The Wrestling 6&1 08.24.13: Katie Lea Winter vs. Total Divas’ Eva Marie
Posted by Tony Acero on 08.24.2013
Katie Lea battles Eva Marie in Vs, AJ Styles' contract with TNA reaches its potential end, ROH makes a comeback, thoughts on the IWC having too high of expectations, So Cal Val is your "& 1" Model of the Week and more!
Summerslam done left the building, and we've had some interesting reactions that I want to talk about. Couple that with some TNA and ROH talk, and check it out – a legit wrestling column that, yes, actually does pay bills!
Why You So Mad, Bro?
By Tony Acero
The Internet Wrestling Community is an interesting beast. On one end, we can criticize and belittle such a beast, yet still be a part of it. On another, there are some of us who tend to stand above it as if its something we are simply not a part of, something we are above, and something we judge almost weekly here. One complaint that I tend to run across is something I've thought about numerous times, but it's just recently reared its head yet again. I call it the Pre-Emptive Prose, and it always baffles me when it comes about. What is it, you ask? Let me try to explain.
Let's say there is something that happens in the wrestling world that goes against OUR common wants. The Pre-Emptive Prose is when commenters and fans alike quickly defend the defense before anyone even has an opportunity to explain, and typically do so in a long, drawn out fashion as if their entire argument had plenty of time to be built. If you find this thought hard to follow, it's because it is. I actually had a hard time wording this all, but I think (hope) that it comes across clearly after giving you the most recent example.
Daniel Bryan recently won then lost the WWE Heavyweight Championship. Now, I recall watching Summerslam and going crazy inside when Bryan won. I was as shocked as he was, and it all went over soooo well. Then, I looked at the clock and realized there was a good 20 minutes left in the PPV. I knew something was going to happen, but I didn't know what EXACTLY (sure, we all assumed what actually went down, but I tried to suspend that). Shortly thereafter, Triple H pedigrees Bryan and Orton wins the title. The full turn of Triple H and Orton was complete, and we were in for a hell of a story. Now here's where the trouble comes in. Immediately, I noticed a trend online and it wasn't a long line of complainers lambasting The H for putting his huge nose in where it didn't belong. No, it was people saying, "Everyone is so quick to jump the gun, let the story play out" or "Oh, your Indy Darling lost, Get over it!" or "Stop whining like little bitches, there's a story here!"
My question - and the whole point of this post - is, who exactly was complaining? There was, and always will be complainers about any storyline within the E, but this particular ending of Summerslam was met by - as far as I'm concerned - a lot of positivity and hope for Bryan. Sure, the immediate outcry may have been, "damn!" but it wasn't a horrible damn, it was a "ya got me" Damn that really spells out exactly what the E was looking for.
I guess what I'm sayin is that there are people out there, and even within our own comment section, that are quicker to jump the gun to defend something that had no need to be defended at all. To those people, I say shut up. Bryan's loss isn't the first time this has happened, but it's the most recent time and I can only hope that I'm not the only one that see it. I can also hope that I was able to articulate it clearly enough for you all to understand. In fact, if there are any that can say this in a much more succinct and less verbiose way, then please do as I would hug you hardcore.
You Decide: How long should it take to "get over" Daniel Bryan being screwed out of the WWE Championship?
Contract About To Expire? Phenomenal!
By Greg DeMarco
Like many who have come before him, AJ Styles is in position to have his TNA contract expire next month—one month before TNA's Bound For Glory takes stage in San Diego, CA. The story is eerily similar to that of Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode, Devon, Rob Van Dam, and even currently Mr. Anderson. Contract is set to expire, and TNA either forgets about it, ignores it, or can't come to terms with the talent.
Except this one has one major difference: It's AJ Fucking Styles!
This isn't some fanboy point about AJ, either. We'll get to his in-ring ability in a moment. When I say this is different, it's because AJ Styles is a one of the men TNA was built on. He was part of the first ever match in the company's televised history, he was the first ever X-Division Champion on their second ever show, and he was one half of the first TNA-era NWA World Tag Team Champions in their third ever show. After the company's first three weeks, AJ Styles was a double champion and one of the most over guys on the roster.
Fast forward a year, and AJ Styles won his first NWA World Heavyweight Championship, still under the TNA banner. That was his first of three NWA world titles, coupled with one TNA World Heavyweight Championship. He would amass a total of six world tag team titles and six X-Division championships, making him the most decorated man in TNA's history.
Today, AJ Styles is coming out of a "Lone Wolf" gimmick and returning to being "Phenomenal," staged as the man many will end up as TNA's "savior" against Bully Ray and the Aces & Eights stable. In 2010, Styles received the distinction of being #1 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated's PWI 500.
No offense to Rob Van Dam, Devon, Samoa Joe, Bobby Roode or anyone else with an expiring/expired contract in TNA, but outside of Jeff Jarrett himself, no one has played a larger role in TNA's rise to national prominence than AJ Styles. He's part of what made TNA unique. He's the best wrester in the company, and he pretty much defines TNA over the past ten years.
According to Dave Scherer of PWInsider (one of the best wrestling reporters on the planet):
John "Big" Gaburick has replaced Bruce Prichard as the man in charge of Talent Relations for TNA. People in TNA have described the company as going through a period of transition right now. Having worked in the past for WWE, Gaburick brings in knowledge as to how things work in a successful wrestling promotion and he is implementing them now. At the same time, TNA is working under a budget more now than they ever have in the past and when that is the case, hard choices have to be made. While everyone I spoke to in TNA told me that they want AJ to stay, it will come down to whether the deal makes sense to them financially. From AJ's perspective, he has over a decade of service and goodwill with the company. Like anyone in that position, he doesn't want to stay even or go backward financially. TNA management understands that but they also realize that they don't have unlimited finances and thus have to spend their money as judiciously as possible. They want AJ to stay but they also understand that if he can get a better deal for his family, he should take it and move on.
As Scherer puts it, AJ might be the equivalent of an NFL salary-cap casualty. Teams will pay far more to their top flight quarterback and let their cornerbacks go to other teams, no matter how much of a liability that quarterback is. (I'm looking at you New York Jets!) The problem here is that the expensive quarterback role is held by Hulk Hogan, a guy who doesn't actually wrestle, and Sting, a guy who shouldn't actually wrestle anymore.
AJ might actually have to take a pay-cut to stay in TNA. He'd be a hero the TNA sheep that blindly believe in everything TNA does—the same sheep that think Dixie Carter is right for releasing Jesse Sorensen and not paying his medical bills. Or, AJ might be able to make some serious bank in Japan before signing a WWE contract—where he'd likely end his career.
AJ Styles, I have but one piece of advice for you: Run! Get to Stamford, Connecticut as fast as you can! Show the world—the entire world—just how phenomenal you can be. Perform at WrestleMania. Wear the World Heavyweight Championship. Finish your career the way you deserve, performing on the largest stage possible.
Now, there's that little fact that it's widely believed that the WWE isn't interested in any TNA talent. Samoa Joe and Bobby Roode couldn't leverage their expired contracts to get there, and Rob Van Dam isn't a "TNA talent" in the purest sense of the word.
But rules were made to broken, and AJ Styles is the kind of talent and name that the WWE should bring in. You make an exception for a guy like AJ Styles.
AJ Styles is the last reminder of what made TNA different, what made it special. Gone is the six-sided. The X-Division of today is basically a parody of years gone by. If AJ Styles has truly priced himself out of TNA simply based on his tenure and experience with the company, and Sting & Hulk Hogan are deemed more important than AJ Styles, then it's obviously time for AJ to finally join the big leagues.
I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. AJ Styles, it's time for you to truly fly. Go where your talent has always been able to take you—you've put in the years, suffered the injuries and tolerated the abuse that is TNA for a decade. Now go show the world, AJ. Go to the WWE. Show the world what you can do, and leave a legacy of greatness for those who follow you.
You Decide: Do you want to see AJ Styles in the WWE?
Is Ring of Honor Back?
By Greg DeMarco
Throughout its 11-year history, Ring of Honor has experienced the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. The company has been near-death multiple times, and has been considered lose to becoming the number two promotion in the United States…multiple times.
ROH's past two events—All Star Extravaganza V and Manhattan Mayhem V—have proven to be very successful. Outside of one ill-advised pile driver to the ring apron, both events are receiving great reviews. Both drew very well, even if they didn't break any attendance records.
The much maligned SCUM angle is over, and the ROH World Championship Tournament is providing the best in-ring action the company has seen in a long time. The tag team division is red-hot, with Red Dragon members Bobby Fish and Kyle O'Reilly once again standing tall after a title belt dance party that included The Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero) and The American Wolves (former world tag team champions Davey Richards & Eddie Edwards).
Is it possible that these last few events have "completed the turn" for ROH? In short, is Ring of Honor "back?"
"But Ring of Honor can't be "back," they never went anywhere!"
Despite ownership changes that went from Rob Feinstein to Cary Silkin to The Sinclair Broadcast Group, Ring of Honor has never closed their doors—not one time during their 11-year history. Now, I have first-hand knowledge that it's nearly happened more than a couple of times, including times that most fans don't know about.
(Remember 2010's Big Bang iPPV? Yeah, that was almost ROH's last show.)
So while the company never went anywhere, the "essence" of Ring of Honor has left…more than once. Just before Gabe Sapolsky's removal as booker in 2008, Ring of Honor was putting on cards that didn't represent the same spirit it had in the past. His last two cards were booked in a manner that pandered to Homicide & Hernandez, even at the expense of the company's World Tag Team Champions at the time—Kevin Steen & El Generico. And those two events came off of a weekend where the tag champs weren't even booked!
This was a far cry from the 2005-2006 stretch that saw CM Punk's amazing "Summer of Punk," and Ring of Honor's war with rival Philly promotion Combat Zone Wrestling.
The promotion bounced back from the 2008 low, but saw more lows that included their early days under the Sinclair Broadcasting Group umbrella. Things have turned around once more, and the booking team is combining with the talent to put on some of the best cards in the world.
Today's roster could be the most talented yet.
This MUST be blasphemous, right? I mean, there's no CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson, Austin Aries or even Tyler Black/Seth Rollins on the roster today!
And that is right. Today's roster is headlined by an overweight Kevin Steen (who just happens to be the top wrestler in all of the independents), wrestling's "next best thing" in Michael Elgin, the amazingly talented (if undersized) Adam Cole, and a man many feel to be independent wrestling's true "next big thing" in Tommaso Ciampa.
Michael Elgin and Kevin Steen, two of ROH's best.
And those four men comprise the semifinalists of ROH's World Title Tournament. That doesn't count World Tag Team Champions Kyle O'Reilly & Bobby Fish, former world champions Davey Richards, Eddie Edwards, Roderick Strong, recent returnees Homicide & Eddie Kingston, former TNA X-Division Champion Jay Lethal, highly underrated Michael Bennett, newer stand out ACH and talented veteran Silas Young.
This list doesn't even count The Forever Hooligans of Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov, The Young Bucks of Nick & Matt Jackson, Matt Taven and any of the Women of Honor. From top-to-bottom, this might be ROH's best roster yet.
"But I heard Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards are headed to WWE and/or TNA!"
First of all, they haven't left yet. Their names are amongst some upcoming talent lists, and they sit amongst Ring of Honor's most decorated veterans. In fact, recent reports indicate that they have yet to tryout, as theirs will be taking place the same weekend as PWG's upcoming Battle of Los Angeles.
And if they do go, there's plenty of talent to step up. Neither man sits in the final four of the world title tournament. Hell, neither man was even in the tournament! Much like the aforementioned CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins and more, Ring of Honor can survive their departures. If those departures even happen.
While ROH's roster is loaded, there is more talent throughout the independents at their disposal. The Monster Mafia of Ethan Page & Josh Alexander have gotten more than just a look from the company, and would easily make an immediate impact on both the tag team and singles divisions. The Young Bucks could be brought back in as a regular tag team for the company as well. Don't forget about Karl "Machine Gun" Anderson, who has been insanely impressive in his recent outings with the company. If Anderson wants to make a future run at WWE or TNA, Ring of Honor could be his road in.
"Ring of Honor is just a feeder for WWE/TNA!"
This is actually a true statement. Depending on how long you've read my work, you may or may not know that I worked with Ring of Honor when they ran two events in Phoenix during WrestleMania 26 weekend. I sat across a breakfast table from the company's Executive Vice President at the time, and he openly talked about ROH being a feeder for WWE and TNA. ROH as a group embraced that role—and it was why every talent wanted to step into their ring.
I don't think this has changed. Look at the recent successes of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan. The Shield's Seth Rollins. Antonio Cesaro. Over in TNA you have Samoa Joe, Christopher Daniels and Austin Aries. And while he's not active in either major company, Low Ki has had significant runs on both WWE and TNA programming.
CM Punk & Daniel Bryan (Bryan Danielson), old school Ring of Honor
Should Eddie Edwards and Davey Richards join this list, they will only add to the legacy that Ring of Honor is leaving on the wrestling industry. One that will keep the pipeline flowing through an ROH ring for years to come.
"What about the weird TV continuity or the iPPV debacles?"
The iPPV fiasco is a definite miss for Ring of Honor. But neither TNA nor the WWE are perfect (especially TNA), and you can't say ROH isn't "back" for this reason.
The television continuity is easily solved. Ignore it. That's what I've learned to do, and it works for me. The company immediately acknowledges big events on their website and promotes cards as if all happenings are immediate. This is no different from the WWE spoiling taped title changes on their website—nothing new to the wrestling business.
So is Ring of Honor "back?"
I think the answer is undoubtedly "YES." Their recent cards have been amazing, and the product once again has a buzz around it. No, they are not at the level of WWE or TNA, but since they never were you can't really consider that part of the criteria. They've outlasted ECW. And now, they're about to crown a brand new world champion and march into the next "Era of Honor."
Bottom Line: Ring of Honor is back—they have an amazing talent roster, they've regained much of their lost buzz and they're poised for a very strong finish to 2013.
You Decide: Is Ring of Honor back?
Two weeks ago, in "Survey Time," our faithful readers voted and let us know that, basically, you'd prefer to see some changes with the Hall of Bang. It's a little too easy to get in, and it's too big. And maybe—just maybe—membership shouldn't be guaranteed?
I'm always down with change, as long as it makes things better. And I feel like this can be some positive change with the Hall of Bang, something that has existed in its current form for over 3 years!
*Bottom row? Gone. Kaitlyn, Paige & Candice have left the building. We didn't change the locks, so they might be able to come back.
*Membership? Harder to achieve. You must win four match-ups in a row, then defeat one of the four ladies on the new bottom row to get in.
*Membership? Also not guaranteed. If you're amongst the bottom four and you lose...you're out. The women who beats you takes your place. If a woman in the bottom successfully defends her spot, then she gets a shot at the top row. Same rules—woman from the bottom wins, she swaps spots with the woman in the top. Match-ups will not be based on ranking, but will be at random.
See, nothing like some good ol' change, eh???
Now then, where do we go from here? Well, Katie Lea Winter was successful in the first ever Versus "Battle of the Seasons," beating Summer Rae and ending the "dancer's" first ever Versus run at two wins.
While she already defeated the summer, Winter's competition is still smoking hot, coming in the form of Versus newcomer and E! Total Divas star Eva Marie!
Voting ends Wednesday night and you can vote once every hour!
By Tony Acero
Oh, Greg is just trollin us with this here photo, ain't he? Two weeks after I express that the whole AJ Lovefest thing is part gimmick part reality, so as to finally tie a bow on a months long weekly-AJ posts, he goes and does this. Instead of focusing solely on my beloved, I want to mention the hand gestures here, where AJ is essentially saying "Move along, bitch" and Kaitlyn is expressing her best "Deal with it" pose. I find this interesting mainly because it seems that after Summerslam, it'll be these two who will be moving along. I don't know if you've noticed, but the girls from Total Divas seem to be getting more and more air time, and with the success of the show, I don't see that minimizing in the least. What this means to us is pretty much what we already know; The Bellas are the new top queens, and it's only a matter of time before that fact comes into play on television. So, while Kaitlyn and AJ have had a stronghold on the Divas division for quiute some time, I feel it's only a matter of time before Kaitlyn is pushed to the wayside and my lovely AJ loses her belt to the Bigger-Boobed Bella.
I suppose it's not a big deal considering the Divas title isn't a big deal in its own right, and as long as AJ continues to get TV time, you won't hear many complaints from me. I think we're beyond a point where we cry to the higher-ups that the Divas Division is in shambles, and it needs a fix. We've pretty much accepted that there are two hierarchies of Divas; there's the entertainers, and there are the wrestlers, then there is AJ. Nattie sits pretty atop the technical wrestlers, while the Bellas wear the "entertainers" crown. My question, I suppose, is whether or not that's ok or if it's even possible, and how long before they meld the two to give the Bellas the ultimate top prize of the show?
You Decide: When will the Bellas take over as the top diva(s) in the company?
This week's Greg DeMarco Show features our immediate SummerSlam reaction, plus discussion on Ring of Honor and TNA! Join Greg DeMarco, Patrick O'Dowd, Chad Parry and Tony Acero for nearly three hours of wrestling talk!
Each week, Michael Ornelas takes a very serious (read: tongue-in-cheek) look at the latest wrestling news right here in The One spot. Welcome to "The 1-Yun" (sorry, we don't wanna get sued), your weekly parody of the already strange world of professional sports entertainment wrestling. You're Welcome!
The 1-Yun: Wrestling Fan Leaves Grandma's Basement for First Time in Years; Gets Called "Fat" by CM Punk
By Michael Ornelas
Mark Awfulson (34, not pictured to the right) was just a modest eBay entrepreneur, making an honest living by strategically buying wrestling figures from 14 year-olds without any business savvy who happen to lurk the same figure forums as he does, and reselling them on eBay under the username"FiveKnuckleShuffler78" – that was until he courageously conquered his fear of face-to-face human interaction and had his grandmother buy him ringside tickets to Monday Night Raw (which she was more than happy to do so she could finally treat the arthritis she got from years of cutting the crusts off Mark's PBJs).
After generously buying enough hot dogs to feed a family of five from concessions after an awkward 4-minute interaction with the vendor, the perfect gentleman Mark made his way down to his seats at ringside in Anaheim, CA the night after the 2013 WWE SummerSlam Pay-Per-View. Considering the fact that the world revolves around him, Mark was utterly stunned when CM Punk – Mark's new least favorite professional wrestler – responded to his completely respectful take on heckling by calling him "fat" and daring him to come into the ring with him, presumably for a physical altercation of some kind.
Mark was at a loss for words on account of the fact that he didn't have his computer screen in front of him. However, being the mature adult male that Mark is, he simply responded to CM Punk's mean-spirited bullying by responsibly commenting on a wrestling news site, stating that he "totally could have messed Punk up, but he didn't want to put WWE in a position where they'd be forced to hire him to continue the awesome angle on their hands, as he's happy with his job as grandma's caretaker, which is absolutely the only reason he lives in her basement."
Let this serve as a cautionary tale for all of Marks: stay at home until the real world is ready for you, and totally not the other way around.
This week's And1 Model of the Week just announced her departure from TNA. Ah, budget cuts!
About the authors:
Tony Acero is currently a student at Cal State University of Long Beach. He is double-majoring as a Creative Writing and Literature major. His first book, Through The Looking Glass, was published in April, 2012. Looking Through, currently available, is a preview to the release of his second book, due out in Fall 2013.
Tony joined 411Mania in April 2010, and currently contributes in both music and wrestling. Tony is an avid drinker of Mountain Dew and Jack Daniels. He is a writer who hardly takes himself seriously, yet has an innate ability to create moments that are both human yet fearful in his writings.
Greg DeMarco is a graduate of Virginia Tech (Bachelor's in Business Management) and Arizona State (Master's in Higher & Post-Secondary Education). He works in online higher education. Greg started in improv comedy in 2001, making his stand-up debut in 2004.
Greg first appeared as a ring announcer for Rising Phoenix Wrestling in Phoenix Arizona in 2006 and served many promotions in both on-stage and back-stage roles for over six years, most notably Ring of Honor in 2010. He began writing for 411Mania in October 2010, founded The Greg DeMarco Show in May 2011 and opened WrestlingSmash.com (and Wrestling Smash Radio) in January 2013.
IF YOU'VE MADE IT THIS FAR, YOU'RE IN FOR A TREAT!
Our own Michael Ornelas has watched more movies than hermits with a VCR, but there's still a few out there he has yet to catch. Listen in as he and a few buddies talk about movies they've never seen, and the impact it's made on their sex lives!