The Wrestling 6 & 1 09.28.13: Gail Kim vs. Kaitlyn
Posted by Tony Acero on 09.28.2013
Kaitlyn battles Gail KIm in Vs, thoughts on whether we miss John Cena, a look at Triple H and the McMahons' "Best for Business" angle, Alicia Fox is your "& 1" Model of the Week and more!
We've got a huge announcement, some Triple H talk, a bit about TNA – just kidding, a look at a WWE Kurt Angle return, a Freewrite, and more! GAH-LEE!!
A Big Announcement of Sorts...
By Greg DeMarco
I come before you today with an announcement! After three years of writing about professional wrestling here at 411Mania, this week's Wrestling 5&1 will be my last. It's been an amazing run, but an opportunity has developed that I'd be stupid to turn down.
I'll get to that in a moment.
I do want to use this space to say a word of thanks. Despite my (sometimes even public) complaints about how 411 features certain articles/news stories (read: pictures of women), writing at 411Mania has been a tremendous opportunity for me. I joined the ‘Mania in October 2010, and was immediately handed a great franchise column in the Wrestling 5&1. My #1 goal was to make it my own, and I feel like I did that. The changes in graphics, the longer points, the comment responses (back when we had the old system) really turned this thing up a notch, and I'll forever be proud of what I've done.
As for the future of The Wrestling 5&1, the truth is that you're already in good hands. I knew this day would come, I just didn't know when. For a year now, I've been partnered with Tony Acero in providing you with the best one-two punch on the internet. I can't saw I've groomed Tony or taken him under my wing because that wouldn't be fair to him. Tony is a phenomenal writer—a published one in fact. He's ready to have the spotlight all to himself. In fact, I feel like he's already a star! You can expect nothing short of the great column you've come to know & love over the past few years.
I do have some significant people to thank...
Larry Csonka – Despite our "creative differences" in the past, I've got nothing but respect for Larry. He's been at the helm of all things 411 for quite some time now. He has a thankless job—the kind where no one recognizes the great things you do but everyone is quick to point out your rare faults. 411Mania wouldn't be where it is without Larry Csonka. I didn't really apply to write here, but I did have some writing samples that were requested of me. I submitted some samples of work I had created for me own site (the now defunct AtomicWrestlingNews.com) and even later discovered that in those samples I had referred to 411Mania as the "evil empire" much in the same light as many baseball fans refer to the New York Yankees. That didn't stop Larry for offering me this prime real estate, but I presume he knew the type of personality he was then getting! Thankfully, I was afforded the freedom to be me—for better or worse.
Tony Acero - Tony has known about my desires to grow as both a writer and radio host, and he's been nothing but supportive. In weeks where I lacked time, he took the reins and did the entire column. In weeks were I had some crazy creative spirit, he stepped back and said "it's yours boss." All the while he was kicking ass writing his own stuff, preparing for this day. He and I knew it'd come since last fall, as did Larry. Like I said before, we didn't know when. Tony is, just like he says, the man. Do the Dew, brother, do the Dew.
Jeremy Thomas - I need to give a shout out to Jeremy here. He was my typical Friday night editor, never complaining about my request for more time or even my need to go with the occasional two-parter. Being the night time guy is another thankless task, and Jeremy is always a willing victimsoldier. He also happens to be one of the nicest people you'll ever meet.
Ashish Pabari - Ah, the ever elusive Ashish! Let's face it, the man created this "evil empire" called 411Mania, starting as the crappy GeoCities site I read as a college freshman at Virginia Tech. Ashish has always been willing to hear me out on any issues I had—even if they were stupid. He was transparent with me about the strategies the site employs. He treated me like an equal, which I got mad respect for. Without you, I never would have had this opportunity.
Patrick O'Dowd - My best friend and Greg DeMarco Show cohost has never been an official member of the 411Mania crew. He's appeared right here in the Wrestling 5&1 for a few guest pieces, as well as on previous editions of Buy Or Sell (when it covered independent wrestling) and Fact or Fiction. But behind the scenes, he always reminded me of why I do that—that it's a hobby and a passion first, a chance to make anything second. Without that encouragement, I'd have stopped altogether long ago!
There are a few others I need to thank in smaller form. First off is Ari Berenstein, who likely doesn't even remember telling me I should join the 411Mania back when I had him on my Atomic Wrestling Radio podcast in mid-2010. Without those random words of encouragement, this never would have happened. Steve Cook called into the first ever Greg DeMarco Show, and a friendship was born. Steve and I haven't always seen eye-to-eye, but that actually made our mutual respect and friendship grow stronger. Plus, he always has a great perspective on the wrestling business, and he shares it more eloquently than he'll ever give himself credit for. Another unsuspecting gentleman is former 411Mania writer Brad Garoon, whose random tweet to me to either "find a way to make something out of this or find a new hobby" was motivation to take advantage of this new opportunity. (I was paraphrasing back there, by the way). There are others, but this is an elite group above.
The hardest—and easiest—group of people to thank are you: The Readers! I've always been very opinionated about the world of wrestling, and like any analyst worth his salt, I always think I'm right. My first ever edition of the 5&1 was met with equal parts love and hate. And I fell in love with my readers that very instant. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd be labelled a sex offender and a saint by the same reader base. The opening to my radio show once termed me as "the most polarizing & opinionated analyst on the internet," and I owe that to all of you. I was both happy and sad when the comment system changed. It forced commenters to be mostly accountable to their comments, but it also took away the pointed hate that I had so much fun responding to. If not for you, the reader, I wouldn't be going anywhere, and I likely wouldn't be here at 411, either.
Those reasons above are why you're the easiest group to thank. Why are you the hardest? Because outside of less than 1% of you, I have no clue who you are! I can call out many by name (largely thanks to the Yes! Yes! Yes! Facebook group), but many of you remain anonymous to me. I may not know you, but I appreciate you!
My early struggles with giving so much free content to 411Mania led me to the realization of how awesome 411 is for many of us. Folks like Stuart Carapola (visit his non-wrestling site TechForEverybody.com today!), anyone who made a dime at InsidePulse and Jerome Cusson, Kevin Ford, Ari Berenstein, Ryan Rozanski, Jake Zeigler and several of the crew at PWPonderings.com all made their names at 411.
Some of my younger readers won't get this reference, but 411Mania is like the old school MTV. Back in the early 90's, MTV had a young crop of television personalities who travelled the United States (and even the world) for little more than their travel and per diem. But so many of them went on to bigger entertainment careers, while others climbed the MTV hierarchy. Without their (largely free) contributions to MTV, they'd have been nothing in the world of entertainment. The same is true from those of us who got our start at 411Mania. For that, we owe you a debt of gratitude!
As a member of the Internet Wrestling Community, chances are you've stopped by Wrestling Inc, one of the largest wrestling sites in all the land. In just a couple of short weeks, you'll see me there, too! My "column to be named later" will be debuting there at that time (I am pretty much set on a name, by the way), and The Greg DeMarco Show will be popping there up as well. I can't share the capacity in which the show will air, as I don't want to steal that thunder. I'm sure some of you are rushing over there to tell them what a jackass I am. Rest assured, they already know!
In an ideal world, you'll head over there to read my column and follow some news, as well as continue to support 411Mania more than ever. In a less than ideal world, you'll at least read my column over there or at least continue to support Tony over here. Whatever you choose, I'm sure you'll be doing what you feel is…"Best For Business." Further updates, details, dates, etc., can be found at The World Famous Yes! Yes! Yes! Facebook Group!
With that I leave you in the more than capable hands of Tony Acero, who I know will turn this thing into his own, taking it to levels never dreamed of before. He is the fucking man, you know. And if you don't know, he'll remind you.
And hey, if the new gig doesn't work out, Larry did leave the proverbial door open for a return. But not in this column, it's Tony's now.
You have my sincere thanks for all the support over the past years, and the continued support in my future endeavors.
Greg "DeMarco" Bonessi
P.S. – I told you it was a fake name!
Do We Miss Cena?
By Tony Acero
As a devout Cena hater, this question can easily be answered in one word. But rather than just blatantly scream out "NO!" for the world to hear, I wanted to look back and see if this were true, or if it was just blind hate. It's been a little over two months since we've seen John Cena in the ring, and although he's tweeting like a one-armed mad man regarding his return, the squared circle has been without the man for a while. Due to the severe lack of star power that the WWE has, one would assume that his absence would cause a huge hole in the fabric of the WWE – and for a time, it did. The good news, however, is that this hole was quickly filled. Now I will not say that it was filled to the brim, and we are in a place where Cena is not NEEDED, but I will say that they have done a hell of a job with Daniel Bryan and although they may not want him to be the "face" of the WWE, they may very well be leaning towards that particular sentiment. This, of course, is without mention of CM Punk and Paul Heyman, who continue to do their damned thing for all of us. Regardless of your feelings towards Axel and Ryback (and believe me, I'm not fan), the ethos that Heyman and Punk use within their promos and interactions are just gold.
With CM Punk and Bryan doing their thing, and Triple H becoming a powerhouse of a heel, the question rears back – do we miss John Cena? To be honest, I truly don't. I know Cena's importance in the grand scheme of things, and I understand why we "need" John Cena, but his injury has forced the hand and that's truly the only way shit was going to get done in the house that is the WWE. Although Triple H may say it in a promo, and we can see the newsbites that claim people are telling the roster to man up and do their thing, it's nice to see that there are at least a few that are taking that idea to the bank and cashing that shit in. Cody Rhodes is one such example who – perhaps had Cena not left – wouldn't be getting the push that he is getting (and deserving!).
So, it appears that after much thought, my original answer is still apt in terms of my feelings towards the absence of one John Cena. The question, then, flies on over to you…
You Decide: Do you miss John Cena?
Gail Kim is one win away from facing a girl in the bottom row! Will Kaitlyn prevent her from getting there, or is Gail one step closer to the Hall of Bang? Let's remind the crowd of the changes we've made to the new and improved Hall of Bang!!
*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.
Voting ends Wednesday night and you can vote once every hour!
Like It Or Not, This Is In Fact Best For Business
By Greg DeMarco
You didn't think I'd leave you without one more opinionated rant, did you?
The 2013 edition of WWE SummerSlam ended with a bang, as Daniel Bryan defeated John Cena—clean by the way—to win the WWE Championship. Argue against it if you want, but it's the most prestigious championship in all of Professional Wrestling. And Sports Entertainment. About 5 minutes later, Daniel Bryan had lost the WWE Championship to Randy Orton, who cashed in his Money In The Bank contract after (formerly impartial referee) Triple H Pedigreed Bryan into next week.
This started what we can now call the "Best for Business" storyline in the WWE, which has engulfed about 90% of the company's programming—outside of the CM Punk-Paul Heyman saga and Alberto Del, Rob Van Dam & Ricardo Rodriguez, pretty much everyone else in the company is somehow linked to Triple H & Stephanie McMahon's manipulative control over the roster.
But so many viewers (and readers) are missing the boat. This isn't the "Daniel Bryan Storyline." He may be a pivotal character, but this storyline has very little to do with Daniel Bryan. Same as Randy Orton.
Both Orton and Bryan are pawns in the Helmsley-McMahon game of chess—where they are using the roster to feed their manipulative egos. The real story here is Trips and Stephanie taking control of the company for the first true time (on-screen) and shaping it in their image. Never before have they had this much control—this much stake, and they having their way with everyone.
I believe that most of this is in fact taking place before our very eyes. I don't think the story will ever reveal that Randy Orton was in cahoots with Triple H at SummerSlam. The COO created the opportunity, and Orton took advantage of it. Scott Armstrong was "strong armed" after Night of Champions. Big Show has been turned into a puppet by Stephanie. Cody Rhodes was used as an example, and is now fighting back. The Shield aren't as "in" with the "Royal Family" as one might thing, as evidenced by last week's Raw.
In fact, the only people who really know what all is going on are Triple H and Stephanie McMahon themselves.
Don't get me wrong here. The character that Daniel Bryan—and his fans—have created is the most important character in the story. But it isn't about him. Their distaste for him as WWE Champion lead to this current abuse of power, one that later spread to Randy Orton, The Big Show, The Miz, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Dusty Rhodes, The Shield, Dolph Ziggler, AJ Lee, and others.
The WWE's current creative direction indeed is "Best For Business." Vince McMahon may hold the ultimate decision making power until the day he dies, but on-screen "Mr. McMahon" can't do this forever. He must eventually step back, and he's chosen Triple H as his successor. The fact that H is the successor both in front of and behind the camera are coincidental. But in the world of blurred lines, it makes for a much better story this way.
Scary accurate, eh?
The long-term success of the WWE is all but guaranteed by the machine they have created. But any machine can be destroyed if it falls into the wrong hands. For many years those hands were assumed to be Shane McMahon. Since he didn't want it, the capable "power couple" are doing an amazing job, one that I feel is underappreciated by the fans watching across the globe.
The entity that is "Professional Wrestling and Sports Entertainment" isn't a sprint, it's a marathon like journey with many small sprints interspersed throughout. In just the past two months, we've received the creative shift we've been demanding, complete with the Daniel Bryan push, Randy Orton heel turn and John Cena disappearance we've desired. Appreciate where we are folks, it's only going to get better.
You Decide: Is the WWE's new direction in fact best for business?
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.