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The Raw Librarian, Page 2

MAMBINO’s Wrestlemania 29 Preview, Part 1

credit: Bleacher Report


 
It’s time! It’s time! It’s Wrestlemania time!
 
Welcome to the two-part, all encompassing Wrestlemania preview. I am your host The RAW Librarian and I will be joined by KOBEshigawa in breaking down the twenty-ninth annual, Granddaddy of em all. We are going to run down the final card, giving our thoughts on the presumed winners and losers as well as providing some analysis on which direction Vinny Mac would be wisest to pursue. Tomorrow, we’ll get to the man events, but in today’s post, we’ll touch on the still very important undercard.… Read more...

Philadelphia Phillies 2013 season preview

 
Phillies’ fans would like to forget about last season, to say the least. In 2012 we saw Philadelphia’s five year reign as NL East division champions and perennial World Series contenders come to a screeching halt, as they failed to live up to the lofty expectations of a team coming off a franchise best 102 win season and a $170 million dollar payroll. Knowing they wouldn’t make the playoffs, the Phillies jettisoned Shane Victorino, Hunter Pence, Jim Thome and Joe Blanton off in separate trades throughout the summer, cutting payroll and doing an adequate job in restoring their barren minor league system with talents that may contribute in the future (Tommy Joseph, Kyle Simon, Ethan Martin).
 
Jonah Keri from Grantland.com has made the argument to General Manager Ruben Amaro to blow up the team and start all over. Instead, the Phillies have opted to retool with an old, beat-up roster and give it one last go around.… Read more...

The Preview to the Preview of Wrestlemania 29

credit: Withleather.com


 
With just a little over a month to go, we now have a few Wrestlemania matches set in stone. As Damien Sandow would say, “OH, YOU WERE NOT AWARE OF THIS?” The bulk of the card has been booked, but we’re still waiting to find out what kind of role some marquee wrestlers will have at the Granddaddy of them all.
 
Our main event features a “Twice in  a Lifetime” Wrestlemania rematch with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson defending his WWE Super Bowl ring title against the “Doctor of Thuganomics” John Cena. HHH has valiantly returned to defend the honor of his father-in-law, Vincent Kennedy McMahon against “The Current Big Thing” and former UFC champion, Brock Lesnar. Alberto Del Rio is set to defend the World Heavyweight championship against Jack Swagger, who will no doubt be accompanied to the ring by everyone’s favorite racist uncle, Zeb Coulter. And after winning the Fatal Four-way match two weeks ago on RAW, CM Punk has earned the distinguished honor of losing to the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.
 
Is anyone else feeling a little underwhelmed?… Read more...

WWE Elimination Chamber PPV Review

Credit: WWE.com


 
Let’s start off with the good news. We now have 48 days remaining until the granddaddy of them all, the Mecca of sports entertainment, Wrestlemania. The bad news is, currently only two matches are booked….and one of them involves Jack Swagger.
 
I was trying to get a pulse of what fans thought of the Elimination Chamber last night and I came across a lot of negativity. I don’t happen to share that sentiment. Elimination Chamber wasn’t all that bad, but on the other hand, it wasn’t all that good either. My main problem with the show was the ample amount of opportunity for something memorable to happen and the WWE just didn’t capitalize.
 
Most significantly, the absence of “big names” from last nights event was noticeable. No Lesnar, no HHH, no Undertaker, and the biggest name, no Brad Maddox. It’s as if Vince only wanted to do the bare minimum to have a passable show. To quote a great man, “Now if you feel that the bare minimum is enough, then okay. But some people choose to wear more and we encourage that, okay?”
 
Highlights include Mark Henry’s chamber performance, The Shield’s victory and our main event. Low lights include….well too many to list. On to the review of last night’s Elimination Chamber.… Read more...

WWE Elimination Chamber PPV Preview

credit: WWE.com


 
We have reached our last stop before Wrestlemania and I have to say, I’m pretty excited about this Elimination Chamber card. I mean, I don’t even have to fake enthusiasm about writing this column. Except for the obligatory match over the Butterfly belt, there are no bathroom breaks scheduled for this show.
 
Also, unpredictability reigns supreme. You have to assume that the Rock will go over clean in the main event as to not impede his impending date with John Cena at Wrestlemania (hopefully not with a single elbow this time) but the rest of the card offers pure speculation. There are a lot of wildcards as well. Will Brock Lesnar, HHH, or the Undertaker make their presence felt? Will Paul Heyman turn on CM Punk? Is this this finally the PPV where Dolph Ziggler cashes in his Money Bank contract? Will we ever find out who raised the briefcase at the 1999 King of the Ring? All this and more, this Sunday at Elimination Chamber!… Read more...

Dolph Ziggler: The Next One? Or the Next Disappointment?

Credit: Bleacher Report


 
Dolph Ziggler’s got it all: six feet tall, 215 lbs. of muscle with a jaw line that could crack granite. He’s the type of freak athlete that you see playing division 1 soccer or track, not wrestling in WWE. He seemingly has the full support of the company behind him, being pushed into upper echelon feuds against the likes of Randy Orton, John Cena and Chris Jericho, each of which have walked in–and out–of Wrestlemania with the championship strap. Dolph Ziggler has beaten all of those men in the previous twelve months.
 
However, everything hasn’t fallen into place: despite the main event certification from his employers, big wins over major stars and nightly placement at the top of the card, there’s something that doesn’t quite feel right–or ready–for Ziggler’s ascent to the top. Even the most fervent of Dolph fans would admit that. In the past three years, he’s seen newcomers like Sheamus, Ryback and Alberto del Rio whiz past him on the ladder of success, leaving Ziggs sucking on the heels of their boots as he self-proclaimed Show-Off mires as a second class citizen. It’s ironic that Dolph’s gimmick the last several months has been that of a Money in the Bank Ladder match winner, in which the victor must ascend a ladder and physically grasp a briefcase, beating all comers to the top in a brutal free-for-all; nothing in his actual career has resembled the type of success he had in that particular bout.… Read more...

WWE Royal Rumble 2013 MAMBINO Preview

 

We have officially entered Wrestlemania season, the best time to be a wrestling fan. From late January to early April, Vince McMahon develops a new found sense of urgency. Booking on the fly, feces jokes and blatant misogyny towards woman (otherwise known as a John Cena promo) are thrown out in favor of coherent story lines with a clearly identified goal.

 

This Sunday, the first step to Mania, the Royal Rumble, emanates live from the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The Rumble is unique in the sense that it builds in allotted space for nostalgia. You never know who is going to come through the curtain after the clock counts down–think Mr. Perfect and Goldust in 2002. The Rumble has been used as a platform for superstars returning from injury like John Cena in 2008 and Edge in 2010, but more recently has been used as a catapult for new stars to make their mark, as Alberto del Rio and Sheamus won the last two matches. However, I still hold out hope for a Royal Rumble return from the one and only Peter Edward Rose. Without further delay, let’s break this down MAMBINO style.… Read more...

Wrestlemania XXIX Prospective Main Events – Who Will It Be? Part 2

(Yesterday, The Raw Librarian and I covered several different prospective main events that could headline Wrestlemania XXIX, emanating live from MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on April 7th, 2013. We’re both so fired up that new pants are entirely in order. Check out Part 1 right here)

THE ROCK

Most Likely Match and Best Match For Business

KOBEsh: We covered this largely in our John Cena section yesterday, but it’s clear that Rock-Cena II is going to be in the cards. The only factor that’s somewhat murky is what the stipulations are going to be for the match itself. Will it be for the title? Will it be fought under the pretenses of No Holds Barred? Will there be a Special Guest Referee? Does any of that matter? 


IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE. This match is going to blow the figurative roof off of MetLife Stadium.

Dream Match


TRL: The Rock vs HBK Shawn Michaels
These two had real life animosity going back to the Kliq days. HBK was aware of how over the Rock was getting and knew it meant bad things for his real life best friend HHH. He gave a shoot promo or two where he talked about “the Rock always trying to steal the spotlight from Hunter.” IF this match were to happen, it’d have a solid backstory beyond two of the greatest ever going toe-to-toe. 

But.

This match will never happen. Neither men are interested (especially the retired HBK) and the WWE wouldn’t want to blow all this money getting the Rock to wrestle again knowing that there are bigger bouts out there (i.e. Cena-Rock).


 
RYBACK

Most Likely Match


TRL: Ryback vs. The Shield

Whether it’s in tag team format or Ryback vs Dean Ambrose with Roman Reigns as enforcer, everything points to Ryback being involved with the Shield at ‘Mania. I don’t see any other obvious matches right now. I like Ryback, but I like the Shield a heck of a lot more. I need to praise WWE creative for some rare long-term booking and development here. They have yet to screw up any of these young performers. Look for these men to be involved in a match together in some capacity.

KOBEsh: Ryback vs. Big Show

Until I went and saw for myself in person, I couldn’t discern on television whether or not Ryback’s ascent to the main event picture was more manufactured than it was actual fan sentiment. It seemed to me that the volume was turned up all around the former Ryan Reeves in nearly every segment he was featured in. His music blared so loud that it obscured how much fans actually were applauding for him. When he threw smaller men around the ring, they landed with such force that the actual buckling of the squared circle elicited a reaction from the crowd, but more in the vein of awe than affection. As he chanted “Feed Me More”, the audience of course chanted along with him, but as CM Punk echoed this past Monday on Raw, the WWE fan base are like trained dogs–they’ll chant just about anything as long as it’s delivered to them with the same measured vocal pacing. Did people actually like Ryback? Or was the audio emanating from and around him manufacturing his hype as much as the WWE could muster? 

After watching the man fight The Shield in a TLC match in Brooklyn, I can attest that Ryback is more than hype. He’s the real deal Holyfield. The crowd eats him up, as if “Feed Me More” becomes more than just an infectious catchphrase. He’s physically imposing, brutal and pure charisma. He made a believer out of this jaded fan. 

That all being said, Ryback’s strengths are best shown not as actual feRead more...

Wrestlemania XXIX Prospective Main Events – Who Will It Be? Part 1

I love the NBA Finals. No matter who’s playing or how lopsided the matchup, I watch with full attention as a new titlist etches their name into an exclusive fraternity. It’s the sport I pay most attention to and the title history most meaningful to me as a lifelong fan of YOUR…16-time champion Los Angeles Lakers. 

I love the Stanley Cup Finals. As a novice to hockey, I’m consistently amazed at how enveloping the NHL playoffs can be for any sports fan, regardless of whether they understand off-sides or that “power play” isn’t just a business term. Arguably, it’s the most exciting postseason in all of the major professional sports.

I love the NFL playoffs. One loss and you’re out? In a professional league? My God. Not growing up with a local football franchise, I’ve come to appreciate the fanaticism tied into these four weeks in January after living in New York for two years. I’ve completely bought in, watching every game, even though I have no rooting interest, except the ever-present burning desire I have for Tom Brady to fatally collide with a well-placed flying cleat to the throat. 

I love the World Series. I grew up playing baseball, understanding the incredible difficulties of the sport even as men who could be my father still dominate the game. I find the unpredictability of the playoffs completely fascinating, with matchups and momentum being more integral to baseball than to any other postseason.

But today….we’re talking about the Road to Wrestlemania. This my friends–not the NFL Playoffs, not the Stanley Cup round, not the Fall Classic–represents the best time of the year. The three month build to professional wrestling’s crown jewel event is some of the best drama anyone could possibly manufacture.

The question, as it is every time in early January, is who will own the right to main event Wrestlemania? Unlike the other sports, the matchups in sports entertainment are predetermined by World Wrestling Entertainment grandmaster Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Simply owning a headlining spot, regardless if the wrestler is slated to win or lose that night, is tantamount to winning the Superbowl or hoisting the Larry O’Brien trophy. 

As of today, we’ve got several revolving pieces hurtling towards Wrestlemania 29. The Rock. John Cena. CM Punk. Brock Lesnar. The Undertaker. Triple H. Ryback. Sheamus. Even, perhaps…Stone Cold Steve Austin

With all these names tumbling around in Vince McMahon’s menagerie of gladiators, there’s a million possibilities heading into Metlife Stadium on April 7th. The Raw Librarian and I have been tossing around e-mails for weeks, trying to speculate who will make it through the rocky Road to Wrestlemania and emerge as the top dogs. As MAMBINO often does, we’re going to break down the possibilities piece by piece, one wrestler at a time. Here….we….go!

DANIEL BRYAN

Most Likely Matchup

The RAW Librarian: Team Hell No Friendship vs Rhodes Scholars

You have to give credit where credit is due; HHH has to some extent revitalized the tag team division. However, it’s still no where near the Hardyz/Dudleys/Edge and Christian era of the early 2000’s. After all, that was tag team wrestling at its apex. I also have to give Kane major credit for improving every facet of his game in 2012. He dramatically revamped his character and added a great deal of credibility to tag team wrestling.  His backstage segments with Daniel Bryan (and Read more...

"The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE History" Review, Part 2

Welcome to part 2 of “The Top 50 Finishing Moves in WWE History.” You can find part 1 with my analysis of numbers 50-25 located here.. We pick up this column at number 24 on the list and it’s one of my personal favorites. The man representing this finisher has spent time in Mexico, Germany, Japan, ECW, WCW and the WWE. Here to Save Us All is the Ayotolla of Rock and Rolla. He is “Lionheart” Chris Jericho.

24. Chris Jericho “Lion Tamer/Walls of Jericho”

Basically what Chris Jericho does when he puts you in that move is he bends your body in a way that is never supposed to bend.” – Kofi Kingston


This submission move is probably my favorite of all time.

I’m not sure if a difference between the two finisher names was ever clarified or not. For me personally, I always considered the move to be “the Liontamer” when Jericho intensified the pressure by putting his knee on the back of his opponent, whereas “the Walls of Jericho” was more of a straight Boston Crab applied to bigger wrestlers. Again, that is just how I personally distinguished the two. The only knock I really have about this move, is that you absolutely need your opponents cooperation to apply it. Seriously, try putting this move on a person that doesn’t want it. It’s not going to happen…believe me, I’ve tried.



23. Edge “Spear”

He was his own greatest cheerleader, he made the build up to that move, part of the move.” – Mick Foley

I like Edge a lot so I am going to try and be kind here. The Spear, at least Edge’s version, is no where near as good as the Rhyno’s Gore! Gore! Gore! (imagine Paul Heyman screaming in Jim Ross’ ear at the top of his lungs).

The only Spear by Edge that deserves recognition is the one he performed on Jeff Hardy at Wrestlemania 17. I still remember watching that TLC Triple Threat Tag-team championship match with my mouth open the entire time. It’s a miracle that no one was seriously hurt or dead after that match. Other than Edge’s spear to Hardy off the ladder, Goldberg’s spear was far superior. I don’t want to take anything away from Edge. He had a phenomenal career. I just happen to think that his spear is vastly overrated.

22. Iron Sheik “Camel Clutch”

Iron Sheik’s Camel Clutch probably holds the distinction of being one of the most brutal yet simple holds that I’ve ever seen.” – CM Punk

I never had the pleasure of watching the WWE’s favorite racial caricature perform in the ring. The good news is, the Iron Sheik has a Twitter account that is just fantastic. Seriously, follow him on Twitter @the_ironsheik. Every tweet comes off like a drunken rant. As for the move itself….eh. I’ve seen better. It’s a cool transitional move. I would like it if it was meant to weaken the neck in anticipation of a stronger submission. I don’t think this move should have made the list. If it had to be included, it would be better placed in the 40’s.

21. John Cena “Attitude Adjustment”





20. Scott Hall “Razor’s Edge”

I’m gonna show you, just how bad, the Bad Guy can be!” – Scott Hall


HEY YO! Let’s all just take a minute and marvel at how Scott Hall is still alive. If you’re in the mood to be significantly depressed, take a minute and check out this ESPN 360 documentary on Scott Hall. Truly scary stuff.

Now that you are all in hig… Read more...