The biggest news this weekend is the public signing and announcement by WWE, signing Japanese wrestling star KENTA to a contract in Osaka, Japan, during a live-event and will begin his transition into WWE at the NXT training camp. Not only was it announced, but it was done with Hulk Hogan and Jimmy Hart. If they sent Hogan to do this, it must be huge. This guy is a major star in Japan and also made waves in Ring of Honor. This is an amazing acquisition for WWE to have a wrestler of his caliber in the company, and as part of NXT we will certainly see some amazing things from this young man. Short mention for now, but later this week I will treat you to a whole lot more.
Battleground is just weeks away. While Seth Rollins rolls over competition, the rampage of Roman Reigns, or the hype for the vacant Intercontinental Championship we sometimes forget there are other wrestling promotions deserving of some recognition.
Lately, we have begun to focus more on Impact Wrestling, also known by its original classification of TNA. Did you not read the interview with Gunner? Get to it! A lot has been going on there recently, most notably some tapings and events in New York which delivered some bigtime matches.
As most know, Bobby Lashley is now the Impact Champion. With him are stablemates MVP and Kenny King. Together they are pulling the “high class” routine where Lashley is the big man of the group while MVP and King are just being flashy and talk trash. It works. Lashley was never that good on the mic in WWE, but over there you had to be or you were in trouble. In Impact, Lashley can relax the tension and come across better on the mic, and he will still have MVP as backup. Jeff Hardy seems to have ditched the “Willow” character, based on a plea from new Executive Authority Guy in Kurt Angle, and is now number one contender for the championship.
Here is what bugs me. They have Dixie Carter, a corporate heel. Then MVP, who started out face, turns heel as well. Now we have two corporate baddies. Enter Kurt Angle as the new boss, and like MVP had promised, delivers matches we want to see. However, I wonder what the purpose of having so many corporate heels are? Dixie is feuding with Bully Ray. I can’t believe I typed that. He is chasing after her week after week, and fights off her relative EC3 regularly. It is funny to watch. You know they cannot take themselves too seriously, but inevitably this will have an all-too-serious conclusion.
Once again, Impact Wrestling is host to a ton of talent who fans eagerly want to see. With only one two-hour program a week, can they shuffle the roster enough to give the fans what they want?
Speaking of giving fans what they want, this is the promise Jeff Jarrett continues to make regarding the launch of Global Force Wrestling. Their website is chock-full of staged “corporate meetings” and special meets with “executives” in preparation for their launch. They promise wrestling on a global scale. I want to believe this could be NWA-like with various territories and their own champions, but I do not have my hopes up just yet. The latest bits which peaked my interest featured an agreement with New Japan Pro Wrestling, Hermie Sadler being named as an executive to GFW, and Scott D’Amore as an influence in GFW promotions.
Breaking this down. First off, Hermie Sadler. I will readily admit I do not much about the guy, except for what everyone else knows. He’s a NASCAR guy, and for a while got involved with Impact Wrestling and tried running his own wrestling promotion. Maybe he is buddies with Double J, and that is why he is there, or perhaps he has some serious bank tied up with the promotion. Scott D’Amore. He was my second favorite part of Team Canada. The guy could cut a brilliant promo anytime and anywhere. I was so disheartened when Team Canada broke and he was done on-air. The guy is a proven mastermind, and while not on the level of Paul Heyman, he certainly could hold his own in a mic-fest. Lastly, the agreement New Japan. This is where GFW could really benefit. Netting an exclusive agreement with a Japanese wrestling promotion, will garner lots of interest both within the United States and internationally. I am looking forward to what Jeff Jarrett churns out, and it seems, he is taking the time and effort to roll this out correctly.
Just stop hawking 8×10’s of your wife man…
Next week I will cover a bit more on Ring of Honor, but it is now time to recap some WWE. This week we had yet another tease for a Money in the Bank cash-in, more additions to the Battleground battle royal, and a retirement announcement.
The latter I refer to a recent announcement by Santino Marella at a live event. Seems a bit lame, WWE lets him making the announcement (although it was Canada, and he IS from Canada), but not do something special on RAW. The guy has been with the company since 2005, training in Ohio Valley Wrestling and was called up to the main roster in 2007. His first match was winning the Intercontinental Championship from Umaga. Talk about a big debut. His time as a people’s champ did not last long as he soon turned heel, which lasted all throughout the confusing storyline where he and Beth Phoenix were an item. During this time he also broken the record for shortest time in the Royal Rumble at one second in 2009. Further hijinx ensued as he debuted an alter-ego, “Santina” to win the Miss WrestleMania title. Clearly the comedy angle was working, so what better way than to pair him with Vladimir Koslov, a monster brute who was taken seriously by no one. They held the WWE Tag Team Championships. Here are some other bizarre highlights:
Royal Rumble 2011 – Santino was the last man eliminated, by winner Alberto del Rio. Could you imagine if he won?
Elimination Chamber 2012 – Was last to be eliminated by then-World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan
For a guy whose career was mostly comedy spots, he sure had his share of main events. Shame WWE did not allow for a more appropriate farewell, considering he was on television for many years, entertaining in all aspects. He hopes to remain involved with WWE in a non-wrestling capacity, which would be nice. The guy cited similar reasons as Edge for his retirement. Mounting injuries which lead to numerous surgeries, and there comes a time where you have to consider what is best for his own well-being.
Congratulations to Santino Marella for a great run.
Jack Swagger is being built up as a major opponent for Alexander Rusev. When you have Rusev squash Rob Van Dam on RAW, it sends a bizarre message. “RVD is jobber fodder.” It also makes us wonder is perhaps the days of the doghouse are over for Swagger and a return to main event is in the works. I do not have my hopes up.
NXT has been very entertaining recently, because I love watching Tyson Kidd and Just Gabriel. I also love watch Adrian Neville and Sami Zayn. What better than to have all four in the main event? Although the match ended to some trickery by Kidd, it made for some great television. You know what I also like about NXT? The announcers, because they call the match and talk about the match. I am not saying anything bad about Jerry Lawler, Michael Cole, and JBL, but comparatively, the NXT announce team kills it each time. Lately I feel Cole, Lawler, and JBL are just out having a party, but they are the only ones invited.
As I suspected, Adam Rose is likely going to take the dirt nap. Meaning, the character is likely done. Seems it was a passing trend, and after a few weeks, the Party Train appears to have derailed in front of the fans. His match at Money in the Bank with Damien Sandow was the cause, since the crowd seemed to rally for Damien “Paul Revere” Sandow. My guess is, someone at WWE Creative was looking for an excuse to kill the character, so they put him against someone who the fans are now behind. Even with his Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels impersonations this past week, Damien Sandow is once again on the rise, thanks to his versatility in the ring and on the mic.
The big battle royal is coming up, and a damn shame too. Wade Barrett being out for six months certainly was not what anyone had in mind when WWE decided it was time to put the Intercontinental Championship around his waist. My guess is this battle royal will be full of mid-carders and tag teams. Who will win? Here are my thoughts:
– Bo Dallas – This would be the surprise win. No one will see this coming, and JBL will rejoice as to how inspirational a victory this can be.
– Damien Sandow – How about he comes to the ring as Honky Tonk Man or Bad News Barrett? He would be doubly over.
– Dolph Ziggler – His push has stalled somewhat, but recent epic matches with Alberto del Rio put his face back into the spotlight. Taking a reverse Suplex off the top rope on RAW? There is your epic of the night.
– Cesaro – The push is losing steam. Do something with this guy, otherwise not even Paul Heyman can help him.
– Alberto del Rio – If there is one man on the roster who simply deserves to be a champion right now, it is this guy. Del Rio has busted his ass more than anyone right now to be a top player, and quite frankly, his chances of being WWE World Champion in the next year or two is so slim, having him win the title would be a show of respect.
I am getting tired of regurgitating my usual shpiel, but it is happening right now. WWE is overcrowded with talent, and we will be seeing more battle royals in the future just to get these guys all on television. I do not watch SmackDown often, but when I do, I see the same people from RAW, maybe a couple of revisions (where Titus O’Neal jobs instead of Zack Ryder). I am not advocating for a brand split, but WWE is going to be in serious trouble if they cannot figure out how to spread out time. This past RAW had way too much Orton/Kane drama.
I hinted to it in my Monday Night RAW column, but could you imagine it? Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins at SummerSlam, for the WWE World Championship? Here is how it goes:
Battleground, John Cena loses the title in the Fatal-Four Way to Roman Reigns. Then, Seth Rollins cashes in on a weakened Reigns, we get a two, three minute teaser match, and Rollins hits his Curb Stomp for the win. Dean Ambrose is not happy, and demands a title match. Rollins accepts, but The Authority grimly informs Rollins, even though Reigns did not leave Battleground as the new champ, he is still entitled to a rematch. This sets up what would be the most epic of Triple Threat matches at SummerSlam.
The only downside, is when John Cena reclaims the title, because we know he eventually will, he will then tie Ric Flair for number of championship reigns.