The Brand Split – Part Two

So its been a few weeks since I shared my feelings on splitting up the roster so I’m back to finish off the roster by highlighting the talent that should headline SmackDown.  Now ill be honest I don’t watch SmackDown that often, and the reason is because they repeat a lot of the same matches that we already saw on Monday.  It’s stale and with the current crop of talent there is no reason for it to be at all.

If you read my last article (of course you did it was great) then you saw that it was all about the younger crop of talent taking over the flagship show and building up fresh faces.  I make the move that you move more of the veterans to Thursday, if you want people to watch then why not have the most popular faces in the company be involved in there own separate feuds while also bringing up young talent to this show first.  Raw seems to congested with all the recent call ups that come from NXT leaving that show a little flat and not having much to do on Raw so spread them out and have them start with more established talent.

Given the current story line it would make sense to me that this would all lead to the return of Triple H and leading he and his wife to take over a new challenge being on SmackDown.  So if I were doing the booking I would split the rest of the top talent up this way.

  1. John Cena
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Source: healthyceleb.com

Regardless of what you think a feel about John Cena the truth is that he still is the biggest draw in wrestling. Cena did a great job last year with his US title run and helping get the best of the call ups like Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn.  Cena is getting closer to 40 and this time in his career it would time for him to put over some of the younger guys since he has been doing his best work of his career before the injury.

  1. Randy Orton

The Viper and 14 year veteran is the next man up to get off the injured reserved list.  With all the same reason that just gave for Cena for helping push current talent this would be the best use of Orton’s talents giving that he cane an good match with almost anyone on the card.

  1. Dolph Ziggler

The man that just can’t seem to get over the hump and resident workhorse is my biggest concern considering the congestion on Raw.  Dolph has been booked in some of the worst storylines in the past few years but always seems to make the most of it.  He’s one of the most over talents on the roster and is have never been treated as such.

  1. Chris Jericho

This one doesn’t need much explanation either; Jericho is one of the best technical wrestlers of all time and can be booked with anyone to help establish new talent.  Jericho can lose over one hundred matches in a row and still be the man people come to see.

  1. Ryback

Yeah I know he is probably done with the company at this time.  I would have liked to see more from the “BIG GUY” given his size and what he offers in the ring.  I enjoyed his last heel run with the right people around him he could have pushed him a lot higher than where he was.

  1. Sheamus
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Source: ringsidenews.com

Multi-time world champ, who is often left with nothing to do on the card.  My biggest problem with Sheamus is the 50/50 booking; early in his career he was booked very strong.  Having feuds with John Cena and Triple H defeating both men on multiple occasions to losing most of his matches is something I can’t understand.

  1. Dean Ambrose

Personally I am not a fan of Dean Ambrose, but I do see what he offers to the product.  There is something missing from character that doesn’t seem to always fit with his in ring style.  This would be the reason that he needs to be separated form the crop of talent.

  1. Baron Corbin

The new monster heel that if booked the right way can carry that the same gimmick be a top guy for the next ten years.  Look at Kane and follow the same pattern, he doesn’t have to win every match but if booked strong would be great to see against anyone of this list.

  1. Triple H

Triple H just signed a new three year performance contract that would more than likely see him in some big matches before he hangs the boots up for good.  With some of the talent that is NXT I do believe that there are a few more dream matches that could still happen in the next three years.

  1. The Miz

The last man on this list and the Current Intercontinental is one of the best heels on all of wrestling.  His in-ring work has improved of the years having promos and Miz TV on one program would help make it a more impactful segment.

I guess we have to wait and see how this will all play out, I feel that with Summer Slam around the coroner a match between Shane and Triple H would have more meaning.

Agree or Disagree? Let me know on Twitter at @itsthecurb or at our official Twitter on @wrestlingfansGB. You can also find the link to the latest episode of my podcast ‘The Podcast of 1004 Holds’ on my personal Twitter. Thanks for reading!

Francisco

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Our Extreme Rules 2016 Predictions

As Extreme Rules approaches on Sunday night we here at UK Wrestling Fans have put on our thinking caps and our clever clogs and come up with our predictions for each match on the card. Read on to see how we think the event will go down

Dolph Ziggler v Baron Corbin (No DQ match)

WWE extreme rules Baron corbin v Dolph ziggler
Photo: WWE.com

My thoughts:
This match seemed to come out of nowhere, with Corbin and Ziggler making very few televised appearances in the past couple of weeks before turning up on Smackdown this week. There really is only one sensible outcome to this Kickoff show match up – Corbin gets the win with a brutal showing, getting the better of the feud and moving on to his next challenge. If this doesn’t happen then a potential future monster heel will be undermined before he even gets started.

UK Wrestling Fans team thoughts:
Little to be said on this one from the team, except that Ziggler’s win over Sheamus on Smackdown made him look like a more credible victor.

My prediction: Baron Corbin
UK Wrestling Fans team prediction: Baron Corbin (83% of votes)

The Usos v The Club (Tornado Tag Team match)

WWE extreme rules the usos v the club
Photo: WWE.com

My thoughts:
The sidenote to the Extreme Rules main event between Roman Reigns and AJ Styles is the first Tornado Tag Team match we’ve had in a long time. Hopefully the stipulation will freshen up a match we’ve seen a gazillion times already, but I’m not holding out much hope. I reckon The Club will get the win to balance out Reigns’ near inevitable victory at the end of the night.

UK Wrestling Fans team thoughts:
Another match which the team have little to say about, likely due to the fact we’ve already seen it plenty of times and it doesn’t feel like it wins much.

My prediction: The Club
UK Wrestling Fans team prediction: The Club (67%)

Chris Jericho v Dean Ambrose (Asylum match)

WWE extreme rules dean ambrose v chris jericho
Photo: WWE.com

My thoughts:
As a big fan of both Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose I’m looking forward to this one, I just hope they’re not too restricted by PG limitations. Again the right result is pretty clear here – Ambrose needs to emerge victorious, end the feud and get revenge on Chris Jericho, revenge possibly involving the straitjacket. The conflict between the two has been good, if not great, and has a few stand out moments but it’s time to end it. And to end it with Ambrose winning to maintain his place near the top of the card.

UK Wrestling Fans team thoughts:
One of the team agrees with me that Y2J will end up wearing the straitjacket, whilst the one person not predicting an Ambrose win is doing so because they have so little faith in the WWE to do the right thing.

My prediction: Darren Ambrose
UK Wrestling Fans team prediction: Dean Ambrose (83%)

The Miz(c) v Cesaro v Kevin Owens v Sami Zayn – Fatal Fourway for the Intercontinental Championship

WWE extreme rules intercontinental title fatal fourway
Photo: WWE.com

My thoughts:
This is by far the hardest match to predict as current IC champion The Miz defends against Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens under fatal fourway rules. I think the most likely scenario is that Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn will continue to feud after this match, it just depends whether it is over the IC title or not. Given how personal and deeply entrenched the animosity between the two is it doesn’t seem necessary to involve a belt. Therefore I think the most likely outcome of the match is that KO and Zayn take each other out, allowing one of the other competitors to win the belt. This would add a new layer to the Zayn v Owens feud and also give another wrestler the prestige of being IC title. The Miz has been a decent champion, getting up to his usual smug, self absorbed antics, which have been made even more odious by the return of Maryse. However Cesaro really has the ability to elevate the belt so I’m backing him to pick up the IC title and have some more entertaining encounters with the Miz as the Awesome One attempts to win the championship back.

UK Wrestling Fans team thoughts:
Interestingly all the votes for the winner of this match went to either The Miz or Cesaro, with the Swiss Superman picking up ⅔ of those votes.

My prediction: Cesaro
UK Wrestling Fans team prediction: Cesaro (67%)

Kalisto(c) v Rusev – US Title Match

WWE extreme rules US Title kalisto v rusev
Photo: WWE.com

My thoughts:
To be honest, apart from a surprisingly entertaining match on the Payback Kickoff show with Ryback, Kalisto’s US title run has been flat, not helped by the WWE not treating the belt or Kalisto like a big deal. That has changed somewhat recently with Rusev’s introduction to the title picture, the man is a legitimate monster (aside from that fucking stupid loss to Sin Cara last week) and for the first time in months the US title is being fought for on the main card, rather than the kick off show. I bloody love RuRu and I don’t think it’s just my markdom for the Bulgarian Brute that makes me think he’ll get the win here. Unfortunately I think the reason he will win is so he can be the man that John Cena defeats for the belt when he returns on Memorial Day. John Cena beating a monster foreign heel, as he returns several months earlier than planned, on an American holiday that celebrates the US troops is the kind of thing that gives Vince McMahon a trouser ripping erection. Try not to dwell on that image. Anyway Rusev could certainly build the title’s prestige by going on a strong run with the belt and crushing and machka-ing everybody in his path but will more likely be fed to John do do do do Cena. Either way, I think the Bulgarian will walk out of Extreme Rules with the US championship.

UK Wrestling Fans team thoughts:
One of only two matches where the team is in 100% agreement as to the winner – everyone thinks Rusev is taking the US title belt home with him. Various other predictions have been made, including the playing up of an injury to Kalisto to help Rusev win, a Lana distraction to give the Bulgarian the win and that after Rusev wins he will be squashed by Cena.

My prediction: Rusev
UK Wrestling Fans team prediction: Rusev (100%)

Charlotte (c) v Natalya – Submission Match for the WWE Women’s Championship

extreme rules WWE Women's Title charlotte v natalya
Photo: WWE.com

My thoughts:
I can’t see any result but Charlotte retaining, as much as I’d love to see Natalya get at least one run with the Women’s Title before she ends her WWE career. There are just too many good female faces on the roster at the moment and a lack of top level heels, so keeping the title on the heel makes sense.

I see Charlotte’s victory coming in one of two ways – either she uses some underhanded tactic to live up to Ric Flair’s promise that he would be there in spirit, or she gets the win clean without her father, leading to tension between the two Flairs. Either way, Charlotte to retain.

UK Wrestling Fans team thoughts:
Not much being said here, except a couple of people wanting Natalya to win but predict Charlotte getting the victory.

My prediction: Charlotte
UK Wrestling Fans team prediction: Charlotte (83%)

The New Day (c) v Vaudevillians – Tag Team Title Match

WWE extreme rules tag team titles new day v vaudevillians
Photo: WWE.com

My thoughts:
The Vaudevillians have been excellent since their debut but I just don’t think the WWE are ready to put the belts on such a new team, especially since there are far more popular teams on the roster. Not much more to say than that really.

UK Wrestling Fans team thoughts:
Another unanimous choice as the team predicts a New Day victory.

My prediction: The New Day
UK Wrestling Fans team prediction: The New Day (100%)

Roman Reigns (c) v AJ Styles – Extreme Rules Match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

WWE World Heavyweight Championship roman reigns aj styles extreme rules
Photo: WWE.com

My thoughts:
Another easy prediction – Roman Reigns wins. AJ Styles, Mr TNA, is not taking this title from Reigns. Obviously we’ll have interference from both the Usos and the Club, unless WWE tries to make Reigns even more of an underdog by having the Club decimate and take out the Usos in their tag match earlier in the night. Realistically though I expect all four of the men to get involved and Reigns to win through.

Obviously Extreme Rules allows for outside interference and therefore a possibility of an appearance by Finn Balor, HHH or a returning Seth Rollins. I don’t think we’ll see Balor, as there has been no tension teased between The Club that could lead to a new leader being revealed. This could be the point where that tension begins though as we could easily see a miscue from the Club lead to Reigns beating Styles. I don’t see Reigns losing the belt which means we’re unlikely to see HHH or Rollins turn up, unless it’s just another way to make Reigns look stronger than ever.

UK Wrestling Fans team thoughts:
The team is largely expecting to retain the title but a few further predictions were made, including that Seth Rollins will return, that it will only be interesting if Finn Balor turns up and that neither of those things will happen and the only shenanigans will be the involvement of The Club and The Usos.

My prediction: Roman Reigns
UK Wrestling Fans team prediction: Roman Reigns (83%)

My final thoughts:
I think this will be a solid but unremarkable PPV. There’s little to get majorly excited about, I’m not expecting anything major to happen storyline wise, just a couple of feuds being put to bed, a couple of new champions crowned and probably no Balor debut.

UK Wrestling Fans final thoughts:
The rest of the team agree that there is unlikely to be much else to comment on, with one prediction of a Balor return and a prediction that we’ll get at least one McMahon segment. Which, let’s face it, is probably a pretty safe bet.

So there you go, we’ve looked into our crystal balls and that’s what we’ve seen. What do you think is going to happen this Sunday? Who’s going to win? Are there any major surprises you see coming? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @WrestlingFansGB. Alternatively yell abuse at me or tell me how great I am at @CellarDoorChris.

WWE’s Global Cruiserweight Classic: What we know, and what we want to know…

What we know about the Global Cruiserweight Classic so far… 

What is the Global Cruiserweight Classic?

Per the WWE in their initial announcement:

  “WWE Network continues to add to its already robust slate of original programming in 2016, with the newly green-lit show, Global Cruiserweight Classic, a tournament which brings together more than 30 of the greatest in-ring competitors at Full Sail University in Orlando, to vie for the right to call themselves the best cruiserweight in the world. Global Cruiserweight Classic is set to premiere Wednesday, July 13 at 9pm ET on WWE Network.

  For the first time ever, WWE invites cruiserweights from all over the world to compete in the inaugural Global Cruiserweight Classic. Thirty-two of the greatest in-ring competitors under 205 lbs. will descend upon Full Sail University in Orlando and collide over 10 weeks to earn the right to call themselves the best cruiserweight in the world.”

Whilst normally a cruiserweight would be defined as slightly heavier then 205lbs, between 220 and 230lbs, this might be down to some of WWE’s main stars falling close to that weight, and this limit allows them to better set their cruiserweights in the tournament apart.

The Series, which is now being referred to in some cases by the WWE as the Global Cruiserweight Classic, has been something brewing in the WWE for some time. The rumour mill has had talk of the Cruiserweight Division being resurrected in some form or another by the WWE for over a decade, with many names linked to a potential revival such as Frankie Kazarian and Alex Shelley.

In recent years though the growth in NXT has likely proved the WWE’s ability to produce another product separate from the main series, and also the audience interest in smaller wrestlers. Certainly with the hype WWE has tried to create around the tournament with qualifying matches occurring across the world, various big independent wrestling names being linked to the event and HHH’s enthusiasm for the venture in interviews, this is WWE looking to create something big in the Global Cruiserweight Classic.

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Damien Sandow’s Release: Another bad decision by WWE

Yesterday, the WWE did their annual spring cleaning by releasing eight of their talent – Damien Sandow, Wade Barrett, Alex Riley, Zeb Colter, Santino Marella, Cameron, and El Torito. Some of this news came as a shock to some fans, and also sadness too. One release affected the fans a lot – Damien Sandow being let go generated a lot of backlash towards WWE yesterday and also disappointment. In this article I will detail why the fans are sad about this release in particular, as this is possibly one of the most disappointing departures of recent memory for WWE.

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Source: wwe.com

Damien Sandow was one of them wrestlers who really knew how to grab their opportunity and make the most of it – which gave him the respect of the fans. After a short career on SmackDown and OVW in the early 2000s, he re-debuted on WWE TV in 2012, portraying an arrogant intellectual. In 2013, he won the Money in the Bank briefcase and had a feud with his then tag team partner Cody Rhodes over the briefcase. When he cashed in, he lost, against John Cena of all people (joking) to much dismay from the fans.

After adopting a gimmick where he became a comedic impersonator, he formed a tag team with The Miz and played his ‘stunt double’ and was renamed Damien Mizdow. Sandow’s antics while playing the character made him one of WWE’s most popular wrestlers, with the tag team winning the tag team championship. He was taken off television after the breakup of the team and had a short tag team run with Curtis Axel, making very sporadic appearances after that breakup. Although he was still gaining major pops from the fans, Sandow had his contract terminated.

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Source: wwe.com

Sandow was possibly released due to issues with the creative team, especially with the fact that they can’t find anything for him to do, which normally results in them being released. Another option could be that he asked for his release, which is believable as many wrestlers can feel ‘trapped’ while on the fringes of the WWE roster, which prompted talented wrestlers like Brian Kendrick to leave the company. It could be said that some people in creative held him in high regard, as he looked like he could be having a push in 2014-15 with his Mizdow gimmick and feud with The Miz, but nothing came to light – maybe something could have happened backstage or maybe one of WWE’s higher ups disagreeing that Sandow doesn’t have any potential.

Damien Sandow’s future is certain –he will be remaining in the wrestling industry as he has said many times that he has passion for wrestling, with a 15 year career to his name. Fuelling the rumours he’ll be wrestling on the independent circuit, he tweeted this on his Twitter account, following his release:

This is implying that he will be taking indie bookings, and it will be interesting to see if he will be able to keep his WWE name, ‘Damien Sandow’ on the indie circuit, as many people will now know him by this name. It’s possible that he could once again be called Idol or Aaron Stevens from his OVW and brief indie days, or even a new name. One thing is for sure though – Sandow’s popularity in wrestling isn’t done yet and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in Japan or Ring of Honor if he impresses on the indie circuit enough to get an exclusive signing. WWE have almost certainly made a big mistake here, and this will hopefully prove to be true if he makes a big name for himself on the independent wrestling scene.

That’s all from me today folks, but thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed the article and don’t forget to come back every day to see our new articles! You can also keep up to date with us on our official Twitter account, @wrestlingfansGB.

Phil (@badblue13)

Wrestling War 3: WWE versus everyone else

Note: In the article I use the word to describe companies that aren’t in the business sense independent, many owned or part owned by companies. The word among fans has evolved to mean a wrestling company that isn’t the WWE or TNA, lacking mainstream attention. Alternative is another word I use and it’s probably better suited.

The first wrestling war was between the WWF, the NWA, Mid-South Wrestling and the AWA during the territory era of the 60s, 70s and 80s, ending with the WWF becoming the dominant force in North American wrestling. The second wrestling war was between WWF and WCW in the 90s, ending in WWF purchasing WCW and roundly defeating them in the ensuing Invasion Feud. Whilst for a while TNA tried to start a war with the WWE, WWE chose to ignore them and never truly started anything significant. But right now I’m beginning to believe we are on the verge of a third Wrestling War, or as close as we’re ever going to come to one in this day and age, where the rest of the wrestling world finds themselves fending off the WWE’s encroaches.

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Source: wwe.com

The WWE’s direction has begun to change in recent years. For the decade following the end of WCW, it was an undeniable fact that as the only big game in town, they decided what was fashionable in wrestling, they could push who they wanted and known they wouldn’t suffer overly from a mistake in the grand scheme of things. While HHH and John Cena had detractors, the detracting opinions were never worth enough to convince the WWE to change their minds on the direction they wanted their company to grow. In recent years, these contrary voices have started to gain some value.

Companies like Ring of Honor have slowly grown to become capable of producing a television program that airs in many states of the U.S and also other countries, as well as Pay Per View events. New Japan have been able to split their attentions between not just the Japanese fans who are the base of the company, but also to a Western audience prepared to invest time and money into the product. Lucha Undergound has given exposure to AAA and the Mexican scene of wrestling, stars their now being booked in the U.S.A and Canada to continue to spread their influence. When Progress Wrestling began in 2012 they were told that London was not a viable home for wrestling shows, but 4 years later their shows sell out in under an hour, making them another success story in Britain along with Revolution Pro Wrestling, Preston City Wrestling and Scotland’s Insane Championship Wrestling which in 2015 hosted the biggest wrestling show in the country’s history since Big Daddy and Giant Haystacks wrestled in Wembley Stadium in 1981. None of these shows and promotions are big players like the WWE, but they are players of note, the dissenting voices came behind them when the WWE was no longer an option and helped them grow, find more supporters and become of value. That is when WWE finally began to take notice.

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SPOILER ALERT: Or how I learned to stop reading dirtsheets and love the surprise…

Warning, the following article spoils: Lucha Underground Episode ‘Aztec Warfare’, the main event of Wrestlemania 30, large portions of PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles 2015, the end of Summer Slam 2013, a Smackdown from several months ago, some TNA stuff from last year, some more Lucha Underground Season 2 stuff that’s aired, the main events of Royal Rumble 2015 and a Newcastle/Stoke fixture from September 2014… because it would just feel hypocritical not putting good spoiler warnings on an article like this…

Recently I made a decision regarding my wrestling habits: No more spoilers. For the shows I watch that are pre-recorded, I would no longer read any results of the tapings, and for the shows I was watching after they’d aired, I’d also do my utmost to avoid spoilers, going internet free if such a thing was possible. In the most recent episodes of Lucha Underground major developments unfolded, and for all my enjoyment there is just something lacking from knowing what the outcome is. When Dario Cueto unveiled his brother to the Temple and the remaining 8 Luchadors all gather together to face him, there’s only so much you can get into the match when you know how it ends. Likewise I looked up the results of Wrestlemania 30 the next morning and watched the PPV after work, I was never really able to freak out at near falls like others did when they had no idea if that was going to be the final fall. Ultimately the surprise of not knowing the actual outcome is the biggest factor in enjoying the big matches.

This proves to be a big problem. Not wanting to be spoiled is a very difficult problem if you’re a wrestling fan with the Internet, and it feels at times like the Internet sides with the people who want to be spoiled rather than those seeking out surprise. Promotions like PWG or Progress perform their shows to a live audience, then some time later release a DVD or a Stream of the event to everyone else. Last year I wanted to avoid all spoilers on PWG’s Battle of Los Angeles. I went overboard, when any reference to any wrestler in the tournament was mentioned in an Internet forum, I left. As the days rolled along I thought I was safe from random internet users spoiling it for me, and I mostly was, I just never anticipated another source.

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Can WWE get The Bullet Club right?

It is no secret that at some point in the next few months it is expected that the WWE will debut the ‘Machine Gun’ Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows formally of NJPW’s Bullet Club stable. The Bullet Club whose merchandise can easily be seen in the front row of any televised pro wrestling event, helped to usher in an era of increased attention on the Japanese wrestling product and did this by appealing to elements that seemed to be passé in current trends of professional wrestling.

From the Young Bucks ‘Suck It’ taunts and superkick parties to the re-emergence of The Kliq or Too Sweet hand gesture, the Bullet Club were able to pull on the heartstrings and nostalgia of a lot of wrestling fans who yearned for something as cool as they remembered the nWo to be… admittedly before Vincent and Horace Hogan were allowed in. Part of the appeal of The Bullet Club was the attitude of the group seeming to thrive on the language barrier between themselves and the Japanese audience (and not afraid of some less than PG language) The group was able to use elements of 90’s pro wrestling in way that bordered on the parody but still maintained a level of cool that is unrivalled in the recent memory bar perhaps the CM Punk promos of 2011.

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The Man Called Sting

We have to say good-bye to the man called Sting, some say earlier than most but after 30 years is there much left to ask for.  The first memory that I have of Sting is from 1990 when all I knew was Hogan and the Ultimate Warrior, but then I found out about Sting.  Sting did everything in his career except win the WWE title and compete in the Royal Rumble;  but you still can’t take away anything from the man.  This past Saturday Sting was inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame and announced his retirement.  The timing was perfect and with a room full of his peers he decided it was time to go.  I for one don’t think that this is the end; but we all know that at his age (57) and the neck injury suffered in his last match with Seth Rollins it may be the smartest move at this point in time.

Looking back at the short WWE run the question has to be asked what else is left to see?  We all wanted the match with the Undertaker and for whatever reason we never got to see the two legends face off.  Last year would have been the right time to have that match and even with Undertaker’s part-time schedule the build might not have been organic, but the truth is no one would have cared how they would have met as long as it happened.  Instead we got a match between Sting and Triple H at WrestleMania.  Sting was brought in to dismantle the Authority being built as the “Vigilante” Sting that didn’t belong in the WWE acting as though he was the last remains of WCW coming to fight the last battle of the Monday Night Wars.  That whole feud seemed like one long commercial for the WWE Network (which is only $9.99) to bring up subscribers before the years biggest event.

Well Sting lost that match, but it didn’t matter because we all got treated to Sting in a WWE ring.  The story didn’t continue until 6 months later where he appeared and ruined the apparent Seth Rollins statue ceremony to lead to a Night of Champions title match.  I remember this being one of the few times that I marked out sitting alone hoping that the man I had watched since I was 6 years old do something that I thought he never would by, winning the WWE Championship.  That didn’t happen that night, but what he proved that night was that he not just a novelty bought in to sell tickets, he’d had one his best matches in his last fifties with someone who wasn’t even born when Sting started his career.

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No one ever had a bad thing to say about Sting, and especially in the internet age where stories about your favourite childhood wrestler come out, and you get to see the dark side of the business and the way things really worked behind the curtain.  With all the politics and backstabbing that goes hand and hand with the top guys wanting to cling to spots and not put people over Sting was seemed to be the model employee and always willing to do business as needed.  Throughout his whole career he always found a way to reinvent himself and help build the business up.  It’s hard to overlook his run in TNA and all the great matches that he had there and crop of young talent he was able to work with during that time.

If this is the end I’m perfectly fine with that, one of the best wrestling careers ever.  We got to see him wrestle almost everyone that we wanted and the ones that he didn’t left with the chance to fantasy book all those great matches that never happened.  Thank you Sting for all the memories.

Francisco – you can follow me on Twitter here and also find the links to my podcast ‘The Podcast of 1004 Holds’.

Swagsuke Arrives

When the violin kicked in moments into the debut of Shinsuke Nakamura at NXT Takeover: Dallas you could sense that the viewers were in for something special. CFO$ the WWE in house music production duo created a theme befitting of the theatrical and charismatic Nakamura and instantly created a classic debut moment before Nakamura was even witnessed by the excited crowd. By the time Shinsuke Nakamura swaggered down to the ring many who didn’t already know about the Japanese superstar would have been sold on his entrance alone. Nakamura, famed in Japan for his charismatic entrances and influenced by a mix of Michael Jackson and Freddy Mercury entered the ring watched by a visibly impressed Sami Zayn and together put on arguably the performance of the weekend.

The WWE rumour mill and hype train began gathering steam in the weeks following Wrestle Kingdom 10 where many outlets reported that Nakamura alongside AJ Styles and the Bullet Club duo of Luke Gallows and ‘Machine Gun’ Karl Anderson were in talks with WWE and could be leaving at the end of their current NJPW contracts. This was confirmed on the21st February on WWE.com which confirmed Nakamura’s signing and began initiating the WWE audience to Nakamura and his `Strong Style’

As a bonifide band wagon jumper my first experiences of Shinsuke Nakamura came after stumbling across Reddit Squared Circle and seeing Nakamura’s name mentioned in such high regard. It was through the forum that I was first exposed to the Japanese work style with its stiff strikes and Shinsuke seemed to be one of the finest exponents of this. I bought in and even grabbed one of the sweet ‘King of Strong Style’ T Shirts to go with my new fandom.
Fast forward to January of this year when Shinsuke Nakamura went up against AJ Styles of the white hot Bullet Club stable at Wrestle Kingdom 10 in the Tokyo Dome and put on a clinic whilst fighting for Nakamura’s Intercontinental Championship. AJ Styles would fall short on this occasion after a brutal contest culminating in the incredibly stiff looking Boma Ye knee strike securing victory for Shinsuke Nakamura.

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WrestleMania 32 Facts

  1. The match between Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks is the longest women’s match in the History of Wrestlemania. Its 16:03 time limit is almost 5 minutes longer than the second place holder. At first I thought this would be a tedious task reviewing all the Wrestlemania cards for the women matches and their times, then I quickly realised I just needed to look up the times, as 16:03 is one of the longer matches in Wrestlemania History, for example, the Title match also happens to be longer then every match wrestled at WrestleMania 1, 2, 3 and 4. An appropriate statistic to back up what was Match of the Night. The fun part though is who it beat to become longest match…

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  1. In an impressive feat for women’s wrestling, the 10 person tag match between Team Total Diva’s (Paige, Eva Marie, Natalya, Alicia Fox and Brie Bella) against Team Miscellaneous Diva’s (Naomi, Tamina, Lana, Emma and Summer Rae) was the longest match in Women’s wrestling history, for a few hours. The two matches are also the only two women’s matches to go over 10 minutes, the tag match benefiting from a 2 hour pre-show which afforded the wrestlers a good amount of time to work. This was also the first time a Wrestlemania Card featured two women’s matches since Wrestlemania 20, where Victoria beat Molly Holly to retain the women’s Championship and role models for little girls everywhere, Torrie Wilson, Sable, Stacey Keibler and Miss Jackie ripped off their evening gowns and announced they were to have a match in their bras and panties to a hooting crowd, ending when Torrie Wilson rolled up Miss Jackie and pulled down her underwear for the enthusiastic crowd to see. Girl Power!

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Moving on from the longest to the shortest…

  1. The Rock did indeed have the shortest match (in what felt like the longest blood segment) in Wrestlemania History against Erick Rowan at 6 seconds, narrowly edging out Chavo Guerrero and Kane who managed 11 extreme seconds for the ECW Championship at Wrestlemania 24. The Rock has now appeared at the last 5 Mania’s, getting his current run close to his old run of 8 Mania’s between 13-20. Speaking of runs…

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