Smart Marks 1.25.14: Da Rumble Edition
Posted by Dino Zucconi on 01.25.2014
We get ready for another edition of the Royal Rumble this Sunday, so let's wax nostalgic! Maybe some talk about Sting, and a little sprinkle of lucha! Come on in!
Welcome back one and all to another edition of Smart Marks, your stop for non-authoritative discussion on all things wrestling, be it super serial or ridiculously dumb! I'm Dino, and I'm the body they chose to lead the proceedings. Yay!
Last week I had a full Fan Boy Session for Daniel Bryan and his return to being the dude we've all rallied around over the last few months after a two week pitstop in Distraction Angle land. Some were right there with me, some were sick of reading yet another column heaping praise on one of the hottest acts in American wrestling right now, and others still don't even see "it' when it comes to Bryan. Hey, that's fair- everything ain't for everyone- but for me personally, the culmination of Bryan finally turning on Bray Wyatt, coupled with that awesome slow build YES chant that nearly everyone participated in, is going to live on in my head as one of the cooler moments in recent years.
I'll cool off on the Bryan love this week, because quite frankly, I care. And because quite frankly the second, this weekend is Royal Rumble time! The "official" beginning of the Road to WrestleMania, it's the show where we'll begin to get all our ducks in a line! So, let's talk the Rumble!
Whether you've been there for each edition, or this is your very first Royal Rumble, there really isn't anything else that can ramp up the anticipation quite like the Royal Rumble. Sure, there have been plenty of years where it was as clear as day in regards to who was winning the whole thing, but when the scene has 4-5 legitimate possibilities as a Rumble winner, that's when things get a little crazy.
This year, it seems to me that CM Punk, Batista, and Brock Lesnar are big favorites to win the whole thing. There's also the possibility of a surprise return winning it all (Sheamus?), or someone that hasn't even entered suddenly doing so and winning it all (Daniel Bryan?) I'm sure there's a few other names I'm not fairly considering as choices, but these seem to be the most popular ones from where I sit. This is a good thing, of course. I'm quite sure this is an accepted truth. I much prefer years like this than, say, when nobody was stopping Brock Lesnar in 2003, or Triple H in 2002, or even Shawn Michaels in 1996.
I've long stated that I had Bryan winning the whole thing, and I'm not letting some little fact like "He's not in it!" stop me from believing it. Sure, that'll probably leave me as quite the sad little guy when the Rumble ends and he never entered, but until that moment, I'm sticking with Bryan possibly losing to Bray Wyatt, then showing up in a surprise moment for the Rumble itself, where he gets instant redemption for earlier in the night, and can continue his road back to the belt.
I was also a bit sad when I recently read that Santino Marella underwent neck therapy recently. Santino is, by virtue of simply being Italian, my personal favorite wrestler. I've come up with thirty five different ways he could be rebooted into a serious threat, knowing all along that it'll never happen. That said, the Rumble is usually the time of the year that he gets to really make a big mark. Breaking the Warlord's record for shortest time in the 2009 edition, followed by nearly winning it all in 2011, and his epic Cobra vs. Socko duel with Mick Foley, made for incredible moments. I bit on him winning it all so hard in 2011, I felt really stupid when it was all said and done. That didn't stop me from ordering the 2012 Elimination Chamber PPV on the hope that Santino was going to win the World Title and immediately lose it the next night. Yes, I'm that big of a dumb mark when it comes to Santino. Not having him around this year will definitely be a huge bummer.
Of course, outside of the winner, there's always discussion about who gets this year's "Diesel Push"- aka, the guy who eliminates the most people in the match, usually in quick succession. We've seen Steve Austin, Kane, Sheamus, and even CM Punk benefit from the Diesel Push before, and with plenty of new guys around, the possibilities are endless. It's gonna be Roman Reigns, but still, let's pretend there's all sorts of choices!
When it's all said and done, the Rumble just delivers a program that you're not going to get at any other point in the year. The Rumble match itself has its own aura, and whether we get a record setting performance, or a star making one, you're nearly always guaranteed to leave the Rumble talking about something big. Unless you don't. Figured I'd throw that in there for the contrarians.
My Pick: Daniel Bryan, with CM Punk lasting the longest, and Roman Reigns getting the Diesel Push.
Who do YOU guys have winning the Rumble? Any records you see getting broke? Any Diesel Push candidates?
It's time for Pure Speculation! Yay!
So, if you watched Impact (and if you haven't, SPOILER ALERT!!!), you saw that Sting's TNA run has seemingly come to an end, after losing to Magnus via TNA Main Event Ending (the entire roster ran out and put down an extended beating on Sting). Many a star have fallen to the TNA Main Event Ending in its 12 year run, so Sting has nothing to be ashamed of.
Of course, this only adds fuel to the annual rumor of STING IS GOING TO WWE!!
I actually didn't consider 2014 official until that rumor started back up. And really, just like in 2011, 2012, and 2013, I'm hoping that THIS year, it's right. I really, really want Sting in WWE. And I don't want him showing up in like another ten years, where he's just there to get an induction.
I want STING to show up, not Steve Borden. I want STING to address the WWE fans, the WWE wrestlers, and even the WWE Authority. I've joked that if the fans were truly diehard, then Sting should be booed out of the building on his debut. Of course, in a world where Ric Flair, DDP, and even Eric Bischoff were given huge ovations, I only expect Sting to receive a King's Welcome.
This is probably the point that someone chimes in with how this always happens, we always discuss this, and then Sting always just signs another year with TNA. Well, maybe he will. Maybe he stays in TNA. Maybe he just retires. But man, seeing Sting on WWE television is something I've thought about since like 1988. I'm not going to stop now just because the internet has snarky guys telling me how dumb it is. This is a lifelong fan dream of mine, and I'm not letting it just die.
I can say, without any hesitation, that I am *not* one of those guys who wants to see Sting vs. Undertaker. Even in 1997, I never thought that match made much sense, outside of "but they're both kinda creepy!" It still seemed like a stretch to me then, but I at least got where they were coming from. Now? No thank you. Sting- much like Undertaker- needs someone who can hold up more than his end of the bargain. The difference, of course, being that Taker can still bust out the big tricks (a perk of working 3 times a year). Putting them together would be the worst mistake.
So Dino, who do you want to see Sting wrestle? asked nobody. I'd love to see Sting vs. John Cena. Cena was initially hyped as a Sting clone, and I think that'd be fun. I'd love to see Sting vs. The Rock. I've wanted that match since about 1999, and I still do. I'd also love to see Sting vs, and pardon me for even saying it, Shawn Michaels. That's a huge match, period. Is Sting the performer he was in the 90s? Of course not. Is Shawn Michaels? No, but he's still better than Sting. Will any of those happen? Most likely not. I'm just saying what I'd like to see. No harm in that.
I'm a Sting fan, and I'm not ashamed of it. I hope that this is the year that he finally makes the deal with Vince. If he doesn't, c'est la vie. If he does, I'm going to get a little crazy.
What about you guys? Do you care at all about Sting? Want to see him in WWE? Who would YOU like to see him wrestle?
Viva la Lucha
The CMLL programming I received this week featured the finale of the Torneo de la Leyenda de Plata, a tournament done in honor of lucha libre diety El Santo. The tournament works by having two separate Torneo Cibernetico matches, where the winner of each then meets in a one on one match in the final. This year's final boiled down to young star Titan taking on wily legend Negro Casas. Casas seemed to turn tecnico at the conclusion of his Torneo Cibernetico match, as he was assaulted by his fellow rudos before the final tecnico could even be eliminated.
The next week, Casas won a fun match against Titan, earning the 2013 Trophy.
On the next program, I learned that Rush had finally gone full rudo. Teaming with El Terrible (a former rival), Rush appeared now dressed in black (as opposed to his white getup), and again locked horns with Negro Casas, his rival of months now. While I was happy to see the progression, I can't lie- I dug Rush being billed as the "most hated good guy" for a while.
Still, this new direction for Rush should allow a more vicious side to be seen, and if him still fighting with El Terrible means anything, perhaps he'll take a more ruthless route to a World Championship match!
That should do it for the week. Definitely looking forward to the Royal Rumble, and beginning our journey to WrestleMania. Plus, where is TNA heading? They've lost some really big names the last couple months. Can they rebound? Is this secretly the best thing to happen to them? Guess we'll have to stay tuned!
Until then, enjoy your WWE, your TNA, your Lucha, your Puro, and your Indies!
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