Professional Wrestling

Wrestlemania 33 Preview & Predictions

PRESENTED BY: WRESTLERUMBLE.COM

Why waste time with a long, drawn out introduction?  Let’s just get ready to rumble!

While I expect a good show from WWE, I do not expect Wrestlemania 33 to be great. Last year, the build up for Wrestlemania 32 in Dallas was all about breaking records, unfortunately those weren’t performance records.

This year, we are set to go on the “ultimate thrill ride”! Whether that holds true or not is soon to be seen. Will this be a thrill ride in kiddie land, or an adrenaline rush on the world fastest and largest roller coaster?

I think the answer lies somewhere in between.

Sure, we get Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE Universal Championship, but this feud has been drawn out much too long. We’ve seen it before at Wrestlemania 20, we’ve seen it recently at Survivor Series, and we saw it indirectly at the Royal Rumble. Plus, the outcome is beyond predictable. More on this later.

When your biggest draw over the past decade is in a mixed tag team match, you have problems. Whether you like him or not, John Cena IS the definition of Wrestlemania. He is bigger, stronger, faster, and more appealing than any other roller coaster ride in the park. For that reason alone he should be featured in a more prominent role.

The WWE universe will be taken for a proverbial ride each match, and some will demand more screams than others.

MATCHES:

PRESHOW

  1. Neville vs. Austin Aries– How this match is not on the main card is beyond me. If you want an acrobatic, fast paced match with great spots, this is your pick. WWE is losing an incredible opportunity to set the standard for the rest of the night by scheduling this match nearly 2 hours before the main show. Why not have this match be the first match of Wrestlemania itself?  Nonetheless, I see NEVILLE coming out on top in what should be an incredible display of athleticism in front of 5,000 fans.
  2. Alexis Bliss vs. “everyone” in a six-pack challenge–  Excuse me while I yawn. I do see a title change coming though. Personally, I think Becky Lynch should be the female face that runs the place, but I don’t think she’s the pick here. Mickie James, naw.  Naomi, perhaps.  Nattie, never has-was-or ever will be the best. That only leaves Carmella and her troll doll James Ellsworth as the pick.  Winner and NEW Smackdown Women’s Champion, CARMELLA.
  3. Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal– The only way this should go down is to have BRAUN STROWMAN eliminate EVERYONE.  Yes, EVERYONE! And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.

MAIN SHOW

  1. WWE Raw Tag Team Championship– I am a fan of Anderson and Gallows, but they don’t need titles, they need the Club. Sheamus and Cesaro are wasting away on the tag team circuit, and there’s no reason for them to win here. One year after they made their main roster debut, ENZO and CASS will become champions.
  2. WWE Intercontinental Championship Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin- I have no interest in this ride. The pick is BARON CORBIN.
  3. John Cena/Nikki Bella vs. Miz/Maryse– Something tells me win or lose, John Cena will be the “winner” of this match- or the night. If rumors are true, Cena is set to propose to Bella at some point this weekend. How fitting would it be for that to happen in the middle of the ring at Wrestlemania? That’s what makes this match a coin flip to me.  I am going to pick CENA/BELLA only for the bells and whistles.
  4. Chris Jericho vs. Kevin Owens– This will steal the show. Jericho does NOT need a win. His legacy was long ago etched in stone and Owens’ future is still bright. The pick here is Kevin Owens.
  5. RAW Women’s Championship Fatal 4-way– Bayley’s walking in, but she isn’t walking out champion.  I see Nia being eliminated first, followed by Charlotte, and then Sasha Banks defeating Bayley for the title. I don’t know if it is here or elsewhere- but at some point during the night we will get an appearance from SPACE MOUNTAIN himself, Ric Flair!
  6. Shane McMahon vs. AJ Styles– I love Shane O Mac, but I don’t understand this match. Shane is a gimmick match guy, not a 5-star match guy, which Styles is. I would have loved to see Styles face off against someone else who is a ‘wrestler’. While Shane will provide some memorable spots to say the least, Styles will pick up the win.
  7. Seth Rollins vs. Triple H– I’m lost on this anymore. Where’s Joe? He’s not in line for any ride this Sunday, but I think he will jump the line and get on board here in some capacity. I want to roll with Seth, but I think Joe will be the difference and set up a feud with Rollins for Summerslam.  That said, I am going to pick Triple H.
  8. The Undertaker vs. Roman Reigns– I hate to say it, but Reigns is going to win this match. The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania record is meaningless, and has been since ‘the streak’ was broken in New Orleans. That said, with the dire desire to make Reigns, he is the pick here.
  9. WWE Championship Bray Wyatt vs. Randy Orton– This will be right up there for match of the night candidate (along with Neville vs. Aries and Jericho vs. Owens). Bray needs to win this match. He needs his signature moment in WWE and this should be it. If WWE wants to move forward and make new stars, Wyatt should shine bright. Winner and STILL WWE Champion, Bray Wyatt.
  10. WWE Universal Championship Brock Lesnar vs. Goldberg– I touched on this earlier, and am going to spend about as much time on this match as their first match lasted. Lesnar wins the Universal Title here. He gave Goldberg his moment(s) for his wife and son, now it is time for Brock to get his last dominant run in WWE.

Moving forward, WWE has a chance to push its young stars if they book Wrestlemania correctly. Each outcome I see happening would be in-line with moving forward and not taking steps backward.

THIS BLOG IS PRESENTED BY WRESTLERUMBLE.COM 

Prizes are:

First place: $500 and 2 SummerSlam Tickets
Second place: $200 and 2 Lower Level tickets to Money in the Bank
Third place: $200 and 2 Lower Level tickets to Money in the Bank
4th-10th place: $50
*Any match taking place on the Pre-Show will not count towards your point total*

The winners will be announced by the end of Smackdown Live two days after WrestleMania. You will be contacted via phone and/or email. Winners will also be announced on our Facebook page and Twitter accounts @WrestleRumble, @ManiaPickEm, and @Gimmy_Heart. Follow us on Instagram @wrestlerumble.

 

IWC Night Of The Superstars IV – FUTURE SUPERSTARS!

This past Saturday, April 11, the International Wrestling Cartel (IWC) presented its fourth edition of Night of the Superstars, from Meadville, PA

The event was headlined by WWE Hall of Fame legends Ric Flair and Kevin Nash! Also on the card that evening was “Reborn” Matt Sydal (formerly Evan Bourne), Gangrel, Rhino, and current IWC World Heavyweight Champion, Tommy Dreamer! And while the superstars were out in full force Saturday night, what caught my eye most was the FUTURE SUPERSTARS of the IWC!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the IWC is one of the most respected and legitimate independent wrestling companies in the country. Since 2001, IWC has showcased some of the best young talent in professional wrestling. Many of those talents have gone on to appear in World Wrestling Entertainment. Saturday night provided a glimpse in to the potential of several young stars, those themselves who one day may end up in a WWE ring.

It’s no secret that the independent wrestling scene can be exhausting. Weekend after weekend, driving several hundred miles to high school gymnasiums and recreational centers ONLY enables the wrestlers to perform in front of as many as 2,000 people (as was the case Saturday night) or as small of a crowd as 50. Pay usually covers gas and food for the evening, but the opportunity is given for these young and raw talents to hone their skills and make a name for themselves.

I’ve been following IWC for about two years now, always watching for that “next” prodigy. There are several things that are needed to be a professional wrestler, or should I say – a SUCCESSFUL professional wrestler. Not many make it to WWE or TNA, let alone Wrestlemania. Those who do must combine the follwing things, and turn them in to a total package.

First and foremost is in-ring skill. A million dollar body can only get you so far, so being able to perform night in and night out is the most essential aspect to being a “star”.

Next is character development. Even though you can wrestle, do you have what it takes to keep the audiences attention?

Finally, charisma and desire. A lack thereof is blatantly obvious and can crush any skill and character you may have.

With that said, here are a few of the IWC talents who have the potential to one day return and HEADLINE the Night of the Superstars.

1. RJ City – In ring ability, CHECK. Character development, CHECK +. Charisma, CHECKMATE! City combines his love for the industry with his love for himself. Granted, that may come off sounding contradicting, but RJ is everything OTHER than cocky. He is confident, and it is that confidence that will guide him to the top of whatever mountain he wants to climb. In ring, his character is portrayed as a pompous, egotistical, and self-centered jackass heel who uses his self-proclaimed perfection – and his weasel of a manager, Justin LaBar – to outsmart his competition. That said, RJ- the actor performing the role of the wrestler- is a student of the proverbial game. He utilizes his skills like a conductor brings together a symphony orchestra. When I think of RJ, I think of The Miz. RJ City has been and continuously is awesome.

2. Dalton Castle – The “Party Peacock” brings something extra to the ring, and I don’t mean his escorts and peacock feathers (though it does provide for a visually entertaining entrance). For what RJ brings with his confidence and wittiness, Dalton brings the energy and intensity. The ring attire, facial expressions, and “strut” bring together the Castle character brilliantly. Think of the entrances of Ric Flair, Lex Luger as the Narcissist, and Ravishing Rick Rude – this is Dalton Castle. And that is BEFORE he kicks it in to another gear with his wrestling ability. He makes a simple hip toss look like a work of art. The former IWC World Heavyweight Champion possesses an above average frame as well, which will only increase his chances of strutting his way down a WWE ramp one day.

3. Darin Dinero – I haven’t seen much, as he is still in his first year of wrestling, but if you have ever seen something and just knew it was meant to be, this kid has “IT”. He might be raw and he might be green, but one day he has the POTENTIAL to be ON RAW and MAKING GREEN! I stress potential because I am being honest to myself and, more importantly, to Dinero. In every sport, industry, and walk of life, there are many examples of potential being wasted. If I can be Dinero’s biggest critic, I will be. I WANT to see him succeed. It’s like that coach you had in high school that you absolutely “hated” BUT, if you could get out of your own way, you’d soon realize that constant nagging and criticism was actually coaching and positive reinforcement. I hope Darin plays the role of a sponge and absorbs EVERY bit of coaching, advice, and experience from those he needs to in the industry. In the year 2000, there was a 20 year old kid who made his debut in Mid-Missouri Wrestling Association-Southern Illinois Championship Wrestling. At the age of 24, he became the youngest WWE Champion, ever. That was Randy Orton. I am not saying the next Viper/Apex Predator/Legend Killer is currently wrestling for IWC, but the parallels and potential is. *As a note: One of Randy Orton’s first WWE matches was against the current IWC World Heavyweight Champion, Tommy Dreamer. Hopefully, Darin has the opportunity to use Dreamer as that “hated” coach!

By no means are City, Castle, and Dinero the only three good wrestlers in IWC, they are just three that catch my eye and jump off the page (out of the ring) each time I see them for their in-ring ability, character, and charisma. Others include Asylum, Andrew Palace, Colin Delaney, and Keith Haught. Those four each have their own unique persona’s, abilities, and potential. Other seasoned veterans of IWC who I very much appreciate and enjoy performing are “Big League” John McChesney, Joe Brooks, Jimmy Vegas, and VIP Joe Rosa. When you throw in other younger up and coming talent including the likes of Jay Flash, Dylan Bostic, and Krimson, you’ll understand why the SUPERSTARS always return to the IWC!

First, WCW… Now, Sting saves WWE from the Authority

What an ending, the rumors were true (finally). Sting, the Franchise – the Icon, officially made his WWE debut last night at Survivor Series. And, for as awesome a moment it was – I couldn’t speak during or for about 5 minutes after Survivor Series went off the air.

It was the perfect setting – the perfect time, Triple H and the Authority running roughshod over the main event and seemingly nobody in sight to stop the inevitable. At 10:50 PM I tweeted out “I hear voices in my head…” followed by the punch “they’re telling me the WWE trolled us, again” in regards to a Sting debut. It was also a slight bit of anticipation of Randy Orton returning in his hometown to save Team Cena.

So as the inevitable played out and Triple H pedigreed Dolph Ziggler through the mat, it was now or never for a regime change. Triple H proceeded to roll Seth Rollins on top of Ziggler and called for a ref to come out and count the 1-2-3. Cue Scott Armstrong.

Sliding under the bottom rope, Armstrong got in to position as Triple H rolled up he sleeves.

1…

And then I noticed something … The most awkward coil up of an officials arm. It was almost as if Armstrong’s arm was being held back by gravity. “OH SHIT!” I exclaimed… And then the sound of a lightning strike with thunder and a crow’s cry.

I jumped out of my chair and a half, clutching my phone as I proceeded to tweet… “#StingWatch ahahahahhdjfkfjfjrffndksldkfkfjdjdj wooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!”

THE MOMENT I HAD WAITED FOR WAS NOW. Realizing it, the anticipation I had for Sting for years, especially this Survivor Series Sunday, my wife said “just enjoy it” – knowing I would likely be live tweeting it. But even with her thoughts, I wouldn’t have tweeted… I couldn’t tweet. I was frozen. I was in awe. I was reliving my youth – from the 1990 Great American Bash, Super Brawl 1991, Starrcade 1992, Beach Blast 1992, Starrcade 1997… All the matches with Ric Flair, Vader, Ric Rude, Muta, Cactus Jack, and even Hulk Hogan, ran through my mind… AND THEN –

I blinked, and then – he appeared.

For starters, the horror-movie music was a great touch. Part of me wanted his old “Turbo Charged” theme to blast the arena and out would come sting with bleach-blonde hair, but the other part of me said ‘this is right.’

As the cameras got up in his face, followed by a great zoom out – I then began to hear Michael Cole, Jerry Lawler, and JBL commentate this moment. This was mistake number one, and it was a big one.

Aside from Jim Ross, there should have been no one speaking as Sting made his way to the ring. This should have been a moment to listen to the music, the crowd reaction, and the visual excellence which the production of the moment was. All I would have liked to have seen added would have been smoke or fog rising as he walked through to the ring.

Back to the trio of announcers.

Cole: “Oh my God.”
Lawler: “What?”
Cole: “It’s Sting!”
Lawler: “What!?”
Cole: “Stinger’s here!”

And then, ruining the moment, JBL proceeds to give us a Wikipedia rundown of Sting’s accomplishments.

JBL: “A six-time WCW champion. The two-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion. The Icon, the Franchise.”

Lawler: “But what the hell is he doing here?”
Cole: “The man who’s never stepped foot inside WWE’s arena before.”
JBL: “Well what a hell of an impact he’s made the first time he did. Hoah, God.”
Cole: “But why is Stinger here?”
JBL: “It’s none of his damn business I’ll tell ya.”
Cole: “This is incredible.”

As I watched back more than 2 dozen times already I am more and more troubled by the announcers involvement in the entrance and spectacle of Sting’s debut. Not so much Cole and Lawler (since King couldn’t get a word in), more so JBL.

This was supposed to be a ‘surprise’ moment. A ‘saving’ moment for the WWE against the Authority. Cole set it all up perfectly. He gave us the WOW, Lawler gave us the SHOCK, and then JBL gives us… a resume! As great a wrestler and as storied a history Sting has had, why would it be natural for JBL to tell us his career accomplishments? Then, the next time JBL speaks he says “Well what a hell of an impact he’s made the first time he did.” He hadn’t yet made any impact. He made an appearance. And then after Cole asked why Stinger was here (which I am totally thankful for every time he is referred to as STINGER, since it is his proper character name) JBL bloats out “It’s none of his damn business I’ll tell ya.”

Did JBL know what Sting was doing? Did he know his intentions? How could he speak to Sting’s business when the man literally just appeared less than thirty-seconds prior? Had JBL stayed silent or been muted the commentary would have been.

Cole: “Oh my God.”
Lawler: “What?”
Cole: “It’s Sting!”
Lawler: “What!?”
Cole: “Stinger’s here!”
Lawler: “But what the hell is he doing here?”
Cole: “The man who’s never stepped foot inside WWE’s arena before. But why is Stinger here? This is incredible!”

I am sorry, but JBL took away from the moment for me. But moving on…

Sting approaches the ring and Armstrong comes out to confront him for some reason, not sure why. Immediately, any doubt as to what Sting’s intentions were were erased. If Triple H sent Armstrong to encounter Sting, then Triple H knew he was the intended target.

Sting gets in the ring. Hunter looks unsure of the situation, yet stern in staring in Sting’s eyes. NEITHER BLINKED as the crowd chanted “Holy Shit!” I didn’t chant, I was still speechless, taking in the moment. Everything was surreal. Trench coat, face paint, black and white ring gear – everything was how I remembered it… but then, I blinked. And I blinked again. And again.

This was the first shadow of doubt I ever had with Sting’s WWE debut. My first question – “Is this going to hurt his legacy?” “Does this feel right?” And I asked myself this because it was the first time I saw Sting as a 55 year-old man, in the ring. This WASN’T the Stinger from Starrcade 1997. There was no flowing black curly hair, no youthful face under the paint. Every part of the gimmick was great, but the man playing the part wasn’t who I remembered.

Sure, we all see our hair recede at some point, but I couldn’t get away from this fact with Steve Borden, the man. As I began to pry the doubt away from my mind, Sting then rotated his back to the hard camera only to reveal a very thinning scalp and hair line on top.

The doubt returned… “Is this best for Sting? Is it worth it?”

As the stare down proceeded with NO SOUND from the announce team, I began envisioning the next action sequence… And it began with Triple H clearly questioning “WHAT” Sting was doing, not kindly to say the least (I am sure you can read lips). After a brief acknowledgement from Sting, Triple H pulled back looking to unload on Sting, who ducked the punch – gave a fierce kick to the gut and a seemingly atomic Scorpion Death Drop!

As Sting shot up, he adjusted his coat to the right side on his left knee – got up and rolled Ziggler on top of Rollins. He proceeded to walk past a downed Triple H, through the ropes, and out of the ring as the ref magically appears after being out for 10 minutes to make the 1-2-3 count signifying the end of the Authority!

So, how do I truly feel? How did I truly react?

I felt an adrenaline rush. I felt weightless as I stood in front of my TV, neglect to any of my surroundings. It wasn’t too much, and it wasn’t too little – as far as the spot, it was just right (aside from JBL). Sting didn’t speak words, rather actions. It was the culmination of what Vince said would be a historic Survivor Series at the beginning of the night.

For as happy as I am that Sting has stepped foot in a WWE ring, I am thrown a bit, and only a bit in my thoughts by the fact that it is a 55 year-old version of the man. A month shy of 17 years ago at Starrcade 1997 is the ‘Crow’ Sting I want to remember. I am sure these thoughts of doubt will pass the more I see Sting’s WWE run play out, but I never thought I would DOUBT this moment. And, for a few seconds I did and, might still be.

So where do we go from here? Does Vince kick off Raw tonight and introduce a new authority figure(s)? Does he bring out Sting? Does he reference Sting? Does Sting start the show? Does Cena start the show? Do we see Triple H and Stephanie at all?

The most important question – Does this lead to Sting vs. Triple H at Wrestlemania 31? For all the talk about Sting vs. Undertaker – and even Triple H vs. The Rock, is this the match-up we will see in 4 months? If so, I am fine with it – ONLY if Sting wins.

I think this is truly the best option for Sting. He and the Undertaker wouldn’t be as athletic as Sting and Triple H. Sting and Bray Wyatt wouldn’t make sense from a historical standpoint. But the power of Vince McMahon on two fronts – overseeing HIS company and FINALLY signing Sting, makes this match-up much more enticing. I think Triple H can pick Sting up on the big stage and, Sting himself will seize the moment.

I have so many more thoughts on last night and I will join @JustinLaBar on Wrestling Reality – heard of SportsTalk TribLive Radio tomorrow at 2:00PM – SportsTalk.TribLive.Com

THE ONLY THING FOR SURE ABOUT STING, IS NOTHIN’S FOR SURE….

IT’S SHOWTIME FOLKS!