Let me start by saying that I am not a PWI staff writer; I actually work in the magazine’s circulation department. But if I am qualified to write about one thing, it’s Dancing With The Stars. I haven’t missed an episode in the show's 12 seasons on TV and may be its biggest fan.
I think Publisher Stu Saks got a little sick of hearing me talk about the show, so he finally got smart and decided to put my expertise to good use. Obviously, since this a wrestling blog, my focus will be on Chris Jericho. I will attempt to answer the question that’s on most fans’ minds. Can Chris and his partner, Cheryl Burke, win the mirror ball trophy?
I think they have a good chance. Chris is very light on his feet and is a very good dancer. In Season 2, Cheryl won the trophy with her partner, Drew Lachey, who, ironically, beat Stacy Keibler and Tony Dovolani.
When Chris shows that winning smile, it brings a lot to the dance. He is a crowd-pleaser. The first night he and Cheryl did a jive-type dance, and Chris’ athletic training was on full display. The past Monday night, Chris and Cheryl did a quick step, which brought the crowd to their feet. I like when they show the families of the dancers. Chris’ seven-year-old son was jumping up and down showing how proud he was.
The only competition that I see for Chris and Cheryl come from Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnoff and Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy, with Hines Ward and Kym Johnson having an outside chance.
I feel that this is the best group of competitors for Dancing With The Stars yet. So let's keep watching and voting for Chris and Cheryl. As long as they’re still in the competition, I’ll keep blogging.
Those years don’t represent all the Match of the Year awards that Shawn Michaels has won (he actually has two more). Those are the Match of the Year Awards that he’s earned just from bouts contested at WrestleMania.
Although The Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak may be the most heralded accomplishment in all of wrestling, Michaels’ streak of world-class performances on the biggest stage in the sport is, in some ways, even more impressive.
And for the first time since 2002, the man who earned the name “Mr. WrestleMania” will not compete on the big show. As loaded as this year’s line up may be, Michaels’ absence leaves the event with a huge void, and fans with a looming question: Is there a Match of the Year candidate at WrestleMania 27?
This year’s nine-match card features several potential good matches, but perhaps no truly great one. The best chance for a MOTY nod likely rests with the Undertaker vs. Triple-H, but even here a five-star classic is not guaranteed.
Triple-H may be the greatest practitioner of the “WWE style” of wrestling, but his deliberate, methodical approach can sometimes hold back a match from reaching its full potential. He’s certainly not the athlete that Michaels is, but does his best to make up for his shortcomings in speed and agility with unparalleled ring psychology.
Still, Triple-H’s only previous Match of the Year was WrestleMania XX’s triple-threat main event that included Chris Benoit and, yes, Shawn Michaels.
In the past, The Undertaker has proven more than capable of holding up his end of an epic match. He’s been one-half of three MOTY’s—two against Michaels and his famous Hell in a Cell match against Mick Foley, which was memorable less for what Undertaker did to Foley than it was for what Foley did to himself.
But, because of mounting injuries, “The Dead Man” has been largely inactive since last year’s WrestleMania. His run during the fall months against Kane was entirely forgettable.
To maximize the potential for ‘Taker and Triple-H to have a classic contest, WWE added the no-holds-barred stipulation, which will allow the two men to use every shortcut imaginable to make their bout stand out. But it’s still far from a given that the two icons’ styles will mesh enough to deliver this year’s best bout.
The rest of the card is even less likely to deliver an HBK-esque WrestleMania classic. The Miz vs. John Cena should be a solid bout, but will be focused more on the involvement of The Rock than the actual wrestling content in the ring. Edge has looked terrific in the ring in recent months, and may have done enough to already earn MOTY with his stellar performance in last month’s Smackdown Elimination Chamber bout. But his WrestleMania World title match with Alberto Del Rio doesn’t have the gravitas—and likely won’t be given the time—to be truly great. CM Punk and Randy Orton are two seasoned professionals, but likely won’t be aiming to steal the show, even if they could. The same could be said for Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan and the other undercard matches.
And so, come this fall, it will be very interesting to see how the votes add up for the 2011 Match of the Year. As the biggest wrestling show of the year, WrestleMania is typically the first place to look for a candidate. Storylines are intricately developed. Wrestlers are inspired to give it their all. And the grand setting of ‘Mania makes every bout feel that much more special.
But with Michaels not on this year’s show, and nobody in WWE coming close to replacing what he brought to the table, fans may have to drop their standards a bit this year when casting their votes.
I can’t help but be reminded of something Chris Jericho said to me during an interview late last year.
“What used to be a three-star match five years ago just may end up being the five-star match of the future.”
Pro Wrestling Illustrated Senior Writer
As the American independent scene braces itself for the largest Japanese wrestling invasion in history, one question looms: Is there enough fan support in America to make it viable?
Puroresu, or the Japanese style of wrestling, has traditionally been a niche market for American fans, drawing mostly those committed enough to scour the Internet for videos, discussions, and others willing to trade tapes and DVDs.
But this spring, a distinct Japanese presence will take center stage on America's East Coast, as performers from Dragon Gate, Michinoku Pro, Osaka Pro, New Japan, and Big Japan grace American rings for CHIKARA, Jersey All Pro Wrestling, and CZW.
These three U.S.-based sponsors, all known for promoting shows in the same general region of the Northeast, will host the incoming Japanese performers for a total of seven shows between April 9 and May 15, with all the shows happening within a 100-mile radius of each other. Three of the shows will, in fact, take place in the same building.
Add Gabe Sapolsky's Dragon Gate USA promotion, which has run shows featuring Japanese talent throughout the Northeast since launching in the summer of 2009, and the market becomes even more saturated. Fortunately, DragonGate USA's April shows will be further south, booked in Burlington, North Carolina, and Atlanta during WrestleMania weekend.
To help try to differentiate itself from the rest, each of these American promotions has taken a different approach. CZW has booked Big Japan's Daisuke Sekimoto for its Best of the Best tournament, which will also feature talent from Germany's wXw promotion. Jersey All Pro is promoting its Triple-Shot Showcase with New Japan. The theme is "Attack on the East Coast," and is a rare opportunity to see top talent including Prince Devitt in U.S. appearances. Devitt will compete against Low-Ki when the show hits New York City on May 14. For CHIKARA, booking Japanese teams for its annual King of Trios tournament is nothing new. But this year, the promoters have turned up the volume in an apparent attempt to directly challenge Jersey All Pro and New Japan's joint venture. CHIKARA's three-night show will feature the U.S. returns of Great Sasuke, Dick Togo, and Jinsei Shinzaki, as well as the second stateside appearance of joshi (female) legend Manami Toyota, who debuted for the promotion in September to much fanfare. Osaka Pro's Atshushi Kotoge and Daisuke Harada will return for their second Trios appearance in as many years; this year teaming with Ultimate Spider Jr. Finally, a Dragon Gate trio of Super Shisa, Akira Tozawa, and Kagetora will enter the competition.
But even with all the special attractions, will these appearances be enough to help the sponsoring promotions draw a crowd, and ultimately, turn a profit? On the one hand, these Japanese stars, many of them legitimate icons of their own profession, will appeal to the segment of the wrestling fans that follow international companies. These fans will likely shell out whatever money is necessary to see their favorite performers live.
Some casual fans may also recognize some familiar faces from appearances in WWE and WCW, among other companies. While these members of a potential audience may be enticed to attend one of the shows, the prospect of them traveling and spending money to attend more than one or two of the events seems dismal, even if these events are concentrated in a relatively small geographic location.
On the other side of the equation is that all three promotions—CHIKARA, CZW, and Jersey All Pro—have established fan bases that would likely support them under any circumstances. These die-hard fans will come for the regulars and hope to find themselves enthralled with the special guests.
Overall, it seems likely that each company will find success in its own right, but to what extent that will stem from the Japanese presence remains to be seen. Of the three offerings, fans seem to be most thrilled with the prospects of CHIKARA's tournament, especially with the presence of the three Michinoku Pro veterans.
For casual wrestling fans, and the masses of them who refuse to acknowledge independent wrestling, this Japanese invasion may go unnoticed, but for the hardcore puroresu fan base, it may be a true once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, not only to see their favorite international stars, but also to help attract more foreign wrestlers to The States.
The next two months will prove an interesting time that will serve as a gauge of the viability of international stars becoming a draw in the United States. One must also be curious about the relationships and feelings of these promotions and their attempts at out-drawing each other. Taking an optimistic view, I believe this invasion could spark a whole new era of competition among independent promotions, which would be healthy for the wrestling business overall … but only if American puroresu fans respond favorably.
For those who spend their time scouring the Internet for footage of Japanese shows, and consider puroresu superior to anything American companies are putting out, this is your opportunity to show your support by spending a few bucks, which is, after all, the best way to convince more international superstars to return to the States.
If you don't buy tickets to the shows, and/or subsequent DVDs, these types of projects and venture may no longer be considered in the future.
The power is truly in the hands of international wrestling fans. Let's see what you do with it.
Note: The following column by Senior Writer Dan Murphy is slated to appear in the issue of PWI that goes on sale May 24. We have chosen to post it here early to convey the story while the images of what took place in Japan are fresh in the images of people's minds.
THE STRAIGHT SHOOTER
BY DAN MURPHY
When the earthquake struck off the coast of Japan on the afternoon of March 11, independent wrestlers Jake O’Reilly and Shawn Spears were traveling in a tour bus, about 30 miles outside of the northern city of Sendai.
“We felt the bus shaking. We thought we had a flat tire,” O’Reilly recalled. “Once we pulled over, we saw the trees moving and the other cars pulling over, and that’s when we realized it was an earthquake.”
The two Canadians had experienced their first earthquake a few weeks earlier, when the dojo where they were staying was shaken by a small tremor shortly after they had arrived from Ontario for three scheduled tours with All Japan Pro Wrestling. But earthquakes are common in the islands of Japan, and when this quake struck, O’Reilly and Spears tried to remain as calm as the Japanese crew onboard the tour bus.
“What struck me was that the earthquake went on for such a long time, maybe two, 2½ minutes,” Spears said. “I could tell it was a big one, but we were in the countryside. We had no idea about the damage it caused.”
With the bus pulled over to wait out the tremor, the driver turned on the television sets to check the news. The TV monitors showed a map of Japan, with an ominous red circle that covered the northern section of the country. The Japanese began chattering excitedly.
“The news was in Japanese and I didn’t understand,” O’Reilly said. “I turned to Minoru Suzuki and asked, ‘Suzuki-san, what happen?’ He said, ‘Danger. Tsunami.’ I said, ‘Where?’ And he pointed right into the middle of the red zone.”
With the highway they had been traveling upon closed due to damage from the tremor, and facing the prospect of driving along unfamiliar back roads under the threat of a tsunami, the driver opted to keep the bus where it was. They remained there overnight, waiting until sunrise, as most of Northern Japan had lost power.
For 16 hours, the All Japan crew waited through the inky blackness of a tense and uncertain night. Taiyo Kea translated the newscasts for his Canadian compatriots.
Sendai, the city where the bus was headed, was devastated by the tsunami generated by the 9.0 magnitude quake. It was the largest quake ever to hit Japan. Waves up to 30 feet tall slammed into the Japanese coast, sweeping away homes, cars, and trains.
“Fear didn’t really sink in until we saw the pictures of the waves coming in,” Spears said. “We didn’t know where they were. I was looking over at the hills outside the window, and I didn’t know if a wave would come over those hills at us at any time.”
“Honestly, I’m very lucky to be talking to you today,” O’Reilly said. “We had been scheduled to leave half-an-hour earlier, but one of the guys was late getting onto the bus. Had he been on time, we would have been in Sendai when the tsunami hit.”
The ring crew had arrived before the tour bus and was in Sendai when the waves came in. Luckily, the building they were in remained intact. It was used as an emergency shelter and makeshift morgue.
As word of the magnitude of damage taking place spread, All Japan officials decided to cancel the remainder of the tour, and the bus began making its way back to Yokohama, about 20 miles south of Tokyo. The drive proved to be slow, as the bus navigated back roads and traffic, creeping southward as news continued to filter in.
“We were on the bus for 36 hours total, basically living on protein shakes, water, Snickers bars, and Sapporo beer,” O’Reilly said. “As we drove back to Yokohama, we passed through these small towns where the houses had been flattened, and people were lining up in the streets to get fresh water.”
Once they were safely back at the All Japan dojo, they were able to log on to cnn.com to read English language news accounts of the tragedy. They were also able to contact friends and family back in Ontario and in the United States to let them know they were safe.
On Sunday, a hydrogen explosion rocked the Fukushima nuclear power plant, spurring concerns of a radiation leak. “The water was contaminated by radiation, so we couldn’t drink that. On the last couple days we were there, they didn’t want anyone to go outside and risk exposure,” Spears said.
The Canadians had been scheduled to remain in Japan until May, but with the status of upcoming shows in question, they met with All Japan management and opted to return home. To get to the airport, they had to catch both a train and a bus, and aftershocks of 7.0 and 6.5 threatened to disrupt travel further. If international flights were grounded, they would be stranded.
Fortunately, they were able to get to the airport and make it home without further complications, shaken and saddened by the devastation they had witnessed.
“The training, the living in the dojo, it really creates a bond,” O’Reilly said. “I only knew the guys for a month or so, but I still felt guilty leaving them there. I really hope they can rebuild.”
Despite the fear and anxiety they experienced, both Spears and O’Reilly hope to return to Japan.
“Wrestling in Japan was a dream come true,” said O’Reilly. “If the office called me tomorrow, I would be on the next flight back.”
“I’d go back in a heartbeat,” Spears said. “My heart is with those people. Millions of people are devastated, without heat and power. It really makes you appreciate the things we take for granted.”
We've received quite a few e-mails from people who read our "All-Time WrestleMania Roster" section in the current issue of PWI (cover-dated June 2011). A lot of work went into the section, in which we list every wrestler to have competed in WrestleMania, along with their record and high and low points. Harry Burkett did an awesome job. Unfortunately, though, we made a huge omission: Triple-H.
Obviously, there is nothing we can do about it now except apologize. Hey, I'd urge you to pick up a copy. It could be a collector's item one day--the one and only mistake PWI ever made!
Just a reminder that it is time to submit information to us to be considered for the 2011 "PWI 500" ranking. If you need submission guidelines or other information, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org For your convenience, we've also set up a submission form on our website's home page (http://www.pwi-online.com/pages/500form.html) Click on the form and please fill it out with as much information as possible. Deadline for submissions is Wednesday, June 1, 2011. Please, serious inquiries only.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should start with the following disclaimer: I am a loyal TNA fan. To me, today’s TNA is reminiscent of the Memphis and ICW promotions that first attracted me to wrestling back in the early-1980s. In many respects, TNA is still trying to find its way as the world’s number-two promotion—and the industry standard set by WWE is a tough act to follow, for sure.
Still, with a roster packed full of talent as well as the freedom to produce a product that is truly unique, TNA is in a fortunate position to potentially capture and maintain a respectable share of the business.
But success isn’t measured in potential. It’s not measured in what “could be” or what “should happen.” Success is measured in results. It comes from forward progress and growth. Further, success often comes about when folks actually learn from their mistakes and adjust their strategies and future plans accordingly. And let’s face it: The outcome of last weekend’s Victory Road pay-per-view was a nearly unforgivable mistake.
By most accounts, Victory Road, despite having some decent moments, wasn't exactly a historical event. Most of the feuds weren’t resolved and there were some head-scratching results in the mix. Then there was the non-finish to the number-one contenders’ match between Mr. Anderson and Rob Van Dam. Having two potential number-one contenders battle to a double-disqualification makes no sense, but given the energy and talent of both men, I can almost see how TNA would want the Anderson-RVD feud to burn just a little longer.
There is, however, no excuse for what happened in the main event between Sting and Jeff Hardy. On paper, it should have been an epic: the returning veteran Sting, holding the “Immortal” championship belt forged in the very likeness of challenger Jeff Hardy, defending his title against the self-proclaimed "Antichrist of Professional Wrestling."
But after an ominous delay at the beginning of the pre-match fanfare, Hardy emerged from backstage appearing dazed and sluggish as he made a slow, low-octane trudge to the ring. The tension was clear on the faces of everyone else who entered from that point forward. From Jeremy Borash to referee Brian Hebner to "The Icon" himself, the tension was palpable. Even the usually unflappable Eric Bischoff looked to be on edge as he took to the mike to add a nonsensical and ultimately unnecessary no-DQ stipulation.
Things quickly deteriorated from there. Once the bell rang, fans were treated to nearly one full minute of Hardy teasing that he would throw his shirt into the crowd as he staggered from one side of the ring to the other. A few half-hearted maneuvers later, Sting landed the pin and it was all over. Hardy looked genuinely shocked. Sting looked genuinely pissed, and he demonstratively agreed with some very irate and vocal fans that they had been screwed, though not nearly as badly as those who had paid 30 bucks to watch the pay-per-view.
By now, most everyone in the wrestling world knows the most crucial statistic of the match: 88 seconds. That’s how long it took for Sting to pin Jeff Hardy. And, by golly, it was a real pin, as Sting laid every bit of his 258 pounds across Hardy’s torso to force an end to the debacle.
The evening promptly went down as the latest black mark on the public image of TNA Wrestling. But what matters most at this point is how TNA reacts to this embarrassment. Many sources and signs point to Jeff Hardy as the sole reason Victory Road's main event fell apart, as the quick finish came about because Hardy arrived at the event "in no condition to wrestle." Indeed, his appearance and demeanor lend credence to this explanation. Moreover, Hardy’s history of personal demons, professional missteps, and legal woes provide a strong backdrop of circumstantial evidence indicating that Hardy is in real trouble, both inside and outside of the ring. This is not the first time Hardy arrived at a major TNA event in questionable condition. At Final Resolution 2010, he reportedly showed up in bad shape. Eventually, his condition that night was attributed to exhaustion due to travel, not substance abuse of any kind.
Regardless, the bottom line is that Hardy has shown an inability to handle a spot at the top of TNA's roster. Even if he were scheduled to wrestle in six-man dark matches at Victory Road and Turning Point, he owes it to his employers and co-workers to show up ready to put his best foot forward, especially if he entertains any serious aspirations of helping TNA gain traction as a viable alternative to WWE. The stakes are that much higher when TNA is counting on him to headline a World title match.
Hardy is solely responsible for the choices he makes, but TNA should not wait until he buries the promotion and/or himself with his lack of professionalism. The fact is that no matter how his drug trafficking trial turns out, it’s time for TNA management to make a decision on Hardy's future with the company. It is simply not fair for all those, from talent to ownership, that want so desperately for TNA to succeed to be subjected to the fallout of Hardy's exploits.
Yes, Hardy made TNA look amateurish at Victory Road, but TNA has an opportunity to look professional again by handling Hardy in the proper manner, even if moving forward means leaving him behind.
What was the single biggest gripe expressed by "smart" fans once wrestling abandoned kayfabe in the 1990s? It was that cartoonish, super-hero type characters a la Hulk Hogan were no longer viable. Once they were "smartened up," wrestling fans demanded better athletes and more reality-based storylines. Okay. Then what's up with the Popeye treatment WWE has been giving Randy Orton in his feud vs. Nexus?
Apparently, Orton has been taking his vitamins or saying his prayers or at least eating his spinach. How else are we to believe that after being laid out by five Nexus members backstage and then dragged to the ring, Orton could mount a comeback for the ages, throw uncountered RKOs all the way around, and live to fight another several weeks while systematically dismantling the entire New Nexus unit, no matter what it does to defeat him? I get it. The suspension of disbelief is as basic to pro wrestling as ring ropes. But accepting the cloak of invincibility WWE has wrapped around Orton is asking too much.
For me, the real shame of it is that this feud had such promise when it kicked off with Punk revisiting the 2008 Legacy beating that cost him his first World title. I thought it was a clever and different way to start a feud. But the angle has since developed into nothing more than Orton crawling on his fists with that goofy look on his face after kicking yet another Nexus member in the head. Been there, done that ... last week, and the week before that, and the week before that, and the week before that. Like most one-sided fights, this one has become stale, boring, and predictable. The feud is no longer hot; in fact it's become a farce, which can't be what WWE wants heading into WrestleMania.
You know what would make the Punk-Orton match at WM27 at least quasi-interesting? Maybe some adversity for Randy The Sailor Man, some momentum going Punk's/Nexus' way. In the time that's left before WrestleMania, Orton needs to be made vulnerable in some way. Otherwise, it's a foregone conclusion that his match with Punk will end exactly the same way his last five matches on Raw have ended: with Orton snatching yet another impossible-to-imagine victory from the jaws of defeat. If the past five episodes of Raw have shown us anything, it's that Randy Orton can swat down Nexus members as if they're gnats. After all, Punk, even with the help of his friends can't get to Orton, so what chance does he have against Orton at WM 27 on his own? None.
Since we already know this, why would we shell out $55+ to see it again? Will their WM match have a major surprise or swerve? Will Punk carry Orton to a five-star Match of the Year candidate?
I wouldn't bet on it ... not even $54.95 plus tax and fees.
It seems as if the fate of NXT is a popular topic for my "On The Farm" column in every issue of Inside Wrestling/The Wrestler.
Well, NXT Season 5 debuted last night, and outside of the potentially awesome commentary team of Todd Grisham and William Regal, I find it hard to get excited. Not because I don’t enjoy the Florida Championship Wrestling call-ups, but because we’ve already seen these guys.
Season 5 is sort of an “all-star” format, as six previous NXT contestants (Darren Young, Titus O’Neil, Jacob Novak, Lucky Cannon, Conor O’Brian, and Byron Saxton) are back for a second chance, with the winner earning the right to compete on Season 6...giving him a third stint on the show.
Now, nothing against these guys personally, but they already didn’t win once, so why would the fans want to see them again? Instead, if WWE wants to make NXT something “fresh,” then I have a potentially great idea – an all-second-generation edition.
Right now, FCW has a ton of guys who are part of a wrestling family and haven’t taken part in NXT as of yet. For this endeavor, we can pare it down to these eight: Richie Steamboat, Wes Brisco, Bo Rotundo, Roman Leakee (son of Sika), Donny Marlow (son of Haku), Jinder Mahal (nephew of former Stampede standout Gama Singh), Tito Colon (nephew of Carlos, cousin of Primo and Carlito), and Brett DiBiase. An elite eight for sure, and if DiBiase’s knee isn’t up to it, we can sub in Buck Dixon, whose father is Mark “Henry Godwinn” Canterbury.
All eight (or nine) would kill to reach the heights of their fathers/uncles/cousins/brothers, but here’s the real twist: You pair them all up with multi-generation stars currently on the WWE main roster. See, that’s where the fun comes in, because when it’s matchup time, do you go the natural route, or do you mix it up a little?
You could take the easy way out on roughly half of these pairings. Ted DiBiase and Husky Harris could go with their brothers, The Usos could pair with their cousin Leakee, and Primo could mentor cousin Tito. Harris may be a little soon, but work with me there.
But what if you don’t?
Imagine how Ted DiBiase might feel if he had to help, say, Richie Steamboat – whose father was a thorn in Ted’s father’s side – defeat his own flesh and blood? Or even better, what if he was with Bo Rotundo, whose dad, IRS, was the other half of Money Inc. with Ted DiBiase Sr.? Sure, they’re likely childhood friends because of that connection, but blood is thicker than water, right?
How about Goldust with Marlow? After all, one of Dustin Rhodes’ biggest feuds in the early-1990s in WCW was with the Stud Stable, which included...Marlow’s dad, Meng.
Maybe they could pair Cody Rhodes with Brett DiBiase? Not only would it be a bit of a callback to Cody teaming with Ted in Legacy, but they could explore the until-now buried thought that it was Ted DiBiase Sr. who made Dusty Rhodes’ life a living hell in 1990-91. David Hart Smith and Jinder Mahal, whose relatives waged war for years up in Calgary, could also be another dynamite pairing in that vein.
So many great possibilities, and whether they go feel-good or fireworks, it could be a hit!
If you have not yet visited The Internet Wrestling Database at www.profightdb.com,let me issue this warning: Don't go there; you might never come out!
My friends, this website is simply awesome. I'm not going to waste time telling you what it's all about. If you're reading this, you're obviously on the Internet, so click yourself over and see for yourself.
What I did want to point out for you IWD veterans is a new item on the menu that falls under the heading "PWI." For a while now, IWD has included a history of the "PWI 500" and the "Female 50," but now, under the PWI heading, IWD features a comprehensive listing of the PWI ratings from September 1979 to the present. Now, I'm not talking about just the Top 10, I'm talking about all of our ratings (OK, not the ones in agate type). On top of that, IWD has compiled some very unique statistical derivations of the ratings that are quite intriguing.
I am proud of our new affiliation with IWD, and you can look for more joint ventures in the months ahead.
If you decide to go there now, be prepared to stay a while. And don't say I didn't warn you!
Apparently, Sheamus has landed on the wrong side of somebody with stroke in WWE. Why else would a two-time former WWE champion and current King of the Ring be doing jobs to mid-carders on the company's flagship program as it heads into the biggest card of the year?
Most (not all) Kings of the Ring end up advancing their careers after capturing the crown. If getting squashed by Mark Henry, punked by Triple-H, then thumped by Evan Bourne is career-advancement, the lad from Dublin should go back to working security for U2. As recently as his feud with John Morrison, Sheamus appeared to be one of WWE's building blocks for the future, along with Morrison, The Miz, Wade Barrett, and Daniel Bryan, among others. But somehow, some way, Sheamus went from legitimate title contender to job guy in a matter of weeks. Those guys progressed, Sheamus regressed, and that doesn't happen by accident.
It seems obvious Sheamus is being punished by somebody for something. It's not just a matter of wins and losses, either. Sheamus has been made to look pathetic to the point where he can't even compete against Henry, Triple-H, and Bourne. His offense is nil and he's been helped from the ring post-match two weeks in a row.
Again, it seems to me there's more at work here than merely the ebb and flow of a young wrestler's career. Having no inside knowledge of what's going on with Sheamus, I can only speculate as to why WWE is going out of its way to embarrass him-but if you have a theory, we'd love to hear it.