Other Columns Hot Threads: Undertaker's WrestleMania Opponent, Tyler Reks Starts The Mafia, "Hitman" James Bullock, and More
By Corey Letson
Dec 14, 2011 - 1:03 PM
Welcome everyone to my final Hot Threads column here at World Wrestling Insanity. I’m sure you’ve read by now either via Mike Johns’ This Week in TNA or Twitter that I am moving to a bigger office around here. Starting next week you can join me for my look at Total Non-stop Action Impact Wrestling (TNAIW). Stay on the look out for that next week and for more information on Hot Threads as it all happens.
This last Hot Threads is going to be a big one though, so buckle up. After taking last week off to study for finals it turns out quite a lot has been missed here and there. The best place to start is just seeing how Wrestlemania is shaping up. Why would we? Well, because in four months it will be here and WWE is already hyping it as the greatest thing to ever future-happen. There is one undeniable question that will always come up around Mania time and this year is no different at all. Who will The Undertaker fight, if anyone, at Wrestlemania.
It's going to be CM Punk.
Only if Punk loses the title at Elimination Chamber, which at the moment, he not scheduled to do, but the Taker match is apparently "locked in".
Plus, if we are to assume that Daniel Bryan uses his MITB shot at Mania (although they've clearly begun to bend this one), then realisitcally, that leaves just the WWE Title match openfor the Rumble winner. And I'm frankly more and more convinced, that will be Jericho and they will face off to claim the title of "Best In The World".
Personally, I'd like to think that if it is Daniel Bryan vs. ???, that it's not Mark Henry by that point and that Henry faces Taker. Because let's face it, that match is more appealing than the one that had previously, since Henry is now awesome. I mean, Henry deserves a title match at Mania, but we've kinda seen that feud on Smackdown these last few weeks, so it doesn't really say "sellable as a Mania main event" to me.
Right now my picks are The Miz, Wade Barrett, Cody Rhodes and Dolph Ziggler. Miz and Rhodes may have a problem getting card time if Jericho does come back and get Punk, which is viable. I really do doubt they'll pull what they did last year and guy (in that case Triple H) back in the ring but to square off against Taker since there's already a huge match on the card, which is why Jericho isn't in my four. The four I've listed are big-time heels but I'm skeptical of them being in the main title matches. To clarify..
World Heavyweight Title: Daniel Bryan of course, but my main pick here is actually Sheamus. I get the feeling the WWE is actually trying to apologize a bit for keeping that match off of the PPV broadcast last year by doing a sort of redo here, though I'm pretty confident a third person will be involved. I see Mark Henry being the third man or if he's not in this Henry faces Kane
WWE Title: CM Punk versus Jericho. As people of suggested, the 'best in the world' element makes this great, plus these two have been having small spats on twitter for a while. A bunch of people seem convinced Jericho's the guy who is returning on January 2nd and I'll totally buy into that. Jericho's also one of my two main picks to win the rumble since he's an old hand who would get his due, like Edge, Cena, Orton and Mysterio have in Rumbles gone by.
So that leaves Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Cody Rhodes and Wade Barrett with little to do. I could see the latter two getting in on the WHC but right now I don't see them properly getting into that picture until after Mania, though they'll probably be in the match at Chamber, no question. Barrett's got a supposed streak on his side (though he could lose to Randy at TLC and kill that), Cody will be fresh off of feuds with legends (Booker T and probably Golddust, though that might be his Mania match even though I'd prefer it wasn't) and thus want to keep going, Ziggler thinks he's the best around and since one's ever going to keep him down he should end the streak, and the Miz is eager to deliver another big Mania moment after having beat Cena last year but not having a shot at the title.
I will say though if its a face it'll probably be Sheamus
I don't know. The last few years have REALLY set the bar high for Undertaker matches. I can't see him squaring off against anyone who hasn't already main evented before. At this point, you have to make the streak seem vulnerable and the current crop of heels (Miz, Barrett, Rhodes, et. al) just doesn't seem like a credible threat to me. It almost has to be an established star. Orton comes to mind. HHH could do it again. Maybe a returning Jericho with the only thing left to prove is ending the streak
The Chosen 1
After 3 years Takers match has to be epic
It can only be HHH, Kane or Brock Lesnar
That said its gotta be HHH.... the real smart decision would absolutely be to keep Taker off this years Mania and start building his return the night after Mania and begin building to a match wity Cena for WM 29 considering 20-0 could absolutely sell the entire WrestleMania and go on last. Where as this year it will be over shadowed
Streak vs. Streak
Taker vs, MICHAEL COLE!
One choke-slam and the Taker goes 20-0.
But Taker goes out undefeated and Cole gets badly hurt.
Taker would NEVER go out like that. He'd want an epic, not a squash against a non-wrestler. And Cole wouldn't be out that long
I just don't see 20-0 being that epic if they've locked it in for this year. His final match NEXT year will probably be utterly epic though.
I want Taker in a 3 way match. Make it so that the streak could really be in trouble since Taker wouldn't have to be pinned to lose and be 19-1. Plus it would make it so you can use anyone against him since anything he does in the match is to protect his streak meaning he doesn't have to be a heel or face.
Mankind - Foley snapping and having one final go against Taker and trying to steal the show could be something completely worth seeing.
This is true Foley does claim he's still got another match in the basement.
I agree that they would be better served to hold off on the 20 - 0 match until next year. Make sure Taker is entirely healthy and ready to have another epic match. They don't need him wrestling this year with Rock - Cena.
I easily think he should wait until next year...not come back until the 2013 Royal Rumble. And yeah, it should be Cena. Cena/Taker would sell boatloads. And regardless of anything there would be that part in all of us once Cena hits the FU or locks in the STFU where we all go "Oh fuck no he won't" and suspend disbelief.
But if they insist on him ending it out this year....Mankind vs Taker gets my vote. And while Cena/Rock may overshadow...Taker getting to go 20-0 on the most watched wrestlemania ever....would be fitting as well.
cena vs taker...I quit match. we just sold out Dallas for Wrestlemania. Congrats.
Cena is snapping. Have you noticed this at all? Am I just assuming this? Is there any chance of an actual heel John Cena? While Raw may not have been amazing the past few weeks on thing is slowly coming clearly into view, Cena is cracking. Where does this lead? The same place all roads apparently lead…WRESTLEMANIA!
Where is this current Cena Story going...is he finally gonna snap on those marks who just hate his guts or is he just gonna be the same Cena we have now.
The Chosen 1
As a fan, I'd love to see a full blown heel John Cena... it'd be awesome...
As a logical thinking human being who realizes that WWE is also a company and business, I know that if I was in the a position of power within in WWE I would absolutely, positively, NEVER turn John Cena...ever. Unless one day even the kids get sick of him...but I truly can never see that happening... or only after Cena is no longer the #1 guy and face of the company...until then no matter how much we think we want to see it happen it would end up costing WWE a shit load more then they would gain by having a few months or weeks of interesting television.
This is a slow build until he finally goes at The Rock right before Wrestlemania. Where it isn't about sportsmanship anymore. Until then I think we're just slow-building to cracks in his armor. Which is great. Seeing him get rattled due to a long term thing that is finally boiling over is really interesting. Have people come out and just say "Hey, we understand you are putting on this face...but we know...it's killing you...it's eating at you. It's ok. You don't have to be the good guy for them. Tell'em how you feel."
It adds dynamic to the whole thing. Even if he doesn't change at all or even break it just shows how strong is convictions are even in-front of his peers who see him as a weak human being.
WWE will tease it but a full blown heel turn won't happen unless Vince is convinced. the $$s mean too much
Cena will no doubt be the defacto heel going into Wrestlemania, but afterwards when The Rock disappears, business as usual, with people loving him and hating him.
I think it'll go everywhere and nowehere. I refer you directly to HBK & Hogan. And even then, I don't think Cena will be as much of a heel as HBK was for that.
I've bet on a slow-build myself. I get a feeling Cena's going to try and get a WWE title shot for TLC but fail, possibly due to the Miz since it seems like they're setting up for a short feud. Cena will then start having a losing streak, failing to get a title shot at Rumble, win the Rumble and win at elimination chamber, which the Raw chamber must be for the WWE title. Cena's left failing to have the title going into Wrestlemania, where he promised to have it, and Rock taunts him. Cena snaps and ups the game, sort of making him a tragic heel as he was bullied into it. Cena later realizes what has happened and moves to redeem himself after Wrestlemania
I think it might be to let him go closer to a heel for his WrestleMania match with The Rock since he'd be booed anyhoo, but never truly break. He just shows frustration/disappointment and weakness, and maybe build some sympathy with adults for the up till now largely unsympathetic Super Cena
Can't they do something akin to Bret Hart circa 1997? Make him hate everyone over the age of 12 or something but suck up to the kiddies? I don't know, just spitballing... I'm not even positive it would work but it might be something to think about if they're desperate to keep the merch up.
i'm hoping that its a slow build till the rumble...where he loses the rumble and snaps from there... he's never gonna be a Orton style heel... but I can see him being a hell of tweener..
I think a Cena turn would be good for Cena, for the fans.... and for WWE's bottom line. They would take a short-term hit on merch, absolutely, but he could generate it back within a year when he turns back as a (much stronger) babyface. Plus.... John Cena as a heel vs. Rock, Punk, HHH, Sheamus, Undertaker, you name it, is far more appealing to me as a fan than him doing that as a face. And I'm guessing I'm not alone, so more TV ratings, more PPV money.
And the absolute easiest way to make him a full-blown heel.... align him with Laurinitis. BAM. Done
Cena doesn't need to turn heel. But he needs to call out the people who boo him in a serious way. You can't perpetually turn the other cheek when you're in a business that settles it's conflicts through physical conflict
Hollywood is hitting the “oscar season”. Some of the main contenders for the award have been coming out and will be premiering over the next few weeks to garner the prestigious trophy. And this deals with us all how? Studios will make a movie about anything: serious, funny, tragic, true, complete b.s., a movie they’ve already made, etc. Need proof? Studios green-lit The Love Guru, Austin Powers 4, and Scary Movie 5. Recently rumblings have been going on that there will be a film about Chris Benoit coming out sometime. At the very least it is being shopped around at the current time. I…ummm…ugh….yeah…..
I wonder if it'll get the Hollywood ending. And I bet Hugh Grant plays William Regal..
The Chosen 1
This film will have NO ONE big associated with it, and it will probably end with a weirdo thing where it just ends on the last time he was seen in public into a slow motion and then a montage of the real news footage
I am so very mixed about this. It could both get the industry some sympathy, since people who just dismiss it as fake might actually understand what it can do to one's body, but also shine a light on some less-pleasant areas. The ending's also going to be tricky as hell to do.
I was a huge fan of Benoit. This story devastated me as a fan. I can't imagine having the stomach to sit there and watch knowing what happens in the end.
That and there's simply no way to accurately display Benoit's at-home demeanor at any point during his entire career. Much like "The Perfect Storm", it's all going to be "this is what we think he would have said/done at the time"
I don't have high hopes
The Chosen 1
This WILL be at movie about how he became a murderer... don't expect too much actual wrestling career stuff other then the big ones and even then it will bleed into how those moments turned him into a murderer...
If it's being adapted from Randazzo's piece of shit book, there's no chance in hell of it being in any way sympathetic or anything but a hatchet job on the WWE and the industry
Uggh...ok...Idea...we all forget about this now and it goes away. Straight to the Walmart $5 dvd bin. Good? Good? Good. Topic shall die.
Movie opens with Benoit wrestling someone. He gets knocked to the mat. The film turns to slow motion and shows his head hitting hard. They play ominous music
Scene follows with Benoit talking to a generic wrestler character. They show him forgetting things
Another scene shows him complaining about not feeling good, but the promoter tells him that the fans have paid to see him. So he reluctantly wrestles
They repeat the scene where he hits his head on the mat
This continues until he kills everyone
Distasteful and disgusting, but far be it from people in wrestling to not profit off the murder of a seven year old and his mom. The only thing that separates the people behind this film project and Chris Benoit is that at least Chris Benoit had the common courtesy to kill himself afterwards
Three words: Jesse Ventura Story
It's times like this where I don't fault WWE for basically deleting Benoit from history. Because nothing good can ever really come of him being brought up ever again
Maybe Hollywood should just turn to Youtube for the next hit the way Zack Ryder and others have. Yeah, I know Snakes on a Plane didn’t turn out perfect. But did anyone actually think it would? Mr. Woo-Woo-Woo has started a pro wrestling revolution. All he had to do was get a flip camera last year for Christmas and the rest has become history. Wrestlers now jump on youtube to garner a fan base they want to actually have. The latest example of this is “The Mid-Card Mafia” starring Tyler Reks, Curt Hawkins, Drew McIntyre (maybe), and the one guy from the newest Hart group that looks like Teddy Hart but isn’t. I’m not sure if any of these guys are still actively working in WWE, but that isn’t stopping them from trying to get themselves over. It’s one of the rules of wrestling: If one guy gets over doing something no one else has fully tried yet everyone else needs to then do the same thing only slightly different to try to capitalize on it. This one is lacking in every segment.
Tyler Reks was always awesome. I have no idea why he would do some plain cartoon
I've hated Tyler Reks since, well, I ever saw him really. No more..
Well, to be honest, Ryder has got the "Talk to the camera" market cornered and folk like Colt Cabana have the "sitcom" thing on the go. Cartoon is untapped. And that's where his interests and skills may lie. Better than being a green as grass surfer or a somehow even greener caveman.
See, I didn't mind him from TV but after this cartoon, no more...
I could only watch about a minute of that before I couldn't take the bad sound editing.
Hopefully he'll get some better audio if he finds this thing catches on. That was seriously painful. Also, if they got Drew McIntyre doing his own character with unintelligible brogue, I'd like it 3x more.
Let's be honest, though. The whole selling point here is that it's done by a WWE wrestler and features cameos from other WWE wrestlers. It's the cult of personality - like a lot of these active wrestler/internet crossovers. If this video was done by two guys from 411wrestling or PWInsider or something, everyone would line up to talk about how awful it is. The sound quality is a small aspect of what's wrong with all this. Because it's Reks, though, people are looking for reasons to like it rather than a critical eye.
It's like all the rest. They're all talented and stuff, but if it wasn't for the whole "Oh my God! Zack Ryder from WWE is making videos for US!" then most people would roll their eyes and turn away
To add to your point James, it's interesting how the lowest level of celebrity, in this case mid-card/superstar level performers in the WWE immediately gain that recognition despite the crumminess of what they're putting out.
Well crumminess doesn't mean something sucks as long as it has a charm. Ryder's videos had that charm, which I have to attribute to an enthousiasm for the industry, the frequent use of wrestling terms favored by smarks, and a commitment to his character.
Don't get me wrong. Some people might like them. I'm not saying we're all under the spell of celebrity.
Just saying that in most cases, the allure of active wrestlers taking part in Internet stuff makes online fans giddy. There's been more than a few times where someone told me how "hilarious" or "brilliant" some online endeavor by a wrestler was, only to check it out myself and turn it off pretty quick.
The Internet has changed a lot in the past few years. When I first started the Radio Free Insanities in 2005, it was almost unheard of for some of these guys to interact with the web. Now, it's common. I remember when wrestlers used to say that "internet smart marks" all wished they were wrestlers. Now it's starting to feel like all these wrestlers wish they were internet smart marks.
The Chosen 1
But, the thing is... I don't think anyone would care at ALL about this if Reks was about a month or two removed from WWE and doing this. Its because its people that all the marky marks say "UGH MICHAEL COLE HAD 10 MINUTES! WHAT ABOUT TYSON KIDD!" that people think this is cool.
See I don't disagree with that point, but that said, I wouldn't think anyone was clamouring for Tyler Reks to reach out to them.
Brother, you'd be amazed. One time at a Nassau Coliseum house show, I saw Skinner sell a punch to the face and a wad of spit flew from his mouth.
Some guy in the third row tried to catch it
The whole crowd gasped
James Guttman recently took to the ClubWWI airwaves with his fantastic “Why It’s Stale” series, something worth joining to hear without even thinking about the countless guests, and brought up the topic of ‘suspension of disbelief’. You know what we’re talking about right? I know Community is really on hiatus, but I’m suspending disbelief and thinking that there was a grease fire that has closed the school indefinitely until the show returns. You know those housewives aren’t all desperate but while watching you make yourself think they are, and we all know ESPN First Take is a propaganda tool to make Tim Tebow and Lebron James win the popular vote of the 2012 elections. For some reason wrestling promotions seem to have a solid idea on the concept of that. Hell they think we need to know if wins and things even matter. (Bonus: The forums 2nd ever conversation about EVOLVE)
What's sad is, I'd actually lump EVOLVE into all of this, as well. It tries so hard to be a serious, legit sport that it actually comes off as too much. Not only is the concept hurt by the fact you're seeing guys getting dressed in hallways and broom closets and stuff (b/c you just want to reinforce how rinky-dink your show in the rec center is that much more), but everything is so underplayed that it comes off just as hokey, silly, and unrealistic as anything you see in WWE. Plus, they actually have to remind you that wins matter, constantly, instead of just, you know... making wins matter.
Matt Morgan is not a bad guy, by any means (that I know of), but I swear, there was a point in the BFG Series when, if he had to tell us one more time that wins actually mattered in the BFG series, I was ready to reach through my TV screen and smack him.
elaborate what you mean about evolve. I'm curious what they're doing to come across like you said. have never watched but the concept seems solid to me.
It's really like watching the Twilight movies. You get that Edward and Bella are supposed to be really hot for each other, but they're acting like they can't stand one another. The actors feel like they're in agony just being around one another, and we, the audience, are supposed to think these two are in love and want to screw each other's brains out, when all we see are people so awkward together, it's amazing they can even stand one another. In the same way, we see pro athletes showing no emotion whatsoever, trying to act casual and friendly even though it comes off forced, and then come out to virtually no fanfare and wonder why fans sit on their hands when they wrestle. There's no individual music. Guys just walk out, and you're supposed to guess by their outfit who they are or if they mean anything.
Imagine two guys in going out, just wrestling a clean match with a clean finish, then going to the back without ever saying a word or doing anything other than wrestling a match. No one cheats, no one appeals to the audience, no one taunts, just moves, holds, and near-falls. Come out to the same music, and all you get is their name and what they look like. Basically, imagine what every critic of the Internet Fan publicly says the internet fan wants - "just wrestling" - and take it to its most extreme. Then cast it with guys who underact so hard, they make Robert Pattinson look like Latino freaking Heat.
You won't see the NFL arbitrarily say after week 16 that the winner of the Lions/Colts game gets a spot in the Super Bowl or MLB say the team that wins the final games of the season make the World Series
They don't have to keep mentioning that wins matter, fans assume they do. So make the wins matter in your booking. It might be a bit harder to do but I'm sure there are people in the back that can keep a spreadsheet for them to keep up with it.
Exactly my point. You just make wins matter. You don't have to announce it. You don't have to beat me upside the head with it. You don't have to have a running tally of your win/loss record. Just be sure that guys who are supposed to be big deals don't lose all the damn time! Don't put a guy who just lost a ton of matches in a row (CM Punk) in a World Title match. Don't have your champ (Miz, Mysterio, etc) lose when he's holding the belt. You don't see a football team on a losing streak make it to the super bowl, so you shouldn’t see a guy who hasn't won a match since July become the WWE champion!
But we're really dumb and think this shit is real. So if they don't tell us wins matter we wouldn't be able to figure it out ourselves.
That's the thing. A lot of times people go too far in the other direction. You can present a sporting/entertainment exhibition without it being about viagara on a pole or strict w/l records. Just make it believable.
In 1984, Pro Wrestling USA tried to do a similar approach. The company had tons of talent in it and was most famous for being the place Bob Backlund jumped to after he left WWF. The problem has always been that wrestling fans don't want to go backwards. They never have. They want the current product, but they want to be respected by it. There are plenty of scripted shows on TV that don't treat their viewing audience like friggin' dipsticks. Yet, wrestling makes it seem like that's an impossibility. It's either catch-as-catch can 'rasslin or midgets in clown costumes. How hard is it for someone to work the middle ground?
On this final Hot Threads section for my run I’m going to let our new Insanity forum member Nawaaz just straight out take it as he compares the Insanity staff to their respective wrestling counterparts.
I might have joined a few months ago, and not contributed much, but I'm part of the silent majority and I gobble it all up from the site! I thought I'd post something I came up with while watching Raw with my patients in the ward. (It's a pediatric ward, in case you're wondering, and I managed to get all the kids to sit around and watch wrestling!)
So if WWI's writers were actually wrestling, who would they be? Obviously this is meant to be funny so I don't mean to ruffle any feathers here!
- James Guttman: Young Vince McMahon, Jr. The grandaddy of it all. Keen sense of business, created concepts that will last well into centuries (Wrestlemania, Club WWI). Visionary leader, but also capable of some batsh*t moments of insanity! (Kiss my ass club, Read ANY Raw insanity). Some of the stuff they actually come up with make you wonder about how their brains actually work! - Aaron wood: Good ol' JR. (I was tempted to put Mick Foley) Knows the workings of the business inside out, always in the thick of things. Puts a positive spin on things all the time, even when they clearly suck. Trusted by the boss. A lot.
Oh, I forgot: Victimized a LOT!!
- Canadian Bulldog (Don't pretend you don't know who he is!): Chris Jericho. Canadian, duh. Capable of insane promos, got many things going at the same time (Rock band, Inside the ropes). Love the limelight, also in the thick of things (King of bling bling, WWI Breaking News). Also, big fan of the business with a wrestling collection to earn him centuries of geek respect. - ZAH: (Was tempted to put Austin here... but) CM Punk... Who else? Anti-establishment dude of the site with his resident head shaking. He does look like his man crush with his love for the business, and his absolutely epic delivery on the mic (well, on the forum)!
- Mike Johns and RD Lee: Miz and Truth (No specific order) We need a heel faction! They're always grumpy, always in a bad mood, and always angry. And it's a HUGE conspiracy against them! If we gave them a sledgehammer they'd probably tear everything down. I can only imagine the beatdown they'd give Bulldog and Zah!
- Matt Dawgs: (Most difficult one, sorry!) Michael Cole: Very much in the thick of things, knows everything there is to know. But ends up pouting and grumbling about every development in the wrestling business. Uses CAPITALS (michael cole's MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE) to draw attention! Has wrestled a few times.
- The guys who review the threads: Nexus. Hottest thing in the business since forever!
Now for some legends:
- Crocker : Rowdy Roddy Piper. Wrestling legend, amazing ability to draw crowds and ratings and incredibly funny. Loves a beer, age caught up with him resulting in a huge beer gut. Continues to wrestle for fun.
- Uncle Ralph: Jerry "the King" Lawler. I can't think of anyone else who's old and a pervert!
You forgot "the best in the world at what he does", but otherwise you're bang-on.
Love the analogies! Great work.
Well, I do like BBQ...
The Truth Shall Set You Free.
(anyone have a sledgehammer?)
Haha - that's great, Nawaaz. Now yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer fahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhred
(cue the poopy pants strut/walk)
Edit: Just realized I'm the early '97 circa Bret Hart because I just screwed.
(Note: Who the hell always said Hart couldn’t promo? That is completely awesome. As was the entire Canadian Face / American Heel phase)
No, James, you are the whole of ROH. It's clear very few know who you are despite the apparent mass exposure, to THEIR detriment...
Mike Johns (whose been giving me confidence boosters all week)
I could really use that sledgehammer if anyone has it. Seriously. I'm about to review a TNA PPV, and I have a feeling I'm going to need it.
Not Bret Hart. You're like Daniel Bryan! Talented guy, totally on fire on the independent circuit. Started with a bang in the wwe, but now stuck in the midcard! Waiting for the big guys to move on so you can step into the limelight!
Why am I the entire group that is killed in 6 months? Will I even make it to Wrestlemania?
(Note: I did make it about 6 months exactly. Now the question: Will I even make it to Bound For Glory?)
For a "newb", you've certainly got me pegged.
Thank-you James Guttman for giving me a chance to contribute to this website on a weekly basis for the past 6 months. Thanks also go to anyone who continues conversation on the message board to allowed me to continue this column on a weekly basis, and thanks to Aaron Wood and James Bullock for giving my voice some time on ClubWWI. Hopefully I see everyone who read this column weekly and new people over at the TNA side of the insanity. You probably haven’t heard the last of me vocally either.
As always anyone who is reading this article that hasn’t signed up for the message boards is missing out on the best community, other than the amazing NBC comedy program, around today. There is a link to the boards right up there at the top of the screen. Heck, I bet James Guttman took some time to even hyperlink it into the article a few places. Click, join, type, laugh, lulz if you want. Be a part of it.