Welcome to The World's Most Dangerous Column, the Sunday home for your favorite 411Mania News Report! I've changed things up this week, going back to my 5&1 roots to provde you with six different points! Yes, you are indeed welcome.
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The WWE pulled off a great stunt on Monday's edition of Raw, having Daniel Bryan and what seemed like 150 fans "Occupy Raw." It resulted in both the expected, and the unexpected—but desired.
Daniel Bryan refused to leave the ring unless he got what he wanted: a match with WWE COO Triple H at WrestleMania XXX. H refused over and over, assuming that everyone would clear the ring simply because he said so. When that didn't happen, Stephanie assumed her screeching would do the trick. It didn't. Triple H then tried to start a match with Damien Sandow, and that didn't work either.
Finally, the corporate incarnation of bad ass champion was forced to give in to Bryan's request, accepting the match at WrestleMania.
That was the expected...
But Daniel Bryan pulled a fast one on The Authority, claiming he and his posse would remain in effect until a second demand was met: if Daniel Bryan beat Triple H, he would get placed into the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania XXX, alongside Randy Orton and Batista.
And there was the unexpected—but desired.
Before I go any further, I must make one thing perfectly clear: This was one of the best segments in Raw history. It was done at the perfect time, and transitioned Daniel Bryan into the exact role he should be taking at WrestleMania XXX. Daniel Bryan is now set to take the fans on a wild ride in New Orleans.
Many fans called for this to happen, but I don't think anyone realistically expected it to happen. It wasn't out of the realm of possibility for the WWE to simply place HHH-DBry in as the final match at WM30, finishing the show with 75,000 strong chanting "YES! YES! YES!" in support of their victorious hero.
This would have placed Randy Orton vs. Batista further down the card, likely right before The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar. It would have been an afterthought, and a deserving one after what we've seen out of Batista since his return.
But Triple H, a man just rumored to be allowing the internet to "get to him," and the WWE as a whole took a different direction. They went with an idea tailor made for the Internet Wrestling Community. In a sense, they gave us what we wanted.
Now, as you can see here, the "Occupy Raw" idea has already been targeted by Dave Meltzer and the
And I quote...
"The reason for Daniel Bryan's segment and the "Occupy Raw" term was that the company was making fun of how the fans failed at "hijacking" the Raw in CM Punk's hometown of Chicago."
There are so many reasons why this is bullshit. To name a few:
a) WWE is known for being behind the times with current news and media, so now is about the right time for a wrestler to "occupy" something.
b) WWE always gives a huge face a major moment. This one just didn't involve a beer truck. Or a milk truck. Or a trash truck.
c) WWE had Daniel Bryan himself claim the fans should "hijack" Raw the previous week. Why would they turn around and make fun of it the following week?
So here we sit, ready for WrestleMania XXX to finally close on the culmination of a storyline: Daniel Bryan's run against The Authority from SummerSlam to WrestleMania. Thank you WWE, now don't fuck this up!
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 if and when you see CM Punk back in the WWE. Your answer? Never, by the slightest of margins!
This week I ask you to weigh in on Daniel Bryan's likely outcome eat WrestleMania XXX!
Voting closes Wednesday night!
This week's Smackdown saw Dolph Ziggler get his second straight victory over Alberto Del Rio. The most important part was the follow-up: Dolph Ziggler was joined by a stunning Renee Young in the middle of the ring, where Dolph announced that he was a participant in WrestleMania XXX's 30-Man Over-The-Top-Rope Ander the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.
This was big for a few reasons...
First off, it was the best face promo Ziggler has cut. It was Dolph at this best—raw, true emotion. But he did something he hasn't done since 2013's RawAfterMania, he connected with the fans. If Dolph is going to make it as a face, he's going to do it with more performances like this.
The second is how important it made this battle royal seem. I mean, it's just another battle royal, but it's just like the world title. If the company makes it seem important, it'll be important. If you ignore it and make it a prop, it'll be seen as one.
So far, the battle royal has an interesting set of participants:
Intercontinental Champion Big E
Alberto Del Rio
There are plenty of other rumored/expected names for the match, including Alexander Rusev, Cody Rhodes, Goldust, Santino, The Miz, Kofi Kingston, Big Show, Brodus Clay, Mark Henry, Great Khali, Rey Mysterio, 3MB, Zack Ryder and others. Even a little play on history will give us great reason to care about Rusev (new guy), Miz (his complaining), Kofi (winning the big one), Clay (believing in the monster), Henry/Khali/Show (giant syndrome), and even Zack Ryder (gets no respect).
I really hope the WWE doesn't give a historical nod by having someone like Big Show win. Instead, I'd like to see this match elevate someone, preferably Cesaro, Big E or even Rusev.
If you know anything about me, you know how I feel about The Streak. I think The Streak is awesome, and part of the lure of WrestleMania. In fact, you rarely hear fans call it The Undertaker's Streak, because it's The Streak. When you hear that, you know immediately what it means.
But if you truly know me, you know something else about me & The Streak. I feel, in the minority or not, that The Streak must end. That's how you finish the story, and start a new one in the process.
(Plus, if The streak ends, we don't have to ask if he's coming back every year!)
There are two guys currently on the WWE TV roster who I feel make the best candidates for "Streak Ender": the franchise and the upstart. Or, as you can look at it, Peyton Manning or Andrew Luck.
The Franchise: John Cena
Shawn Michaels retired Ric Flair. The Undertaker retired Shawn Michaels. John Cena retires The Undertaker? It would make sense from a historical stand point. Cena is arguably one of the five biggest stars in wrestling history (it goes Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Steve Austin, The Rock, John Cena, by the way), so The Streak would be "safe" with him. He's not going to make a poor decision that makes everyone think he was the wrong guy to end The Streak. He won't make ‘Taker feel like his legacy is tarnished by the guy who ended The Streak. But does Cena need it?
The Upstart: Roman Reigns
All signs point to Roman Reigns being the heir apparent to the WWE throne. He's already racked up a pair of B-level accolades as the Sole Survivor in a Survivor Series match and the Royal Rumble eliminations record holder. He got to be the "Batista" of The Shield, i.e. he got to be "the cool one." In a group of three sure things, he's the "surest thing." When it comes to Roman Reigns, the sky is the limit.
But if the WWE really wants to strap the rocket to his back—if they really want to make him "the guy," then you have him end The Streak. You let him finish off The Undertaker once and for all.
I don't know how many more WrestleMania matches The Undertaker has left. But if I'm the WWE, I've already penciled in Roman Reigns vs. The Undertaker for WrestleMania 31 in San Francisco. And I've used said pencil to circle the name Roman Reigns as the winner.
Now believe that.
Speaking of The Shield, new rumors are circulating about their WrestleMania XXX match. It's blatantly obvious (and that's not a bad thing) that they're breaking up sooner rather than later. But the WWE seems to be building some cohesion, moving away from the rumored Shield triple threat match at ‘Mania.
Enter a new rumor that has the team in a six-man tag team match (what they do best) at WrestleMania, but as faces (they've basically turned already) against Kane and NXT's The Ascension.
Now, I have to warn you: as you can read here, the report comes from TribLive.com's Justin LeBar, who also writes for WrestleZone, a site known for basically making shit up.
In fact, I was taken to task by the "Twitter Police" for even sharing an opinion on the match! Check that out, here: https://twitter.com/gregdemarcoshow/status/444697423714086913.
Now, I agree that you have to take this with quite the large grain of salt, but it doesn't stop us from having an opinion. And I love the idea.
I'd prefer to see The Shield in a six-man tag team match, one more time, at WrestleMania. The three-way battle between the faction can be a major focus of the spring-to-summer run for the WWE and doesn't need to start now. Plus, The Ascension has peaked in NXT. There's nothing more they can do. Their ceiling on the main roster is basically The Acolytes/APA, and coming in as Kane's muscle is the best way to establish that.
Given the reports of Kane's eminent retirement, using him to get The Ascension over as the eventual enforcers for The Authority is a great thing to do. Plus, it allows The Shield's break up to happen on the biggest stage possible—WrestleMania XXX.
So why not do it?
Basically because the vast majority of the IWC thinks Konnor and Viktor suck. But I already said above, their ceiling is The APA. And when you're opposite The Shield, all you need is the ability to Punch, Kick, and Sell. Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose (and in this case Kane) take care of the rest.
I'd have The Shield put Kane through the Spanish Announce Table late in the match, leaving then 3-2 against The Ascension. That's when the turn happens, likely leaving Roman Reigns to eat the pin when his partners leave him. Granted, that role could be played by Dean Ambrose or Seth Rollins, just as easily.
However they do it, I want to see "The Break Up of The Shield" happen in a huge way—at WrestleMania XXX.
That's right, you also get two points about TNA! (Who says we don't give TNA any love here at the 'Mania???)
TNA Lockdown came and went this past Sunday, and it will be remembered (by me) as more of the same from TNA. This "same" dates back to Bound For Glory 2011, an event that culminated with Bound For Glory winner Bobby Roode failing in his bid to capture the World Championship from Kurt Angle. That, of course, allowed me to later coin the phrase "I remember Bound For Glory."
But that statement meant so much more than just the finish to the main event. It means that the company put on a show that gets off to a good start, then fails in the end. Bound For Glory 2011 featured eight matches.
The first four were very good, and very entertaining:
X-Division Champ Austin Aries over Brian Kendrick
Rob Van Dam over Jerry Lynn in Full Metal Mayhem
Crimson over Samoa Joe & Matt Morgan
Mr. Anderson over Bully Ray in a Philadelphia Street Fight (sound familiar?)
But then things went south, starting with the Knockouts:
Velvet Sky beat Winter, Mickie James and Madison Rayne to win the Knockouts Championship
AJ Styles over Christopher Daniels in a terrible I Quit Match
Sting over Hulk Hogan for "Control of TNA" (sound familiar?)
World Champ Kurt Angle over Bobby Roode
I know Styles vs. Daniels sounds great, but it sucked. The most memorable moment was AJ (the face) trying to stab Daniels (the heel) with a screwdriver. Roode vs. Angle was good, but the finish came out of nowhere, and was botched thanks to the performers being in the ropes.
Fast forward to this years Lockdown, which featured seven matches:
The Great Muta, Sanada & Tasu over Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian & Chris Sabin
Samuel Shaw over Mr. Anderson
Tigre Uno over Manik
Gunner over James Storm in a Last Man Standing Match
Knockouts Champ Madison Rayne over Gail Kim
World Champ Magnus over Samoa Joe in a submission match thanks to Abyss-a-ference
Team MVP over Team Dixie for "Control of TNA wrestling operations" (sound familiar?) in Lethal Lockdown
(All matches contested inside the confines of a steel cage)
In all honesty, five out of the seven matches were good-to-great. And the World Title and Lethal Lockdown matches were also good—but their endings were terrible. The unpredictable one featured Abyss—which is an automatic fail in my book. He was tolerable as Joseph Park, and that was basically the peak of his career. (To be fair, he worked a few good matches in Ring of Honor.) The predictable one allowed Bully Ray to once again become the main focus of TNA, this time as a face.
But the results of both the 2014 edition of Lockdown and the 2011 edition of Bound For Glory remind us of one thing about TNA: the best matches on the card are the least "creatively influenced." The ones where creative steps in and tells a story? Those go downhill…and fast! Keep it simple, TNA, keep it simple!
And Lockdown, I am left with one question: Why would anyone shell out $45 for a TNA pay-per-view, when the WWE version is basically $10 per month and comes with a crap ton of bonus content called the "WWE Network?"
Despite the focus on Bully Ray, there was plenty of good done on this week's Impact Wrestling. MVP became the sole authority figure for "wrestling operations" in TNA. At the time of this writing I don't know anything about the upcoming spoilers, so I have no idea if it's happened or not—but at some point Dixie will be back. Expect it to take at least a month, but she won't stay gone for long. Until then, MVP stands alone, and will be utilizing what he calls "The MVP Principle."
Unfortunately for me, that involved Abyss at some point...
We also saw the signs of a potential "new direction" for TNA, where they'll focus on new stars. The first one up was a new Knockout named Brittany.
Seriously, what was wrong with Santana Garrett? Every other Knockout has a last name, but not Brittany? And if you wanted to give her a single name, why not just Santana? Even The Lovely and Talented Mrs. DeMarco thought that was a dumb name—and when she found out the girl had been running as Santana Garrett, even she immediately suggested Santana as the stage name.
Regardless of her name, Brittany accomplished two things on Impact: showed the world how hot she is, and got a win over Gail Kim.
Sure, the focus was on Lei'D Tapa—and remember, this is the chick TNA picked over Ivelisse—and her break up from Gail Kim, but the new Knockout did better than so many before her. Add in the fact that the company later started another Knockouts angle for Velvet Sky and Angelina Love (which I suspect will see Madison Rayne turn heel to reform The Beautiful People with Angelina) and we now have an actual division again.
That's more than I can say for the tag team division, where Sanada (the reigning X-Division Champion, you know) and Tigre Uno (who was trained by Rey Mysterio's uncle's first cousin's former college roommate, you know) defeated the World Tag Team Champions The BroMans (Robbie E & Jesse) in their first match ever as a team.
Samuel Shaw continued to be one of the best characters in all of televised wrestling, Willow Hardy was…um...there. Kenny King had a cool vignette play for his eventual return and more.
It was actually a good edition of Impact Wrestling, and I look forward to seeing TNA put even more focus on newer talent. It's a great way to be an alternative while hooking the disenfranchised WWE fan.
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.
Two words: Beer Bath! Daniel Bryan had a similar moment this past Monday, on Raw.
Have a match or a moment you'd like to see here?
Leave your suggestions in the comments below!
"The Perfect Ten" Scarlett Bordeaux is back as your DeMarcette of the Week!
Color photos credit to George Mario. Find George on Facebook!
Did you know Scarlett was given "The Perfect Ten" moniker on my very own Greg DeMarco Show? You can follow Scarlett on Twitter at @scarlettbordeaux!
Please allow me to share these one more time:
Bonnie "Rain" Maxon Gray, as you should know, is one of my favorite female competitors to ever grace the squared circle. She is the perfect combination of beauty, brains and in-ring skill. She was in a horrific car accident that had her in the hospital for three weeks (starting Valentine's Day), having multiple surgeries and ending her career.
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!
Follow me on Twitter, friend me on Facebook, drop a line in the comments, and until next time...