Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Wrestlemania XXXI

Wrestlemania XXXI

The road to Wrestlemania has been a long and strange one, filled with a lacking journey. Would WWE be able to deliver or would it fail on its most crucial card to move into a new future of WWE beyond 2015? Are the matches up to standard and fulfill their main event potential?

Coming live from the Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, live on Sunday 29th March 2015, would WWE be able to showcase a grand spectacle and enthuse for the future generation of sports entertainment?

Let's find out.

Despite its graphics, production and card booking of superstars, all eyes were firmly on the opening of Wrestlemania. Kevin Dunn's always spectacular set design never fails the grand event. This one was filled with grandiose str quality through and through.

WWE Tag Team Championship
Antonio Cesaro and Tyson Kidd (c) w/ Natalya Vs The Uso's w/ Naomi Vs Los Matadores w/ El Torito Vs Kofi Kingston and Big E w/ Xavier Woods

Kicking off the Pre-show was a four way tag thriller to set the mood. It wasn't exactly a McMahon in every corner, but it played its part for the teams and their supporters.

Although they tried hard the New Day trio with Kingston and Big E was a let down despite their efforts. The other three teams put in an exceptional display and the match was highly held together by the tag champs Antonio Cesaro and Tyson Kidd, who retained the titles in a feasible and sparkling Wrestlemania mood starter. Cesaro also wore some yellow strip white tights for the special occasion which looked really good for him. Los Matadores contributed very well to the mix and could be given more of a chance if pushed upon. 

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
The Miz, Adam Rose, Fandango, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Big Show, Jack Swagger, Darren Young, Erick Rowan, Mark Henry, Konnor, Viktor, Zack Ryder, Hideo Itami, Heath Slater, Sin Cara, Goldust, Kane, Ryback and Titus O'Neil

The annual event has returned, in the hopes of making a new up and coming superstar launch the ranks of WWE. This is a good decision and keeps Andre's historic wrestling contributions relevant. The only problem is how WWE select a star that will do the Giant justice. 

The match went underway early and lost some of its magic by WWE's lack of star building. The contenders, Axel, Fandango, Mizdow, Big Show, Kane and Darren Young were the only names capable of lifting the lucrative honour.

WWE decided, after its big build up of AxelMania, to dump Axel and neglect the rest of the young up and comers, desperate for a chance to be a WWE star, which would keep the linage of Andre's name honour. It came down to the final two. Mizdow and Big Show. We could see it coming a mile off from WWE before it started, but the Big Show tossed Damien Mizdow over the top rope to elimination in the end to secure the win as the second Andre statuette winner. 

Big Show has improved over the course of the last few months, which we highly praise, but this was a wasted opportunity just to have Show stand next to the trophy and pose as Andre did. It should have gone to Axel or Sandow, in that order.

Intercontinental Championship
7 Man, Ladder
Dean Ambrose Vs Bad News Barrett Vs R-Truth Vs Luke Harper Vs Dolph Ziggler Vs Stardust Vs Daniel Bryan

After months of pointless television angles which saw every entrant 'steal' the IC title in a game of kiss chase, the IC title could not have been devalued more. WWE attempted to boot the lineage of the title and include the extra stars to make it interesting. The batch certainly is, interesting. Some wasteful, others with strong potential.

This was a briefly shorter than anticipated match for 'Mania but still provided enough to be a morsel of interest. After everyone had their turn to play in the match a little bit, WWE chose to select its winner. The obvious and ignorant choice of Daniel Bryan became the new Intercontinental Champion.

It would have been better to give the opportunity to R-Truth, Luke Harper or Dean Ambrose. (See summary below the ratings for more.)

Once again it was an obvious fan pandering populism choice to an ignorant star who has started dipping lower down the card as an interesting act than a legitimate champion. It doesn't bode well for the B+ now down to D- player.

Randy Orton Vs Seth Rollins w/ Jaime Noble and Joey Mercury

Randy Orton returned to WWE last month and stunned everyone by sticking with the friends in The Authority, led by Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Eventually Randy, after a strong tease, was not on good terms with them anymore, which now sets the random, but highly capable match up to enthuse us.

After some outstanding display from both J and J security soon tried to grab Orton from outside, to which Orton responded with a double DDT drop on them.

Rollins returned the action to some strong ground technical locks sold tremendously by both with Orton on a comeback. It was fluid, convincing and building the match with identity.

Both with their glistening bodies in the open stadium sunlight turned the action to red hot with intensity and jabs a plenty. Orton threw Rollins with a powerful Fall Away Slam, smoothly done. Rollins nailed Orton back with an apron Enziguri to recover stead with a beautifully timed, swift and fully connected top rope Moonsault. It was top notch. The fans agreed with respectful applause.

Next came a beautiful superplex. Swift counters to the powerful DDT by Orton followed. Seth superkicked Orton so quickly and perfectly to which Orton then gave an RKO counter to keep the match bubbling over. There was a kick out by Rollins at two, which really boosted his credibility as a challenger who can stand equal with Orton.

Noble and Mercury interfered and got some stunning RKO's. This distraction allowed Seth to Curb Stomp on Orton. A kick out at two, returned not only the favour but kept the match boiling. Corkscrew twist by Seth was missed, but gained bearings enough to smash a cool back mule kick which led into a crushing RKO instead, leading Randy Orton to cover Seth Rollins and claim the three fall victory in one of the predicted stand out bouts at 'Mania. It really did enthuse the fans. 

Sting Vs Triple H

A lot of hype was built around both stars taking each other on in recent months. Ignorance was highly abound by both going into it which tainted its magic.

A drumming band of Sting mime artists's and a Shaolin monk opened Sting's WWE debut. Sting strolled out calmly and simply walked, stood and stared at the crowd, looking lost and inexperienced. There was no buzz to his effect or entrance as he simply walked down the ring normally. It was a wasted opportunity.

Triple H entered with an absurd Terminator entrance which was completely pathetic and simply dumb. It was laughable, not epic. Tripper emerged from beneath the ramp in a shoulder padded silver helmet and armguard Terminator get up. It looked cheap and tacky. 

Then the Terminator himself Arnie Schwartz told us it was "time to play the game" after scanning the audience with his red eye motion detectors. Thrilling. 

A lock up started as Sting leads. HHH seen mouthing instructions vividly. "You still got it" fans daftly cheered as an act of trying to figure out something to say to support an old star of the past. He didn't do anything yet. Lock up again. HHH is sent to the outside. Take a breather, dear. Running knee in lock, reversed over sent HHH back outside. Sting ran to the barricade and missed. Suplex leads to two fall. Sting stumbles at HHH's feet, as Trips signals the "ultimate humiliation" Michael Cole adds, with the crotch chop. The fans did not fully boo and some cheered which WWE weren't expecting. Sting was not that appreciated for his lacking talent. Wear down headlocks by Triple H now. Sting tiredly threw weak punches to come back which flew his hair up revealing his bald spot. It's cold up there Eerie. Sting locks on the Scorpion Leg Lock as DX music sounds and all the degenerates crew, except Chyna (shhh don't say that name) were there. Sting predictably took them all out, with a splash from the top rope. As the run in happened fans booed. Then they chanted "Awesome" when DX was taken out. How fickle can you get? Triple H nailed a Pedigree on Sting which received a debatable two count. Fans loudly cheered for Triple H.

Stage music sounded of the nWo as Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall stumbled out slowly as three geriatrics on day release. They walked down the ramp to the DX crew. It was not exciting in the least as the nWo tapped punches so meekly. Sting got Triple H from behind to backdrop him, but Triple H kicked out at two. Sting tried the Scorpion Leg Lock again as Triple H crawled towards his sledgehammer. Hogan took the hammer away as X-Pac bashed him. Hogan was loudly booed. All the outsiders took each other down. Triple H was in another Leg Lock, sounding constipated.

He got free as Sting tried again. Shawn Michaels shockingly returned from the crowd to superkick Sting in the face in a shock turn of events as the crowd were annoyed with so many run ins. Tripper takes a cover but Sting kicked out. Hmmm. DX passed Tripper his hammer. Scott Hall gave Sting his bat. Zzzzzzz.

Triple H fell down as Sting failed to connect a supposed hit to the gut which was a major botch. Sting then broke Triple H's plastic hammer in halve. Oooh. So tough.

Sting splashed Triple H into the corner as Triple H countered the second one with a running attack concealing a foreign object. Sting was smashed as Triple H covered the Stinger for a three fall win.

All the crew, except for Chyna were in the ring after the battle. It looked like everyone in the old people's home. Triple H then extended his hand to Sting and they held hands as a "Wrestlemania moment" Jerry Lawler tells us. Yeah, sure. I'm so moved. It became boring and was built on run in hype which distorted the full effect it could have had.

Kid Ink sang his Wrestlemania theme song with Travis Barker and Skylar Grey now for an intermission period. Go to the toilets now, people.

Tag Team
AJ and Paige Vs The Bella Twins

The divas filler match was a waste of time, as per usual, but WWE could have laced a strong match on the show if it bothered. Maybe it does not know what to do with it and can't be bothered to think. Then, maybe get people to be in charge of the divas division, reporting to you for liaison and final, workable decision? Emma is more than due her call up as a serious contender after her work has been impressively improved and capable among a distantly lacking roster.

Paige stood on the ramp and nodded whilst waiting for AJ to skip on. Yeah, they are friends again all of a sudden.

Paige clumsily jumped on Nikki Bella and then botched almost every move. It was embarrassing. Nikki used the Alabama Slam to stop momentum. Brie dropkicked Paige down well. Brie tried to mix it up with a backlock surfboard variation well. AJ had been knocked down from the apron a moment ago and shown conked out. Both Bellas wear Paige down.

Nikki cracks the Rack Attack on Paige for a close two count. Paige uses sloppy kicks and throws to the outside of Bella. It was messy and negligent to their well-being.

AJ gets tagged back in now. She flies all over Nikki but then lands on her front screaming again like before, which was daft. Paige charged back in to dropkick down AJ on a pin to Nikki which failed at two. AJ countered a tricky top DDT as more run in came. Nikki smashed AJ in the face but only got two. AJ clasped on the Black Widow submission to carry Paige to another victory over The Bella Twins in a fairly useless match.

WWE Hall of Fame 2015

This year's Hall of Fame featured overdue entries The Bushwackers, (Luke and Butch,)  technical great Larry Zbysko, sterling female champ Alundra Blayze and Japanese veteran Tatsumi Fujinami, Also in are Samoan groover Rikishi, celebrity love-in Arnold Schwarzenegger, one of the greatest legends Randy Macho Man Savage, and friend of the WWE family Kevin Nash,

WWE also included a Warrior Award. This was to respect someone who made a contribution or impact to WWE or wrestling. That's basically a rip-off of the Max Waltham Appreciation award, given every year in the Wrestling Wonders Year End Awards. 

WWE also used the deceased Ultimate Warrior to use as the staple of the award, which is debatable. We have respect for the deceased and shall not go into detail, but Warrior was not as kind a person as most remember or make out. WWE should change the name of the award to save further embarrassment went continuing the awarding ceremonies. 

Despite the concerns the award went to the very deserving Connor Michalek. Connor "The Crusher" passed away last year after a strong battle with cancer. His spirit was gracious, charismatic and deserving. 

United States Championship
Rusev (c) w/ Lana Vs John Cena

This one was built on a political emphasis of good old Nationalism in wrestling story backgrounds. It was Russian sympathizer Rusev against WWE's almighty American superhero John Cena. Who would come out on top and make their nation proud?

Lovely Lana led the way with the United States title a Russian army, flag carrying parade, marching alongside her. Heavy artillery cannons blew as Rusev entered from atop a tank. The crowd really boo'ed that one. Did WWE take this one too far? Rusev proudly waved the Russian flag, regardless.

Cena's package started impressively, until WWE showed off Apple's iphone and /facebook goon Mark Zuckerburg as its defining features to a great America. Ugh. That didn't sell the version very well. There were some cheers at being "American" yet some booed it. As soon as Cena entered, the crowd boo'ed the hell out of him. Wow. Not even Nationalistic approach changed a positive reaction for Cena. Will WWE ever take it seriously? It's not about Americans, its, once again, about Cena. Fans did not buy in to it.

Rusev demanded to be introduced first by dumb announcer Eden. Cena was afterwards as the crowd really boo'ed him yet again. Ouch.

Cena instantly floored Rusev with a clothesline. Rusev came back with impressive offence and a toe kick to the foot taking Cena down. Rusev flipped an impressive double arm over the body suplex. That was good. Rusev waved the Russian flag as Cena was down in the ring. Cena kicked his leg up at Rusev to change pace. Two shoulder tackles and the crowd was unimpressed. They all got on their feet to mimic and boo him. Cena smirked at them without taking them seriously. If he did he might learn a new focus.

Rusev returned control soon after. Cena jumped onto Rusev so he could be dropped down. Rusev looked strong but it was silly of Cena to do such a juvenile action. That could have ruined Rusev and the match. Cena did the famous leg drop from the top which was a tad short on Rusev, hitting his back. A few years ago saw the infamous Cena jump which missed The Miz by half the ring. It has not improved since.

The crowd cheered "Let's go Lana" to amuse themselves. Cena did a jumping DDT from the top ropes decently, but easy, all the same. Cena traded fists with Rusev where Cena moved in such a way that did not sell Rusev's punches and looked weak thanks to Cena. Rusev made Cena's believable. Cena locked in the magical STF as Lana threw a show in the match to distract, which failed. Rusev took a flip Fall Away Slam with good power to regain control.

Rusev went to the top rope and smashed a fantastic headbutt across the ring. He only took a two fall for his efforts. Rusev called for the Crush! Cena sprung off the second rope to give a stunner to Rusev, which took a close two only. It still looked daftly incorporated but at least Cena tied to mix it up. Clearly Cena hasn't learn how to smooth things into matches. Adding random bits with no tie in well cause further problems. Cena rolled Rusev up again but failed to follow through. Rusev clamped on The Accolyde with extra crush. Lana was thrilled. For once Cena tried to maintain a tightly composed lock on. Cena broke the Accolyde with a power up surge to bash Rusev's back into the corner post, as per usual, in Cena resurgence.

Lana got bashed by Rusev off the apron after talking to the referee and John Cena grabbed Rusev to give him the Attitude Adjustment and claim the United State title, defeating the undefeated Rusev in a cheap ending, which further devalued the match just put on, its title and Cena's attempts to be new and engaging. Cena may have won the title, but Rusev held up the match with a phenomenal transformation. 

Stephanie McMahon now took centre stage to announce a new attendance record of 76,976. Steph, with her hubby Triple H, claimed it was her who made it possible. Her guidance. Hmm? You sure about that dear? She reckons her ideas guided the way. I wonder... Where is your guiding force dear?

Triple H re-informed the crowd after his earlier match that "The Authority always wins." I wonder who they take after?

Upon that note, WWE superstar The Rock surprisingly arrives. Steph reminds she is in charge and that Rocky should leave. After some harshly tempting situations from Steph, The Rock wasn't going to be put out so easily. 

The Rock went to the front row for some support and pulled over standout UFC champion Ronda Rousey, invited to Wrestlemania. Once back in the ring. Steph appreciated Ronda's achievements but explained the rules of the ring. Rousey is the MMA Octagon Queen. However, this is the squared circle, Steph said. Then Steph lost it. This is "my ring" she snarled. The Rock had enough and on cue unloads on HHH with fists. Ronda then flips HHH over perfectly in the ring on follow up. Steph carefully sees a moment to stop her. Both have a stare down. Steph tried a quick slap but Rousey was too focused and caught her arm. Rousey then twisted her arm into a painful armlock. Rousey ended the segment on a high with her Wrestlemania moment by tossing Stephanie outside as she left with The Rock. The fans lapped it up, amid speculation Rousey may one day make it to WWE as a capable wrestling diva.  

The Undertaker Vs Bray Wyatt

A match that had full on potential from the get go was an inevitable choice for the pairing. The dark arts of the Phenom and the unmentionable soul from within Wyatt's control were a natural collision necessary to take place.

Wyatt entered with some spooky Scarecrows to which where given life by Wyatt's presences alone, walking past.

After the stare down with the two, Bray ran right into a big boot. 'Taker took it old school once more with a returning favourite of the top rope walk smash. Starting with strong fire, Undertaker once again proved he has not lost any health amid fan speculation and remains the most extremely dedicated worker in the WWE lockeroom. Undie follows on soon after with the leg drop for good measure.

Taker whips Wyatt into the corner with a Snakes Eyes smash. Another Big Boot is readied but Wyatt, having tatsed feet before, avoided this one and runs Undertaker down hard. Bray uses a huge splash and covers for a two fall only. Wyatt dominates the match now, climbing onto the back of The Undertaker to wear down from behind. He shoves 'Taker into the corner posts too.  

Undertaker gets back into the battle by locking on the Hell's Gate submission. Wyatt eventually breaks free with clubbing blows. Bray follows with a heavy back splash to Undertaker for a cool two count. Bray goes into the crazy crab at the corner ready for his foe with Sister Abigail. Undertaker then grabs Bray instead, breaking free from Wyatt's hold, with an almighty Chokeslam. He follows on with a damning Tombstone Piledriver, which almost defeats Wyatt with a close two fall.

'Taker goes for another Piledriver but Bray slips down the back and breaks out to plant Sister Abigail on The Undertaker. The audience are shocked and intreged with brimming passion as Bray gains a near fall. 

Wyatt cannot believe Undertaker's luck and summons the spirit within from the crazy crab once more. Whilst Bray Wyatt calls the crab, The Undertaker vividly springs up in the seated rise from the mat as the pair stare at one another with sheer intensity eye to eye. Bray Wyatt places Sister Abigail once more but The Undertaker quickly counters the dreaded kiss to the forehead and lifts Wyatt high into the Tombstone Piledriver to nail Bray Wyatt and win the match and redeem himself from last year in a tough and epic contest.  

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Roman Reigns Vs Brock Lesnar (c) w/ Paul Heyman

This is the big one. Filled with so much drama, tension and disagreement and that's not even before the two have wrestled yet. Roman Reigns, has been met with severe indecision as a star failing to interest fans. Though Brock Lesnar had cause for concern to fans too over his absences as champion and contract renewal in doubt. (see summary below PPV for full details.)

Reigns entered through the crowd as the camera found him directly pushing an eager fan touching Reigns. Maybe he couldn't resist or maybe he was being a tool. WWE weren't taking any chances. Sometimes you know if someone is okay at getting a light touch, but fans who are to irk should not touch any superstar in a negative manner. 

When The Beast got there Brock Lesnar was not messing around. He gave Reigns a German Suplex and F5 slammer barely ten seconds in. That was impressive. Lesnar dominated Reigns further with a fabulous flip Fishermans Suplex. Reigns' first offence allowed was a cheap shoulders break free from Lesnar which received huge boos. Brock caught his opponent for yet another German Suplex throw around. 

Reigns staged a comeback. He was soon thudded down by a clubbing clothesline off to the outside by Brock.    

"Reigns wont quit" as JBL points out. Suplexes galore follow for Reigns. He then took a third F5. Lesnar took a teasingly close two fall leaving fans in awe.

Reigns gathered his chance a little later with a Superman punch, wobbling Lesnar to his knees as Lesnar become bloodied. Another Superman punch failed to floor Lesnar. A rapid Spear couldn't do it. The second spear finally knocked powerhouse Brock down for Reigns to cover with a quick but short two fall.

Brock Lesnar had had enough and found his inner strength calling. He then grabbed Roman Reigns on a return and nailed a crushing F5. Both were scatty and fell down to the mat. It was the perfect time. Seth Rollins arrives! Seth decides it is time to cash in his title opportunity. It's officially a Triple Threat now. 

WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Triple Threat
Brock Lesnar (c) w/ Paul Heyman Vs Roman Reigns Vs Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins quickly barges Roman Reigns out of the ring and deals with Brock Lesnar instead. Seth limbers up in the corner and Curb Stomps Brock. He attempted another to tame The Beast, but was caught into an F5! The tension was palpable. Roman Reigns would not allow this to end his chance so easily. He quickly jumped back in the ring to Spear Brock Lesnar down. Seth Rollins quickly regained his stride from behind and nailed a Curb Stomp onto Roman Reigns. Seth Rollins covered Roman to land the three count and be crowned the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion!

PPV Rating - 8/10

Men/Women of their matches - Antonio Cesaro, Damien Sandow, Dean Ambrose, Randy Orton, Triple H, Brie Bella, Rusev, The Undertaker, Brock Lesnar

Man/Woman of the PPV - Seth Rollins

The pre-show did what it needed to by encouraging fans as the warm up which was well respected and not out of place. Though it is disheartening for some fans who feel Cesaro is going to waste as an under-utilised heavyweight contender more deserving of main card status. Perhaps WWE can work on this for after this tag title run. 

The ladder match was supposed to encourage and intrege. It didn't really and was rushed more than anything. It was an obvious result that pleased moany fans on the night, but did not really add any thrill to the 'Mania event. When Bryan fans finally get what they want, was it worth it? Time to let go of that loose idea based on fandom over respect for wrestling talents. It was just another match with a bit of extras thrown in as make-up.

Rusev was a complete transformation. His effort and improved in-ring work was outstanding. He was on point, well timed and connected with his partner. It is a shame his partner could not do the same. Rusev made the match and gained fan respect, regardless of the storyline.

Triple H was the right choice to win, but albeit a less than desirable win. Filled with only run-ins as the main attraction and Triple H's insane need to get fan populism with biased call up options from NXT and ignorant stars does not help WWE move forward. He needs to listen to crucial advice which is meant to be helpful than snubbed. It can only go downhill otherwise. That should never be tested for funsies. As for the ignorance of Sting, his old hat superstardom in a run down budget company of yesteryear holds no value. Sting's ignorant foot in a puddle instead of a former pond has gone south. Having done the one match obligated for buzz, and lacking that was, there is no further need for such washed up ignorance. Does WWE really need rejects from the past adding no value? This aint TNA, either. All the best, dear.

Randy Orton and Seth Rollins put in one of the two most predictable matches that would help Wrestlemania shine and shine it did. The pair glistened in the sunny backdrop of the open stadium. Such skill, talent and seemingly effortless breeze was a sheer joy to behold. This made a key ingredient to keeping 'Mania at the top. Orton can always be relied upon to deliver, but Rollins was an equal that helped boost the match to a one on one thrill than guide along builder.

The second most outstanding match, predicted, was The Undertaker and Bray Wyatt. Neither let the side down and while we knew how the outcome would go, Undertaker's opponents should always have an air of mystery at potentially defeating him. With last year's streak broken, fans could not call this one which made it all the more mesmeric. The strange and credible mystique of both supernatural beings balanced the bout and kept both at the top of their game. Undertaker proved the critics once again that there is no way back and won't be caving into pressure to relinquish his stage presence anytime soon. He will decide, as it should be and the result was the right one.

Brie Bella made the best out of her short spell in the match. She was the only one who had less time in the ring. Ironically it worked out for her and she tried her best to deliver some technique. AJ put her bits in where needed but it was a little bit of a mess with Paige trying to work Nikki. The title needs real competition and it isn't Paige. Clogging up the scene devalues the gold and the champion who do try when it counts.

The Andre battle royal has become somewhat of a joke battle royal. It can still be pulled back if WWE try. Though Big Show has been improving, he really shouldn't have won this, at least not this year. This year was Curtis Axel's momentous occasion and would have strengthen the bond of trophy lineage. Memories are meant to be meaningful when adopted in wrestling legacy on screen. Sandow was a close second and needs to go full strength mode now to become the great singles competitor he once was. Working with The Miz has done nothing to advance him.

Seth Rollins shock cash in was foreseen by us, but it was done very well and kept fans clueless until the point of arrival. They forgot about Rollins in the grand scheme of all the match ups and made WWE's future a crowning moment to boost a new era forward. Rollins is one of the best candidates WWE have and it was soon due. Doing it at 'Mania made him a legit superstar and credible by taking down two of the strong men trying to best one another. The cash in was made beautiful by making Rollins (as suggested by us) to make his moment a serious one and not a gimmick. This was smoothly done and allowed Rollins to win on his own merit in a time where both Reigns and Lesnar were debatable by audience.

As for Brock and Reigns themselves, it worked out better for Roman to be beaten down by Lesnar. While Reigns had some moments to keep fair distance, this boosted his time from being a complete hated washout. Sometimes less truly is more. Lesnar on the other hand looked incredible as the destroyer and flourished his star among a loss with the fans fully engaged behind him waiting on tenterhooks for the next moment. Brock Lesnar on the Monday before Raw leading into 'Mania, Brock sealed a six figure, three year salary, pocketing $100,000 per annum. As Brock himself added he had to take it. "McMahon made me an offer I couldn't refuse" he added. McMahon sure does know when he wants to how to acquire someone. Though can he get the one's who really matter aside from Lesnar? 

Ronda Rousey's appearance was decent and paved the way for a future chance in WWE. By the looks of it, she has options if she would pursue it and would not be neglected as a result by fans. She gots skills. Though it was okay, she will need to have a bit more refinement in her vocal trades. Plus Stephanie is a pro, almost, but needs to not viciously shout too much with such snarl as it takes away a tiny piece of the magic. Minor dear, but important, all the same.

For WWE this Wrestlemania really could have sucked. It got off to a good start, kept the middle first hour strong and then moved towards the heavy stuff. The start and the end fitted in well, but the middle lost its core. The ladders, divas and Sting's wearoff moment fell flat for the show. However the foundations in-between saved a huge chunk of the show and gave fans that feel good feeling. There was surprise, joy, pleasing results (in part) and careful planning. No-one is expecting Wrestlemania-esq qualities all year round, but fans do want this type of emphasis in its programming. Apart from the duds, the show was a strongly, well put together extravaganza, despite naff graphics and a few oddballs in places.

© Max Waltham 31st March 2015

All Rights Reserved 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Vince and Brock argue over Wrestlemania contract renewal

WWE World Heavyweight Champion temporarily 
walks out on WWE over new deal 
after Wrestlemania XXXI

WWE, its CEO, Vince McMahon and WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar have been on tricky terms as of late. The issue stemmed from the March 1st Raw broadcast in which Brock Lesnar arrived for a scheduled appearance on the show, but was not used as he walked out backstage before going on-air.

The champ decided to leave the show and went home after McMahon and Lesnar argued at the venue backstage. The pair were planning to renegotiate Brock’s contract for after Wrestlemania, when it is due to expire, with Brock staying at WWE.

The pair were heard by other staff in the arena behind the scenes who described the situation as a volatile one where both were screaming at one another loudly.

Apparently Lesnar wanted to change his contract clauses and also do this at the upcoming UFC event. UFC, one of WWE’s strongest rivals in oneupmanship and male audience attractions was not favoured by McMahon. UFC has made public knowledge that it is keen to re-sign Lesnar, too. Brock is carefully considering all his options on the table, as he should. Though not talking about it at the UFC event, Lesnar was upset by this, as well as some new terms, laid out by McMahon. After the rowdy meeting ended both were said to be so upset that neither would budge from their end of the deal requirements. Both were screaming so loud officials were worried for McMahon's health.

The following week WWE champ Lesnar appeared on Raw giving a great promo for fans. The pair are said to be working the deal out somehow, away from the public eye.

So naturally some will side with one or the other, but what really is the way forward? With UFC keen to re-sign Lesnar and a hot bargaining chip for WWE under pressure to keep Brock, WWE need to fix it pronto or get a contingency plan.

Of course, asking someone to meet and negotiate because you want to attend a rival show is not going to be met with a keen approval. Brock should have known not to be that na├»ve. He has history. It also wasn't too good to walk out when WWE had invested a lot of time in him. We love Brock and he is a strong star, but those are not effective manners of behaviour or negotiation. Though from McMahon’s perspective, he has invested lots of time in Brock and neglected the other talent with strong pushes. This is not Lesnar’s fault as Vince would have selected someone else for the same duration. Nothing would have changed except the person holding the belt.

At this point WWE have made Lesnar so powerful, as its rightful intention, as ‘The Beast’ that McMahon knows he cannot afford to lose him. All WWE has left is John Cena and there is only so much WWE can push that flagging horse.

It would be good if Vince can get Brock locked into a deal which sees more dates and dedication from Lesnar. This will benefit Lesnar longterm as a legitimate star, champion and respected guy by his audience. Lesnar however must not expect a huger sum for the deal and be open to working out a salary that can add extra dates where applicable.

For a guy who defeated The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania streak last year and become WWE’s heavyweight champion in transit, often missing Pay Per View’s Brock must know he is both valuable and vulnerable. McMahon has been known to flip and snub others after a long time of trying to negotiate. For the pair it will be give and take. Both need to compromise. Though the pair are capable of working out a deal.

This year’s Wrestlemania is on course to, borrow an American Wrestling term, suck. The card is badly produced, lacks build up, no legitimate or interesting stars, weak match types and is missing a star attraction. It could well be the worst in WWE history. WWE has recently made four very bad Wrestlemania’s in recent years. ‘Mania is considered as usually pulling out all the stops to be good.

Plan B?

There are other options as for the ‘Mania match itself, which McMahon confirmed will happen as Lesnar is “contractually obligated” as WWE officials worried Brock may no-show. That was never in doubt. Brock is professional enough to work his dates.

Lesnar can still win the title and return to a new deal. Roman Reigns is severely lacking competition. Triple H who suggested Roman Reigns for the Wrestlemania event months ago, has now backtracked and supported Lesnar to retain the gold. Playing to the fans again, Triple H is seen as making a calculated move to encourage fan populism that running WWE professionally with what is ‘Best for Business’. McMahon is strongly considering Reigns, who has been continually booed and lost fan respect since his January title guarantee in a dismal Royal Rumble victory. If he chooses Reigns out of messaging to Lesnar that wouldn't be the best choice. How can a new star struggling to encourage fan support be taken seriously with the crowning moment based on 'right guy at the right place' through Lesnar's dilemma? Reigns is simply too green to bear such responsibility. He is way too weak without any defining qualities. Lesnar would be the best choice unless other avenues are pursued. 

We would suggest that if Lesnar signs a new deal WWE should continue with Brock as champion. If all else fails the WWE will have to make the case for Seth Rollins to cash in and win. This win, however must be a legitimate, crowning moment and not a cheap win by dirty tactics from someone else doing all the work first. Rollins is the future of WWE. He must be handled carefully.

We would love to see Brock stay on and do more with the title and have some more meaningful and greater match opponents. Brock re-defined WWE years ago in the 2000’s, especially the ailing Smackdown brand to keep it from losing an audience. Lesnar has a WWE legacy to build on if he chooses it.

For WWE it could not be a worse time for embarrassment. Already panned for its lacking Wrestlemania, production and writing skills with wrestlers/superstars, WWE’s management is coming under scrutiny.

With both Triple H and Vince McMahon at opposite ends of the spectrum on trying to run WWE politically and professionally, whilst getting a name act on the card, both are not looking their best. Triple H’s idiotic attempt to book people based on crowd reaction and dirt sheet luvvies is sad, pathetic and misses the point of how to run WWE effectively. Triple H, after all his years waiting for the job, should have known that much. He needs to remain professional and listen to key advice than take personal attitude. This is a business.

For McMahon, it is another tale of putting on a show meets outdated ways forward. In a new era today, with a budding roster of stars available at the drop of a hat and failure to capitalise on them, these choices really do not sell his version of sports entertainment the way WWE fans hope to part with their cash for it.

This could well and truly be WWE 2003 again. Both Brock and Vince knew how difficult it was back then and neither hope to re-create those problems again.

WWE need to pull its finger out, or offer those who can help it, the greatest of deal. It has a future to consider and at this rate, it does not look promising. Even if fans stay, they still won’t be engaged. Therefore the doors will be open but no one will really be watching, buying or care anymore. Should that happen, WWE will become entirely meaningless like a TV on in the background, which gets no real attention.

© Max Waltham 25th March 2015

All Rights Reserved 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Dixie Carter: Destination Wasteland!

Dixie Carter: Destination Wasteland!

Since TNA was dropped by broadcaster SPIKE TV and replaced by Destination America, late last year, TNA President (who gave her that name?) Dixie Carter sent out a message to her locker-room staff. Dixie’s message was simple. Expect for the “Best Case Scenario” Dixie said.

Clueless Carter, who has snubbed multiple people who could rebrand and support her staff, show and company to new heights, has stumbled due to her own ignorant ego.

Dixie lied to the crew and production members that they would be going ‘onwards and upwards’ on Destination America. Either that was pure bull she knew of or she was insanely deluded.

Carter has also decided to cancel April TV tapings for May, instead leaving TNA having a month's TV programming cast into a black hole. TNA plan to fill that with their ‘TNA Specials’ consisting of archived footage from years ago which is boring and outdated. Embarrassingly, SPIKE recently announced at the beginning of March that they would be producing a new show, with Wrestling Hollywood moviestar The Rock. SPIKE decided they'd had enough of Carter and decided to 'ditch the b*itch!' Rock for Dix? Well you would, wouldn't you?

The morale in the TNA locker-room is once more fastly evaporating under Dixie’s loose management. Stars are said to feel that no growth is being made and when contractors leave, they go somewhere else to be a superstar, while TNA has not benefited at all as a company nor the wrestlers boosted who remain trapped there.

Dix is said to have been advised to sit down and inform talent where TNA may actually be going. When signing to Destination America, an unknown company that no-one had heard of, Dixie made a naively weak statement. She added that Destination America would help her get to where she needed to be, someone that would help her produce wrestling. 

The broadcaster, which has no real affiliation to the wrestling industry, which nabbed up TNA on the cheap, under Dixie Carter’s fluttering desperation to gain any TV deal since all broadcasters realised she is not a probable investment, choose idiotically. She signed them to a two year deal, too.

Dixie Carter had real strong proposals to help save her company ranging from Paul Heyman and Max Waltham to which she stupidly snubbed due to her ego thinking she was on top of the world. Dixie, who regularly pimps out talent to ignorant back room gossip shows of no importance and tries to get some headlines in a tacky magazine of no value which plagiarizes Waltham constantly, has shown her ignorant failure to succeed. It does not look like it will ever grow beyond this point with such juvenile decisions. 

Carter, in early 2015, compared herself to WCW and said she was the number two national promotion. Carter’s absurd self-belief has cost her credibility with fans and insiders. In the Wrestling Wonders 2014 Awards, Dixie failed to make the top five companies of the year and was placed in 12th position of all companies. She really is that clueless. Even after crucial advice, she ignorantly continues using what she classes as ‘media’ with her gossip fandom thrills of no value to try and get some views at TNA. She fails to understand this does nothing to get extra views and neglects real fans who could come forward to TNA. These shows destroy any talent hoping to mean something and have proved their insane ignorance too. They will never get over as a result. For a company who wants all its stars to gain numbers, why would you continue throwing your proverbial money down the drain?

Carter has hired ex-WWE writers, keeps rubbish wrestlers she likes personally and puts friends who have no skill or ideas on its creative decision making team, including Playboy model Christy Hemme, who posed nude for the magazine years ago and still dresses provocatively in TNA.

Stop and think or get out of the business. Fans have come to the realisation under their own label of Carter as a fraud who has no place in wrestling any longer. Most can’t wait for her TNA project to sink into that black hole for good.

If Carter can’t get the real people to save her company, she is as doomed as her own ignorant ego. You are running out of chances. Fast. Move it or lose it. There is only so long Daddy Carter can give you hand-outs in money to produce TNA because its Dixie’s new toy project. For well over fifteen years, TNA has failed to make a profit.

Outside talents are wary to join TNA as it could ruin or affect their careers once booked as cheap fodder and empty booking decisions on the shows. 

TNA continues to be saddled with WWE cast offs and hasn't made any 'TNA original' its main star. TNA's recent attempts of giving titles to originals with no idea has made them and the brand, alongside its championship, worthless.  

© Max Waltham 20th March 2015

All Rights Reserved

Monday, 16 March 2015

WWE trainer Bill DeMott: Homophobic, racist, sexist and abusive

Former WWE stars reveal torrent of 
abuse at hands of Bill DeMott

Over the last week or so, WWE’s lead trainer Bill DeMott, a former wrestler in the attitude era, on the jobbers undercard was accused by a former WWE talent of homophobia, racism, sexual harassment and verbal abuse. Since then more revelations had surfaced backstage between talents and officials claiming truth in the allegations. 

Dolph Ziggler’s brother, Ryan Nemeth, who had a pretty boy look in NXT also claimed he was on the receiving end of DeMott’s homophobic bullying. 

Since the heavy story and intense pressure Bill DeMott decided to resign on March 6th from the role of developmental trainer, which WWE accepted. On Twitter the hashtag #FireBillDeMott had gained rapid steam as well as support from other wrestlers. 

WWE’s anti-bullying campaign, which has been quietly in the shadows by WWE since the last year or two on WWE programming since Triple H and Stephanie took over with The Authority angle, issued a statement. 

Independent superstar Joey Ryan was among the supporters with the Be A Star statement, which can be viewed on our Twitter page.

Ryan said - 

Please let WWE know that you don't tolerate bullying, homophobia or racism and neither should they. #Fire Bill DeMott 
Joey Ryan – 04 March 2015

On the day DeMott resigned, another damning allegation was made by an ex- female wrestler with claims of multiple instances of sexual harassment. She added there would be consequences if she reported such claims, adding DeMott had a fear factor among talents with scaring bully tactics on a fallout if allegations were made public.

Former prospect and ex-TNA talent Trenesha Biggers (Rhaka Khan) continued to suggest those above claims alongside physical abuse. Previously in TNA, Biggers claimed stalking and domestic violence against her from ignorant waster Kurt Angle, who had a history of drink and drug abuse where police were called.

Former trainer and respected ex-official by wrestlers, Dr Tom Prichard commented on the issues with WWE’s lack of intervening sooner among the high number of allegations of serious magnitude against DeMott.  

WWE have now informed talent they should bring any problems to officials imminently so they do not fester and become more problematic. Though some talents feel this is simply a ‘sound good on paper’ clean up that will still have troublesome effects if issues are raised. Many talents worry about their future in WWE as a result. 

More letters of DeMott’s era of abuse are said to be surfacing shortly, after many ex-talents were victims of the bullying by DeMott’s hands.

Ignorant has been superstar, who is only there for money collection, Chris Jericho jumped to DeMott’s defence supporting him adding there was no truth to the problems in a crawling attempt to curry favour with WWE upon an impending return for more cash.

Regardless of the multiple claims coming out, homophobia, racism and sexism has been rife in the wrestling world with high consequences in that order. WWE have attempted to deal with or rid its public image of negativity with the minor two on the list, but have yet to deal with the main issue in professional wrestling. For WWE its time it got serious and really dealt with growing issues, instead of sweeping them under the carpet with many issues, including the one in 1994 that almost brought WWE to its knees. 

DeMott has been highly known backstage for his abuse in high form and unquestioned on it. DeMott realised he needed to jump before being pushed and save his dwindling reputation. WWE were hoping it would quieten down after a week or two. WWE need to get real trainers, strong people and morals in place to make a fairer environment to work. Yes, there will be some negative frustrations or expletives dropped when talents don’t train well or right. Talents understand that. Though no-one signs up for immense levels of unwarranted abuse to achieve their goals. With America towing the line as the country of the free, freedom does not seem to be something it is intent on continuing under a democratic process, even if WWE are Republican voters. Hard Knocks will be naturally to take. Hurled abuse, is not acceptable in such unnecessary quantities. There is a distinction. 

WWE need to rid its problems than sit on them. Forward thinking has evaded WWE for a long while. It’s time to stop taking everything for granted or easy and step it up again. This won’t include Trips and Steph doing a PR round at Be A Star rallies or speeches. Actions speak louder than words. WWE are desperate to maintain their image that it has built WWE on. Affecting Be A Star with their investment and disinterest could be another damning blow for WWE if they eventually lose the charity/institution aiming to change problems for the better. 

No-one expects everything to change, nor overnight, but WWE should and can make a start for its future. Failing that, this is another long-term problem on the surface that could jeopardise WWE’s future in coming years. 

© Max Waltham 16th March 2015
All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Samoa Joe to WWE? Would it work?

Could Samoa Joe make it in WWE?

Over the last few couple of weeks, Samoa Joe and TNA parted ways when Samoa Joe’s contract expired. Joe has not yet re-signed and since has been under speculation of an offer from WWE. Talks have already taken place, however fans seem to forget the last two years when Triple H asked Joe to follow him on Twitter so the pair could exchange private messages. These were details indicating WWE were keen to talk with Joe once his TNA contract was up.

Triple H is said to be very keen on making Samoa Joe his new pet project and boost him under the WWE directive. However, can Joe honestly provide something new to fans, be a new star in said company and have credible options for the future?

Let’s address these now then, shall we?

Joe was going nowhere in TNA and knows it, so he is now able to hear external offers to see if they are viable for him. That’s not a negative choice to make. Though TNA have proven their desperation for Joe which has somewhat convoluted the issue.

Samoa Joe has no real worth in TNA but even so he doesn’t have any in WWE, either. What can Joe honestly do? A burly bloke in a tee shirt who has exhausted his career in TNA, has no real aptitude or presence to make it, pardon the pun, big. Joe is a vanilla block that will never materialise in WWE and is only selected for looking popular to fans by Triple H and impressing daddy in law, Vince McMahon with a big man to be crafted the ‘WWE way’.

The problem Triple H fails to realise yet again, after such crucial advice, is that these pet projects are so ill thought out and chosen on a whim that it makes WWE look inferior and tacky. Joe can’t offer any real star quality in WWE and is just a jobber that might and it’s a strong might, make it to mid card title reign now and again if he’s lucky. He is not any level of a star now or forever.

So why are WWE getting it so wrong? Is it stubborn juvenile choice? Triple H has chosen call ups recently from WWE developmental territory NXT. These included WWE diva Paige who has shown to be a complete fluke with no real skill, overwhelmed by others on the main roster, also without any direction switching from favourite to hater in minutes. She was chosen by Triple H as the ‘fan choice’ to seem like WWE know how to appeal to fans as they raved about her on dirt sheets. The majority do not watch NXT and for those who do, they were simply gushing over a chance of change from the main roster having no competition. Sometimes call ups so green are not the answer. Triple H once added he wanted no plans for any call ups who did not have a strong creative place on the main rosters.

Triple H’s other pet projects included the failed tag team division over the last year or so, Kharma failing and Sin Cara being an abysmal flop decision. It is not looking good for someone dubbed the future of the business after Vince McMahon. Seeming like he is listening to fans, Triple H has done anything but listen to crucial advice. His ego upon hearing it goes through the roof and becomes personal. He needs to calm down and control himself. This is not going to boost your reputation by being absurdly wayward and neglectful of those offering guidance, support and ever more than average whatnot.

Triple H wanted to prove he could choose someone, have his reputation boosted and gain fan respect. Trying to turn the screw, Triple H messed up his own seemingly clever plan. It backfired spectacularly.

All the stars that could and should be hired or called up are not the ones WWE select, which puts its fan base in natural neglect of WWE’s failure to connect with its so called Universe.

Vince McMahon wants the big, tall boys. Triple H looks towards the supporting cast. Though Hunter has pressure to impress. He realises he needs to schmooze McMahon for the respect by picking some of his ‘types’ of guys. Trips feels he chooses carefully, but cannot help choosing personally. This is what troubles WWE for its longterm future. Fans, already feeling it is watered down with characters and outdated routines, is driving people back to disinterest, even if they are WWE loyals. Though eventually, they are dropping or missing shows.  McMahon, whether he likes to admit it or not, respects people for their opinion, often disagreeable, where legitimate to the cause, not pooch petting pandering.

There are alternatives and people are starting to find them.

© Max Waltham 12th March 2015

All Rights Reserved

Friday, 6 March 2015

Wrestling Wonders Pro 25 2014

Wrestling Wonders Pro
Wrestling Women's
25 2014

Welcome to the annual Wrestling Wonders Pro 25 of 2014.
Here, Max Waltham appreciates and honours the twenty-five most hard working, skillful and leading ladies who made waves in the 2014 pro wrestling calendar.
All listed have been considered from the period of 1st January 2014 - 31st December 2014. This is not a 'who is at the top of a wrestling promotion' or 'girls I fancy' list.
Wrestling skill, talent, promos and all round effectiveness as a wrestler with interesting or exceptional qualities on show have been judged.
Do you have a view? Then please share this if you wish, but keep it clean and constructive. Thank You. Leave a comment below, or click the Social Media tab to comment on our online proffiles pages. You can also use the hashtag #WWPro25.
Written and finalised on 7th January 2015.
You're Welcome!
2013 Placing - Unlisted
Started with directionless feud against Aksana and Alicia Fox where Fox was strting to go cray cray... Lost to Tamina in a 4:11 Main Event booster... Joined the all rostered Vickie Guerrero Invitational Divas title grab bag, failing to dethrone champ AJ... Held decent three minute singles with Natalya on Raw in May... Moved around as spare with extra divas before Cameron, Naomi and Alicia Fox involvements... Fell out with sister Brie after becoming Stephanie McMahon's picked on girl due to Brie and husband Daniel Bryan's ungratefullness to The Authority... Punished Brie herself upon sister return as personal servant for one month with upsetting and degrading tasks, which boosted Nikki's transition... Was clearly steered towards Divas title challenge at Night of Champions in failed Triple Threat with AJ and flunkie Paige... Won Smackdown Divas title contendership to go on to Survivor Series in which Brie Bella mimicked the Wrestlemania AJ-Daniel Bryan kiss moment, causing Nikki to win the championship in 0:34... Title win repaired sisterhood with Brie... Gained rematch at TLC in which better match was on show which should have been at Survivors... Suffered unknown injury to viewers which Bella worked through in tags...
Neccessary title win was moment Bella needed, but once gained was booked in less than favourable circumstances... Is now having slight difficulty being respectable champ alongside nagging injury... Still maintains strong work prinicpals and tries to improve... Needs to take care with interactions and make more connectivity with opponents to gain full fan respect... Could have good opportunites if worked for...
2013 Placing - 18
Beat Santana Garrett in a smooth SHINE battle on 24th January... Continued progress month later in follow up event with Angelina Love which was another improving fullfiller... Fought Taeler Hendrix in March with sheer grace, dignity and control... Dropped Mia Yim at PWS event which was filled with intense action thrills... Gained big win over Mercedes Martinez in highly workable and unobvious to trained eye duet of style and charisma gifted by both wrestlers... Participated in ten man tag elimination winning as team Valkyrie with another captivating outing... Took on Cheerleader Melissa at AWS 4th Women's tourney ending as an effective loss proving value once more as performer... Had most challenging and outstanding position yet in six minute time limit draw against Ivelisse Velez for SHINE title climax...
Whilst often perceived as extra on indy scene helping out where possible, fr last two years Serena has proved to be anything but... Able to hold own with style, charisma, grace and effective mat work... Could grow further over next year given chance... May be solid option for tag teaming where available... Can still be worthy as singles also... Has much to give and hard effort is recognisable asset...

2013 Placing - Unlisted

Returned from maternity leave to rejoin TNA in May at Knockout's Knockdown PPV which was a complete mess... Went to nonsensical no contest with Gail Kim after only four minutes on 25th June Impact Knockout's title challenge... Gave good matches with Gail Kim over August to retain some credibility... Joined most of female roster in loss to bumbling new signing Havok, making another insider joke of absolute laughter at TNA as a company trying to be 'on the ball'... Held own worth in three way contendership title match with Angelina Love and Madison Rayne in September... Finally scored the big one at TNA's Impact taping over Gail Kim and Havok in a compelling victory for Terrell...

Great return with key players and thrust into main scene was highlighting boost... Marred by lack of TNA direction under clueless bookers with no respect other than producing segment making instantly forgettable... Needs strong booking as champion with worthy opponents and strong reasons... Has tried hardest to help TNA succeed despite making its own mistakes on yet another growing prospect...
2013 Placing - 23

Began dependable year proving herself in Japanese market over January at Stardom promotion with capable losses... Continued technique in February with rewarding victories and harder push as starring figure... Went for Artist of Stardom title in March on losing end of six team tag pleaser with leading figure Hiroyo Matsumoto... Won tag scrap with trusted partner Tomoka Nakagawa over Madison Eagles and Nicole Matthews at SHIMMER triple events back to back smoothly also beating ignorant Saraya Knight... Sat at top of SHIMMER tag division once more in October among Eight man No disqualification tag match... Took hold of tag titles in SHIMMER from Matthews and Portia Perez in another controlled and satisfying result... Put in couple more decent shows for Stardom over November... Finished up year over December with REINA victories involving Kyoko Kimura to further pleasing effect...

Has proved to be consistent performer since debut on last year's WW Pro 25... Is growing a steady pace but has tough competition rising... Needs to embody more personality and hidden something to mold together full package if to rise greater... Should try to avoid negative influences that could harm progress... Haste would not be her strong point over potential ignorance... Needs time to grow...
2013 Placing - Unlisted

Began debut on WWE Raw in January as part of crowd audience, eventually referenced by WWE, holding signs reading 'Emmatainment'... Continued crowd interactions until finally pulled into squared circle by Santino Marella for a dance off with Summer Rae... Was called up to wrestling action with Summer Rae on 24th February Raw gaining considerable three minute victory as starting point... Challenged flunkie NXT divas champion Paige on NXT Arrival which made Paige look good... Dropped Rae and her beau Fandango in mixed tag with Marella whilst teasing romance between her and Santino... Joined divas in a four on four collaboration which gave her a moment to please... Received huge call up as diva extra in Wrestlemania Vickie Guerrero Invitational to try and stop AJ retaining Divas championship... Adopted Marella's Cobra manouever called the Ven-Emma, to Layla, who replaced Rae as lothario Fandango's new babe... Pair teased Cobra love with glove puppets... Lost call up pal Marella over before Summer with retirement... Returned to minor television... Had embarrassing mistake at self-service checkout blunder when accidentally not paying for $20 item earning court appearance instead of scheduled Raw... Came back stronger than ever at Survivor Series chancer as best performer of the night with amazing technicality...

Has been given strong call up with outstanding potential to succeed despite WWE stalling for others... Should instantly be re-called to Divas division as strong contender... Survivor Series was proof enough Emma is not only capable, but insanely skilled to drive female division into more comfortable place as serious entity... Battles with Bellas and Natalya could prove profitable...
2013 Placing - Unlisted

Started January with wasteful title victory from Gail Kim in a returning moment from Rayne's pregnancy at Genesis spanning just four minutes... Fell into feud with Kim and her heavy Lei'd Tapa which was more than awkward in booking and match fluidity... Fought Kim again in gimmick Steel Cage at Lockdown which was a consistent effort by both... Lost to returning enemy Angelina Love, who reunited with Velvet Sky in March that made no real sense... Lost Knockout's title to Love over eight minutes of mess ending April... Spent lengthy feud against The Beautiful People, Love and Sky for months which became sloppy and tired program... regained KO title from Love on Impact on 16th September three way with Taryn Terrell decently... Hilariously lost title in next night taping to bumbling disaster Havok in another TNA stupidity booking angle... Took time out after September during good match with Taryn over eight mins...

Returning to Dixie Carter's favouritism title reward without any earning or wonder was plain ridiculous... Rayne needs to be more controlled in the ring with exchanges and spacial awareness to gain better connection... Desperately in need of new competition if staying at top of title race... Could use some time out as valet or group extra that has logical sense than obvious two minute choice...

2013 Placing - Unlisted

Was dropped in foolish tag match with partner Joey Ryan over ten minutes at DDT in January to ignorant bedfellows Adam Cole and burly bloke in a tee shirt Kevin Steen which was complete waste of time and effort... Looked very daft in paper sounding great booking against ignorant Adam Cole for PWG title intergender lunacy comedy angle destroying credibility... Shone in tough thriller with Athena at SHIMMER loss... Dropped multiple teams in Queen and King of Ring tournament for WSU reaching finals with controlled and supportive tag principals... Won and lost DREAMWAVE tag titles over two nights, back to back in June which was fun and decent but somewhat silly longterm... Will be interesting to see how both Ryan and LeRae can transcend from gimmick tag team to considerable contenders... Regained PWG tag titles in August from naive ignorant stuntmen The Jackson's, Matt and Nick... Defended titles night later in another doubly ignorant test with ignorant Christopher Daniels with Kazarian and Rich Swann with ignorant youngling Ricochet where action was over-convoluted and sloppy... Took the biscuit against ignorant string bean Johnny Gargano at AIW event in lukewarm event... Beat Ivelisse Velez for FWE title in boosting but cheap win at Refueled... Ruined steed with tag defence against Chuck Taylor and washed up ignorance Gargano once more in another lacking bout... Failed to impress final year end with empty matches of no worth for growing rookie hoping to become relevant factor on indy scene...

Given correct instances and decent opponents would support them and the scene they hope to reignite... Need to be careful of fading out... Both have strong value to independent scene, especially Ryan... Should not have it scuppered by ignorance... Needs serious booking as team than card buzz appearance to wear off in seconds of live action... Has strong potential to re-build tag and mixed teaming...
2013 Placing - Unlisted

Started short partnership with Natalya against growing challenger Sasha Banks... Took on Banks for her NXT Women's title Quarter Finals loss which highlighted both's potential in glowing technical tussle... Landed into feud with BFF's Banks and Charlotte boosting capability to work with newer talent every week... Two month feud with Charlotte was filled with power, intent, skill and energy... Televised loss in October to champion Charlotte continued to exemplify potential... Constant loss frustrated partner Alixa Bliss who switched on Bayley with break up attack... Change of events forced Bayley to side with Charlotte over coming weeks to Bliss and Banks, continuing another red hot mini-feud... Was storyline injured at hands of Banks and Bliss in November to buy well placed time...

Currently sitting pretty in NXT, former Ms Davina Rose is proof WWE can make indy hires probable if it wants too take the chance... One for the future, Bayley has growth to make, but is profitable, longterm... Sweet attitude, look and love for business is humbling fan requirement... Needs to be mixed up in NXT booking than reliy too much on same formula to avoid becoming stale... 2016 could be her year...
2013 Placing - Unlisted

Made stunning progress on indepenedent circuit in starting months including battles with Mercedes Martinez, Ivelisse, Mia Yim and Allysin Kay with tense ferocity among controlled ring psychology... MAde impressive connection at ACW annual Joshi Queen's card beating Jessica James to retain the Joshi title with splendid first round glory... Continued to the finals on same evening fending off Candice LaRae and Leva Bates in further fresh monumental title defences... Made Ivelisse shine for SHINE title defence as Yung lost keeping place as supporting worker with skill apparent... Ended year with gripping loss to Allysin Kay on November China tour for WNN...

Always near the WW Pro 25 but short of the final list, has made boosting debut this year... Tension, durability and connection as performer contains character and skill for future wrestling scene... Has no plans on fading into background... Is dependable force to be relied upon but should have own chances than always carrying others, done perfectly to the naked eye of viewers...

2013 Placing - Unlisted

Started regaining stride on independent scene after being kicked to curb by TNA last year including cool battles with Leah Von Dutch... Fought Serena Deeb in another controlled technical encounter at SHINE in February... Was re-called to TNA with lucrative offer, which Love was obvious to accept... Feeling incomplete, Love returned to form The Beautiful People with gal pal Velvet Sky in TNA... Won easy four way contendership to Knockout's title with Gail Kim, Brittany and ODB... Joined Team Roode as bit part in daft World Cup series PPV which did nothing for her... Bested Madison Rayne for debut Knockout's title challenge on return to win gold over eight minute inconsistency... Randomly lost the title to Gail Kim on Impact in attempt to seem like TNA knew how to shake up already turbulent company with booking choices... Defended against minor players Rayne and Brittany until June, where Gail Kim dropped her for title in four way flop... Silly 'on-paper' Last Knockout Standing gimmick match was pitiful for her and retaining champ Kim on Impact... Could not return as feasible contender... Became random girlfriend of Jessie Godderz when Beautiful People joined the BroMans fighting Dixie Carter's laughable travelling circus group The Menagerie... Ended with a credible match against Nevaeh at QOC event on November 30th...
2013 Placing - Unlisted

Joined Tsukasa Fujimoto in boosting tag match win for name value at Ice Ribbon including defence as international Ribbon tag team champions... Continued name building against Bete Noire in a short but compelling ten minute draw... International Ribbon tag champs victory over seventeen minutes was efficient display of team value... Shone at Ice Ribbon with three exceptional tag defences over March within days of each other highlighting charisma... Stepped onto SHIMMER stage at April with great battles against Mercedes Martinez and Athena... Summer entry into Catch the WAVE finals rewarded victory over Misaki Ohata in a spotlight enhancing titillater... Impressed enough to nab Regina di WAVE title from Ohka month later in a 21:07 sensation... Went to Barcelona to drop Leah Owens for the RCW Women's title in crowning moment overseas on 04th October... Defended both Regina di WAVE and RCW straps in all or nothing suspender on 29th... Continued superiority as double champ with December victory from Mo Shirai in a thirty minute time limit draw of grand proportions...

Maintains worth as singles and tag competitor... Has grown from unknown 26 year old rookie to double champion with intercontinental reach... Skilled technique, brawling attitude and grand presence proves hungry young starter is ready for more... Has much more to give and receive... Only getting started...
2013 Placing - Unlisted
Started NXT year with mild matches against Bayley with strong improvement all round... Moved into tag partnership with Charlotte as BFFs to battle Bayley and her random other partners with promise... Delivered in NXT Women's title tournament mid year passing Bayley in short but skilled match falling to Natalya in the semi finals with technical grace... Really shone mic skills and in-ring work over next few months in tag feud now including Becky Lynch as opponent... All four complimented one another perfectly to drive better product with mat support... Rejoined Women's title race with number one contendership losing out to Bayley in another technical romper stomper lasting eight minutes over Summer... Frustrated, Banks fell out with Charlotte and joined Alexa Bliss who changed opinon on Bayley with attacks... After the foursome pairs switched sides, Banks put in another stunning skillful showing against Charlotte over November... Finally challenged for Charlotte's Women's title twice over December tapings which boosted both to high position for WWE females with yet another magnificent match...

Has been slow grower with high potential over 2014... Good looks, great ring action and strong mic skills make Banks one for WWE's female future... Needs to be enhanced more now Charlotte is moving on... Finding footing in NXT has propelled her to greater experience with technique... Could join main roster as last as September 2015 or early 2016, if WWE figure a tougher plan...

2013 Placing - Unlisted

Proved to be tough test on National Wrestling Day against champ Joe Pittman for his WIH La Copa Idolo gold... Lost a rushed but manically pleasing Mixed Stretcher six man tag in March... Joined SHIMMER for another stunning series of matches including against Madison Eagles and Angie Skye... Showed contained effort at JCW May tour events... Lost to Athena during AIW Women's title scrap raising credibility... Passed Ivelisse Velez decently in Woman's QPW tournament but lost in semis to Christina Von Eerie vividly... Teamed with Athena in AAW tag title contest reaching finals losing the gold after hearty attempt... Lost AAW's Heritage title in yet another intergender match with Christian Faith... Beat Missile Assault Ant in CHIKARA Young Lions Cup title finals with a comical yet highly entertaining aerial thrill...
Has become new up and comer in terms of acknowledgement from fans due to hard work and in-ring showcase... Has tough brawler attitude which can work but needs some tweaks to more refined character... Aims to entertain wherever possible... Gimmick intergender matches too much could affect position and legitmacy if often relied upon to prove can go with the big boys...
2013 Placing - 16

Niave decision to challenge ignorant female Sweet Saraya on British soil did not put her careerin best starting light after intense boosts from Wrestling Wonders Pro 25 last year... Lost Bellatrix World title to Liberty night later in March after rookie performance... Flew back to SHIMMER to regain stead with Mercedes Martinez for NCW Femmes International title unsuccessfully... Lost to improving star Veda Scott in tidy filler... Won the NCW Femmes gold from Martinez in career boosting move on 16th August... Decent defence guided by Cheerleader Melissa in October...

Started well, considering, with endorsement from WW Pro 25 last year... Has got options available for start in business if correctly and carefully thought upon... Has good look and capable skills to get across to audiences as new star to invest time in... Needs to refine skillset with more in-ring experience to build profile as serious contender, which is probable... Interesting development...


2013 Placing - 1

Made impressive start to year in February in comical yet technically pleasing battle of the babes against Joey Ryan at QPW intergender match victory... Could not wrest PWR title in compact three way on 22nd with champ Christina Von Eerie and Savanah Riley... Stunning performances at SHIMMER events defending title in scorchers with Yumi Ohka and Mia Yim...  Thirty minute Iron Man draw with rising star Courtney Rush was smooth action from both... Won APW Women's tilte in Four Way Elimination dominance... Technical tussel with Serena Deeb in May was another glowing highlight... Year and half reign as SHIMMER champion came crashing down in stunning match with new propsect Nicole Matthews on 18th October featuring Athena and Madison Eagles... Lost fierce battle with Athena in Knockout or submission SHIMMER scrap... Put in final year ending match of worth with Courtney Rush in failed attempt to gain NCW Femmes Fatales International title...

Has dipped since last year's number one in WW Pro 25 but still maintain strong placing... Should try to avoid any level of ignornace in and out of ring which could harm career... Plaque's an caps of plagiariser's is not profitable... Works well on Indy scene and has boosted others fairly... Strong partnership with Joey Ryan is another joy to bubbling chemistry on show... Should stay as singles competitor for now, with controlled style and provoke stronger battles with mix of talent...
2013 Placing - Unlisted

Began baby steps on NXT in early months with Bayley, Emma and Natalya with improvement along the way... Took to the big time over May in NXT Women's title tournament reaching semi finals with sterling results... Joined BFF's with Sasha Banks in battles with Bayley, in-between... Stunned with successful flair to nab vacant NXT Women's title from Natalya month later as top diva in NXT pecking order... Continued stunning defences with Bayley as champion to drive fan interest in female's at WWE once again... Eventually took on former pal who cast her aside, Sasha Banks for NXT gold with exceptional skill and pinpoint accuracy as an opposing duo... Is filling time in NXT, whilst waiting for potential call up to main roster...

Successfully surpassed tag of Ric Flair's daughter to prove own ground as performer... Has picked up wrestling skills like duck to water... Improvement and learning constantly, Charlotte is committed to making star rise... Is close to main roster call up and eventual key player for divas division... Quick riser has strong place as singles divas title racer, alongside other NXT diva call ups, if WWE push it...

2013 Placing - 10

Lost on home soil in Australia at NPW to Concrete Davidson and Harley Wonderland as The Green Nation with Mick Moretti in a credible opener regaining stride and confidence... Returned to form in April at SHIMMER with absolute control, skill and fluidity with others... Filled in tag battle over win in June against husband Ryan Eagles... Came back two months later with Moretti as Four Nations to win PWA tag title Gauntlet with further encapsulating results... Returned at annual October SHIMMER events to dazzle once more including tense draw with Nicole Matthews... Advanced from draw with Matthews in four way SHIMMER title test putting over all participants, including Cheerleader Melissa and Athena to crown Matthews as new champ taking high profile wins under belt... Ended year with December loss in smooth match against KC Cassidy for MCW...
After minr setbacks has returned strong and held firm ground... Still continues to give wrestling skill laced with tight interactions... Has benefitted from slow insertion back into build ups with others including tag teams... Should continue tagging and singles to regain momentum... Always capable earner never failing to push hard for end goal...
2013 Placing - 6

Made match appearance at SHINE in January with a competitively engaging battle over Su Yung... Took on Ivelisse Velez for SHINE title month later in losing appetiser... As NCW Femmes Fatales International Champion defended from Courtney Rush on SHIMMER 62 card alluringly... Captivated further over busy April against Mia Yim, tag team Kellie Skater and Tomoko Nakagawa and Hikaru Shida in mesmeric battles of wrestling worth... Challenged Serena Deeb to compact mat action on 18th... Defended NCW Femmes title in electrifying four way over Angie Skye, Missy and Leah Von Dutch... Returned in August to defend NCW gold again in new four way thriller with Cheerleader Melissa and ignorant LuFisto won by rising prospect Courtney Rush...
Has provided strong detail and helps others to shine perfectly... Generous in ring action filled with own technical style has not hindered rise on WW Pro 25... Effective championship reign backed up with intense battles of invested value continues to stamp Martinez as huge asset to Women's Wrestling...
2013 Placing - 20

Lost AIW Women's title in six minute battle against Veda Scott in decent starter only to lose the gold moments later in three minute waste against Leah Von Dutch over February... Moved into female SHINE tag titles challenge with MAde in Sin partner Taylor Made reaching finals after stunning technique on show... Reclaimed AIW title from Dutch on 29th March at Girls Night Out... Took on Sassy Stephie for Remix Pro Fury strap in unsuccessful but charming collision... Battered down Jessicka Havok in Last Man Standing June victory with impressive force... Put over Liberty at Bellatrix title challenge with another pleasant portrayal of charisma... Lost AIW title to Athena in outstanding singles No Disqualification wonder... Joined WWNLive in China tour with positive tag results but failed to snare SHINE title from Ivelisse in satisfying shows...

Has been resident grower on the WW Pro 50 for three years with impressive style and grace... Technique is improving rapidly with communication and personal growth to character... Is proving capabilities as in ring technician among beauty brawler... Should find major titles on its way soon... Can carry an event as solid booking choice with smooth results...
2013 Placing - 9

Began year with intense and co-operative battles in WVAE promotion with strong personality leading to March... Took on Jennifer Blake, Villano IV and Blue Demon Jr in six man Mexico tag loss with tantalising thrill alongside Great Hamada and Fenix... Stunned in two of three falls four man tag encounter with clean sweep... Dropped WAVE tag titles to Isami Kodaka and Yuko Miyamoto in thirteen minute distinction with pard Yuu Yamagata over Summer... Rematch month later in three way chancer was another outstanding display of depth and sophistication... Regained gold at Virgin Code October enthraller with technical groove... Defended titles in a comfortable December defence displaying another supreme effort as dependable and skilled veteran of female wrestling...

Snapped up by WAVE promotion has built up Hamada's reputation as much as the promotion... Both are valuable assets to one another, Japanese wrestling and female's in abundance... Has shone in role as tag veteran able to go and also support with multiple factors of sustainability... Puts on tantalising show for fans and audiences that respect name worth on cards, boosting value for everyone involved...

2013 Placing - 7

Joined WAVE's Annual Royal Rumble with 76 others for a good efforted battle... Commitment to Japanese promotions JWP, ZERO 1 and Osaka Pro were rewarded with string of undefeated glory... Romper stomped April SHIMMER showings with impressive victories and putting over other talent at same time including Nikki Storm and ThunderKitty... Participated in epic 100 Count Rules challenge with Shuu Shibutani in ultimate entertaining endurance test over eight minutes at 100-99...  Continual respect from Japense market with WAVE and others alongside Kenny Omega was further thrills... Took on Cheerleader Melissa for SHIMMER title in expert match loss at Volume 67... Won REINA Tag titles with Arisa Nakajima over November with sheer grace... Grabbed hold of REINA Women's title on Boxing Day bash over Syuri at Final Stage with technical joy to finish career defining year..

Put in most extraordinary work with hugest commitment over 2014 with bookings like mad from Japan and America... Why she has no titles, including the SHIMMER strap, in her prime at 33, is a baffling mystery... Remained at top of game in Women's wrestling scene for last three years as prominent force with no sign of failure... Constantly committed talent maintains Women's scene fruitfully...
2013 Placing - 6

Won huge victory over rising talent Allysin Kay in a No disqualification, Fall Count Anywhere beaut at Girls Night Out... Worked tirelessly over April including at SHIMMER with Candice LaRae, Hikaru Shida and Heidi Lovelace with excellence ring-psychology and poise... Put in another stunning three way with Cheerleader Melissa and winner Sassy Stephie for vacant Remix Pro Title... Gave a tender match with Veda Scott in a guiding and growing match for both on personal growth... Made it to Annual Joshi Queen's tournament semi finals, passing Jenny Rose with grace, stopped by Leva Bates in another charming contest... Took on Veda Scott and Allysin Kay on same night in AIW title defence enticer... Put over Nicole Matthews in four way SHIMMER build up for championship professionally...

Still a wonder how alluring female capable of skill and talent has not been yet given WWE contract... At 26, Athena has grace, fluidity and contained style befitting of wrestling thrill... Could well win singles title of main value over or toward end year of 2015... Could be built up for SHIMMER title running April to October... Committed professional has many avenues to travel...
2013 Placing - 3

Played second fiddle to Madison Rayne in consistent matches over January as title race contender... Doomed relationship with now invisible hire Lei'D Tapa began to sour over February ending in Tapa's quiet release from TNA... Fought in Steel Cage Knockout's singles with Rayne in another title fail with charisma on show... Lost out in April as main title contender to returning Angelina Love... On losing end of World Cup craziness in TNA PPV mismanagement... Continued losing in Battle Royal stupidity by TNA despite sterling effort... Eventually upgraded to close call challenger again among short stock with new champ Love at Slammiversary... Finally defeated Angelina Love for Knockouts Title in pathetic four minute Impact match in June destroying feasibility as throwaway champ... Worked backside off to help Love and returning Taryn Terrell remain worthy opponents in TNA's times of booking lunacy lacking direction... Became judge in sad bit part TV show filled with failed British wrestling wannabees of no relevance wasting her time... Put in considerable time until dethroned by leather clad mess Havok who was insanely inadequate... Title shifted to Terrell in three way from Havok using Kim for legitimacy... Quietly disappeared after contract renewal issues...
Number one player for TNA has passed contract time... If re-signing to TNA, most likely, would need to be given, as always, better involvement with Knockout's that are meaningful than empty throwaways... Again, is TNA's key player for KO's and requires something more, even if not in title race... Builds others perfectly but can't be relied on and dismissed forever...
2013 Placing - 17

Bodyguard partner Tamina became useful heavy for AJ avoiding key participation building reputation to scene greatly... Took on Cameron at Elimination Chamber in empty Divas title defence ending in disqualification... Rematch on Smackdown days later was tad worse... Teased split with Tamina built up Wrestlemania Divas gold defence in Vickie Guerrero Invitational to shockingly beat all locker-room divas beyond doubt... Was made absolute fool of in random title loss to new competition in green rookie call up from NXT under popularity clause to win Diva's title in goaded impromptu match during 7th April Raw... Took lengthy hiatus from WWE almost three months long... Returned to Raw as honurable diva asking Paige for impromptu rematch mirroring 7th April loss to which fluke diva Paige worryingly accepted and lost in 1:04... Dropped Paige in new series over Battleground with ease... Put Paige over again despite numerous mistakes from opponent at Summerslam in another green title win by Paige under four minutes long... Beat transitional two time flunkie champion Paige month later at Night of Champions in Triple Threat with Nikki Bella... Worked brief tag match with Emma well against Alicia Fox and Paige... Given considerable 6.55 at Hell in a Cell where AJ held all match together with Paige who was littered with even more mistakes and liabilities in the ring as a performer... Moved into new program with Nikki Bella which was a step up for stale competition... Lost Divas title to Nikki in 34 seconds at Survivor Series after sister Brie kissed AJ mimicking AJ's then boyfriend Daniel Bryan at Wrestlemania title loss to Sheamus... Had proper match at TLCAS in seven minute credible Bella victory...

Dire feud with flunkie diva Paige ruined legitimacy of Divas title, to which AJ had maintained perfectly... Mrs. CM Punk continues to put in credible performances when coming up against odds of bad opponents... Deserves quality match worthy opponents than working tepid under-performers... Could work programs with Emma, as dishourabale lady in future... Still has battles waiting with Nikki and Tamina, on worthy stages built with strong potential if booked right... Kept division strong and held own standing in mix of inadequacies surrounding her... Unmatched diva had no competition...
2013 Placing - 2
Failed to take it easy with International Ribbon tag title defence in January with Hikaru Shida firmly... Defended ICExInfinity gold month later in yet another strong encounter... String of undefeated tag matches back to back over March weekly proved strong testament to squared circle in lengthy bouts... Gave a gorgeous near twenty minute ICE title battle with Risa Sera in June... Came in third place at WAVE's Adeyaka Block in gripping three way against Kyoko Kimura and Tomoka Nakagawa... Wrestled on SHIMMER cards in October with further tantalisers against Mia Yim, Nevaeh and Sassy Stephie... Continued epic stride in Japan including One Night Only Six man tag Gauntlet entries selling stron for others among self skill boosted... Finished up year with ICE title defences over Sera and Arisa Nakajima in more remarkable encounters of extremely high value...
Last year's number two in WW Pro 25 has kept form and risen to number one... Displays cutesy character with controlled attitude and enhanced ring skills unmatched by many... Has wide future for decades at top should companies respect full potential... Throughouly adored by Japan... Four time ICE champion since July 2013 (Only 2014 counted) has continued to maintain female wrestlers, newcomers and veterans in strong mix for future generations... If WWE ever wanted one female from Japan, she would be it... Other promotions should not even bother... Strong future remains...
Who will be able to not only improve and impress, but maintain their position? As always we will be watching with intregue and hope to see even more fruitfull seeds laid to the beauty that is a flourshing Women's Wrestling showcase.
Want to read last years? Click here - WW Pro 25 2013
Alternatively you can read all the Pro 25's and the 50's (for the guys) on the relatively named tabs at the top of this page.

© Max Waltham 06th March 2015
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