Chris Jericho’s Undisputed Renaissance

Chris Jericho Undisputed Champ

The main event of this Sunday’s TLC pay-per-view is scheduled to unify Randy Orton’s WWE title and John Cena’s World Heavyweight title. While one unified champion may emerge, they will not be the first. Twelve years earlier, Chris Jericho became the first undisputed champion at WWF’s year end event. There is a stark contrast, however, between Orton and Cena’s current status on the card and that of Jericho’s in 2001.

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The Future is NXT

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For my money, NXT is the best wrestling show going today. I love all things wrestling but WWE and TNA have become too formulaic. NXT brings a different flavor of professional wrestling that presents great action while getting a sneak peek into the future. This is the first installment of a weekly blog about all things NXT.

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Five Matches That Should Have Gone Differently

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Timing is everything when it comes to the world of professional wrestling. Striking while the iron is hot or simply knowing when you have a good thing is paramount in having a successful business model. However, creative aspirations tangled with a personal agenda can miss the mark entirely with a second shot at redemption never materializing. You only one chance to make a first impression. Wrestling is littered with missed opportunities at creating some memorable moments.

 

Lex Luger vs. Yokozuna – Summer Slam 1993: Yokozuna vanquished the mighty Hulk Hogan, and Titan Towers needed a new hero to appeal to the masses. One body slam later on the USS Intrepid, and Lex Luger instantly became the red, white, and blue star of the company. He just needed the crown in the form of the WWF title to validate his rule.

The problem is Vince McMahon decided to delay Luger’s coronation until next year’s WrestleMania, banking on a more significant box office return. Luger won by count out, and a hollow celebration ensued as confetti and balloons fell from the ceiling. The title didn’t change hands, and the Lex Express had run out of gas by the time WrestleMania 10 rolled around. People want what they want when they want it. Telling the consumer otherwise leads to all-around disappointment.

 

Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels – Survivor Series 1997: My opinion on this matter comes from a different place than most. I’ve always been a super mark when it comes to wrestling. All I knew was what I saw in front of me. No rumors, no newsletters, which is how the majority of fans enjoy their professional wrestling. When Michaels got Hart in the Sharpshooter, and the bell rang for some inexplicable reason, my friends and I were left feeling, huh?

I didn’t know what actually happened until I discovered the internet a year later. I’ll always believe the Montreal Screw job is the biggest work in the history of the business. You’re trying to tell me that Vince McMahon couldn’t get his troops in line and tell them how things were going to be? Bret should have gone over at PPV, and Michaels should have won it the next night on Raw. If this was legit and Vince was really concerned that Bret would show up on Nitro with the belt, he should have stripped him of the belt and put it on someone else or even start the Austin era four months earlier. Leaving a paying audience hanging is not good storytelling.

 

Al Snow vs. Shane Douglas – Wrestlepalooza 1998: Al Snow was so popular ECW that he could have read Shakespeare to the bloodthirsty fans inside the ECW Arena, and he still would have received the biggest pop of the evening. The snowman could do no wrong as wrestling rings across the country were littered with styrofoam mannequin heads as audience chanted “Head! Head! Head!” and “We Want Head”

The night finally came when Snow challenged Shane Douglas for the heavyweight title. The match had fans on the edge of their seat as they counted down to the crowning of a new “Head” champion. The last thing anyone expected was for Douglas to pin Snow clean in the middle of the ring.

That is precisely what happened

The result was a big kick below the belt to wrestling fans. Douglas and Snow did the handshake gimmick after the match as the locker room emptied and hoisted both men on their shoulders in an attempt to mask the unpopular outcome with celebration. It didn’t work. Fans threw their heads in the ring in disappointment

Al Snow was initially booked to win the title. However, what many people forgot was that Snow was under contract to WWE at the time and was on loan to ECW during a time when the two promotions would exchange lower card talent.

When Vince Russo learned of Snow’s surge of popularity, he was recalled by the WWF and made his Raw debut on June 1st. In the end, it was better for Snow’s career to go back to WWF. Still, a title change would have been a classic moment.

 

Bobby Roode vs. Kurt Angle: Bound For Glory 2011: TNA has this uncanny ability to consistently book the polar opposite of what the audience wants to see. Bobby Roode went over in the BFG series and earned a title shot against Kurt Angle. The stars were perfectly aligned. Roode was booked stronger and stronger each week on television, and the people were digging it. They believed in Bobby Roode Bobby, but they didn’t just want him to win; they wanted TNA to put their stamp of approval, stating he is the man.

Hulk Hogan, in his infinite wisdom as head of creative, thought it would be better for Roode to lose in the biggest main event of the year, turn heel, and win the belt a week after. Better late than never doesn’t apply in this case because when something is highly anticipated, wrestling fans want it when they expect to get it. Roode is no worse off than before, but he should have been given a shot at being the star of the company. After all, nothing else has worked for TNA.

Kevin Nash vs. Goldberg: Starrcade 1998We all know how this went. Kevin Nash was in charge and booked himself to go over Goldberg, thus ending the famous undefeated streak. The IWC despised Goldberg squashing opponent after opponent, but casual fans, which makes up the majority of the audience, loved it.

Goldberg beat everybody under the sun, and Nash was the last main event player to defeat.

If he would have defeated Nash, the mystery and intrigue surrounding who eventually ends the streak would have grown to the level of the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. Another main eventer could have gone over on their second or third turn with Goldberg or elevating a mid-card player by having him win in a shocking upset. Having Goldberg go down at the hands of a cattle prod was another pro wrestling angle and turned something special into something ordinary.

It’s time to Ring the Damn Bell with Summer Slam.

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Growing up, Summer Slam used to fall on or near my Birthday so for me, it was the perfect way to close out the summer before heading back to school. I think Summer Slam could benefit from being stadium show like WrestleMania because there are more weather friendly venues in the summer time. Plus, it would truly give the event that “Biggest party of the Summer” feel.

Continue reading “It’s time to Ring the Damn Bell with Summer Slam.”

Remembrance of Chris Benoit

Column I wrote for Gerweck.net

Chris Benoit was my professional idol. There, I said it. It’s something that no one except my close friends know. In a way, I’m ashamed of this even though no one could have predicted the horrific events that occurred six years ago this very day. I remember where I was when I heard the news about the murders. I had just gotten out of class and my friend Reid call me and said: “I have something to tell you and you should sit down.”

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Dean Ambrose is the Future of the Business

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From my column at Gerweck.net

I’m putting myself out there on this one. As they say on the street, you either go big or you go home.

There comes a time in any genre where a particular talent stands out from the rest of the pack. It could be for any number of reasons or simply because of one mitigating factor. Personal opinion comes into play as the exploits of this individual just speaks to you, even if they don’t to anyone else. This person also reinvigorates your excitement for the genre to the point where you’ve become a fan again for the first time. I’m talking about professional wrestling, and the wrestler I’m referring to is Dean Ambrose and I believe that he will be the future of the business.

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It’s Official, John Cena is a Good Wrestler

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Guess what folks? John Cena can wrestle, and he proved it last Monday when he and CM Punk tore the house down, and arguably had the best match in the history of Monday Night Raw.

 

Is Cena the world’s greatest wrestler? No. Are his promos gods awful and infuriating at times? Absolutely. The fact of the matter is you can’t suck and have the kind of match that he had. CM Punk does bring the best out of him, but Cena wasn’t carried in any way, shape, or form.

 

“I’m serving humble pie and I hope all of my critics are hungry” were the first verbal shots fired by John Cena in his pre-match promo. He was determined to have the kind of match that fans will be talking about for years to come.

 

Cena is a lousy mechanic, which is what he gets such a bad rap for. However, he can tell a great story and knows how to work in the right situations. Don’t believe me? Let’s take trip down memory lane and look at the best John Cena matches.

 

Click here to read the rest of my column at Gerweck.net: Pro Wrestling News Since 1997