Archive for the ‘Potato Shooter’ Category

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by @anarchyroll
6/04/2014

The United States Championship in WWE is essentially useless, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be the bridge belt for NXT call ups and main roster mid carders who have lost their way, place, momentum, or all of the above.

In a by gone era, a title belt like this was called the Television Title. The best wrestler on television today is how it was branded in kayfabe. However, in reality it was a way for new wrestlers to a promotion to make their mark, for young up and comers to show if they were worthy of moving from the mid card to the main events, and for former main eventers to regain some momentum or play gatekeeper.

The NWA, WCW, and ECW all utilized the Television Title correctly for many years and created many stars with that roster spot. Even TNA had a TV Title for a while, technically they still do, but let’s not go down that very dark, very disappointing road now.

From the late 1980s through the late 1990s wrestlers like Steve Austin, Steven Regal, Paul Orndorff, Ricky Steamboat, Arn Anderson, Chris Jericho, Shane Douglas, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Rob Van Dam all had runs as Television Champion in either the NWA/WCW or ECW or in the case of Jericho, both. The title helped each wrestler as well as many not listed. The shiny gold belt around their waste let the masses know to pay attention to them. It was made clear by how early on the show their match was taking place that they were not to be confused with the World Champion. But it got more eyeballs put on the talent, which allowed them to get over as a heel (Austin) or a face (RVD) or in the case of gatekeepers like Anderson help get younger talents over or show that they weren’t yet ready for prime time.

In the year 2014 there is no reason to have Intercontinental and United States Champions. But there is no way that the WWE will ever rebrand the US Title as TV Title. That’s fine, don’t rebrand it, just treat it like a TV Title.

WWE is in the midst of a youth revolution. In my opinion, I think there is an overkill of NXT call ups who are not ready for the main roster flooding my television screen. However, regardless of opinion, one need only have working ear drums to hear that the majority of these talents are not over with the live crowds. For every Wyatt and Shield member, there is a Bo Dallas, Adam Rose, Xavier Woods, Alexander Rusev, and Curtis Axel who through no fault of their own draw cricket noises when they are in the ring. Why? The fans have no reason to care about them. They’re all green in the ring or don’t have a unique character or don’t have mic skills or a combination of the three. How would a US/TV Title get them over?

It would help. A shiny belt draws eyes and symbolizes importance. That’s why world titles are big and gold. Bo Dallas got called up to the main roster because he spent over a year as NXT Champion. But was he NXT Champion because he was over? Or was he over because he was NXT Champion? Or is he nepotism incarnate? Regardless, the Bo-lieve gimmick/character would gain some steam with a win over Sheamus (as of writing the current US Champion) and a lengthy run with the United States title. Bo could then drop the title to another NXT call up who needs to get over as a face like Xavier Woods, Adam Rose, or Sami Zayn (fingers crossed).

Or much like Sheamus; a former main eventer needing to pick up some purpose and momentum again; perhaps someone like Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, Ryback, Mark Henry, or Rob Van Dam could have a transitional run with the title before dropping it to someone like Adrian Neville, Tyson Kidd, or Kalisto.

Dean Ambrose was the right person to hold the US Title for a year. However, management not booking him to defend it for multiple four-month clips did him and the title no favors. This is the perfect time to rebrand or in the case of WWE, repurpose the United States Title. Changing the look of the physical belt also wouldn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Unofficially officially making the US Title the NXT bridge belt, as well as a way for main roster journeyman to regain some shine is what is best for business in 2014.

Over half of the main roster is doing nothing of storyline substance. Every NXT call up since the Wyatt Family have been greeted with silence. Using the US Title to put a wee bit of spotlight and attention on these talents to see if they can generate heat, good promos, good feuds, and god forbid money will be good for everyone in the long run. It puts the US Title to use, it puts it in its place, and gives the talent another safety net to fall back on before getting a creative has nothing for you pink slip.

And let’s change the look of the physical belt please. Every other belt in the company has changed looks at least twice over since 2003. No time like the present for a new look and a new purpose for the illustrious United States Championship.

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by @anarchyroll
5/20/2014

Daniel Bryan, the WWE, and this generation of wrestling fans got lucky. His neck injury has turned out to be minor. That’s the good news.

The bad news is WWE has traditionally waited far too long to give the most popular and most deserving wrestlers the proper full push until it is too late and an injury cuts short their run at the top.

  • Steve Austin (neck) Should have gotten the belt a full year before winning it at WM 14
  • Eddie Guerrero (heart attack) By the time WWE got around to getting him his overdue second title reign, it was too late.
  • Edge (neck) Although they got around to giving him a plethora of title runs, he again had to wait two years too long.
  • Christian (concussions) Christian’s first WWE/World Title run should have been 2004, check the tape.
  • Dolph Ziggler (concussions) Makes me take a sad deep gasp just thinking about it. Will he ever be trusted with the big belt again?
  • CM Punk (knees) As time passes it appears his plethora of nagging injuries made him want to quit. He was world title material in 2006.

 

Daniel Bryan has been the most popular wrestler in the company for two years now. Cena sells the shirts, but Bryan sells the tickets. The Yes Movement started at WrestleMania 28 and Bryan had to wait til 30 to get the belt. That is ridiculous.

Dolph Ziggler as a heel, had large crowds in major media markets shouting for him to get the world title two years ago. The arena exploded when he won the belt at Night After Mania 2013. The man he is currently sharing dog house bitch duty with, Damien Sandow, who also should be in the main event scene, will both likely be in purgatory until another top name quits or retires by choice or by injury.

What if Daniel Bryan had to retire? What if he still does? Neck injuries in wrestling don’t just go away. Just ask Steve Austin. Just ask Edge.

Anytime a wrestler is forced to retire due to injury, it sucks. If the most popular wrestler of his generation has to retire do to injury (like Steve Austin) it not only sucks but can create a half decade dark era that the industry has to slowly dig it’s way out of (2003-2007). The next Daniel Bryan is not ready. The next Daniel Bryan is probably just paying to enter a wrestling academy. The industry can’t handle Bryan retiring and can’t rely on Cena anymore.

I would love to think Ziggler, Sandow, Cesaro, Barrett, Cody, Ambrose, Rollins, Sami Zayn, and/or Adrian Neville could get pushed to the top spot. But none of them are ready. Ziggler, Sandow, Cesaro, Cody, and Barrett could be ready by the end of this year. But they each need a full six months of being treated seriously for the common fans to look at them seriously again. Barrett is well on his way in that regard. Cesaro has been slipping since aligning with Heyman somehow. Ziggler and Sandow, what did they do to deserve what they’re getting?

The moral of the story is strike while the iron is hot and don’t wait years to put the big belt(s) on guys who get over, mega over, with the fans. The consequences are too severe. Remember 2003? I do, and I wish I didn’t. Remember 1993? I do, and keep trying to forget. Those dark eras weren’t just bad creatively, it was bad financially. How many indies went belly up because wrestling was lame, stale, and not doing good box office because the next generation of stars wasn’t ready to carry the business?

Hopefully this will serve as a wake up call. But after losing $300 million in one day, I’m sure Vince McMahon has other things on his mind.

 

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by @anarchyroll
5/11/2014

AJ Styles recently became the first American born pro wrestler to win the International Grand Prix World Heavyweight Title in Japan since Brock Lesnar in 2005. AJ Styles is every bit as worthy now as Lesnar was then. AJ Styles has a resumé that is worthy of that honor. AJ Styles has a resumé worthy of breaking The Undertaker’s WrestleMania Undefeated Streak as Brock Lesnar did. If you don’t know that, or don’t know who AJ Styles is, you owe it to yourself as a wrestling fan to find out.

AJ Styles is the Sting of his generation. So much so that Sting put him over, clean, for the TNA World Heavyweight Title at Bound For Glory V. What does being the Sting of this generation mean?

It means AJ Styles it the best pro wrestler/sports entertainer to not work for WWE. There is no argument there. I’m a fan of Samoa Joe, Kevin Steen, Bobby Roode, Roderick Strong, Chris Daniels, and Austin Aries as much as the next indy scene/TNA mark. But AJ Styles is a cut above the rest, and none of those guys I just listed would argue that fact. One of the many things that makes AJ Styles not just good, but textbook great, is that everyone likes him. Even the internet’s golden calf CM Punk had NO problem losing to AJ Styles in the finals of the tournament to become the first Ring of Honor Pure Wrestling Champion.

TNA Impact Wrestling was built on the back of AJ Styles like WCW was built on the back of Sting. Both were original, home-grown stars  of their respective company. Both were the guys that WWE castaways put over clean after steamrolling everyone else. Both made as much money and gained as much prestige as possible while never working for Vince McMahon in the pro wrestling business.

If you know about TNA Impact Wrestling, you probably know one of the following things. They’re on Spike TV, they film in Orlando, they used to have this really exciting thing called the X Division. AJ Styles is the key player in front of the curtain responsible for each. He literally is what the X Division was built around. TNA got to Orlando and got to Spike based on AJ’s star power. AJ Styles is who Jeff Jarrett and Dixie Carter sold in business meetings to get the deals to shoot at Universal Studios and to get the one hour Saturday show on Spike TV. Not Sting, not Kurt Angle, not Hulk Hogan…AJ Styles. AJ is what is known in sports as a franchise player. He is Derrick Jeter, he is Lebron James, he is Tom Brady.

AJ never had to think about going to WWE because TNA always paid him well. He has three children and a wife that live in a pseudo mansion in Georgia. Just as Sting and his wife and children live in a mansion in California. Alternative wrestling money spends the same as WWE money. Not working for WWE doesn’t make one a failure or a wannabe. Do the legacies of AJ Styles and Sting take a hit for never being on a WrestleMania card? Yes. Does it mean that they need to take a backseat to anyone of their respective generations? Absolutely not.

Sting takes a backseat to no one in the New Generation or Attitude eras. AJ Styles takes a backseat to no one in the Ruthless Aggression or Universe eras either.

AJ Styles accomplishment list reads like this:

  • 2 time TNA World Heavyweight Champion
  • 6 time TNA X Division Champion
  • 2 time TNA Television Champion
  • 2 time TNA World Tag Team Champion
  • 3 time NWA World Heavyweight Champion
  • 4 time NWA World Tag Team Champion
  • 1st ROH Pure Wrestling Champion
  • ROH Tag Team Champion
  • Current IWGP Heavyweight Champion
  • PWI 500 #1 of 2010
  • Recipient of Dave Melter 5 Star Match Award for Unbreakable 3 Way vs Samoa Joe & Chris Daniels in 2005

That list should paint the rest of the picture as to why one need not be a mark to consider AJ Styles the best wrestler of his generation.

Certainly one can hold up John Cena’s merchandise checks, CM Punk’s title reign, and Daniel Bryan’s explosion against AJ Styles. And, there would be no argument against any of those three. But it is important to remember that AJ Styles is on par with all of them. AJ Styles is literally a contemporary of Punk and Bryan, he worked multiple matches against both of them in Ring of Honor. AJ Styles and John Cena are text-book yin yang. You couldn’t pick more different wrestlers to be the faces of the two biggest pro wrestling promotions in North America.

AJ Styles can retire a proud, happy, and satisfied man. He does not need to work for WWE, he does not need that vindication. WWE’s current youth movement indicates that they don’t need him either. Although both would be wise to swallow pride and dogma and work together. There is absolutely no reason AJ Styles can’t sign a three-year contract, work NXT for one, and be a mid card mechanic on the main roster for the other two. A US and IC Title reign along with a handful of WWE Title shots would add to his legacy and make his opponents better workers in the process. AJ Styles doesn’t have an ego. Just don’t give him a ridiculous new name and he’ll be happy to do business. His kids can use extra money in their college fund. With Daniel Bryan being the face of the company for at least the next half decade, there is no reason AJ Styles can’t fit right into the mix on RAW and Smackdown, especially when all of the part timer wrestlers are on hiatus.

But if AJ Styles never sees the inside of a WWE ring, he is still a high level success story. One of the most athletically gifted and technically proficient wrestlers of all time as well as the best high flyer of his generation bar none. He didn’t just dominate the indy scene, be wrestled for and won world championships on national cable television and pay per view for almost a decade. He is equally praised by wrestlers and promoters. He’s a straight edge, religious, family man. He was a PWG Champion before PWG was cool. We as fans have not just been lucky, but have been blessed to have seen AJ Styles have a prime run in the wrestling business from 2002-2014. If John Cena wasn’t your cup of tea for the last ten years, all you had to do was flip from USA to Spike TV and watch AJ Styles have some of the best matches of this or any generation.

In winning the IWGP Heavyweight Title, AJ silences all of his critics. Because now his greatness is undisputable. If WWE doesn’t want him, there’s nothing more he can do to prove he is worthy of not just a contract but a top spot on the main roster. What more can a person do beyond the accolades listed above in the pro wrestling world?

AJ has done everything that is possible without being born half a foot taller so amassing an extra 30 lbs of muscle would be feasible.

AJ Styles started out as just the best and most jaw dropping highspot machine/high flyer of his generation when he became the first TNA X Division Champion. At the same time he showed he could work as a tag team specialist by being 1/2 of the first NWA TNA Tag Team Champions with Jerry Lynn and shortly thereafter being an ROH Tag Champion with Amazing Red. Rather than being a jr heavyweight, flippy flop, tag team guy AJ proved he could work traditional broadway and heavyweight strong style by winning both the NWA World and ROH Pure titles within just a few months of each other. Styles proved such a master at every style of pro wrestling, so quickly, he was able to seamlessly transition between each kind for the next half decade as TNA’s franchise player. He would float between the tag, x, and heavyweight divisions from 2005-20010 depending on whichever division had a hole that TNA needed filled. AJ Styles was used to twice stabilize the horrendously booked TV Title division. In fact it was AJ who named it the TV Title after for whatever ridiculous reason(s) the belt had been branded Legends and Global. Only a franchise player can do something like that.

The knock on AJ was always his mic skills. Not his charisma, but his mic skills. If someone said AJ Styles didn’t have charisma, they weren’t watching his matches. But AJ’s mic skills left much to be desired. His best run of promos came during his first run as NWA World Champion, when he was a cocky heel with Vince Russo as his manager. But his matches were so great, not good, but great that anyone and everyone was happy to ignore his lackluster promos. Just like how John Cena’s merch sales and charity work are supposed to forgive his equal parts boring and predictable ring skills. But unlike Cena, AJ Styles worked hard to correct his obvious shortcomings as a performer.

Styles worked with behind the scenes and in kayfabe with the likes of Vince Russo, Raven, Jeff Jarrett, Chris Daniels, Christian, Ric Flair, and Sting to evolve his character, grow as a performer, sharpen his acting chops, and bring out the verbal “it factor” to connect with fans on the mic. He made progress, certainly. His promos were never has bad as his critics would make it seem. They were easily on par with his PG Era WWE contemporaries John Cena, Batista, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Big Show, Edge, and Alberto Del Rio. AJ is certainly a step behind the likes of CM Punk, Triple H, and The Undertaker but who isn’t?

Unlike even most top-tier stars, AJ’s strengths far outweighed his weaknesses. His last year in TNA was a 12 month story about the rise, fall, and rebirth of AJ Styles. From the Phenomenal One to No One. Styles was again willing to do something different, that he hadn’t done before, and go dark heel. Old school heel like Chris Jericho did after his return to WWE in 2008. Styles cast aside all of his high-flying moves and his iconically innovative finisher the Styles Clash to become a submission specialist.

Styles fused the No One and Phenomenal One characters together to win the Bound for Glory Series #1 Contender Tournament, then main evented and won the TNA World Title in the main event of Bound For Glory IX. His last month in the company saw him have some of the best promos and matches of his career. Less than six months after leaving TNA when a new contract couldn’t be negotiated he is the IWGP Heavyweight Champion.

He won the title as a heel, after aligning with the Bullet Club faction. But while his stablemates kept kayfabe in the ring, Styles couldn’t help but smile, cry, and breathe a sigh of relief that will last the rest of his life…then he snapped back into kayfabe and did the heel celebration pose thing.

AJ Styles has achieved the peace of mind of knowing he has done all he is capable of doing to achieve all that he is capable of achieving. That ladies and gentlemen is called success. AJ Styles is a true success story of wrestling and of life. AJ Styles can look himself in the mirror and can look any other man, woman, or child in the eye and say he did everything within his power to become the greatest professional wrestler/sports entertainer of all time. He can’t make Vince sign him. He can’t make Triple H push him. He can however be The Phenomenal AJ Styles, and if you ask me, I’ll agree with the man himself that being phenomenal is better, than being the best in the world.

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@anarchyroll
5/1/2014

I am still in a happily subdued state of shock that Brian Danielson is now officially, without any doubt, of any kind, the man who will replace John Cena and take a place in history alongside; Andre the Giant, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Randy Savage, Bret Hart, Sting, The Undertaker, Steve Austin, Goldberg, The Rock, and Triple H. How awesomely surreal.

The leader of the “Yes Movement” has come a long way from the Rexplex in New Jersey. The man who is undoubtably on the Mt. Rushmore of Ring of Honor is can now make a completely legitimate case to be put on the Mt. Rushmore of WWE and the history of professional wrestling. Make no mistake, Daniel Bryan and his “Yes! Yes! Yes!” gimmick is that mainstream. Just as mainstream as anything that John Cena, Steve Austin, Ric Flair, or Hulk Hogan have done before him. And he is just getting started.

Daniel Bryan has at least five years as the face of the WWE left in him and five more years after passing the torch to the next guy whenever that is. Nothing short of a freak of nature accident can stop that. He is not going to burn out because he would have by now. The people aren’t going to burn out on him because if they were, they would’ve at the Royal Rumble. Now, he is the champion of the people just as much or more so than DDP or The Rock ever were.

How awesome is that?! The American Dragon is now The Man in the world of pro wrestling and sports entertainment.

I used to be an anti-Brian Danielson fan. I would boo him at ROH shows that came to Chicago Ridge. I would heckle his fans who thought the sun rose and set out of his ass. I would get into shouting matches over how he didn’t deserve to hold the ROH Title for over a year. Ironically he won me over during his ROH farewell tour which was dubbed The Final Countdown. That tour was chronicled in the awesome wrestling documentary “The Wrestling Road Diaries” staring Bryan, Sal Rinauro, and Colt Cabana. During that tour Danielson had two matches that completely blew me away as a wrestling fan. One I saw in person against Austin Aries, the other was his last match in the company against Nigel McGuiness. For me personally, and what I find entertaining, those two matches were borderline perfect and they took place within weeks of each other.

“The Wrestling Road Diaries” showed that Danielson actually had the one thing all of his critics (myself included at the time) said he was devoid of, personality. It also showed that I had blinders on as a hater, by showing him cutting quality promos in front of the curtain. The documentary came out after Danielson reported to WWE developmental, where he didn’t remain for long as he was soon thrust into the spotlight for the ECW on Syfy replacement NXT (which has since become WWE’s developmental territory.) I have, to this day, watched only a handful of NXT episodes. The bulk were during the first season of the Syfy show. It was immediately apparent to me that the now rebranded Daniel Bryan was head and shoulders the most talented person on camera. Chris Jericho as a heel, World Heavyweight Champion, broke character on an episode of NXT to say that Daniel Bryan was “a superstar already” in advance of a match they would have together a couple of weeks later.

In a weird way it always seemed to me like Bryan was being groomed to be the top guy, but that was probably rose-colored glasses. I am still under the impression his “firing” in 2010 was/is a work. His first show “back” he main evented Summerslam, the next month he won the US Title, a year later he won Money in the Bank, six months later he was World Heavyweight Champion, he was involved in one of the two world title matches at WrestleMania 28, spent the following four months feuding for either the World Heavyweight or WWE Title, then held the tag titles for eight months, shortly before main eventing Summerslam again and pinning John Cena clean for the WWE Title.

Bryan hasn’t just fought against the odds, he has leveraged fortuitous events against the odds being used to hold him down. Bryan leveraged WWE’s desire to erase the history of Chris Benoit in his favor by being cast in history as the new Chris Benoit without the steroids or skeletons in the closet. Bryan leveraged his ability to make a middle class living on the independent and international wrestling scene(s) to not be just another mid carder walking on egg shells, not being afraid of losing his job and therefore willing to take the risks necessary to win over management. Bryan leveraged his personal happiness by having a successful romantic relationship and a strong family life (as shown in WRD) to not let the business drag him down when things weren’t going his way. And finally, Bryan leveraged CM Punk’s decision to walk out on the company and the live crowds’ habitual revolt against the product being put on before them to save the day when WrestleMania XXX was left without a featured match and with a proposed main event guaranteed to get booed out of the stadium.

Now Bryan sits on top of the mountain and isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon, and we the wrestling business is better for it. Why? Daniel Bryan not just being a champion but being the face of the company means the following things that will have ripple effects on the industry for years to come:

  1. The era of the big man bias is over
  2. Independent wrestlers are and will be taken seriously as main event players
  3. John Cena’s run has finally come to an end

The corner has been turned, a chapter is being written, a new era has begun. The era of the next ten years will be led by a junior heavyweight indy guy! What a great time to be a wrestling fan.

Four years before Chris Jericho and six years before CM Punk adopted the moniker “Best in the World”, Brian Danielson had that title along with the ROH World Championship and defended both rigorously across North America, Europe, and Japan. It was assumed that he would always be just an indy guy, maybe the best indy guy ever, but an indy guy nonetheless. When he was signed it was assumed he would get the same treatment as his good friend Colt Cabana (toil aimlessly in developmental, only to be called up the main roster for job duty, and swiftly giving his pink slip). When Bryan main evented Sumerslam and won the US Title less than six weeks apart it was thought he was going to be a mid card mechanic for a few years at best. When he won Money in the Bank followed by the World Heavyweight Title both were dismissed as being token attempts to silence his supporters with pushes for the secondary title.

When he was bumped to the pre show and lost the opening match in consecutive WrestleManias, it was thought he was being used as a way by Vince McMahon to troll the internet fan base. When he became the most popular man in the company in a tag team comedy act it was thought he was achieving super stardom despite the WWE machine rather than because of it. That thinking was backed up when Bryan won the WWE Title and lost it less than five minutes later. After main eventing and not regaining the title over the course of the next three pay per views, Bryan was removed from the main event scene, his fate as a mid card mechanic seemed sealed.

When he was kept out the Royal Rumble, the fans revolted, and CM Punk quit the company; it was thought the most that could be hoped for was Punk’s spot in a mid card feature at WM XXX against Triple H. But something happened along the way, Daniel Bryan became a symbol, Daniel Bryan became a legend, Daniel Bryan became the leader of a movement. The live crowds are more hot for Daniel Bryan than they ever were for John Cena. They are just as hot for him as they were for Steve Austin. If you go back and look at the tape, the case can be made the crowd is as hot for Daniel Bryan as they were for even Hulk Hogan. I can’t believe that’s the case, but it is, it really is.

Now Daniel Bryan has pulled double duty at a WrestleMania and won two world titles in the main event of a WrestleMania that ends in a 5 or a 0. He is not just a made man, he is not just “The Man”, Daniel Bryan is now one of the greatest professional wrestler/sports entertainers of all time. He has raised the bar above the accomplishments of everyone who has come before him without exception. He has pulled the sword out of the stone and taken his place as the king.

During his WWE career that was much maligned up to this point Bryan was doing something very important that many of his supporters and critics may have missed. He became a COMPLETE performer.

He came to the WWE in 2010 as a mechanic who could wrestle literally any style. His work with The Miz and Michael Cole on NXT, his work with Kane in the tag division, his matches with Sheamus and CM Punk, and his program with Bray Wyatt each saw him take a full step forward as a performer. Every tool it takes to be both a great professional wrestler and a great sports entertainer Daniel Bryan learned and perfected. He swallowed his pride and got better rather than being stubborn and buying into his own hype earned performing on the indy scene.

Daniel Bryan is now as over with the 18-34 yr old male demographic as he is with women and children. He is safe for the PG era, does media, Make-A-Wish(es), and can be freshly monetized multiple times per year with more than just t shirts (towels, foam fingers). None of that was true and/or he wasn’t capable of those things even when he first won the World Title two years ago.

Bryan doesn’t do steroids or recreational drugs and doesn’t drink alcohol. He is a student of the game, a life long fan, and a wrestler first (as opposed to a football player or bodybuilder) so you know he appreciates the spot he’s in and isn’t in it strictly for the fame or the money. There is no reason, beyond individual, personal taste to not be a Daniel Bryan fan, supporter, and/or member of his Yes Movement.

It is because he is such a good human being, such a completely well-rounded wrestler and sports entertainer, because he is truly the best in the world at his profession by every standard; that he is now the Undisputed WWE World Heavyweight Champion, face of the company, and leader of this generation of pro wrestling. Daniel Bryan symbolizes everything that is right about pro wrestling. We as pro wrestling and sports entertainment fans can be proud that he is the man and breathe a sigh of relief that he is at the top of the mountain. What a great time to be a wrestling fan.

 

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by @anarchyroll
4/15/2014

Over a week later and I’m still reeling from WrestleMania XXX. Did Brian Danielson actually pull the sword out of the stone? Did The Undertaker actually lose? Did Hulk Hogan and Steve Austin actually go face to face in the same ring at the same time?

YES!

YES!

YES!

WWE decided to take a break from advertising their à la cart internet cable channel to produce a wrestling show. It just happened to be the best one in five years which was the best in the five years before that and the five years before that and the five years before that. Noticing a trend? My friends @CFH_Chief and @TheFantom have heard me say multiple times that the WrestleMania’s that end in a 5 or a 0 mean more than the rest. The rest are bastard shows. The exceptions to that rule out of 30 are numbers; 1, 3, 6, 17, and 18. You can make a case for maybe one or two others, but that would be a case built upon personal bias.

  1. Pro Wrestling isn’t fake, the winners are just predetermined. Just ask Dr. James Andrews about that.
  2. Pro Wrestling is good when either it is logically predictable or something was just done that shocked the hell out of an 20,000 fans in the arena and a few million watching at home.
  3. Pro Wrestling is bad when it tries to be unpredictable for the sake of being unpredictable. That is why TNA Impact Wrestling has been stuck in second gear for the last six years.

WrestleMania XXX was logically predictable and shocking as hell. The best of both worlds. WrestleMania V, X, XV, XX, and XXV shared the same traits. From the battle of the Mega Powers, to the Ladder Match, to Austin vs Rock proper, to Benoit/Guerrero, to the magic of The Streak vs Mr. WrestleMania…5s and 0s mean more. Vince knows it. The boys know it. The fans know it.

The ramifications of WrestleMania XXX will literally be felt for a minimum of five years and likely for a full ten…Why?

Daniel Bryan is the new John Cena, the new Steve Austin, the new Hulk Hogan. Daniel Bryan became the last Undisputed Champion at WM XXX. He is the chosen one. He is the people’s champion. No one will emerge to unseat him for at least the next five years, more than likely we’ll have to wait eight to ten whether Vince wants to or not. Strength in numbers folks, never forget that…ever.

The Undertaker is done. He may wrestle Sting next year and have a farewell tour, but he is done. The Streak is over. The Streak has been WrestleMania for the last half decade. WWE has sold a one hour, prime time, network television special to NBC centered around the aura of The Streak since 2009. John Cena being the definition of stagnant since 2006 has meant WWE has had to lean on Taker like a crutch to make WrestleMania mean anything to the adult male audience during that time.

The Streak has also put Undertaker in the same league as Hogan and Austin. Before 2007, The Undertaker was an all time great, a legend, an icon, and a wrestling fan’s wrestler. In the last five years he has crossed the pop culture dividing line. A line only crossed by Hogan, Savage, Austin, Rock, and John Cena. We would all love to think that Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley, and Randy Orton crossed that line too…but they didn’t. They latter are just popular wrestlers, the prior are pop culture icons.

Taker now gets to retire a brand, as big or bigger than the WrestleMania brand, a brand that is bigger than WWE. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving person. No professional wrestler has worked harder or longer than The Undertaker since 1991. He earned his money the hard way. He earned his one match a year schedule the right way.

But that’s all done now. He’s going to ride off into the sunset, out to pasture. WWE now must pass the torch and give the ball to the new generation. Daniel Bryan is the face of this new generation. Behind him are Sheamus, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, The Shield, Bray Wyatt and definitely not Batista. The part timer fad may not be over but it is fading the face of the WWE Network profit model. No need to use big names of the past to pop a buy rate when PPVs only cost $10.

No crutch to lean 0n and no choice but to push the new generation of young talent who happen to be predominately junior heavyweight workhorses…..sounds like a reason to hope for me. How about you?

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by @anarchyroll
3/22/2014

If you have been a mixed martial arts and/or UFC fan for more than three years, then UFC Fight Night 39 on Sunday has been circled on your calendar for a while. Two of the greatest fighters in the history of the sport will meet in the octagon in a rematch of what can be argued as the greatest fight of all time from UFC 139 in 2011.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will be looking for revenge against Dan “Hendo” Henderson in the most professional, polite, and brutal way possible. Both of these icons have immense respect for each other dating back a decade when both ran rough shot over the PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan. Both are in my personal top five fighter list of all time. Their first fight is my personal favorite fight of all time. The list for now is as follow:

  1. Shogun vs. Hendo I
  2. Wanderlei Silva vs. Chuck Liddell
  3. Frank Mir vs. Big Nog I
  4. Hendo vs. Big Nog II
  5. Cro Cop vs. Wanderlei Silva

Just my personal list, nothing I’ll get into a shouting match argument about. I could literally make a list of 25 fights off the top of my head that are so good that would make me rethink that top five list a few times over. But not the top one. Hendo vs. Shogun could have been a shitty fight and I still would have really liked it. The fact that it was five rounds of some of the most intense fighting in the history of the sport is just icing on the cake.

Just writing this article I have gotten goose bumps four times and counting thinking about their first fight and what may happen in their second fight. Why? It’s not just that I personally like both fighters, it’s the fact that their places in history as all time greats can’t be denied.

Both men will be hall of famers who will be remembered as pioneers and kings. Both dominated the 205 lb division at a time in the history of the sport where the 205 lb division was the deepest in all of mma regardless of promotion. Both did so in spectacular fashion. Both have fought in multiple open weight fights against opponents with distinct size advantages. Both men have held championships in Japan and America. Both men have won mma tournaments. They just don’t make ’em like these two anymore.

Both are the last of a dying breed, PRIDE alumni. If you have never seen PRIDE, do yourself a favor and look up some fights on YouTube and/or on the UFC website. It was the wild wild west of mixed martial arts and professional sports. Along with Fedor, Cro Cop, and Wanderlei Silva; Hendo and Shogun are on the PRIDE FC Mt. Rushmore.

I could write ten pages about these two guys, I hope my enthusiasm comes across in this writing. If you are a newer fan of the UFC look these two up. It’s not just that they are legends, they almost always have exciting fights. They are both two of the greatest closers, finishers, and knockout artists of all time. They both finish fights and didn’t just make good careers out of finishing fights, they became bonafide legends.

It is rare to have genuine living legends face off in a sporting event. UFC Fight Night 39 in Brazil will see just that. Knowing that both men are closer to the end of their careers than the beginning I encourage all of you to watch because fights and fighters of this caliber only come along a few times in each generation. I’m picking Shogun to win, only because that will ensure a trilogy, which gives me restless leg syndrome just thinking about.

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by @anarchyroll
3/16/2014

Johny Hendricks finally got the title belt that he won four months ago. At UFC 167 in November Johny Hendricks literally beat GSP into retirement. Hendricks got shafted by the judges that night when they somehow awarded a the win to to GSP by decision. Hendricks left GSP a beaten bloody mess with cuts all over his face and not a scratch on Hendricks.  GSP decided he would rather quit the sport than give Hendricks a rematch. This past Saturday at UFC 171 the now vacant title was decided in a match between the top two contenders in the division; Johny Hendricks and Robbie Lawler.  The fight when the full five rounds and Hendricks won by decision. There is no controversy this time around. Although Hendricks beat up Lawler less than he beat up GSP, he was awarded the UFC Welterweight Championship.

Much like Shogun Rua before him, Hendricks had to wait for karma to get involved in the fight after he got screwed out of winning a world title.

Hendricks is a great fighter who is also actually entertaining to watch. Unlike Lyoto Machida who is the UFC version of watching paint dry. Though his recent move to 185 has seen Machida be a little more spry and slightly more aggressive, likely because he sees the end of his career is much closer than the beginning. Hendricks however is just getting started. Whether he’s got that belt or not, “Bigg Rigg” has five more years of fighting left in the gas tank. He’s a young guy, with great wrestling, concrete hands, who likes to finish. This was only his second fight going to the judges in his last six.

There have been a number of horrendous decisions in mixed martial arts in the last few years. Dana White, the UFC President has been as outspoken about them as anyone. But what the judges do is completely out of his hands as they are appointed by state athletic commissions. What White can control is encouraging his fighters to not let fights reach decisions. He flat-out says that, and gives bonuses for finishing fights that are equal to or greater than the standard paycheck a fighter receives simply for fighting.

Hendricks has already picked up a few KO of the night checks and will likely be getting more fight of the night honors before his career is over. One has to wonder if GSP will come out of hiding for a rematch with Hendricks. The money is there, but that is a given for GSP who is the highest grossing box office fighter in UFC history. But there interest with the hardcore fans will be ravenous. Hendricks has the belt and everyone knows he got screwed by the judges in their first fight, but who doesn’t want to see Hendricks get another crack at GSP?

That answer is simple, GSP and all of his future spouses. Hendricks left him a beaten, bloody mess in their first encounter. It isn’t often a fighter literally gets beaten into retirement as Hendricks did to GSP at UFC 167. Or maybe GSP retired in disgrace because the fans wouldn’t stop booing him after the BS decision win, whichever…whatever.  Johnny Hendricks knows he won that fight, and after winning his most recent fight he’s got the belt, the recognition, the cheddar, and everything he’s had coming to him since he started destroying his competition in the UFC four years ago. Justice came for Johny Hendricks on Saturday at UFC 171, for those who saw the GSP fight, it felt as good for us as it does for Bigg Rigg.

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by @anarchyroll
3/11/2014

In a recent episode of Colt Cabana’s Art of Wrestling podcast, Dean Ambrose called out the United States independent pro wrestling scene for a couple of things. Each of which was both right, justified, and long overdue. Before he was Dean Ambrose in the WWE he was Jon Moxley on the Indy scene. Jon Moxley was the best thing going on the Indy scene for a solid year, if not two. He was a regular in DGUSA, Evolve, and was champion in CZW amongst many, many others. If there is anyone this side of 2010 who is qualified to talk about the US Indy scene this side of 2009 it is Jon Moxley/Dean Ambrose. Ambrose raised the following issues/points;

  1. The Indy scene has too many mark promoters and too many mark wrestlers/talents.
  2. The fans and wrestlers of the Indy scene are too egotistical about the information about the wrestling business they read on the internet and therefore feel authoritative about.
  3. The Indy scene has too many championships/title belts.
  4. The Indy scene is full of wrestlers who are too stiff
  5.  The Indy scene is full of wrestlers who don’t sell the impact of the strikes and maneuvers they perform on each other therefore making what they do look more fake and unrealistic than the business of pro wrestling is by nature.

Ambrose is spot on in each point he raised. He is not just another worker, he was a highly successful Indy scene performer who based on his excellence received a contract from the WWE in less than half a decade of his debut. That time frame is the exception, not the rule. Dean Ambrose is an exceptional talent and an authority on the US Indy scene. Here is why I think he was right in each point that he raised at the Cabana Compound.

  1. Promoters and wrestlers are marks by nature. If they weren’t marks, they wouldn’t be in the business. The problem is when the inmates run the asylum, chaos ensues. A state of chaos is an apt and accurate way to describe any and every Indy promotion that isn’t called ROH, PWG, or AAW. Wrestlers are supposed to be marks for themselves at least a little bit. Ego and creative success are intertwined. But the promoters need to be a check and balance, not an enabler. The fact that everyone wants to run their own ship shows that the promoters are bigger marks than businessmen. There should be no more than ten Indy wrestling promotions in the US. Three on each coast and six throughout the Midwest, South, and Great Plains.
  2. If you think the fans of the Indy scene aren’t too smart marky for their own good, then you haven’t been to an Indy show in the US in at least eight years.
  3. If you don’t think the Indy scene has too many title belts, then you haven’t been to an Indy show in the US in at least ten years.
  4. The wrestlers being too stiff means they are either too big of marks for their own good or are not properly trained or both and these days on the Indy scene it is usually both.
  5. If you don’t think the Indy scene has a problem with a lack of selling, lack of believability, lack of pacing, and lack of logic in the matches; you haven’t been to a US Indy show in the last six years. Davey Richards got scapegoated for this but he was merely a product of his environment. I could list all the culprits, but then this would be a long form piece. I understand why this has become so pervasive. To tell you the truth, I prefer matches like this to the 80s style rest hold fest that legends and fresh out of academy newbies have on the Indy scene. The problem is that it has run its course and like hardcore wrestling before it, should now be saved for storyline/feud climax matches.

Indy wrestlers would do themselves individually and the business as a whole a favor by dedicating themselves to forming their creative characters and physical bodies to be larger than life as opposed to how many super kicks and clotheslines they can fit into the last five minutes of a match. And for those who don’t care about character development or joining a gym, they should really focus on making their matches as close to a mixed martial arts contest as possible without stiffing the hell out of each other. It’s 2013, not 1987 or 1999. Be either larger than life or relevant to the current cultural landscape not a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of an archetype from the 1960s.

Dean Ambrose is an exceptional talent but what got him into the WWE is not once in a generational, freak talent/ability. If you watch his non death matches from the Indy scene, he is having logical, believable matches. Strikes, submissions, and maneuvers are all in balance. His promos are unique to his character, a character that is unique to him. Ambrose/Moxley is a prototype for anyone out there who wants to be a wrestler in this day and age. He really is. If you are stupid enough to think you shouldn’t be studying old school wrestlers and matches, study him. He has “it”. He certainly is my favorite wrestler of this new generation that is coming up in WWE and the Indy scene this side of 2010.

Every wrestler currently on the Indy scene with no immediate hope of being signed by WWE, which is the vast majority, would be wise to heed his words and study his success.

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by @anarchyroll
3/7/2014

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Was RAW in Chicago this past week good because of the threat of #hijackRAW? Or did WWE play their audience like a violin and cut their strings?

I have much love and respect for the organizers of #hijackRAW, or I suppose I should say the attempted organizers.

Before they even got to the arena, during the week leading up, the trolls were out in full force spitting their mirrored self loathing venom at the @chicagorawcrowd for trying to try at something, anything, that involved something they love and want to improve. Then of course the minute Vince McMahon didn’t walk to the middle of the ring to ask CM Punk for the privilege to suck his dick on live television to prove he wanted him to be in the main event of WrestleMania, everyone turned on everybody.

I’m just kidding, they couldn’t turn on each other because they were never united. Trolls jealous an spiteful that they didn’t have the brains, balls, or creativity to attempt something like #hijackRAW movement were shitting on the concept in advance of shitting on it Monday night.

The movement didn’t do themselves any favors by being naive enough to think that Vince McMahon cares what they say after they pay to get in the arena to try and mess with one of 52 live broadcasts in a year. But all us wrestling fans are naive. We are all consciously naive, after all if we weren’t, after seeing one UFC event we would never watch pro wrestling again out of shame.

But wrestling is about imagination, creativity, and vicarious living. The hijack organizers were just a little too naive, and slightly too big marks to enact any meaningful change. Paul Heyman knew this, and like the lapdog of Vince McMahon he has always been, went out there and did what he has done best since 2001, destroyed the heart, spirit, and will of adult, male smart mark wrestling fans.

What happened to the crowd was sad. Put all the cynicism, sarcasm, snarkyness, and told ya so bullshit you want over it. If you’re a male wrestling fan over the age of 21, you hoped something meaningful would happen on Monday, and it didn’t. The Usos winning the tag titles means nothing. Cena and Wyatt’s promos mean nothing. The crowd shouting down Triple H and Stephanie (barely) for one segment means nothing. It was just another RAW on the Road to WrestleMania. One RAW out of 52 that will happen this calendar year.

The fans couldn’t stop tripping over each other or going into business for themselves to get a message across that didn’t involve CM Punk. If any other crowds are considering following suit, may I advise using profanity to piss of the censors and really putting Vince on his heels. Better yet, the only way to send a message is to #BoycottRAW not to pay $50, $100, $150 or more per ticket, buy merchandise, concessions, and pay for parking to say you don’t support what a publically traded organization is doing.

But kudos for the effort. Props for the desire. Respect for trying something which is always better than trying nothing. Maybe some other crowds will follow suit and learn from the failures of the Chicago crowd. Failures are just lessons after all. We all learned some things on Monday. Whether we wanted to or not.

potatoshooterlogosportsrollby @anarchyroll
2/22/2014

The UFC creating a women’s division to exploit the sex appeal of Ronda Rousey, which make no mistake about it is what they’re doing, is the equivalent of NASCAR creating an all women’s driving circuit for Danica Patrick.

If you were surprised that the main event of UFC 170 was a disappointment, you haven’t been paying attention to the career of Ronda Rousey. Which is the norm, most mma fans (men) pay attention to her body as opposed to her body of work. The only entertaining fight Rousey has had was her rematch with Meisha Tate, and that fight came at after the first co-ed season of The Ultimate Fighter, cough cough.

I’m not trolling Rousey, she’s an Olympic medalist. She pays her taxes, she earns her money by putting her body through a rigorous training schedule, followed by putting in on the line in hand to hand combat. She is also a fraud, she is nothing more than Gina Carano with the ability to lock on an arm bar, against a field of competitors who don’t know how to defend it.

Just like how Royce Gracie was great in an era where fighters had no clue how to defend or attack ju jitzu. The difference of course is Royce had the balls or in the case of Rousey, courage to fight anyone in ANY weight class. Rousey, as you may or may not know, is ducking the real best female mixed martial artist in the world Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino.

If Rousey is such a great, legendary, pioneer, why won’t she put on the ten pounds and fight Cyborg? Because Rousey is the champ? Sorry, both were Strikeforce champions and Dana White made the choice to hand Rousey a UFC Title at a press conference, as opposed to, oh I don’t know, a tournament or at least a fight to determine the champion.

If the UFC was serious about women’s MMA they would have either awarded both Rousey and Cyborg or made Rousey move up weight since Cyborg has been fighting longer and has a better professional record than Rousey. What does Rousey have going for her that Cyborg doesn’t? See picture below.

Ronda Rousey is a good person and is a women’s MMA pioneer because she has gotten over in the mainstream. But she was handed her title at a press conference and fights in a division of feeders, because there is no women’s MMA yet. Don’t believe me? Go ask Invicta FC what their average live attendance figures are.

Three, five, ten years from now women’s MMA will be vibrant and thriving. But not now. Now it is just a two woman sport. They are separated by ten pounds. One is hot, the other is not. And if you think for one second that Rousey isn’t being exploited and promoted for her sex appeal more so than her athletic ability…then I have a bridge and a time share I’d like to sell you.  Think I’m just a sexist? Well, then why does Rousey repeatedly talk about in interviews how having more sex before fights helps her get into better shape? The only male equivalent to that, is GSP talking about how his coaches make him stay abstinent during training.

Stop posing naked, stop talking about how fucking a lot makes you a better fighter, and fight the more established, better, less attractive fighter who is your equal or better, and people like me will have nothing but respect for Rousey. Until then, she’s just Danica Patrick with her own race track of amateur competition at best.