Incredible

This is by far the best work/shoot promo I’ve ever heard.  CM Punk is incredible and it will be a shame if the WWE lets him get away from them.  This is flat out amazing.

And TNA – I know you try to make the “real” things happen.  THIS is how it is done.

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C.M. Punk’s “Announcement”

The “buzz” throughout the wrestling world is the reaction to the end of the 6/20 Raw, and the “Nexus” of that buzz is C.M. Punk (pun intended). To set it up: Punk, at the top of Raw, came out to the ring and stated that he is now the#1 Contender to John Cena and the WWE Championship, based on his (Punk’s) win over Cena last week and his win over Rey Mysterio at Capitol Punishment. He staged a “sit-in” in the ring until the Raw GM officially made him top contender. Raw GM told him to leave; Punk made Snow Angels in the ring. GM then told Punk that, due to his “slight disrespect”, he would now have to face Alberto del Rio for the spot. Punk mocked del Rio and the GM; GM then added Mysterio to the match.

We now get to the match:

The announcement afterwards:

Annonucement

A couple of sites have also picked up the story, including one back in April:

Sports Entertainment Scoops

Wrestling News Source

What does this mean for the WWE Title (possibly) and Raw? Well, for starters, it may pretty much kill off the (New) Nexus finally. Who, on Raw, has the mic skills, the heat, and the talent, to lead them? Who could replace C.M. Punk, in general, on the Raw roster? He is/was one of the most well-rounded stars in the WWE, much less the Raw brand. His agility, speed, and ruthlessness made him an excellent match for just about any style of offense an opponent could throw at him. Throw him some cunning and a Master mind-gamesman, and you have a very dangerous man on your hands.

With the WWE Title: would Punk win the title only to lose it that night to the MITB winner (it’s very possible)? Would he win, “retire” as Champion, only to come back at next year’s WM as part of the Main Event (doubtful)? Would he lose to Cena and be humiliated on the way out the door (ala Lita vs. Trish Stratus)?

One thing is for sure: if C.M. Punk leaves, it will be a big blow to the WWE Universe.

Chris Benoit shown in new WCW DVD

WWE’s recent Very Best of WCW Nitro DVD is a must-see for any fan of WCW from 1995 through its demise in 2001.  It features many of the crucial moments of WCW, especially some of the highlights of the nWo (back when it was good) including the backstage attack in which Rey Mysterio got lawn-darted into the production truck.

But what really struck me about it was as I was watching a tag team match between Hollywood Hogan and Randy Savage against Ric Flair and Arn Anderson, suddenly there was someone I hadn’t seen in a WWE production in four years.

 

The commentary seemed to cut out to avoid his name being used, but there he was right in the ring.  Chris Benoit footage was being shown.  I nodded approvingly – despite the horrors of his final days I still remember the Chris Benoit I had been such a big fan of for over a decade.  It seemed that WWE was finally able to show archive footage of Benoit’s career.  (Also of note, his wife Nancy in her ring persona Woman was in Ric Flair’s corner for that match).

But then I saw something that shocked me.  The Four Horseman reunion of September 1998 was there, uncut, in its entirety.  Arn Anderson saying that Benoit had come to him.  No name missing from the audio.  Then the introductions were there and out came Benoit, front and center with his music playing and everything.  I was amazed and quite pleased.

Benoit will never be in the WWE Hall of Fame.  There will never be a retrospective of his life and career because it cannot be separated from the choices he made at the end of it.  But wrestling history that he was a part of can be used and can be shown without drawing attention to him.  A Wrestlemania box set can have the main event of WrestleMania XX in it.  It happened.  Maybe cut the celebration at the end, but put the match in.  The WrestleMania 2000 match between Benoit, Kurt Angle and Chris Jericho?  Let the match be shown.  Don’t call attention to Benoit – don’t let the focus fall solely on him and it can be brought back into the record books.

This DVD set looks to be the first step on being able to preserve wrestling history without the holes caused by the Benoit tragedy.  And I am happy to be able to see that.

Solution?

While having a few weeks off, I’ve had the chance to sit back and watch more of TNA and WWE than in the recent past. I’ve noticed that a few superstars that have struggled in the mid-card and lower, such as R-Truth, have stepped their game up (both in-ring and on the mic). There are a few, however, that have gone/are going in the opposite direction and fast. These are stars with big-time name recognition and hype but have done little in the past year or so. Who are they and what can be done to get them higher up the ladder?

1) Ted DiBiase. Think back to the days of Legacy… of the 3, who did you think would be the one who would do very little after the breakup of the group. Raise your hands if you thought it would be Cody Rhodes (*hand is raised*). Instead, it’s been DiBiase. He had a little thing going with Maryse and the Million Dollar Title but has done crap since. The son of the “Million Dollar Man” should be AT LEAST in serious contention for the U.S. Title, if not on the outside of the WWE/World Title pictures, not having the very rare backstage appearance before a commercial break.

2) Drew McIntyre. For nearly a year, he ruled the mid/upper-mid card as the IC Champion, with some VERY good matches against Kofi Kingston and John Morrison, among others. After losing the title, he basically became an afterthought (I still can’t believe he lost CLEANLY to Chris Masters on Superstars a few weeks ago). There is simply TOO MUCH TALENT in McIntyre to not have him causing havoc in the Title pictures.

3) Samoa Joe. He had a nearly 2 year unbeaten streak in ROH. He had another 18-month unbeaten streak in TNA. He (along with AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels) was not only the best thing going in the X-Division at the time, but perhaps all of TNA. So what’s happened in the last 6-8 months? Losing to Crimson in under 3 minutes? Walking away from potential fights? Not being mentioned in the TNA World Title picture? Or the X-Division Title picture? Even the TV Title chase??

What can these 3 do to get out of their slides? Well, in Joe’s case, I think one of 2 things can help:

a) He can go completely bad-a$$ heel. I talking about loose-cannon, destroy anything that moves, heel. His target(s) should start with Fourtune and Styles and/or Daniels (re-capturing the “magic”, unless TNA screws it up). If/when that ends, he should turn his rage on the X-Division until he gets the title. Have him hold the belt until someone can finally step up and end his reign of terror. It gets him a belt, gets his “name” back, and he can actually DO something other than lose.

b) He could become the “franchise” of TNA by going after Immortal and taking them out, one by one. Again, this depends on TNA’s writers not screwing things up.

In DiBiase and McIntyre’s case, it may involve Arn Anderson, a few months, and a stable.

Arn could be sitting ringside, watching matches and “taking notes”. Whenever he see DiBiase and McIntyre lose, he gets increasingly frustrated. After a few weeks (say, 3-5), he gets fed up and rips them a new one publically. He decides to take them under his wing to get them to reach “their potential”. As they wrestle with Arn in their corner, the wins start coming… as does a newly found cunning (DiBiase) and ruthlessness (McIntyre). Arn also adds a 3rd star to this stable, based on his notes, to help them along (Daniel Bryan? Justin Gabriel?). Arn, after a while, decides that they “are ready”… and reveals the leader and 4th member (see where this is going now…?). Yes, reviving the 4 Horsemen through McIntyre and DiBiase, while not likely, is not a bad way to jumpstart their careers.

Whatever solution is out there, Samoa Joe, Drew McIntyre, and Ted DiBiase really need to get going.

Chyna coming to TNA?

I was perusing Slam! Sports’ ‘News and Rumors’ section for wrestling (far less gossip and pop-ups than your run-of-the-mill dirt sheet site) when suddenly I came upon it.  Just sitting there with all the other news, as if they were unaware of how awful it could potentially be.

Joanie Laurer, the former Chyna in the WWE, will debuting with TNA in the next few weeks.

Chyna is a spectacular example of the rise and fall of a wrestler fast forwarded.  Her mainstream career in the WWE lasted just four years, going from 1997 to 2001.  Beginning as the bodyguard of Triple H and gaining fame with D-Generation X, Chyna broke off on her own as Triple H began his rise to stardom.  Chyna’s biggest attraction at the time was her ability to wrestle the men of the company and she became the first (and only) woman to win a men’s title in the WWE when she captured the Intercontinental title.  But eventually she would be phased out of that role and pushed into the women’s division before ultimately vanishing in mid-2001 before the WCW invasion began.

Since that point, Chyna has been a mess.  She appeared on the reality series where she drank heavily had the world learned of her train wreck relationship with Sean Waltman (the former X-Pac), complete with a commercially released sex tape.  Anything public from Chyna since that point has involved domestic abuse, drugs or alcohol.  She appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, which probably isn’t too good of a sign.  Last year, she was hospitalized after ODing on sleeping meds.  This year, she debuts for TNA.

The more I think about it, the more I believe that there simply is no benefit to TNA for bringing in Chyna.  Her name recognition by this point holds about as much excitement as other notable gimmicks of the late ’90s (Gangrel, the Godfather, Val Venis, “Hole in One” Barry Darsow) and she won’t add any kind of anything to whatever storyline she goes into.  She hasn’t wrestled in nearly a decade, has lost most of the muscletone that made her stand out to begin with, and honestly wasn’t that good to begin with.  But she’s someone who was popular at one point, and by TNA logic, that’s all someone needs to secure at least some employment.

I wonder what Jay Lethal’s doing right now.

EDIT: Upon some research, I learned that Jacqueline captured the WWE Cruiserweight Title at one point, so Chyna wasn’t the ONLY one to do it.  Of course, with a title history also featuring Hornswoggle, Oklahoma and Chavo Classic, you could see why I’d have forgotten.  Jacqueline also won the Television title in WCW and Madusa won the Cruiserweight as well, just not in WWE.

The errs of Sting, the fighting champion

TNA is really making it hard for themselves with this one.  My self-imposed exile from TNA programming ended last week and, as I had predicted, I returned to a far different place than I had left from.  But one thing had stayed well in place during my absence and it was the thing that had initially turned me from TNA to begin with – Sting as the TNA champion.

As I put together the state of TNA, I learned that Sting had become something of a fighting champion, willingly putting his title on the line against all comers anywhere, anytime.  So last week on Impact, he had defeated Matt Hardy (who apparently is still carrying around the Jeff Hardy belt) and this week it was a triple threat between him, Mr. Anderson and Bully Ray (who apparently is now in Immortal).

But this plot for Sting is not only over-utilizing the star (and will likely lead to him getting injured) but is also a rare example of giving too much to the fans.  The role for Sting that would not only make him a bigger attraction but also even heap some much-needed prestige on the nearly ridiculous TNA Championship is far simpler than anyone might consider.

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Dissecting the Wrestlemania XXVII Corpse

…because the 2011 version of Wrestlemania was just like a corpse: dead. Lifeless, semi-dull, bloated- it was not a pretty site to behold, at times. Let’s take this mass of matches apart and see what we find, shall we?
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