WWE: Was this year’s show the most memorable Wrestlemania! of all time?

austinhulkSource: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-was-this-years-show-the-most-memorable-wrestlemania-of-all-time/

This is my fifth article for Geek Pride, taking a look at the success, failure and controversy of this year’s Showcase of the Immortals. Take a look and leave a comment!

Craig

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WWE: An Early Bird Preview of Wrestlemania!

maniaxxxSource: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-an-early-bird-preview-of-wrestlemania/

This is my fourth article for Geek Pride, taking a look at the potential of this year’s Wrestlemania card. With the major matches all booked, the show is shaping up to be a success.

Craig

WWE: Top 5 Performers of 2013

bryanacceptanceDaniel Bryan accepting a Slammy award – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

2013 has been a great year for the WWE. I can honestly say that the standard of work has improved. The future looks bright with the emerging talents of Roman Reigns, Big E Langston, Antonio Cesaro, Seth Rollins and the like. The long time bemoaned tag team division is on fire. With AJ Lee at the helm, the Divas division has restored some legitimacy. I thought I’d name my five favourite performers of the year. An honourable mention will go to Brock Lesnar who has been important, if not full time. His return to Raw last night was great and I look forward to his coming appearances. As for the regular guys, lets see how I stack them up.

5. John Cena

Despite not being the most popular wrestler among internet fans, John Cena once again had a few terrific matches this year. He is always one thing and that’s reliable. The guy works practically every day, and appears in big pay-per-view matches every month. He may not be a technical specialist or a high flyer, but he is dependable and that’s what the WWE needs from it’s top guy. His ability to deliver on the big stage time and again secures him a position on this list. His best match of the year was easily the famous clash with CM Punk on Raw in the early part of the year.

4. Antonio Cesaro

The Swiss Supreme may be a surprise choice on this list, but for me, he has been one of the stand out performers of the year. As a part of a great tag team, he has helped put on some excellent matches and regularly done well on Raw. In singles competition, he has shone, selflessly putting the hard work in on practically every show the WWE puts out. His most memorable encounters were the incredible match he had with Daniel Bryan as a part of the gauntlet in July, and the 2 out of 3 falls match with Sami Zayn on NXT.

3. CM Punk

Punk is an ever present on everybody’s list every year, and rightly so. As he outlined on Raw last night, 2013 has been a good year for him. It’s not been his best, but it’s been memorable to say the least. He competed against The Rock, took The Undertaker to the limit and came into the year as the longest reigning WWE Champion of the modern era. That’s not bad at all. His feud with Paul Heyman went too long and he has been a little lost in the shuffle as of late, but on the whole he has done well for himself. What’s never in question is his ability to perform. That’s why he is the best in the world. He had countless great matches this year as always. The pick of the bunch would be the epic fight he had with Brock Lesnar at Summerslam, closely followed by the Taker match at Wrestlemania.

2. The Shield

These guys have been too exciting and too influential to be split up. Despite not being a single person, they are second on my list. I’d find it difficult to pick out a single match from these guys to define how well they have done. WWE have gone above and beyond to put The Shield over and they have taken the ball and ran with it. Whether it be singles matches, tag team matches or the six man tags which they have made a regular part of the show, these three man have always performed. It’s not just been big pay-per-view matches, but regular Raw and Smackdown encounters. They are often put in there with guys they have worked with time and time again, and just when you think you’re going to get a boring match, they impress again. Now all we have to do is predict which one of them is going straight to the top first.

1. Daniel Bryan

I’m sure this is no surprise to anyone. Daniel Bryan has been head and shoulders above the competition this year. He has consistently stole the show, week after week, regardless of the situation he is put in. It’s become clear now that the real life authority figures in the WWE don’t want him to be the face of the company. That hasn’t stopped his legions of fans cheering and chanting him on every week since his fall from grace. I don’t quite know why they want so badly to bury him but that’s politics I guess. What I do know, is that he has gone out there and performed to a high standard in practically every match he has had all year, big or small. When it comes to technique, timing, stamina and the ability to put on a good wrestling match, nobody else on the roster can touch him. Now he seems to be joining The Wyatt Family. 2014 is going to be interesting for him to say the least.

Thanks for reading what will be the last post on The Real Mid Card of 2013. That means I have achieved my goal of publishing at least one post every single day from July 1st until December 31st. I hope you have enjoyed reading, and I look forward to the new direction the site will now be heading into in the new year.

Leave a comment and give me your Top 5.

Craig [Editor]

The Weekly Editorial: 5 potential challengers for the Unified WWE Title at Wrestlemania

brocklesnar“The Beast Incarnate” Brock Lesnar – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Please note: This article was written prior to this weekend’s pay-per-view TLC. I was expecting John Cena to prevail, but of course Randy Orton left as champion. This may limit the possibility of some of these guys competing for the belt at Mania.

This week I would like to look at the intriguing possibilities for the title picture going into Wrestlemania. With this unification match coming up, there are a huge number of question marks over who will be involved. It’s certain that the show will have at least three or four big name matches, and a lot of the guys mentioned in this post will be involved in them. But who will be competing for the title? That’s a tricky one. I am fairly sure that John Cena will come away victorious next Sunday. I don’t know exactly where that leaves Randy Orton, but I don’t think he will be in the title match. I see a rematch at the Royal Rumble between the two of them, and that being the end of it. This would leave “The Champ” to meet one, or maybe more, of the following guys for the Championship on the grandest stage, but who?

Brock Lesnar: I am a huge mark for Brock, and always have been. I’ve loved his return wholeheartedly, and in my opinion, he has participated in some of the best matches of the last couple of years. The only thing his character has been missing is some involvement with a title. He was always the guy back in the day holding the belt, or chasing it. He has had some personal feuds now with the likes of Triple H and CM Punk, but I think it’s time he got down to competition. He could come back as the monster heel and, with the help of Paul Heyman, manoeuvre himself into a match with Cena at Wrestlemania. I would love to see this happen, but I don’t necessarily think it’s likely.

Daniel Bryan: This man has been the stand-out performer of the year. He has stole the show on Raw and Smackdown practically every week, made the main event of multiple pay-per-views and won the WWE Championship twice. He is surely set to be named Superstar of the Year at the Slammy Awards. Recently though, the office has made their real life issues with Bryan more transparent through their horrific handling of his character. There is however, a shred of hope inside me that says they will remember how great the Summerslam match with Cena was, and put these two back in there in April. It would be best for business, even if the suits don’t want to accept it. As for match quality, this would be the guy’s perfect chance to put himself in the history books, so I have no doubts that it would be a great encounter.

The Rock: Frankly I will probably vomit if this guy gets anywhere near the title picture. His mostly absent, phony reign earlier in the year made me very upset. Nonetheless, I am wise enough to not rule out such a move from World Wrestling Entertainment. The rumours are already circulating about a return, and a possible Royal Rumble win. This wouldn’t surprise me, but it would sadden me. Once in a Lifetime 3 could be on the cards. I hope that it’s just hearsay, but you never can tell. He is the big name that they want on the marquee. He is the draw. I see him being involved in the show in one way or another, and I am worried that this may be that way.

CM Punk: The man who held the WWE Championship longer than anyone in my lifetime could, has been poorly booked since he lost it, in my opinion. His personal feud with Paul Heyman, however good, was played out for far too long. Since then he hasn’t had a real clear direction, and now he and Bryan are both booked in handicap matches and couldn’t seem further away from the title fold. However, the office know that Punk is someone who they can rely on, someone who draws and someone who would be a worthy contender for a match with Cena at Wrestlemania. I can picture the vignettes now. The great matches they had in the past, Punk’s lengthy title reign, their respective journeys. It would be perfect, but is it a little too perfect to actually happen?

Sheamus: When the Irishman first emerged in the WWE, I marked out for him hard for years, regardless of whether he was working babyface or heel. That changed dramatically during the last year of his run, before he was somewhat fortunately injured. His character got so stale and annoying! Luckily he has given us all some time off from him, and he will be re-introduced soon (probably in the Royal Rumble match) to a much more welcome response. I know he has already won the thing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they let him do it again and bring him back in a big way to take on Cena. I would think that is a little too much of a hot reintroduction, but WWE (and particularly Hunter) have shown how high they are on the guy. This may be one of the less likely ones, but I wouldn’t count it out.

Thanks a lot for reading my musings. Why not leave a comment and let me know who you think will be in the title picture, or indeed who should be?

Craig [Editor]

The Weekly Editorial: 5 candidates to win the next Royal Rumble match

lesnarrumbleA rookie Brock Lesnar won the rumble match – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

This week I’ve been thinking about the Royal Rumble, my favourite pay-per-view of the year, bar none. It occurred to me that those thoughts may translate well into a piece of writing, and here it is. I sat down to try and put together five potential winners of the most exciting match of the year. It was infinitely more difficult than I expected. When you look at what WWE wants, and what they like, it’s slim pickings.

You can see how they like to book guys like Daniel Bryan, so I see little hope there. Will they push an emerging guy who fits the mould, or go for a big name again? It’s head scratching stuff. With Cena and Orton as champions, and all this talk of unification, I find it even harder to pick who the company would put in there at Wrestlemania with these guys for a “big money match”. I came up with the five. Let me know how convinced you are by my assessments, or not so much.

Brock Lesnar: He won the 2003 Royal Rumble, but being a previous winner never stopped Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin or John Cena. If they are looking for a big name to face Cena or Orton, you couldn’t ask for much more. I myself would like to see him in there with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania, but I wouldn’t rule Lesnar out when the battle royal comes around. I expect him to at least be a part of the match. They haven’t utilized him in it since he returned, as far as I remember. Bringing back Brock as a babyface (what a tongue-twister) and having him win the rumble, and go on to face Orton, would surely mean big money and great drama.

Roman Reigns: This may be a bit premature, but I think we can all see now that Roman Reigns has (not surprisingly) been picked out as the first Shield member to be catapulted to the moon. His excellent Survivor Series performance had “that moment” quality, and should be the launching pad for a very successful WWE career. The rumble has been used on many an occasion to elevate an up-and-coming guy with vast potential. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the guy emulate The Rock and win the golden ticket to Wrestlemania. He has the family heritage on his side, coming from the world famous dynasty which includes The Rock, Yokozuna, Umaga and The Usos. Unlike Curtis Axel, I expect his trip to the top to be a swift one. Perhaps the rumble could be the start of that.

langstonchampA jubilant new champion celebrates with the fans – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Big E Langston: If my last suggestion was premature, I am surely getting carried away now. This guy is definitely a dark horse, but with guys like Bryan, Ziggler and the like deemed undesirable for a top spot, he could have an outside chance of getting an instant push. He has been around for a little while now, but hardly earned his stripes. He has power, charisma and his work is solid. I would have no problem with him getting a big push and a real opportunity. When he captured the Intercontinental Title, it really felt like the start of something. Since turning babyface, he has got over with the crowd and is looking more dominant every week. I wouldn’t bet your mortgage on this, but stranger things have happened.

CM Punk: One superstar who completely deserves to have a rumble victory on his CV is this man. He had the longest WWE title reign in modern history, and that can’t be taken lightly. Despite then though, his fire has been slightly petering out. He and Daniel Bryan are now in a tag team, rather than competing for championships, and that’s a worry. He hasn’t won the rumble before, but I think this would be a great time to do it. He was against Taker last year, and put on the match of the night, so it’s not like he can’t be trusted on the big stage. He has also had famous battles with both of the current champions. I would be very happy to see him revisit either of those feuds. Lets keep our fingers crossed.

Wade Barrett: My own personal bias may have affected this one. With the recent visa issues keeping him out of the ring, the barrage has been put on hold. The guy hasn’t had the best of luck with injuries and complications stunting his push, but he has all the potential in the world. At a point in his career in which he has become established as a member of the roster, won various titles and had some memorable moments, Wade could definitely be considered an outside chance for the rumble. He is another young guy with a big upside, just waiting for a legit push. He and Langston are probably the least likely, but as I said previously, stranger things have happened.

Thanks for reading, and leave a comment with your suggestions.

Craig [Editor]

My ultimate fantasy card for Wrestlemania 30!

lesnartakerUndertaker and Brock clash inside the cell – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Hello and welcome to my mind. Today, I’m going to lay out my dream card for Wrestlemania 30. It’s a four hour show, so I think ten matches is more than doable. I would want to have as many top quality guys on the card as possible, without watering it down with gimmick battle royals. It’s a half realistic ensemble, depending how you look at things. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment!

Dean Ambrose(c) v Seth Rollins v Roman Reigns (Triple Threat Match for the United States Championship)

All three of these guys can go, we know that. I would love to see their journey culminate in a triple threat match on the biggest stage in the business. They have had an insanely good run as a unit, but it seems to be coming to an end now. One of the main focal points of their group has been gold, as I talked about in my recent editorial post. Now that the tag belts are gone, I would have Ambrose continue to be cocky and give them a hard time. Let the resentment set in, and you have one hell of an angle. There are so many story routes you could go down in that match. Those guys would make a classic opening encounter look easy.

Chris Jericho(c) v Wade Barrett (for the Intercontinental Championship)

This one is a bit from left field, and is heavily influenced by my own personal favouritism. I would bring Jericho back in the new year, give him a red hot push and put the Intercontinental Title back on him. At the same time, I’d be building up a worthy contender in Wade Barrett. This could be the chance for the Brit to get that launchpad Wrestlemania moment that he unfortunately missed out on a couple of years back through injury. It would also give him a helluva mountain to climb against one of the best champions in the company’s history.

The Usos(c) v Primo & Epico v Rey Mysterio & Sin Cara (Triple Threat Match for the Tag Team Championship)

I would put the title belts on The Usos in early 2014. It would be cool to see this happen after some kind of tournament. They never do those anymore! That could build up the team as a worthy one to face the Rhodes Brothers. That shock win could be the catalyst to break up those two. As for the others, I’m not entirely sure how I would make it happen, but I would just want to showcase a high octane, intense action, wrestling match for the fans. I would drop the Los Matadores gimmick, and opt for realism over silliness. Primo and Epico, along with Team Luchadores could help make this match really special. The Usos are always capable of putting together an exciting match and would be worthy champions, in my opinion.

Goldust v Cody Rhodes

After a solid run as champions, I would these two up. I went over this in more detail in my post about the Rhodes brothers recently. Everyone wanted to see this match when Goldust returned and they clashed during the Royal Rumble match. I’m loving the feel good factor of seeing them together now, but I think that could make the feud even more powerful. I would have Goldust get jealous and resentful, then turn heel on Cody. This program could be the final push the latter needs to get to the top level as a babyface. It would get heat and get people invested, and I’m sure the two of them would have a great match.

Triple H v Big Show

Three huge main events? Try five, with a Divas filler match! This is an easy sell. Build the ongoing feud between the two of them over time, getting Show off TV for weeks on end where necessary, until the two of them come together to finally settle it at Wrestlemania. Vince McMahon could offer Big Show a new contract if he got the win, which I would have him do. This is actually something that will probably happen: the match, not Hunter doing the job.

John Cena(c) v Randy Orton (for the World Heavyweight Championship)

It may seem a bit wacky to have the biggest full time performer in the company on fifth from last, but if I’m running the show, it’s my rules. I know that we have all seen this match a thousand times, but it’s been a while since they have had a high level program. With Orton back at his heel best, and Cena coming back the hero again, I think this could be just the thing to rejuvenate the World Title. The rest of the card is stacked enough for Cena and Orton to not look too out of place so low down it.

Daniel Bryan(c) v CM Punk (for the WWE Championship)

I doubt there is a wrestling fan on the internet who wouldn’t want to see this match at Wrestlemania, with THE title on the line. I would build this with no face or heel. The Eddie and Benoit of today wouldn’t need heat or gimmicks. What happened to two guys going in there and giving everything simply for the belt? Punk doesn’t need to kidnap Brie Bella for this to be emotional, intense and simply glorious. The two best wrestlers in the business putting on the match of their lives – a guaranteed show-stealer!

AJ Lee(c) v Lita (for the Divas Championship)

The people in the arena need to get food or use the toilet. The people at home need to get a beer, roll a joint or grab another bag of chips. There is no shame in going out there and giving people the chance to do that. Joking aside, I would love to see Lita get one last run. I know WWE don’t exactly love bringing in women over 21, but with the success of Rob Van Dam and Goldust, maybe they would take a chance on this. It could be the feud to elevate AJ Lee to the moon, and give Lita one more chance to do her thing. A ten minute match full of risks, dives and hair pulling – well worth a spot on my card!

Goldberg v The Rock

The final two matches would be the place to milk the financial cow. Four huge name part time, or former superstars! I would go first with a feud which took place originally back in 2003. I don’t think they got anywhere near enough out of that, much like the majority of Goldberg’s run in general. Give me another stab at it, and I think this could be great. Two huge babyfaces battling it out for ultimate respect. Again, no underhanded tactics or heat needed. If you’re telling me that you couldn’t just book these two in a match and draw money without a heated feud, you’re naive. That’s exactly what I would do! Put their two faces on a poster, with the words “Goldberg v Rock” on it and prepare to count the cash.

Undertaker v Brock Lesnar (Hell in a Cell match)

I would end the iconic 30th edition of Wrestlemania with The Undertaker’s final match. The streak has become so much more important than any of the titles or feuds on the card in recent years, but they continue to downplay it every year. The fans know how big a deal it is, and they would want it to finish off the night. This match also wouldn’t need heat, but with Brock Lesnar a consistent heel, there is an easy way to draw it here. This is another feud which came about originally over a decade ago. It was a personal, heated rivalry. WWE are top notch when it comes to vignettes. Using the video gallery, and appearances on Raw, they could build this into the most intense match of the year. Everyone would want to see it. They would pay to see it. I would definitely pay to see it. This one may also happen, but that’s not clear yet. I think it could be the perfect way to close the show.

You may notice that I didn’t include Hulk Hogan. I hope all of the speculation amounts to nothing and he doesn’t show his face there. If it were up to me, he wouldn’t be allowed in the building. One more thing. I don’t have a big problem with ‘Mania being in New Orleans. It’s the place I’d like to visit most in the entire world. If it were up to me though, I would have gone for Madison Square Garden purely for the nostalgia and the grandeur, but I understand the decision from a money making perspective. Leave a comment and let me know what you would do differently. Remember, this is just my dream, not reality.

Thanks for reading.

Craig [Editor]

Summerslam: What was your favourite match?

lesnardon

Incredible match between Lesnar and Punk – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

So I’m just going to take a quick look back at last night’s show. Spoiler alert. If you haven’t seen it yet, stop reading. For those of you still with us, let’s go and see what might have been the best part of this incredible show. Leave me your opinions in the comment box below. Who stole the show in your opinion?

For me, this was easily the best pay-per-view of this calendar year so far. The opening match between Kane and Bray Wyatt was very entertaining. The flames created an insane visual and the story was handled very well in my opinion. All of the other matches on the pre-show and the lower card were very pleasing. But as you can probably predict, the two main events were out of this world.

CM Punk and Brock Lesnar had a match that I didn’t think could be equalled. I was eventually proven wrong, but these guys went as close to stealing the show as they possibly could. It was definitely Brock’s best match since coming back, without a doubt. It had it all. Intense, vicious brawling. Excellent submission work. Tremendous throws and high risk. Sheer brutality! It was the perfect way to cap off a great feud, or maybe just for now. Paul Heyman played a vital role at the end, but for the most part they were allowed to go out there and use all of their extensive experience to create something truly magical. Brock got the win, as I predicted, and rightfully so. In fact, all of my predictions came true last night. Hate to toot my own horn, but in the immortal words of Arn Anderson, “toot toot”

John Cena and Daniel Bryan absolutely killed it. I think there are so many words to say that I can’t fit them all into one statement. These guys did the unthinkable and outdid Lesnar and Punk. They had one of the best matches of the year by far, a career defining one for both, in my opinion. The two of them traded submissions, used all of their trademark moves and both offered something new. Daniel Bryan topped the night with an insane new running high knee, which knocked Cena out cold. He pinned him to become the champion.

Then things got interesting. Randy Orton came down to the ring flaunting his briefcase. When Bryan was distracted calling him out like a truly heroic face, good guy special referee Triple H pulled him around, and hit him with a vicious pedigree. Orton then cashed in, and just pinned him there and then to become a seven time champion. Absolutely insane! If you say you saw this coming, you’re a liar. This was the first time I’ve been properly worked by WWE in about ten years. That’s an unbelievably impressive feat!

The whole night was great. The two main events were beyond good. Now we have some brand new storylines to look forward to, with Bryan and Orton seeming to be the marquee for Night of Champions. But there are a lot of fascinating questions now too. What’s next for Punk and Brock? Are Triple H and Orton actually a unit now? Is this evolution coming back? Will we be seeing Ric Flair and Batista again? Very exciting times indeed, all sparked off by one incredible night!

Let me know what you thought. Was it a total bust? Did it not compare to the Attitude Era? What was your favourite match? Leave us a comment. If you want plenty more articles about pro wrestling, and now mixed martial arts, hit ‘Follow’ and stay updated! I can’t wait for Monday Night Raw tonight. Be sure to come back for the Raw review tomorrow.

Craig