The WWE-Ek: Curtain Call on 2014

week.jpg

Here’s something different. Let’s talk about Jersey All Pro Wrestling. JAPW. New Jersey! Yes, there was a recent altercation between Teddy Hart and Kurt Angle. The cool part was Kurt Angle reuniting with Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin under the Team Angle banner. Wish I was at the show to have seen it live, but thank you YouTube. The clip showed Teddy Hart bantering with Kurt Angle for a long time, leaving many wondering if they have some bad blood or this was simply going overboard on the drama for the main event.

[Editor-in-Chief Note: I attended the show live and there was legitimate heat between Angle/Haas/Benjamin and Hart to the point where Chris Hero had to step to play peacemaker]

Aside from that, reading results online gave me a feeling I have not had in a long time. The feeling of wanting to go back to an indy show. I haven’t been to one in years, the last time was just months after I got married, where my wife and I went to a Ring of Honor show in Edison where the main event saw a 60-minute time limit draw between Tyler Black (Seth Rollins) and Nigel McGuiness, and a certain Bryan Danielson threatened a retreating McGuiness to “kill him where he stands” had he not returned to the ring. Going to indy shows are really cool to see favorites of yesteryear and favorites of the future. Hopeful future anyway.

The JAPW show featured AJ Styles, Samoa Joe, Chris Hero, Chris Sabin, Necro Butcher, and Matt Sydal. That is one hell of a lineup. [Editor’s Note: It was a strong show with Sydal/AJ stealing the show]

Ah, to be young again.

WWE

We’re winding down to the end of the year. We’ve had quite the week of WWE programming with the special live SmackDown and the Tribute to the Troops. This week was special for Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Mizdow, and even the Bunny.

RAW was a mediocre show. I already covered the boredom. I will not repeat it here. However, this week saw Dolph Ziggler continue to soar following his Intercontinental Championship win at TLC. I do not see him challenging Brock Lesnar anytime soon, but perhaps we are finally getting the build we wanted all along for our resident Show-Off, much like in the 90’s for a certain Show-Stopper. The comparisons between Ziggs and “HBK” Shawn Michaels have been overflowing from the announce team, who also mention Bret Hart as another favorite comparison. Point being, with a solid win against Seth Rollins on the live SmackDown show, Mr. Ziggler is on the rise, albeit slowly, but in this case I can wait have the patience. We waited for him to cash in on Alberto del Rio after WrestleMania 29, we can wait again. It will be worth it.

Very nice to see Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt once again put each other through a demolition derby to entertain us at Tribute to the Troops. I do wonder if WWE is setting a standard with these two, giving us the expectation of an Extreme Rules style play. We know Ambrose is crazy, and Wyatt is creepy. However giving us too much extreme action can often kill a novelty and make it mundane. Hell, that’s what happened in WWE’s version of ECW. It got boring, fast.

SmackDown is moving to Thursdays. No, they aren’t crazy.

The Royal Rumble is coming up, just under six weeks. A lot of time for a lot of setup. They already threw Roman Reigns all over our televisions, but do not get your hopes up for a Rumble victory. If WWE is willing to put Roman Reigns over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, then perhaps change is really in the air. Didn’t you just see how Reigns put on a main event quality match against Fandango this week? If that doesn’t sell you on Reigns, I don’t know what will. Yes, Reigns is the sort of “big guy” Vince McMahon likes, but he’s still got a lot to work on if he is going to be the next flag-bearer of the company. Would fans want Daniel Bryan to return at the Rumble and headline WrestleMania? Damn right. Will it happen? Doubtful, as WWE will be cautious to re-injure someone who can bring in huge bank once John Cena hangs up the shorts. Right now, I have no predictions for the Rumble, unless they go nuts and bring Dean Malenko in.

I mentioned Mizdow and The Bunny. Damien Mizdow is riding the popularity wave, and I say ride it for as long as you can. The gimmick is fantastic, and fans love to hate the Miz, so sending even more love towards the incredibly talented Sandow is the right way to go.

The Bunny. I think Kane killed him. Tombstone on RAW, another on SmackDown, so I think it’s over. At least I hope it is.

Wade Barrett. Please come back at the Rumble. Please.

 

TNA/IMPACT Wrestling

On Wednesday, January 7th, Impact Wrestling will debut on Destination America with a live two-hour broadcast, reuniting the announce team of Taz and John Matthews. I am not making this up. The former host of WWE’s YouTube show “Are You Serious” is going to be calling it right next to Taz. I guess TNA/Impact saw the talent of Matthews and taking advantage of what WWE let go.

Not to rain on Josh Matthews joining Impact, but the highlight here is the live show, being broadcast right out of the Manhattan Center in New York City. This, is a big deal. They have taped shows there before. I went to  some shows there years ago. But taking into account everything which has happened on 2014, including AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, and other mainstay talent leaving, SpikeTV dropping the company, financial woes… This is now a moment where Impact can hit the giant reset button, figuratively, as I would never imply for any company to ever “reset” themselves like WCW did by vacating all titles, and even resetting wrestler personalities. I want Impact to take this new chance, this new TV deal, this new everything, and give it their all. They have the talent, they have the means, just make it happen.

 

Global Force Wrestling

Speaking of making things happen, we are still waiting for something to happen with Global Force Wrestling. After what seems like months, Jeff Jarrett recently opened up on Jim Ross’ podcast about current and future plans for his company. Double J admits to keeping things on a slow build, as he does not want to repeat the failures of other companies who rush open and then flop. Jarrett wants talent exchanges, cross promotions, marketing initiatives to keep his main roster flourishing. Sounds great. It does. This does remove the thoughts of those, such as myself, who believed Jarrett would attempt an NWA-type regional company, but this seems more streamlined, while replying on partnerships with other promotions, mostly in other countries. Very intriguing.

It is Jarrett and GFW who will bring the New Japan Tokyo Dome show, WrestleKingdom to U.S. pay-per-view for the first time on January 4th. Big steps here. Obviously New Japan wins big with an American audience. Truth is, someone would have streamed it or found a way to download it later I’m sure, as this stuff always winds up on the internet, but this is a small first step to what is being promised as a big future.

Time will tell.

2014 is wrapping up, 2015 is nearly here. As we have seen, a lot can happen, and a lot can change. Coming up is the Best Of column, plus the final “WWE-Ek” of the year will have a special theme to it. You’ll see.