3 days til MANIA

Ok guys its that time of the year again.  The time we get most excited about, the time we wait for all year, the time that gets so much hype, and the time that usually ends in so much disappointment.  That’s right it’s Wrestlemania this Sunday.

As I have addressed in earlier blogs the WWE is struggling going in to this years mania as their roster is lacking around 10 of their top talents.  Now the good news in all of this is that it has forced management to try and create a more captivating, more interesting product with the story lines and characters that they already do have.  With the exception of the Taker/McMahon match and the promise of the Rock appearing, they have brought back less old names than I thought they would have.  On the line would be the Jericho/Styles match but those two guys will deliver so it should be ok.  McMahon has certainly proven on this last Monday night that he can still risk it and still has it, he is in phenomenal shape and just as skilled if not more than he’s ever been.

Here are my predictions for this sunday:

U.S Champion Kalysto vs. Ryback ———– Ryback

Total Divas vs. Team B.A.D. Blonde ———- Who Cares (but the Divas team)

Dudleys vs. the Usos ——————again, who cares, but the Dudleys

Tag Team Champs The New Day vs L.O.N. —– League of Nations (new champs)

Andre the Giant Battle Royal ————– Samoa Joe

A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho —————- Jericho

I.C. Ladder match ———————— Sammi Zayne

Divas Champion Charlotte vs. Lynch vs. Banks ——–  The Boss Sasha Banks

Shane McMahon vs. The Undertaker ———– Shane O Mac

Ambrose vs. Lesnar (No DQ) —————- Lesnar

WWE Champ HHH vs. Roman Reigns ————- Reigns  (the rock interferes)

 

OK folks we will see you on sunday for Wrestlemania from Dallas, I do hope even with the roster challenges that they are facing that it is an entertaining show.  It is certainly a chance for many of the superstars to step up in a big way as they are getting matches that they jay not otherwise have gotten.

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The Toothless Wolverine

OK  I know I will get some backstage heat for writing this,  but I miss Chris Benoit.  Honestly I miss the whole pack of those guys when they were in the peak of their careers.  Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, Eddie Guerrero (RIP), Chris Jericho, and Benoit.  These guys put some of the best wrestling product on TV that I have ever seen.  It may not always be as memorable as the attitude antics of the Rock or Stone Cold or DX, but not as big of a budget was put these guys either.  They were solid performers, maybe not as eccentric on the character side sans maybe Jericho.  But during 2 hours of Nitro every night and then on into Monday Night Raw.  These guys night after night continued to put on the best matches of the night.  They knew the art of telling a story in the ring and they worked so well together.

Benoit was a stiff wrestler there’s no doubt.  You better be ready for a beating when you step in the ring with him, but he was as tough as they come.  The clips are a little too gruesome to show here but i can recall two matches when Benoit had to finish the match in agonizing pain due to an injury.  The first time was a dislocated shoulder that he still performed with. Taking massive bumps and even performing his diving headbutt off an 8 foot ladder.  Without the shoulder strength to break his fall he hit his head pretty bad on that one.  The other match was one where he was removed on a stretcher for a legitimate reason but was scheduled to actually go over that day.  He came back in and found out later he walked back in with two bulging disks in his back, still went through a table, still took chair shots, and went on to win almost convulsing on the ground from the amount of pain surging through his body.

I know Benoit’s amazing wrestling career unfortunately ended on a bad note, and for that reason he will never be able to be remembered through a Hall of Fame induction, and is barely remembered now as he should be.  A dark cloud was placed over his name to the point where he is not allowed to be mentioned ever in reference on WWE television.  Which is a sad thing to me given what he accomplished for the sport.  Though I understand that a man that apparently killed his whole family is not to be glorified.  But as a fan it still makes me sad.

Shane O’ Mac

Maybe one  of the most classic entrances in wrestling history (imo) and one of the most interesting comebacks as of recent years,  Shane McMahon is back home in WWE after being gone from the product for almost a decade.  shano mac 1

The big question is why is Shane O’ Mac back, just in time for Wrestlemania I might add.  Well my first guess is that because the company is attempting to break their all time attendance record this year in Dallas and perform in front of over 100,000 people.  It has become an even more daunting task for the corporation since approximately 10 of their top superstars are plagued with injuries right now.  Creating a little bit of desperation to dig deep in to the bull pen of who they can suck back in to the ring.  Unfortunately for me this hinders my excitement a little for Shane’s return because it certainly doesn’t feel natural.

That being said I have always liked Shane as a character as well as a performer.  He has done some pretty impressive stuff in the ring in his career against some of the best and is as good of a worker as you could ask for from an Executive.  Check out his famous coast to coast dropkick:

On top of moves like this he has quite an array of acrobatic feats including some magnificent jumps from dizzying heights, to elbow drops from the turnbuckle to the announcers desk (a move only Shawn Michaels has made look as good), to being tossed through a couple plate glass windows at the hands of Kurt Angle.  Shane is all around impressive in my eyes and I am glad to see him back.

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What discourages me slightly is the story line in which they brought him back.  He wants control of Monday Night Raw, out of the blue just like that, and Vince had an answer right away even though he was totally surprised by his son’s return HAHA.  Either way Shane vs the Undertaker at Wrestlemania should be a match that will deliver good fun as both men though older still appear to be in great physical shape, and Shane though not a current roster member, at least brings back a little more fresh air than some of the other retired wrestlers they keep pulling from the wreckage to boost their numbers.  My question is this though, what if he wins?  First off the Undertaker’s streak has been broken so a loss no longer carries the same impact for Taker’s character.  So the realm of possibility is there that Taker could lose and not be hurt too much by it, but my impression was that Shane was finished with this business for good.  So if he beats Taker and gets control, is he going to be around for a while?  Will he be involved again?  If not then this is just a ploy to get ratings up going in to Wrestlemania and then we will not see Shane again for quite some time.  If that’s the case, if this story does not have some sort of long term payoff then I will be extremely disappointed.

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The Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels

There’s a reason he is called Mr. Wrestlemania.  No one has had more big moments, no one has had more of a piece of wrestling history sans maybe Ric Flair, no one has as many accolades, and no one has as many other wrestlers saying he’s the best ever as Shawn Michaels does.  With a roller coaster of a career full of trouble and ups and downs, Michaels against all odds ends up being one of the most cherished performers in WWE history.

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Whether you loved him or hated him, he always had your attention….

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Commanding the award of Match of the year for almost every single Wrestlemania match Michaels participated in, he was never anything but the most entertaining man to enter the squared circle.

Shawn has a tremendous journey that he has written about in a couple books and covered in length in two dvd sets produced by WWE.  The story of the dark sides of where his life went in the midst of his career coupled with the redemption and grace of Jesus who gave him a wake up call.  Only to return after he “lost his smile” to be an even better performer than he was before.  Shawn will always have the hearts and gratitude of the fans everywhere.

Whether he shows up in Dallas at Wrestlemania this year, we don’t know, is Wrestlemania always better with Shawn Michaels?

 

YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!YES!

 

 

Old vs New

This seems to be the common struggle of WWE today: how to push the younger talent and get them liked.  I get all the struggles with the changing demographic of the fan to a younger age, to the embracing of the pg era, the smart fans getting smarter with all the info leaks and reddit users and whatnot.  But none of those objections should keep guys from being able to get over.  Vince says it’s a hunger issue, it may be, I would say it’s a creative issue.  I mean how else do you explain guys like ziggler, guys like the new day, guys like Daniel Bryan, who if he did not have such a strong backing from the crowd never would have been able to have the run he had in the last couple of years.  These guys have great talent but were not able to get over on the main roster, meanwhile you got HHH down in NXT pumping out new start left and right.  I don’t know if its just a better system or maybe the opportunities are just different.  But NXT seems to be where it’s at and I wonder why they aren’t able to duplicate how they are promoting their talent the same way on the main roster.

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So this year more than ever the problem has been highlighted.  Why? Because they will be going in to their biggest show of the year without 10 of their top stars.  Rollins, Cena, Orton, Bryan (retired), Sheamus ?, Barrett?, Cesaro, Kidd, Nikki Bella, Sting, and Kalysto (who was getting hot).  Every person that left last years Wrestlemania with Gold around their waste is out this year.  So what does Vince need to do to meet his goal of packing out the stadium in Dallas and trying to break the record and get over 100,000 people without any of those main attractions.  Enter in HHH, Brock Lesnar, Stone Cold, Shawn Michaels, and oh yeah SHANE O MAC………

We have seen in recent years with the involvement of the Rock and Hogan and others including the NWO and DX at last years mania, that Vince is not afraid to bring back the old guys to make a draw, whether they can still produce or not.  I mean as good as the Undertaker is and always will be, and you have to give him props for still being able to do this, but he is not the guy he once was, heck neither is Jericho for that matter, oh yeah I forgot, he’s another one they keep bringing back.  Every time we get to a big ticket event and Vince doesn’t trust his current talent to draw the ticket sales it speaks volumes to the audience that he doesn’t have enough faith in his own product.   Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy seeing the old guys every once in a while,  I have always been a Shane McMahon fan, and though the angle between him and Taker is out of left field and makes no sense whatsoever, I am excited to see him in the ring again.  The Authority is overdone and needs to go away…. it’s time for something new and I drastically hope they are going to end it in some form or fashion at Mania this year.  But some things seem a forgone conclusion.  They want to make Reigns so he’s got to walk out overcoming all the odds and conquering HHH right….it has to end that way.  Anyway I am off track, my point is as entertaining as the “old” guys are, I don’t always see the value in continuing to stack the card with them and give them a bunch of time that could be given to get one of your current talents over in the eyes of the fans.