Saturday, 31 January 2015

Roman Reigns and the Rumble fallout. Why is the WWE Universe so mad?

The Royal Rumble fallout with Roman Reigns. Why was it so wrong and can WWE get it right on retraction? 

Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble match, and with it caused immense upset. WWE miscalculated the effect it would be expecting with 'the normal’ overreaction from fans failing to get their way then caving into normality afterward. This wasn't it.

Has WWE lost its touch with fans? To an extent yes, but not overall. Yet all is also salvageable.

Fans accept it is not Reigns fault and there is no personal displeasure with Reigns, but fans concern is that he is not ready. He isn’t. WWE are not backing down and hopeful it can work with the John Cena hard push that launched that very star years ago. Ah, hope. Recently mocked by WWE  upon advice is now their main support. Therein lies the problem. Roman Reigns as John Cena number two, on an already negative reaction, will have catastrophic future outcomes should this continue. Roman Reigns could be the second John Cena with disastrous effects. WWE really do need to reassess.

WWE’s priority is the WWE Network. They have not been shy about that either. Fine. Though the stars that drive the content are needed to please fans, and when there is not that in place, there is a problem needing to be rectified. 

WWE get confused with fickle fans. The stock for WWE drastically declined after the Royal Rumble pay per view. The following Monday’s Raw, initially cancelled, then postponed, which later aired, caused a rise. The format was forced to change. Fans were interested to see how WWE would get around a real crisis on its hands affecting programming and turning a positive in response. They did so and they needed little tools to achieve it. They could have held off of the repeats, but at short notice, what can you do? Even so, it worked out. Though fans have unsubscribed and crashed WWE’s Network in its millions. The company boasted one million subscribers early this week, met with scrutiny with numbers. Many felt WWE either misrepresented those numbers or instead counted overall figures. Stock on Thursday was at roughly 912 instead of a million. WWE have been known to lie about attendance at PPV's, especially Wrestlemania sellout crowds. Fans don't feel trusting any longer.

So, what is WWE doing so wrong and why such a tremendous upset with fans they could not envisage as serous to future company progression?

The problems

Brock Lesnar and the WWE title have not been defended for months on programming and stalled until Royal Rumble. Lesnar gave one of the greatest matches and defined his role as a credible champion. Though his credibility was undermined by his absence at the height of WWE where fans quietly preserved but felt they missed out along the way. The top title needs to be at the top of its game for WWE fans.

The creative team/WWE management tension is another problem fans are mildly becoming furious with on the surface. The direction and mishaps on programming, mostly Raw, with no logic or understanding is driving a tiresome product for fans.

The true stars are sidelined. The stars fans want to see rise for the good of the product and not their own way is another issue. They want Antonio Cesaro, Bray Wyatt and others. The plain Jane’s in Barrett, Ziggler and The Miz aren’t the future any longer. They were three years ago. Some fans hold out hope for Ziggler not for skill or want, but because he is their measly last hope and has been transferred into the fan role of CM Punk. Desperately hoping he would be the next change is ludicrous but there as fans final attempt at change. Though WWE know Ziggler is not going to materialise big time and fans contained support over the top in ungracious want drives WWE further apart from non business minded fans. When they finally got Ziggler’s push, it was underwhelming and fans don’t know what to do now. Their stars are not being utilised correctly or at all. They want the Sandow’s and Axel’s to come up as well. They want big men too, but Roman Reigns, Cena, Big Show and the blubber’s with little talent are not what they need. Resentment settles when too much is dismissed. Some blame CEO Vince McMahon for his 1980’s approach to big bulk size and six foot requirements. Fans will like one of those if they have the talent and skills. This current era is the most difficult and pressured than Attitude, 80’s or any other era to breakout. Though in those days they had risks taken and new stars were thrust into the chance of limelight, even if they failed. WWE can still protect them, but it needs to be constant and firm with backup.

Daniel Bryan not winning wasn’t the problem here. The fact that someone who was not at all over on Reigns and is struggling to connect with the audience on a wider scale and WWE’s failure to accept it caused problems. No-one could appreciate it. They don’t want their time spent wasted on a weak concept going forward. If WWE feels this is a power game unwilling to buckle to fans, who want WWE to listen to their concerns legitimately, WWE has a big problem coming at Wrestlemania. As much as Reigns is wanted, he can’t carry WWE, even if he really wishes to do so.

Take this example then. Can Reigns, if say a crisis occurred where all the lights and everything conked out, but the match in-ring was still on-going. Could Reigns work and lead this match to a natural and think on the spot direction? The answer is no. His logical call up from NXT was superb. With Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, who set NXT to new levels of excitement in their stay beforehand, Reigns was protected. Now, alone, Reigns is isolated. Family interjections will not support but only further alienate him. Reigns, now given the golden ball, must work to the standard on his own. Therein is the immense pressure given at short notice.  It is highly unlikely that the hard push for Reigns is going to be accepted within two to three months. WWE is said to be adamant not to buckle to its Universe's pressure for fear of looking weak. The same weakness that will occur by not taking restorative action. 

Reigns has moderate to weak vocals, promos and in-ring talent on his own. He can’t be in multi-matches for too long. It is an unfair pressure that shouldn’t be on his shoulders yet. A year in the making will be for Reigns. Though WWE often give an out of nowhere push but has no backbone to it that fails to be anything other than stiff. Stars need this boost but so often the wrong ones are selected at certain times of haste than logical patience.

What Now?

So is the problem the old coot at Titan Towers? No. Is it the son in law who is trying to find his prowess running a pet project for WWE footing? No. Though the pair need to understand audience better than simply shrug it off. With The Network even more crucially necessary to success upon it, WWE have to have better relations. Will you give into all the fans having silly Sami Zayn matches every week doing “all that flippy sh*t?” No. Though you can put your people forward while making new areas slightly appealing. Not everyone can be pushed, but the selection process must be more than, 'yeah, him.' 'He looks good.' Isolated, without the skills and minimal opponents to cross the bridge to Wrestlemania against the massive beast Brock Lesnar, who is unstoppable, Reigns is stumbling at the brick wall. How will such a lukewarm smiler finding it difficult to be a subtle tough guy beat The Beast, if at all?

Fans will accept a legitimate choice, not a rushed selection with no stability behind it. If WWE do not plan to remove Reigns from the battle, and it doesn’t want yet ‘another’ Triple Threat ‘Mania event, it needs to act soon. Failure to alter the decision will then require a third man at Wrestlemania. Either way, whatever the outcome, Roman Reigns will become the John Cena version 2. This means he will never recover from Wrestlemania and instead of being WWE’s new future pick at company guy, he will become boo’ed and hated forever. WWE know exactly how they pushed Cena and are doing exactly the same way with Reigns. Cena has been tarnished then, now and forever. A future beyond Reigns' control such not take the same blind or arrogant approach for ego's sake. His hard earned success will not be respected because he never worked for it and cannot back it up to fans either. Reigns will be the guy forever a future prospect tarnished for his entire career instead. That is serious for a) WWE, b) it’s future and c) the Network sales. This would be the best for business, Roman Reigns and the long-term protection of a future star, simply not yet ready. Tweak the event and drop Reigns. Patience is a virtue.

© Max Waltham 31st January 2015
All Rights Reserved

Monday, 26 January 2015

WWE Royal Rumble 2015

WWE Royal Rumble 2015

WWE has fallen back into its uncomfortable position once again where it has a small pick of stars rather than a selection of multiples. Still failing to launch any real new stars and letting the ones made slip down (some beyond WWE’s control) the company need to re-establish more than just one. There were only two real options to win the Royal Rumble. Randy Orton and Antonio Cesaro. With WWE’s drop of Cesaro it would be highly unlikely they would give him the ball to run with. Though that is exactly what they must do to launch him again. He has the skills, look, body and vocal depth given strong booking and character building. A win from the Rumble would be the starting point he needs and what the Rumble essentially is there for, to build a new star. WWE had considered its options. For WWE it could be Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Dean Ambrose or Roman Reigns. The only viable name was Daniel Bryan, and is way too obvious that it would not make the Rumble as meaningful as it should be. Therefore Bryan is out. Orton is the only choice left. Building to a Seth Rollins as champion defence over Orton at Wrestlemania is the best way forward for WWE. Would it agree?

WWE presented its Royal Rumble Pay Per View live on Sunday 25th January 2015 from the Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With the multi-man mega match that can start a career and guarantee a Wrestlemania title match, could WWE use this to better its future stars? Or would it revert to the same old formula of adding lost momentum back to an already comfortable WWE star? What of the supporting card itself? Can all work in unison whilst a red hot Triple Threat could drop the mighty beast Brock Lesnar and maybe crown Seth Rollins as WWE’s newest champion? The Road to Wrestlemania starts now. Let’s find out…

Tag Team
The Outlaws Vs The Ascension

Since their debut, The Ascension seem to have soured. WWE officials have lost respect and upset over their attitude whilst being out of shape. The pair, a necessary call up for WWE, at the time, did look washed up. This wasn’t their finest hour and has sadly lost respect. All are trying to hold a positive outlook but only the team can make that change now. To help the newbie’s WWE called back a favour from ageing tag team The Outlaws, Mr. Ass and Road Dogg.

The New Age Outlaws, still classed by fans as Old Age wore Philly crocodile type hats. It wasn’t a good start to boost Philly as intended.  “Ladies and Gentleman” began the old age address. It needs new legs or simply not be bothered with again. That’s a fair statement of address.

The Ascencion entered with face paint of The Road Warriors with a mix of Demotion which the pair had constantly referenced beforehand. WWE replayed the previous Raw in which the new team were hammered down on Raw Reunion by the veterans including JBL. This wasn’t the best boost to them even if they have some odd look once perceived as intriguing.

“You still got it” chants were so obvious and began before Mr. Ass even did anything. This is what makes a tiresome tirade of WWE and its audiences which neglects programming being one step above. 

The Ascension made work of the opponents with quick tags and slow beatdowns. It was a very brief match where The Ascension gained their first major victory after Konnor blind tagged in and the pair leg swept down Mr. Ass of The Outlaws for the starting victory in a poor but starting feast of the PPV thrill. It was decent selling at least but thoroughly underwhelming.

Steph and Trips had a chat as to how the “nobody” Sting could get into the “house of McMahon” Steph added. It wasn’t a WCW house, she mentioned. Mr. Heyman entered for a chat. Steph wasn’t happy for the intrusion. Paul claimed to solve a problem in John Cena. His solution, Brock Lesnar, was offered to the McMahon’s front of house in dealing with Sting as well as Cena beforehand. Hmmm…

WWE Tag Team Championship
The Usos (c) Vs The Miz and Damien Mizdow

Mizdow was heavily cheered on entry. Jimmy Uso and Miz began as Jey took the changeover. The Uso’s put in a lot of effort tonight, as before, though Sandow’s mimickry was king. The Miz saddled on the turnbuckle hurt with Mizdow’s responses where thrilling throughout. Miz missed a back breaker with no visible connection in a pitiful and carried piece of action as Mizdow begged for the tag. Miz pulled his hand away from ‘dow to come in. Jey continues the dominance of the match decently. Some hot and crazy aerial action swift and thrilling took everyone down with fun filled moments.

The Uso’s missed a splash as The Miz took a cheap Skull Crushing Finale to get a close two count only. Mizdow broke up a pin attempt after a flying move as Mizdow then drops his own, br performed, Skull Crushing Finale. The Miz crawls over for a cover to get a tense two fall again.

Powerbomb and splash from The Uso’s in a quick corner interchange allowed them to retain the WWE tag Team Champions over The Miz and Damien Mizdow.

The kick-off panel was introduced with an enthusiastic come nearly annoying Renee Young. She tries we give her that. They showed the kickoff match which saw The New Day Vs Antonio Cesaro, Tyson Kidd and Adam Rose to be relegated to the Pre-Show. Tyson Kidd won after Cesaro smashed a beautiful uppercut to Kofi from the outside.

Sexy chipmunk Jaime Noble asked what Joey Mercury was doing. He was playing and plugging the new WWE game. Both in the changing rooms, neither were still in their tights as Seth Rollins told them off for not concentrating on the future of WWE, him winning tonight’s Heavyweight gold.

Tag Team
Paige and Natalya Vs Brie Bella and Nikki Bella

Another tag match was in place, this time for divas. Avoiding a defence of her title, Nikki Bella, who made it up with sis Brie thanks to the win months ago, have now set their sights on Nattie and Paige. The flunkie diva Paige, who continually gets lucky than skill, put in another pitiful performance. Carried by Nattie, who is sadly troubled by her ignorant uncle Bret, failed to live up to the hype. 

Both Paige and Natalya entered rather awkwardly as a pair after Nattie tried to make Paige meaningful.

Flunkie Paige started the action with Nikki Bella, current Divas champion. Both used arm wrench moments as Nattie was brought in. Natalya added some much needed technique to the battle but was a little off in smoothness. Brie was double teamed with a suplex as Paige performed a strange lesbian seduction pin over Bella which was not tastefully done. Brie took the upper hand over Natalya after. Fans got bored and the Brits, maybe for real or metaphorically, were in. “Ole Ole Ole Ole…” It was a weak and watered down match, though passable for current divas standard today, which is very troublesome overall.

It was as pale as The Bella’s attire, which suited them. The attire that is. Nikki wore down Nattie with leg locks and technique. A quick change of things caused Nattie to lose a tag opportunity to moany squealer Paige as The Bella Twins (aka The Bellas) smashed Nattie in the face with a fist from Nikki to claim a three fall victory. It was too long, which is ironic since WWE only give long time to females when the card is rather slim. It needs time and capable people allocated to it. There are more than enough capable of making WWE divas rise again. It’s whether WWE can really be bothered.

Paige, from a bad cow to a lovely lady, was kept protected from too much exposure as a rubbish wrestler. Why? Well, there is a WWE Network to launch in the UK, isn’t there? It only went live over the last two weeks. WWE pushed it hard, including a Stephanie McMahon press interview and a general one adding the Network was WWE's priority.

Roman Reigns was the first to have his “I am the One” promo to win the Rumble match. "Believe that" he said. Then came the idiotic nutjob Stardust with Goldie banging on about celestial stars which was embarrassing to any astrologer watching. Rusev added he would crush anyone. The Miz and Mizdow banged on about it with more gibberish. Big Show said he was an angry giant. Oooh. Sweet rose Fandango teased a win with Rosa Mendes. Good Luck lovely. Beardy Daniel Bryan pointed his fingers upward for his statement to do the Wrestlemania victory all over again. I dunno…

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

How to initiate this rematch as fans jokingly presumed was an obvious WWE decision waiting to happen? So Brock wins, Cena gets the Rumble victory and Rollins cashes in? A Wrestlemania rematch? Done, right?

'The Beast' Brock Lesnar was heavily cheered. They knew it was about to go down. Cena wasn't. Seth had optimism. Lesnar went straight for Rollins who was chased out the ring as Cena got a German Suplex slam. He got another and then J and J Security got double suplexed as one. It was Brock and Seth. Mmmm. Seth got his suplex from behind by the beefy brute Brock. Brock flung them all around like WWE’s action figures. Pleasure is pain, so they say. Fans chanted a nonsense chant of ECW when Brock was near Cena. No-one has been in ECW. Heyman doesn’t count. He’s the manager. Brock was the new age ECW(ish) and therefore irrelevant. 

Seth Rollins dropping down on Lesnar trying to F5 Cena turned the match around a little as Cena Attitude Adjustment’ed Lesnar! Rollins caught a quick pin at one. Rollins running dropkicked Brock at the outside ringside into the steel steps. Instantly Cena was booed as he ran the inside ropes with Rollins. Because he was Cena? No. Because he instantly tapped Rollins with a weak and nonsense sell with no care to wrestling. Sloppy. Brock returned as Rollins took control.

Cena put in a pathetic clothesline of Brock which caused more indifference. Lesnar spun an F5 on Rollins from a top dive down as Cena was very late in breaking up the pinfall at a close two and a half. Brock began dismantling the Spanish announce table aggressively. Cena magically got  three AA’s on Lesnar, playing possum. Rollins smashed a curb stomp on Brock for a close two to three win fall. Rollins' Curb Stomp was perfectly taken and performed with Lesnar very professionally.

Oh No! Cena charged from behind bursting Lesnar through the breakaway partition at the barricade corner. Poor Brock. Sweaty beasyy babe Brock was slammed into the steel steps by Cena as Heyman legged it before them as Brock was flung behind him. That was comical and well done with believability by Heyman yet again. Cena tapped the steel steps on Lesnar to simply push him back onto the table unconvincingly.

Rollins came back and had a moment to fly on Brock and smashed the high placed flying elbow perfectly in smooth time and accuracy sending Lesnar straight through the table on impact. Cena returned to take Rollins back inside for a two fall only. Rollins booted Cena in the chin who failed to sell by putting his hand over his jaw beforehand. It was another Cena moment that distances audiences when he has a chance to be better. The guy doesn't seem to care about his in ring action.

Sloppy hands and touches next up top from Cena as Rollins reverse flips and running powerbomb’s Cena into the diagonal turnbuckle pad for a quick two count.

Cena locked on a cheap and easy leg lock STF as Rollins stood in front of him. The J and J security duo came in to stop Cena. The rules, stipulated at the start, make this legal. Submission or pinfall only. EMT’s arrive to wheel off Lesnar as J and J help Seth triple powerbomb Cena.

Brock is down and super sweaty. Seth readied his briefcase as Cena AA’s him over the ropes. Cena double AA’s J and J together as one. Then Rollins gets one. It’s a two fall! Oooh. Tension.

Lesnar is down and Michael Cole informs he has “at least a broken rib” Damn, is this for real? Is Brockie really hurt? Please be okay. 

Cena and Rollins continue the hot action in the ring as Rollins continues close falls and swift skills. Rolllins launched a perfect corkscrew 450 twist down on Cena from amazing height jumping above the turnbuckle downward. That was exceptional. Rollins gets a suplex from a sneaky returning Lesnar. Rollins is caught by a strong and swift F5 slam as Brock Lesnar covers and retains the gold over Seth Rollins and John Cena as WWE World Heavyweight Champion in what become an absolute stunner for the starting year. 

Royal Rumble
The Miz, R-Truth, Bubba Ray Dudley, Luke Harper, Bray Wyatt, Curtis Axel, The Boogeyman, Sin Cara, Zack Ryder, Daniel Bryan, Fandango, Tyson Kidd, Stardust, DDP, Rusev, Goldust, Kofi Kingston, Adam Rose, Roman Reigns, Big E, Damien Mizdow, Jack Swagger, Ryback, Kane, Dean Ambrose, Titus O'Neil, Bad News Barrett, Antonio Cesaro, Big Show, Dolph Ziggler

The Miz (1) takes on R-Truth (2). It’s like the Rumble of the previous years and numbers one and two don’t seem to count anymore. Same guys in literally the same spot. Number (3) was the nostalgic and homophobic piece of trash Bubba Ray washed up Dudley. There is no place for this old has been in recent WWE. Seriously. It was rather embarrassing. He did the legs open headbutt with R-Truth. WWE's lame attempt to get a quick buzz in a hometown was sad pandering at its very best. It did nothing for the product. 

Nostalgia playing its part for one minute won’t make a success of old age WWE in new age era. At least Bubba can continue to make porn films, maybe for WWE. That's not PG. The Miz was thrown out instantly. As Luke Harper (4) joins, Bubba quickly dumps R-Truth.

The bloaty boys went at it. Out comes Bray Wyatt (5) as Bubba stares him down. Harper assists former leader Wyatt. Bubba was quickly dumped out by Bray. Wyatt and Harper one on one baby! In comes Curtis Axel (6) in time as a rock in hard place. No! Erick Rowan charges from behind and bashes Axel at the titantron ramp. Rowan, who is not an official entry returns to the match as he and Harper agree to turn on Bray. Harper tricked Rowan as he goes for him with Bray instead. Rowan bashes the pair of them. Bray dumped out Harper with Rowan during the chaos unfolding between the two

Eh? It’s The Boogeyman (7)!!! The local and always relied on for a Rumble spot in recent years was good usually but tonight's booking was somewhat off. Bray was enjoying the weird partnership also enforcing with his crazy crab. Boogey charged into Bray and got eliminated instantly. Well, that was worth it. Sin Cara (8) joins now. Sister Abigail joined to hurt and dump out Cara easily. Bray then sent an “Open Invitation” to all in the back on the mic before singing the whole world in his hands melody. Zack Ryder (9) returned. HaHaHa! Wyatt flung Ryder out after his moment. Daniel Bryan (10) made the Rumble get a little bit serious. Bryan’s hair was down like a woman’s. Blimey it was like Last of the Mohicans meets Xena! Bryan unleashed his runs and knees on Wyatt as the Brit fan moments “Whoaaaaaaa’ed” in anticipation. Fancy fraternising stud Fandango (11) went for Bryan with hard throwdown. Bryan clouted Fan-D with a boot and a whirl atop shoulders spin before trying to tip over the ropes. Fandango held his own, whilst with no fancy tights on. The budget has been downsized. Next to enter was Tyson Kidd (12). It seems WWE has forgotten about the still existing entry not yet entered formally but still acceptable in Curtis Axel. They will probably just let it go. Next was cosmic lunatic Stardust (13). It was poor so far as a match. Stardust failed to drop Fandango who held on to the ropes as did 'dust on reverse comeback from Fandy. Tyson Kidd was eliminated by Bryan with an overlifting running elimination which was trying to establish some pleasing parts which became forgettable. Bryan ran at Wyatt as the pair landed on the outside through the middle ropes, therefore not out.

The legend spot was fulfilled with some old yoga bloke DDP (14). He came in a vest and jeans. All is forgiven Val Venis. I wish they would have booked Meat. DDP did nothing important. 

Rusev (15) came next as DDP was rightly worried. Rusev nailed him with a foot as DDP went out instantly. Thanks for coming, cheque’s in the post. Fandango was then dumped. Rusev and Wyatt stare down as Bryan drops down on both following with YES! Kicks to the chest. Bryan was then double teamed in retaliation. Bryan stayed in as Bray quickly charged him off the apron to huge boos! Rahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!! It was a neccessary and logical elimination and by Wyatt too. 

Though all thanks to blabbermouth Jim Ross trying to predict Bryan will win cost the YES! man to become a resounding NO! If you’re sixty years old, you should probably just leave.

Goldust (16) came out next. He then slapped Stardust after a miscommunication. Stardust was nearly dropped. Fans cheers “Let’s go Bryan” who was eliminated three minutes ago.

Kofi Kingston (17) came out as Philly booed big time at the New Day theme. Fans felt a distinct air or potential racism. The group is built on an all black gospel choir style gimmick. Wyatt almost dropped Kofi twice. Kofi came back to do some theatrics and the crowd hated him. Ouch. “Let’s go Bryan” still rang. The guy is out. Deal with it!

Looney tune Adam Rose (18) came in next with his dumb crew. Kofi got eliminated only to be caught on The Rosebuds, who put him back in. This was the stupid spot for Kofi as is every year booked in his name. Kofi is desperately trying to be taken seriously, but WWE are costing it with the funny moments overriding his skill on offer. The stupid idiots then failed to protect Adam Rose who was eliminated seconds after by Rusev. Hah! Kofi then left by Rusev next. It was very sad to see these daft moments that devalued the Rumble from being greater than it could.

Roman Reigns (19) was up next and instantly booed. It’s fair to say he’s not over and won’t be by April. Reigns cleared house and looked unbelievable as he dropped both Gold and Stardust. The boo’s were as severe as Cena’s constantly ringing without any break. This is bad.

Even worse was the next New Day theme guy Big E (20) who was not cheered. It's not going well.

Next in was Damien Mizdow (21) who was enormously cheered, where The Miz stopped him and told him he would take his place. Mizdow slapped him down and took to the action as Rusev sent Mizdow out. That was his moment. Reigns stomped Rusev to heavy boo's again. They were louder every second Reigns moved or was the focus of the camera. 

In at (22) was Jack Swagger. Nothing notable happened. Ryback (23) came in with a slow paced nothing entry. Rusev lunged at him as Ryback was allowed to drop him and all the bigger men. O,kay….

Number (24) was Kane. Fans had enough and chanted “CM Punk.” Dean Ambrose joined at (25) instantly caught by Bray Wyatt. He then took on Rusev and Kane. He did some flying moves. Titus O’Neil (26) came in and was instantly removed by Ambrose and Reigns which was botched badly and didn’t dump over. Vince must be pissed at this. It was laughable and not in a good light. 

Bad News Barrett (who?) joined as (27) to no effect. Antonio Cesaro (28) joined the match as Cole said “was a dangerous position” and likely to win. Hmmm….

Cesaro dropped a smooth uppercut and then tried to dump Ambrose with good interaction.
Big E was randomly dropped by Rusev. Big Show returned as number (29). Ryback was easily toppled over and Swagger followed. The last entry was Dolph Ziggler at (30). He ran into Big Show and Kane and had a moment. So, where is Randy Orton, who was supposed to return and possibly win, and why has Curtis Axel not entered? Oh dear…

Cesaro swings Ziggler wonderfully now. He then topped Ziggs over who still does his yesteryear hold on moments. It’s all a bit sad really. Get some new material. 

Ziggler caused more upset on the apron by superkicking Cesaro off the ropes. Well that achieved nothing new. Make sure its a fan favourite who does it to hope the audience forgets it being a big upset. Trying to be too clever can have its awkward comebacks. Ziggs was KO punched by Show from the turnbuckle down. Bye.

Ziggler was easily dumped by Kane and Show. What a waste of Cesaro this truly was. He could have won and made WWE really shine, but WWE are still in a land of neglect on this front.  

Bray Wyatt was then dumped over like lumber. Fans were livid. It wasn't even a proper moment or build up. It was the final four! Ambrose, Reigns, Show and Kane. Eh? This is it?

Ambrose was chokeslammed by Show and then easily dumped over the ropes as fans really booed now over WWE’s Rumble direction than stars. “Bullsh*t!” they yelled. For once, they were right.

All three final men were met with indifference. I bet Curtis Axel doesn't seem so bad now, huh?

After Kane tried to dump Reigns, Show went for Kane. Both went at it as Roman Reigns so cheaply tipped both the guys over the top rope in the most pitiful win ever. It was meaningless and had no emphasis on it. It was basically like when your film or DVD just kind of stops for a minute, then re-starts with a missed blip you instantly forget about. Only this is meant to be a new superstar in the making. Oops...

After the elimination both Kane and Show return to double team Reigns. OMG! The Rock returned to help his cousin Roman Reigns. Not even basking in a victory and requiring a family guy to help, Reigns was still viciously booed. Nothing could save him now, not even The Great One. Rusev then magically comes back in. What is all this disjointed flurry? So Rusev wasn't eliminated? Fans then decided to cheer for the anti-American baddie to win. Talk about a monumental f**k up. 

After a running charge, Rusev was tipped over the ropes by Roman Reigns, who is finally declared the winner, even though Curtis Axel never entered and is still legitimate. What an utter disaster. Will there be a re-start?

Brock Lesnar watched on a screen backstage with Paul Heyman. The Rock cuddled Reigns in victory as the crowd was pissed. Rock was visibly confused and shocked that his appearance to endorse his cousin was not met with favour. Fans cheered Rocky and boo'ed Reigns. Ouch.

Out come Stephanie and Tripper now with faces like thunder. The match did not re-start and Curtis Axel is not only owed a Wrestlemania match entry but a re-start. Fans at home regarded it as the worst ever in Royal Rumble history for its handling. Some even believe this was another of Triple H’s doing to make ‘his choice’ work. Added to the basket of Paige, Sin Cara and Kharma as failed concepts, WWE looks awkward going forward for 2015. Oh dear, oh dear…

To top it all WWE Superstar JUSTIN GABRIEL is alleged to have quit WWE over the weekend, announced before the Rumble PPV. Sadly, Gabriel wasn't going anywhere in this company and is said to have been frustrated. It was likely he would be sent packing soon in the new year Network purse lightening. 

PPV Rating - 2/10

Men/Women of their matches - Road Dogg, Damien Mizdow, Natalya, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt 

Man/Woman of the PPV - Roman Reigns

WWE mucked it up again, and so with it the buy rates. So out of touch is the WWE that with a choice they think can boost revenue for its Network, has actually been the opposite. Reigns is too weak to raise those numbers so quickly. WWE need to re-evaluate and prioritise promptly. Reigns is not it. At least, not yet. The sales and stock are now even more likely to decrease after Royal Rumble put on a poor show which had the potential to be great.

WWE could and should have developed a range of new and growing stars while pushing the new kids closer to achievable fan acceptance. Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Antonio Cesaro, and even Dolph Ziggler should have been steered towards a better way. Ziggler isn't going to make it but could find something to do to bide time. As for the others they were more over as potentials to win than Roman Reigns. It is the highest of unfair pressure to place on Reigns as he, as we have said before, is entirely unready for the spotlight. 

Fans indifference to Reigns was not down to the myth that Daniel Bryan was eliminated. Bryan's elimination was logical and needed. It was done right and he should not have won. Though he needed strong booking to continue his opponents in the future.

Triple H has always wanted Roman Reigns. Vince McMahon is now said to be personally overseeing Reigns as scriptwriter and his development as the next WWE star. He even wrote him a nursery rhyme on Raw weeks prior to the Rumble which fans expressed wa snot the way to go. WWE defiantly refused to acknowledge and pushed hard over the fans directions. The fallout was terrible. Triple H is basically running WWE with Vince's guidance. The pair decided to let Vince be in full charge tonight but use Triple H's selection for the future. Both got it so, so wrong. While they didn't like the crowd that evening for different reason, the fans couldn't quite work out if Philly were smarks or slightly homophobic and racist among the mix of action which also upset the televisual reaction at home. Either way, its not a good sign to transmit. 

WWE, who are solely focused on pushing the WWE Network, nationally, internationally and globally, have stumbled on a blip. After the Royal Rumble legions of fans rushed to the WWE Network. To UNSUBSCRIBE! Instead of joining, they wanted to leave. Even an expert Triple Threat by Brock and Rollins wasn't enough to stay. It was a terrible choice of winner and an even badly booked, disjointed Rumble match itself. The undercard was laced with empty tag matches

So what the frig should WWE have done? As we previous added (which WWE failed to understand and went it alone) was to have this. Randy Orton to return and win. It would have been better long term. Reigns needs a year to progress as a solo star. Rollins is ready and has guarantee, though WWE could have dropped Brock to Rollins. Personally, one would have dropped Brock at Elimination Chamber in Feb. Though the Chamber PPV has been abrupdty dropped. So that's out.

Orton/Rollins at Mania would be amazing. Even with Brock as champ, he can still have a good opponent. Reigns should not have won, so without Orton, Cesaro would have been the logical choice. Beefy, hot and skilled, Cesaro is one for the future AND has the respect of its fans. If WWE wasn't so scared and just went for it, then Cesaro would already be its star by now. Two year of umming and arring has left WWE back in comfortable strife. Ambrose is not ready but one step above Reigns. They need work. Ziggler and Barrett are not even options.  

So what can WWE do now? Simple. Drop Roman Reigns as winner instantly! We like Roman Reigns but this is going to ruin him if it goes forward. Reigns needs tot put the spot on the line like Rey Myserio and lose it. To someone meaningful, too. WWE do not want to look weak by doing this, though not doing it actually makes them seem inferior as a result. Do it now. Or bring back a Raw 15 man Royal Rumble? Do something at least. Admit mistake and make it up. Fans may just comeback in time. Wrestlemania could become the worst PPV of its series for the fifth time. That's not best for business. Fix it. Oh, and Curtis Axel, the man who made The Rock/John Cena possible could also be built up to enter the match on technicality. An absurd choice by WWE to envisage, though the guy is more than capable to make the match work. For WWE it likes to pride itself on taking risks. Yet, for WWE there really is no risk taken. With it, the risk has not payed off. WWE fans have cancelled Network subscriptions, lost faith in the product and is slowly growing apart from WWE overall for the future outlook. WWE has never needed Max Waltham more. Give me the job and make yourselves win. Patience is growing thin. Win or lose, WWE is dropping the ball badly. Sort it out and figure out how to get the best team possible to turn a pure success. Future depends on it. That's advice

Removing irrelevant stars and empty legends would have helped. Even Stephanie McMahon as number 30 would have been good. WWE really missed some tricks here.

As for the rest of the card, all tags, the show was poor. Not an epic start to the so called "best year for WWE" to come. Fans regarded it as the "Worst Rumble ever."

© Max Waltham 26th January 2015
All Rights Reseved

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Wrestling Wonders Awards 2014

Wrestling Wonders Year End Awards 2014

Wrestling Wonders presents the annual Awards of the past year that was 2014. Celebrating the cool, crazy and simply delusional decisions of the past wrestling way forwards, Max Waltham respects its winners with honest and hard earned recognition. The winners are selected by their hard work, rightful earning of such achievements and not favourites or ‘men of the minute’ hype. To be nominated is one of the highest achievements alone.

Congratulations to all who made 2014 the best to could be and to better the landscape for 2015. As ever, we are always watching.

Awards written and awarded on December 30th 2014.

Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Seth Rollins, Antonio Cesaro, Joe Doering

While a credible list and tough choice of the best five of the year, one was the clear stand out Wrestler of the year. Shield frontman Seth Rollins became the breaker and breakout star in a full on transformation of skill, style and scorching hot scenarios.

Closely followed by Daniel Bryan and Joe Doering, Bryan’s unfortunate up/down title hoorah with injury indecision and time out was unpredicted but troublesome.

Doering’s victory to stabilise a new front for All Japan was a welcomed decision which has worked for AJPW, Doering and fans.

Orton and Cesaro maintained structure to WWE and while supporting acts, came into their own with precision, skill and dominance to keep profile at the very top, even if some booking decisions were rather awkward.

Stephanie McMahon, Lana, Alicia Fox, Vickie Guerrero, Gail Kim

The prestigious woman of the year is a tough and tricky one to win. This isn’t only about female’s rolling around on the ground; it also includes any female who manages to deliver tenfold. There were two strong runners, but when it came to the crunch only one Woman led the way. Vickie Guerrero wins Woman of the year 2014. With her intrinsic attention to detail, scorching promos and ability to work both honourably and dishonourably, she stole the spotlight even if WWE didn’t want her to full have it.

Stephanie McMahon came a close second but her roaring nature cost her fluidity in promos that Guerrero so expertly put in. It was a close call but Steph has had one of the most incredible returning years to television as a natural shoe in for Mr. McMahon’s new age form to continue the family name as a horrid figure.

Lana shone as the one to annoy crowds and hold her own boosted success as a new and beautifully intriguing lady.

Gail Kim was at the top of her national appeal of wrestling females while Alicia Fox excited briefly with her crazy attitude, despite her ‘hidden’ influence in black and white internet aura.

Villiano IV Vs Blue Demon Jr, Undertaker Vs Brock Lesnar (WM), The Shield Vs The Wyatt Family, Rob Conway Vs Satoshi Kojima, Money in the Bank

Match of the year was a tough decision to witness. With all five being of high value in their own right and with careful consideration to the detail and skills on offer, there was a clear winner. While the victor of the briefcase itself, Seth Rollins and opponents with him put in the most outstanding match in recent memory for the Money in the Bank match. Fresh, new and talented all men played their part and made an explosive winning moment meaningful.

While most memorable for its shocking outcome, Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker’s historic Wrestlemania match really stood up in the face of veteran action with debate. Both really went for it and the match was a tough and wonderful joy to witness. The outcome, many, including Max Waltham feels was a mistake. Regardless it happened and while was used for sales hype afterward, the pair’s battle was one for the ages.

The Shield’s collision with The Wyatt’s was a dream match becoming a reality. Unsure who to side with and aware everyone would benefit fans lapped it up and the action was so clean and precise all six men can be proud of this extraordinary feat.

MAD BLANKEY Vs Team Monster, Bray Wyatt Vs Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins Vs Dean Ambrose, Lashley Vs Eric Young, Rob Conway Vs Satoshi Kojima

2014 gave us some great feuds. Though some very still minimally lacking and could have done more in terms of options. Though there was only one that stood out and was truly amazing. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose stole the show. With their high flying, strong and significant actions both made this feud work above all else, making it the standout winner.

Bray Wyatt and Danie Bryan came runner up with a tense but short spun series that had too many quick changes and not enough time to develop. Though it was one of the best in its short spun series.

Rob Conway and Satoshi Kojima put on a great challenge for the NWA title, while MAD BLANKEY and Team Monster made a fulfilling feud between them. Dropping to last place was Lashley and Eric Young. Weak and champion by default for being 'his time' under loyalty package to TNA, Young tried but wasn't too great. Lashley made most of this work. 

Shaun Tempers, Emma, Sasha Banks, El Torito, Candice LaRae

2014 had a strong mix of rookie's. All five were outstanding int heir own right and made every involvement meaningful.

The rookie of 2014 is Shaun Tempers. Displaying skill and technique with a level of might and interest, somewhat unknown Tempers has promising signs to develop further for fans. 

Candice LaRae drove the Independent scene wild. She had skill, style and mixed it up in intergender matches alongside male supporter Joey Ryan. Making her own place, LaRae has shown impressive ability to stand strong among the guys and deliver where necessary. 

Following from these are Emma, Sasha Banks and El Torito. These three are strong ones to watch, especially Emma and Banks, who will be able to go, given their green lights. Emma also stole the show at the Survivior Series PPV where she really bounced back with sheer skill and capable intrigue for wrestling, especially women's. 

Daniel Bryan, John Cena, Eric Young, Dean Ambrose, Anthony Nese

It was a terrible time for Daniel Bryan. Riding high last year with his crowd momentum as WWE's number one and making it this year at Wrestlemania, his crown was unfortuneately lost.

The Hero of the year was Dean Ambrose. Over the late corse of 2014, WWE needed a new guy to challenge the indifference of John Cena. They foudn it in Dean Ambrose. Crazy, skilled and hardcore(ish) Ambrose made fans cheer louder in 2014. Down to challenging change and adding something different to the ordinary, the Lunatic Fringe did that in battles with Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt. Though Ambrose is stalling now and WWE need to make adjustments, Ambrose takes the trophy for 2014.

As with his downplay from injury, Bryan lost out to Ambrose. However, Bryan still held and holds a lot of value and maintained his core to stay in second.

John Cena took a back seat in WWE to allow some others a chance to arise though was still, naturally, kept to hover around. If WWE continue this then Cena will have future pponents to play with and maintain his position overall. 

Anthony Nese put in a good show on the independent scene with hottness and skill that fans could all respect. Nese can adapt on the circuit to both sides but shone when he showed his signs of honourbiity.

Eric Young qualified but it was still rather weak. 

Brock Lesnar, Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Stephanie McMahon, Minoru Suzuki

This year delivered a tough batch of baddies in wrestling. From Brock Lesnar ending a favourite legend's defining era of decade dominance in the Streak and Rusev's frustrating patriotism upsetting fans, the choice was hard. All put in smooth and strong interest as a dishonourable foe. The winner is none other than Stephanie McMahon. Her deliverance, annoying presence and tough stance taking backchat form no-one made her a force to be reckoned with. She even did it with class, style and precision no-one else could come close to.

Lesnar was a close second with Rusev following. Wyatt and Suzuki followed on afterward where all made an interesting 2014 in wrestling. 

Personality / Game Changer
Brock Lesnar (The Streak), Joe Doering, Naomichi Marufuji, KENTA, Rob Conway

This award is for someone that has done something for wrestling that changes the landscape considerably in some way be it intentional (usually) or not. 

There wasn't anyone anywhere who could not get away from the winner. Brock Lesnar shattered the dreams and hopes of all fans by breaking The Undertaker's undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. Whatever the reasons behind it and whether it should have happened or not, it was the most shocking, game changing moment in wrestling. 

Joe Doering was a close second. Taking the All Japan Heavyweight title and becoming All Japan's newest torch bearer of the company changed the landscape of AJPW, for the better. 

Third was Rob Conway, who held the National Wrestling Alliance together. His perfection in tag matches and heavyweight structure has kept real wrestling values in place.

Naomichi Marufuji was the next in line to replace KENTA, who left for WWE. As the leading man for Pro Wrestling NOAH, Marufuji has maintained the position with dignity and significance. He has held his place and made title matches meaninful on his own merit, among the transition.

KENTA joined WWE over the Summer period from Pro Wrestling NOAH. While it was his time to go, it was a key steal from the Japanese market to WWE. The only question is can the renamed Hideo Itami make it in WWE? 

Batista, Angelina Love, Lashley, Hulk Hogan, Taryn Terrell

There was only one real comeback this year. Charging his way through, Batista dominated with a Roya Rumble victory. His return held fan investment on every situation and was able to deliver wrestling potential. His performances at Elimination Chamber and Payback were two of his best on return after negative fan response. 

Lashley returned to defeat Eric Young as TNA's mainstay champion. While Lashley has improved over the last year from his return in TNA, saddled with loser and real-life criminal MVP, TNA dropped the ball again in places. Though Lashley's attempts to make it work has been a beneficial return once considered as questionable, even if TNA use their heavyweight title as a cheap bargaining chip. 

Angelina Love returned to TNA after being dropped the past year by cash strapped Dixie Carter. Though after a good start, Love was in trouble. Dixie instantly switched her from face of the Knockout's division to the plus one once again. Re-starting her The Beautiful People pairing with gal pal Velvet Sky, TNA, and it performers in question sank back into comfortable past years of uselessness. Weak booking and lack of interest from a cheap attempt to get guys to look at these models was plain sad.

The Hulkster Hulk Hogan returned to WWE. Back home and in comfortable settings, Hulk has been helpful to WWE with brief appearances and an 'overseas ambassador' to promote WWE intentionally.

Taryn Terrell's return was shortly interrupted and daft, though her comeback was improved in her wrestling capabilities, which was appreciative.

Tag Team
The Uso’s, Time Splitters, The BroMans, The Ascension, IronGodz

This year's tag teams were  mixed bag but the top five made the strongest for quite a long time in tag team wrestling.

Among them are the winners IronGodz. The formation of Rob Conway and Jax Dane was not only compact and talented, both work off one another smoothly. They support themselves and opponents to near perfect matches and stimulate the audience and the scene. 

Closely behind were The Uso's and The BroMans. After them were Tiime Splitters (Alex Shelley and KUSHIDA) with The Ascension next in line. All were closely together in contention and again, boost tag wrestling to the best year its had in quite some time with a wide selection.

Pay Per View
Money in the Bank, SHIMMER Volume 70,Summer Action, G1 Climax, Wrestlemania XXX

A few PPV's were considerable while others were exceptional.  

2014 delivered with its greatest one yet, Money in the Bank. While often as top gap PPV in-between, the match type and the skill of all those involved made the pay per view outstanding. The bank matches themselves were tender, shocking and enthralling and that was a great asset to those involved in them. The supporting cast on the PPV also contributed to the action outside of the bank battles as a healthy balance. 

SHIMMER's women's wrestling has really taken off leading the way. With all female wrestling at the forefront and interesting for fans, while adding intense and skillful wrestling, Volume 70 was one of SHIMMER's most standout PPV's. Talent, connection and surprise all the women and its company can be proud of coming up as a close second.

All Japan's Summer Action PPV saw new heavyweight champion Joe Doering become the shining light for the company in times of stress. Though the PPV and its lead up to Doering's moment was filled with skill and clever interludes to balance the show well.

Wrestlemania XXX was a little bit of a letdown as the new branding of WWE's future era to come is shaping its way. However, this didn't stop it delivering some notable matches including Daniel Bryan's epic victory as Heavyweight champion with Batista and Randy Orton and of course Brock Lesnar defeating The Undertaker's historic streak. 

New Japan's G1 Climax tournament was weak in its crowning choice of ignorance. Though the participants and the upheld detail by the likes of Minoru Suzuki, Togi Makabe, Tetsuya Naito and others were decent for a noomination.

Dixie Carter’s travelling circus, Adam Rose Express, CM Punk abruptly walks out on WWE, Bo Dallas’ inspiration, Kurt Angle’s denial of inebriation on plane

Dixie Carter is her own worst nightmare. Can she ever do anything right? Whilst some thought it may be an inside joke, she actually brought along a circus troupe of superstars to TNA screens. Her management and disastrous stealing of ideas from Max Waltham to tarnish her own reputation was quite a feat. Unable to deliver excellent ideas and no clue how to put them into the spectrum of wrestling with strong outcomes and further reasoning alien to her Carter has scooped this gong three years in a row! She is truly clueless and her throwaway ideas on TNA TV not only cheapen the wrestling business but herself, her workforce, her company and her investors of time and money. Clueless and stubborn behaviour of her own ego failing to get people who can make her mess a success is simply pathetic. Carter's lack of direction seems to be as lazy as her eye. No-one can ever genuinely trust Dix to lead TNA to any level of glory.

Kurt Angle publicly asking for a WWE job after his TNA contract was up only to lie again about being inebriated on a plane with photographically evidence doing the rounds was the latest installment in Angle's lunacy. Lying and embarrassing, Angle is a washed up mess doing himself no favours. 

CM Punk sent shockwaves last January. After the Royal Rumble CM Punk legitimately quit and walked out on WWE. Without prior warning and frustrated with the running of WWE and story involvement, Punk said he was finished with Pro Wrestling. Since he has joined UFC awaiting his first fight. Though Punk's handling of the situation could have been better, it wasn't best received by fans during the fallout of a divided split among groups with fans, insiders and wrestling companies.

Adam Rose and the Lex Express of lunacy version PG wasn't WWE or Rose's finest hour.

Bo Dallas' limp inspirational being was a turn off, despite his attempts to make the thing work. It was doomed from the start.

Jeremy Borash, Chris Jericho, Tommy Dreamer, Triple H, Alberto Del Rio

What a list! There were certainly a lot of false-faced facades on offer here. Liars, deceit, claculated decisions and shameless money makers. 2014 had 'em and only five people were needed to share it around. Charming. 

Though there was a clear winner. Alberto Del Rio took the biscuit. Bad mouthed. physically abusive and demeaning thereafter, Rio was an outrageous being who used his new found celebrity moment to Hoeski himself out. Using the race card to claim on WWE as well as taking random bookings and interviews, Rio used all that allowed themselves to be used to play a poor me sadact. Rio used media, companies and feeble back room chat shows to get himself above an aggressive assault of his nature, all the while blaming WWE with a racism taunt to excuse his outlandish behaviour. Shameless.

Chris Jericho returned to WWE for another short period. Was it for the fans? The dream matches? No. Jericho wanted the money, then came for the celebrity profile and scarpered. Jericho used WWE and in desperate times WWE allowed it. Jericho left and has since returned in a quiet non-televisied role, gaining more money.

Jeremy Bore-rash just wouldn't go away. With his one dimensional announcing, gaining voice and draining enthusiasms from everything the man claimed he was Dix's right hand man. Even believing he is "an owner" of TNA while he is luck to have a job was simply ludicrous. Launching tacky and shameless tv shows in other countries to seem like he knows what he's doing and carried by Dixie Carter because she is entirely clueless is another reason TNA is a complete dump site which will seemingly never change. The so called "nicest woman in wrestling" who enjoys being nasty, has also allowed Borash to ruin company perception by being verbally catty and abuse in a passive manner to others. Ain't she sweet?

Triple H and his lack of business management upgrading failed concepts from NXT to the main roster were embarrassing. Using these favourable at the time concepts to get fan support on his side as a management figure were plain sad. Triple H needed to latch on to fan support by trying to cleverly play a game in which he would upload NXT's raved about stars by fickle internet fans on tacky dirt sheets. An irony in which WWE often hated, now Triple H sought the consul of dirt sheets in order to con the fans to believing he was in it for them to ride the crest of a wave. The irony is that Triple H was swept away with it. Triple H's pet projects Kharma, Sin Cara, Paige and others have all failed upon arrival. All because Tripe H wants to ignore the sole reason of success which stares before him. Wonderful, just wonderful.

Tommy Dreamer is now officially Dixie Carter's b**ch boy. Used for playing out his already diminishing relevance of ECW some twenty years ago, Dreamer took a few jobs with TNA. Yeah, everyone needs to pay the bills, but damn, this wasn't it. Sloppy, sad and all about a management angle gone completely wrong, this was not Dreamer's final hour to a comeback. 

Antonio Cesaro, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Anthony Nese, Jessie Godderz

There were quite a lot of hotties this year and the top five were certainly on form. From the beef of Jessie, the hunk of Orton and the built vanilla essence of Cesaro challenged by Reigns and Nese it was hard. 

Though through careful speculation the winner was clear. This years Hotty is Antonio Cesaro. The Swiss Superman with hotness oozing and all his open legs and tight action in the ring was unparalleled. As soon as he stood, Cesaro was hot, hunky and meaningful. It shone out of him and he did not stop giving. Then so is the reward. Well deserved and delicious, will he be able to keep hold of it for 2015? 

Runner up was the contestable force in Randy Orton. Jessie Godderz and Anthony Nese soon followed with Roman Reigns ringing up the rear.

Open Legs
Antonio Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, Adrian Neville, Jessie Godderz, Randy Orton

Quite a lot of legs were on offer this year but again, in minimal standing. At least the boys are being braver but it takes more than one moment or a passing, cheap open to try and win. Hotness is optional but environment and interaction could be key to swaying the votes in your favour. Like the action go for it and put some oof behind it.

Of the last five who gave it their all one took the golden gong. This years 2014 Open Legs goes to Antonio Cesaro. A giver constantly and done in tasteful and smooth ways, with a hot finesse bagged the beauty under close competition.

Dean Ambrose came close second with a wide and impressive open full frontal with bulge. So close, honestly, but Cesaro nabbed it in his tights and smooth legs. 

That competition was very closely contested by Jessie Godderz. He's best came whilst working a generous match with Sam Shaw and Angelina Love. This sure was loving.

Randy Orton gave good standing on the ground followed by Adrian Neville wide flying open legs in an aerial NXT leg split.

Randy Orton, Sheamus, Antonio Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Jey Uso

2014 gave some interesting back views. Though their was still a few played down or not a lot of contention. Raise the bar, lads. Though five made it to careful consideration.

It's a double winner! Both winning front and now back is Antonio Cesaro. While there was tough competition, damn, just one look at that image (on Social Media, check page tab above)and you can clearly see, pure perfection. Classy and dignified yet a glorious, smooth shape and conditioned butt was Cesaro's crowning glory.

Sheamus had both on show in one nomination! Though Shea gave it his all, it was a close call. It was still considerable and appreciated by many.

Yeowch! Seth Rollins steered into second after fully going for it, only a tad was missing in the visible shape, it was a welcomed and tender image that will stay with many in their mind.

OMG! Jey Uso got pantsed by The Miz on a WWE show. Though it was accidental, there was a generous sight on offer for all those that are keen to see (or say) Oooh-so! Or A**-Oh!

Randy Orton always gives good on his entries. Need we say more? Perfect shape, smooth arch and gracious display. Though this year misses out after some stiff competition.

Rising Star
Joe Doering, La Sombra, Sanada, Roman Reigns, YAMATO

This award has been renamed Rising Star. Formerly the Newest Development to Excel award still has the same meaning. 

There was one standout winner. Joe Doering claimed the biggest prize in All Japan, its world title. Rising up as the company's newest star, shining at its brightest, AJPW made a new star relevant with audience and gave him the chance to develop greater to the company overall.

La Sombra continues to be the high-flying dominate ace of Mexican wrestling today. He is skilled, stylish and clever in his projections. Mexico need to hold on carefully to this one. They should make sure he does not battle any ignorant fellows that would tarnish his young and rising reputation for a chance moment on screen.

YAMATO was a sheer dominant force in Dragon Gate but is stuck in a point of stalemate. DG have kept him grounded by giving him its secondary title, which he has elevated tremendously but has been rebuked for the main gold. DG have a star in its midst but the longer they hold off due to bookers' attitudes of failure proving to be egotistically right than making the right call for wrestling is starting to diminish the brand.

Sanada follows on. As most written about in the Wrestling Wonders Pro 50 Wonder List - (Click link here to read) - Sanada started out rough, then grew in TNA. Though the indecision of booking from TNA management ruined the potential. As a comedy act with no direction, Sanada is going downward instead of up.

Roman Reigns comes up last. He is a trier though immense pressure is now put on him to be WWE's 'top man' which is difficult for the former NXT rookie. While Reigns is learning on the job and meets WWE's requirements of 'big men' who also look a little sexy, the rest on offer is not as such. Hopefully this will change for Roman, but it will not be overnight. He should be placed in mid-level matches and build over the next year with a strong profile as a tough character. He should probably adopt tights and lose the whole 'Shield' attire seeing as he isn't actually in that anymore. It doesn't make him look tough.

Paul Heyman (The Streak broken), The Authority (Authority always wins), Bray Wyatt (Eater of Worlds), The Rock (Shock confrontation of Rusev and Lana), Lana (Battleground)

Paul Heyman's quality was on offer once more. Speaking on behalf of client Brock Lesnar to boost the uproar from the broken Wrestlemania Streak of The Undertaker, Heyman basked in the glory. Though follow up were good and there it wasn't enough this year to top the list. 

The winner of this year was down to two. Bray Wyatt stole the show as the Eater of Worlds. Telling everyone jus thow it is and to respect his culture superstars disagreeing found out the hard way through their selfishness. 

Second were the supreme powerhouse The Authority. Anyone failing to support their respectful rewards turning into a level of stroryline bias distorting the full impact of their reasoning was still considerable. It was the second most powerful speech of the year.

Lana held her own level of competence despite controversial offerings. 

Heyman filed in third as Lana and The Rock followed on. 

Max Waltham Appreciation
Joan Rivers

The late great Joan Rivers was an intrinsic force in the professional wrestling world early on. Her most notable work with the WWE then WWF as a ring announcer and appearance at Wrestlemania 2 between Mr. T and Roddy Piper's fight paved the way for comedy in wrestling. While in later years classed as foul mouthed in comedy circles often forgotten by many is the high level of skill and talent to present that unique aura. Rivers was unrelenting and would not cave in to social pressure. Her testament was boundless and wasn't afraid to offend for a reaction. Her reactions were vital to making wrestling a way of engagement and opened more ways forward for other now celebrity stars of mostly WWE to cement wrestling legacy. Rivers will be sorely missed and always managed to deliver regardless of being loved or hated for her talents. 

Rivers had dealings with the mighty Hulkster Hulk Hogan around the time with chatter and continued in later years this current era with modern stars as well. All the while a fashionista herself, adding glamour to the scene, she added intense depth to the wrestling world and for that Joan Rivers is marked as one of the greatest stars for many a time, ever unique. 

Wrestling Wonders Hall of Fame
Hulk Hogan, Earthquake, Mr. Fuji, Joan Rivers, Kendo Nagasaki, Vincent J. McMahon, Dino Bravo, Bob Orton Sr

The year's class of 2014 is a formidable line-up. 

No-one can deny the star of the wrestling world and Vince McMahon Jr's brainchild, Hulk Hogan became the unstoppable character worldwide. Everyone knew his name, was interested in his on-goings and his heart-whelming stories. Hogan was beloved for numerous years at the top of his game, unable to be sidelined from his perch. While later years of PR attitudes have been detrimental to his star, Hogan has made more than enough ground as wrestling's number one superstar. With epic feuds, childhood dreams and passionate interactions, Hogan does deserve his past achievements of recognition.

Tag team supremo and singles force Earthquake is most famous for stabilising tag team wrestling. His Natural Disasters team with Typhoon was a real turning point in his career. As a singles wrestler too, the mighty monstrosity was captivating at his very best. Fans were thrilled, engaged and upset which proved the success of the star within. 

Japanese manager Mr. Fuji was simply mesmerizing. From his dirty deeds ringside and his unknown intentions for his stars, Fuji was a dominant character on the outside. Strong smiles, cheeky tactics and and gentlemanly cane made Fuji an instant favourite. With skill, talent and an artistic way forward as an outsider making the best of the situations, Fuji goes down as one of wrestling most engaging managers which fully pleased fans one way or the other. 

Strong, confident and cocky, Joan Rivers led a new way for women in wrestling. From ring announcing and talking with Hulk Hogan to being a classy lady where appropriate, Rivers was instrumental in wrestling circles often forgotten. Joan's later support never forgetting her roots still proved despite never truly showing it, Rivers too was a strong lover of the wrestling world. She led a role that took women to the next level, even if she wasn't a full on in-ring wrestler.

The masked British wrestler with a mysterious aura and tantalising approach, Kendo Nagasaki is honoured. Unknown, classy and skilled, Nagasaki would not reveal himself to anyone until his terms decided the grand revelations. Making his opponents built up as equals, strong rivals and workability as a team, Nagasaki was simply wonderful. Kept on every word, instance and decision, never knowing what would come next, the star was truly a mesmeric and guiding force to look towards. Inspiring and confident, Nagasaki is one of wrestling's unsung heroes who paved the way for the world of British wrestling and globally as well. 

Vincent J. McMahon was the man who made the WWE possible today. Then known as Capitol Wrestling (CWC) McMahon Sr developed the wrestling business from learning the ropes at a young age. Transforming the business into the World Wide Wrestling Federation (WWWF) McMahon Sr understood what worked and how to maintain wrestling principals. Retaining these details and branching out with television years ago, he was able to continue the success of expanding the business to a wider audience. Understanding the then regional wrestling handshake deal, McMahon made a success of this territory without overstepping the mark to maintaining wrestling values with healthy alternatives. Though McMahon's alternative was always the one to top the bill and always figure out how to get bums on seats.

Dino Bravo was one of WWE's most stable figures in WWE's mid card scene. Along with strong tag's and cool interactions, Bravo's showcase of smooth and sweet style was respected. His selfless ability to help others and guide with training as well outside of retirement was a shining example to all the wrestling world of his passion and care for the profession. Having fought almost everyone of note worth at the height of the WWE/F's golden era of new age oldies, fans respect his necessary entitlement to respected veteran. 

Bob Orton Sr may be minimally unknown to today's younger audiences but Randy Orton's grandfather was "The Big O" in Stampeded Wrestling and for good reason. Taking the world by storm, Orton is well known as the originator of the now rightly reduced Piledriver manoeuver. Able to carry it well and work with others to exceptional fan thrillers, Bob Orton then Bob Orton Sr to establish himself from his incoming family, lined out ways forward for future generations. That foundation laid was an outstanding display of might and skill which is still going strong with today's youngsters. 

Most Improved
Ethan Carter III, Lashley, Dean Ambrose, Curtis Axel, Charlotte

Over the year improvement was clear. A lot of stars bothered to better themselves on different aspects. Though there was one clear winner. Curtis Axel is this years winner. His attention to detail and way he worked others to success whilst improving hos own style was better. While fans may not instantly recognise this among his downplayed persona on television, Axel helped others to better actions and kept his own place. 

Runner up was Ethan Carter III. While saddled with the dodgy surname in wrestling Carter III nee Bateman not only made his name in profile but really sold others and held his own skillset int he ring. Still getting better and improving everytime, Carter III has a chance at making a success of himself in the future if TNA get behind it. 

Charlotte rose drastically on NXT to a high standing. Lashley really improved himself further and Dean Ambrose is growing along considerably. 

The Authority take over WWE, Undertaker loses Streak at Wrestlemania, Stephanie becomes a Jailbird, TNA’s fake secret investor in MVP, CM Punk walks out on WWE

There was no other dominating story than the winner. The Authority of Stephanie McMahon and Triple H taking over WWE was the best 2014 had to offer. They left nothing to imgaintiaion and went for the jugular. Based on 'someone who shall not be named in all WWE programming yet formulates the foundation' WWE tried to do the whole self-assured angle. Confident, able to stand own ground and develop new ways forward to any situation with solution, WWE, with its own fine tweaks wasn't fully a Waltham, but envisaged the essence among them. Though the star was lead female Stephanie McMahon who really drove the angle forward with promise, stern and sophisticated promise and annoyance. Though mildly trying to suggest this adjustment form WWE bosses was a reflection on the significant other essence, Steph was hated even further for it. Well, it made good TV, that's for sure. Until fans complained, that is because they couldn't get their own way thanks to Triple H's previous pandering.

Runner up was Undertaker's lst streak at Wrestlemania used by WWE for cheap press reports. Following in third was TNA's fake investor storyline in real-life criminal MVP. What a let down that was for fans after being billed as the biggest change to TNA history after TNA really did consider selling off TNA and then lied about it, insulting its fanbase, what's left of it.

Dixie Carter also issued her own copycat mentality as always of Max Waltham and WWE. This time Dixie invented the cheap and tacky, no thought included, Dixieland. Dix thought her version of Waltham's Wonderland would work. After insulting her fans, their intelligence and filled with daft losers and personal choices self-destructing the TNA show, Dix proved she had no clue what to do. She even lied about selling off the company and offering WWE rejects Alberto Del Rio and CM Punk offers to come in and play with the world title as an accessory for OMG! factor moments. A story in which the real life escapades of Dixie Carter diminish all that was once salvageable to TNA. Now no-one wants to touch nor associate themselves with Dixieland. Not even buyers or TV people. No-one is grinning like a Cheshire Cat now.

Steph becoming a jailbird was a humourous and fun thing that was pretty good for a short, few weeks story. The interactions and the smile from one of her authorities taking away The Authority wasn't planned but still a sweet smile. Like a sprinkle of sugar on your sweet raspberry cake. Mmm. Steph's interactions also were priceless.

Hardly a storyline, though some fans did think it was one at sometime. The reality of a story that become a mild story in itself was an odd paradox that kept people unsure what to think, even when insiders gave them the answer. 

Seth Rollins, Rob Van Dam, La Sombra, Kota Ibushi, Adrian Neville

There was no-one more willing to put on a stunning showstopper of high-flying skill. That award goes to Seth Rollins. Crazy, meticulously planned and considerable in all its rights, Rollins thought about logical perspective and boosted the outcomes. Fans were thrilled and lapped it up. The respect on offer for Rollins in high profile matches where these instances occur was again, adored. 

La Sombra was runner up with stunning and fluent flight. Rob Van Dam impressed in his return to really work at changing perception which was once again now relevant. He put those moves carefully into his performance. 

Following in fourth and fifth respectively are Kota Ibushi and Adrian Neville. Both really delivered where necessary in their matches. 

Stephanie McMahon, Lana, Ashley Remington, Antonio Cesaro, Brie Bella

This was a good choice on equal playing field. All had beautiful outfits and wonderful style. It wasn't about who was 'Best Dressed' only to take all their clothes off in photoshoots after for Victoria's Secrets or Playboy.

From Antonio Cesaro's jackets, colour tights and smooth style to Stephanie McMahon's elegant and impressive range of 'off the rack' glamour it was a tough call.

Though one lady shined through all her beauty and pipped Steph to the post. With smooth silk, style and sheen Lana and her suits personified pure fashionable panache. Clean and effective with a velvet undertone, this woman had it from pinstripes to professional. Pure class.

Stephanie McMahon tried extremely hard and we can see that. She almost had it, but again, was beat by Lana. Steph had great corporism in her suits, gowns and dresses. Her hotpants Helmsley-McMahon era were both yes and no, but overall she was also daring with her dresses. She put on an incredibly good spread and looked radiant in them.

Cesaro's small but smooth changes were good. His tights had not too little, but not too much. The jacket was slightly daft and could not be taken seriously, though Cesaro's sequins were workable by him alone to a degree.

Ashley Remington proved delightful at one CHIKARA event dressed as a sailor. Though it might seem obvious, there were a lot of levels within his layers and colour combinations. His pale green tights fitted the, erm, brief considerably. The brief with the beef. There's a new one for you. :)

Brie Bella's Payback outfit with hubby Daniel Bryan was elegant, sophisticated and beautiful. A few other outfits were also in line that added to her nomination.

WWE, Dragon Gate, All Japan Pro Wrestling, National Wrestling Alliance, SHIMMER Women’s Athletes

The big one for all companies. Who stole the show this year as best wrestling company? Without a doubt it was WWE. While some of their programming was off and the costly WWE Network affecting some staff and shows, WWE pulled out enough stops where it counted. It launched Daniel Bryan in his coming of age story, kept Randy Orton at the top of his game and brought back a few oldies but goodies with Brock Lesnar and Batista. Capitalising and making the programming, where appropriate count, WWE were able to produce the goods and take the crown. No-one else could match it.

Surprising to many it may be, though SHIMMER Women's Athlethes came in second. Absent was strong competition and the irony of female wrestling as all brand participants was shockingly good. All the women put on excellent shows and strive for the best in their own way. Without pandering to audiences and able to deliver on strong action, it has shot up the charts as the number two promotion.

Able to move forward and give newer, fresher options with a continental outreach, AJPW made a good choice, for Doering's first AJPW Heavyweight title run. Looking to enhance a more global outreach and a smoother style, All Japan is moving in the right direction with its programming, stars and development as a strong and capable company.

The National Wrestling Alliance are coming up strong thanks to Rob Conway holding it together and putting a new, modern and charismatic stance on the show. Though it will need other options than just Conway, NWA should make sure he is not prematurely dropped like last year's short title reign. This lost NWA a good level of momentum.

Dragon Gate manages to ring up the rear. It was better than other absent and futile promotions often banded around as fun, but is still lacking in areas due to stubborn ego. That will be its test. Once Promotion of the year in 2012, Dragon Gate has dropped its ball. It needs to listen, make newer, fresher changes and stop relying on favourites if it is to be fully taken seriously once again. 

Until next year, let's see who will deliver, score big and make agreeable changes for the better of the professional wrestling landscape. If you would like to get in touch about anything or interest in joining a potential awards panel please contact on Social Media or E-Mail etc. Only serious and numerous inquires please, thank you. All correspondence will be considered.

You're Welcome!

© Max Waltham 20th January 2015
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