Welcome to The World's Most Dangerous Column, the Sunday home for your favorite 411Mania News Report's favorite 411Mania News Report!
We have a jam packed column this week--and I'm not even talking about the WWE Network!! But before we get there, I have two important items for you to check out:
Bonnie "Rain" Maxon, as you should know, is one of my favorite female competitors ever. She is the perfect combination of beauty, brains and in-ring skill. She was in a horrific car accident that's had her in the hospital for a two weeks now (since Valentine's Day).
You also might know that she's both a pro wrestler and someone starting a business—which means she doesn't exactly have health insurance! Those bills will mount up, and friends and family have started a Give Forward donation site. If you feel so moved, please contribute. They are half-way to the goal already:
Then we have the story of DeMarcette Allie Parker's brother, Ryan Kelso. Ryan has been battling Type 1 Diabetes for 20-years that caused blindness (which was corrected) and has now become Stage Renal Disease. Ryan is now in need of a kidney transplant, and this Give Forward site is to raise the $25,000 needed just to get on the list:
Life is short, people—make the most of it, and give back!
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The Road to WrestleMania is in full speed mode, and we are fast approaching wrestling's biggest night. The card is basically playing out as speculated a while back, and it's causing quite the reaction amongst the Internet Wrestling Community. But I have to explore the question—Is it really that bad?
In order to get a really accurate answer, we need to look at the individual matches...
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar – Confirmed
I'd just like to point out, I called the "consolation prize" phrase during last Sunday's Greg DeMarco Show. With that out of the way...
To anyone who says this shouldn't go down: you're dead wrong! (Pun fully intended.) The fact that they're part timers means nothing. This is a marquee match-up, and it belongs at a WrestleMania. Sure, there's other things both men could do, but that doesn't mean this is a bad choice.
We have a ton of history, including some the WWE will unfortunately ignore (‘Taker's appearance at UFC 121, anyone?). The "big fight feel" will be in full effect for this contest, and I believe it will live up to the hype.
Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H – Rumored
The WWE doesn't seem to be hiding this match any longer. Nor should they. You see, this is the match the WWE has been building since SummerSlam. I know the Internet Wrestling Community wants to see Daniel Bryan leave as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but this is something more (take that CM Punk!).
This needs to go on last. No one can follow this match, unless Triple H wins. And that would be a critical error—because it might actually blow up the internet!
This one is easy to do. Daniel Bryan either forces Triple H to tap to the LeBell Lock, or he pins him after the flying knee strike. No interference, no crazy shenanigans. And the crowd pleasing finish will provide an element the WWE wants: 70,000+ fans on their feet chanting "YES! YES! YES"
WWE World Heavyweight Championship: Randy Orton (champion) vs. Batista – Confirmed
Yes, this is still the "main event" although I doubt it closes the show. Batista is the unfortunate, um...beneficiary (?) of some poor booking in his return. He was booked to win the Royal Rumble in his first match back, when everyone and their mother wanted to see Daniel Bryan win it (or at least be in it!). His conditioning and overall metrosexual look haven't helped his own cause, either.
But I don't want to hear that a major flaw in the match is the hell vs. heel nature to it, because that just won't exist.
Randy Orton still gets a pop when he enters the arena. He got cheered when he poked fun at Batista. The ultra smarky WrestleMania crowd will pick Orton over Batista—once the annoying CM Punk chants die down. Plus, Orton's slow and methodical style is the perfect complement to Batista's faults. While this isn't the ideal choice for a world title match, it's not as bad as it seems.
John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt – Rumored
The build started at The Royal Rumble and continued at the Elimination Chamber. Then, on Raw, we continued with a speculated injury angle for Cena. Either way, this match can be something special—for both performers.
Each week, we see more and more that makes me thing Bray Wyatt is potential generation defining performer. He's amazing on the mic, and his in-ring style is perfect for the modern-day-WWE. And disagree if you must, but John Cena is one of the Top 5 All Time WWE talents.
Put these two together and magic will happen. That's just the type of performers they are. The crowd will be amazing, The Wyatt's entrance will be memorable, and this could be the defining moment in the push to a new era.
Above I say this match "can be something special." I take that back. This match? It WILL be something special. Bank on it.
Sheamus vs. Christian
The WWE is actually taking an NFL-style "next man up" approach to this card. CM Punk out of the Triple H match? Daniel Bryan moves up. Bryan out of the Sheamus match? Christian moves up. And I feel like Christan's recent performances have earned this opportunity for him. He's actually doing some of his best work since—dare I say—the days of Edge, Christian and the 5-second pose (for the benefit of those with flash photography).
I've been vocal in my opinion of Christian in the past. But make sure you're accurate—what I said is that Christian isn't a main eventer. This match isn't the main event, it's on the undercard. And Christian and Sheamus have proven to be strong dance partners. I'd recommend this match to open WrestleMania XXX.
There you have it. Five matches. Two are good, one is a push, one is great, and one is amazing. That sounds pretty damned good to me! We still have matches to figure out for Cesaro, Jack Swagger, all three members of The Shield, Big E, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, The Usos and many more talented perofrmers
So is it really that bad? I can't say yes. Because it's not bad at all—it's downright good. You want to keep your expectations low? Fine. I'm not, because think WrestleMania XXX has tons of potential.
Ah shit, there's that dreaded "P-word" again...
Thursday night saw the first ever live wrestling broadcast on the WWE Network, an honor that the company reserved for its developmental territory, NXT. The WWE proved that, on this might, the future has never looked better, and that even a webshow can kick TNA's ass!
But in looking at NXT ArRIVAL, we need to see who actually arrived...
Arrival: Sami Zayn
Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro was the perfect ending to their feud. Sami Zayn and Cesar put on another classic, and it showed that the story matters in professional wrestling—more so than any work rate. I'm not alone—just check out this editorial by my good friend (and former 411 writer) Kyle Fitta!
Sami Zayn & Cesaro had a great match that was also all story from the moment the first man got in the ring. This wasn't about Zayn needing to beat Cesaro—he already did that. This was about Zayn earning respect as a competitor—which he thought he'd get if he beat Cesaro again. Well he didn't, yet he did.
Zayn didn't beat Cesaro—and he shouldn't have. Cesaro is in the midst of what appears to be a major push, and in no way should he be losing on NXT. But his sign of respect to Sami Zayn, one where he returned to the ring to do it, was the true victory—and arrival—for Sami Zayn.
Emma has gotten over since showing up on the television roster, but she's done it as a comedy performer. Tonight she showed a whole new audience the other side of Emma—the one that wrestles. And wrestle she did!
On the flip side you have Paige, who hasn't been exposed to the same audience as Emma. Until now. Paige excelled in this match, in a major way. To me, Paige represents the next generation's greatest Diva. Make no mistake about it, Paige has future Hall of Famer written all over her. She's uniquely stunning in a way that you can't take your eyes off of her—nor do you want to!
But there's more. Her wrestling ability is even greater than her looks. She seamlessly combines her character with her in-ring performance, even more than Emma does.
Paige may end up the biggest women's star to come out of NXT's current crop (Charlotte could beat her if the WWE wants her to), but Emma is going to shine first. She's already on the main roster, and the WWE would be smart to get that Divas title on her before too long.
Arrival: Adrian Neville
Arrival: Bo Dallas
I know what you're thinking, and yes, Bo Dallas already arrived. He physically arrived on television last year, but didn't "arrive" as a performer. Last night he did.
Adrian Neville obviously arrived, winning the main event ladder match in both spectacular and creative fashion. The visual of the smoke shooting down from the ceiling was a cool one, even if it was Mojo Rawley's gimmick.
Side note: no word on if the smoke allowed Neville to "stay hype."
Adrian Neville is a great performer—but many of those "in the know" expected that. Bo Dallas, on the other hand, needed some redemption (NXT Redemption? No thank you!) and he got it on Thursday. He proved he can carry the heel side of a feud, and do it well. He showed me that he can be trusted at the next level, where he can draw heat and put on a great performance in the ring.
I know, it's odd to name NXT itself as an arrival, right? But you have to.
The product as a whole arrived, as the performers treated this as "their WrestleMania." ArRIVAL really established NXT as a brand for the WWE, and one that could be very strong. WWE could easily take NXT on the road, laying to smaller venues throughout the US and Canada, giving their talent more seasoning (and providing a local tryout for some more potential signees).
When the current incarnation of NXT took shape, I said that the WWE could basically have its own independent promotion with it. That's pretty much what happened on Thursday. NXT: ArRIVAL was basically a well-produced super indy card, one done better than 99% of the indies in North America today.
Well done, NXT. Well done!
A tradition started at the end of each point when I wrote The Wrestling 5&1, "You Decide!" is your chance to weigh in on a major question facing professional wrestling each week. Vote once per hour, and leave your opinions in the comments section!
Last week I asked who you thought would get the best out of Batista, and you responded with a loud "YES!"
This week, I have a question about NXT ArRIVAL:
Based on Thursday night's show, who had the biggest "arrival" at NXT ArRIVAL?
Voting closes Wednesday night!
Wrestling fans are passionate, and at times judgmental. So it takes a special someone—me!—to point out some things that are downright true, yet likely unpopular. And I do them on the twitter!
Follow Me People!
And now I present to you…#UnpopularTruths!
I said it here already—we love our independent wrestling, but the fact is that the WWE can do that better, too!
#UnpopularTruth Despite the numerous blunders, Dixie Carter has been good for TNA Wrestling.— Greg DeMarco (@gregdemarcoshow) February 28, 2014
This one bothers even me, but without Dixie Carter TNA might not be on SpikeTV, or in business at all. We all love to beg for Jeff Jarrett to be back, but isn't he the reason they got sold to begin with?
#UnpopularTruth Monday's RAW crowd in Chicago is going to suck, regardless of what happens.— Greg DeMarco (@gregdemarcoshow) February 28, 2014
Seriously? How bad will it suck if 15,000 people can't stop chanting "CM PUNK!" for three hours? One can only hope for an hour-long six-man tag featuring The Shield vs. Daniel Bryan, Christian & Cesaro. Or something to shut them up.
#UnpopularTruth Undertaker vs. Lesnar, part timer vs. part timer, was the way to go at WrestleMania XXX.— Greg DeMarco (@gregdemarcoshow) February 28, 2014
I've said it before—this is a WrestleMania worthy match-up. Just enjoy it!
#UnpopularTruth Since returning to TNA, MVP has shown why he didn't make it to the main event in WWE.— Greg DeMarco (@gregdemarcoshow) February 28, 2014
In the ring, MVP has done a great job. But his promos (both in ring and backstage) are cliché and kinda boring. I was excited to see MVP in this role, but it's not definitely middle of the road for me. Feud him with Dixie Carter and eh…….
#UnpopularTruth The WWE wouldn't be any better if CM Punk hadn't walked out.— Greg DeMarco (@gregdemarcoshow) February 28, 2014
You do realize if he was still there we'd be getting CM Punk vs. Triple H and Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus at WrestleMania XXX, right?
#UnpopularTruth Austin Aries is pretty much TNA's version of The Big Show (easily slotted into main event...turns face/heel too much...)— Greg DeMarco (@gregdemarcoshow) February 28, 2014
Seriously, does Austin Aries himself know what he's supposed to be? It's a shame, because he should be in the main event all the damn time.
#UnpopularTruth Bobby Roode's Roode Bomb is just John Cena's Attitude Adjustment, but grabbing the head on the way down.— Greg DeMarco (@gregdemarcoshow) February 28, 2014
Bobby Roode is one of the best wrestlers in the world, but his finisher sucks.
There you have it—eight unpopular but true statements about
In wrestling today, there is no show quite like Raw. Giving us moments and memories that we will cherish forever, and some we'd rather not ever recall again. This space is the chance to look back in time, each week, to a Raw memory.
411Mania is putting the finishing touches on a WrestleMania feature that allowed me to write about my favorite match ever—Kurt Angle vs. Shawn Michaels from WrestleMania 21. However, the duo had multiple classics, including this Ironman Match from Raw
Oct. 3, 2005
30 Minute Iron Man Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Kurt Angle
Have a match or a moment you'd like to see here?
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
This week we get a favorite of Greg DeMarco Show listeners everywhere (and probably the Briscoe Brothers as well)—Jessie Belle!
Photos credit 911wrestling.com
Follow Jessie on Twitter at @1jessiebelle!
Sunday night I broadcast The Greg DeMarco Show on the VOC Nation with our special guest, DeMarcette Leah Von Dutch!
Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, drop a line in the comments, and until next time...