Wednesday, March 24, 2010
So a friend in Arizona whose attending Wrestlemania, is asking me to give him a "cliffnotes" of the big show on Sunday. My big in-depth and funny preview of the big one in Phoenix is on Rumble Radio's Mania of Wrestling special (click to listen to it) and well, this wrestling geek is geeking out with a constant stream of Mania buzz online, on tv, and beyond. There is so much more to say about this show. So my fingers went to typing with this preview.
* HHH vs. Sheamus
This is the first time HHH has not been in a world title match at Mania, in a long time.
Sheamus just wants to beat on HHH for eliminating him from a 6-man Elimination Chamber match in February. The Irish monster from Dublin entered that Chamber as the WWE Champion, so he wants some revenge and maybe he gets in a big way on Sunday. Or maybe HHH continues to reign supreme as King of Kings?
Prediction: Shaemus wins in a shocker but this match will not be the match of the night
* CM Punk vs. Rey Mysterio (If Rey Mysterio Loses, He Must Join The Straight Edge Society)
The build up for this has been ridiculous entertaining. Punk has been preaching his Straight Edge lifestyle like he's Charlie Manson ( beard and all) on Smackdown for months now. He's flanked by his bald headed cronies, big Luke Gallows and the big chested Sareena. Then you have his oppenent the career underdog, Rey Mysterio. The story on TV has been great drama which featured Punk ruining Mysterio's daughter's birthday on national tv. He slapped Rey in front his wife and kids in this segment, and sang "Happy Birthday" as Rey with his family ran off. This promo really makes you want to see Punk get his ass handed to him at Mania. This match will also feature hard hitting back and forth action and could be a potential show-stealer.
Prediction: But even with all that come-uppings that Punk as coming to him, Rey will be the loser and then he will be Punk's new bitch.
* Randy Orton vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Ted DiBiase
This match has had the worst build up on TV of all the matches this year at Mania.
Orton was the leader of a faction with Rhodes and Dibase for the last year and half, but the faction never seemed to be the bad ass gang they were presented to be. On top of that, Rhode and Dibase have turned on Orton a few weeks back. They have been double teaming their attacks on Orton, so why are they in a triple threat match where they compete individually? I expect Orton to own both these fools and you will see punt someone in the face and RKO someone's face in the mat.
Prediction: Orton wins
* No Holds Barred Match: Bret Hart vs. Vince McMahon
This match is 13 years in the making. In 1997, Hart was the WWE Champion was about to leave Vince and the WWE for his big rival, WCW.
Hart wanted to protect his star power and not get squash in his final WWE match in his home country, Canada. He refused to flat out lose the match, and Vince agreed to not make Hart look bad as he exited the company. In front of a shocked crowd in Montreal, WWE screwed Bret Hart in an arranged con where Hart was put in his own Sharpshooter hold by Shawn Michaels, the bell rang before Hart tapped. Michaels bailed with title, Vince got spat on by Hart, but Hart was still just screwed. Bret Hart went to WCW, but it did nothing to beat his work in WWE. His in-ring career ended when he suffered a series of concussions in 1999. Hart was forced out of the ring without one final golden moment for himself and his fans.
His career became defined by that night as someone who got screwed. Hart for years publically defamed MacMahon and his backstabbing ethics, but in 2006 , the two sides came together to work on the Bret Hart anthology DVD. That stated the long mending process for Hart and Macmahon and in December 2009, it was revealed Hart signed a short term contract with WWE to perform a storyline and match at Wrestlemania 26.
The build up on TV has been a bit long winded. Hart who also suffered a stroke in 2002, has shown on TV he has lost a bit of his sharpness. It's also questionable about what Hart can do physically in the ring. This will be his first physical in-ring performance in more than 10 years. He's also in the ring with Vince Macmahon, the boss of the WWE. This not an opponent who is gifted athletically. The match is not going to be a classic, but it will give you a moment to remember.
Prediction: Hart will get the crowd off their feet, when he slaps on the back-cranking Sharpshooter on the man who betrayed him ,Vince Macmahon. Vince will make the symbolic gesture of saying he was wrong, and tap out.
* Money In The Bank Ladder Match: Christian vs. Dolph Ziggle with his multipe chamr vs. Kane vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Jack Swagger vs. MVP vs. Matt Hardy vs. Evan Bourne vs. Drew McIntyre vs. Kofi Kingston
This match will be mayhem as it is every year. Ten guys all trying to climb up a ladder to pull a briefcase down, that gives them a guaranteed world title shot that they cash in , whenever they want. It's always a launching pad for a star whose been building momentum for a while or a young star who sky rocketed to the top level. But with 10 wrestlers in this match, it's hard to pick one who could take it all. The high flying Evan Borne will definitely attempt a 450 splash off a ladder in this match, and boy that will get the flash bulbs popping. Shelton Benjamin always does a breath-taking spot in these MITB matches. Kofi Kingston leaped over a ladder last year's ladder match, he'll do some gymnastic with the heavy metal again this year.
But for the winner, I am leaning towards former ECW Champion, Christian. His run last year in ECW before WWE retired the brand, was consistently the best part of that show. And "Captain Charisma" has never had a big shot at a World title in WWE. His experience in ladder matches from his tag team years with Edge, will give him an,,,um,...an edge above the rest.
The ladders make it intense, flesh will meet steel, men will fall from great heights, and you will not want to miss the match.
* Unified Tag Team Title Match: The Miz and The Big Show vs. John Morrison and R-Truth
This match could be either be really cool or just a disappointment. Shomiz are the reigning champions, and they have Miz showboating them to top of WWE's tag team with his cocky microphone work. Morrison and RTruth are strong singles wreslters that have been paired together simply to get them on Wrestlemania, but does that mean they should be in a tag match? Not exactly sure, but they are both really fast and athletic in the ring.
R-truth will be rapping his entrance theme song live, and the 70,000 fans at the University of Phoenix Stadium screaming "what's up!". After that , no one will question why Morrison and R Truth are tagging together.
Prediction: The Big Show try someone with his massive body, Miz to trash talk, and Morrison to deliver his moon sault off the top finisher, "starship pain" for the win. New Unified Tag Team Champions
* Career vs. Streak – Winner By Pin or Submission Only: Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker
This is THE match this year on the biggest show of the year, to pay for. Last year, HBK tried to beat Undertaker's legendary 16 year long Wrestlemania winning streak. In a match that was deservedly awarded with Match of the Year by WWE, Taker and HBK took it to the limit with thrilling match that saw Undertaker squeak out win number 17 in his streak. It set off this spark in HBK where he became obsessed with getting a Wrestlemania rematch with the Dead Man. The Undertaker at first balked at Michael's challenge for a rematch. HBK then cost Taker his World title in February, setting the stage for Undertaker to get his revenge and HBK to get his second chance to beat the streak.
But their is a twist, Undertaker demanded HBK risk his 25 year long career in the match. Their also must be a winner, no DQ, no countout. We will have finality in a match that has no predictability to it. The only predictable thing is this could be the Match of the Year again. If WWE does not put this on match on last, whoever has to follow it will suffer. Nothing can beat what this match will deliver, nothing.
Prediction: Undertaker extends the Streak, Shawn Michaels walks home....but 'retirement' is never forever in pro wrestling.
* WWE Title Match: Batista vs. John Cena
At first this match seemed like a lowsy pairing of two popular stars, but it has really picked up heat in the past month.Batista stole John Cena's WWE Championship last month on pay per view. Moments after Cena survived a brutal Chamber match and outlasted 5 other men, Batista strolls out to the ring to have a unplanned title match. He power bombed Cena, He was champ. His reason was that he should be the face of the company, not Cena. He should be in movies and magazines, and getting the fame and praise that is thrown on Cena. Batista who is not known for being the best on the mic, barked out a classic diss at Cena a few weeks back.
"You keep kissing babies and hugging fat girls, I will stay WWE Champ"
Here is how Cena got his Wrestlemania main event this year...
After that, John Cena wants to get his revenge. And his screaming fans want to see it happen.
Prediction: Cena wins, but just barely...
* World Title Match: Chris Jericho vs. Edge
Edge is returning after tearing from a possible career ending injury, a torn Achilees tendon and a big win in the Royal Rumble match.
He came back to take on the man who has been trash talking him while he's gone, the World Heavyweight Champion , Chris Jericho,
When Edge got injured in a non-televised match, he was half of Unified Ta Team Champs with Jericho. Jericho said it was Edge's weakness that caused the freak accident of his tendon tear, but Edge won't have it. He's back for revenge in a Main event Championship match.
These two are supreme talents and will try to put on a show stealer like every other wrestler on card wants to do. Edge's health with the torn tendon has to put into question how far he can go. His matches since returning January have been sparse and short, but look at that issue as the x-factor. Jericho will definitely attack Edge's bad ankle, too.The expectations has been built up in the past few weeks, that the match will build around one big move: the spear. For weeks Edge has been spearing Jericho during their in-ring confrontations. Recently,Jericho cut off a flying spear tackal from Edge by bashing him in the face with the 10 lbs. of Gold, the World Heavyweight Title Belt.
Prediction: Edge will try to go the distance but Jericho will pull some villainous shenanigans to win.
Send me your feedback about these predictions.
What are your predictions for Mania ? What matches are you excited to see on WWE's biggest show of the year?
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The Great Khali is a big deal in India
by Kev Kellam
Now the Great Khali is no technical master in the ring. You are never going to see a "five star clasic" from this monster of a man. Plus he's not much of the dream boat, that WWE sarcastically props him up to be. And he's far from the charismatic showman needed, to talk fans into a match. Hell, this giant can't even speak any language let alone English. If you got your pet dog in front of your TV during an episode of Friday Night Smackdown when the Great Khali is on the mic, your dog would have better chance than you, of understanding what it is Khali's actually saying. His mutton-chopped manager with the bedazzled velvet coats is not helping either. His monstrous body and menacing look are what keep him employed with WWE. He's just big, really abnormally big. To be blunt, The "Punjabi Playboy" circus act is just tired and unfunny, and is not something fitting the grandest stage in all of pro wrestling, Wrestlemania.
So why am I making note of his absence on a show no suspects Khali to be on to begin with?
Khali is a massive attraction in his native land of India, one of WWE's biggest foreign TV markets right now. It probably still sounds debatable that Khali would be seen as a pay per view draw anywhere in the world but WWE's Stephanie Macmahon was quoted in the Wall Street Journal recently, praising Khali's drawing power in his homeland. She went so far, as to say “He’s like a god over there”. Macmahon is being honest too. If you don't believe her, check out this worship from Khali's countrymen:
"This 36-year old Indian giant has already proved his caliber in the world arena, but this is not the end — it is just the beginning for this Indian legend!" - Merinews.com (an Indian pop culture news site, read the whole article here)
So money making logic leads one to believe, the Great Khali should just be crammed into the Mania card to make some money in Mumbai right? Currently there is no place for the Indian Giant on this year's Mania at this point in time, but it could be a real stunt to see Khali try climb a ladder in the Money in the Bank match. But that does not seem likely as WWE has made no mention in the past few weeks of adding another wrestler to the already crowded match which currently has 9 wrestlers seeking to win the briefcase with a guaranteed World title shot.
Khali could possibly be tethered to an autograph table during the week long Mania festivities, scribbling his name on 8x10 photos with a Sharpie, like a lot of WWE superstars. Hopefully, that is the closest the Great Khali gets to any wrestling ring in Phoenix.
Yoshi Tatsu is still learning the language of the WWE
by Kevin Kellam 3/20/10
This young immigrant star from New Japan Pro Wrestling was a bright spot on ECW in 2009-10. Even though he may have entrance music that sounds better fitted for a Skittles candy commercial, his naieve foreigner personalty has made him into an endearing up 'n comer. His character as a Japanese guy learning the language and way of life in America may seem like comedic fodder especially his giggle-worthy backstage skits with Goldust, but it's his stellar ring work that makes him really shine. His singles matches on ECW were consistently action-packed. His atheletic grace in the ring is undeniable. Yoshi is able to move very fast but not too fast. He just sets engaging tone to his matches. And pay attention to his finishing move, the Buzzsaw Kick. It just looks brutal.
It's also worth noting that Tatsu is making a hard adjustment with the "WWE style" of pro wrestling. Especially when you consider he started his pro wrestling career in the NJPW Dojo, where hard hitting "strong style" is the philosophy. Also he has adjusted well with his showmanship, a performance characteristic which is not ever present in his homeland's wrestling world.
Now with his limited grasp of the English language, one could understand his absence from WrestleMania 26. With the mainstream audience you need a big time personalty that is loud and reels in the masses.Yoshi may be lovable, but he's just that right now, lovable. But you don't say "Hey that guy who won the World Title, He's just lovable". Nobody goes over on bruisers like Batista and the Big Show, if they are just 'lovable'.
No these wrestlers need some grit, they need a little edge. Yoshi needs that killer edge to propel himself. Maybe give Yoshi a manager, like a good valet or veteran wrestler to groom him with grizzle. It's also worth nothing that Yoshi's WWE career is still in it's infancy. He has time to grow and does appear to be heading towards the "future endeavors" of released WWE talent.The kind hearted head kicker from Japan is not ready for the bright lights of pay per view just yet, but with some upgrades, he could get there. And if he does, you could see him putting on some show-stealing matches on pay per view in the future.
But I could also be putting my foot in my mouth in a couple months when Tatsu is just stuck doing jobber patrol in three minute matches on Monday Night RAW.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Marc Henry is not strong enough for WWE's biggest show
by Kev Kellam
"The World's Strongest Man " Marc Henry has been with the WWE for a long time. Henry signed a ten year deal with the company in 1997. So just by looking at the length of his run in the biggest wrestling company in the world, you would think Henry would have a couple notable performances on the biggest show in wrestling, Wrestlemania. Well, that is not exactly the case with the Olympic power lifter from Silsbee,Texas.
Henry has had one memorable match on a Wrestlemania show, and that was losing to the Undertaker in a mediocre Casket Match in 2006. During the build up to that match, there was not single fan watching who felt Marc Henry was going to beat the most cherished winning streak in professional wrestling. This was Henry simply being added to the long list of the 17 foes defeated by the Undertaker in his long running Wrestlemania streak.
The highlight of the match was Undertaker's daredevil over the ropes, past the casket, and a crash into the tank-like body of Henry. Many fans have that same distinct memory of the match, but does anyone remember anything that Henry did that match? Not really. The last thing anyone remembers about that match was the Undertaker standing victorious over another giant stuffed into an over sized casket.
During his time in the WWE ,Wrestling fans have long dissed Henry's in-ring work as "limited". Henry's hulking frame has never really lent itself well to up-tempo action.Plus his long list of injuries have put him on the DL for a good chunk of his wrestling career. But even through torn quadriceps, busted knee caps, and unfunny storylines which had him dating elderly women, Marc Henry is still with the WWE. In the past few years, he has stayed relatively free of injury, improved his physical performance, and in 2008, he captured the ECW Championship.
So far that title win must be considered Henry's biggest pro wrestling achievement. Though in retrospect, that achievement lost it's luster slightly when ECW was put out to pasture in February. Henry has been on the RAW brand for almost a year now, and has really just lingered at the top of the mid card level with recent tag partner, MVP.
This tag team recently had a run against the Unified Tag Team Champions, The Miz and Big Show. Henry and MVP were not successful. And after only one pay per view match between the two teams, the feud was brushed aside as The Miz gained a prominent "pro" mentor role on the new WWE series, NXT and MVP won a spot in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. The tag team pairing with the more charismatic MVP was Henry's best chance at making it onto Mania 26, and it is now gone.
Marc Henry is like every other wrestler on the WWE roster, they all want a great "Mania Moment", but Henry simply has not had that moment it yet. The bigger question remains, will he ever have that moment?
Kofi Kingston's Troble in WWE Paradise
by Kevin Kellam 3/20/2010
If you told the common WWE fan in November of 2009, that Kofi Kingston was not going to be a part of Wrestlemania 26, they would have been shocked. Since debuting in 2008, Kingston has had a rocket tied to his back, wowing fans along the way with his boom-boom leg drops and roundhouse head kicks. It looked like Kofi was going straight to the top. And just as he established himself in his first high-profile feud with Randy Orton, it seemed as though the rocket fuel had ran out.
The Orton story brought depth to Kingston's happy-go-lucky character who was not considered a threat to any main event star at the time. After weeks of attacks by Orton, Kofi laid an angry beat-down on the former WWE Champ,which ended with Orton being smashed through an equipment table. Standing tall over Orton at Madison Square Garden on RAW, Kofi Kingston seemed destined for a match on the 2010 edition of Wrestlemania.
Now with a only week left to Wrestlemania 26, Kingston has no match booked for the biggest night in pro wrestling. His feud with Orton faded by January, and fell to wayside as WWE built bigger stories for the pay-per-view spectacular on March 28th in Phoenix.Still wrestling fans are asking why the breakout young star of 2009 is not booked for the biggest show of 2010?
Reputable wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer has speculated Randy Orton complained to management, about Kingston underselling his RKO finisher in a televised match and this got Kingston in trouble. Did this supposed in-ring error cost Kingston his Mania Moment?
Also on an already stacked super-card with Shawn Michaels/Undertaker, the returning Bret Hart/Vince McMahon and several big time championship matches, Kingston's chances of making it on the big show are slim. If a tenth wrestler is added to the crowded field of nine wrestlers for the Money in the Bank ladder match, Kingston would have to be a likely choice. But that is just an "if", and nothing more.
This is first in short series that looks at WWE superstars who for whatever reason, miss the cut for Wrestlemania 26 on March 28th. For more info on this pay per view, www.wwe.com
UPDATE 3/21/10 : KOFI MAYBE KICKING HIS WAY INTO WRESTLEMANIA
Prowrestling.net is reporting, the Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WrestleMania will now feature ten participants instead of the originally scheduled eight.
The final spot will be determined this Monday night on Raw (3/22/10) with Kofi Kingston as the favorite.
The ninth competitor is revealed on tonight's episode of Friday Night SmackDown, United States Champion Drew McIntyre.