Shakin' My Head: The Christening of Edge, Rob Van Dam's WWE Exodus, The Fantasy Tag Team Tournament Semi-finals, Loser of the Week, Plus Much More!
Boo-yah, here we go!!
Item #1 Ė So I heard that thereís a new World heavyweight champion...
Ever since the initial Edge WWE title run back in January of last year, da ĎNet has been clamoring for the re-birth of the Rated R Superstar. Well, after his second title reign was ended emphatically by John Cena in September of last year the future didnít look that great in terms of another Edge title reign. He was relegated to tag team duty with Randy Orton and, while the team itself was pretty good, they were set-up to become yet more fodder for the DX juggernaught.
Well...as I mentioned in a previous column...the injuries that have hurt the WWE roster has, in fact, turned into an exciting time to be a wrestling fan. Why is that? Well, last week on SmackDown Edge cashed in his Money-In-The-Bank title shot and soundly trounced the Undertaker to become the World heavyweight champion.
Iíll admit, Iíve never been the biggest Edge fan over the years. But as many of you know, Iím a sucker for a great heel character. The Rated R Superstar gimmick was money from Day One. The fact that he banged Matt Hardyís girlfriend rotten and then turned it into a super-hot angle was one of the greatest wrestling ideas of all time. Edge was nowhere near a title reign before that incident (mind you, injuries did take him out of the title picture on more than one occasion) and when he was given the ball to run with, he didnít stumble over simply promos like Matt Hardy...instead he created a character that was so universally despised that he helped John Cena actually get more cheers than boos during their big-time feud last year.
Now Iím not gonna sit here and bore you with another rant on how great Edge was last year. No, what Iím gonna do is bore you with another rant on how great Edge will be this year. Yísee, the plan was for Undertaker to have himself a nice, long title reign. Well, one biceps injury later and heís out for a few months. The second idea was that maybe Mr. Kennedy could cash in his title shot and...well...another biceps injury later and that idea got scrapped, too.
In walks Edge and now, all of a sudden, SmackDown is the hottest wrestling program on television today. It was already the best...and anybody whoís been watching over the past few months knows this to be fact...but now theyíve got a certifiable superstar on their roster that is a proven ratings grabber. Edge vs. Batista, Edge vs. Chris Benoit, Edge vs. either Brian Kendrick or Paul London, Edge vs. Jimmy Wang Yang, Edge vs. Finlay, Edge vs. Matt Hardy...while not all marquee match-ups, theyíre all matches capable of being better than 90% of anything else currently in sports entertainment. Not only that, but Kennedy is definitely coming back as a babyface and then youíll be seeing Edge vs. Kennedy before too long.
I, for one, canít wait to see what they do with the character. Here youíve got a guy thatís the total package without being over-rated. Heís not some steroid-filled muscle-bound freak like Bobby ďWe Love You, Bobby...We Really DoĒ Lashley. Heís not a guy who got pushed because of who heís friends with in the back like Batista. Heís simply a guy who got over on talent who busted his ass for years to get to where he is today. Personally, I think heís a shining example of what can be accomplished when you continue to work hard and never give up on your dreams.
So now SmackDown enters the Rated R Era. I, for one, am stoked.
Item #2 Ė Rumors abound that RVD was granted early release from WWE.
On any other day, this story might be my lead item. However, my initial reaction after hearing this rumor was...meh.
What? But ZAH, Rob Van Dam is the savior of TNA!!!
Wow...letís grab a little piece of reality here, kids. RVD was phenomenal back in the 90ís. He was really excellent during the first few years of the 21st century. However, his work over the past year or two has really declined...pretty much since his torn ACL injury back in í05. Yeah, he turned his return to the ring into a big-time push and a WWE championship...but he would have never won the belt had One Night Stand not been scheduled and ECW thought to be re-launched in the fall.
RVD never had the personality, charisma, or in-ring ability to be more than a transitional champion in WWE. In ECW, he was able to hide his in-ring draw-backs (ex: the inability to throw a decent punch) by wrestling in a hardcore spot-fest style. It was the Heyman rule of booking. It didnít mean he was any less Ďoverí than he was...it doesnít mean he wasnít talented...he just didnít know how to wrestle a ďsports entertainmentĒ style.
Thatís what was wrong, ZAH. Sports entertainment sucks!!!
Ugh. Whatever. You can lament over the decline of ECW and how great the 90ís were all you want...the reality of the situation is that the majority (the VAST majority) of wrestling fans are actually sports entertainment fans. You donít have to like it, but you have to learn to accept it.
And save your bullshit about how RVD will no longer be buried because it's tired and ridiculous. Hardcore champion...Intercontinental champion...tag team champion...Mr. Money In The Bank...WWE champion...ECW champion...yeah, that's quite the burial.
RVD is a 36 year old man who's best years are far behind him. He'll bring in as much of a new fanbase to TNA as Sting and Kurt Angle did. Any other presumptions of future greatness based on his eventual signing are simply not founded in reality. Can he make TNA better than it already is? Sure. Is he "the answer"? Not even close.
Well...unless JG can get him for an interview. In that case he's the second coming of Christ. You rock, RVD! Talk to James...please. He'll send you munchies in the mail or something. C'mon...do it for the Insanity.
"I'm not high."
Item #3 Ė Judgment Day predictions.
WWE Champion John Cena vs. the Great Khali
ō If this doesnít earn five stars from Meltzer, I donít know what will. But even if it doesnít, I applaud WWE for at least trying to recreate the 80s. I mean, youíve got Cena playing Hogan...the unstoppable babyface who has defeated all who have gotten in his path. What happened once the best heels were beaten? Why create more out of thin air, of course. He had King Kong Bundy, Earthquake, Typhoon, Sid Vicious, Undertaker, Andre the Giant...all quickly pushed as unstoppable monsters who eventually fell at the hands of the Immortal One. Up steps Khali. And donít worry, kids...Snitsky isnít too far behind him.
ō WINNER: Please...as if Cena would lose to this goof.
World Heavyweight Champion Edge vs. Batista
ō Itís a shame that such a marquee match-up had to be rushed so quickly. Still...without much build this match should still be a good match and should have a hot crowd behind it thanks to a new champion that can elicit a crowd response like no other heel on either roster.
ō WINNER: Thanks for playing, Batista...but the new champion isnít losing his title any time soon.
ECW Champion Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon, & Umaga vs. Bobby Lashley
ō Vince is hell-bent on making Bobby Lashley a star. Crowds are simply not getting behind him the way Vince wants them to. Is he unpopular? No...not really. Itís more about apathy when it comes to Lashley. The problem is that he lacks any type of personality whatsoever. The good news is that heís got a bunch of in-ring charisma so once a match actually starts he can usually get a crowd behind him. At this point, the time is almost right for Vince to lose the belt.
ō WINNER: However...almost doesnít quite cut it when ECWís pay-per-view is right around the corner. McMahon retains.
United States Champion Chris Benoit vs. MVP...2/3 falls
ō This is it. This is the time. Matt Dawgs has already closed off access to the MVP bandwagon so if you havenít jumped on by now then itís just too late. If WrestleMania was MVPís coming-out party, then Judgment Day will end up being his end-all to be-all.
ō WINNER: In other words...MVP is your new United States champion. Ballin'!!!
Elijah Burke vs. CM Punk
ō Gang, I just cannot explain how much Iíve been enjoying the whole Punk storyline with the New Breed. It seems clear that the post-Heyman heat that Punk reportedly had has left and now itís clear that Punk is THE new star that has grown from ECW and thatís a good thing. The other good thing? Elijah Burkeís emergence as another new, young star. His time down in OVW accomplished exactly what it meant to accomplish...season him enough so that when he was truly given the ball, he wouldnít fumble it.
ō WINNER: This one is tough. Punk would be my obvious choice, but the whole storyline with the New Breed (Are they with Burke? Are they not?) throws a huge wrench into things. As much as Iíd love for Punk to win, I think in order to set up a gimmick match at One Night Stand that Burke needs to win this one by nefarious means.
Shawn Michaels vs. Randy Orton
ō This has been brewing for awhile and has been a subtle underlying story on RAW. Now, more than at any other time, is the moment to build Randy Orton up as not only an upper mid-carder, but as a perennial main eventer. He needs this...Michaels doesnít. HBK has been winning matches that he didnít need to win recently and it needs to end here.
ō WINNER: Orton has been coming up short over the past few months...this is where he redeems himself. I mean, how can you possibly award a victory to a guy that youíre Photoshopping hair onto on the WWE website??
Carlito vs. Ric Flair
ō As much as I like the new heel Carlito, Iíve seen this match one too many times already. As opposed to a good feud where you want to continue to see them battle, this one is tired and there is nothing that Carlito and Flair can show us that will make their match interesting without a gimmick attached.
ō WINNER: With the new heel turn and (hopefully) new push, I canít see Carlito losing this one.
Item #4 Ė Worst idea for a sitcom...ever.
Well...next to this one.
Item #5 Ė Tag team tournament semi-finals.
As you all know, Iím a big fan of tag team wrestling. Always have been...always will be. Iíve spouted the wonders of those like the Kings of Wrestling and the Briscoes as of late in an effort to parlay my enjoyment of the 4-man beat-down into words for one and all. Well, Insanity reader and message board poster vinrob recently sent me a fantastic-looking absolutely insane 64-team fantasy tag team tournament designed to help decide who Insanity readers thought the greatest tag team in the history of mankind really was/is.
As we near the end of this oh-so-glorious journey, I was yet again floored by the response from the readers of this column. The voting was fastínífurious. In the end, there were two distinct winners and yet two more matches where the decision was made by one vote. The first match, once again, involved the Hart Foundation...who went on to victory with one heck of a hard-fought match against tournament favorite the Road Warriors. The other close one was an early run-away victory for Edge & Christian until the Dudley Boyz made a run for the win as today drew near. In the end, weíve got one heck of a battle in the semi-finals.
First, here are the winners of the quarter finals:
Alright...now weíre on to Round Five! Now remember, each team is to be judged based upon their skills during the height of their popularity/success. So vote by sending an email my way or via PM on the message board. Either way, let your voice be heard!
Oh...and please................................no wagering.
Edge & Christian vs. The Steiner Brothers
Summary: Wow...talk about an interesting match-up. The speed and cunning of E&C against the awesome power/innovation of the old-school Steiners. If I was a little younger and hadnít seen the Steiners in their prime, Iíd absolutely vote for E&C. However, I still remember the first time I saw the Frankensteiner and thought it was the most phenomenal thing I had ever seen. That type of move is what the Steiners were known for best and this match is probably about as close to being a tie as youíre going to find.
The British Bulldogs vs. The Hart Foundation
Summary: This speaks volumes as to the wondrous state of tag team wrestling in the WWF back in the 80s. These two teams brought the new era of tag team wrestling to the forefront and inspired a legion of tag teams to follow over the years. It might be easier to call this match if one team had been a little more dominant over the other. However, much like the RockíníRoll Express vs. the Midnight Express in the NWA, these two teams traded wins back and forth so often that itís going to be really hard to decide which one happens to pull out a victory this time around.
It just doesnít get any easier. Four fantastic teams...two spots remaining in the finals. Your vote will determine the greatest (i.e. the most popular) tag team of the modern era. As always, Iím really looking forward to seeing who you vote for. How do you do it? Itís simple, really. You can vote either by e-mailing me at Zah@worldwrestlinginsanity.com or by going to the Insanity Message Board and sending me a private message.
Item #6 Ė I love May television.
Thereís just something about the extra effort that television networks put into their season finales that make watching programs in May just a little more special. From The Office to Heroes to House to Lost...I love it all.
The finale of the multi-episode, multi-season ďMiniature KillerĒ storyline arc on CSI last night just confirmed my love of television. Great stuff.
Item #7 Ė LOSER OF THE WEEK.
Each and every week, I pick somebody (not necessarily always from wrestling) who has either acted in a dumb way, said something stupid, or generally was an idiot in some way, shape, or form. This week didnít need to happen...but it did. Ladies and gents, ZAHís Loser of the Week simply has to be...
What? Mr. Extreme is a loser? How so, ZAH?
Well, the guy intentionally got himself released by WWE earlier this week. Hereís the story posted on our message board that is being attributed to PWInsider:
Sabuís intentions were to get released, thus resulting in him showing up hours late for the SmackDown tapings last night. Mike Johnson is also reporting that Sabu failed a wellness test and he was serving a suspension. Sabu continued to wrestle through his suspension without pay.
Listen, Sabuís release has absolutely nothing to do with him being an ECW Original. What this does have to do with is Sabu's total and utter lack of respect for a decent pay-day.
Therefore, for acting like an asshole just so you can end up asking 100 wrestling fans in some back-alley dive to pony up some cash to raise money for medical bills that you cannot pay yourself because you left your cushy job to end up asking 100 wrestling fans in some back-alley dive to pony up some cash.........you get the drift.
Sabu...congrats. Youíre a loser. Smoke Ďem if you got Ďem.
Item #7 Ė Oh yeah...Rob Conway got released this week.
Hell...I almost forgot he was even on the roster. Oh...and so did WWE.
Pillar to Post
Each and every week Iíll take three statements that you, the WorldWrestlingInsanity.com readers, have submitted on the hot topics du jour and then get two or three volunteers to give their thoughts and insight. Ladies and gentlemen, this week (and I encourage every reader to throw me an e-mail and volunteer), I was able to find two great World Wrestling Insanity readers in Gatrking and Adam Wilson!!!
1. Agree or Disagree
In a perfect world, Edge wouldn't have to be the champion, but WWE did a great job with what they had. Looking at it from the perspective that they were when they made the decision, they did fine. You had Kennedy, who they thought was going to be out for the rest of the year, HBK who already has his prayer thing that interferes with SmackDown, an injured Booker, Rey, and Triple H. Benoit's too old, and he's in a really good program with MVP right now. I don't think Batista's at the level he needs to be to get another title reign, I donít think he has been since he came back. Now this realistically leaves Randy Orton and Edge. And with Orton's backstage heat, you just couldn't see WWE go with him. This was also good for Vince's reputation with the IWC, with the rumors of hunter nixing the Edge idea.
Adam Wilson: Agree.
I looked at both rosters, trying to find someone else that could carry the gold for a prolonged period of time while people on both rosters recuperate from injury. Batista is a sort of pseudo-heel after his extended fights with Undertaker, and his character could go either face or heel after this Sunday. We've seen him fill both roles half-decently, so I do not think he specifically has to fight a heel for it to be a good show. Shawn Michaels probably could have pulled out a good match against Batista, but that got squashed quite quickly on Raw Monday night, since now it seems Michaels will be attempting to further Orton as a heel. Masters could work, but I don't think he's ready yet. His matches are too cut-and-paste, and it seems like he doesn't want to get hit in the face too much with blunt objects, which invariably happens when going for a strap. Carlito is also not ready; he needs to get a mid-level belt like the Cruiserweight or IC belt for a while and have another run with it before moving up the ladder to main event status. And Randy Orton just does not deserve it. Period. On Smackdown!, the only really good feud I could see with Batista is Kane. Mark Henry is just not a person I could put faith in with the title, and all the other heels and interesting fighters are just not there yet or would be nothing but a squash match for Batista. Kane would be a good one to put the strap on since you can basically swap him and 'Taker and have much the same style of match. And since Kane is also a pseudo-face because of his recent matches with the Boogeyman, both Batista and Kane could take this title shot and use it to shift their characters away from the pseudo-realm and more into the heel/face sides, whichever they choose.
Ultimately though, I think Edge was a good choice. He consistently performs well and is a super-heel right now, and his theft of the MITB and subsequent cashing in is believable and elevates his heel status to the Triple H level. And despite the eventuality of Triple H coming to Smackdown!, stealing the title from Edge like Khali did to Cena and bringing it back to Raw, I think Edge on Smackdown! for a while is a smart move by WWE. (I'm not going to get hunted down by Triple H for comparing his tactics to Khali, am I?) Let's see what Edge does this Sunday with his title: I have no doubts it will be good TV, regardless of whether he retains it or not.
2. Agree or Disagree
Gatrking: Agree and Disagree.
The one major problem with the WWE is that they have their own idea of wrestling, and do not like conforming to others. While Sabu could've been HUGE mainstream, they put him in normal matches that he couldn't succeed in. Sabu is NOT Kurt Angle. He's a high flyer, and a "garbage wrestler". Now going into the WWECW, you knew that it wouldn't be the same. Promos are NOT his strong suit by far, and strangely enough, I can't remember him cutting that many before he came to WWE. He lost his mystique there, and his style is far from what Vince likes. With Vito, I can't believe it took them this long to cut him. His gimmick was pitiful almost.
Adam Wilson: Agree.
ECW is lacking wrestlers. On Raw and Smackdown!, you have 40+ wrestlers each. On ECW, there's 25. There is more than enough space on ECW to put some of the talent that has been taking a backseat, give them a push and see what they do with it. (Matt Striker is the perfect example of a mid-carder nobody on Raw that moved to ECW and has since been making good television) Why not shuffle the wrestlers around more before letting them go? WWE seems too eager to let people go without giving them a fair shake in the spotlight. Vito certainly could have been good if they brought him to ECW and got rid of the dress. And the loss of Sabu is necessary I guess, but there should be someone there to fill the crippled roster. ECW cannot afford to lose the wrestlers they have right now, until they get more people on their show.
3. Agree or Disagree
TNA has so much talent right now that it's sickening. But there booking's equally as sickening as of late. While some say that WWE missed the boat with Christian and maybe even Rhino, TNA has done its best to TEAR DOWN their old talent. Kurt Angle went from savior to some guy, Sting went from greatness to his old timer act, and no one can care about Jeff Jarrett in the ring. I wish the guy the best with the issues with his wife, but he's a mid carder at best! LAX went from the top of TNA to becoming the Dudleyzí whipping boys. When I think of Samoa Joe, I want to cry. He is incredibly over, and his talent is off the charts. Alex Shelly...Austin Starr...Chris Sabin...even Abyss. Something needs to change in TNA, and quick.
Adam Wilson: I don't watch TNA, so I can't comment on it unfortunately.
Great job!! Iím looking forward to seeing who gets to join me as a guest columnist next week.
No problem. Seriously...itís not a problem at all. Itís a whole new year and my waiting list is sitting at one so NOW is the time for you to participate. Really...RIGHT NOW!! You can let me know either by e-mailing me at Zah@worldwrestlinginsanity.com or hitting me up at ZAH Nation, found in the Insanity Message Board and letting me know that youíd like to participate. Also, donít forget to stop by my MySpace page and add me.
So until next weekÖ
|© 2005-2007 All content contained here Copyright 2006 by James Guttman *** World Wrestling Insanity and ClubWWI are not affiliated with any wrestling promotion.|