Booker T is taking digs at The Young Guns on Twitter the last few days. It's quite a coincidence that Booker T is friends with RVD, and RVD is the first one to claim they never showed him respect. The Young Guns fired back that they had, in fact, shook his hand and spoken to him, but in general he kept to himself so they, as junior members of the locker room, kept their distance.
I'm not saying that the Young Guns have proper locker room etiquette (or don't). I'm just saying it's quite a coincidence that one of RVD's best pals in wrestling is now speaking out against them after their tryout... [CONTINUE READING]
For a detailed report, check out James Caldwell's main PPV report here at PWTorch. I'll be updating this throughout the show with some brief bullet point thoughts on the happenings. My full report will be published in this week's PWTorch Newsletter (print & digital editions) exclusively for VIP members...
-Regarding the three-way X Division Title match, lots of entertaining, innovative athleticism, but with enough of a story being told and believable near-falls that it all fell into place as a nice, but not epic, opener. Aries really stands out in a good way with his innovative combo moves and snap-quick execution. The botched stacked Sliced Bread didn't take away from my rating as that is bound to happen now and then, and they recovered nicely. Winner: Kendrick in 13:00. (**3/4)
-MIke Tenay, as usual, looked like he was holding back a burp just as they went to him on camera at ringside.
-We got our first "freakin'" of the night from Tara in their backstage interview with Jeremy Borash. Over/Under on instances of "freakin'" being said tonight: 4...[CONTINUE READING]
They worked hard at the start to get across this being a big deal, pushing harder than I can remember in a while that this Raw was sold out. In fact, Michael Cole went so far as to say "no matter what else is happening in America," nothing is more important than this, an apparent reaction to President Obama addressing the nation live regarding the impasse with Congress over the raising of the debt ceiling. They also showed an assembly of most or all active WWE wrestlers backstage, watching the match on a monitor, which was a nice tough to get across this being a big deal...[CONTINUE READING]
-Sting, doing his crazy "Joker" routine, said, "There's something exhilarating about being insane!" He said this is the spot in the promo where he's supposed to say "we can do things the easy way or the hard way," but he added that they're simply going to do things his way. He called Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan to the ring. Instead, an evil clown walked onto the stage, then unmasked to reveal Kurt Angle... [CONTINUE READING]
-The show opened with Vince McMahon walking to the ring with John Laurenaitis. Laurenaitis looks like someone who's job is to soullessly say goodbye to wrestlers whom McMahon has decided to fire. Michael Cole said everyone with WWE has been waiting since last night for word on what's next. The crowd chanted "C.M. Punk! C.M. Punk!" McMahon said they'd never hear him say that man's name again. He called him the biggest ingrate ever and said he walked out on everyone in the crowd and everyone in the locker room or ever been inside the ring. "He's nothing more than an egotistical, selfish turd." He said nobody is bigger than WWE, not The Rock, Steve Austin, Bret Hart, not Hulk Hogan. "This is a promotional marketing global juggernaut that cannot be stopped," he said. He then announced that they'd crown a new WWE Champion tonight... [CONTINUE READING]
KELLER'S MONEY IN THE BANK PPV BLOG
JULY 17, 2011
LIVE ON PAY-PER-VIEW
-They open with a video package of C.M. Punk's controversial statements that he wasn't supposed to say on TV, but WWE keeps replying over and over to sell a PPV.
1 -- SMACKDOWN MONEY IN THE BANK
-Participants: Wade Barrett, Justin Gabriel, Heath Slater, Kane, Daniel Bryan, Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes, Sheamus.
-Kane uses power moves early, but there's a lot of athleticism otherwise with the smaller wrestlers in this match flying everywhere in and out of the ring. For instance at 5:00, Cara, wearing all white, dives off the top rope onto Sheamus at ringside for a respectable pop. Gabriel also flip dove onto Kane at ringside and Slater slingshot corkscrew dove onto Cody Rhodes on the floor.
-Booker talks a lot about his Fave Five. Cole said it changes every few minutes. His pick to win is Sheamus.[CONTINUE READING]
Here are some potential "out there" surprises that could occur in the main event tonight, which John Cena has forecast (much to the annoyance of Chavo Guerrero, apparently) will be talked about for years. What could live up to that build up? I'm not necessarily endorsing any of these scenarios, but rather just brainstorming some possible twists and turns that are options if WWE goes for a buzz-generating big finish...
-Triple H gets involved at the end. Perhaps, since C.M. Punk has targeted in him in his calculated pseudo-shoots, when Punk seems to be on the verge of beating Cena, Triple H stops him and helps Cena in.
-Or Triple H helps Punk win, and he leads up an anti-Vince McMahon campaign which is led by John Cena.
-Of course there could be a double-turn of sorts where the pro-Punk crowd appears to be on the verge of seeing their home town hero beat Cena, but McMahon himself interferes and Cena embraces his help...[CONTINUE READING]
-I'll wait and see how this all plays out, but the first segment managed to instill doubt that this is actually C.M. Punk's final match in WWE since they're not talking about him still negotiating an extension, and they cast doubt over whether John Cena will really be fired even if Punk walks out as champion. Those seemed like two big selling points for Sunday's show, so it's a "novel" strategy to remove those from the equation.
-That said, Punk and Cena's performances were very strong in terms of delivery. Cena turning the discussion from the pseudo-insider references to his vow to kick Punk's ass was the biggest positive of this. In the end it has to come down to hyping that these two are going to fight.
-Punk had a lot of "crowd-pleasing" references, strengthening his character and his rep for being a loose-cannon on the mic. [CONTINUE READING]
-The six-sided ring looks small compared to the usual ring, even though its surface area is larger.
-It's a tough situation for this to feel "PPV-worthy" when nobody's heard of Haskins, thus there's no real backstory other than what the announcers can fill in, plus it's not as if Williams has been a significant part of Impact TV in recent months.
-With Taz off tonight due to a family engagement, Jeremy Borash replaced him. I'm interested to hear how they delegate their roles since both serve the same purpose as play-by-play men. It's a curious choice to have Borash fill in rather than a wrestler to provide color commentary. I'm not sure if I could take three hours of Bully Ray, for instance, even though in the long run I think he could be a good heel commentator when his in-ring days are over, but what about Don West? Especially considering it'd be a throwback to the instances early in TNA when the X Division really was featured since he called those matches, it'd have been my choice... [CONTINUE READING]
Here's the first part of a Torch Talk with Jerry Lawler published in the PWTorch Newsletter ten years ago covering his reasons for leaving the WWF over his wife being fired.
TORCH TALK with Jerry Lawler, part one
Jerry Lawler is one of the best known personalities in pro wrestling. He was one half of one of the most popular announcing duos in this industry's history. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, his wife was fired and he subsequently resigned. Since then there have been a lot of questions and a lot of speculation, but few answers regarding what really led to Lawler's departure - and what stands in the way of him returning. In part one of this new "Torchâ€ˆTalk" with Jerry Lawler, the longest and most in-depth interview he's done since leaving the WWF, he addresses several areas of controversy regarding his status with the WWF.
In future installments Lawler will give his thoughts on working with Jim Ross, how he thinks Paul Heyman has done in his place, his opinion of Michael Cole, his anlysis of the direction of the wrestling industry, his thoughts on the fall of WCW, his future on the Memphis wrestling scene, and much more. This interview was conducted June 22, 2001.
Wade Keller: When you first resigned from the WWF over the firing of your wife, you said you didn't really know what motivated them to fire her. What have you learned since then? Have you since learned of circumstances that might have led to the events playing out as they did?... [CONTINUE READING]
Here's a couple reader replies to my TNA blogs. I'll address each of them...
John H. emailed: You probably won't respond to this but I was just curious why you don't like TNA's content or any of the new things they have implemented or tried to fix yet you seem to be a fan of WWE's repetitive who cares if you win, who cares if you lose format of basically the last 9 years. I think TNA has been MUCH better over the last month, not perfect but more interesting than WWE.
My reply: Here are a few positive things I've said about TNA in the last two months from previous blog entries right here at WadeKeller.com:
-Jeff Jarrett is doing the best interviews of his career across the whole spectrum from comedy to serious. Of course, when he's serious he's full of false indignation, but he plays the notes just right. After Sky rolled Karen down the ramp and crashed her into the ring apron, I loved Jarrett looking toward Sky and saying, "She's a mother of five!" His delivery there was just great. He really has found his comedy touch and walks that fine line without taking into pure (ineffective) camp. (5/18)
-TNA deserves more credit for the roving backstage camera gimmick they do. It's different... [CONTINUE READING]
-The opening clips featured primarily Hulk Hogan (age 57), Sting (age 52), and Eric Bischoff (age 56), and then the first segment featured Hogan welcoming Scott Steiner (age 48) into Immortal. I'm just sayin'.
-Hulk Hogan needs to drop this obsession with the phrase "hide the ball." I'm sure he picked that up during divorce proceedings, but it's just nonsense in the wrestling context.
-The screen in the upper right corner says "Limited Commercial Interruption." Shouldn't that be "Interruptions"?
-When Hogan gives "Kenny Boy" a choice to join Immortal or stay solo in his match against Sting, are we as viewers supposed to be rooting for one or the other? Anderson stands up to Hogan, so we feel good about that and like him, yet he's defending against Sting, whom we're supposed to be cheering for also, right? Anderson then came off heelish by saying he beat Sting without breaking a sweat... [CONTINUE READING]
I had hope five years ago... hope that ECW could turn into a viable third brand within WWE. We all know what happened, as it eventually became Sunday Night Heat or Velocity, losing any sense of identity, especially with talent being drafted in and out of ECW from Raw and Smackdown, ending any facade that ECW talent was in some way different. Paul Heyman left, the show lost any edge, and Vince McMahon lost his enthusiasm for the idea and the willingness to let others book it differently from Raw and Smackdown.
In the reader comment area, let me know whether you think ECW could have made it had Heyman been given more creative freedom and he showed the restraint and discipline to work within the WWE corporate structure to make sure his renegade approach was given a fair chance...[CONTINUE READING]
The Attitude Era is over. TNA seems to be living in a time warp, though, trying to go back in time and recreate that. Last Thursday's Impact, particularly the first hour, shows that TNA is still trying to relive the past. The Attitude Era worked because of:
-Steve Austin's unique breakout character, and what a contrast it was to Hulk Hogan and Bret Hart before him.
-The Mr. McMahon character, after decades being the straight-laced announcer and the unstated leader of the company, shocked people with is 180 degree turn into the mad boss.
-Degeneration X being a younger, more cool version of the rapidly over-expanded, growing-tired NWO group. Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Chyna, X-Pac, Road Dogg, and Billy Gunn were younger, fresher, and more in-your-face than the NWO was. Their skits going after WCW at the HQs send a message that WCW didn't have the market cornered on edgy factions with star power...[CONTINUE READING]
-Should we all be jealous or sad for Vince McMahon stating today in an interview with Bloomberg TV that he wants to work until he "dies in his chair" at the office, so to speak? I mean, it's wonderful he loves his job so much, but part of me thinks there's something about having different chapters or seasons in one's life that completes our lives. Not psychoanalyze or get too philosophical, but what does it say about McMahon that he has no desires to remove himself from the one thing he's ever known and the one thing that consumes him and just try something new while proudly watching his daughter Stephanie take the reins?
-Although, saying Stephanie is next in charge isn't a given anymore. As he noted in the interview, as WWE gets bigger, WWE becomes less and less of a "family business" and more of a separate beast that just happens to employ a couple family members and which he owns a stake in...[CONTINUE READING]
-As Pat McNeill brought up, one of the issues that the excitement generated by C.M. Punk shines a spotlight on is how far WWE has to go to get people really energized and buzzing about the WWE product. Can WWE find a way, without "breaking a fourth wall," to get today's fans excited about matches on a month to month basis, because they can't go the "shoot-work" route every month. The right circumstances just don't present themselves often enough to go this route more than every five years for a big main event type of "shoot-work" angle, plus there are diminishing returns the more often you do this. In fact, it's the very fact that this isn't done very often that this worked so well. It's why the Corre angle worked so well last year, the last time something was done on Raw that felt like it was outside of the bounds of normal Raw happenings to this degree...[CONTINUE READING]
Okay, and now here's the big twist in the Brian Pillman "worked-shoot" saga from 15 years ago in June 1996.
The nearest equivalent of history repeating itself would be for Vince McMahon to have left himself vulnerable to C.M. Punk showing up live on Spike TV for TNA Impact later this year. Of course, Pillman was in the middle of a wrestling war between two giant wrestling companies with money to spend in the midst of a legit, and heated, Monday Night War. Also, McMahon is too savvy to let himself get double-crossed the way Pillman double-crossed his co-conspirator Eric Bischoff. Or is he?
For those who didn't experience this at the time, and for those who want a relive it, here is my cover story from 15 years ago covering the big twist in the Brian Pillman "worked-shoot" saga that had hardcore fans talking them like they are today about Punk...[CONTINUE READING]
Just over 15 years ago, a completely different generation of wrestling fans were having a similar conversation about Brian Pillman as today's fans are about C.M. Punk. Both were the same age (32) and both were seen by insider fans as heroes who rebelled against stodgy promoters and corporate babyfaces.
The following is a WCW Newswire report confirming that the Brian Pillman conflicts behind the scenes with WCW booker Kevin Sullivan were being worked, with even the wrestlers not in on it behind the scenes.
Then after that is my cover story in the PWTorch Newsletter two weeks later recapping what Pillman did in 1996 to stir controversy and the backstory on what was going on on the surface and what was really going on behind the scenes...[CONTINUE READING]
This blog is labelled "98.5 percent Wade Keller." This is part of that 1.5 percent that's not. Here's a column from just over 15 years ago from PWTorch senior columnist Bruce Mitchell from PWTorch Newsletter #375/376 that covers Brian Pillman's "worked-shoot" that was wrapped around a devious plan to outwit his co-conspirator, Eric Bischoff. Reading this makes you realize the various layers that could be going on with C.M. Punk, although the circumstances are different and Vince McMahon is probably too sharp to let himself be double-crossed. But it's fun to think about.
I strongly recommend you read this column start to finish. It's probably a scenario that most of you aren't fully familiar with, and it's a great education on the types of "shoot-work" situations that have occurred before. This scenario included a hardcore favorite wrestler in Brian Pillman with a reputation for being anti-authority and insubordinate in real life speaking on a mic in a way that shocked fans for breaking from protocol, and then ended up going a step further than even the C.M. Punk angle has, which involved an actual termination of an existing contract that went so far as to be 100 percent legit with lawyers breaking any legal tie Pillman had to WCW, and that was just the beginning of the twists and turns... [CONTINUE READING]
A few more thoughts today on the C.M. Punk promo from Monday night...
REACTION TO PUNK PROMO...
I still am amazed a couple days past this how many people think C.M. Punk said anything on Monday night that would necessarily upset Vince McMahon. Sure, McMahon is unpredictable, Punk is unpredictable, and there's obviously a certain amount of leeway you have to expect from Punk with him being a button-pusher. But even if Punk stepped beyond the stated or unstated agreed-upon talking points and parameters, he didn't do so enough to cause Vince McMahon to lose any sleep. My belief is that Punk is smart enough to know where to go and where not to go, and whether it was meticulously scripted point-by-point, he clearly stopped short of actual content that would cause any problems. What was brilliant...[CONTINUE READING]
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