The Undertaker to do in the last few years. As The Deadman opened his mouth to speak about his victory over CM Punk at WrestleMania, the now infamous entrance theme for The Shield interrupted him mid-sentence. The treacherous trio consisting of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns made their way to the ring, surrounding The Undertaker for what was sure to be a sound thrashing.
As things began to look hairy for everyone’s favorite legendary wrestler, Kane’s pyro erupted and the superstar rushed to the ring with his tag team partner Daniel Bryan in tow. The Shield thought wisely about their course of action and actually retreated. In that one instant, fans were given what could be the most important feud for The Shield in their early WWE careers.
This tweet from a fan from Twitter pretty much explains it all:
The other thing worth noting is that The Shield’s prominence in the company as a trio has created some of the most interesting and dynamic alliances in the company. From Big Show/Sheamus/Randy Orton to John Cena/Sheamus/Ryback, the trio’s presence in the product has created some interestingly compelling stories. The announcers keep pushing the group’s effectiveness as a team, forcing their opponents to become strange bedfellows that have to work together just to hang with the young up-and-comers. Since most of their opponents have operated more fluently as individuals than they have as tag team members, things always fall apart and work out better for The Shield than anyone else.
Despite their rough beginnings, both tandems of Kane/Daniel Bryan and Kane/Undertaker have worked extremely well given time and the eventual maturation of the groups. Now The Shield has to face all three men at the same time…they are in for one hell of a battle.
To make matters more deliciously awesome you’ve got four hungry, young wrestlers in the ring with two extremely gifted athletes, wrestlers, and future Hall of Famers. What more could a fan ask for…well…may he truly rest in peace.
Fans should not make judgements yet on the outcome of the brewing feud between John Cena and the Ryback. We’ve seen Cena laid out before and he always manages to come out victorious; nothing too new or shocking about the image above.
However…something does seem a tad big fishy.
Dissecting the John Cena character has been one of the foundational tenets that keeps the L.E.W.D. site together (other than our questionable behavior towards Gary the Intern…but I swear he’s cool with everything…honest…). From the unfinished L.E.W.D. Booking 101 series to our WrestleMania XXVIII back-and-forth, Cena’s character still manages to squeak his way back into our pieces on a regular basis. As much as we say we dislike the character, we still talk about him more than anything else…unless we’re talking about TNA.
The odd thing about Cena’s character, the character that so many fans scream at to turn heel, is that he’s honestly displaying tons of heel traits as is. Cena’s not a heel in the sense that half of fans across the country boo him, but a heel in the sense that a good bunch of everything he does screams “heel tactic,” but doesn’t come across that way to most folks who aren’t used to it.
Think back to Vince Russo’s fascination with creating ambiguous characters that exhibit “good” traits and “bad” traits at the same time. For some fans, Cena’s presence is cheered and hailed; he’s got a million-dollar smile, his move set is predictable, and he does nice things for sick kids and has a really great work ethic. John Cena, in that line of thinking, is an All American American that everyone wants to be like when they grow up.
As has been said on this site many times before, the Cena character is that high school All-City Varsity Sports Team Captain that gets what he wants when he wants because he’s that damn good and he brings money and publicity to an otherwise lackluster institution. John Cena is the senior that has received a letter jacket in every single sport in the school, even the ones he had no business participating in.
The girls love him; the freshmen just want him to acknowledge that he exists. All the popular kids have been at his house and have had tons of fun at the killer parties thrown when his parents are vacationing in the Hamptons for three weeks.
The problem with that high school All-City Varsity Sports Team Captain is that in order to stay at the top, he has to stand on someone’s face (see what I did there?)…
John Cena entered the Izod Center last night to a roaring chorus of boos and simply smirked their remarks away. Cena’s speech spat in their faces; despite their dislike of him, he was still the champ and they had to deal with it. He traded in his trademark shirts for one crappy one that pointed to his new championship belt, and when he removed that belt there was another belt printed on the actual shirt. Cena reveled in the chorus of jeers and knew that the fans catcalls couldn’t phase him; all that mattered was that he finally beat The Rock and could move on with his life.
When Mark Henry approached Cena his smile turned into a look of concern, which then turned into snide comments and jokes at Henry’s expense. Cena then condescendingly introduced himself to Mark Henry as the WWE Champion, and a match for Henry’s opportunity as the number one contender for said title was made for later on in the show.
Cena’s look of concern was just for show; he’s already beaten Mark Henry before when the stakes were high. He wasn’t scared of Mark Henry at all…Cena’s tone suggested that Mark Henry should’ve been scared of the champ.
Cena then goes on to face Henry in the main event and wins the match by count-out, something highlyunusual for the man that can withstand leagues of abuse from all types of wrestlers. Once again Cena defied the odds and once again he’s shoved down our collective craw.
This has been the sum and substance of Cena’s character since fans began to vocally show their dislike of him. Yet he returns each night, unfazed by the shouts of his haters, to show off the fact that he knows he’s that damn good and there’s nothing that will change that. He even said it to The Rock prior to their match at WrestleMania XXVIII; it was along the lines of, “I know how this is going to go. You’ll talk smack, you’ll do this, I’ll beat you, and everything remains the same.”
Babyface characters don’t do that; good guys at least pretend that their opponents are threats. Cena can’t even feign intimidation because he can barely fathom that someone in the company actually has his number. Most heels are the same way, that despite their obvious weaknesses they still remain untouchable. More importantly they flaunt that Teflon don status all the time…
All of a sudden Ryback is inserted into the picture, a beast of an opponent that has obvious weaknesses but a beast that Cena has managed to avoid in the past year. Think back to the Triple Threat Match at Survivor Series and Cena’s elimination of Ryback at the Royal Rumble. The Champ honestly wants none of Ryback because out of all his high school conquests from freshman to sophomore year, he hasn’t had to face anyone that could beat him this silly since Bobby Lashley.
Cena’s already a heel, but a new type of heel that doesn’t resemble the Blackjack Mulligans or Bruiser Brodys we’re use to seeing. Ryback will be the face that we will pay good money to see defeat John Cena. Ryback is that force that keeps moving forward, chasing Cena even when The Champ thinks everything’s going to end once he gets a pinfall victory. That (hopefully) won’t be the case here, and we’re praying that the creative heads can keep the story compelling.
Just reflect on those thoughts for a moment, and while you do so check out this meme:
Those are just my thoughts on Monday night’s episode of RAW. What did y’all think of the show?
Anticipation is at a fevered pitch as fans are only a few days away from the biggest sports entertainment spectacle of the year! WrestleMania XXIX is practically here, and we’re all anxious to take part in the majesty of this weekend surrounding the “grandest stage of them all!”
The build for this year’s event has been characterized by some fans as “lacking,” not having that humph that makes the event worth spending so much money for. That is a fair and accurate criticism to make of the event, which questions the rationale for shelling out tons of money just to attend it live or ordering it on pay per view.
If you’ve followed the L.E.W.D. site from its very humble beginnings, you can easily recall that WrestleMania is the anniversary of our first official gathering; this weekend (if not the entire week) represents the first time many of us witnessed the event live and in person. Having paid the money, helped with organizing damn near 20 people from around the country, and visited the many different events surrounding WrestleMania, I can honestly say that the magic of the weekend lies not within the actual event, but just experiencing everything that comes with it.
This year’s WrestleMania, outside of anything WWE is promoting or pandering, appears to be the largest gathering of pro wrestling related events fans have ever seen. Wrestlecon is happening this weekend; our great friends at DragonGate USA/EVOLVE will be doing stuff, as well as Chikara, Shimmer and CZW. Hell, even TNA is cashing in on this opportunity and hosting an event in New York on April 5!
This all goes to say that there is no reason for any fan that prides himself/herself on being a pro wrestling/sports entertainment fan to intentionally pout in the corner because this WrestleMania has somehow failed to live up to the hype and grandeur of WrestleMania X7. There are so many different events going on and ways to see them that WWE’s premier pay per view will literally be the bookend to one hell of a weekend. In that regard, the show cannot fail to meet expectations if you limit your expectations to simply experiencing WrestleMania by itself.
Given the pomp and circumstance of the event it isn’t unreasonable to expect WWE and its superstars to deliver come Sunday. My point is that at this point in the game we have to begin to appreciate what the event symbolizes and not just the event itself. This particular WrestleMania may seem like trash to some, but having experienced WrestleMania XXVII live here in Atlanta…I’ll just say this one is a big step up from that in more ways than one.
I also realize in these economic times we’re all strapped for cash and our finances won’t allow us to indulge in everything offered by the weekend; but if I had a choice, I’d honestly encourage you to purchase one of the iPPVs and locate your nearest Hooters or Buffalo Wild Wings to catch WrestleMania. If push comes to shove, you could also consider rounding up your closest friends and chipping in to order the event together.
Having said that let’s look at the card as it stands now and attempt to make some good ol’ fashioned predictions:
For some time now The Miz has been involved in a series of matches battling against Intercontinental Champion Wade Barrett. Ironically enough their placement on the WrestleMania card appears to be a metaphor for their current rivalry: easily forgettable.
I believe their rivalry began with a spat over who was the bigger movie star, with Miz and Barrett speaking highly of their films The Marine 3: Homefront and Dead Man Down, respectively. Once again in a strange twist of fate, I’m not in a particular rush to see either movie or their match.
This match feels as if the men were placed together because in the grand scheme of things both were aimlessly floating around with very little to do. I haven’t been all that thrilled about their matches, which isn’t a slight at either individual’s work rate or abilities. The bottom line for me is that the feud and rivalry is rather dull and the Intercontinental Championship feels like an unnecessary accessory altogether, not even speaking about Barrett’s ho-hum reign.
I expect Barrett to retain in what’s going to ultimately be an over exaggerated exhibition match.
Prediction: Wade Barrett retains.
Let’s face facts: the average wrestling fan believes this match is a waste of time and space on the jam packed WrestleMania card. The average fan would also believe that there are tons of wrestlers (Ted DiBiase and Kofi Kingston maybe…) who deserve this coveted spot more so than Fandango. Those opinions, while valid, also miss the mark when it comes to the whole of Jericho’s burgeoning feud with Fandango.
For starters, Fandango (formerly Johnny Curtis from the fourth season of NXT) is a “debuting” wrestler in the company. That word “debut” can be used loosely here, but he’s new talent relatively speaking. It’s hilarious to see some fans dump on new talent, only to turn around and complain when the company fails to make “new stars.”
Secondly, Fandango is making his “debut” at WrestleMania against Chris Jericho, a soon-to-be-legend that works extremely well with getting over…you guessed it…new talent. The man should be honored twice as much to have Jericho as his in-ring coach and to face him at the company’s biggest pay per view of the year.
This brings us to our third point: the higher ups in the company must think he’s worth his salt if they’ve chosen to (a) not release him, (b) have him wrestle against Chris Jericho at his (c) debut at WrestleMania. This isn’t taking into consideration the tons of money placed into his character with the garishly elaborate sets.
Fourthly despite whatever the fans may feel the need to chant, the man can actually wrestle; there is a HUGE difference between chanting “you can’t wrestle” and “you don’t wrestle.”
All things considered Fandango’s presence at WrestleMania is enough of a big deal for Curtis Jonathan Hussey. He doesn’t need a win here to legitimize himself, so expect Chris Jericho to humble the star Sunday night.
Prediction: Chris Jericho wins, feud with Fandango continues.
The feud between Del Rio and Swagger started off as a red hot rivalry rooted in the controversial subject of immigration. Since Swagger’s return to WWE he, along with his manager Zeb Coulter, have crusaded against the individuals they believe are causing America to decay in the sort of moral turpitude that only “immigrants” can apparently cause. Unfortunately that angle lasted about as long as a Hot Pocket in a college student’s refrigerator; as it stands now the main reason fans are invested in this match is because Jack Swagger beat up Ricardo Rodriguez.
Del Rio’s run as a face has been much better than the latter part of his run as a heel; the sad part of it all is that even with Rodriguez by his side, Del Rio consistently struggles to get the fans to rally behind him. This nagging reality haunts Del Rio to this day, and thus creates a situation similar to that of The Miz and Wade Barrett; yeah he’s going to wrestle Jack Swagger, yeah there’s a title on the line, but do you really care?
I’m hoping that the match will be a clinic between two exceptionally gifted wrestlers, but other than that it probably won’t be anything worth writing home about. Del Rio retains much to
Yosemite Sam’s Zeb Coulter’s chagrin, and Swagger survives only to spend another day frustrated with change.
Prediction: Del Rio retains
The bout between Ryback and Mark Henry is one of those fights that force you to ask yourself, “What took them so long?” Actually, wrestling logic dictates that these two will feud for another month or so, realize that they’re not so different after all, and unite in a formidable team that will rise up the ranks and win the WWE Tag Team Championships. Alas, they’ve already got a Black Guy/White Guy powerhouse team, so that dog won’t hunt anytime soon.
WrestleMania XXIX will also be a huge night for Ryback as well, serving as the star’s coming out party against another WWE legend in the making. Say what you will about Mark Henry, but it cannot be denied that he’s one of the most tenured WWE stars still wrestling today (he debuted in 1996, while Triple H debuted in WWE one year before him in 1995). Despite having gaps in his career due to injuries, Mark Henry has remained a fixture in the company and the man has to be worth something if they haven’t released him yet.
“Two bulls in a china shop” is the best way to describe this match; Ryback will walk away with the rub from Henry, which will bring him one step closer to his eventual run as a main event star in the company. If Ryback is able to lift Henry up for his patented Shell Shock finisher, then WrestleMania XXIX will officially be worth the $55 you’re planning on spending on it.
Prediction: Ryback with the pinfall victory.
It’s amazing how quickly the members of Dolph Ziggler’s stable have managed to fall from grace in such a short time. There was a point where the AJ Lee character was the focus of Monday Night RAW and involved heavily with multiple main event superstars at once. There was also a point where Lee’s heat was translating nicely over to Dolph Ziggler. Things really began to look awesome when the very large and intimidating Big E Langston joined the crew as the silent and brooding enforcer.
Then it all went to hell.
Ziggler is still in possession of his Money In the Bank championship contract and with three months left until its expiration we can only hope he cashes it before becoming the third person (after John Cena and Mr. Anderson) unable to successfully cash in their MITB contract. AJ Lee and Big E have no purpose or direction whatsoever right now because they’re too busy living in Ziggler’s shadow, which in and of itself is a shadow of the spectacle of WrestleMania.
Whatever the case may be these two men are being fed to the WWE Tag Team Champions as neither team really has much going for them at this exact moment. Team Hell No will retain and high-falootin’ hijinks will ensue.
Prediction: Team Hell No retains.
It truly is hard to believe that two years ago we had the extreme pleasure of watching Jon Moxley wrestle right before our eyes; we knew then that Moxley had a try-out match with WWE that weekend, but we never imagined that it’d be two short years later when we’d see him in a marquee WrestleMania match.
The same can be said for Tyler Black, who was scooped up from ROH by WWE seven months before Moxley. Most fans immediately assumed that Black would be “misused” by WWE…but three years later, he’s got a WrestleMania match.
Roman Reigns debuted in FCW Wrestling in September 2010, the same month and year as Tyler Black. As a member of the legendary Anoa’i, the superstar first known as Leakee had massive shoes and expectations to fill. Fast forward three years…well you get the picture.
Collectively speaking The Shield is beginning to show signs of monotony as their justice-leveling antics appear to lack substance and value. They’ve amassed two straight pay per view victories and have proven themselves to be formidable contenders against numerous superstars, including John Cena. At WrestleMania XXIX they face their biggest challenge to date against the team of Sheamus, Randy Orton and The Big Show, but their presence still lacks a solid direction that could make the difference between their match being good and great.
The consensus among some fans is that Orton will turn heel and align himself with The Shield; this would solve a few of the company’s problems: refreshing the Randy Orton character, breathing some new life into The Shield and adding some star-power to their mix. Think of this as WWE’s “Bully Ray-slash-Aces and 8s” swerve.
I have two problems with that rationale: there are already tons of heels in WWE at the moment and I also never saw the trail of breadcrumbs leading to such a drastic shift in Orton’s character. With or without a heel turn from a member of the opposite team, expect The Shield to pull off the victory against Team Non-Compatible.
Prediction: The Shield wins.
The WWE took advantage of Paul Bearer’s unexpected death to concoct a convenient storyline for Taker/Punk match at WrestleMania. Some fans have even gone as far as to question the build to the match prior to Bearer’s death; whatever the case may be, Punk has one hell of an opportunity to steal the show with the Deadman this Sunday.
Ever since Punk’s near mythic year long reign as WWE Champion, the Straight Edge Superstar has fought for the respect he feels he rightfully deserves. If you’ve followed Punk’s WWE career (or watched his 3-disc DVD set), you would realize that he fought tooth and nail just to stay in the company and has amassed quite a bit of stock by now. If Punk manages to give a good show with Taker, he would undoubtedly receive the credit he deserves just by hanging with him in the ring.
The build for this match leaves a lot to the imagination, but do you really care about the build more than you do the actual psychology and athleticism of the match? Here are solid facts: Taker can still go in the ring and Punk can get a five star match from anybody (remember the bout with John Cena from RAW?). Two exceptionally gifted wrestlers, athletes and entertainers going at it for at least twenty minutes…and some folks are stuck on the build for the match? Please.
The safe (and accurate) assumption is that Taker will go 21-0 by defeating Punk. I hope and pray in my heart of hearts that this is the case, but I’m not convinced the “build” was solid enough to give us reasonable doubt about Taker’s chances of losing this year. At the very least, however, I’ve got a feeling Punk will finally gain the “respect” he’s been searching for.
Prediction: The Undertaker defeats CM Punk
Prediction: Tons of Funk & The Funkadactyls
I’m hoping you didn’t drink the Kool-Aid and let the smooth taste fool you…
While a solid and consistent number of fans were up in arms about “Twice In a Lifetime,” I failed to see anyone question the necessity of yet another Triple H “Your Career Is Officially Over…Again…” match at WrestleMania. I swear the last time Trips showed his body at this pay per view the match was billed as the “End of an Era;” but I guess a new era can start when you cut your hair even though you still wear your leather jackets and enter the arena with a Motörhead song blaring through the sound system.
The most recognizable Attitude Era wrestlers that are still going at it are Triple H, The Undertaker, and Mark Henry. Oddly enough each of them have matches at WrestleMania, and even more sinister is the fact that only two of those individuals are in matches where they are in a position to put over other younger superstars. Guess which individual gets the spotlight all on his own…
It was once commented that Triple H has yet to have that “WrestleMania moment,” the one pivotal career-defining WrestleMania moment that serves as the magnum opus of his 18 year WWE career. I’m not so sure his match with Brock Lesnar will be it.
The last match between Lesnar and Triple H wasn’t as enthralling as Lesnar’s match with Cena, which makes getting excited about this one a very daunting task. I expect brutality and a certain level of “legit” from Lesnar (two times the average level of legit, in case you were wondering), and that’s enough to get fans interested in the match. Who wouldn’t want to see Brock Lesnar beat someone senseless?
But again, the focus is on Triple H…the focus is on Trips settling a score with Brock and showing the WWE Universe that The Game still has it. It’s also a way for Trips to try once again to get that WrestleMania moment he’s thirsting for. Even with the tantalizing possibility of Lesnar ripping off Trips’ arm and beating him with it, the reality of seeing Trips’ puppy dog face as he grieves another loss to Heyman’s boy is enough to cause fans to yawn themselves silly until the main main event.
To borrow a quote from our L.E.W.D. brother Corbin Macklin, “I sweafogawd if I see this man lose onemotime…”
I call Trips beating Lesnar, enabling him to keep his wrestling career and perhaps setting up a rubber match sometime in the future.
Prediction: Triple H defeats Brock Lesnar
What more can be said about WrestleMania XXIX’s main event that hasn’t already been said?
There are a ton of possibilities that could come from the finish of the match. At this moment I’m not sure of what future projects The Rock has lined up; I think he’s supposed to be Hercules or start filming the another movie with Vin Diesel and Paul Walker or whatever. All signs point to John Cena regaining the WWE Championship, placing a big thumbs up emblem on the sides where the Brahma Bull logos are at, and mediocrity on RAW ensues for another millennium.
I would actually enjoy seeing John Cena lose again to The Rock; it’s tragic to see any fan yearn to see a character’s downfall, but that’s what makes for compelling television. It’s sickening that John Cena can manage to escape clean losses time after time; everyone has a weakness and dammit someone’s got to know how to keep Cena on the sidelines. For me, seeing a different personality trait in Cena’s character would be gold. He doesn’t have to be a full blown heel, but just something different than the life coach we get each week right now.
The problem with changing something that isn’t broken is that it begins to wear thin on some, particularly those of us that wish for some type of depth to be shown in the character. Depth among shallow-end pool swimmers (i.e. kids and young women) isn’t something valued or sought after, and because of such we’re going to get another Cena WrestleMania victory and everyone for the most part goes home with a warm and fuzzy feeling inside of their stomachs. I’ve been told that ulcers and abdominal pains have that same effect…
There have been reports that seeds have been planted for a Ryback/Cena post-WrestleMania feud (remember the Triple Threat match for CM Punk’s WWE Title and Cena’s elimination of Ryback at the Royal Rumble pay per view?), and that’s something I even hinted at in a previous post. That type of feud will suffice, but it’s the same wash-rinse-repeat cycle Cena’s been placed in before. Hell, I’d like it if they brought back Alex Riley as some young, upstart collegiate so-and-so attempting to assume the throne when Cena’s Jersey City All Pro character get’s ready to “go off to college.” But alas, I’m on the internet writing for you and not the WWE for a reason…I guess.
Cena wins and we’ll get to pout about it in a post-WrestleMania blog post.
Prediction: John Cena redeems himself to himself and wins the WWE Championship for the 800th time
All things considered this action-packed WrestleMania will keep us enthralled all Sunday night. I hope you enjoyed reading the predictions, and stay posted to the L.E.W.D. site all weekend as we indulge in the cavalcade of pro wrestling going on as we speak!
Welcome to another edition of Ringside Psych, true believer. If you, like me, pray daily to the almighty One-Above-All and trust in his subordinate the Living Tribunal, then you and I may inhabit the nation of Diztopia in peace. If you do not, then we can STILL inhabit the nation in peace. If you have a problem with my worship of the Lord Stan Lee and the almighty Church of Marvel, or the equally almighty Church of the NFL, or the equally almighty Church of the Taco Sandwich, then we will likely have an issue.
Don’t know why – and frankly don’t aim to know why – but for some reason faith and religion are hot topics in society, with the militant on both sides of the major argument screaming loudly and the proponents of the interior campaigns shouting just as wildly. Personally I don’t get it: do you and keep it moving; virtually any time utilized defending a faith or challenging another line of thinking is wasted motion that could be used to read a comic book, or enjoy the big game, or dine on a taco sandwich. My views are a lot deeper than just that (ironic, I know) but I’m not here to debate religion: I’m here to talk about what we all saw the other night. We saw the “ashes” get desecrated.
Maybe you didn’t see my tweets over the past few weeks, but some of them play a part in the coming article, and the first is lost to me. Maybe I didn’t post it after all. Oh well, I’ll post it now and pretend that I posted it in the past. Note:
Eventually Punk finna dump them ashes on Taker, just wait.You gon come back to this tweet and say @da_infamous_diz was right.Again ^_^
— Codename: DiZ (@da_infamous_DiZ) April 2, 2013
Aside from being validated (as far as you know) it only helps to prove my point that CM Punk may be the god of all heels. While he didn’t, and likely doesn’t, want this match, he plays his part to a perfection that only intensifies the argument by one of the L.E.W.D. crew that CM Punk is… well, I’ll leave that for them to explicate on.
What we have coming this Sunday is a storybook conflict between two forces of darkness; if you remember my piece regarding the mind state of the child then you might have seen something about how the children view the product. When it comes to this particular match I don’t necessarily see the “traditional” storybook fashion, in spite of how I presented it at he start of this paragraph. It’s more of a twisted version of a fairy tale kind of story. That’s to say, instead of Little Red Riding Hood, this would be a Little Red Riding Hood with a semi-automatic and she’d likely be sleeping with the wolf; I pulled that fake scenario out of my behind but it illustrates the dark variation of a classic tale as told by me (note to self: write a dark variation of Little Red Riding Hood where she wields a semi-automatic weapon and has sexual relations with the wolf (note to self #2: market it to the Twilight audience (note to self #3: hate on Stephanie Meyer (note to self #4: examine mind state of Mormons…)))). In the CM Punk versus Undertaker feud, the dark variant is that we have a scenario best described as “evil never dies”.
What does that mean? It means that both characters are, by their characters, gimmicks and actions, “evil”. CM Punk is evil because of his character: he’s crude, mildly cowardly, dastardly, self-serving, horribly disrespectful, slightly foul mouthed (again: the three second delay serves a purpose) and just plain mean when he wants to be. Rather than “evil” in a philosophical sense, Punk is “evil” in the sense of being completely concerned with himself. By and large this doesn’t ALWAYS translate into a “bad guy”, but it does serve as motivation for one to do anything and everything to advance themselves and no one else, which is seen by many (save for some objectivists ) as “evil”.
The Undertaker, on the other hand, is the classical form of evil, in appearance and mannerisms (or at the very least a tall, American Ezio Auditore da Firenze). His very entrance is akin to stylized death: at one point it WAS stylized death. The lights go down, creepy music begins to play; when he steps into sight we’re greeted with a traditional image of the grim reaper in human form: tall, dressed in all black, wears a hat (because the angel of death just isn’t ballin’ if he doesn’t have a hat), long jacket that could be mistaken for a robe and, most importantly, he moves slowly. VERY slowly. His walk to the ring is as slow as a geeky teen scientist trying to comprehend the rules of football (as a result we in the Church of the NFL would shun him or convert him) and, prior to Paul Bearer’s death (rest in peace), he rarely spoke. Didn’t have to. Would you expect the grim reaper to speak before execution time? Only adds to the fear. Add to that his trademark tombstone piledriver and capacity to appear straight demonic at any given moment and he’s evil as a visual representation.
Again, I call it “evil never dies”, even if we’re dealing with two brands of it. This upcoming match has been an emotional rollercoaster since the untimely passing of Paul Bearer. Instantly – and that’s no hyperbole, it was literally instantly – the WWE “capitalized” on the fallen manager and included him into the match psychology. Here’s what happened, in short form, whilst acknowledging some plot holes:
- One RAW opened with a memorial and the urn. Punk interrupted.
- Punk disrespected Taker. Kane got mad.
- Kane stayed mad. Punk fought him later.
- Punk stole urn and beat Kane with it. Taker went after him. Punk ran (this would becoming a bit of a “running” motif *Kelsey Grammer laugh*).
- At another RAW, Taker got mad and rambled. Punk taunted Taker with urn. Punk proved he was an adept at hacksack.
- Kane mysteriously disappears from storyline.
- Punk did more taunting. Taker looked like he was gonna cry.
- At another another RAW, Punk started in ring with urn. Taker interrupted and beat him. Heyman took the urn and ran. Hard. Video proof:
- More stuff happened.
- Taker said he would “eviscerate” Punk later. WWE conveniently forgot the qualifier “verbally” before it.
- Taker goes to the ring. He says he doesn’t care about the Streak, just beating Punk.
- Goes dark. Medieval chants. Druids come out. Heyman pretends he’s Paul Bearer.
- Punk reveals himself as a druid. Beats Taker with urn. Pours “ashes” on him (reference: second pic in this post).
Most glaring plot hole? Kane is gone. I know he’s not part of the match or anything, but you would think that a “son” of Bearer would have a significant impact or role in such a “personal” story. Oh well, I suppose he’s too busy sharing screen time with “Dazzling” Daniel Bryan, or the “Dazzler” or whatever name he stole from the Church of Marvel’s hallowed archives (Jubilee after losing her powers). Otherwise, we’ve seen some interesting things from the Undertaker. Not Punk, but indeed the Undertaker.
The biggest thing to get to me was how Taker did something unprecedented and ambushed Punk during that loosely aforementioned promo to bring a RAW. When it comes to mind games, Undertaker has a unique advantage because of his legendary status. He’s dark, slightly demented, even scary from time to time, but he always stands as a cool-as-a-cucumber customer who maintains the high ground over his opponents from a mental point of view. The theft of the urn, not surprisingly, threw that into a loop (because it was SO important to him over the last few years (sorry, I’m just rambling)). Seriously, the Undertaker went at Punk like a rowdy kid on a playground watched over by Don King. What was originally a match to preserve an accidental undefeated streak became a quest for a security blanket of sorts.
Yes, the Undertaker is Linus. Deal with it.
That’s by no means a bad thing, mind you. If anything, it coincides with a lot of Superstars showing a more human side. What it DOES expose as a weakness, however, is how fragile the Undertaker can be. Long past is the story that the Undertaker was a “supernatural creature who couldn’t be stopped while the urn was in play”. Now we have a man who is decidedly human, but reclusive and selective. We have a man who decided to go American Badass for a time and went back to his realm of darkness when Limp Bizkit stopped being so damn unavoidable (I thank Cash Money for the current anonymity). What we have is a big man who – and let me admit that this next bit is my personal opinion – should be retiring very, VERY soon.
And like a lot of old man, we have one of the infamous signs of the old man: trying to hold on to something. Like I said, Paul Bearer’s death couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for this storyline, and the Undertaker’s reign as the top dog could be contested something fierce. No, that’s not the right sequence of words. The Undertaker is exposed as the human he is with this feud, and in being so human he’s showing his weaknesses, which Punk is exploiting.
I’ll never forget about the Great American Bash (side note: never liked Torrie Wilson), because it was the first (and to my knowledge only) WWE PPV to be in Virginia. There was a Concrete Crypt handicap match between the Undertaker and the Dudleys and the Undertaker won. Afterwards he encased Paul Bearer in the concrete crypt (we at L.E.W.D. frown upon patricide) and walked off. THAT is the apathy that spawned the monster that was the Undertaker, but as times change (and age increases) that kind of thing is hard to keep up.
Time softens the heart and the mind. Apathy slowly fades into empathy. Whereas someone can look at even a loved one with hatred in earlier days, it can quickly turn to the slightest bit of emotion when the face gains a few wrinkles (or they die). For the longest I pondered why (outside of the obvious) the Undertaker would find himself so torn up over Paul Bearer’s death (again: kayfabe torn up, not real life torn up), and a few theories came to mind. Notably:
He lost his father and it hurt, or now he had to talk to Kane at family reunions he had one too many taco sandwiches or it was AGAIN no country for old men…
Plenty of theories, some valid (that taco sandwich will haunt you, trust me), but eventually a more abstract thought occurred to me. It was eerie, to be honest, but it was just as valid as theory one and theory three.
Punk was the new Undertaker.
Stop! Don’t get up, don’t walk away from the computer or the phone or whatever the hell you’re reading from, don’t start spitting on my name, just calm down for a second and keep reading! Punk is, in all respects, the new Undertaker, and much like the “passing of the torch” stories that EVERY Wrestlemania features it stands as the old guard not willing to pass the torch to the new guard, and for the Undertaker? Who better than the man who can make a very honest claim to being the best professional wrester in the world?
What makes Punk even better is the fact that he KNOWS he’s better. He KNOWS he’s the better wrestler and the better mic worker and he isn’t afraid to admit it, much like the Undertaker. He KNOWS he can craft tremendous legacies and engage the people with nothing more than his presence, much like the Undertaker. He KNOWS that he embodies EVIL (in all caps because I can make a point with it) and basks in it, much like the Undertaker DID.
Earlier I said that the Undertaker was the visual of evil, but that’s it. At this point, that’s all. The intimidation of appearance has long since been gone; now he’s like the oldest, most nostalgic attraction at a theme park (a good one, not one of those Hell-themed parks in Singapore) that’s still around but obviously not the main attraction any longer. Be honest: as much as we enjoy seeing the Undertaker every year or Wrestlemania, do we REALLY tune in to see him like we used to?
I’d argue that it was more so the opponent to the Undertaker than the actual Undertaker who really drew us to watching a Streak match, but that’s an unpopular opinion that I won’t explore this week. On to Punk, a man who is “evil”, a man who calls himself god, or God, I’m not sure if it would be a capital G or a lowercase g; it matters in terms of context.
Religion is a hot topic in society right now; again, I don’t know why and more than that I hardly care to know why. Individual comparisons to deities are a common thing, among anybody and anything for that matter, and pro wrestling is a hot bed for it. Punk, JBL, McMahon, Devon (well he portrayed a pastor to the deity of McMahon; Batista was a deacon), it’s nothing new. But when you include death into the equation (i.e. – Paul Bearer) then it takes on a new, slightly creepy, meaning.
Exactly this: who could make the claim that CM Punk wasn’t the god of the WWE (if not professional wrestling) if (or WHEN if this tweet has any hidden meaning) he defeated the Undertaker? Hell, how many people can claim that right now? CM Punk is a showstopper, a man on a mission to steal the crown of “Mr. Wrestlemania” by headlining a show he isn’t in the proper main event to.
Add to that the constant “villainous” pursuit of respect. It hasn’t faded. Mentally it’s a warped thought now: it WAS merely “They aren’t respecting me!” but now it’s more like “They WILL respect me and I’ll make them!” Think Bruce Almighty, and the way he attempted to get Jennifer Aniston’s sexy character to fall in love with him, even though Morgan Freeman clearly told him that he couldn’t make someone love him (if you don’t listen to Morgan Freeman then something is wrong with YOU). Punk is Bruce with all the power in forever but even with all that power he can’t make the people respect him. Just like Bruce. You know, Bruce wouldn’t have had that problem if he was Morgan Freeman…
But we can’t all be Morgan Freeman, and as a result we have to deal with a life of not being Morgan Freeman, and Punk is no Morgan Freeman. He speaks and all listen, but it’s not enough. The Superstars of the WWE (assuming that they’re top tier, or Kofi Kingston) are hungry, and that hunger either clouds judgment or enhances something. At the end of the day, every Superstar (Diva, professional wrestler, sports entertainer, baker, hunter, American Mustache Institute member) wants to be on top (i.e. – the sad, sad tale of Zack Ryder) but when they get there it only gets foggy and another peak is revealed. Punk may be the only current wrestler who can claim to be reaching the final peak though.
And if you want to look at kayfabe, you may be wondering why Punk would so much as want a match with the Deadman. Well that’s easy: why not? Wrestlemania is about two things (formerly three): the WWE Championship and the Undertaker’s streak. Being in either match is akin to greatness, even if the show is lacking (Wrestlemania 27 anyone?). More than that, this is CM Punk’s second Wrestlemania where he inhabits one of these roles, and with the prospects it serves as an even more important match. That’s not to degrade the clinic of Punk v. Jericho @ WM 28 (that match was great); that’s just to say that that was a standard WWE Championship match. For the first time in a long time, people are actually entertaining the idea that the Undertaker might LOSE.
Consider that: this is the first time in a long time that many of us are entertaining the idea that the Undertaker can lose. How many ways and times do I have to say how significant this is? It would imply that CM Punk… is… THE CHOSEN ONE! You know, like the legends say!
Welp, that’s about all I have to say about this match for now. One more “Ringside Psych” to go, and it’ll likely be a lot shorter than this one because I have one more to go: Trips and Lesnar… hey, that gives me an idea for a “Ringside Psych” theme song… instrumental…
On behalf of the entire L.E.W.D. family, I would like to express our deepest sadness on the news of the passing of William “Bill” Moody, better known to most wrestling fans as Paul Bearer. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Moody’s family and friends during their time of bereavement, and we also pray that may he rest in peace as we will surely miss him.
As scores of fans and wrestlers express their sorrow at William Moody’s passing, I’d like to take a brief moment to discuss the effect this man had on my life and my gratitude for his passion and love for pro wrestling.
I’ve always known Mr. Moody as Paul Bearer, the creepy pale manager for the WWF’s/WWE’s Undertaker. I didn’t become remotely familiar with his wrestling career prior to that until recently, but to a certain extent as far as I’m concerned he’s still the Undertaker’s manager.
I realize he managed Mankind, and sure he was revealed to be Kane’s father/manager; I can’t also forget that he was encased in cement, tortured by Edge and rolled off a precipice in a wheelchair. But despite all of that, to me he’s still The Undertaker’s manager. It was as his manager that I was more drawn into The Undertaker’s character, and ultimately more drawn towards pro wrestling.
I grew up during the late eighties and early nineties when the “internet” was inconceivable and the concept of a weekly primetime live wrestling show was the most revolutionary insane idea out there. It was easier to keep kayfabe then more so than it is now, so everything I saw—everything we saw as kids—we believed.
I say that to preface my next statement…The Undertaker scared the s**t out of me.
There wasn’t just one thing that gave me the chills whenever he appeared or wrestled; I absorbed everything about his character and gimmick, making it somewhat difficult for me to watch him perform without being seized by an irrational fear of him visiting my house in Birmingham, Alabama. A large part of that irrational fear can be credited to the work of Paul Bearer.
Undertaker’s original gimmick relied on him being silent for the most part, uttering short sentences or his famous “Rest…In…Peeeaaaaccceeeee” catchphrase every now and then. In that light his gimmick was almost similar to that of a masked wrestler, an athlete who depends heavily on body language to convey emotion to the fans. Because The Undertaker was such a large, imposingly ominous and semi-mute character, Paul Bearer literally carried the cross of mic work for his client; as the “bearer” of the stick, everything about Paul had to be as equally creepy and ominous as Taker’s character, yet far less intimidating and imposing.
To say that William Moody played this role excellently would be an understatement.
Paul Bearer’s heavily make-upped and melanin deficient face, his weird sing-song whiny voice, those memorably undecipherable facial expressions, the random salutation and adoration of the mysterious urn…it’s hilarious to imagine now that all of these things caused me to fear The Undertaker. Yet they did, and Paul Bearer added volumes to the mystique that was The Undertaker. There aren’t many managers today that can do that, and there are even fewer wrestlers that can do that on their own.
This is why it’s truly difficult to say goodbye to William Moody. We’re not just saying goodbye to a wrestler or a pro wrestling manager. We’re saying goodbye to a man that was able to engage us on levels that even some of our closest friends and family members can’t do. We’re saying goodbye to a man who ran the roads and put his body on the line in the weirdest ways just for our entertainment.
If you know anything about William Moody the person, you’d know that we’re also saying goodbye to a man responsible for helping us say goodbye to our own deceased family members and friends (Moody was a funeral director in real life).
To say it succinctly, thank you Mr. Moody. Thank you for the laughs, the sheer terror, and the comforting shoulder you provided for fans and clients alike.
As you raise a glass today in honor of Paul Bearer’s memory, and as you share your favorite Paul Bearer moments with other fans, please keep in mind that we do these together this day for William Moody and the countless others who lived for pro wrestling and died after sacrificing precious moments in their own lives to giving us their all. Judging from the remarks made by wrestlers and others inside the business, I’m sure that Mr. Moody appreciated entertaining us, and we want him to know that we truly appreciated him.
Mr. Moody…rest in peace.
While everyone is up in arms over The Rock’s controversial victory at the Royal Rumble, I am left pondering, as any great writer should, what’s the bigger picture? Why was the decision made to end such an amazing title run that had been continuously hyped? Why have Punk get the victory, and then have the match restarted, instead of just having The Rock beat him cleanly? Why are we building to “Once In a Calendar Year – The Rock vs. John Cena 2″?
While it is far too early, and there is still an entire ppv to get through before the true build to WrestleMania will begin…speculation is always fun, and I spent the majority of my day pondering why exactly the events of last night unfolded the way they did…. stick with me here.
CM Punk’s title reign was the most hyped of any in the modern era, and considerably longer as well. Outlasting reigns of such Legends as Bret Hart, Steve Austin, Triple H, John Cena, Randy Orton, Hulk Hogan (trust me, the list goes on…) and he didn’t just do it – WWE made sure you knew he did it. Over and over, like never before in the history of the company we were made constantly aware exactly how many months, weeks, days, hell hours had passed since CM Punk was crowned WWE Champion. Isn’t that quite the accomplishment itself?
What DOES Punk get from his historic run? Sure, he doesn’t get to be the final match at WrestleMania against either John Cena or The Rock (both of whom we have seen him wrestle, out promo, and beat) and be left feeling underwhelmed and like we were getting just another PPV. Headlining WrestleMania isn’t the shining moment of Punk’s reign, it’s not why you want to be champion. You want to be champion for respect, honor, prestige, to have a place in history. Punk undoubtedly has all of that with this reign. In addition, he has the respect of the veterans of the business (minus “Superstar” Billy Graham)
Can’t you see the promo unfolding in front of your eyes?
“I am the greatest WWE CHAMPION in modern history! Not only did I beat everyone in my path, I did things no other champion in this company has ever been able to. I beat Ryback, I beat Dolph Ziggler, I beat Chris Jericho, I beat Alberto Del Rio, Kane, Daniel Bryan, John Cena, I went into Elimination Chamber and walked out the champion, hell…I beat The Great One…I beat…The Rock! I have beaten everyone…”
*Lights go out*
Who IS The Undertaker going to wrestle this year? He’s guaranteed to have a match this year, and when you look at how the cards are stacked, there is a very short list of possible opponents. Cena and Rock, Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio, some combination of Orton, Ryback, Sheamus, and Big Show…none of which have the clout enough to take on ‘Taker right now. So where does that leave CM Punk? Sans opponent.
So how does this go back to the bigger picture? The Undertaker comes back and calls Punk out for having the accolades of a champion, but the mouth of a scoundrel. Undertaker has always been big on respect and I feel like he would have a huge issue with Punk in the real-life wrestler world (where wrestlers exist in a comic-book and have real backstage wrestler drama) (not to be confused with the actual real world, where Mark Calloway respects Phil Brooks).
CM Punk has the same problem with Undertaker that he had with The Rock – the schedule, the implied “veteran”/”legend” status, the way people swoon for them when they do nothing for the people, etc… the promos would be magical.
This also ties back into the Royal Rumble, because you couldn’t have the title on Punk when he faces Undertaker. There’s no way Undertaker is going to take on a championship run again, and you lose the believability of Punk being able to beat Undertaker if you keep the strap on him. Either “the Streak” ends of the Undertaker would be WWE Champion.
Also, having John Cena beat The Rock and get vindication for losing last year isn’t compelling enough. Cena has to have a driving factor underneath it all. Rock isn’t better served in any other role, and since he’ll be skating off into the Hollywood sunset immediately after ‘Mania…it only makes sense for him give Cena the rub and the title, restarting the Cena-era…for the immediate future.
It all makes sense, and could lead to a lot of great, story-filled matches at WrestleMania, and at the end of the day – that’s all we can ask for. Compelling, entertaining, riveting stories. The Rock vs John Cena for the WWE Championship and CM Punk vs. The Undertaker provide the absolute best storytelling background, possibility of money and excitement, and interest in the WWE audience. It all makes sense. Just let the story unfold…
During the WrestleMania XXVII Weekend, the L.E.W.D. crew had its inaugural Round Table Discussion in which we discussed and voted on may topics.
The following charts are the results of the voting.
|Best Entrance/Music||Most Memorable Moment|
|Gangrel||18||Hogan Turns Heal (nWo)||20|
|C.M. Punk||12||Mankind/Taker Hell in the Cell||11|
|Drew McIntyre||10||Brock Lesnar & Big Show Destroy Ring||9|
|The Rock||9||Montreal Screw Job||7|
|The Undertaker||6||Goldberg Defeats Hollywood Hogan||6|
|Edge||5||Shane McMahon’s Titantron Leap||5|
|Vince McMahon||4||Kane’s Debut||4|
|D-Generation X||3||Last Episode of Nitro||4|
|HHH||3||Vince McMahon’s Demise||3|
|Randy Orton||2||Brock Lesnar F5′s Big Show||1|
|Eugene||1||Chris Jericho’s Debut||1|
|Kurt Angle’s TNA Debut||1|
|Best PPV||Worst PPV|
|WWE WrestleMania X-Seven||19||TNA Victory Road 2011||25|
|WWE/WCW/ECW Invasion||17||WWE Badd Blood ‘03||15|
|WWE One Night Stand ’06||11||TNA Genesis ‘10||7|
|ROH Era Begins||6||WWE/ECW December To Dismember||7|
|WWE WrestleMania 23||5||TNA Against All Odds ‘09||6|
|WWE No Way Out ’09||3||WCW Sin ‘01||5|
|WCW Starcade ’97||2||TNA Destination X ‘10||3|
|WWE Royal Rumble ’02||2||WCW Greed ‘01||2|
|WWE/ECW December to Dismember||2|
|ECW Heatwave ’99||1|
|WWE Backlash ’00||1|
|Best Gimmick Match||Worst Gimmick Match|
|Ultimate X Match||10||Judy Bagwell on a Pole Match||22|
|World War 3||8||Kiss My Foot Match||11|
|Royal Rumble||5||Feast or Fired||7|
|Barbed Wire Match||4||Bull Rope/Dog Collar/Strap Match||5|
|Monster’s Ball||4||Chamber of Horrors||5|
|“I Quit” Match||3||Inferno Match||4|
|Hell in a Cell||3||Punjabi Prison Match||4|
|Iron Man Match||2||Reverse Battle Royal||3|
|Money in the Bank||2||Last Rights Match||1|
|Punjabi Prison Match||1||Scramble Match||1|
|Tables, Ladders, & Chairs Match||19||King of the Mountain Match||1|
|Best Referee||Best Stables|
|Rudy Charles (WCW/WWE)||20||4 Horsemen||24|
|Mike Chioda (WWE)||8||D-Generation X||7|
|Nick Patrick (WCW/nWo/WWE)||7||Dudley Family||8|
|Earl Hebner (WWE/TNA)||6||Dungeon of Doom||3|
|John Finnegan (ECW)||6||Evolution||3|
|Pee Wee Moore (ECW)||6||Hart Foundation||2|
|Mickey Jay (WCW)||5||Heenan Family||6|
|Charles Robinson (WCW/WWE)||3||Million Dollar Corporation||2|
|Dave Hebner (WWE)||3||Ministry of Darkness||3|
|Tim White (WWE)||3||Nation of Domination||3|
|Bill Alfonzo (ECW)||2||nWo (Hollywood & Wolfpac)||9|
|Theodore ‘Teddy’ Long (WCW/WWE)||2||Raven’s Nest/Flock||1|
|Mark ‘Slick’ Johnson (TNA)||1||The Rottweilers||1|
|Best Commentator (Non-Wrestler)||Best Tag-Team|
|Jim Ross||24||Harlem Heat||11|
|Bobby Hennan||17||Steiner Brothers||9|
|Joey Styles||11||The Roadwarriors/Legion of Doom||9|
|Michael Cole||5||World’s Greatest Tag-Team||7|
|Mike Tenay||5||Acolyte Protection Agency (APA)||4|
|Todd Grisham||4||Edge & Christian||4|
|Gordon Solie||2||America’s Most Wanted||3|
|Don West (Post-Alcoholic Heel)||1||Outsiders||3|
|Mike Adamle||1||Briscoe Brothers (NWA)||3|
|Vince McMahon||1||Briscoe Brothers (ROH)||3|
|Best Commentator (Wrestler)||The Eliminators||3|
|Nominee||Votes||D-X (Michaels & HHH)||2|
|Gorilla Monsoon||14||Motor City Machine Guns||1|
|JBL||12||The Dudley Boys||1|
|C.M. Punk||8||The Hardy Boyz||1|
|Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler||8||Rock & Roll Express||1|
|Tazz||6||Most Effective Finisher|
|Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura||5||Nominee||Votes|
|“Rowdy” Roddy Piper||4||Stone Cold Stunner (SCSA)||17|
|Mick Foley||3||The Cobra (Santino Marella)||13|
|Matt Stryker||2||Canadian Destroyer (Petey Williams)||12|
|Chris Jericho||2||Grapevine Angle Lock (Kurt Angle)||8|
|Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage||1||Diamond Cutter (Diamond Dallas Page)||7|
|DDT (Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts)||6|
|Juji-Gatame Armbar (Alberto Del Rio)||3|
|Green Bay Plunge (Mr. Kennedy)||1|
|Most Prolific Wrestler||Most Ridiculous/Annoying Gimmick|
|“Stone Cold” Steve Austin||11||Kane (Unmasked & Happy)||15|
|The Undertaker||4||3:16 Sharkboy||6|
|Dean Melenko||3||WWE Pirate (Paul Burchill)||5|
|Hulk Hogan||3||Big Show||3|
|Randy “Macho Man” Savage||2||Sheamus||2|
|AJ Styles||2||The Hand||2|
|Chris Jericho||2||“Just Joe||1|
|Triple H||2||Best Big Man (Weight or Height)|
|Christopher Daniels||1||The Undertaker||18|
|Edge||1||Andre The Giant||7|
|John Cena||1||Bam Bam Bigelow||7|
|Tommy Dreamer||1||Big Show||7|
|Eddie ‘Umaga’ Fatu||3|
|King Kong Bundy||2|
|Most Underrated Wrestler||Brodie Lee||1|
|Low-Ki (Kaval)||7||Most Overrated Wrestler|
|Abyss (Mute)||5||Jeff Hardy||13|
|Montel Vontavious Porter (MVP)||4||Ken Shamrock||12|
|“Rowdy” Roddy Piper||3||Ultimate Warrior||11|
|AJ Styles||3||John Cena||9|
|Samoa Joe||3||Great Khali||3|
|Ultimo Dragon||3||Lacey Von Erich||3|
|Zack Ryder||3||Hulk Hogan||2|
|Monte Brown||3||Jackson Andrews||2|
|Kane (Masked Mute)||2||Lex Luger||1|
|Matt Hardy||1||Robbie E.||1|
|Most Influential to the Business||Wasted Potential|
|Vince K. McMahon||20||TNA||34|
|Hulk Hogan||13||Goldberg (WWE)||13|
|Stu Hart||8||AJ Styles||11|
|“Stone Cold” Steve Austin||5||Low Ki||4|
|Ric Flair||4||Bobby Lashley||3|
|Nick Bockwinkle||3||Mr. Kennedy/Anderson (WWE/TNA)||3|
|“Rowdy” Roddy Piper||2||Spirit Squad||3|
|Bobby ‘The Brain’ Heenan||2||“The Next Big Thing” Brock Lesnar||2|
|Jesse Ventura||2||Jay Lethal||2|
|Mick Foley||2||Lex Luger||2|
|Shawn Michaels||2||Marcus Cor Von||2|
|“Superfly” Jimmy Snuka||1||Shelton Benjamin||2|
|Jim Ross||1||Christian (WWE)||1|
|Jerry ‘The King’ Lawler||1||Rikishi||1|
|ALL-TIME BEST “TOTAL PACKAGE” WRESTLER|
|“Stone Cold” Steve Austin||5|
|Bret ‘Hitman’ Hart||2|
Many things have happened since this meeting of the minds, so if you have some different thoughts about these results, feel free to air them out here!
I certainly hope everyone’s 2013 is off to a great start. This is my favorite time of the year because the “Road to WrestleMania” is arguably the most intense, exciting time of the wrestling year.
That being said, here at the L.E.W.D. Headquarters I am the one who is always pontificating on weird scenarios I think I see playing out, and possible matches as we head towards the “grandest stage of them all”.
Given that tonight is the first Monday Night Raw of the New Year and officially marks the beginning of the “Road”, I thought I would share something I found very interesting and get our loyal readers feedback.
Recently, Showrenity posted some comments from Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson regarding his upcoming WrestleMania match:
“The storyline will be that starting this coming Monday [for RAW], I’m gonna go back, and it’s going to be a big return. That will lead to, hopefully, what will be the biggest WrestleMania of all time at Giants Stadium. I will headline that show, with someone who I can’t say right now. We’ve got an amazing four months lined up and planned out that will culminate in the biggest WrestleMania of all time. It’s going to be a hell of a thing.”
“…biggest WrestleMania of all time.” Those are mighty big words…even for The Rock.
Now, riddle me this LEWDers… does The Rock vs. CM Punk sound like “the biggest WrestleMania of all time”? What about The Rock vs. John Cena – ‘Once In A Lifetime, Again?’ Nay, I say.
What if…WHAT IF… Cena causes Punk to lose to The Rock at the Royal Rumble out of mere spite for having not been able to beat the “People’s Champ” at WM28, hoping to once again rub shoulders with the “Brahma Bull” in New York, this year? Well, that’s all fine and dandy except that little stipulation that the winner of the Royal Rumble gets to main event at WrestleMania against a champion of their choosing (of course, not forgetting that Dolph Ziggler having his guaranteed World Heavyweight Championship match would pretty much lead the winner of the Rumble to the WWE Championship.)
Then the thought struck me – what other marquee name and match is missing from the WrestleMania line up? Ryback isn’t quite ready. Orton will need an opponent… HHH and Lesnar are set to do battle…..hmmm….(this is when I got that eerie feeling I get sometimes)
Could the Undertaker be a mystery entrant into the Royal Rumble, win it, and go on to have a true blockbuster of a match with The Rock at WrestleMania 29? Aaaaand……..discuss!
These polls will be the way we will do predictions here at L.E.W.D. Headquaters. So let’s see what you think. (This is a test run to see how we will do things in the future)
As my first WrestleMania draws near, I am looking forward to the event with high expectations.
Yes, you read that correctly; my FIRST WrestleMania. Though I have had a few minor history lessons with The Right Reverend’s extensive WWE DVD collection, I haven’t seen any WrestleMania events.
I began watching and gaining interest in the WWE in the summer of 2011. My first Pay-Per-View was SummerSlam, but so far none of the events have been as monumental as SummerSlam 2011.
SummerSlam 2011 contained all the rises and falls of a fantastic plot with a hidden surprise at the end when Alberto Del Rio cashed in his money in the bank briefcase. The storylines before the matches of SummerSlam 2011 made me interested in the fights, who was going to win, and how they would execute that win. Pay-Per-Views since then have almost let me down as I find myself engaged in certain matches, but not the entirety.
I have high hopes for my first WrestleMania, especially with the gradually growing tension from the reappearance of “The Rock.” As a new fan, the excitement of the matches is highly drawn from the progression of plot on Monday Night RAW. I can still be enamored by the characters and their promotional speeches.
That being said, my wrestling watching career is still young; “The Rock” hasn’t been around to enamor me as a viewer, I don’t know his character very well, and in fact, the first thing I think of when I think “Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson” is his appearance as the character of The Tooth Fairy.
The Rock’s recent appearance has given me a sense of interest, however. In the debacle of The Rock vs. John Cena, I will pick The Rock simply because John Cena’s promotions are weaker. The Rock has been absent for almost the entirety of my recent wrestling watching, yet he had the charisma and power to sway me.
I generally do not like John Cena as he’s a stock character; on the other hand, in the reappearance of The Rock, he gained my respect as he is a major face of the WWE. The Rock serves the WWE as a hall of fame monument; he’s the face who can be absent for an extended period of time, making terrible movies and return to a loyal crowd.
John Cena on the other hand is still in the youth of his career; he’s the (disputable) hero of today’s young wrestling fans and stands as the rookie who’s gaining his place with the epic characters that are senior to him. He is now fighting for his place, just as Triple H and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin did ten to fifteen years ago.
He’s also a lesser version of these characters because, as we have discovered in any life context, generations are degenerative.
Today’s youth is captivated by social media and electronics. Their wrestling characters , therefore, are simple and provide stock for a good guy and a bad guy that work toward a common goal that is either heroic or tainted with “evil.”
Take a look at any of the emerging stars of the WWE; how do they differ from previous characters who have gained so much prestige and respect? Their characters are a lot less round. The point is that they don’t matter as much because they haven’t taken the extra time to develop that character for themselves.
But back to WrestleMania; I’m looking forward to watching this event. I want to see if “The Rock” has the power to come back and kick some ass, or if John Cena was right and that he should go back to Hollywood.
I want to see Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos vs. Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres (although I dread the screaming from Kelly Kelly), especially since the arising conflict of Eve’s promiscuous nature.
I’m ready for the comedy of Team Teddy Long vs. Team John Laurinautis.
I’m excited about Randy Orton vs. Kane, because quite frankly, Kane is so creepy he’s awesome.
I want to see Sheamus dominate Daniel Bryan because Bryan looks like a leprechaun.
CM Punk and Chris Jericho have been amusing me for weeks; I want to know if the guy in the queer light-up jacket is going to become the new champion.
The match that I’m most excited about is The Undertaker vs. Triple H in the Hell in a Cell Match. The match itself is so gruesome that it’s interesting, and the fact that I get to see two veteran figures from the WWE in a match with a special referee guest of another special figure – Shawn Michaels – simply makes the match more epic. The Undertaker is scary, and Triple H has won my attention ever since he was COO.
To you, dedicated fans, I place this challenge: watch and enjoy WrestleMania XXVIII with the same youthful eye you had when you first became acquainted with these characters. Enjoy their story and their skill.
~ “The Scholar” Jennifer Gabel ~
I am writing this Backlash in response to the writing of Mr. Quinn Gammon and Asherology101′s reply to the article Let The L.E.W.D. Crew Speak: Does John Cena Phone In His Performances?
Phoning it in… That might be a little harsh.
Complacent… I think that is more like it.
PROTECTED!!!… I think that is what is happening.
Cena is the treasured possession of the WWE. The best thing that the WWE can do is preserve him so he doesn’t get injured where he can’t make it out to a show. Therefore, the WWE will do everything to keep him from getting hurt.
I believe it was stated in an episode of the WWE’s Legends of Wrestling series that some of the headliners (Brock Lesnar) are told not to do as much because they can’t risk being injured. They would be told such things as, “Stop going to the top rope, stop jumping to the floor, stop taking chair shots and start giving them, etc…”
I believe that is what is going on with Cena; he is protected and being protective.
Is this an excuse…HELL NO!!!
Shawn Michaels had a history of back issues and until the day he retired, he still performed the high-flying, high-risk moves that his body would allow him to do with excellence and precision. If anybody was a cash-cow, it was definitely Michaels.
Am I asking that Cena add a Springboard Shooting-Star Press to his rep… NO! Am I asking that he take bigger bumps from time to time… YES!!!
I re-watched a couple of the mentioned (by Mr. Gammon & Asherology) matches, but I muted the sound so that I could get a full grasp on the in-ring actions and psychology of John Cena, and possibly compare him to someone else.
Bret Hart was known for getting the holy hell beaten out of him during a match and somehow finding a way to win in the end. Cena does this from time to time in his matches, especially his ‘I Quit’ Matches. Cena will get beaten to what seems within an inch of his life.
What separates him from Hart? Ring psychology and the ability to sell damage from others.
If Hart had a match with Ric Flair, he knew that his left leg was going to be worked on, and if it was, Hart would favor that leg until he made his way to the back after the match. John Cena doesn’t favor any part of him within seconds of receiving a devastating blow from an opponent.
Which leads me to another point of why many fans dislike Cena, because he isn’t real. He can’t be hurt. That same logic is the reason why fans of Bret Hart are insane fans about Bret Hart. Hart can take a beating, and make you feel bad for him, I have never felt bad for the “My Time Is Now” Cena; to me, he is unapproachable.
I do think it is funny, however, that Cena is seen as a great influence on children, when all he does is get mad, yell, and fight people for no other reason besides he’s mad. That’s rather juvenalian in nature if you ask me.
Anyways, I will close with these final thoughts.
Mr. Quinn Gammon, I don’t think that Cena is phoning it in, I just think he is complacent, and can’t produce like he used to. If he were to…I don’t know, EVOLVE HIS CHARACTER, he might be able to tap into that bank and provide us with some better entertainment in both the ring, and on the mic.
Don’t forget that 2003 was 9 years ago, so to expect the exact same physically is a little much. You must approach it with the idea that Cena being the cash-cow means that he must do what the suits say, and they are equally as much of the problem as Cena is. They have watered him down, and now that he needs to turn up the heat, he can’t! What you don’t use, you lose.
Asherology101, the examples you provided were decent matches, but the problem is that Cena only provides good matches when the drama is behind the person that he is going up against. He shouldn’t have been able to beat either The Undertaker or Big Show, CM Punk was in his home town trying to win the title so he would leave the company with it and stick it to the McMahon. Orton was the young champion that put Cena out with the only major injury in Cena’s career.
What about when Cena was on top? That would cover 2008 to today.
What gives the Undertaker vs. Triple H match its drama? The fact that Taker sold the beating he took from Triple H at WM 27 (Wish you were there!!!) and had to be carried out. As well as the fact that his character has evolved once again from being the hunted to the Hunter (pun intended) for his WM opponent.
Evolution (other than just color changes) is the key to Cena getting over with the Universe. By evolution, I don’t mean to imply that he HAS TO HAVE A HEEL TURN! I just think that his character needs to move in one way or another.
Speaking of Taker and Cena, if the WWE really wanted to leave us with uncertainty, They should have had Taker vs. Cena at WrestleMania in an ‘I Quit’ Match… Who wins that one?