DANIEL BRYAN’S ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA : MY PREDICTION

Daniel Bryan fans aren’t going to be satisfied at what WWE hands the fan favorite at WrestleMania 31.

Nothing will please the chanting, roaring Bryan supporters other than the company putting him back in the throne he occupied at WrestleMania 30. The trouble is, though, WWE has already found another king in Roman Reigns.

Bryan, who announced that he is ready to return to action, is destined to work somewhere other than center stage.

The word for months has been that Reigns is set to win the Royal Rumble and go on to defeat Brock Lesnar. According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (subscription required, h/t Wrestling Inc), those plans have not changed yet with Bryan’s return. Reigns is still scheduled to win the Royal Rumble and then take home the WWE title at WrestleMania.

Whether one views that as a mistake or not, that appears to be where WWE is heading. Reigns looks to be getting the treatment Batista did in 2005.

That means Bryan has to take another path to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California. It’s destined to be one where he collides with The Authority once again.

 

Cheated out of the Rumble

Bryan will be one of the highlights of the 2015 Royal Rumble.

As much as WWE wants Reigns to be the next big thing, it knows the kind of buzz Bryan brings. That means he will be a big part of the match despite not winning, much like CM Punk and Reigns were last year.

Expect him to draw an early number and provide the “Iron Man” role, surviving over 45 minutes in the fray. That would play up his gutsiness, tease him possibly winning and allow him a number of chances at memorable moments.

When the time comes to finally toss out Bryan and leave Reigns by his lonesome, the company has to provide some help for the powerhouse. If Reigns is the one to eliminate Bryan, he instantly becomes just as hated as Seth Rollins or Brock Lesnar.

Officials certainly don’t want a repeat of a babyface Batista earning a chorus of boos like we saw in 2014.

Instead, look for WWE to restart the feud between The Authority and Bryan. Rollins can pull him out of the match illegally. Kane, J&J Security or Triple H himself could also be the ones to garner scorching heat by crushing Bryan’s Rumble dreams.

The Authority’s vendetta against Bryan continued even when he was injured. Triple H often tossed out potshots at him. The group stripped Bryan of the title for not defending it within 30 days but allowed Lesnar to go months without putting the belt on the line.

That means there’s still plenty of fuel should the company decide to relight that fire. That’s excellent news for Rollins.

 

A Discontent Fanbase, A Strange Alliance

Bryan already knocked off Triple H. He has conquered Kane in the past as well. Expect WWE to thrust the bearded warrior into a feud with Rollins instead.

That is not the marquee rivalry Bryan fans will be hoping for, but it’s a high-profile battle that allows two top performers to shine. They clashed in the past, often with sparks shooting off.

This, though, has a fresher feel now that Rollins has evolved into a top heel, a supervillain rather than simply a cog in a destructive machine.

With one pay-per-view between the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania, look for WWE to save the one-on-one battle for the biggest show of the year. For the first edition of Fast Lane, that likely means fans are in for a tag team match to set up that battle.

Randy Orton has ample fury to point toward The Authority. He can get some revenge against two of the men who beat him down on Raw by joining forces with his former rival in Bryan.

Kane and Rollins vs. Bryan and Orton offers the subplot of the latter duo having to move beyond their animosity-filled past. It can wrap up Orton’s issues with The Authority and allow Rollins and Bryan’s rivalry to grow more intense.

Bryan’s fanbase won’t be thrilled with this arrangement. While Reigns gets groomed for Lesnar, they will be chanting for Bryan, hoping to have a repeat of 2014 where vocal support of their underappreciated hero forced WWE to find a place for him at the main event table at WrestleMania.

It won’t be enough, though.

WWE will be unsure of about Bryan’s health going forward thanks to neck surgery and the slow recovery afterward. Reigns, meanwhile, is young, built like an action hero and clearly the man it wants to pin its hopes on.

 

A Classic Awaits

Fans aren’t going to like the idea of Bryan vs. Rollins at WrestleMania until it happens. As much as some may view it as a slight to Bryan, it promises to be a stunner of a match.

Rollins will be entering his first singles match at the event. He has stepped up to every at-bat WWE has handed him, delivering great matches at Hell in a Cell and Survivor Series. This will be a career-maker for him should he and Bryan create magic.

The expectation should be that they do just that.

Not only will Bryan be looking to steal the show as a way to say, “You should have made me the headliner,” but he and Rollins have great chemistry together. When they battled as members of Team Hell No and The Shield, their confrontations stood out. That continued when Bryan was in the hunt for the WWE title and the members of The Shield served as blockades to that goal.

Those battles had the kind of electricity WWE hopes for each time it pits two rivals against each other. Take the Sept. 6 edition of SmackDown, for example.

They clicked together, a smoothness and energy powering the match.

Given a bigger stage, far more buildup and with both men looking to insert their names into WrestleMania history, the audience can expect greatness. Whether that’s enough to pacify fans angry about him being pushed aside for Reigns remains to be seen.

 

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WWE’S EVOLUTION.

John Cena is the face of WWE, the man at the top of the company.  For over 10 years now, Cena has been the featured Superstar, the one who Vince McMahon has trusted to carry the ball for the premier pro wrestling promotion in the world.

But as WWE fans know, Cena definitely has his critics.  Citing the company’s refusal to change his character and its insistence on presenting him as being practically bulletproof, many fans have turned on Cena.  However, the evolution of WWE does not lie with simply replacing its top star.

It’s a chorus that the WWE faithful has heard for a while.  It all comes down to the fact that Cena does not change; he does not evolve with the times despite what adversity he faces.  Through good times and bad, Cena remains basically the same Superstar he was before he became the face of the company.

His look is the same, his personality is the same, and his will to win is the same.  He never backs down, he always fights no matter how much he’s outnumbered, and he never gives up.  And though he has been riding high at the top of WWE for over 10 years, he is still presented as the underdog.

Fans know he will always overcome, but that does not stop WWE from putting his back against the wall at every turn.  It’s as if the company wants fans to buy into the notion that Cena has no chance, but that move has all but lost its effectiveness.

All of the hate leveled against Cena for who he is and how WWE presents him leads to the overwhelming desire to see him replaced as the top guy.  Many fans believe that when Cena is out of that spot, the company can finally begin to move forward and evolve into the future.

But the problem with that seemingly simple theory is that it’s just too simple.

Believing that replacing Cena will be the cure for what ails WWE is to suggest that the company is ready for success without him.  However, in order for that to happen, there must be something more than just a top guy.

Cena carries the load for the company, and he has for a long time.  He is consistently placed in the best spots and shown in the best light.  He has beaten all of the top names ever put in front of him and wins more than he loses.  While this is expected of the No. 1 star, the fact is that virtually no one else shares any of those bragging rights.

From Randy Orton to CM Punk to Daniel Bryan, each man had phenomenal runs, and each man contributed greatly to the WWE product.  But at the end of the day, each man was second to Cena.  The fact that all three men were very human while Cena was viewed as superhuman did not help in the slightest.  There was never any doubt among fans of who the top guy was, and if Cena had suddenly disappeared during any of those eras, the company would have been ill-prepared to move ahead.

WWE as a whole must be sound from top to bottom.  There will always be one top spot—that much is certain.  But there must be room near that spot for other talents to rise and be featured as major players.

As impressive as Cena has been, the fact is that one man cannot do it all.  All of WWE’s resources, all of its creative storylines, basically begin and end with Cena as the top star.  The result of that work over the past 10 years has been a collection of fan-favorite Superstars who may be respected for their talents but cannot break through the proverbial glass ceiling.

Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow and Cesaro are all Superstars who many fans admire, and despite whether they’re heel or face, the fact is that each man has the ability to succeed on a high level. But it’s nearly impossible for some to even envision that happening with Cena in that prime position.

There seems to be less sharing of the wealth and more of one guy winning it all.

Assuming that Roman Reigns is the man who will eventually supplant Cena as WWE’s top star, the truth is that he will also not be able to do it all.  His supporting cast must be so much more than just a supporting cast.  If WWE continues to do business in the future as it has done with Cena, then it will encounter the same problems it faces now with a main star who could be just as hated.

The John Cena show transitioning to The Roman Reigns show may be fine in the short term, but it will not be the answer to WWE’s long-term evolution.

There cannot be one almighty presence at the forefront.  The next face of WWE must have a human character, one who is capable of coming up short and missing the mark from time to time.  Fans must believe that he is strong and very good at what he does, but he cannot be completely untouchable.

And WWE must support him with other top stars inside of a product that does not live and breathe directly through the character of just one man.

WWE’s model for doing business can no longer revolve around just one or even two Superstars. Simply replacing Cena is not the answer, and the company must realize that before moving on with the next man.

So as it is replacing him is not as easy as hating him but the wwe universe need to miss him. CENA has to disappear for at least two or more years maybe even one.

MARK HENRY’S 15 YEARS OF SMACKDOWN

On the very first edition of WWE SmackDown back in 1999, Triple H, long and luscious locks flowing down to his shoulders, stood toe-to-toe in the main event with The Rock, flamboyant as ever in an extravagantly fabulous, multi-hued and very shiny shirt. The result was a match to remember, a good first step for a program that, despite being forever in Raw’s shadow, has stood the test of time.

More than 15 years, 790 episodes, 148 cities and seven countries later, the two men will meet once again on a special anniversary episode Friday night on SyFy. Looking at the two genetic freaks, you’d think barely a week had passed. Somehow they are more handsome, successful and jacked than ever.

But time has indeed passed since that first episode—oodles of it. Time enough for “smackdown” to take its rightful place in the lexicon, made an official word by Merriam-Webster in 2007. Time enough that it would take two months of your life to watch every episode of the show, now second only to Raw itself in longevity.

Time enough that of the wrestlers on the roster at that time, only a few remain standing. There’s the Big Show. There’s Kane. There’s Chris Jericho. And then there’s Mark Henry.

Signed to a wrestling contract just days after his appearance in the 1996 Olympics, Henry has been a unique presence in the WWE for close to two decades. Standing 6’4″ and weighing more than 400 pounds, Henry is legitimately one of the planet’s strongest men—which has served him well in the world of professional wrestling.

Henry sat down with Bleacher Report this week to talk about being an enormous kid, being an even more enormous man and his phony retirement that rocked the wrestling world.

 

Bleacher Report: Before we do anything else, I have to fact-check Wikipedia. Because it claims you were 5’5″ and 225 pounds in the fourth grade. I have a kid that age. He’s barely 50 pounds! Were you really Rey Mysterio‘s size in elementary school? 

Mark Henry: I weighed about 125 pounds more than Rey Mysterio. 

B/R: (Laughs). Was it hard to stand out like that as a kid? Did anyone have the gumption to bully you?

MH: I was a big kid my whole life. I grew up among big people. My brother was a big kid. I didn’t really feel like a big kid. Except for the teachers, who pretty much didn’t want me to squish any of the other kids.

 

B/R: I could see that might be a danger. A valid concern. Of course, you got bigger and bigger. By high school you were setting weightlifting records. Is it true you were so far removed from the drug scene that permeates power lifting that when someone asked you what kind of juice you were on you said, “Orange juice”? Performance-enhancing drugs were never part of your world?

MH: Not at all. I was kind of sheltered. I grew up in Silsbee, Texas, a town of 3,000 people. I didn’t really understand what steroids and anabolics were until I became kind of famous as a kid. They did an article on me in Sports Illustrated. Before that, I had no clue what steroids were.

At the state meet my junior year, this was in 1989, somebody said, “What are you taking? What kind of juice you on?” I guess I was kind of dumb and naive and I did say, “Orange juice.” That’s how sheltered I was.

 

B/R: Obviously you did great things in that world, despite not having the kind of artificial advantages other people did. The Olympics are a pretty impressive accomplishment no matter the finish. Had you signed with WWE before the games in 1996? Or did that come later?

MH: It was afterwards. They sponsored me as an athlete to do some appearances and stuff like that. And I wore WWF workout gear and stuff like that.

WWF and Foot Locker were my sponsors at the time. I endorsed those two products and, pretty much, those are the only two products I ever endorsed. I stayed away from many things because I wanted to actually use the things I market. A lot of people don’t take honor and pride in that, but I do.

B/R:  There’s a long history of strongmen in wrestling, from George Hackenschmidt to Milo Steinborn to Ken Patera. Now, your trainer, Leo Burke, was a little fella from Canada. He couldn’t show you the big-man style. Who did he have you watch when you were coming up to emulate and learn from?

MH: To be a teacher you don’t have to exemplify the talents you want somebody to portray in the ring.

 

B/R:  That’s a good point.

MH: Leo Burke was an unbelievable trainer.  Him and Tom Prichard. Tom Prichard was not a big guy. And I learned a lot from him. Dory Funk.

I learned from the people who were around me. Danny Davis, one of The Nightmares, he was only 5’5″ and 160 pounds soaking wet.

Jimmy Cornette and Rip Rogers, who were the other people who trained me, in a way. It wasn’t all physical training. It was a mentality. Jimmy Cornette had really studied and was in favor of understanding the history of our industry from Abraham Lincoln all the way to John Cena’s reign.

 

B/R: That’s quite a history too.

MH: I know the history of wrestling. I love the fact that you mentioned George Hackenschmidt. Because he was special in a time when wrestling was about little guys. He was one of the guys who started wrestling’s transition to big guys. I love that. That was a good question.

 

B/R: Hackenschmidt was such a great character. Not only did he set those box-office records with Frank Gotch, but he would go to where the world’s most famous strongmen were performing, challenge them and win. He was the strongest man on the planet in his day—just like you.

MH: And he knew he was the strongest. Just like I knew I was the strongest guy on the planet. It was unfortunate that they allowed people to cheat. Because if they didn’t allow people to cheat, there would have been an unbelievable gap between me and everybody else.

 

B/R: Wow.

MH: Even though I was still able to win world titles and set records that other people couldn’t do, even with steroids, just imagine how far the gap would have been?

 

B/R: Everyone was always impressed with what you did athletically. But when you came back and the Arnold Classic that first year in 2002, I think that changed the way people thought about you, especially in the weightlifting community, among your peers.

MH: Most definitely. The reason that whole thing came about was the fact there were a couple of guys, who shall remain nameless, who said I shouldn’t be able to call myself “The World’s Strongest Man” in WWE. Because I didn’t compete in strongman competitions. I just wrestled. That I was in a fictional world.

I got angry. One, because they said the business I was in was fictional. When I pick people up, I really pick people up. Gravity does not all of a sudden stop existing.

 

B/R:  (Laughs)

MH: I pick them up. They fall. We get hit. It hurts. I’ve had five surgeries that could have ended most people’s careers. But because of the fact that I’m resilient and have a lot of pride, I refused to let myself go out except on my terms. An injury is not going to take me out.

Two, I’m one of those people who believe you better watch what you say. Those guys said I wasn’t the strongest man in the world. I told Vince McMahon, “Listen, I feel offended by this.”

I thought everybody knew I was in wrestling giving light to lifters. I was giving us respect, being away. But that turned into them thinking I was no longer one of the guys.  So I had to go back and show them.

 

B/R: Coming up on Friday we have the 15th anniversary of SmackDown. What makes you special, Mark—you talk about resilience—is your longevity. Very few people have walked that path the way you have for that entire 15 years. You’ve seen wrestling change a lot in that time. Is it in a better place now, or do you miss those glory years?

MH: I think it’s definitely in a better place. We have more international markets, and the hand of the WWE stretches a lot further around the world. We’re PG so more people can actually watch our programming.

There’s a lot more mandates on safety and health and fitness. That itself is a lot. But the biggest thing, I expect the athletes have gotten better, the business is stronger than its ever been and I can really sit back and appreciate the changes.

B/R: There have been so many great Mark Henry moments over the last 15 years, many of them on SmackDown. You’re one of those guys who I associate with SmackDown, along with Batista and Edge and a few others. 

But the memory that stands out to me, and not just because of your salmon jacket, was your fake retirement last year. I hope you follow the Internet and Twitter and know just how much we all loved that angle and how much we appreciate you.

MH: I did. Afterwards. It was a performance I’d always aspired to. The ultimate compliment was Hulk Hogan saying it was one of the reasons he called Vince to come back to WWE, calling it one of the greatest performances he had ever seen.

If Hulk Hogan thought it was pretty damn good, who am I to argue with him?

 

Due to obvius circumstances especially distance I would have to tell my users that the above post was from http://www.bleacherreport.com

 

 

CAN ANYBODY COMPETE WITH WWE??

“You’re never going to compete with Vince McMahon. He’ll kill you.”

So says Cary Silkin, owner of Ring of Honor until 2011, when the promotion that spawned such talent as CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Austin Aries and Seth Rollins was purchased by the Sinclair Broadcast Group. “I believe that there’ll only be one man in the wrestling business who’ll make money. We know who he is. He lives in Connecticut.”

Still, the megalith of the mat world is facing challenges from a number of startups. No one is delusional enough to expect to put WWE out of business. The goal is to offer a viable alternative for fans and wrestlers whom, for whatever reason, the company has overlooked.

The plan? Tapping into the versatile array of talent working for international promotions as well as in the indie scene. “We all know WWE is the best place to become a global player,” says former WWE Tag Team co-titlist Evan Bourne, who uses the name Matt Sydal for indie bookings. “But because of the dissemination of information today, it’s possible for indie guys to gain an international reputation.”

Although some US indie stars have been able to supplement their income with tours of Japan, Konnan—the veteran grappler labeled “The Mexican Hulk Hogan” due to his high visibility in that country—insists that the majority “are waiting for their big break. And this is it.”

He’s referring to Lucha Underground, a show scheduled to debut October 8 on the fledgling El Rey network, a cable outlet appealing to American-born Hispanics and those intrigued by elements of the culture.

This is not a wrestling league in the traditional sense. Rather, it’s a television series that features wrestling matches. While details of the tapings have been sketchy, it’s easy to imagine the 21st-century equivalent of an El Santo film, the Mexican movies that starting in 1958 depicted the country’s most popular luchador battling for justice against crime kingpins and monsters while tangling between the ropes.

Konnan is not only an on-air talent on the program but also runs the dressing room, doling out orders to a cast that includes performers from Mexico’s popular AAA promotion (Blue Demon, Jr., Fenix, Hijo del Fantasma), former WWE standouts (Chavo Guerrero, Jr., John Hennigan, aka Johnny Nitro), and free agents like Matt Capiccioni and Trevor Mann, who as Ricochet may be the most electrifying athlete on the indie circuit.

Two decades ago, during the Monday Night Wars, Ricochet (whose character on Lucha Underground is called Prince Puma) would have been quickly snatched by WWE, WCW or ECW, just to keep him away from the competition. But because of WWE’s sheer dominance today, some industry observers believe that the indie scene is thriving in unprecedented ways.

Just as intriguing: Despite the prominence of AAA wrestlers on the Lucha Underground roster, the show is not being produced by the company. Instead, Mark Burnett, whose credits include Survivor, The Apprentice, The Voice and Shark Tank, is the executive producer, while director Robert Rodriguez heads the El Rey network.

McMahon has not faced these types of adversaries in a long time. “We’re working with the biggest power brokers in Hollywood,” Konnan boasts. “These people are geniuses who understand what people want.”

WWE representatives did not respond to a request to participate in this article.

 

Shakespearean Appeal

For the past several weeks, Jeff Jarrett, a former WWE intercontinental champion and the co-founder of TNA, has been scouting venues in New York, Dallas and Los Angeles for his new Global Force Wrestling (GFW) group while negotiating with sponsors and television networks. “Any network that’s lucky enough to land GFW,” he proclaims, “will hit the jackpot.”

Like Konnan, Jarrett views the professional wrestling landscape as a limitless bounty.

“The business is as healthy as it’s been since the (regional) territory days,” he says. “The talent pool is there. If you go to an indie show, you might see two or three high-quality matches. You wouldn’t say that a few years ago. They just need the stage. I have a database with 500 talents throughout the world. I’m not talking about good talent. I’m saying there’s great talent out there.”

“I think there could be three, four or five wrestling promotions if each is unique.”

And he’d have no reticence about working with any of them. Jarrett says he has agreements in place with 13 wrestling organizations on five continents.

“Justin Bieber and Metallica can each sell out the same arena,” Sydal notes. “Which means a wrestling promotion with a different type of brand can sell out the same places as WWE. You don’t always like the same band at age 48 that you did at eight. Your tastes change. So people who fell out of wrestling can be brought back by something they haven’t seen before.

“When I wrestle for Dragon Gate in Japan, there’s a higher ratio of women to men. So there are different types of audiences. Someone just has to take advantage of the potential that’s there.”

In Jarrett’s vision, GFW will have a touring champion—like Lou Thesz, Ric Flair, Harley Race and Jack Brisco in the NWA’s heyday—defending his prestigious title on shows for various promotions. “In WWE’s universe, nothing else exists,” he says. “We’re not going to do that.”

The plan is for GFW to partner with existing powerhouses like AAA and New Japan, a formula that apparently flourishes overseas. “The big main event, the big fight, works in boxing and UFC,” Jarrett says. “And we need to focus on that.”

In August, he attended the finals of New Japan’s G-1 tournament, which drew standing-room-only crowds and high-profile media coverage daily. Among the entrants: former TNA world heavyweight champion AJ Styles, ex-WWE wrestlers Shelton Benjamin and Doc Gallows (who previously wrestled as Festus and Luke Gallows, respectively) and Davey Boy Smith, Jr., son of the late British Bulldog.

Each night brought unexpected swerves and greater anticipation until Kazuchika Okada defeated Shinsuke Nakamura in a thrilling match that felt every bit as spectacular as any sport’s season finale.

“Wrestling has been around even before television,” Jarrett says. “It’s Shakespeare to the masses. It’s Hollywood. It’s athleticism. It’s music. Putting all these things together is like producing a hit song. I mean, what makes a hit? Is it the singer or the song? It’s both.”

 

Hitting the Wall

“I tried my best,” Silkin says about his efforts to establish Ring of Honor beyond its cult base. “I was giving it my best shot. I was doing it with sincerity. Even though I knew there was the attrition of losing guys, other guys would rise and some would come back. But nobody is ever going to get the best of Vince.

“If you went to a WWE show—any WWE show, whether it’s a WrestleMania or a house show in Kentucky—and you asked about Ring of Honor, maybe five percent of the people would know about it. They’re not on these websites. It’s a tiny world.”

As a full-time ticket broker since the 1980s, Silkin has noticed stark differences between entertainment and what’s labeled “sports entertainment.”

“Billy Joel, Elton John and the Allman Brothers have kept their audience. I saw Alice Cooper tonight, and it was the same fans I saw at Alice Cooper concerts 40 years ago. That isn’t true in wrestling. Through all its incarnations, eras and changes in style, the fanbase is very volatile. They haven’t kept their fans.”

And, away from WWE, he contends, only a few remain loyal. The Pro Wrestling Guerrilla promotion in southern California, for instance, is known for stimulating matches, unpredictability and a sense of humor that adds to the entertainment experience. But according to Silkin, the group rarely draws beyond its most committed fans.

“When ECW was around, you’d have 400 people at one show, 800 people at the next show, and then people couldn’t get in. That’s not happening now. There’s no increase in business. There’s a wall.

“When I was a kid, a new guy would come into a wrestling territory, and you didn’t know what he looked like except for a picture in a magazine. Now you go to a show and see a great match. An hour later, the whole thing’s up on YouTube. People text on their smartphones at the movies. There’s 500 channels on cable. It’s too much. There’s no attention span. People don’t care about seeing something live in the same way.”

Regardless, he acknowledges that corporations like Sinclair remain willing to invest in wrestling: “Ring of Honor continues to exist. It’s still alive, and people love it. If we were having this conversation and Ring of Honor was over, it would be a lot sadder.”

 

No Sure Things in Wrestling

In 2006, Kevin Kleinrock truly believed that he was on to something. The promotion that he helped create and book, Wrestling Society X, was presented on television as a secret society. Matches were said to emanate from a bunker in an unknown location. There were special effects and electrical weapons.

No one watching would have believed that they were viewing an actual fight. But with the support of MTV outlets around the world, Kleinrock knew that he was offering something fans had never witnessed.

“We were trying to create a true alternative to WWE,” he recalls. “We didn’t want to compete directly with them. When the average person heard of pro wrestling, they were still thinking of the Hulk Hogan leg drop, and not the exciting style that wrestling had evolved into.

“We wanted to show that wrestling could be young, hip and cool again. We wanted that 18-24 male demographic.”

As with Ring of Honor, the roster was impressive; Teddy Hart, Jack Evans and Tyler Black (aka Seth Rollins) were regulars on the program. Unfortunately, Kleinrock maintains, the part of the plan that was supposed to secure success quickly backfired.

“Unlike WWE and TNA, the network was funding the show. And they wanted something to explode or someone to get electrocuted almost every week. It had to be crazy. So you had standards and practices worried about kids doing these things at home, and executives worried about fans getting bored by traditional wrestling.”

After sinking $3.6 million into the venture, Kleinrock claims, MTV lost interest. “We were on for four weeks, and then they pretty much showed the rest of the episodes in a marathon.”

The experience left Kleinrock perplexed about what a new promotion could do to stand out: “When you try to make it too different (from WWE), do you turn off the average wrestling fan too much? But on the other hand, when you try to duplicate WWE, you get TNA—or WWE Light. Ring of Honor is great. But they can’t compete on the entertainment or production side.”

Nonetheless, Kleinrock, like Konnan and Jarrett, can’t walk away from the business and continues to challenge the status quo. He’s been a consultant on Lucha Underground.

 

The NXT Factor

In contrast to projects like Wrestling Society X, Konnan believes that Lucha Underground will seize the fascination of both Latino fans who remember watching lucha libre with their parents and grandparents as well as others intrigued by the masks, hip quotient and high-flying action.

But presenting lucha libre requires a certain type of sensibility.

In 1997, WWE attempted to create its own lucha show, Super Astros, establishing a working relationship with AAA. The talent—Apolo Dantes, Negro Casas, Hijo de Santo, Essa Rios and others—was there, along with Konnan. But the project faltered, Konnan says, because the late Victor Quinones, the man overseeing Super Astros, came from the world of Puerto Rican wrestling, where matches were often plodding and bloody.

“Just because you’re Hispanic doesn’t mean you understand lucha,” Konnan argues.

Still, because of its depth, WWE is able to work past its misfires and continue refining its product in a way that’s daunting to anyone attempting to start a new league.

Kleinrock, for one, finds present-day WWE programming compelling. “The Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose characters are refreshing because they’re so much more than what we had in the last few years,” he says. “The way they connect to the crowd is money and different from what we came to expect from the PG-13 era.”

Sydal considers himself a fan of NXT, WWE’s developmental league which consistently draws a small, fervent audience—reminiscent of an ECW crowd, minus the profane chants—for a roster of athletes who established themselves in organizations like Ring of Honor (Kevin Steen, Sami Zayn, Corey Graves), Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (Adrian Neville), AAA (Kalisto), and Japan’s Pro Wrestling Noah (Hideo Itami, aka Kenta).

On September 11, the group presented its third two-hour special, Takeover II, on the WWE Network, an event that channeled the mood of an intimate indie show, where the audience knows it’s watching a selection of young, hungry daredevils bent on proving their greatness.

Former WWE announcer Jim Ross blogged that he was so intrigued by the matchups that he all but forgot about the competing Steelers-Ravens game, reserving special praise for Charlotte—NXT women’s champion and Flair’s daughter—for possessing a “simply special” quality “far beyond someone with her experience level.” Neville, who retained his NXT title in a riveting Fatal 4-Way involving Zayn, Tyler Breeze and Tyson Kidd, was compared to a younger version of the innovative Dynamite Kid.

Among the highlights of the match: a four-man, double-suplex powerbomb from the top rope.

“I think NXT is a really good example of WWE throwing out an extra option,” says Sydal. “The show flows the whole hour. It might be the best show in wrestling. They’ve found a way to empower their talent and make them creative and innovative within the WWE framework. It’s like an artist’s colony for like-minded wrestlers.”

 

CHUNKS OF INFO HAS BEEN EXTRACTED FROM http://www.bleacherreport.com

NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS PREDICTIONS.

Night of Champions is the only pay per view that allows an opportunity for all championships to be defended thus giving good opportunities for redefining paths that the titles can follow. So let us begin on my predictions.

CESARO VS SHEAMUS

The United States champion is quite a prestigious belt and since it fell in the lap of Dean Ambrose it hasn’t been defended much and even in the waist of the Celtic warrior Sheamus it hasn’t been defended much. To win the title would be a good swing towards the career of the King of swing Cesaro who has lost his way since wrestlemania.

Both superstars will put a good show but I expect the title to go in the way of Sheamus unless Cesaro pulls a quick one on him.

THE USOs VS DUST BROTHERS.

The USOs have quite remarkably turned out to be one of the best tag team duos in the company’s history as they have been dubbed fighting champions taking on any challenge head on. With every match they have pulled outstanding feats and incredible moves that have put the fans behind them. They have undoubtedly rejuvenated and reverberated the tag team world since their appearance.

Gold dust and Star dust have also been well hyped since their debut and have been quite successful winning some of their matches superbly especially after the reborn of Cody Rhodes. Though the two did take it too personal when they attacked The USOs making them the protagonists of the match but I believe that’s what exactly the Tag Team Championship needed a feud.

This might be a close match to call but I will give the win to the bizarre duo of RHODES brothers to pull a shocker on the wwe universe but would this be best for business?

BROCK LESNAR VS CENA.

There is no way on heaven, hell, earth or even utopia that CENA is going to walk out of NOC as the world heavyweight champion. I am a big Cena fan but it will be very down played that after renegotiating the beast’s contract for more appearances and then portraying him as the ultimate Beast Incarnate that he is to lose the title one month after winning. In fact I expect the beast to hold the title until the next wrestlemania which he may lose it to Roman Reigns.

Yes Cena has of late been in touch with his brute and demonic side and even we were shocked when he handed Lesnar a beating in last week’s Monday Night Raw making him bleed and though it will be scar-ful for the career of the leader of the C-nation to lose twice to Lesnar I still don’t see him win. And even if he miraculously wins there is plan c where Rollins will cash in the money in the bank to a brutalised Cena who will be thoroughly beaten by an angered beast who just lost the title.

To be sincere this match has turned out to be really catching the attention of the universe and as a fan I expect a long match where brutality will be at both ends.

 

DOLPH ZIGGLER VS THE MIZ

The Miz has quite managed to portray his villainous Hollywood act until now and he has quite managed to entertain the fans with different theatric acts every now and then such as the stunt double in the ring.

This match will swing towards the way of the show-off Ziggler to keep the coveted title on his waist because as far as scripting goes and what’s best for business Ziggler is the best option for various reasons such as his in-ring ability which can be counted on. Then it will be much easier for the company to build a story around the Intercontinental champion with Ziggler as champion for example with a feud against Bad News Barret since the champion has been in the best shape and form in this year.

The Miz should just go back to Hollywood cause the universe isn’t a place for him unless the company is also planning to return John Morrison back in the scene.

 

RANDY ORTON VS CHRIS JERICHO

This feud has not been created to suit a boiling point and in fact this feud is more entertaining than personal for there is no solid ground of a feuding point. Randy Orton has lost discoverably twice to Roman Reigns where as Chris Jericho has also lost twice to Bray Wayatt.

Though it would be good to hand Chris Jericho the win as a gift for helping out by bringing in fans as he goes on for tour I see fit that Randy Orton wins since he works his ass off on every show with so many different wrestlers in very many different scenarios both psychologically and mentally thus he is the sure winner of this match to boost his confidence and return his relevance to the universe. Anyway Jerichoholics should know that the rock-star will be on tour with his band after NOC.

THE DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP: TRIPLE THREAT

First I must clear all uncertainity from your minds if you think for one second that Nikki Bella will win that title which she does not at all deserve. If she appears to be winning I expect Bree to appear and cut slim her chances of taking that prized possession though I tend to wonder how sweet it will be to have feuding sisters going after the title.

Back to important matters.

The feud between Paige and AJ Lee has for the past one month taken sweet psychological turns from both stars but I expect the Norwich Born youngster Paige to win as both divas compete for supremacy to be the top Diva. Since Paige won the title it is only best if she kept the title for another long run making it easier to create better feuds and also because it’s only logical since she is a better ring competitor and then she is the best face of the Diva’s Title the company could ask for at this point in time.

I would suggest that AJ Lee returns to total Divas and only return after being completely missed.

 

 

RUSEV VS MARK HENRY

Rusev has turned out to be better for business than ever expected especially with his pure brutality and native nature making him like some brute lap dog under the control of Lorna. Mark Henry has been enjoying some good TV time after re-inventing himself so this we expect to be a very very sweet match and if it ends fast I shall cry in pain.

I am vouching for Mark Henry to win but not in this pay per view yet but rather in Hell in a Cell pay per view which will very match reflect on the truth of the statement Hall Of Pain. Possibly Rusev should win this match by pinfall in a cheating way since it would be unrealistic if he won it by submission then afterwards the company will be able to bring the feud tremendously well leading to the end of his undefeated streak and feud with America because once he is defeated there will be no more milking of the Rusev Udria Mashga cow.

Rusev will win.

NIGHT OF CHAMPIONS IS BROCK’S NIGHT.

Putting the WWE world heavyweight championship on John Cena would be a rather terrible idea or in better terms is bad for business.

Please let me try to convince you in the best way possible.

First of all its too monotonous since John Cena has been at the top for soooo long…(Facts stated below are derived from CageMatch.net). The 37 year old has participated in 978 matches since 2009 in which he single handedly took part in 202 matches in 2011 only. Over his career in the franchise he has won 15 titles making him second to only the nature boy Ric flair who only supersedes him with just a single title. So I wouldn’t be lieing if I say that he is at the top of the food chain and now that his reign at the top is being cut down by Brock Lesnar it might be very decent that he beats him because he is still young and he needs to defend what he has already built.

WWE has undoubtedly depended on him more than we can realize. If we go back and check at the statistics John Cena needs the longest vacation that he can ever get.

Why?

Oh I was hoping you would ask.

Cena has been headlining since 2006 in which he has main evented nearly all wrestlemanias since 2002 (probably just two 2008 & 2009) and then this year because he has been dealing with quite some issues. Only one year in eight years he hasn’t won the title. Over his career he has had quite a couple of surgeries i.e. repair to a torn pectoral muscle, herniated disk in his neck, torn triceps and removal of bone chips from his arm. Yes the man is only human but it is hard to believe.

And after the match at summer slam the leader of the C-Nation is reportedly struggling with shoulder and neck issues. But it is easy to understand why the franchise have held on to the super star is because there has been no real cut heir to his throne unlike over the years when centre pieces (who had shorter runs than Cena) already had people climbing their way to the top. Centre-pieces climbed to the top late, faced serious problems, had uprising superstars who shove them over (Bruno Sammartino & Hulk Hogan), injuries (Austin) and Hollywood (The Rock).

It will be very bad to put the title back on Cena then within his title reign his injuries get to him. My opinion is let Cena have a very very long holiday. Let the fans miss him and crave him just like how fans crave the return of CM PUNK which is very unfortunate that he won’t come back due to injuries.

More so letting Brock Lesnar have the title with his unavailable schedule is actually pretty good letting the beast incarnate be the beast incarnate and cut through any super star who challenges him.

This is just my thought nothing more.

DANIEL BRYAN’S INTERVIEW

Information processed on this post has been acquired from different sources but chiefly the bleacher report.
Daniel Bryan has been one controversial super star especially as this has been one of his toughest years yet in the business. From being hoaxed out of the title race then winning it in the biggest night of his career yet i.e. wrestlemania 30 where he beat three superstars in what was an underdog up rise to stardom then he continued his Christmas blee by yet again marrying the gorgeous Bree Bella.
Then his will of fate took a turn for the worst because his father departed this world a week after his marriage then he got attacked by the devil’s favorite demon until he suffered injuries which have led to him being stripped of the title from only a one month reign and then just recently his house in Phoenix was mugged.
During a wwe 2K15 event he got into an interview.

You’re in the new WWE 2K15 game along with plenty of other WWE superstars. What are your thoughts on the game?
It’s unbelievable. I was playing it upstairs and I’m not a video game person but I played Cesaro vs. Goldust. And Goldust coming out, it’s literally like when he comes out, all the little folds in his gear, his body suit, they get all of that. It’s unbelievable and the movement and all of that. I literally can’t believe what I’m looking at.
Did you get a chance to look at some of the different characters and were there others that stood out besides Goldust?
Well, Goldust was my favorite. To get him that right with the full body suit and the paint and all that kind of stuff, it’s got to be really difficult and they nailed it. It was just so much fun. Even you guys saw John Cena’s entrance, like, it’s exactly how John Cena runs. I don’t know if they go John to do the motion capture but that’s how John runs. It’s really cool.
Let’s talk about you a little bit. What have you been doing in your downtime lately?
I’ve only been doing physical therapy. It’s crazy. I do physical therapy all day, every day.
And chase down people that are robbing you.
(laughs) And then on top of that, I’m writing an autobiography right now so when I get home. Ok, I take the dog to doggy day care, I do physical therapy all day, I pick the dog up from doggy day care and then I sit down and write. So my days are pretty filled.
How is your dog doing after the break-in?
She’s recovered really well. When we first got in, she was hiding in the bathroom and actually peed on the floor. And she was hiding behind the toilet so she must have been really scared. She’s just a little French bulldog but she’s great and she’s fun. I was actually freaked out because I have no strength in my right arm and I was over at her mom’s house, Brie’s mom’s house, and she jumped in the pool. French bulldogs notoriously can’t swim so she starts sinking. I can’t barely swim myself when I have both arms good so I jump in fully clothed and so that freaked her out too. (laughs)
What has this year been like for you because there have been so many ups and downs?
Yeah, it been tough just because there’s been some really good things and there’s been some really bad things. When my father had passed away, that was literally, probably the hardest day of my life. But a lot of people can relate to that. I’m not alone in mourning the loss of my father. That’s something that everybody goes through. But that kind of stuff is just sad. The neck injury has been, it’s been a little bit demoralizing but I look at it and think I’ve been in wrestling for 15 years and this is my first major surgery so I’m doing OK. But just the timing of it wasn’t my favorite. I wish I could have kept the title until I lost it and then got the surgery but it didn’t turn out that way.
So what is the latest on the injury? Are you going to have another surgery or is that still up in the air?
It’s still up in the air. I was scheduled for a surgery on Tuesday but then they called me last week and said they want to do more testing before they do a surgery which is good in one sense. I don’t want to do the surgery if I don’t need it but likewise, if I need the surgery, let’s get it done as soon as possible because that’s going to be at least another three months.
Are you worried whenever that time is when you finally get healthy and you come back, you were on such a hot streak before you were injury, about trying to get that back?
I don’t worry about it. I’m not phased by stuff like that. I just think that … I’m not worried about the fans not being there. If they are, they are. I’m fortunate to be able to go out there. I just love wrestling. So if the crowd completely hates me when I get back, they I’m like OK, I’ll do something else.
When that time comes that you can get back out there, how much would you like to get in the ring with Brock Lesnar?
Brock Lesnar is, right now, out of all the WWE superstars currently active, Brock Lesnar is the one that I want. That’s the match that I want. I think that match would be something different than the WWE Universe has ever seen. So, yeah, that’s the match that I’m gunning for.