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World Wrestling Entertainment

Has Vinny Mac lost his touch? Royal Rumble 2015 Preview

It’s been a long journey filled with Fandango reboots and Nursery Time with Roman Reigns, but we’re finally here. The Road to WrestleMania begins this Sunday. There should be a noticeable difference in the quality of WWE programing in the next few weeks. After all, this is the time of year when writers will employ slightly more long term booking, as WrestleMania is only two months away.
 
You’ll have to excuse me if I’ve been a little down on the product lately, as CM Punk’s podcast with Colt Cabana was disheartening. Vince McMahon’s surprise appearance on the Network with Stone Cold was even more worrisome. We’ve been saying it for years, but I think it’s finally true; the 69 year old Vincent K. McMahon is out of touch. He no longer knows what the audience wants. I’ve had to get my wrestling fix outside the confines of Monday nights. Not like that’s been a bad thing.… Read more...

WWE Battleground 2014 Preview

There was only one PPV big enough to get me to come back and write another column. And that PPV is WWE Battleground.
 
I’m just kidding, I’m on summer vacation and really, really bored. Free advice to all my Cena fans out there (people 12 and under), go into the public education field. You get summers off, just do something productive with your time unlike me who has pretty much just been taste testing different brands of salsa. Back to wrestling, I’ve fallen victim to the post Wrestlemania lull. Yes, I’m still watching RAW, but the whole Daniel Bryan situation has gotten me pretty down as a fan. Hopefully Battleground will be a good show and the WWE will have some strong momentum going into Summerslam. On to the preview.… Read more...

2014 WWE Royal Rumble Preview: Whose time is it?

Rumble poster

The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated.
 
I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m back and just in time for the best part of the year…the Road to Wrestlemania. It’s the time of year when the creative team finally gets their ass in gear and we start seeing some long(ish) term planning.  The quality of television the past few weeks has been noticeably better. The Old School episode of RAW was amazing as was the reaction to Daniel Bryan turning on the Wyatt’s in the steel cage two weeks ago (while we’ll choose to ignore John Cena running into the arena and Randy Orton stealing a car this past week). In happier times, the Shield continues to be the best part of the show every Monday and all indications point towards us getting the true CM Punk/HHH feud we were robbed of during the Summer of Punk. The wheels are in motion with one destination in sight, New Orleans, April 6th 2014. But let’s cover my 2nd favorite PPV of the year first.
 

 
Randy Orton vs John Cena in a WWE World Heavyweight Championship match
 
Yawn. Next. What’s that? I should probably dedicate at least a paragraph to the World Heavyweight Championship match? Fine.  Let me start off by saying something good. I’ll admit their TLC match wasn’t the worst main event I’ve ever seen. However, this time around, they won’t have tables, ladders, chairs and handcuffs to help make the match more watchable. I am praying that Randy Orton wins this match in a somewhat clean fashion so that John Cena no longer has any claims in the title hunt. Keep these two separated. I could watch Daniel Bryan wrestle CM Punk a thousand times and never get bored. I feel like I HAVE watched Cena/Orton a thousand times. Give me something fresh.… Read more...

Review: “The Squared Circle: Life, Death and Professional Wrestling” by David Shoemaker, AKA The Masked Man

In modern professional wrestling, the really compelling shows start with what they call a “cold open”–they skip the theme song, skip the mere formality, and get right to the meat. So let me try to do that here:
 
This is a book about dead wrestlers.
 
It was supposed to be, anyway. But along the way, it became a history of professional wrestling told through the stories of people who made the myths and who thereafter died.

These are first five sentences of David Shoemaker’s excellent book The Squared Circle: Life, Death and Professional Wrestling. Like the melodramatic television show opening that he references, these lines hit hard like a pot of bootleg Thai coffee. It feels morbid, slightly disrespectful and very, very bold. So much so that it’s easy to forget just how true those first few words are through this tremendous read.
 
The subject matter, at first glance, seems morose, almost insulting. Is this just a collection of stories on the tragic manner in which these professional wrestlers left the Earth far before their time? Is this just a gross exploitation of men stricken with the disease of addiction while maintaining a facade of physical strength? The immediate reaction couldn’t be further from the truth.… Read more...

It’s gotta be better than Battleground: WWE Hell in a Cell Preview

My sincerest apologies for ignoring the last PPV, Battleground, but in my defense, so did the WWE creative team. Following the worst PPV in recent memory, Hell in a Cell has nowhere to go but up (here’s my quickie review of Battleground: Rhodes family vs the Shield, A+. The rest of the card, F-. Moving on).
 
The inclusion of a steel cage into our main event should guarantee that someone will walk out of Miami this Sunday with the WWE championship in tow. And if that happens, well, we are already doing better than we were a month ago. On to the preview!… Read more...

WWE Night of Champions Preview: Can Triple H keep on doing the right thing?

 

After an elongated absence that was noticed by literally no one, I’m back baby! And it feels fantastic. Little update regarding the life of your friendly neighborhood librarian. I actually have a real job now, in a library. Not just blowing smoke up your ass with that “RAW Librarian” business. Good news for me, bad news for the 3 people that actually read the column. I’m not able to write at work like I used to (translation: my few and far between columns are about to get even fewer and farther). I’ll still try to get monthly PPV previews in. Reviews’ll cost ya.
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The subtle brilliance of “COO Triple H” and the WWE’s inadvertent long-term planning

About 10 years ago, Triple H was in the midst of one of the longest reigns in modern WWE/F history. After beating Shawn Michaels in December 2002, Hunter would hold the World Heavyweight Championship for the next 280 days. It’s still tied for the fifth longest reign of the past twenty years, only surpassed by CM Punk, John Cena (twice) and Batista (by two days).
 
What makes this reign even more remarkable is that before Michaels’s short 28 day reign at the top, Triple H had another 76 day stop as the champion. Thus, with only a four week break, Hunter Hearst Helmsley had been champion for 356 days. Meaning of course, the same hulking ex-member of D-Generation X was soaking up nearly a quarter of a two hour television show each and every week for almost a year. It was impressive. It was unstoppable.
 
It was absolutely interminable.
 
Though he had been back in action for almost a year and a half following a completely torn quadriceps muscle, it seemed obvious to everyone that was watching that Triple H wasn’t the same wrestler he was before the injury. His mobility, athleticism and quickness were noticeably affected, which was only compounded by an even more noticeable 20 to 30 pounds of muscle Hunter had put on while rehabbing his injury. Looking like the Ultimate Warrior but moving like Paul Heyman wasn’t helping his ring work, as his matches had fallen far from his 2000-2001 peak when it seemed like there wasn’t a wrestler out there that Triple H couldn’t drag to a five star opus. They were slow, plodding affairs that were nearly as excruciating and formulaic as the last slow-motion feud he was in. The equation seemed the same every month: big, strong wrestler X would challenge Hunter, verbally spar for weeks and ultimately get crushed in a match akin to two monster trucks running into one another for 25 minutes. It’s perversely entertaining at first, but after five minutes, you’ll need a cotton candy. Or a valium. Or both. … Read more...

WWE Money in the Bank live PPV review

I want to thank the seven people who read my columns for remaining patient with me. I’ve been in the process of relocating to the DC area because of a new employment opportunity. And moving is kind of a pain in the ass. Also at the end of this month I’m going to Hawaii for 3 weeks so I’m not sure how much WWE programming I’ll be able to see (Editor’s note: Boo effing hoo). Try not to feel too sorry for me. Enough with the jibber-jabber. On with my in-person review of last Sunday’s Money in the Bank PPV.

I haven’t had the opportunity to watch back the broadcast of the event but in my opinion, Philly’s crowd was hot all night. I didn’t really write anything notes down at the time so this is all going to be based on memory.… Read more...

WWE Payback Review: Optimism-Mania Runnin’ Wild!

(photo credit: WWE.com)


 
Two columns in two days? You know I spoil you guys. Last night was WWE Payback and all in all, it was a pretty good show. Chicago’s crowd needs to be credited for elevating the overall atmosphere and being involved in every match. Just about every match delivered and some surpassed expectations. At the end of last night I felt something I hadn’t experienced in a while after a WWE show; optimism.
 
I did not watch the Youtube pre-show. I tuned in at 7:40 and heard Sheamus’ music playing and heard the announcers saying Brogue kick. I then turned off Youtube. On to the PPV!… Read more...

WWE Payback PPV Preview

I’m going to honor Vince McMahon’s half-assed booking of this Sunday’s PPV Payback with a half-assed Payback preview. Full disclosure, I haven’t really been watching RAW with my full attention lately. The recent addition of a Mr. McMahon vs HHH feud over perceived power in the WWE has had me ready to change the channel to the NHL playoffs at a moments notice. Couple this with a boring John Cena program and the absence of Dolph Ziggler and CM Punk on my television and I’m ready to just skip ahead to next month’s Money in the Bank PPV (which I have already purchased tickets for). This column is going to be a very brief overview of the matches with some half-hearted predictions thrown in as well. That’s all this PPV deserves.… Read more...