Archive for the ‘Wrestling’ Category

TMZ Reports Hulk Hogan is Returning to WWE (UPDATED)

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

TMZ reports this week that Hulk Hogan will be returning to WWE this Monday night on Raw.

WWE has followed this report up with an announcement that Hogan will be hosting Wrestlemania XXX.

The celebrity news site noted Hogan has been training at the WWE performance center (as evidenced by the photo at right), and apparently plans to get physical in the ring.

TMZ reports Hogan is also slated to appear at Wrestlemania XXX, though it is unclear what that role will be.

Image from tmz.com.

 Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Share

A WWE Elimination Chamber Preview – A Game of Chicken (UPDATED W/RESULTS)

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

That’s right, the title said “A Game of Chicken.” As in, you’ve got two cars driving toward one another, and unless somebody yields and swerves off the road, you’re going to have a car wreck on your hands. WWE seems to be playing chicken with the main event of Wrestemania XXX. Or at least, that’s what they were doing when the Royal Rumble aired.

When Daniel Bryan did not enter the Royal Rumble match, we saw what many considered to be a full fledged revolt by the Pittsburgh crowd. To an extent, it was actually really cool to see the fans be that passionate about the WWE, and wrestling in general. Not only that, but Hall of Famers like Mick Foley and Stone Cold Steve Austin were calling WWE out for bad booking decisions. Heck, the response to the Royal Rumble match might have been a big factor in why CM Punk walked out on WWE.

So the Royal Rumble got a hugely negative response from the fans. They’re giving us Batista as the big babyface at Wrestlemania, when clearly the fans want Daniel Bryan in that spot. Elimination Chamber is the final pay per view before Wrestlemania, and the following night, the WWE Network launches. If WWE is going to make a change, now is the time…

The eyes of the wrestling world are on Minneapolis, Minnesota this weekend.

PRE-SHOW MATCH:
Cody Rhodes & Goldust vs. Ryback & Curtis Axel

I was heartbroken to read Goldust’s tweet earlier this month that he won’t be facing his brother Cody at Wrestlemania XXX. That seems like a waste of a perfectly good Wrestlemania match spot. Although I suppose he did have a point when he said it wouldn’t get the attention it deserves. If there’s ever a pay per view where good matches could potentially get lost in the shuffle, it’s Wrestlemania XXX. But the sad thing is, the Rhodes brothers might very well be lost in the shuffle already. Look who they’re working with, for cryin’ out loud. This month’s pre-show might as well be called Lost in Space, because everybody in this match is just sort of floating out in orbit, hoping to catch a tether that’ll lead them to someplace good. I see the Rhodes brothers picking up a win here. As lost as they are, they’re not quite as lost as the former Paul Heyman guys…

Rob’s Prediction: Cody Rhodes & Goldust
WINNERS: Cody Rhodes & Goldust

Darren Young vs. Titus O’Neil

As I’ve said, it’s a pleasant surprise to see this match on a pay per view card. It’s a hell of an opportunity for both guys. For the record, the Prime Time Players never did get their due. Titus O’Neil in particular, has such great charisma. That’s why, the more I think about it, the more I see this match as a platform to launch Titus to that next level. Darren has a great look, and he had an awesome moment last year when he became the first openly gay wrestler to be on the active WWE roster. But it’s always been pretty clear that Titus was going to be the breakout star of the team. Thus, Titus will go over here, and Darren will probably end up in another tag team eventually.

Rob’s Prediction: Titus O’Neil
WINNER: Titus O’Neil

WWE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
Big E. (c) vs. Jack Swagger  

This match seems to serve two purposes. Firstly, it gives Big E. (What does the E stand for, anyway?) another high profile victory. Secondly, it continues to take us toward yet another feud between former tag partners, i.e. Jack Swagger and Cesaro. WWE has been sending Jack in that “jealous tag partner” direction for weeks now. And I imagine a loss here, combined with what I can only assume will be a great performance by Cesaro in the main event, will be enough to finally break the Real Americans up. Yet another tag team that never really got its due. But then again, I’d say Cesaro is more suited for singles competition. As for Swagger, how he’ll fare from here largely depends on how well he can behave himself. He screwed himself out of what might have been the beginning of a World Heavyweight Title run at Wrestlemania XXIX. At this rate, he might not even make the show this year…

Rob’s Prediction: Big E.
WINNER: Big E.

WWE TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The New Age Outlaws (c) vs. The Usos

The time is coming for the Usos. They’ve definitely earned it. They’ve been working at it since 2010, and as such their journey to the tag belts has an old school feel to it. They’ve honed their craft, and become the best tag team WWE has right now. But they’ll have to wait just a bit longer for their big payoff. The Usos should get their reward at Wrestlemania, in what I expect will be a nice passing of the torch moment with the Outlaws. WWE might wants to throw a couple of other teams in there and make it a fourway tag match to spice things up a bit. But as far as the tag team division goes over the next month or so, Elimination Chamber belongs to the New Age Outlaws, but Wrestlemania belongs to The Usos.

Rob’s Prediction: The New Age Outlaws
WINNERS: The New Age Outlaws

Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio

Boy, THIS is a hell of a match. Boring vs. Bland. It’s tough to remember a pay per view match I’ve wanted to see less. Or for that matter, was easier to predict. Batista beats Del Rio and goes on to do whatever he ends up doing at Wrestlemania. You’ve got to believe plans have changed in the wake of the Royal Rumble. Either way, I can almost guarantee you those plans don’t involve Alberto Del Rio. So let’s get this one overwith and move on with our lives.

Rob’s Prediction: Batista
WINNER: Batista

The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family

Like a lot of fans, I’m thrilled we’re getting to see this match before the Shield breaks up, which could presumably happen any day now. As both these factions have been built up as unstoppable forces, this really feels like an epic collision. I’m hoping the fans will cheer this good booking decision as loudly as they booed last month’s bad ones. The only downside is that the winner is somewhat obvious. The Wyatts beat the Shield, leading to a blow up between Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose, leading to a United States Title Match at Wrestlemania. The only question is where Seth Rollins lands. He certainly doesn’t deserve to sit on the sidelines. He’s been too good at his job. In any event, the Wyatts will rightfully emerge from Elimination Chamber as WWE’s most dominant faction. And frankly, I’d be surprised if they didn’t have a say in what happens with John Cena in the main event. That is, unless plans have changed since the Royal Rumble. They may very well have, considering the Wyatts and Cena haven’t interacted very much on screen since that night.

Rob’s Prediction: The Wyatt Family
WINNERS: The Wyatt Family

ELIMINATION CHAMBER MATCH FOR WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE:
Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus vs. Christian vs. Cesaro

It’s interesting to me that Christian is still in this match. Nothing against him, of course. But considering what happened on Raw this past Monday, and how they played up the fact that he was the only one who hadn’t pinned Randy Orton recently, it wouldn’t surprise me to see somebody beat him up and take his spot in the Chamber. I’m not necessarily expecting it, mind you. But it wouldn’t surprise me if Brock Lesnar, Kane, or (dare I even mention him…) CM Punk worked their way into the match.

The obvious winner here is Randy Orton. The original plan was obviously to send he and Batista to the main event of Wrestlemania XXX. The question is, has WWE decided to end this game of chicken with the fans, and actually put Daniel Bryan in that spot. But Daniel Bryan is in a similar position the Usos are in. The idea of giving him the belt at Elimination Chamber kind of sucks. He deserves to get it at the biggest show of the year. So I think what they need to do is have Orton win here, and then have something big happen the following night on Raw (the night the WWE Network launches) where someone comes out and changes the main event. At this point, they really don’t have a choice, do they? I don’t care how badly they want that cross promotion thing with Marvel, Batista, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Having the fans crap on what’s supposed to be the biggest match of the year, at supposedly the biggest event in 10 years, would be a terrible black eye on the brand.

Rob’s Prediction: Randy Orton
WINNER: Randy Orton

 Front page from sbnation.com. All interior images from WWE.com. 

 Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Share

Cesaro, Cena, Emma, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

I’ve been fixated on this video for days now. It’s a vignette for Jeff Hardy’s return to TNA as a bizarre character called Willow. It’s such a train wreck, and I just can’t look away…

What the hell is he even saying? And why is he wandering around in the woods?

This is simply the latest TNA creative decision that has left me scratching my head. I have absolutely no desire to see more of Willow, and he hasn’t even entered an arena yet. Yes, Jeff Hardy is awesome to watch in the ring. But if we have more of these high-pitched B.S. promos to look forward to, I think I’ll take a pass.

Thoughts From Raw:

- Tonight’s John Cena/Cesaro match was awesome, obviously. What I came away thinking about was Cena’s awesome counter to the big swing. Cesaro had him dangling by the damn legs, but Cena curled up and hit him with a DDT! How much core strength do you think that takes? Amazing. But of course, Cesaro was the one who came out looking like a star, as he’s done numerous times in the past.

- Perhaps I’m being too optimistic here, but it seems like WWE might be changing their minds about putting Daniel Bryan in the main event of Wrestlemania XXX. Bryan got the opening match of the night, had a solid outing with Christian, and WWE seemed to position his entrance into the opening promo with the idea that he’d get the biggest reaction out of the six men in the ring. Meanwhile, Batista said a line or two in a pre-tape. Maybe, just maybe, they’re doing the right thing after all…

- Titus O’Neil and Darren Young have a match at Elimination Chamber? That’s a surprise from where I sit, albeit a pleasant one. I’d have thought those two were too low on the card to merit a pay per view match. Hopefully they can take advantage of the opportunity. I’m interested to see what Titus does as a heel. For my money, he’s got a really likable personality, and it might be hard for fans to boo him for long. But as a bad guy, he’s definitely got a bit more freedom. So perhaps this is the best thing for him.

- I was glad to see WWE give Emma that little video package this week, so the fans know she’s not just some weirdo from the crowd. I’m actually looking forward to seeing what she can do in the ring, which is more than I can say for most of the new crop of ladies I’ve seen on WWE TV lately. And at the very least, she’s in good company as far as previous Santino Marella love interests are concerned: Beth Phoenix, Maria Kanellis, Tamina Snuka. Now if only we could get her a last name…

- But apparently, full names are passe in WWE these days. As we heard last week, Big E. Langston is now simply known as Big E., and Antonio Cesaro’s name has been cut down to just Cesaro. I specifically remember reading that Vince McMahon didn’t think Antonio was a good name for a tough guy to have. I suppose Hall of Famer Antonio Inoki was a fluke then, huh? How about Antonio Rocca?

- Jim Ross made some interesting comments on Kofi Kingston last week: ”I think that Kofi is due a persona change. He’s got an upside that hasn’t been tapped and unless his TV persona is changed he’s going to be perceived just as he has over the past few years. Kofi is a talent WWE can make a main eventer out of.” Couldn’t agree more. Kofi’s become a bit of a joke, and he’s definitely due for a career makeover. It seems like every time he gets a bit of momentum, it gets squashed.

- The Wyatt Family cut a hell of a promo this week. And oddly enough, while Bray did most of the talking, it was Luke Harper and Erick Rowan who made it special. The “Are you willing to die for this?” line by Harper was the kind of thing we don’t normally hear on WWE TV, and Rowan simply saying “Run” from behind the sheep mask was like something out of a horror flick. Excellent work by all three men.

- So we’ve got the New Age Outlaws against the Usos this Sunday, huh? Alright, fair enough. We can establish a rivalry that way. But I don’t see the Usos taking the straps until Wrestlemania. Incidentally, I was surprised at how well Jimmy Uso held his own on commentary with the Road Dogg. I’d forgotten these guys have personality. I wouldn’t be opposed to them getting on the mic a bit more.

- I absolutely buy Roman Reigns as a future star, but don’t buy his “Superman Punch” as a big move.

- You know what else I don’t buy? This guy Alexander Rusev. It’s all in the eyes. He’s got this lady with him cutting these “evil foreigner” type promos, but the look he’s giving the camera is way too soft. I don’t see him as a destroyer at all.

- I’m enjoying the Black History Month video packages WWE is doing. On this week’s Ron Simmons retrospective, I had to rewind the DVR to catch that powerslam on Big Van Vader again. That’s uncanny strength. Un. Canny.

- Mark Henry is a believable big man who has developed into a heck of a star, yet is being used as fodder for other big men like Reigns and Brock Lesnar.

- Well, the Los Matadores gimmick hasn’t gotten any less stupid since we last saw it.

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Share

The Deserving Daredevil, and other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

- Very happy to see Lita going into the Hall of Fame. No woman in WWE history has ever been able to consistently do the things she used to do in the ring. And what’s more, she was different, she was unique, she was memorable. She was everything that most of today’s female WWE talent is not. Here was a woman who helped make the women’s division something that was capable of being in the main event spot on Raw. To this day, I remember she and Trish main eventing the show for the Women’s Title. Would that ever happen today? Hell no. Despite some of the demeaning things she had to do during her run with Edge, and the horrible exit she was given, she was a trailblazer. The real life Amy Dumas is more than deserving of this honor.

- I was a sucker for all the Betty White stuff this week. What can I say? She makes almost anything better.

- Batista had a great night. It was a nice reminder of what it’s supposed to mean for “the Animal” to be unleashed. I still don’t want him in the main event of Wrestlemania XXX, but it was a nice moment.

- Randy Orton going on that mini-rant after hearing those “Same ol’ sh*t” chants was hilarious.

- I was terribly remiss last week when I failed to commend Cody Rhodes on his spectacular moonsault from the top of a damn steel cage. He didn’t get much of Road Dogg when he landed, but it was still a sight to see. And to his credit, he didn’t miss a beat this week.

- The finale of the Wyatt Family’s six-man tag against the Rhodes brothers and Rey Mysterio was awesome. Bray’s “Sister Abigail’s Kiss” on Rey was a hell of an exclamation point.

- So where was Brock Lesnar this week? Where was Paul Heyman? Are we going to pay off the whole “Brock wants a title shot” thing?

- Speaking of missing pay offs, are we forgetting that the Wyatts attacked Cena at the Royal Rumble? Or are we waiting until after Elimination Chamber to build that one up again?

- There’s been a decent amount of buzz lately about WWE unifying the United States and Intercontinental Championships. Personally, I don’t think it’s necessary. Just make the IC belt for the upper midcard guys, and the US belt for the lower card guys. Make a point of distinguishing what level you have to be at, or what pool you have to be in to compete for each title, so they’re not parallel goals. It’s not the end of the world if the belts are unified, but there’s really no need for it as far as I’m concerned.

- So the Emma dance is basically the same thing as the “Fandangoing” dance, only your arms go out to your sides except up and down.

- The John Cena press release promo was back in full force this week. Ugh.

- Nice to see the New Age Outlaws and the Usos in the same segment. Makes me think a title match between the two teams is indeed in the works for Wrestlemania XXX.

Front page image from thewrestlingmania.com. Image 1 from fanpop.com. Image 2 from wwe.com.

 Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition

Share

Pining For Punk, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

- Sadly, the biggest story coming out of this week’s Raw was the absence of CM Punk. Of course, the wrestling world has been buzzing all week about Punk walking out on the company before last week’s Raw. Reportedly, Punk wasn’t happy about the direction his character was going, and was also dealing with his share of pain and injuries. Of course, it’s easy to demonize Punk for “taking his ball and going home,” much like Steve Austin did years ago. But of course, so few people know the real story. And considering that Punk’s interests typically tend to line up with those of the fans, I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt for now. If nothing else, this controversy will fuel the fire for Punks return, if/when WWE can convince him to do so.

- Another person conspicuous by his absence this week? John Cena. No corny “press release promo” about Elimination Chamber, no rant against Randy Orton’s conspiracy theories, no interaction with the Wyatt Family, nothing. I’m not really complaining. It’s just odd not to see him on Raw.

- This week’s main event between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan seems to be getting positive reviews thus far. It was a slower-paced match to be certain, but it also allowed Bryan and Orton to flex some technical wrestling muscles that we don’t always get to see. Hell, even Kurt Angle, who is still signed to TNA, took to Twitter to commend them. And how about that? Bryan even got the win. Maybe there’s hope for Wrestlemania XXX after all…

- I’m loving the stuff between the Wyatts and the Shield. I don’t know if it’s appropriate to call this a “dream match,” but it’s one fans have been wanting to see for awhile. The dueling promos were a great touch. It’ll definitely be interesting to see what all this hungry talent does in the ring at Elimination Chamber.

- So it looks like we’re getting Batista vs. Alberto Del Rio at the pay per view. Ugh. And I thought I couldn’t be less interested in seeing Batista wrestle again.

- Sheamus’ act is just as stale and white meat as it was when he got hurt. I’d say it’s time to either turn him heel again, or give him something more interesting to do. At this point, it looks like he’s just killing time until Elimination Chamber.

- Speaking of broken up tag teams, I was incredibly disappointed to see the Prime Time Players break up on Smackdown last week. As a team, Titus O’Neil and Darren Young were both entertaining and athletic, and quite frankly, they never got their due. As a heel, hopefully Titus can capitalize on some of the obvious potential he has. But I’m curious about where Darren Young will go. He’s never had Titus’ charisma, and he may want to find himself a new partner ASAP.

- So Christian made it into the Elimination Chamber match, huh? Good for him. But of course, if WWE changes their mind and wants to insert somebody else, he’s the first on the chopping block.

- As for Antonio Cesaro’s presence in the match, I’m wondering about how wise it is to keep him heel, and turn Swagger into a babyface, as they appear to be doing. Still, I’d certainly be interested in an Antonio Cesaro vs. Jack Swagger match.

- Did somebody forget to tell the sound guy that the Road Dogg talks through his entrance music? He’s still a hell of a lot of fun to watch in the ring, though. “What are we doin’ in here?” Ha!

- While it was fantastic to see the tag team titles defended inside a cage, to an extent, the match was a bit of a disappointment. It was essentially a regular tag match inside the cage, as opposed to a steel cage match. Still, things definitely picked up toward the end. Cody Rhodes gave us a hell of a finale with that moonsault off the top of the cage.

- Betty White is guest hosting next week? That’s a riot. I can’t wait to see what they do with her.

Images from WWE.com.

 Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition

Share

Daniel Bryan, Batista, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Other Ponderings from WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

- So here’s my question: Who’s manipulating who?

- If you’re a wrestling fan and you haven’t been under a rock with cotton in your ears, you know Batista won the Royal Rumble match on Sunday. More importantly, you know that the fans absolutely crapped on it. After poor Rey Mysterio came out as number 30, and it became clear that Daniel Bryan, the man the Pittsburgh crowd had been chanting for all night, was not going to be in the match, the crowd revolted. The internet exploded. Fans were panning WWE, Batista, the pay per view, everything. Even Hall of Famer Mick Foley went on a rant, talking about how disgusted he was with WWE for not listening to their audience. As of Sunday, it appeared as if our main event for Wrestlemania XXX would be Randy Orton against Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, with Daniel Bryan, and seemingly the opinion of the majority of WWE fans, cast aside.

Then came this week’s Raw. We kicked off the show with Bryan in the ring with the Authority in the ring, and he’s essentially saying what the fans have been saying for the past 24 hours. Listen to your audience, the fans were chanting for him during the Rumble, etc. Fast forward to the end of the show, and we’ve got Bryan, along with John Cena and Sheamus, qualified to compete for the title at Elimination Chamber next month, and thus face Batista at Wrestlemania.

So now the question becomes: Did WWE change their plans after sending the fans home disgusted from the Rumble, or was this the plan all along?

Obviously, I don’t know the answer. But to me, this looks like a rewrite, designed to send Bryan to Wrestlemania to defend the championship against Batista. And heck, Stephanie even called Batista the Authority’s “close personal friend” or something, right? It would fit right into the idea of the Authority trying to hold down Daniel Bryan because he’s not “best for business.” Even at 45 years of age, Batista still fits that muscle-bound WWE mold perfectly.

On the other hand, that scenario presents a problem. Daniel Bryan is a tremendous underdog. That’s one of the reasons why WWE fans love him so much. But giving him the championship takes a lot of that away from him. So WWE would have to really play up the size difference between Batista and Bryan, and if you’ll allow a bizarre comparison, create a scenario akin to the climax of Jack and the Beanstalk. Bryan has stolen the WWE’s golden harp, and now they’ve sent the giant, Batista, chasing after him. Instead of Bryan trying to claw his way back to the top of WWE, it becomes a story about him trying to escape the wrath of this monster Batista.

Is this the ideal scenario for Wrestlemania XXX? No. But assuming Orton vs. Batista was indeed the plan for Wrestlemania, I’d say WWE doesn’t have much of a choice but to change course.

There IS another option, however, and that’s to put Batista against Brock Lesnar at Elimination Chamber, and have Brock beat Batista for his Wrestlemania spot. From where I’m sitting, that’s the more appealing match. When Lesnar and Paul Heyman came to the ring during the Batista/Randy Orton segment, the entire scene became much more compelling. Lesnar is a hotter heel, and a better all around attraction than both Orton and Batista. People can question Lesnar’s passion for the business all they want. But he’s such a damn superstar, it almost doesn’t matter. Bryan vs. Brock, with Paul Heyman doing the big man’s mic work. Now there’s a main event for you.

- So we’re doing the Rey Mysterio/Sin Cara tag team again, huh? I’ve got no issues with that. At the very least, it adds even more depth to the tag team division. WWE seems to be playing it very safe with the very injury prone Rey Mysterio these days. From that angle, it makes a lot of sense to put him in a tag team again, especially one where Sin Cara can do a lot of the high-flying maneuvers that Rey can’t physically do anymore.

- So is Dolph Ziggler going to be billed from Cleveland now? He’s always been announced as being from Hollywood, Florida. Incidentally, knowing Ziggler, I’m not sure that 69 on his jersey was PG.

- VERY happy to see that Jake “The Snake” Roberts is being inducted into the Hall of Fame this year. At this point, I think the fact that Roberts has seemingly overcome his personal demons almost supersedes his accomplishments in the ring. Consider how long this man has battled addiction. To have finally conquered it after all this time, and after so many attempts, is simply awesome. For that alone, he deserves this honor.

- I literally laughed out loud when Cody Rhodes went for his moonsault on the Road Dogg, and Dogg cried “Look out! Look out!” and bolted from the ring. Honestly, they don’t make teams as entertaining as the Outlaws anymore. That’s obviously part of the reason they got their belts back on the Royal Rumble pre-show. My only complaint was that it shouldn’t have been on the pre-show. They should have been on the pay per view itself.

- I would say we’ve seen the beginnings of a rift between Cody Rhodes and Goldust, which will hopefully lead to a match between the two at Wrestlemania. Based on some of the things Cody was doing in the ring this week, my guess is we’ll see him go heel on Goldust. I imagine it would be difficult to get a Wrestlemania crowd to boo a veteran like him, much less one with such a beloved character.

Front page image, image 1, image 2, and image 3 from wwe.com. Image 4 from sportskeeda.com. 

 Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition

Share

A Preview of WWE Royal Rumble 2014 – Keep “The Animal” on His Leash… (UPDATED W/ RESULTS)

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

More than any yearly event WWE puts on, the Royal Rumble can sell itself on its premise alone. The Royal Rumble match itself is exciting enough to keep even the most passive of fans glued to their screens. Fresh faces coming in every two minutes, never knowing who’s coming next, the countdown, the buzzer, the music. It’s a hell of a lot of fun to watch the Royal Rumble match. But based on how things look now, and who it looks like the winner will be, I get the sense we won’t be having quite as much fun this year…

PRE-SHOW MATCH FOR WWE TAG TEAM TITLES:
Cody Rhodes & Goldust (c) vs. The New Age Outlaws

As a long time fan, this match is really surreal. It’s 2014, and yet we’ve got Goldust, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn competing in a title match. And what’s even more surreal? I expect the Outlaws, who haven’t held the titles together since 2000, to take the belts home. Why not? They’re Triple H’s old DX buddies, so now he’s giving them the rub by thrusting them into the center of the tag team division, and allowing them to screw Cody Rhodes and Goldust out of the titles. This, of course, could not only open the door for a rift between the Rhodes brothers, but allow for the Outlaws to drop the belts to an up and coming team at Wrestlemania XXX (the Usos come to mind immediately). So why not? In the interest of furthering a storyline, and putting an new team over at the biggest show of the year, let’s let the Outlaws have one more run. It’s kind of fitting, what with the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania coming up, that one of the company’s greatest teams of all time gets the torch again.

Rob’s Prediction: The New Age Outlaws
WINNERS: The New Age Outlaws

Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt

I’m pretty much ready for Bryan to take Bray down and be done with this whole Wyatt Family thing. It hasn’t been a waste, obviously. Seeing the crowd go nuts when he turned on Bray was a thing of absolute beauty, and it set him up beautifully to win the Royal Rumble…if only he was in the damn thing (more on that in a bit). I can only assume Bryan will be part of the Elimination Chamber match at next month’s pay per view. But if he’s not going to be in the main event at Wrestlemania, then who do they put him with at the show of shows? Kane? Maybe put him with CM Punk and let them paint a masterpiece? Either way, Bryan and the Wyatts should part ways here.

Rob’s Prediction: Daniel Bryan
WINNER: Bray Wyatt

Brock Lesnar vs. The Big Show

It’s interesting to see how compelling this program between Brock and the Big Show has become, at least in my eyes, simply based off of last week’s Raw. Seeing Show gut wrench Brock over the top rope like that was the shot in the arm that was needed to make this feud, which really isn’t based on much from a personality standpoint, something interesting. WWE has painted Big Show as the one person capable of manhandling Brock Lesnar, and perhaps taming the “beast incarnate.” In terms of the actual match, I expect Big Show to toss Brock around a little more, before Lesnar finally goes the submission route and makes the giant tap out. But much like Bryan, Brock’s role going into Wrestlemania seems to be a toss up at this point. It’s been made clear, in no uncertain terms, that Brock wants the WWE Championship. So is he headed to the main event at Wrestlemania? Or are we possibly looking at a Brock vs. Undertaker match? So many questions…

Rob’s Prediction: Brock Lesnar
WINNER: Brock Lesnar

WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena

This match sucks. And no, it’s got nothing to do with Randy Orton or John Cena. It’s the fact that they’ve gone in reverse on the hype scale. They’ve lowered the stakes, rather than upping them. This program may have shot its wad too early, so to speak, but putting these two in a TLC match last month. Obviously, that’s one a match that’s widely celebrated for being such a violent car wreck of a show. So where do you go from there? How do make the next match one of equal, or increased anticipation. Well, if you’re WWE creative, apparently the answer is to put them in a regular one-on-one match. As I’ve said numerous times, I’m not a wrestling booker. But as a fan, that baffles me. In any event, I expect Orton to come out of this one with the championship. I have no issues with Randy going into Wrestlemania as champion. Cena said something during the build up to TLC about Orton about Orton having a certain arrogance during their Ohio Valley Wrestling days, which he’s never really lost. Whether that’s true or not, Orton has always had a naturally smug vibe about him, which makes for a great wrestling villain. But if Orton is indeed going to the main event of Wrestlemania, then he needs to work with a great hero. Sadly, it doesn’t seem like that’s going to happen…

Rob’s Prediction: Randy Orton
WINNER: Randy Orton

2014 Royal Rumble Match

Some years the Royal Rumble simply isn’t as compelling because there’s an obvious winner. Sadly, 2014 seems to be one of those years. Barring WWE doing the sensible thing, and allowing Daniel Bryan to compete in and win the Royal Rumble, Batista is the obvious winner. WWE seems bound and determined to thrust him back into the spotlight so they can pull in some new viewers off the hype for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which Batista is in, and will be released this August. My question is, why does it have to be the MAIN EVENT of Wrestlemania XXX? Can’t they put him with somebody in the semi-main? That way WWE gets their publicity, and wrestling fans get a main event worthy of Wrestlemania. Either way, hopefully we’ll at least get a fun Rumble match. There’s been some buzz about Sheamus showing up as a surprise entrant, which might be cool to see. Chris Jericho’s name has also come up, but given we saw him make a surprise return at last year’s Rumble, I wouldn’t bet on him doing it again this year. Of course, it would be a shame for them to come back just to lose to friggin’ Batista…

Rob’s Prediction: Batista
WINNER: Batista

Images courtesy of WWE.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition

Share

Batista Blows, and Other Ponderings from WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

Thoughts From Raw:

- Ugh…Batista’s going to main event Wrestlemania XXX, isn’t he? Despite Daniel Bryan’s career moment last week, and the fact that the crowd’s pop for him this week was just as big, if not bigger, than Batista’s. COME ON, guys. Don’t get me wrong. Batista vs. Randy Orton at Wrestlemania? Absolutely fine. Batista vs. Randy Orton for the title at Wrestlemania? Not fine. It just seems wrong. Daniel Bryan works his ass off all year to get as over as he is right now, and then Batista swoops in and takes the big spot? Granted, I’m jumping to a major conclusion here. But that certainly seems to be where they’re going. Blech.

- I was pleasantly surprised with WWE’s tribute to Mae Young this week. As most fans know, Young passed away last week at the age of 90. Considering Mae was essentially a perverse comedy act since she joined WWE in the late ’90s, WWE could have showed the footage of her “giving birth” to the plastic hand, some of the weird stuff she did with Mark Henry, etc. But WWE gave us something very classy, focusing on Young’s entire life and career, as opposed to strictly her WWE tenure. It was a fitting goodbye to one of the toughest wrestlers, male or female, to ever lace the boots.

- So the New Age Outlaws are getting a tag title shot on the Royal Rumble pre-show, huh? Considering Cody Rhodes and Goldust could be breaking up soon to build up a Wrestlemania match, the Outlaws might actually leave with the belts. As a longtime fan, that’s pretty cool. Though admittedly (and I hate to go here, because both guys are still really good in the ring), it’s a little hard to call them the New Age Outlaws, as Billy Gunn is 50 years old. He had a really good match against CM Punk this week, though. And it was an excuse to get Road Dogg at the announce position, which is always a plus in my book.

- Did Cena and Orton rush their big brawl through the crowd at the end of the show? We saw Orton flee the scene in a car, and then we got three minutes of Cena walking back to the ring. By the way, it sure was convenient that security had that area blocked off so Cena could chase Orton out of the arena. It’s like they knew…

- Along those lines, John Cena’s father suffered “a fractured orbital socket and a dislocated jaw” when Orton attacked him? Yeesh, is his skull made of marshmallows?

- The Big Show and Brock Lesnar definitely had a good week. During the show I tweeted that their segment was “the first time I’ve looked forward to one of these ‘face to face encounters’ in a long time.” They did a great job making Show look like the one man on the roster who could manhandle Brock, and perhaps the one man Lesnar is actually afraid of. I never expect a great match from the Big Show, but that segment worked wonders in terms of build up for their match at the Rumble.

- So Stephanie lectures Kane for chokeslamming Punk on Smackdown, despite the fact that she slapped the Big Show repeatedly in the middle of the ring several months ago. Riiiiight. And hey, he had a good point. He did technically save Punk from being attacked by five guys.

- In the current issue of WWE Magazine, there’s a brief interview with the Bella Twins in which they’re called the new “Divas of Doom,” a moniker that once unofficially held by Beth Phoenix and Natalya. I legitimately fought the urge to toss the magazine into the trash and burn it.

Images from WWE.com.

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition

Share

The Ultimate Warrior, the WWE Network, and Other Ponderings from WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

- I’m not at all surprised to see the Ultimate Warrior announced as the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014. To me, he was an obvious entrant since his involvement with WWE 2K14 was announced this past summer. And after what we saw last week, I’ll bet ‘cha anything Jake “The Snake” Roberts is in line too.

No doubt Warrior will have his share of detractors as far as the honor is concerned. People have been saying for years that he couldn’t work, he couldn’t talk, he was a flash in the pan, etc. Hell, WWE itself devoted an entire DVD to those subjects and more in the 2005 smear documentary The Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior. But whether any of that is true or not, in the Ultimate Warrior became an icon (yes, an icon) in the World Wrestling Federation, and was a tremendous part of the company’s success in the ’80s and early ’90s. I’m not kissing the Warrior’s ass, I’m simply calling it like I see it. There’s no doubt the guy’s behavior in and out of the ring has been pretty damn bizarre over the years. But you can’t deny the man’s contributions to WWE. So for my money, the Warrior is a deserving entrant into the Hall of Fame.

And while we’re on the subject of stars from the ’80s, the more I think about it, the more it seems like we need Hulk Hogan to be around at Wrestlemania XXX. As revolting as the guy is sometimes, we really can’t do the 30th anniversary of Wrestlemania without him, can we? Especially now that the Warrior’s being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Who would be more fitting to induct him? Even if he has to take of his shirt and show off that ugly as “Hogan” tattoo he’s got across his back now, Hogan should be around. The question is, where do we put him on the actual Wrestlemania show?

As I’ve said time and time again, I’m not a wrestling booker, and I don’t pretend to be one. But to me, the best idea that comes to mind is a Piper’s Pit segment. Put the two big stars from the original Wrestlemania in the ring, and let them duke it out on the mic. Then maybe you put a great heel mic worker in there with ‘em (Damien Sandow comes to mind immediately), so they can suddenly work together. It would be similar to what Piper did with Stone Cold Steve Austin and Carlito at Wrestlemania XXI. That seems like the most logical thing to do. That way, Hogan can get his big return pop and have his moment without having to wrestle. Again people, I’m not a booker. That’s just my opinion.

Thoughts From Raw:

- Even the most hardened cynics have to admit, the whole $9.99 a month deal for the WWE Network is pretty good. If you’re a WWE fan, that could be worth the price for the pay per views alone (assuming the booking isn’t as shoddy as it’s been in recent months). I’m anxious to see what sort of dividends this pays for WWE.

- Aaaaaaand the Bryan/Wyatt Family alliance certainly didn’t last long. Did they rush it? I’d say no, judging by the way Bryan had that crowd in the palm of his friggin’ hand when he turned on Bray. I know I’ve talked about CM Punk deserving a main event spot at Wrestlemania. But with pops like Bryan gets, how can they not put him at the end of the show? Lord knows I’d put him there before Batista…

- It was a hell of a night for the Usos too. It’s been quite awhile since a “regular” tag team (as opposed to one where two big name stars are thrown together) has been featured as the big babyface draw for the main event of Raw. Granted, Daniel Bryan was the real draw, but it’s still a hell of a show of faith by WWE to give the Usos that spot. For the first time in a long time, it seems like WWE is grooming a tag team to be an actual attraction, in the vein of teams like New Age Outlaws, the Hardy Boyz, and the Dudley Boyz (and those are just the more recent examples). I loved this move, and this week’s main event.

- So Randy Orton attacked John Cena’s dad, huh?  I find it funny that during the build up for their TLC match last month, WWE showed footage of Orton punting Cena’s father in the head at ringside several years ago. Then they basically recreate the moment, but with a considerably reduced shock factor. Orton basically tackled the guy and then hit him a few times, but he got carted off in an ambulance. Is he that fragile?

- I was surprised to hear the announcers talk about Ryback’s cryptic Twitter outbursts from this weekend. So…is this all his weird way of working us? If so, he sort of succeeded, didn’t he? At the very least, people are talking about him.

- The best line from Paul Heyman’s promo was the line about Brock Lesnar being “not impressed” with the Big Show. It was simple, but-…wait…they’re releasing a Paul Heyman documentary??? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!!!!

- We’ve got far too many authority figures on WWE TV at this point, and have for awhile. So Vince, Triple H and Stephanie are the top dogs. But then you’ve also got Kane, who’s the…*checks his WWE.com bio*…director of operations, a fairly generic title which apparently allows Kane to run shows at various times. This would seemingly negate the purpose of having general managers of Raw (Brad Maddox) and Smackdown (Vickie Guerrero), and yet those positions remain. Can we thin out the herd a little bit? How about we let this Kane thing run its course, turn Brad back into a wrestler, and make Vickie a manager again? Seems to make the most sense to me. But of course, sense and WWE writing don’t always go together.

- I was a little sad to hear last week that Kaitlyn, whose real name is Celeste Bonin, had left the WWE to pursue other interests. I can’t say I was ever blown away by Kaitlyn’s work in the ring or on the mic, but she had such a great, muscled up look that set her apart from the other ladies on the roster so damn well. She, and her close off-screen pal AJ Lee have both done a lot to help the WWE women’s division break away from the supermodel mold. But at the same time, I would argue she’d gone about as far as she was going to go in the company. So while I’m a bit sad to see her go, I applaud her for what she accomplished.

Front page image from giantbomb.com. Image 1 from podcastoftheimmortals.wordpress.com. Image 2 from bleacherreport.com. Image 3 from zap2it.com. Image 4 from wwe.com. Image 5 from fanpop.com. 

Share

Batista, Brock Lesnar, and Other Ponderings From WWE Raw

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

So Batista’s coming back next month, huh? Oh. Yay. That’s great.

Forgive me, folks. I was just never a much of a Batista fan. Great body and look? Obviously. Did he hit a hell of a power bomb? Sure did. Was he a big star? Absolutely. But by and large, I personally found him to be very boring for the majority of his WWE run. It was like if you’d seen one Batista match, you’d seen almost all of them. Mind you, he did manage to have a handful of really memorable matches, the best of which was his bout with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXIII. He had a really good Hell in a Cell match with Triple H in 2005, and he and John Cena were able to work some good matches in 2010. Those are all great things that nobody can ever take away from him. But I don’t exactly have fond memories of his matches with guys like Big Show, JBL, or even Randy Orton. A Batista match on free TV was often time for a bathroom break at the Siebert house, sad to say. There were only so many times I could see the “beast has been unleashed” act before it got old.

Batista has a certain understated charisma about him. In my mind, that’s one of the reasons he stood out from your standard muscled up big man, and why he worked as a main eventer. When he was talking, you got the sense there was a certain depth to him. But after awhile, that got old too. Between 2005 and 2009, Batista’s act really didn’t change much…

Then in late 2009 Batista turned heel, and while it took a bit of time to get off the ground, eventually he became really entertaining to watch, especially when he worked with Cena. It was as if, without having to adhere to virtuous babyface rules, Batista really was unleashed, and he could finally have fun out there. He had a great line in one of his pre-Wrestlemania promos about Cena “kissin’ babies and huggin’ fat girls” that makes me laugh to this day. His ring work was largely the same, but the character was different. And that was half his battle as far as I was concerned.

Sadly, just as Batista had seemingly learned to have some fun out there, he left WWE to pursue other interests. Now he’s back, and sadly, the promos seem to indicate we’re getting the old fashioned babyface Batista back. Simply put, I’ve got very little interest in seeing that guy on my TV again. Now, if Batista can inject a bit of his bad guy personality into a babyface character? That might be a different story.

Thoughts From Raw:

- A Brock Lesnar return always makes for a compelling segment. And I’ll tell you what, we had ourselves a “business is about to pick up” moment when Mark Henry came out there. I just wish they’d had a longer fight. Here you’ve got two legitimately big, strong, tough, believable guys, and yet Brock pretty much wipes the floor with poor Henry. And with due respect to Henry, I doubt WWE is going to use one of Lesnar’s pay per view matches with him. So unfortunately, it looks like he was just used as fodder for Brock. Hell of an F5, though. You can’t deny that. Hopefully we’ll learn how Brock’s return effects the other “Paul Heyman guys,” Ryback and Curtis Axel, sooner than later.

- So after a TLC match to unify the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships, we’re putting John Cena and Randy Orton together again, only this time it’s… a plain ol’ regular match? No. I get where they’re going with the whole “decide the feud by pinfall or submission,” but no. I’ve said it before, I’m no wrestling booker. But you don’t sell tickets by LOWERING the stakes, do you? There’s got to be a match these two haven’t done on pay per view yet. Let’s see…”I Quit” match, Hell in a Cell match, 60 minute match, TLC match…what about a Falls Count Anywhere match? Or just a No Holds Barred match? How about just something that could potentially follow a TLC match?

- Hey! Dolph Ziggler gets a promo and a victory this week! Could this mean things are looking up for the Show Stealer? Eh, probably not. But just let me hope for a little while.

- Interesting to see Big E. Langston work the mat a bit tonight, in what turned out to be a really good match with Fandango. Both those guys came out winners. I’ve been a critic of Big E’s since his babyface turn, but he may be proving me wrong. The fans were chanting for him, and lord knows that’s a good sign.

- So the Great Khali beats the Miz and Kofi Kingston in a fan poll? You can’t be serious. Please tell me they’re rigging these polls. Hell, the Miz even sent out what I suspect was a worked shoot tweet: “You voted The Great Khali over The Miz….Real Awesome. Something’s gotta change in 2014.”

- Was Brad Maddox a little late on his cue tonight? Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins seemed to be bickering for an awfully long time. And indeed this does appear to be the beginning of the end for the Shield. CM Punk planted the obvious seed of dissension among them. My new prediction for Wrestlemania? Triple threat match for the United States Title: Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns.

So Daniel Bryan joins the Wyatt Family, huh? Let’s see, where’s that Admiral Ackbar meme…? Eh, forget it. Hey Bray! It’s a trap!

Front page image, image 1, image 3, and image 4 from wwe.com. Image 2 from insidepulse.com. 

Follow Primary Ignition on Twitter at @PrimaryIgnition.
Like 
Primary Ignition on Facebook at Facebook.com/PrimaryIgnition.

Share
Return top