WWE’s Heartbreaking Tribute to Connor the Crusher

bryanconnor

Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwes-heartbreaking-tribute-to-connor-the-crusher/

This is my seventh article for Geek Pride. Unlike my usual pay-per-view reviews, this piece is a look at the WWE’s heartbreaking tribute to Connor The Crusher. The video contained within this article is a MUST SEE for anyone who is unsure of the magic of pro wrestling.

Craig [Editor]

Advertisements

WWE: Extreme Rules hits a home run once again!

kanebryanSource: World Wrestling Entertainment

http://www.geek-pride.co.uk/wwe-extreme-rules-hits-a-home-run-once-again/

This is my sixth article for Geek Pride, analysing this year’s Extreme Rules special event. The show has consistently been one of the highlights of the WWE calendar. Could this year’s live up to the same standard?

Craig [Editor]

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: Royal Rumble 2014 leaves wrestling fans in a furious frenzy

rumblereigns

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

The 10 Most Annoying Managers in Wrestling History

BRYANVICKIEDaniel Bryan looks so annoyed – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

This an article I wrote for What Culture. Unfortunately, it didn’t make the grade to be published on the site apparently. Nevertheless, I have decided to post it here. Let me know what you think. I hope you enjoy reading.

Managers have played an important part in the history of professional wrestling. Unfortunately, they seem to be approaching extinction in the modern day WWE. Nonetheless, the greats of the past will be remembered for decades to come.

To be a great manager, you need to be annoying. Nobody remembers the vanilla characters hanging out at ringside, banging on the apron and cheering for the hero. They remember the despicable men and women who do every single thing they can to secure the win for their client. Most of these managers take a little trip down Annoying Lane on the way to greatness

We’ve had screamers, whistle-blowers and megaphone fanatics. You love to hate them, and that’s what makes them so great. The most memorable managers stir up a frenzy in the crowd, pull off dastardly schemes and drive everybody crazy. They usually have a prop of some kind, or an annoying voice. The more you boo them, the better job they are doing.

I wonder if you can guess who is the number one.

10. Paul Bearer

I’ve included this man on the list to pay tribute, if nothing else, to his legacy. He could be annoying, but the reason he is so low down, is because he rarely overstepped the mark. You could say WWE did so when they used his death rather explicitly in the feud between CM Punk and Undertaker earlier this year, but by all accounts, it’s exactly what he would have wanted. He knew just how to get great heat, and had no qualms with going close to the grain to get it.

However, this list is about characters who make it hard to watch. He rarely did that, but he had his moments, as all managers do. His legendary catchphrase “Oh yes!” could be both amusing and infuriating. As a child growing up watching during the Attitude Era, I would often lament his presence on my TV screen, although probably not so eloquently. He would get right under my skin, particularly when he was put between Kane and Undertaker. He always seemed to be stirring things up between them both and doing something despicable to one of them. He comes in at Number 10, because most of the time, his antics attracted good heat, not annoying heat.

9. Hornswoggle

I feel sorry for Hornswoggle. It’s not his fault that he is on this list. It’s down to the powers-that-be at WWE. Personally, I feel above laughing at a guy because he is small, and let me tell you, that is the one solitary reason why he is on television: to be laughed at. When he appears at live events, even little kids don’t seem mesmerized by him anymore. Rey Mysterio is only a bit taller, and he can actually wrestle. Any adults that do enjoy his gimmick obviously enjoy laughing at midgets like they’re back in the circus tent.

When he would come out with Finlay or DX, he would just destroy any credibility they had. It’s like screening Shutter Island with a little Finding Nemo gif running in the middle of the screen throughout. His presence is distracting, in a bad way. If there was any money to be made from dressing up a small American guy in a leprechaun costume, it’s been exhausted now.

I can understand the sympathy that people have for the actual guy, and I feel that too. He should be given a job in the company because he clearly loves the business, but he does not need to be accompanying anyone to the ring or appearing in backstage segments. It’s cheap laughs, not good laughs.

8. AJ Lee

Firstly, I’m a big time AJ Lee fan. I love her for too many names to mention. I’ve been particularly pleased with her most recent run as Divas Champion. She has been competing well in the ring and cutting some great promos. Her “pipebomb” against the Total Divas cast was just beautiful to hear. Despite aligning herself with Tamina Snuka recently, she has looked good since vacating Dolph Ziggler’s side.

When she was following Dolph to the ring every week, her own career seemed to become more and more irrelevant. She understands the art of the manager and can draw good heat. She does however, have that tendency to annoy. When she joins the announce table, she can come across as too shrill for me at times. I know that she is supposed to make me hate her, but it can get too much. I must say I’m usually a big fan of the skipping, but I know a lot of people aren’t.

Nonetheless, as long as she stays within the ropes as much as possible and let’s her work do the talking, she won’t have to worry over this conundrum. As a manager, she can flirt with “the line”. Besides, she is far too talented a wrestler to be standing or skipping outside the ring all the time, even if she does look great in those short shorts.

jimcornetteOne of the best heatseekers in the business – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

7. Jim Cornette

Jim Cornette is widely recognised as one of the best managers in the history of professional wrestling. He wasn’t a bad promoter either, as his record shows. The man understands the business and knows exactly what heat is and how to get it. During his run managing The Midnight Express, he perfected the role of slimy, little rat faced manager and set the bar high for future generations. There aren’t too many like him, and that’s why he gets so much respect from his peers.

As I’ve mentioned, it’s incredibly easy to go from good annoying to bad annoying, but this man rarely went over to the dark side. He could work the fans into a frenzy, and get them to pay their hard earned money in the hope of seeing him get beat up. He would usually wriggle his way out of it, and when he didn’t manage that, it was so much more special a moment for the fans to savour.

In more recent times, his shoot promos which you can find all over the internet, have made him a polarizing figure. Many people would call him annoying now, for his time outside of the ring. I’m not one of those people. I’m a big believer in Jim’s ideals.

6. Jimmy Hart

Jimmy Hart was one of the most successful managers in pro wrestling history, but boy was he annoying! Having watched back so many hours of footage from the old days, I’m glad to say I didn’t grow up during his prime. That must have been hell! I do understand that he did a lot for the careers of a lot of guys (Hart Foundation, Greg Valentine, Honky Tonk Man, etc) and he did get a lot of good heat on each of those guys when they worked as heels.

However, there are times when it pains me to see him when I watch back those old pay-per-views. I guess that is the desired effect, so it’s hard to be to critical. Sometimes it can be difficult to differentiate between whether a manager is doing a good job or just trying my patience. Even his look is enough to evoke rage – so annoying. His trademark megaphone earned him the moniker the “Mouth of the South” which I guess is a compliment. That megaphone did nothing but annoy, but you can decide whether or not that’s a good thing.

5. Melina

Melina has been hated by people on the inside and outside of the business for a long time, for various reasons. She politicking and bitchiness have well documented, and only Mick Foley seems willing to see the good in her. I’d say his motives are questionable. As an on-screen personality, I think she has had her highs and lows. When she had her final run in WWE a couple of years ago, I was glad to see her back around and thought she could offer a lot to the roster. She has since departed, probably because of her real life persona.

Before she was contributing to the Divas division so well, she was managing MNM (John Morrison and Joey Mercury) through a successful and productive spell as a tag team. One thing that didn’t seem to do them any favours at all, was the fact that Melina often stood outside the ring screaming for no apparent reason. As unique and hilarious as that sounds, it did get old rather quickly and seemed to alienate many fans, rather than rile them up. I have reason to believe that her character was only saved by her extremely hot ring entrance, among males anyway.

4. Bill Alfonso

The Manager of Champions began his career in referee stripes and had spells working for both WCW and WWF. He returned to that organisation (then known as WWE) for the One Night Stand pay-per-views in 2005 and 2006, managing Sabu and celebrating with Rob Van Dam, after he won the WWE Championship. However, it was the half a decade and more he spent working for the legendary ECW promotion that made him famous among wrestling fans.

He is starting in that company working as a referee and went on to manage guys like Van Dam, Sabu and Taz. His penchant for associating himself with success earned him his aforementioned nickname. He wasn’t just known as the guy who walked them to the ring though. He was known and hated by fans for being the skinny little twerp jumping on the ring apron and blowing a stupid whistle all the time.

Alfonso would blow that whistle non-stop. It must be one of the only sounds that can rival Melina’s scream and Hart’s megaphone in the annoying stakes. He drew good heat for his heel associates, but sometimes when you’re trying to settle down with a nice cup of tea and watch yourself a Texas Deathmatch, the last thing you want to hear is some idiot blowing a whistle!

axelheymanAlways ready to speak on behalf of a client – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

3. Paul Heyman

He may be the genius who brought us ECW and the man who has made so many positive contributions to our business, but he is also known for his time managing various superstars. From WCW and the Dangerous Alliance, to his own promotion ECW, and his partnerships with Brock Lesnar, CM Punk and more in the WWE, Heyman has never had any trouble getting a few boos from the audience.

Paul E knows how to do the little things just right. His timing, his mannerisms, his tone. He has the power to pick up a microphone and speak to you, knowing that your blood will soon be boiling. I’m a Paul Heyman guy and a grown man. That didn’t stop me almost throwing my remote control through the television when he sat in his wheelchair and played wicked mind games with my hero CM Punk.

Heyman often aligns himself with big powerful guys who take care of business for him. This allows him to sink as low as he wants, and perform dastardly acts of evil against his enemies, without getting his comeuppance. When he does get it, it’s so rewarding. That’s what makes him one of the very best.

2. Michael Cole

Michael Cole can be annoying in at the announce desk, outside the ring or even inside it. We all know how wrong it can go when you take a non-athlete and put them in there hoping for entertainment. Sometimes it can draw great laughs. Sometimes it can be a good pay-off. The experience with Cole was neither. When aligning himself with Jack Swagger against veteran announcer Jerry Lawler, he just made himself so detestable that it genuinely made wrestling hard to watch.

Before then, he was equally annoying without even being on camera. While sitting at the desk playing his heel commentator role, he regularly went too far and made himself the worst part of the show. His constant Twitter references (which have been toned down), constant use of the word “vintage” and annoying man-crush on The Miz, made Michael Cole one of the most high-profile heels on the roster. Again, not in a good way.

I know many fans who actually stopped watching when it got too much, which wasn’t after long. I being the beaten wife that I am, continued to stick with it, and somehow survived to tell the tale. He has since re-occupied the role of neutral play-by-play man who barely conjures up anything deeper than indifference from me and most other fans – that’s much more like it.

He may not have been a manager most of the time, but as a general kiss-ass sidekick, he was as annoying as can be.

1. Vickie Guerrero

Saving the best until last, Vickie Guerrero is the undisputed most annoying sidekick, appendage, manager, whatever you want to call her, in history. Her time spent by the side of Edge, while also in the General Manager role (something she has also consistently done with equal success) brought her to prominence. She was shown as shrill, callous and not at all appealing in any way. The fact that edge would suck up to someone so disgraceful drew major heat for him as a heel. That’s the power of Vickie.

While managing guys like Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger, she showed off her talent for annoying people while at ringside. But, that’s not her best position. She occupies the role as stooge with much more brilliance. As a General Manager, willing to do whatever it takes to keep her bosses happy and keep herself in power, she really shines.

Vickie is often given a huge amount of praise for her contributions to WWE and I think that’s just. For the most part, she gets genuine heat from a live crowd unlike anyone else on the roster, past or present. She does however have the ability to annoy you like nobody else could. Her now famous “Excuse me” catchphrase was entertaining a while ago. Now it’s just irritating. Luckily WWE don’t shove it down our throats quite as much as they used to these days, so I’m not about to stop watching.

When it comes to making fans of any age or description boo and shout, there aren’t many people better than Vickie Guerrero.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]

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]

WWE: John Cena and Seth Rollins have one of the best Smackdown matches of all time

cenaontopJohn Cena has muscles – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little with the title. But honestly, the main event of last night’s Smackdown really was top draw. The rest of the show wasn’t half bad either. For the last time in a while, I will go through the show and note what made me sit up and take notice. In the new year, one of the other writers will be taking a look at Smackdown and providing a new perspective. For now though, let’s get down to business.

The Wyatt Family squashed The Usos in the opening match, which seemed more like a prelude. John Cena came out for the real beginning and cut a painfully unfunny joke promo, bless him. He demanded a rematch for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, but of course, that wasn’t going to happen on the B Show. Instead, The Shield came down to surround the ring for an attack. They were thwarted by Mark Henry and Big E Langston. Kane came out and, going against the Teddy Long grain, decided to book a triple main event of singles matches – I like it! It would be Langston against Ambrose, Henry taking on Reigns, and Cena pitted against Rollins. Great stuff.

Dolph Ziggler rudely interrupted Randy Orton when he was conducting a backstage interview with the beautiful Renee. The Champ took offence. Kane intervened and booked the match. That’s more like it for the perfect one.

Cody Rhodes had a good match with Antonio Cesaro. It’s good to see a lot more singles matches, because the tag situation has been approaching overkill recently. JBL and Cole were so funny at the desk during this match. Cole suggested that Kane is going to “stooge people off” in an attempt to break the fourth wall. Bradshaw criticised yoga and lamented his partner’s training knowledge. It was all very entertaining but perhaps they should have focused a tiny bit more on the match, which Cesaro stole with a roll up.

The Prime Time Players beat “Rybaxel”. Apparently they are officially called that now. I don’t have much more to add on this.

Dolph Ziggler got his big match with Randy Orton, and was sporting some awesome pink highlights. This was a lengthy and very well done match. I got to see the entirety of it because of an advert botch. The commentators went silent for a couple of minutes but the feed never cut away – awesome. Dolph came out of this really strong after a great performance and multiple near falls, but The Viper struck with an RKO out of nowhere, as promised, and picked up the win. He then delivered a vicious beating!

We saw a rebound of that pathetic divas Christmas tag team match from Raw. Why on earth did they feel that this was the best part of that three hour broadcast to re-show? The Shield cut a great promo as always. Roman Reigns was front centre again as he continues to become the focal point of the group. Dean Ambrose promised that 2014 would see more of the same from the Hounds of Justice. They all individually threatened their respective main event opponents, and told us to believe, which we surely do.

Damien Sandow took on Daniel Bryan in a battle of the beards. I’m not enjoying how irrelevant Bryan is becoming. This was a routine win for him with the Busaiku High Knee which is something I guess, but his opponent is waning bad. Bray cut a promo from the ramp in the dark after the match, flanked by his family members. I find myself asking, is this feud still really happening? Please end this before the Royal Rumble.

bryandarkDaniel Bryan is in the dark right now – Source: World Wrestling Entertainment

The Shield made their way to the ring for the main event, and Team Face followed. I thought they would come out one-by-one for their matches and become easy pickings for the screwing. I was pleased that they didn’t. I knew it would make for better wrestling. Langston and Ambrose were up first in a battle of the mid card champions. Michael Cole teased a unification of their titles. I can’t tell you how bad an idea that is. With only one World Title, the possibility of anyone emerging from the lower reaches into the main event has become slim enough. Take away one of the two titles they can challenge for, and we are gonna end up with a roster full of talented guys wallowing in irrelevance and mediocrity.

There was more very subtle heat teased between Reigns and Ambrose. WWE have done a tremendous job handling The Shield in almost every way during every stage of their development. Ambrose was beaten by The Big Ending after no more than five minutes. The guy is being severely phased out now in favour of the big guy. He must be pissed. Roman Reigns, on the other hand, dominated his encounter with the World’s Strongest Man and won with the Superman Punch and Spear. This was very different to the fate of Dean Ambrose. The first two matches were decent but only came to around ten minutes between them. The final match of the three would be far more interesting.

John Cena and Seth Rollins really did put on a clinic by Smackdown standards. This was a great way to put over the latter, who came off looking really strong. He defied the five moves of doom with an excellent counter, reversed the AA into a tornado DDT from the top turnbuckle, and kicked out at two countless times. Rollins himself pushed Cena to the limit and got so many near falls. The ending to the match was a series of amazing moves from both guys (even Cena pulled out an awesome powerbomb) and so many close calls.

It was an action packed conclusion to an incredible contest. I have to say, this seemed to be Cena’s best match in at least six months, and it looked a lot like Rollins’ HBK moment. Even the STF wasn’t enough to beat the “rookie”. Shortly after the submission attempt had failed, all hell broke loose at ringside. John Cena then finally got the win with the Attitude Adjustment. The faces celebrated in the ring, and the announcers rightfully put over Rollins after an incredible performance.

9/10

Most of the show was decent, but the main event was outstanding. I hope this can be a platform from which Seth Rollins can build to a position on the roster that his talent justifies. Fair play to John Cena too, for his part in what was – in my opinion – one of, if not the best match on Friday Night Smackdown this year. Then again, my memory is short and there have probably been countless better ones. But what can ya do?

It’s been a pleasure trying to cover Smackdown for you over the past year.

Thanks for reading,

Craig [Editor]