I am a big fan of the CM Punk DVD Best in the World. I think it's the best thing WWE has ever produced and it's not really all that close. It's inspiring, it's entertaining and it tells CM Punk's story the exact way that it should be told. Which is to say that it climaxes with the pipebomb and ends with him holding the WWE title. In the movie, he wins. The underground overcame the machine and he became The Guy. It's how his story should've ended.
Unfortunately, as we've seen time and time again you can change WWE for a day, or a month, but WWE will never truly change. Vince McMahon and Triple H are tied to the idea of "larger than life" characters who are big guys with big muscles who they think make people stop when flipping channels and say "who's that?" This idea has worked for them for a long time (I guess) and Punk much like Bryan now doesn't fit that idea. Why they never think that people flipping channels wouldn't say "hey who is that guy that the crowd is absolutely losing their shit for?" and stick around, I don't know. How they don't realize that basically every channel has someone with big muscles now or that the fanbase that they do have has money that spends just as well, I don't know either.
This is a sad reality. The wrestling fans love wrestlers who are good and the people in charge of the wrestlers like bodybuilders, but we're not here to talk about that. We're here to talk about how CM Punk won. CM Punk climbed to the highest top that he was allowed to climb to and stayed there for a modern day record. His reign honestly kind of sucked, but he did it. He turned too soon because WWE is scared of the idea of there being a 1A to Cena's 1 and he was forced to change his character in a way that made him less like the guy that everyone loved in the first place, but he did it. He got everything he said he wanted: souvenir cups, PPV posters, guest spots on TV shows. He made it. No matter what happens afterwards there is nothing WWE or anyone can do to take away the Best in the World DVD.
The ending of last night's Raw is rightly being praised as one of the best of the year. It had it's issues (if Bryan beat Cena and Orton then why isn't he in the match?), but it delivered in a way that few segments have all year. It created excitement and made you really want to see things happen. While it was designed to sell this Sunday's TLC pay-per-view, it actually did a better job of selling another, much bigger pay-per-view - Wrestlemania.
For my perspective it set up the following possibilities:
- Bad Guy DX vs. Punk and Bryan
- Bryan vs. Shawn Michaels
- Punk vs. Orton
- Punk vs. Triple H
- Orton vs. Triple H (Orton as a good guy?)
- Cena aligning himself with the Authority
- Punk vs. Cena
- Stephanie McMahon vs. Randy Orton
- Orton vs. Triple H vs. Punk vs. Bryan vs. HBK
Besides a couple of those, there is some really cool stuff set up there that I'd really like to see and it seems to me that the Road to Wrestlemania is beginning construction. Read more
A popular story in WWE folklore is that Triple H and Chris Jericho had "no chance" going on last after the crowd had seen the epic showdown between The Rock and Hulk Hogan. This makes sense because the crowd was really excited during that match and then really quiet for the rest of the show. They might have just been burnt out or they might have wanted a different match than the one that Jericho and Triple H were giving them. It's hard to say.
Another popular story in WWE folklore is that Triple H and Randy Orton had "no chance" going on last after the epic match between The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels. (I'm sensing a theme here.) This one makes even more sense than the previous one because it featured two of the biggest stars of all time and one of the best matches in Wrestlemania history. The crowd was really excited during that match and then not so much during the next two matches. Randy Orton and Triple H didn't get much from the crowd, but they didn't exactly set the world on fire with their match either.
Last night at Wrestlemania, a version of the same thing happened. It's hard to say that any match in the history of the WWE could match the pure star power and build of Cena-Rock 2. A rematch that had been building for a year from an original match that was many more years than that in the making. It's hard to say that it shouldn't have been the main event, but once again they had a hard time getting the crowd into the match after they had already seen the best thing that would happen that night (An Undertaker match, I'm sensing another theme) and they were unable to match it in quality or crowd noise.
This sort of thing seems to happen a lot. So what should WWE do? Read more
Wrestlemania is this Sunday and while I have been less than enamored with the build for the big show, I am very excited for the show itself. Sure, there is too much Triple H, there are like six matches I'd like to see The Rock and Cena in besides their rematch, Jack Swagger is a big part of the show and the US champion is nowhere to be found, but this is Wrestlemania we're talking about. Even the worst shows are worth watching and talking about (with the possible exception of Wrestlemania IX.)
In order to get ourselves excited for the pay-per-view we're going to count down the matches in order of least excited to most excited. Get excited. Read more
The long rumored CM Punk-Undertaker Wrestlemania match is in jeopardy and according to rumourz there isn't really a backup plan for CM Punk. Which seems weird, but also unsurprising. However, this shouldn't be seen as a bad thing. Throughout wrestling history some of the most fun match-ups and storylines have come because of an unplanned injury or absence. (Think Wrestlemania 23 going from Cena-HHH 2 to Cena-Michaels, ECW whenever someone left or TLC '12 for a more recent example.) Barring an Austin match that will never ever happen on a pay-per-view that also involves The Rock, this could be a great opportunity for them to rework the card for the better. I think Punk should be in a high profile match at Wrestlemania because a.) he deserves it for carrying the company for the past year, b.) the show needs someone besides Cena who will be there in May in an important match and c.) I like Punk very much. But if not the Undertaker who could he wrestle that would feel important? Read more
Sometimes you just want to talk wrestling, you know? I emailed my buddy Tom Holzerman of the Wrestling Blog for a talk about Survivor Series then and now, roster sizes, NXT and CM Punk. It was a good time, you should read it.
The wrestling that I remember most from my youth is when I was eleven and twelve years old. I'm talking old school WWF new generation. That period when Tatanka was undefeated, the Undertaker was a good guy feuding with Yokozuna and I had a styrofoam urn to support him, Randy Savage was an announcer, the Hart brothers were exploding, the 1-2-3 Kid was becoming a thing and Razor Ramon was the coolest man on Earth. (Don't judge me.) I still look back on this time as my absolute favorite time to be a wrestling fan and I suspect that it was Mike Quackenbush's favorite too based on the last two King of Trios. I think the time period from Survivor Series 1993 to Survivor Series 1994 was one of the best booked periods in WWE history that sadly ended at an MSG show after Survivor Series 1994. (Thanks a lot, Diesel.)
The Survivor Series matches during this time period meant something. Or at least Todd Pettengill's Survivor Series reports made me think they did.
WWF Survivor Series 1994 Report by TSteck160
The Hart Family vs. The King's Knights had been building since King of the Ring, the Foreign Fanatics vs. The All-Americans was a battle for our country's future (with just a dash of McMahon jingoism), even Doink's matches at these shows were well built and felt somewhat important. I think I always liked the Survivor Series style matches because of the way they can showcase wrestlers in a unique way much like the Royal Rumble. The opening match of the 1994 Survivor Series did just as much to make Diesel into a star as his showing in the 1994 Royal Rumble did. Survivor Series 1993 is probably the highlight of the 1-2-3 Kid's career and probably his longest match as well. 26 minutes! That's how you showcase your undercard guys. Heck, Survivor Series 2009 is the highlight of Kofi Kingston's career and probably always will be. I don't want to ever see the Survivor Series matches go away like Vince said they would back in 2010 (remember?) because they can do so much for young guys by just letting them do what they are paid to do and, honestly, undercard guys are my favorite to watch anyway. Always have been, always will be.
I know that you share my reverence for these matches so I don't have to sell you on them. Do you have any favorite matches or moments from Survivor Series? My favorite is either Diesel's absolute destruction at the 1994 event or the 1-2-3 Kid and Marty Jannetty's foreshadowing of King of Trios 2012 in 1993. I love a good underdog story. While we're here, do you think we can ever return to the days where these matches are allowed to do what they were originally intended to do?
As Jason at Wrestlespecitve would say, fantasy booking is for dorks. It doesn't matter how smart you think you are (and I consider myself to be very smart like Lanny Poffo) or how many shoot interviews you've watched and books you've read, you still aren't a professional wrestling writer. (Everyone knows you need to have at least one IMDB credit to be one of those.) As much as we think about booking decisions there is nothing that we can really do about them. There is no way that we can influence them. The odds are, we will never get that job.
That doesn't mean that we can't dream though. Every wrestling fan, just like every baseball or football fan, knows that things would be better if they were in charge. "If they just did things my way then business would be through the roof," we think. It's why we play games like Total Extreme Wrestling, it's why we complain when things don't go our way. It's just a part of who we are.
So screw it. I'm a dork and I am going to do some fantasy booking. Read more
About a week ago I came across this list with video links to every match that Dave Meltzer has rated five stars. Now I'm not one of these dudes who thinks that Dave Meltzer is the be-all, end-all of what is good and bad in wrestling. For one, Dave Meltzer hated ECW when it was around and ECW was my favorite thing ever when I was between the ages of 16 and 19 so screw him. I didn't forget that shit, Dave. Second of all, star ratings are dumb. Star ratings keep Scott Keith getting millions of hits when all they are is an opinion from someone who says he doesn't even like wrestling anymore. Screw star ratings too.
That being said a FIVE STAR MATCH~ is a big deal. I mean, how can a five star match not be good? Some guy gave it his highest possible rating! Five star matches are the matches you show your friends who don't like wrestling to make them realize how awesome wrestling is. I was at John Cena vs CM Punk's Money in the Bank match and I knew when it was over that it was going to be a Dave Meltzer five star match. There was no way it couldn't be. I've never seen anything like that match in my life. So while I think we shouldn't be slaves to star ratings it's important to stand up and take notice of the matches that do receive this highest accolade. For instance, I've never been a big women's wrestling guy (until King of Trios 2012) and I've never really been a big Japanese wrestling guy, but I saw a Manami Toyota/Aja Kong match on this list so I thought I'd check it out and after watching it all I can really say is HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT HOLY SHIT. I honestly don't know how my life would have turned out if I saw that match in 1994. I'm not even kidding.
(Seriously, watch it. Chikara calls Manami Toyota the greatest female wrestler of all time, but she might be the best wrestler of all time. Insanity.)
Anyways, I saw the Punk/Joe II on the list and I remembered that I'd never finished watching it. Read more
CM Punk is nothing if not dedicated. Anyone who has seen the new, absolutely must-own "Best in the World" DVD knows this. He is dedicated to being the best. He is dedicated to making the most out of every situation and making it gold. He does it because he couldn't imagine doing it any other way, but also because he truly believes that he is the best in the world. I admire this. Hell, I love this. CM Punk is one of my absolute favorite wrestlers of all time (even though I am pretty sure he would absolutely hate me if he ever met me) because of this, but lately CM Punk doesn't seem to make any sense.
CM Punk is such a well drawn out character with such a rich history that his current run makes absolutely no sense. CM Punk is the guy from the indies. CM Punk is the guy who nobody believed in. CM Punk is the guy who had to threaten to leave in order to become a top superstar. (Serious question: Why doesn't someone else try this? What if Mark Henry said he would quit if he didn't get returned to his status as MONSTER HOSS? Oh yeah, they'd probably just let him. Never mind.) He was always great on the microphone and he was always great in the ring, but he never got his fair shake. He did his share of dastardly deeds, but he was never a full-on chickenshit. Now he is. Read more