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Thursday, June 17, 2010

PUTTING A HAPPY FACE ON TWO SAD ENDINGS

Like many fans, I was disappointed to hear about two recent firings, those of Bryan Danielson and Nikki Roxx (Roxxi). Both are superb wrestlers who undoubtedly should have had a permenant home in their respective brands.

But like marriage and health care, wrestling exists in parallel universes. You have the realm of the ideal, and the painful reality. As details on the release of Danielson and Roxxi continue to reveal themselves over the upcoming days, I think it is important to remember that suffereing an unfair or unpopular setback doesn't necessarily mean death in the wrestling business.

Once upon a time, Eric Bischoff decided that Steve Autin had no future in wrestling ... and we all saw how that turned out. More recently, AJ Styles declined a WWE developmental offer, and doing so might have been the smartest thing he's done for his career (you can read all the details in the October 2010 Pro Wrestling Illustrated, on sale August 3).

That is precisely why I see no merit in signing a petition to bring Danielson back to WWE or flooding Dixie Carter's Twitter account to re-instate Roxxi at TNA, as I've seen suggested on various wrestling sites. Yes, we enjoy their contributions, and they surely belong in the "big leagues," but do we really want to consign Danielson to a mid-card (at best) career, or Roxxi to on-again, off-again membership in a volatile division of a scuffling company?

In light of what is known to this point, it is fair to say that neither Danielson nor Roxxi deserved such an abrupt and shoddy ending to their careers in WWWE and TNA, respectively, but as much as we might not want to admit it, it could put them on a path to bigger and better things.

Frank Krewda
Editor-In-Chief

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

More Raw Musings: Double Standard Edition


Sadly, there were two potential glaring examples of this last night on Raw.
Number 1: Get the F Out, Bret
WWE has released guys like Shelton Benjamin and The Bashams ad nauseum over the years, in essence because they’re great workers but can’t talk very well so creative has “nothing for them.”
Yet Raw has Bret Hart, a veritable legend who was never the greatest orator even when in his prime, in the role as General Manager – one that involves numerous speaking opportunities.
Last night, Wade Barrett and the NXT guys cut the promo of their lives…and in response, Bret flubbed multiple lines and actually said WWF (which I think is punishable by lethal injection in 14 states and Puerto Rico) on live television. Honestly, he made Jeremy Piven look like Ric Flair.
I know the guy has had a stroke and everything, but he’s unfortunately adding very little to that role in his current state. It’s a shame; I loved Bret as much as anyone when he was an active wrestler, but the guy who would be perfect for his role happens to be AJ Styles’ mouthpiece three days a month.
I just hope he makes it long enough for me to hear him say “in the SummerSlam” 14 times.
Number 2: Homicide is All Fun and Games until someone loses a necktie
Daniel Bryan was released last week, seemingly out of nowhere. Many “insiders” speculate it’s an angle, and that maybe Bryan was driving the limo that caused all the damage at the end of Raw.
Of course, there are other “insiders” that have speculated that his firing was because Bryan broke the “PG rules” of the company by choking out Justin Roberts with his tie on Raw last week – which, of course, is a no-no thanks to the whole Chris Benoit situation a few years back.
If that’s the case and his release isn’t fabricated (something which John Cena’s recent Twitter musings lead even more people to believe), then I ask this: So, using an object to strangle a ring announcer is punishable by firing, yet thousands of dollars of property damage and attempted vehicular homicide on an “authority figure” is fine?
Yeah, I don’t get that one.
Oh, and also, if last night wasn’t further indication that Raw needs to lose the guest host, I don’t know what is. Credit to USA and WWE for the corporate synergy, and credit to Mark Feuerstein for being enthusiastic (and apparently a WWE fan, even if only by association of his buddy Big Show).
But two segments, one of which being a backstage pre-tape and the other being a “match” against Ted DiBiase and Virgil? That has to be an all-time non-Bradley Cooper low for a guest host…and I’d be willing to bet that 75% of the fans in Charlotte and a good portion of the viewers had no clue who that guy even is (which is a shame, because Royal Pains is a fun show).
 -Louie Dee
Contributing Writer

Monday, June 7, 2010

Five Things I Wonder About Monday Night's Raw

1) Could those "Viewers Choice" votes have been any closer to rigged? I mean, seriously, I'm not saying it wasn't legit (Cyber Sunday always was), but when you have two "normal" choices and one that's obviously swayed for hilarity/storyline purposes (and a small amount of time to vote on them), the latter will usually win. Sure, it was great to see Punk vs. Cena for a while and the Santino/Kozlov's dance-off was hilarious, but anyone who voted for Drew McIntyre vs. Goldust, well, the joke's on you.

2) Did Bradley Cooper go home at 8:45?

3) Seriously, it's been three weeks...the TV graphics people don't know what Jimmy Uso's name is? If you don't know what I mean, go back and look at any of the graphics around the Hart Dynasty match.

4) Okay, the NXT invasion was cool (and probably helped them tear down the ring), but wasn't tonight a "supershow" where like 75 guys were in the back? Did they join Bradley Cooper for drinks on South Beach? And where was Michael Cole? Nowhere to be found? What a man.

5) Is it me, or does WWE need more Mean Gene?

-Louie Dee
Contributing Writer

A Dish Of Trish


I urge you to head to the newsstands beginning today, June 8, to pick up the latest copy of The Wrestler/Inside Wrestling magazine. Our "Legends" interview series this issue (Volume 34, 2010) features Trish Stratus.

Senior Writer Harry Burkett spoke with Trish on a variety of subjects, including how hard she worked to change the public perception of female wrestling, her relationship with Vince McMahon (including a surprising take on her infamous "Bark Like A Dog" segment), today's Divas, her yoga school and new movie, plus some serious thought she's given to making a comeback.

Here are a few excerpted quotes from the 90-minute Q&A:

On her relationship with T&A, Test and Albert: “Test was really adamant on making me earn his respect. He didn’t want to give me too much credit and made sure I knew it when I made a mistake. Albert would tell me not to worry and that I was a fine. It was a good mix. Test would say I sucked, and that I’d have to improve.”

On her willingness to take bumps: “I guess everyone realized I was a team player when I would take a chokeslam from Kane, I was cool with getting the stinkface, and I didn’t mind getting tossed over the top rope by The Big Show.”

On the "Bark Like A Dog" segment with Vince McMahon: “People think I must have felt humiliated. Are you kidding? Look at the result. I was simply an actress doing a part which allowed me to show emotion­—that’s a good thing”

On the inspiration of The Rock: “I had to have surgery. It was the worst thing that could happen. But that allowed me to sit back and study matches. I watched a lot of The Rock’s stuff, and thought, There are no girls doing what he’s doing—why not, maybe I could be the female version of The Rock.”

On today's Divas: “Today, I see the girls doing each other’s moves. They should go to the videogame and play the character! Everyone has their own signature moves!”

On the "next" Trish: “When I saw Melina debut with M-N-M, I remember thinking that was the new T&A. But she was so much sexier than me, when she came in with that split! I was like, ‘Damn, that is hot!’”

On her legacy: “When WWE aired a package talking about how WrestleMania was the place where legends were made, and it mentioned Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, and Trish Stratus, it was shocking to me. Whether that’s accurate or just WWE marketing, it’s pretty awesome.”

On the possibility of a comeback: “I always want to do something that is challenging and impactful, no matter what I do … Absolutely, I’d go back—but only if I could do something that makes a difference.”

All in all, it's a great read, but for those of you who just like to look a pictures, let me tell you that there are plenty of great ones--including a movie promo for the upcoming Bail Enforcers, which is just simply the hottest photo we've ever run in our magazines!

If you can't find the issue, please send an email to pwi@kappapublishing.com, and we will make it easy for you to order one.

Stu Saks/Publisher

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I got 99 Problems but this blog ain't one

I have two things that are really bugging me about WWE right now, so instead of two blogs, I’m going to combine them into a pair of bullets.

-It’s time to stop with the Raw guest hosts. Now that the show has a “permanent” General Manager—and a damn good one in Bret Hart—the guest hosts seem to serve no purpose other than a cheap ratings ploy…or to confuse the hell out of viewers.

For instance, Monday’s host was Ashton Kutcher (who at least we know is a WWE fan). But from the looks of his “appearances,” it doesn’t seem that Mr. Kutcher could even bother to be in the arena! If he’s busy or whatever, fine, but why have him host?

Secondly, Kutcher did all of three things, one of which was signing Daniel Bryan to a one-night contract so he could face (and defeat) The Miz.

Wait, what?

Disregard the fact that Edge said in a promo a few weeks ago (on the night Vickie Guerrero was GM for an hour) that Raw’s guest hosts would have no power going forward…but wouldn’t that be something only Bret would/should be authorized to do? You know, sort of like make the call for Raw Viewer’s Choice next week? Sure, that was actually Kutcher’s idea too, but it’s still Bret’s call.

I’m hoping I get the call to guest host Raw, because I’m pretty sure I’d have the authority to fire the crack writing staff that can’t even seem to keep things straight from week to week anymore.

-Wade Barrett (deservedly) won WWE NXT last night, and it was announced that Season 2 begins next Tuesday with eight new rookies: Kaval, Alex Riley, Eli Cottonwood, Percy Watson, Titus O’Neil, Husky Harris, Michael McGillicutty, and Lucky Cannon.

Wait…Husky Harris, Mike McGillicutty, and Lucky Cannon?

Is there seriously someone in the back that’s using a random adjective generator and an adult film star directory to come up with these names?

It’s bad enough that the former two are second-generation stars who are seemingly having part of their heritage erased for no good reason. After all, Mr. Harris is really Windham Rotunda (aka Duke Rotundo in FCW, aka the son of Mike “IRS” Rotunda and nephew of Barry Windham) and McGillicutty is Joe “Little Mr. Perfect” Hennig. That was acknowledged in their bio video, at least.

But forget that, and instead ask who named these guys? Michael McGillicutty sounds like Beulah’s long lost trust-fund brother, Lucky Cannon is what I’d say if I saw any of the WWE Divas straddling a medieval weapon, and Husky Harris?...uh, isn’t he the guy who sued WCW back in the day for racial discrimination?

Oh wait, that was Hardbody Harrison, which is just as bad (and frankly, just as “indy”) of a name as Husky Harris. Oddly enough, Husky’s WWE pro is Cody Rhodes, and I can’t tell if that’s irony or a blind stroke of luck.

But seriously, if you’re going to acknowledge who they are, why not let them have their name, or at least their family name? You can still trademark “Harris Rotundo” or “Fred Hennig” or something.

Whatever.

By the way, my pick to win is either “On the Farm” favorite Eli Cottonwood (who is 7 feet tall) or Titus O’Neil, a former defensive end at the University of Florida who looks sort of like a cross between Eriq “Darryl Jenks” LaSalle and Mr. Eko from Lost and is built like the proverbial brick house.

You know, now that I think about it, I’d feel better about either one if they changed their name to Fizbo Snozzberry or Buster Strokes or something.

-Louie Dee
Contributing Writer

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Why Cena


Are you one of those people who just can't bring yourself to cheer anything John Cena does, no matter how impressive or electrifying it may be? Do you feel compelled to voice your displeasure at his position in WWE at every opportunity? Do you find yourself wondering at full voice just how in the blue hell Vince McMahon could make Cena the face of WWE?

I would suggest the answer to that last question lies in the following story:

After the May 31 episode of Raw, Cena went on his Twitter account and tweeted the following: "CeNation. Evan is for real. I have always felt he has been overlooked, and it was a privilege to be his team mate."

It's a simple enough statement. But think of what a public compliment like that, coming from the most famous wrestler in the company, means to a relative new-comer like Bourne, who is just now testing the upper-card waters. In an industry that typically sees the high-and-mighty do their best to undercut and bury those below them, Cena's comments say more about him than they do about Bourne.

No, Cena, is not blessed with great technical ability. But he seems to be blessed with leadership ability. Taking a moment to verbally support somebody at the other end of the card is the act of a leader. Cena didn't moan about sharing the main-event match on Raw with a prelim wrestler, he didn't whine about having to carry anybody. Of course, being secure in his spot, it's easy for Cena to say nice things about Evan Bourne, who is in no position to threaten his standing in the company.

But Cena made the gesture, which is more than many veteran locker room leaders would have done. And that alone should tell you why Cena remains at the top of WWE's pecking order.

--Frank Krewda
Editor-In-Chief