Friday, 31 January 2014

CM Punk quits WWE

Longest reigning WWE champion of 
21st wrestling generation walks out

Former WWE champion CM Punk has legitimately walked out on WWE. The decision came after the result of this past Sunday's Royal Rumble event. Punk, who entered as number one to safeguard an eventual loss, told WWE Chairman Vince McMahon he was "going home" before leaving to hometown Chicago. Punk was said to be frustrated with old timers gaining favourable pushes to the top while full time workers were left to wait in the wings after their hard work was unacknowledged.

After losing the Royal Rumble to a returning Batista, this was said to be the final straw for Punk. He had reportedly encountered numerous run ins with management previously. Punk broke the news he was heading home before the post-Rumble Raw was scheduled to broadcast earlier that day. 

The decision will be fresh in wrestling insider minds which mimics the actions of 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin. Austin had walked out three times in the past, once directly after Wrestlemania and the post-Raw's also. Though Austin had some fan support, he was still an ungrateful talent that failed to respect the business and has never recovered since. Punk, however has received a mixed reception. Though others support, some are disappointed with Punk's behaviour. Punk has been since pulled from all upcoming events with his contract up for renewal in July.

Punk was due to be scheduled into a battle with The Authority, taking on Triple H at Wrestlemania XXX on April 6th. Punk and Triple H have had numerous battles over the past two years that have been uneventful in places remaining fresh in viewers' minds.

Naturally some fans believed it may be staged to gather attention, though WWE never stage this level of detail. This is legitimate. WWE instantly unfollowed Punk on Twitter, too. One thing is certain, Vince McMahon will not allow anyone to willingly "pick up their ball and go home" without any consequences, regardless of how one man feels. McMahon will be seething and may want to give some retribution to Punk.

Punk had considered retirement for some time and had spoken of doing so within a couple of years, as has Alberto Del Rio previously.

Punk added "everything is up in the air" backstage and has sparked fears he may be burned out. He has also been banged up with nagging injury pains requiring surgery for months.

So what does this all mean?

If Punk honestly believed on any level he should win the Rumble, to which he has stated years ago he has never won and would like to, that would be ludicrous. Punk was not in contention for this year's Rumble even if Roman Reigns and Batista weren't scheduled to win. Battling injuries, back to back losing streaks and decreased card value, anyone can see why Punk is frustrated with any real lack of direction. However, it is a cardinal sin in the wrestling business to walk out on the situation in this context. It may be difficult to reach McMahon directly, but Punk should have attempted to speak with McMahon directly regarding his concerns than drop a quick 'bye' on him. It is not the best way to conduct oneself without repercussions. Perhaps Punk felt he has nothing to lose. When you do feel this way, it is easier to express yourself, however needs to be done in a professional manner. No one man is bigger than any company. Punk should take some time out to rest and recoup and hope WWE may be open to conversation in time.

Punk should remember though, he himself had to negotiate two years ago with McMahon to get a higher push which saw him become WWE champ for the longest time for this generation in the business. Batista's return may be negotiated for Wrestlemania, but with no real plans outlined, WWE need to stabilise its card. The only problem is it may not be as celebratory as anticipated as previous 'Mania matches have dipped in credibility. Punk was not happy to lose the title either at last year's Royal Rumble to The Rock, which many backstage people add Punk was listening to the John Cena aspect of Rock hatred, where Rock is a legitimate and deserved in his own right booking.

Recent returns include Batista, The Ultimate Warrior and the upcoming Old Schooler Hulk Hogan.

Legend and 'Ambassador' to WWE, Mick Foley acted out by throwing a brick through and destroying  his television because Daniel Bryan was not in the main event of the Rumble and win. He tweeted he was "disgusted" with WWE. Bryan is now front runner for a Triple H showdown match for ''Mania.

WWE have since been attempting to re-focus attention on 'big guys' meeting the requirements of big muscles and over six foot. With its roster of John Cena, Sheamus, Big Show, Mark Henry and Ryback being let downs, WWE has had to re-recruit some reliable names. Batista, The Rock and Brock Lesnar are three that have always been guys that can hold decent matches in the ring, regardless of whether they are liked as a rehire by fans. WWE feels it needs this level of contrast to create further feuds.

One thing this has done is express to WWE that it needs to listen, even if it doesn't accept Punk's critique that the product and backstage politics are affecting the company and the business order. Something has got to give following this impasse of conflicting ideals. Though if Punk honestly believes the likes of Wade Barrett, Dolph Ziggler and The Miz are going to be stars in today's age then that is simply preposterous. All those acts have dipped on their own merits. Sometimes, stars must accept they have been given enough opportunities and dropped their ball. On this occasion, with Punk taking his ball and going home, this will be seen as a big diss to the audience, who invest time and effort to see him on shows. We aren't without sympathy for Punk, either. It is difficult to express such point without an ear on board, but this level of action is not acceptable under any circumstance and could have been conducted better. Punk could always come and sign with us if he wants. :) If we were there, we'd give you a big ol' hug and say nothing for ten minutes. Or come to London and we'll go for dinner. But don't join any wrestling companies there, either. Take a breather, get some clarity (on both sides) and then open talks again, should all parties be open to discussion. And don't do anything stupid. X

©  Max Waltham 31st January 2014

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Royal Rumble 2014

WWE Royal Rumble 2014

Coming live from the Consol Energy Centre in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania live on Pay Per View on Sunday January 26th, would WWE's Royal Rumble create new beginnings on the Road To Wrestlemania? Would it be able to set matches in place for the big one on April 5th this coming year? Will it reward old favourites or younger talent with strong options to develop its future roles? Let's find out...

It's all about the numbers. Tonight's Royal Rumble voiceover was notably different. The sexy voice over lady was not booked this year.

Beginning the show was the opening battle.

Daniel Bryan Vs Bray Wyatt

Bryan's joining of the Wyatt family two weeks earlier was a letdown after turning his back on them into the fans hero for tonight. With a short stint the pair were set to battle one another once again. "Everything that happens from now on is your fault." Bray Wyatt yelled as acknowledged by commentary.

The pair began with a strong lock up. Wyatt began gaining an early lead. The Wyatt Brothers were sent back to avoid any possible interference by the match official. "I don't need you to fight this war for me" Bray adds as Bryan then drops from the turnbuckle to the outside on Bray taking control.  

Outside apron battling, Bray knocks Bryan's arm down. "He just keeps coming. I dont know whats coming next but its going to be bad." Jerry Lawler mentions of Wyatt.

Bryan was back outside. Running jump double leg drop outside was good followed by clean work. Strong catch and slam derailing Bryan from Bray changed pace. The crab was summoned to pound Bryan further. The crowd laughed and found it "creepy" which means it works.

"It's like you never know wants coming" continued the announce desk.

Bryan regained with a toe drop hold into slamming Bray's head into the corner pad. Turnbuckle with hurricanrana on Wyatt took a swift two fall. "This is Awesome" the crowd say. Bryan was quickly nailed by a running back elbow of Wyatt as Bryan charged for an attack. Running charge into Wyatt with tornado spinning DDT on the outside kept Bryan strong after. Back inside, Bryan unleashes the YES! kicks. A two fall was taken. "This Bray Wyatt is unstoppable." - Lawler mentions. 

Another running dropkick then charged hard at Bryan somersaulting him in the air from a running clothesline. Forehead kiss, reverse, roll up two fall for Daniel Bryan in quick succession into the YES! Lock. Wyatt bit Bryan's hand to force a break. "He will do absolutely anything" commentary note as Michael Cole explains "for his cause." 

After some back and forth compact action, the show reached it's climax.

Bray Wyatt later hits the kiss again and floors Daniel Bryan with the named kiss, Sister Abigail, to cover for a three fall victory. After discussing the absence of the Family by his side JBL finished up with "Bray said he didn't need 'em, he didn't. He leads by example. A phenomenal example" addressing Bray's work ethic and mentality to obnoxious behaviour of others he offers to support often disregarded with lack of respect or dignity. 

Big Show Vs Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman

The match replay of 2002 was here. This was different though. There was no advance to Rumble itself for the winner, only a clear fight.

Many fans fianlly got their wish for a short Big Show match, though it wasn't WWE's plan. WWE planned to have a longer match for Show however, the Bigster injured himself the night before the PPV forcing a short battle. 

Brock Lesnar instantly ambushed Show and battered Big Show with multiple chair attacks. The bell, however, had not sounded. This meant Show was pummelled by Lesnar and worn down with chair smashes. Then the bell began, causing beasty Brock to destroy Show with numerous cracks to the spine with the foreign object. Show was allowed a brief comeback hitting Brock in the face with a clubby fist. Michael Cole excitedly jumped up and down adding Brock was Knocked Out. (KO'ed)

Lawler rightfully corrected Cole "I don't know if he was KO'ed but he was whacked!" 

Show was soon caught into the F5. A quick slam and swift three fall followed as Brock Lesnar destroyed Big Show. If he wasn't injured it would have been a thirty minute bore instead. Though with an injury the match was a letdown. WWE could consider making Show's matches shorter were appropriate. This would work in his favour to building repertoire instead. Having not been what WWE had anticipated they did however turn it around to work an angle instead.

This would usually be the John Cena save moment if he wasn't pre-occupied, assaulting Show around the ring with chair slams. After such devoted time Big Show no sold by walking up to the back and rather too easily. Though WWE saw it as protecting Show's character, it ruined him further with a no sell and infeasible storyline. How can someone walk when they have been brutally bashed to the ground with such back pain which also broke the chairs in half? Fans are not as stupid as people would have them believe. 

The Shield gave a backstage promo where all three gave strong detail. Seth Rollins was given the last line which made him continue to be the glue holding an arguing Ambrose and Rollins together. Roman and Dean chose not to reveal each others numbers to one another after asking each other. 

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Randy Orton (c) Vs John Cena

John Cena sported the new clothing range, looking like a ninja turtle, with a mild dash of pink in his green tee. Before the start fans chanted for Daniel Bryan. Cena was knocked down quick. The crowd did their best attempt at mimicking the London crowd post Wrestlemania last year doing another 'Fandango night' cheering allsorts to entertain themselves, but kept it going too long that it made the scene diluted. WWE simply wont respect it with enough seriousness. Cena began his backdrops into a five knuckle shuffle to loud boos. Orton scoop slams Cena. There was a notable bird in the arena with a whistle blowing fan. This is vividly entertaining. Toot Toot. 

Cena made an utterly disgraceful error once more. He missed the leg drop on Orton in comical fashion with another botch far away from Orton's head on the comedown. This wasn't as bad as the classic Miz/Cena Wrestlemania two years ago when Cena missed the drop by half way across the ring. These choices are what ruin the audience and cause further incense to Cena for failing to respect or bother to apply himself to the industry.

Orton caught Cena for a DDT outside. "Finish it Randy" a fan yelled. "We love you Randy" another added. Soon after the winner of the 2013 Wrestling Wonders Hotty and Maxilicious awards touched his ear to the crowd who first cheered then booed Randy as a villainous gentleman. 

Cena's no hold STF was then locked on with no connection adding another huge gap in the lock. It is embarrassing. Counter by Orton. Fans began chanting "this is crap." Oh no! A ref bump happened (as they often do in Cena matches) as Cena puts a no pressure STF on again.

Cena was smashed by Orton with a belt as Cena could not let the belt anywhere near him. Fans had enough. "This is awful" they chanted. Cena lands a backbreaker and jumps down to the mat comically. An RKO was dropped into a two fall. "We want Divas" the crowd added as Orton poses. Then he calls a spot to Cena who needs guidance badly to try to keep the match in place. Orton locks in the STF with severe pressure on to teach Cena how to do his own move. He still won't learn, Cena never does. The Attitude Adjustement by Randy was put to Cena for a two count only. As predicted, Cena landed an RKO on Orton. 

Cena sat Orton atop the turnbuckle and then feigned pain lifting Orton horribly. Orton was then locked in another tawdry submission hold maybe tapping soon. The Wyatt family music quickly blared with lights out as the Wyatt's appear on apron. Randy Orton slams the RKO onto John Cena and retains the WWE World Heavyweight title with a three fall victory.

Even in defeat, it was all about Cena once again. Orton, as champion, was resigned to a background character, celebrating victory outside from afar. The Wyatt's appraoch a flat out Cena and gets a boot in the face by Luke Harper. Erick Rowan smashes Cena into the corner. Cena was held by the pair as Wyatt kisses Cena's forehead. "Behold the creators of the new world!" Bray yells as Cena, planted in the mat, heard cheers for the Wyatt's from the crowd. This might be the sixman set up at Wrestlemania laid down.

Having won the Tag Team Champiosnhips from the Rhodes Brothers Goldust and Cody Rhodes on the kick-off show, the new tag champs the New Age Outlaws gave an interview to Renee Young. Looking fine in a leather jacket, Renee was not invited to celebrate the victory with the boys Road Dogg and Mr.Ass. Road Dogg was decent on the mic but became repetative. The win was met with indecision. The fans did not understand why the 'Old' Age Outlaws were crowned champs when neither of them have a real need to be on WWE TV nor gain a title. It is clear. D-Generation X will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame for 2014. Mr. Ass told Renee she had "No Chance!" as the New Age Outlaws left to celebrate together. 

Royal Rumble
CM Punk, Seth Rollins, Damien Sandow, Cody Rhodes, Kane, Alexander Rusev, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, Jimmy Uso, Goldust, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Kevin Nash, Roman Reigns, The Great Khali, Sheamus, The Miz, Fandango, El Torito, Antonio Cesaro, Luke Harper, Jey Uso, JBL, Erick Rowan, Ryback, Alberto Del Rio, Batista, Big E. Langston, Rey Mysterio

CM Punk (1) was entered first as revealed on the pre-Rumble Smackdown. Number two was Shield member Seth Rollins (2) Hailed as the architect and aerialist Rollins and Punk were a good start. It was a battle of Wrestling Wonders' Pro 50 of 2013 with Punk, ranked 8 and Rollins at 6 having a strong technical tussle for two minutes. It was a strong beginning. Punk added that notion with kicks followed by Rollins. Time for Damien Sandow (3) to enter, going for an elimination of Punk. Neckbreaker and DDT by Punk on both. Cody Rhodes (4) charged straight for old foe Sandow. Punk eliminates Sandow, with ease as predicted. It was blatantly obvious that Sandow would be the first eliminated.

Kane came in at (5). Punk and Rhodes battle. Roundhouse kick was swung by Punk and eliminates Kane. That was quick. Alexander Rusev (6) joined the Rumble from NXT. He has mhuy thai boxing and MMA style fighting with feet like the Barbarian/Wild Samoan's. If not done correctly this will be another Ryback. Jack Swagger (7) joined the fracas. Sign fail here. Their placard read "Every 90 *blank* another illegal crosses the border." Days? Minutes? Hours? Oops. Rusev and Swagger fought. Kofi Kingston (8) joined. Will this be a fancy footwork feet spot? Kofi goes after Punk. Jimmy Uso (9) came in next. It was a bit boring now. Goldust (10) came. Rusev went out. Kofi was then caught by Rusev halting an elimination. Quick witted Kofi jumped to the barricade from Rusev's arms. Kingston predictably did the spot from outside where he braved a running jump to the ring. Once again, Kofi became a spot monkey open to ridicule. He needs some serious booking to be a strong name kept for the midcard, at least. Rollins was almost eliminated. Dean Ambrose (11) saved his stable mate. 

Dolph Ziggler (12) entered to knock a few people over then became a boring non-entity again. R-Truth (13) took his moment. Ambrose sent R-Truth out. Jimmy Uso out. Kingston then dangled under the ropes with his feet hooked, arms and shoulder touching the floor but feet still hooked by ropes keeping him in. The fans could not take the creativity seriously. Swaggers boot hits him, to which Kofi still held onto. Surprise entry Kevin Nash (14) came in. He went for The Shield. "I don't think anyone will come to your aid" to save Ambrose Lawler says. As this happened, just as the clock counted down for a new entry, giving the game away, Roman Reigns (15) came to save his stablemate. 

Caught by Reigns and tossed over is Kofi. The fun is over. Ziggler tried to mess with Reigns and got tossed out. Crowd boo'ed for man of the minute Ziggles. Nash went out quickly after. Rhodes piles on. The Great Khali (16) enters. Khali was instantly eliminated. This was absolutely pointless. It may have been Christian's spot, ruined by the revelation by the internet causing bookers to sideline Christian's return here. Goldust eliminates Cody as Cody is flung by Reigns, dodging Goldie. Sheamus (17) returned to clear house in an obvious and uneventful return. The Miz (18) came in for a nothing moment. Fandango (19) shimmied in as the crowd Fandango'ed for first time this evening. El Torito (20) charge in and gave some interest to the match. Seth took a move. Torito saw a CM Punk standing in his way and called a charge to Punk. Punk lifted the little bull as Torio was too quick and hurricanrana'ed him instead. Smug strutter Fandango smashed a clothesline on El Torito viciously to loud upset. Almost eliminating Fandango, on resurgence, the dancer holds on. A leg attack from rope next sends him away. Torito gores for bulky Reigns. Reigns was unfazed and lifted Torito up, hurling on Fandango as Torito goes too. 

Antonio Cesaro (21) arrived to put the Cesaro swing on Miz, Punk, then stopped by Rollins to loud boos. The swing on Rollins clocked a record 28 swings. What pro's. Luke Harper (22) joined. Jey Uso (23) came into the Rumble with no impact whatsoever. Next entry was a daft surprise as JBL (24) got up from behind the desk. Not this again. Luckily all announcers did not join. Disrobing, Layfield walks into the match only to be instantly thrown out. It was pointless. All was not bad though. Cole told his broadcast buddy it wasn't as bad as Santino Marella's record 1.9 seconds. 

Erick Rowan (25) went for Miz who survived as then Harper simply clotheslines him off. Thanks for coming. Ryback (26) goes for Cesaro. "Goldberg" chants echoed. Cesaro and Sheamus began a stare down. Sheamus fights Ryback too. Alberto Del Rio (27) was added to the mix. The man of the hour and debut match for returnee Batista (28) heard initial cheers turned into thick and heavy boo's. Erick Rowan was tossed out easy as he squares up with "stupid!" Ryback. Ryback was removed by The Animal. Batista flipped over Del Rio with ease. Big E. Langston (29) came out. He and Sheamus had a little action. The final man entered. Rey Mysterio (30) received a multitude of vicious boo's Mysterio. These were the most severe of the night. Not a good rumble booking. (See summary below)"We want Bryan" chants began. Fans were expect him to join last. Huge boo's were howling constantly as Langston and Sheamus play together. Sheamus takes off Big E. Seth Rollins got a 619 to loud boos. Rollins eliminated Rey to huge cheers. Roman Reigns took out Harper. 

Not full of warm reception
Ambrose shockingly sees an opportunity and goes for Roman Reigns but misses. Rollins and Ambrose tip over Cesaro quickly as Reigns irately flings over both his Shield pals. Batista bomb to Reigns was given as the final four are there. Sheamus, CM Punk, Reigns and Batista were the last left. Kane returns from behind and scuppers Punk's chances pulling him over the ropes for revenge. Kane chokeslammed Punk through the announce table. He flung him around the outside barricade's too. Huge boo's bellowed as Batista begins moving. Batista clearing both opponents down as Sheamus big boots to constant "No" chants. Sheamus drops a backbreaker. "Sheamus is weak" Lawler adds. Sheamus screams "Fella" for a brogue kick as Batista ducks leaving Sheamus to halt his pace. Sheamus almost takes out Reigns who charges a spear sending Sheamus away. Batista tips over Reigns, who quickly gets back in. 

Batista realises he hasn't won yet. Stare down. Batista kicks the gut of Reigns. Hands exchange. Batista shouts "Go" to Reigns into corner Irish whip. Reigns stops and loud spots are heard being called. Batista jumps into a running Reigns with a spear as the crowd boo. Spear by Reigns follows to huge cheers. Batista then quickly hurls Roman Reigns over instantly in order to win the Royal Rumble match. Huge boo's rang out becoming deafening. Batista gave a strong return for himself. He guaranteed a Wrestlemania main event. Fans, however, regard him as going into business for himself and sidelining the newer forces on the cards the chance to gain an opportunity at becoming a big name for WWE's future. This would also further enhance Cena, Batista and other names strong on the card to have people to tangle with in future feuds. The Royal Rumble, to fans, has now become a throwaway event. They regard it as the worst Rumble ever. 

PPV Rating - 5/10

Men/Women of their matches - Daniel Bryan, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins

Man/Woman of the PPV - Batista

Bryan's match with Wyatt was a tidy opener with a good outcome to strengthen all involved. Something fans were not expecting to continue the story on. 

Orton and Cena for the umpteenth time, after years of absence was again not thrilling the fans. Orton, aiming to work Cena to a good match was tirelessly exhausted. Not for his own efforts, but simply Cena never respects his opponent, the setting, action or holds in play. If Cena does something valid we will be sure to praise it, but we cannot lie about Cena's lack of respect for the business and sport itself. This is one of the key issues surround his disinterest. It is also a mass disrespect from Cena to fail to bother after all these years and continue the comedy act instead. 

Lesnar's match was a disaster for the company. With only a day to reschedule they created a feasible line despite a mishap. Though it was rather empty and too long in parts with the chair as a standout figure. Though WWE should keep the Big Show battles short in part to give better options overall. Fans weren't interested in the match anyway.

The fans felt after a loss to Wyatt, and rumours awash over the internet from WWE HQ, Bryan entering as number thirty would be justified. Other rumours among the Royal Rumble hype included a return of Christian, who has recently had a baby. Rob Van Dam, Chris Jericho (teasing a return) and soon to be WWE Hall of Famer for 2014, Jake "The Snake" Roberts were also filling the hazy air among the WWE Universe. WWE have been said to have been frustrated with fans and 'news' hacks revealing such details that they pulled Christian's return and simply announced him on the post Rumble Raw for a Smackdown return. It was Jeff-Matt Hardy whodunit down the stairs once again. Fans need to learn to be careful what they post publicly. WWE does not cave in to public demand ruling the roost. In the end, the audience will suffer for it. 

Mysterio, however, though fans assume was boo'ed for not being Bryan was incorrect. Mysterio was boo'ed because fans are bored of him and haven't seen him on television as a character for so long that he did not deserve a place other someone more deserving. The same occurred with The Great Khali. WWE should have left out some for others. It would have been great if WWE had booked Chyna as number thirty. 

Roman Reigns gaining the most eliminations despite a loss was counterproductive. Yes, it protected him in WWE's mind since he wasn't going to win, however, has became a background distiller that does nothing for him. Being the last of two men was also enough, given Reigns recent rise. Someone else could have used the eliminations further. 

Public embarrassment Mick Foley even ridiculed WWE for not putting in Bryan and letting him win. WWE should just part ways with the motormouth floater that just won't flush. It doesn't need him, nor such ignorance, either. 

The Rumble is an event specifically designed for a new up and comer to win and use the platform to rise a new star for WWE. In recent years, WWE, however have decided to use this as a cheap stepping stone to set the main event of Wrestlemania. Returning to indecision, Batista was visibly upset by the WWE Universe. Simply put, Batista did not need a Rumble win to maintain his profile. He's the strong, bulky and headline act from year's prior that fans were on board with. Negotiating a return to the 'Mania match of the year, 'tista was seen by fans as self-serving. They have not respected that choice. So, are we with WWE on this, or are we with the fans, who suggest Daniel Bryan should have been in and potentially won? 

No. We are with neither. Batista doesn't need the win. Neither does Bryan. Bryan has immense fan support and was already on the card and has no need to be in the match. As well as selling the beating, both are household names at this time to WWE. The Rumble should always be prioritised to a new star to make a chance to create an opportunity for a future beginning. Lead candidate would be Antonio Cesaro. It would have been very easy to launch him to the spotlight come April 5th. He's also worked very capably with Orton countless times and has popular opinion across the board. Another option would have been Damien Sandow, but WWE like to create measures to make its own points, which is understood. There are many others waiting for a chance to launch. WWE should have considered this first and foremost, than cementing one match, which could have easily been maintained without the Rumble guarantee. Fans, once again, now regard this Rumble as the worst of its years and see the booking getting worse every year. The concept, becoming a throwaway option, looks bleak for a future attraction that sells the PPV and a new future on offer. 

©  Max Waltham 29th January 2014

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Best NXT call ups for WWE

Who will be WWE's best 
call up from NXT?

With 2014 officially upon us, the new wrestling year is one of vivid possibilities. Here, Wrestling Wonders discusses who may be an interesting and sustainable call up from developmental territory NXT. Below we will look at who would have a valid chance on the main shows of the WWE and who could potentially be worked on or called up.

Those who comprise NXT have the aspirations to climb to the upper echelons of main event status or headline act on WWE's major shows Raw and Smackdown. Though not everyone will make it, yet. Talent require a strong emphasis on skill, talent and believability. Connection with its fans are crucial, especially entering the WWE arena as a full on blank canvas. Fans have no knowledge, understanding or reason to instantly like or dislike them. Striking a cord from NXT requires a fair to decent level of skills for an upgrade to the main shows.

So who would be likely candidates that have shown such promise to be considered for a likely advance now or in later time over 2014?

The first candidate to consider, in no order, would be Corey Graves. With his work in the tag scene and individuality in medium settings Corey would be a potential to grow for a sturdy mid level run and a United States title run. One consideration WWE should change is the surname. On WWE TV, in 2014, language by other performers, including someone to the repertoire of CM Punk, for example, would be counterproductive.  

Partner and pal come enemy Adrian Neville has been rapidly gathering steam. An aerial ace with technical stability in place makes a very interesting and plausible call up. Neville could start in the tag scene for a year before expanding and as a float to mid and tag distinctions.

Glamour Chic Banks
Sasha Banks is the most talented female on the roster for NXT. WWE should place her onto the main shows and keep her consistent ground work as a priority with other lagging divas struggling to make an interest. Banks is the only diva that should be considered. All others are too infeasible, though Charlotte is one who is coming along nicely but requires more time.

Though Banks is the most secure option, Emma, an Australian diva that has improved considerably has a chance. We would like her as Banks, to be called upon. Her nationality alone will set her apart from the pack and stand out. She could also increase global markets, but needs strong booking faith than switching around its divas here and there. She could even enter as a team with Charlotte or Banks if necessary, or even a trio of diva delight. If forming a trio to enter the main shows, WWE could actually make a leading lady bring the three in to produce a diva quarter. Tamina, as leader, or others could do well from this.

Developing at an alarmingly positive rate are some other gentlemen. Aiden English has the body and mild skills to be expanded upon if required. While many might think English's promos may be a tad pansy, crooning and roses of adoration for English and his talent is something WWE can work with. Unique, distinguished and smooth, as the best star WWE had whilst breaking into ballad, will work tremendously as a new act for Raw or Smackdown in time. This one will silence the critics.

Mojo Rawley is a charming pretty boy that could do well with audiences given a good starting basis. Though he might want to consider losing a little bit of flab abs as WWE tend to notice this could cost him longterm. We don't mind some timber, but WWE clearly do. He should still remain in NXT but could be likely to boost onto TV within the late or new year of 2015 if he conditions and improves his already clean ring work. This one is a prospect in time if a strong angle and storyline basis is attached to compensate. 

Chris Hero, recently released for failing to have a certain body image in favourable fashion, was ordered to improve. Without using initiative, Hero soon lost his place and thus released at this time. After being highlighted of the problem, WWE clearly felt they gave him enough time to deal with the issue. Superstars should identify and attempt to deal with an issue than plainly ignoring it. WWE is a company. It cannot wait around years for you to work on anything that should have been thought of independently. If you are seen to be making some effort in certain places, it will be noticed and often respected.   

Konnor has made strong improvement and made a character interesting for the product. These qualities might be lucrative if WWE agree a place with tight background.

Sami Zayn is another obvious grower, but fan intentions shouldn't be overtly rushed. Zayn could place on WWE TV through June/July through Summer. It will all depend on the all round package presented. As a new signee to the company, Zayn's removal of mask has proven to be a delight. The character has been able to flourish, gather a new stance on his name and become meaningful. He also looks rather appealing for a red head with chest hair to audiences looking in.

While WWE may be sighting the likes of Alexander Rusev (which WWE will do due to body mass) Tyler Breeze and others, none have shown any real skill to survive the pitfalls of headline television. It is not beneficial to call up those who must immediately be wiped from main broadcasts to recoup to the NXT nest. Rusev, favoured for his height and build, has Vladimir Koslov written all over him. Breeze is another Dolph Ziggler imitation with slick blonde hair, pom pom ruffles and sheen pink tights bearing a hybrid of John Morrision's fur coat. Lena, Rusev's manager has a striking presence, that's for sure. 

Unless there are strong feuds, storylines and skills with entertainment, there is a likely chance of minimal call up. Raw and Smackdown must also cater for stars that are already finding tough times in their own personalities or being. There is no point adding more waste if one is not simply stronger, equal nor better than the competitor. 

©  Max Waltham 28th January 2014

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Wrestling Wonders Year End Awards 2013

Wrestling Wonders Year 
End Awards 2013

Wrestling Wonders presents the 2013 Year End Awards celebrating the greatest, wacky and rightfully earned achievements from the previous year of 2013. Respected for their craft, talents, hotness and damn right shrewd behaviour wrestling finest are rewarded. Below are the nominees and the winners. To be nominated is the hugest of honour alone, let alone to bag a trophy. Congrats to all those who made 2013 an interesting year for fans and the critics.

Written and awarded on December 30th 2013. 


Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Kazuchika Okada, AJ Styles, CM Punk

2013 belonged to one man alone, Daniel Bryan. Insanely popular with crowds and critics for fan appeal and wrestling values, Bryan made the transition from minor support structure to main event headliner. Bryan's technique, promos and precision silenced everyone else in contention and kept the highest honour as 2013's most recognisable and valued face giving meaning back to the wrestling business.

Gail Kim, AJ, Cheerleader Melissa, ODB, Stephanie McMahon

AJ remained the centre point of television for females this year. Despite her talent, skills in ring and promos being a little off, she delivered when she looked at an inner essence to develop on from outside influences. She held the strong point on TV as the only one in charge. 

Undertaker Vs CM Punk (WM 29), Daniel Bryan Vs Randy Orton (Night of Champions), Kazuchika Okada  Vs Suzuki Dontaku , Ishii vs Shibata G1 Climax Day 4,  CM Punk Vs John Cena Raw 25th Feb 13

The Match of 2013 was undoubtedly Undertaker once again dazzling on the big stage at Wrestlemania. This time with CM Punk, the pair put in an enthralling, clean and empowering battle that kept audiences on tenderhooks. The story and action was tight, concise and skilled. 

Daniel Bryan Vs The Authority, CM Punk Vs Paul Heyman, Kazuchika Okada Vs Minoru Suzuki,  SUWAMA and Joe Doering Vs Jun Akiymam and Go Shiozaki, AJ Styles Vs Dixie Carter

The biggest feud was clearly Daniel Bryan's struggle to be accepted by WWE's upper headquarters' suits as a legitimate champion for their company. The struggle was strong, engaging, captured fans attention like no other and had numerous twists. Both sides had enough to work with to string the contest out further. 

Joe Doering, Christian York, Curtis Axel, Bray Wyatt, Ethan Carter III

Christian York made the biggest Impact in the business. Launched onto the catastrophic scene of TNA during its pathetic Gut Check series, York held competitive action, looked a star and was a new riser. Regardless of the ludicrous decision to remove him from the TNA roster for clueless financial saving purposes, York is one of the independent's most bankable stars with strong recognition. Let this be a lesson to all, steer clear of TNA.

Daniel Bryan, John Cena, CM Punk, Sting, Jeff Hardy

Bryan held everything needed to be the most loved star of 2013. Fans in their droves vehemently yelled his name and catchphrases with such passion. Evoking empathy and in ring talent Bryan rose from a nobody to a somebody. The year was all about Bryan who became WWE's newest star with glowing colours. 

Brock Lesnar, YAMATO?, Minoru Suzuki, Stephanie McMahon, Paul Heyman

Devilish, cunning, charismatic and succinct, Heyman delivered all parameters to thrill an audience as well as annoy them in unison. Borrowing material from Max Waltham as most did, Heyman, however, is the only star able to sell it tenfold and hold his own in the scenario, with levels of development on offer for his sparring partner. Comical, brash, clever and witty, Heyman blew everyone away, everytime, which is vital for the business to excel when all else in the industry fail to deliver. 

Personality/Game Changer
KENTA, Daniel Bryan, Darren Young, RVD, Bruno Sammartino inducted into WWE Hall of Fame

Darren Young made the boldest of choices to reveal he was gay. Revealing such information in a sport where fans often condemn such sexuality despite the fact guys are talented and capable was a brave decision. With strong commitment to the business, fans and himself, Young has became a well placed openly gay man in the wrestling business and the first in the WWE. Quite a milestone for a newer age. Perhaps this will encourage others to reveal themselves, at their own pace, and perhaps the audience will be less distant from some of its most beloved performers worried of upsetting the status quo. 

Goldust, Rob Conway, Rob Van Dam, Bobby Fish, Sean Waltman

Double champion and new NWA stronghold Rob Conway shone like no other in his return to the business. Still in good shape, and holding up strong support structures for the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) Conway proved he still had strong levels of competition and was rightfully rewarded as champion. Representing the NWA wholesomely, Conway is still very much in the game. 

Tag Team
Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns, Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls, Time Splitters, The Young Bucks, Golden Lovers

The Shield's double act Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns destroyed all on television, held brute force with levels of skill and tender behaviour. The pair dominated the tag division, took titles and were the focal point of success with skills and working others to good or excellent matches. They kept fans in their droves happy and rose the division. 

Pay Per View
Payback, Slammiversary, SHIMMER Volume 44, Wrestle Kingdom 7, G1 Climax Night 4

Quite a surprise for all, WWE's Payback, the May Pay Per View slot which usually features one or two interests then flops, was strong throughout. Every match had a place, the performers were given strong lines of detail and involvement. Added with great action, support, skill and strong main evening, the whole package for a PPV that had every avenue covered was king. 

Dixie Carter releases scores of talented staff, Lights out for WWE, Chris Sabin as World Champion, Austin Aries shoves crotch in Christy Hemme's face, Big E. Langston hits diva AJ on entrance with chop

There was only one who took the crown on this one. A law to herself, Dixie Carter proved to be the most inconsistent, clueless and ridiculous owner come business body in pro wrestling. A woman with no real knowledge of the industry, with lucky investments from her family decided to pull away from the resident television filming studio to go on the road and copy WWE. Doing this was the first catastrophe on offer. Releasing bundles of talented stars to save money instead of the leeches who took twice as much and contributed nothing, whilst keeping bad PR stars and wasteful talent who cannot perform, Carter continued. Making a pig's ear of the company, Dix was finally exposed to the audience as the most hapless female, let alone wrestling owner on the planet. She even denied a leaked set of information to sell the company. Furthermore, Carter and her TNA executive doubling up as markish fans, actually believe they are doing an excellent job at running TNA. Fans have given up on the embarrassment, which has been struggling to fill seats in arenas. The old studio for filming is no longer available for bookings. There is no going back for TNA, who also host special PPV's to secure low paid talent as a cheap measure to fill a card.

Brooke Tessmacher, AJ, Mickie James, Jim Ross, Hulk Hogan

Jim Ross publicly denied he had been fired from WWE. With his own, hugely ignorant ego on show, Ross was even quizzed by a reporter where he was caught out and flummoxed his words. Backtracking, Ross held another level of trying to protect his own image above all else and even pandered to the fans to try to maintain profile. What a Hoeski. 

Jesse, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Tony Nese, Antonio Cesaro

Another category in which anyone can enter. Have you done enough to be the hotty of the wrestling year? If you have, and outshone the rest to make one of the fiercely fought five nominations, which is an honour in itself to be nominated, you'll find yourself here. This year, for 2013, Randy Orton once again became the hottest pro wrestler. Damn, look at  that sweat too. 2014 is now upon us. Who will go all out for this award? We are all watching with anticipation. Anyone can enter. Can Randy retain? Or can you go one better? :)

Open Legs
Damien Sandow, Alberto Del Rio, Randy Orton, Jesse, Daniel Bryan

Unlike the other categories here's a peek at the five nominees in this unique category which delivered in many brave and creative ways. However, we would like to see many more contenders over 2014, boys. What are you afraid of? 

Dean Ambrose, Antonio Cesaro, Fandango, CM Punk, Randy Orton

Joined at the hip, the other unique category notices and respects the best butt in the business. Still, there weren't too many takers for this, but WWE sure did deliver a few contenders. As with the above category, Randy Orton gave both on offer in one showing. Though Rand scooped the biggest win when Goldust gave him a little gusty draft down below. Some fans where more than happy.  

Newest Development To Excel
Shinsuke Nakamura, Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose, La Sombra, SUWAMA

Despite falling from grace towards the end of the year, Axel held the Intercontinental championship for near half of the year and took the title on his debut match where it counted. As a token of respect to his late father, Axel developed a profile and held a level of interest. However the obvious and lame name should be dropped. Axel needs to gain a name that is not linked to his roots and stand alone to raise his name. A return to McGillicutty should be avoided too. The phrase and wording needs to be correct. Since abandoning it, Axel is a blank canvas full of vanilla emptiness. WWE really need to think about a strong name for him if he is to become a big future star, which could be affordable for both. Thought process than one random thought is crucial to a stars development. Regardless, Curti did enough to excel as the newest force on WWE tele. 

Paul Heyman, post MITB Raw, Stephanie McMahon, 19th Aug Raw, Damien Sandow, 1st November Smackdown, Bray Wyatt, 27th Oct Hell In A Cell, AJ, 26th Aug Raw

Livid with former friend and star he helped further into career, Paul Heyman expressed his feelings on the post MITB Raw. During Punk's betrayal of Heyman's good nature the ignorant behaviour of Punk was championed instead. Setting the record straight, Heyman blew everyone away with his detail, accuracy and sheer deliverance eon the mic as always guaranteed.

AJ destroying the entire Total Divas in one fell swoop, Stephanie McMahon's controlling nature and Wyatt's eerie misunderstood knowledge were strong in their own right but couldn't hold what Heyman ultimately gave to the segment necessary to create stronger outcomes. 

Max Waltham Appreciation
Jerry Lynn

Jerry Lynn retired this year from wrestling after years of support. Skilled, technical and an aerial ace in his own right, Lynn towards his later years gave guidance to other younger stars in the business today for a future. Here, Wrestling Wonders recognises all that Lynn gave to the very core of wrestling past, present and future. Lynn's contributions are invaluable and well respected. 

Wrestling Wonders Hall of Fame

Jake Roberts, Fabulous Moolah, Mae Young, Rick Rude, Adrian Adonis, 
Hawk, Animal, Paul Ellering, Alice Cooper

Every star inducted earned their own levels of recognition for providing different levels of contrast, style and fun filled skill to every audience member of their era's. Still holding prominence over the years till today, Roberts and Cooper, Young and Moolah and the Road Warriors all held strong partnerships for fans as well as their own. It was only fitting that everyone of them joined the class of 2013 together, on their own merit. Joining them are the equally significant and skilled stars Rick Rude and Adrian Adonis. Both gave their own unique styles that further highlighted how extraordinarily great wrestling could and still can be. 

Most Improved
Goldust, Rob Conway, Damien Sandow, Jesse, Icarus

Returning from obscurity and re-capturing the Wrestling industry with flying colours, Damien Sandow scoops the award. His skills were refined, had strong connectivity with other performers in tense and compelling action were counted. Having maintained his skillset, Sandow has contained his levels of charisma, given the correct opponents. 

Goldust was a close second but could not outdo National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) champion Conway enough. Despite a very good return and tag championship to boot, Goldust gave strong levels of support and skill but couldn't give as exceptional as Conway delivered.  

Face of the WWE, Aces and 8's v MEM, Rhodes Brothers fight for jobs back, Dixie Carter knows what's she's doing, Mark Henry's Fake Retirement

Daniel Bryan's struggle with The Authority and corporate WWE owners believing he wasn't 'The Face of the WWE' was the strongest angle of the year. As with the very feud, Bryan and the Authority figures all had enough material to bounce off one another and keep fan guessing while engaged. It was the only storyline any wrestling fan or critic was able to be fully focused on. 

Stupefied, Jeff Hardy, Alex Shelley, La Sombra, Tetsuya Naito

The high flying prowess of all mentioned was a joy to watch. Though one could take the prize, all gave levels of interest. This one, however was taken hands down by aerial ace La Sombra. The action, fluidity and motion of flight was the best the business saw over 2013 from such a young star gathering rapid steam.

Stephanie McMahon, Brad Maddox, Bray Wyatt, Vickie Guerrero, Vince McMahon

Can anyone defeat the unstoppable Fashionista Vickie Guerrero? As the now first candidate to win the award as well as the only award from Wrestling Wonders, a record three times prove Vick has got such style and sophistication. Some challengers were in her way including blue pants Brad Maddox and the monochrome bigwig Stephanie McMahon. Guerrero stunned all competition and remains the first triple winner of an award with such panache on offer. She simply always looks good. Congrats Vickie!


This year a few awards have also been resigned. These include Finisher, Entrance Theme, Most Popular, Returning Veteran and Online Sensation. Let's face it, there's only so many times Max Waltham would always win the Online Sensation award hands down every year without any contenders or impact made from, well, anyone.

Until next year, this wraps up the 2013 awards. We are watching intently for some new risers to gain nominations. Surprise us and you may just gain an award. These are the awards any self respecting wrestling personality should aim to receive as the most influential, career enhancing and valued awards in pro wrestling. You're Welcome.

Lets face it, WWE wiped the floor with everyone this year. Whether you like how they run their product or not, they had many things in place when it came to award nominations well rounded. no-one else barely came close. This highlights more than anything how crucial it is for wrestling companies to get their act together if they want to provide competition. If they can't (and they haven't this year) figure out how to do so, it should find a way to get audiences without stupidity, ego and daft choices for a bit of buzz at the time. That's not wrestling, is it?  

©  Max Waltham 22nd January 2014