WWE: Royal Rumble 2014 leaves wrestling fans in a furious frenzy

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The final two – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-royal-rumble-2014-leaves-wrestling-fans-in-a-furious-frenzy/

I know it’s been a while but I’ve been back at it again. I’m now a member of the Geek Pride family, having been kicked to the curb by those kind souls at What Culture. Check out my first article, and give it a share if you like it.

Craig

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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]

WWE Pay-Per-View: Rankings

Today I’m going to take a short at each pay-per-view in the WWE calendar for this year. I’ll then rate them all in terms of how much I anticipate them, taking into account things like stipulation matches, nostalgia and recent performances. I’ll add my ranking after each show, 1-12. Leave a comment and let me know what your rankings would be. Thanks for reading.

royalrumbleThe Royal Rumble match – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Royal Rumble This show follows closely behind Wrestlemania as one of the highlights of my year. Mainly because of the rumble match itself, it always puts a glint in my eye. Some of the timeless moments it has thrown up, and some of the incredible undercard matches have made it an ever exciting attraction. The battle royal never lets you down, and the surprise entrants never fail to make you mark out like a mofo. Go rumble! Ranking: 2

Elimination Chamber Another pay-per-view that’s main selling point is its stipulation match. I wasn’t a big fan of taking all of these matches and giving them their own shows but I think this is probably the most appealing one. The stipulation is still young having only turned ten last year, so it’s not too rinsed yet. The chamber matches are almost always exciting and they offer the chance to put six top guys in there at once. Ranking: 5

Wrestlemania The showcase of the immortals. Need I say more? Sometimes it can be disappointing, when things don’t pan out the way you hoped. Nonetheless, the big stars, the lights, the fireworks, the action. It’s the blockbuster! The biggest matches of the year. Everybody on the card, from the top to the bottom, gives it 100% to try and steal the show, and leave a lasting impression, when everyone is watching. Ranking: 1

Extreme Rules Overall I’d say this isn’t one of the top shows because it doesn’t have much history and stuff, but it has been quite a consistent performer over recent years. It’s served up some great matches, offered some memorable moments and has done a good job of following Wrestlemania. It’s always going to be tough to follow, but I think Extreme Rules has done well for itself, in some cases very well. Ranking: 7

paybackCM Punk suicide dive on Y2J at Payback 2013 – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Payback If my memory serves me correctly, this year was the first ever edition of Payback. I can’t really go on the past then. Payback was absolutely great I thought. There were the downs, but I remember several really solid matches. It wasn’t a bad showing at all and I thoroughly expect it to return next year. For one of those B pay-per-views, it was a bit of an eye-opener. Lets see how it does next year. Ranking: 10

Money in the Bank This year was yet another example of how consistently great Money in the Bank has become. I was as angry as anyone when they took the match off the Wrestlemania card, because I thought it was the highlight. But the shows have been phenomenal, with the stipulation matches being the obvious highlight. I actually think it’s leapfrogged Summerslam and Survivor Series into the big four. Ranking: 3

Summerslam Speaking of the biggest show of the summer, the Slam has been a consistent favourite over the years. I don’t think it’s place in the big four is under too much threat, but it has been slightly disappointing in recent memory. It looks as if this year’s show is set to put it back on a pedestal again. I just hope it lives up to expectations because that’s always what handicaps the biggest shows: all the hype. Ranking: 4

Night of Champions This show is not one of my favourites at all. I’m of the old school logic that every championship should be defending on most pay-per-views. To have a show that’s dedicated to doing that just seems like a waste of time. This should be happening all the time! I can’t remember a single moment that stunned me from any of these. It’s clearly one of the lower tier shows. Ranking: 11

Over The Limit I seem to remember CM Punk being involved in last year’s edition of this. I could be wrong. That’s about all I can conjure up. I have so little interest. Its clearly one of the least important shows of the year, and doesn’t really do much for me in any way. A good match can happen on any show, that’s been proven true tonnes of times. I just haven’t see any that I remember on Over The Limit. Ranking: 12

cell

Hell in a Cell structure – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Hell in a Cell It’s another case of a match stipulation that I would like to spread out across the year, rather than consolidate on one show. Nonetheless, this has been one of more exciting theme pay-per-views, mainly because the cell has an enduring charm. When you think back to some of the incredible matches and moments from over the years, you can’t help but dream. These days, those dreams never come true, but still. Ranking: 8

Survivor Series One of the most historic shows on the calendar, Survivor Series always brings with it a lot of hype. Sadly I don’t think it’s lived up to its potential in recent years. The lack of an elimination chamber match often lets it down, compared to shows of the past. Besides that, it doesn’t seem to be pushed and booked appropriately, as the big time event that it should be. But again, it has a lot of history. Ranking: 6

TLC Another theme pay-per-view. Another show that often disappoints. Any show that decides to make a match called a Chair Match can’t be too exciting. Nonetheless, if you put all three of the weapons in there, and put a bunch of talented guys in there, you can hit gold. This just doesn’t seem to happen anywhere near often enough these days, to my dismay. Ranking: 9

Thanks for checking out my rankings. Don’t forget to leave a comment and let me know what you think. Like, comment and follow. We appreciate all of your support!

Craig

Amazing Comebacks: Henry, Jericho & Lesnar

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If you’re not happy with WWE right now, you probably never will be again. I’ve heard all  the complaints, all the criticisms and ALL the disappointment. Coming off the back of Royal Rumble, I woke up expecting to see nothing but praise for what (through my eyes) was a huge success. What I actually woke up to, was a parade of crying people on every form of social media, rambling on about the fact that The Rock won the title, and John Cena won the rumble match. If you didn’t know for a fact that both of those things were going to happen, you’re either twelve years old or very naive.

Starting with the 30 man battle royal. Never let the result of a match spoil it for you. Those moments take a matter of seconds. The moment it took Cena to eliminate Ryback shouldn’t overshadow a match which had everything from surprise to pure shock. The returns of Jericho, Goldust and Godfather. Kofi Kingston‘s annual awe-inspiring feat (on this occasion, using JBL’s chair to hop his way from the announce desk to the apron). The world class technical ability put on display by the best in the business. I found it to be one of the better rumble matches of the past ten years. I won’t let the fact that “Superman” was once again declared winner ruin all of that for me. I’m no more immune to the bouts of nausea which follow hearing that dreaded music start, but it didn’t erase how entertained (and at times enthralled) I was by the match.

The same sentiment applies to the championship match between The Rock and CM Punk. I’m sorry. I hate to break it to you, but there was no way (and The Rock means, no way!) that match was going to end with Punk’s hands being raised. I thought that everything prior to the ring bell was great. I was sad to see the greatest reign in my lifetime come to an end, but there was something full circle about seeing the first person I ever idolised be the man to break it. I thought the booking was done expertly. The whole thing was fairly predictable, but I think it had to be. Despite this, I think they did a good job of spicing things up with The Shield and the whole restart angle to finish the show.

A lot of people seem to consider this a screwy finish which doesn’t do the feud justice. I don’t think there is a lot that could have been done here without making a large amount of people unhappy. I think it could have been a lot worse. At least now Punk and Heyman (shout up if you’re a Paul Heyman guy too!) can claim that he was screwed out of the title. The Rock is now the champion, so that’s him covered. The Shield were involved in the main event of a pay-per-view and are getting dangerously and perhaps prematurely close to being a truly brilliant faction. Punk won’t be out of the spotlight running up to Wrestlemania. A lot was done to keep all of those guys going forward with that show. Even Ryback came out shining again, by ending in the final two and eliminating the viper Randy Orton. If you stop and think, I’m sure you can agree that the show was a success, despite it’s predictability.

Oops, 500 words and I haven’t even started to get to the point. Moving away from all that and back to the present day. RAW on Monday was great again. The product has been improving more and more each week, and in my opinion we are looking at possibly the best potential Wrestlemania card in history. I am unbelievably excited for Elimination ChamberI’m more excited about wrestling on a weekly basis now, than ever before I think. This could also be because of the fact that I’m now out of work and I am able to watch the shows live each week, which rules.

But it’s time to get to the point now. The sole reason I decided to click ‘New post’ – Mark Henry‘s dominating return to Monday Nights. The World’s Strongest Man came back with a vengeance, and the roll call of big names returning to join the party is really starting to pick up speed as this runaway train heads straight through the Road to Wrestlemania. Along with Chris Jericho and Brock Lesnar, Henry is one of three men who have all (at one point or another) been one of (if not the) biggest name(s) on either RAW or Smackdown during their best run.

I thought his appearance in returning to wipe out Daniel Bryan, Rey Mysterio and Sin Cara was the perfect push he needed to set him up for a potential feud with a top face like Ryback or Sheamus. For me, the obvious choice is to book him with Ryback, and give him the biggest test he has faced yet – the devastating, destroying wrecking ball… Mark Henry! It could just be another case of my over-selling to the max, but I think this is just the added bit of star power needed to make this years run-in one of the best in history.

The only reason I’ve decided to focus my praise on the Henry situation is the fact that Chris and Brock have both been in and around the company on a part time basis for a while now. I don’t know how long it’s been since Henry went away (tell me if you do!) but it seems like he’s been gone a while, and it felt like a genuinely huge impact the other night. I just felt that his return kind of summed up the roll which WWE has been on now for a while.

I know that I am biased, but that’s only because I have good taste. The product is reaching new heights every week and these amazing comebacks have really kicked the Road to Wrestlemania into full gear. I’m EVEN looking forward to Smackdown every week now, and I can’t even begin to comprehend that. I can’t wait to see what happens next!

There is nothing I like more than opinions on wrestling. With that in mind, I’d love to hear what YOU think about what I have to say. Do you agree? Do you disagree? Why not leave a comment? If you have a blog or a website discussing wrestling, post me a link and I’d love to check it out. Why not go ahead and cast your vote on the poll below?

Any new comebacks I’ve missed out since the new year? Whether one night only, or long term, who has brought back a spark for you?

Also, some of you may already know of it, but if not, check out NODQ&AV on Youtube. It’s a channel for question and answer sessions made by Aaron Rift, the owner of pro wrestling news website NODQ. I’ve been watching the shows for at least two years now and they are really good. In fact, me and a friend (the guy I’m working on the documentary with) are in the preliminary stages of starting to do something similar ourselves. Aaron has regular viewers from all over the world, and always is totally on point in my opinion.  He is unbiased, intelligent and professional. If you have a question about wrestling, tune into the show and follow the instructions for submission. He answers on WWE, TNA and even the indys. See the links below. Check out his stuff, and stay locked to this site for more pro wrestling opinion in text and video formats.

http://www.youtube.com/user/nodqcaw

http://www.nodq.com

I hope you enjoyed reading.

Loathing

Royal Rumble 2013: I feel like a child again

After all the hype, after all the segments and after all the talking, the Royal Rumble did not disappoint last night. I have to say, despite the predictability and the lack of surprise, the show on the whole looked a fantastic success from where I was sitting. It had everything from spectacular returns, to awe inspiring feats of athleticism. I would put it down as one of my favorite WWE events in the last five years.

I know the night will probably receive a lot of criticism from internet fans, for one reason or another and yes, there are a few things about it that I’m not over the moon about. Let’s face it. It was never going to be fun to see CM Punk finally lose the title, and the end of the longest title reign of my lifetime. However, I don’t think it’s all doom and gloom. It now opens up a lot of doors for Punk’s character over the coming months. There are so many different ways they could use him, particularly with The Shield. Whatever they do, it better be good!

As much as it sucked to see the best in the world have to leave empty handed, I have to say it was great to see The Rock holding the title. Putting aside any opinions on his long term priorities, or his commitment to the business, from a fan point of view it was a great moment. It’s not often that WWE programming can make me revert to cheering like a child anymore, but last night was another story. I watched with bated breath as The Rock delivered an albeit cheesy, but excellently executed promo to inspire the people before the main event clash, barely holding back my excitement.

I thought the match told a great story and more than lived up to expectations, particularly thanks to the added drama that The Shield and Vince McMahon brought to the occasion. They teased us with a screwy finish, then brought the match right back from the brink to end with a predictable, but nonetheless awesome finale. My only quarrel is the continuation of this trend of NOT ending the show with the rumble match. In this instance, I can understand their trepidation at booking an hour long battle royal for a potentially exhausted and deflated crown after a match of such magnitude. Regardless, I still think the main event of the show, and the highlight of the night should still be the namesake, the rumble.

Speaking of highlights, one of my favorite things about this years rumble match was the surprise (at least to me) return of Chris Jericho. Entering at Number 2, and lasting almost the entire match is another testament to the enduring quality he offers as a performer. The crowds chant of “You still have it” brought back memories of Road Dogg from last years match. As soon as the music hit, I practically screamed like a little girl in anticipation for the best of all time.

Sadly it wasn’t going to be a rumble with many former legends returning. I recall an extremely brief but equally cool cameo from the great Godfather of the attitude era (complete with modern day, far less skanky hoes) – I can’t remember there really being any others. Shelton Benjamin, Carlito, Ric Flair, The New Age Outlaws, Bob Backlund, MVP and Mick Foley were some of the names floating around the internet when speculating possible participants. No such luck on that front.

Despite that, I thought the match was booked almost to perfection and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. This was the real main event in my eyes! One thing which did rub me up the wrong way was of course the Cena win. I think the ending to the match was great, particularly with Ryback managing to eliminate former 9 time World and WWE Champion Randy Orton. I just thought it was the perfect time for him to win the big one and go on to Wrestlemania. But of course, once can’t be enough for the Cenation and he had to pick up the rumble win again. I understand it (to some degree) but I don’t like it. You could clearly hear that the crowd were fully behind the young powerhouse, but I guess they just don’t wanna fully push him over the edge just yet.

I even thought the opening match of the night was a resounding success. On paper, this feud has snoorefest written all over it. Watching their initial title match on Smackdown put to bed any ideas like that, and the momentum these two have hasn’t stopped there. I actually think that Smackdown is starting to gain some ground now, and it’s because of stars like Big Show and Alberto Del Rio in my view. Despite all the criticism he gets (and often rightly so), the Show has been such a revelation as a fully fledged heel. I honestly think he is great on the mic, and is capable of getting the best out of himself in big matches. As much as people will disagree, I have to admire his work as of late. The spot from the titantron onto the table last night was a stamp of authority from the big man. The ending, was nothing short of genius. It looks like Del Rio is going down the Eddie Guerrero route now.

All in all, for all of the negative feedback the rumble may (or may not) get, my personal view is a positive one. If there is one thing I rarely rant about these days it’s pro wrestling and the WWE product. If anything it’s one of the few beacons of light in my life these days which gives me pure joy and entertainment, helping to take my mind away from my regular, everyday life problems and struggles. Last nights show was a prime example of how (on the odd occasion) wrestling still has the ability to turn a 23 year old man into a primary school boy again. The Great One is the champ, Y2J is back putting on the performances which made him famous and guys are being choke slammed through tables. Did I mention Kofi and JBL‘s chair? Check that shit out on YouTube right now!

If you’re reading this and saw the show, let me know what you think. Am I the only one who momentarily regressed into a year fiver for the night? Am I the only one who didn’t hate the show?

I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Loathing

Bob Backlund is going to Wrestlemania!

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So, Bob Backlund is going into the Hall of Fame this year. I smell one last title run. Tonight is my favorite night of the year for pro wrestling: The Royal Rumble. It’s the first night on the road to Wrestlemania. One thing you can always expect when it comes to the thirty man over-the-top-rope battle royal is surprise entrants!

That brings me back to my original point: Bob Backlund. The man who once held the greatest prize in the game for over four years must be waiting in the wings to swoop in for a one off appearance in the rumble match. I’d have him down as an outside shot.

Joking aside, I can’t wait for the show tonight, and the main reason for that is the excitement that the rumble match brings. A key part of that giddiness for me is the possibility of seeing some heroes of yesteryear serving up a treat. I’m hoping for something along the lines of this video, along with some Road Dogg and maybe some Booker T.

Bring on the rumble!

Loathing