WWE

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!

CSR Wrestlemania Weekend, California Dreamin’

It’s showtime folks… And so it was, Wrestlemania 31 weekend is in the books. This by far, was the best Chair Shot Reality Wrestlemania takeover, ever… at least since I’ve been part of the show. One word can be used to describe this weekend, hustle. Not John Cena hustle, loyalty and respect, more like Deadicated Clothing’s dream big and hustle hard.

Since early November the planning was ongoing. I would send no less than a dozen emails/texts and phone calls to Justin LaBar each and every day. Hotel, airfare, sponsorships, partnerships, tickets, packages, event planning, and anything else you can think of. It was a fun process, but a tiring one.

No sooner did the wheels touch down in San Jose, that I immediately began “working”. First stop was J Lohr wines to meet Lisa Boissier, her staff, and do a walk through for Saturday night’s A Taste of Reality Hall of Fame viewing party. The facilities are awesome, and they produce and bottle their wine on-site. 12,000 cases each day. 144,000 bottles! Following the walk through, Blake Mitchamore and I were invited to a tasting on the spot, with the goal of setting the 6 glass sampling menu. We sipped and sipped, while Lisa was teaching us how to properly taste. We continued sipping…. and sipped some more! An hour later, our menu was decided and it was time to move on to more business.

We summoned a Lyft and made our way to Rookies Sports Lodge, our central hub for the weekend. As soon as I walked through the door I was greeted with pleasantries and kindness from the entire Rookies staff, led by Jordan and Trisha. Let me tell you, this spot has no faults. I met Michael Hobson, owner, in person for the first time. I exchanged dozens of emails with Michael the entire lead-up to Mania. He was likely sick of seeing my name pop up on email, text, and his phone! Everything was great all weekend long at Rookies. Great venue, great staff, and GREAT food! That can’t be mentioned enough. We squared away everything for the weekend and waited for our first event to kick off, the CSR Wrestlemania Welcome Party.

The first fans and friends began filtering in at 4:15, and the entire Tailgate room was filled by 4:45. We had calamari, wings, pizza, and more. Being Catholic, I chose to refrain from the meats this day. We also had our first surprise guest of the weekend make an appearance, Nasty Boy Brian Knobbs. Let’s just say he brought the nastiness to the party, and an armpit to my face. I went to Nastyville!

After an hour break, Vince Russo arrived for the evening and our VIP meet and greet, uncensored Q&A, and he captured the crowd. He discussed everything under the sun, and more. There couldn’t be an easier person to work with in planning and execution of a guest appearance than Vince. Along with past guests of CSR including Matt Hardy, Matt Striker, and Kevin Nash, Vince brought professionalism, integrity, and passion. Night one at Rookies was in the books.

From there Justin and I made our way to the San Jose Sports Bar for the PWR Kevin Nash party, hosted by David Herro, Dameon Nelson, and Linda Kay. Following some quick “business” affairs (shocker) and housekeeping with Dameon, we were set for the evening. PWR is a first class production with awesome people involved. The night was fun, talking shop with Al Snow, Jeff Hardy, Abyss, and many more. Around 11:20 we were to hook up with big Kev for an autograph signing of wine labels for Saturday night. In the madness of the party, a good madness, I slowly and unintentionally let my emotions get the best of me. Picture 300 people in a small space, lots of noise, and a touch of alcohol, and that’s what my roadblock was. I held the labels, a priority for the entire weekend, to be signed and then- in the midst of it all, drop everything, including this iPad I am typing on. I uncharacteristically became rattled, flustered, and not myself. All the planning, all the time and money spent just to get these labels signed and I felt like I was going to drop the ball, as I did with everything in my hand. Well, in the end, everything was gathered, labels were saved, signed, and secure…. though my iPad now has a minor screen blemish!

After all that, I needed to get away. It was time to get out of the best party at that time of the evening. Even though I wanted to stay, my better senses got Justin and I out of there. It was the best business decision I could have made all weekend. On the way home I lost it, all the stress hit me and I broke down. After some reassuring from Justin, I was back to the room and ready to call it a night. Add that entire scenario to the fact that I hadn’t slept in since Thursday morning at 6:00 a.m. and therein lies the problem. It was the end to a marathon 42 hours.

Saturday morning our VIP Experience guests Ethian (not pronounced anywhere near Ethan I later learned) and Jean-Francois (JF) joined Vince, Josh, Caroline, Blake and I for breakfast, while Justin was working Axxess. We had a chance to talk about Friday night and more, even though E and JF were 45 minutes late! Following breakfast, thanks to Trevor and Amber Ellison, we had an impromptu day of fun in the sun, pizza, a few drinks and a lot of NON-wrestling talk (which was nice). Somehow, at the end of it all, Justin, Josh, and I found ourselves in the pool. Once we dried out, we all headed to our rooms to get ready for our Taste of Reality Hall of Fame party at J. Lohr.

I led the charge to get everything ready at the winery but, that wasn’t needed. As Blake and I arrived, we saw WWE balloons, title belts, Hulk Hogan standup cut out, and so much more. This was amazing and a relief to me- I didn’t have to lose my mind tonight. I did make sure everything was ready, looked over the menu, and pulled up the WWE Network. We were ready to roll. Soon thereafter, Justin led in the rest of our team of friends. At 6:00, all guests had arrived, and I welcomed everyone and introduced Lisa to the room. From there, she took over with her team and we were in to our first tasting in the reception room. For 3 hours came wine and cheese/salami pairings, as well as candid Vince Russo reaction to the Hall of Fame. When I mean candid, I mean dying of laughter! As the night continued, I asked Lisa if I could purchase a bottle or two of their Mourvèdre to sample. We are talking $40 bottles of wine and she said “we will take care of that,” in the words of the Miz, awesome! This wine hits the pallet like a Mike Tyson right hook. So hard and so good, and goes well with any wild game meat. It’s so good, I purchased a bottle to take home for dinner this week. I will also be purchasing a case, soon. Only 470 bottles of the vintage remain. We began our final tasting prior to Kevin Nash’s induction, where we presented our special gift- an autographed bottle of special label, collectors edition (25 bottles) Kevin Nash J. Lohr 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. Following our final tasting, we gathered for a group toast and pictures to end our evening with applause for J. Lohr.

We then headed back to the hotel to drop off our wine, and headed to the casino for dinner. We were 20 deep, and soon were joined by the PWR team of Herro and Nelson. We always get a group shot at Mania, so we did so for 31! Vince and I sat side by side and had a very special 30 minute conversation over dinner, discussing everything from wrestling to family, career goals, life goals, and so much more. I can’t thank our second package winners John Thomas and Will “The Thrill” McNiff enough for picking up our dinner tab, they damn sure didn’t need to do so. These two guys were awesome all weekend long, had intelligent wrestling conversations, and John had the booking moment of all time, but I doubt WWE will be as smart as he is on booking! Following dinner we retired early for the night, knowing the marathon of a day that was to follow on Wrestlemania Sunday.

6:00 a.m. My alarm went off. I jumped out of bed, full of piss and vinegar, and said to Blake, let’s do this! We called a Lyft and made our way to the gym. We clanged and banged non-stop for an hour. Super setting everything, we covered all muscle groups. It was officially time to play the game. We then walked back to the hotel, all the while I am- you guessed it- working. I received a text from the humble one, Brian Karavlan, that he wanted to purchase our second and final Wrestlemania Sunday package. So, in order to secure his tickets, I was on Eventbrite trying to close ticket sales, not wanting to oversell. It all worked out and soon enough, Blake and I were already back to the hotel. After a shower and change of clothes, it was off to Rookies for our CSR tailgate party.

Bloody Mania’s were the drink of the morning, and that is confirmed by our tab! Once again we were joined by 40 friends and fans, as well as Knobbs. Bob Dunn, formerly of Pittsburgh, also purchased a Sunday package. He arrived and we were officially game on. Also on hand, were Brian and Kate Kelly. Talk about some cool cats, these two were a joy to be around. Down to earth and full of knowledge. They purchased the Raw with Reality package, which included 2 tickets to Raw, Friday night tickets, and Mania after party as well.

As the tailgate continued, I decided to hand out 14 Wrestlemania tickets, making sure nothing went wrong. Zig Daniels, a rockin’ friend, had already picked up his ticket in the morning. The last ticket to give out was Isenberg’s… and the first ticket to go missing and needing replaced was, Isenberg’s! No less than 2 minutes after having it, he lost it! The following 45 minutes wasn’t fun, BACK TO WORK! We fixed the ticket fiasco and were in a car on our way to Levi’s Stadium.

We were there, met the group and made our way in. Of course, drama ensued as Caroline couldn’t take her purse in. We all warned her! Oh well, it was a nice Coach clutch while it lasted. We made our way to our seats, encountering many CSR fans on our way. Took a few pictures, and then took over section 131, row 29, seats 5-20. Justin, Josh, Caroline, Blake, Trevor, Amber, Bam, Zig, John, Will, Brian K, Bob, Trisha, Ethian, JF, and me. I shouldn’t say Zig, he showed up 2 hours in to the show!

Wrestlemania was amazing. Top to bottom, including the pre-show, the 31st edition of the Super Bowl of wrestling was sound. There were a few low spots, but for the most part the night was great. Check out Chair Shot Reality this weekend for full reaction. One match I will detail here though is Sting v. Triple H. Goosebumps and silence, that is all that needs said. The reason I am in the wrestling business, let alone a fan, is because of Steve Borden. His entrance was similar to the grand entrances of his in IWGP and NJPW. He took his sweet ass time to the ring, and rightfully so. This was his one, and maybe only, Wrestlemania moments. The first time I twitched a muscle was his first howl to the crowd, and I was as loud as could be. Next out was Triple H, and his entrance was nothing less than spectacular as well. We immediately got a stare down, a this is awesome chant, and a collar and elbow tie up. Sting’s first bump was a shoulder block from HHH, and Justin turned to me and said “do you see his rope burn already?!” The next sequence let everyone know Sting “still got it!”

After a crotch chop from Hunter, Sting then provided an arm drag followed by a “patented Stinger drop kick” in the words of Dusty Rhodes. The crowd of 76,000 plus went off with a you still got it chant. As the match progressed, no one sat down. And then, in the middle of a scorpion death lock, out comes DX! Of course, it makes sense. And Sting took them down! HHH then nailed a pedigree, and Sting kicked out. And, just before a sledge hammer could be used… NWO! The Monday Night War had been reborn as all hell was breaking loose. After some one ups on both sides, Sting sat down on the death lock again when, surprise, sweet chine music from HBK! At this point I am expecting either Ric Flair or Shane McMahon to come down and even out the score, again. The finale in that scenario would have seen Vince McMahon end WCW once and for all. Though that never happened, neither was the realistic chance of WCW’s all time top draw defeating WWE’s COO at Wrestlemania. As Triple H stood victorious, and the handshake followed, even though Sting lost, he lost in a strong showing. It took HHH, DX, a super kick, and a sledge hammer to the face to keep Sting down. I was very happy with the match and representation of Sting.

The rest of the night played out and those thoughts as mentioned before will be heard on CSR. No sooner did Seth Rollins get the three count, that I said to everyone “I gotta get the hell out of here.” I grabbed Josh and Blake and we were off to hunt down a Lyft. We literally jogged no less than 2 miles, as far away from the stadium we would get to secure a ride. We did find one after some heated moments between Blake and several drivers, and we arrived at Rookies by 9:00 p.m. As we walked in, again I was assured our evening would be perfect and that the staff would cater to all our needs. Michael and Nikayla made sure we were set to go and the food soon came out as the fans began arriving (what a traffic nightmare it was for some). Wings, calamari, chicken quesadilla, chicken parm, loaded mac and cheese, salads, pizza! Holy spread! Vince arrived and we kicked off our final event of the trip, the Hot Tag Reaction with Vince. Great insight from the Godfather of the Attitude Era. As the event ended, thanks in part (all) to Blake, we were able to thank Vince with a piece of San Francisco Giants memorabilia. You can hear more about this at this link https://t.co/81MODvOKcB (first 5 minutes).

Justin and I were the last to leave Rookies and, after a final shot with Michael, he offered us a ride back to the hotel. Needless to say, my eyes were no longer capable of staying open to watch Sting v HHH back in the room. Justin and Blake can attest to this! I was ass-kicked and down for the 10 count.

Upon waking Monday morning, Bam (who is just a great person top to bottom- especially his hair) was hungry! So, already planned, we headed across the street for our Wrestlemania Hangover Brunch. We talked about the weekend, and had some great laughs. Vince, Josh, and Caroline were on their way home already. Our remaining group made our way to San Pedro Square and O’Flaherty’s for an unscheduled Raw tailgate party. We ran in to fans, friends, and had a group shot (both Jameson and picture definition). We then headed over to SAP for Raw! And then, what a mass of disaster outside the arena.

17,000 fans, and 3 lines to get in… Talk about poor planning. I sneaked one in and slipped in line with a CSR fan. I was in the arena for Superstar’s, the rest of the crew barely made the start of Raw. But good thing they did because Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman were on a rampage! More on this on CSR.

After Raw, we made our way back to the Square to Blush Sushi. It was a much needed sushi dinner. After another minor mental meltdown from the 4 days of nonstop action, Blake, Trevor and Amber reassured me that all the work I did was worth it and everyone appreciated it all. I needed to hear that. And back to the room we went.

We wrapped up our trip with breakfast at the hotel. We all said our goodbyes to Bam, Trevor, and Amber. Then there were 3- Justin, Blake, and myself. We made out way to J. Lohr to ship some wine home and proceeded to the airport. We got to the airport at 10:15. We went to grab some food not knowing that 2 gates away were Undertaker and Sting boarding a flight to Dallas. This was a YOU’VE GOT TO BE SHITTING ME moment. Why did I have to eat? The pictures that surfaced that everyone was afraid to ask to be in, I would have done just that. If I ever regretted anything in my life, it would ALMOST be this lost chance! C’est La Vie!

We finished eating and all three went our separate ways. I had an hour to kill so I sat in a corner and watched Sting vs. HHH once more. It was at that precise moment in time that I realized “holy shit” – I was there for Sting and Wrestlemania. Of all the ringside seats, Raw’s, Mania’s, and wrestler interactions over the years, this was the crowning jewel. That match, that moment, and that guy was the entire reason was there, that I am in the business, and that I am writing this blog. Everything happens for a reason, Sting is the reason for ALL of this… For meeting Blake, Trevor, Amber, Bam, JF, Ethian, Brian Kar, Brian and Kate Kelly, Kamp, Jose T, Enrique, Bob Dunn, Zig, John, Will, Justin, Josh (working with those two), Vince Russo, Matt Hardy, Matt Striker, Kevin Nash, David Herro, Dameon Nelson, Vic T, all the fans, all the boys, and all the memories. The partnerships with Rookies and J. Lohr, TagMeADate.com, Brad Bohannan, Spirits on Bourbon, the Avenue Pub in New Orleans… Jaime from Maniacrawl, and giving back to Connor’s Cure. Vince Russo said it best, God has a plan (regarding his running in to Bubba and Velvet)- and for me, he put Sting on a TV screen for me to see 27 years ago and, because of that, I have all of this! This I am thankful for.

Most thankful though of all, I am to my wife, Dayna. She puts up with a lot from me and this wrestling gig. It’s one thing to work 50 hours a week during the day, it’s another to sacrifice my space time to work another 10-20 hours on CSR both on screen and behind the scenes. I love it though, and I love her more. She was unable to come this year, but she will damn sure be in Dallas for 32! She enjoyed 30 in NOLA, and she even likes wrestling (a bit) now! Oh, and speaking of Dallas, plans are already in the works for the biggest and best CSR Wrestlemania weekend, ever! More fans, more friends, more special moments, and more CSR!

Once again, thank you thank you thank you – Michael and the entire Rookies Sports Lodge, Lisa and J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines, TagMeADate.com, Vince Russo, my co-hosts/CSR team, most importantly Justin LaBar. Bro, the potential is endless! All the fans, more of the friends, and all of the memories. Dream Big Hustle Hard!

Top 10 WWE Superstars (using the Mitchamore scale)

Recently, it has come popular to try and rank to top 10 wrestlers in WWE history based off of various scales, ranking systems, etc. There are dozens of ways to determine who had the best run in their WWE career, including time on top, mic skills, mat skills, title reigns, Wrestlemania headlining matches, etc. For me, if I were using my own scale, I would rank on 5 categories:

1) Ownership of Character – because at the end of the day, you have to be a great character to make it in the industry.
2) Storytelling ability – once your character is established, you must be able to tell the story, work with other characters, and complete the ultimate ending of a storyline.
3) In-ring ability – that story must be told and executed in the ring.
4) Mic skills – If you have it, you have it. If you don’t you need a mouth piece. If you don’t have either, you aren’t going to be great.
5) Value to WWE – Do you sell PPV’s, merchandise, and ultimate capture the PR the WWE is looking for.

For this article, I am going to use the Mitchamore Scale, thought up by Blake Mitchamore (@BlakeAaron73)…

His scale took in to account the following…

1. Longevity- How long was there run on the top?

2. In Ring Ability

3. Mic-Work – How good were they with the stick in their hands.

4. Mainstream appeal – Were they just big in the wrestling world or did they break out to the mainstream?

5. Flexibility- Could they reinvent themselves? Did they have multiple runs on top or were they the same exact character throughout their career?

6. Wrestlemania- How many Wrestlemania were they in one of the main event matches on the card?

* Tie Breaker- I used Wrestlemania main events as the tie breaker.

Using this ranking system, here is the way I ranked a short list of superstars. Once they were out of contention, I cut them. Those stars included Roddy Piper, Randy Savage, Andre the Giant, Kane, Edge, Batista, Mick Foley, Warrior, Kurt Angle, Brock Lesnar (due to longevity alone). I didn’t feel CM Punk deserved to be considered.

Hulk Hogan – 9,5,9,8,7,10 = 48… Yes, he was terrible at #2, average is a compliment. Remember, this is WWE, not WCW – so #5 shows no real change (he wasn’t a heel during his main WWE run).

Bret Hart – 8,9,7,6,7,7 = 43… Bret really never crossed over in to the “mainstream” media. He was shaky on the mic in my opinion.

Steve Austin – 9,7,8,7,8,9 = 48… Austin was good in the ring, not great. He can’t be a 9 or 10 on the mic because that is for the best, he wasn’t the “best”.

Undertaker – 8,7,6,5,8,10 = 44… Taker’s career has been extended in the last 5-7 years by fighting a limited schedule. I wouldn’t say he was ever “mainstream”. He is however, one of two that I rank at the top of the Wrestlemania scale, 21 … and 1.

The Rock – 9,8,10,10,8,9 = 54… Longevity might be a bit too polite, but even if I drop it 1, that puts him at 53 overall. He worked the mic like no other and, he crossed over like no other. For the overrating he may have gotten from me in longevity, he was underscored in flexibility (should be 9). Heel/face, it doesn’t matter!

Shawn Michaels – 10,9,8,7,8,10 = 52… HBK was a lifer, he was almost perfect in ring – until his back caught up. He was sneaky good on the mic and, well, he is Mr. Wrestlemania!

Triple H – 9,8,8,7,8,8 = 48… Sorry Blake, Triple H isn’t #1. Is is very good though. He wasn’t a lifer, but he is locked in for life now. He’s technical in ring and better than good on the mic. Mainstream – no. He was flexible in character and lost 3 times to Undertaker at Wrestlemania!

John Cena – 10,7,8,8,7,9 = 49… He’s a lifer, in-ring, well… and he’s held the company above water the past decade.

Randy Orton – 8,8,7,8,8,8 = 47… Randy Orton just gets it done. If it weren’t for John Cena, Orton’s legacy would be something much greater. Orton and Cena could have been Rock and Austin part 2, but it wasn’t.

Chris Jericho – 7,8,8,7,7,8 = 45… Y2J was under-appreciated, both in WCW and WWE. Vince saw his potential, which is why he was the first undisputed WWE Champion. That said, he had a shorter run, left and came back as a part timer. He was I.C. champ 750 times, tag partner with 50 guys, and he had the red carpet debut with the Rock. I find it hard to rank him above Undertaker, which is why I think this scale and system needs adjusted.

All that said, here are my top ten according to the Mitchamore Scale.

10. Bret Hart (43)
9. Undertaker (44)
8. Chris Jericho (45)
7. Randy Orton (47)
6. Triple H (lost tiebreaker to Austin based on Mania) (48)
5. Steve Austin (lost tiebreaker to Hogan based on Mania) (48)
4. Hulk Hogan (48)
3. John Cena (49)
2. Shawn Michaels (52)
1. The Rock (54)

NOW, on to the scale I mentioned above –

Bret Hart – 8,7,9,7,7 = 38… He was the Hitman, he owned the character, but he never took it to the next level. He was OK at telling stories, at best. He was damn near perfect in ring, shaky on the mic and ultimately never gave the WWE the ROI they had hoped for.

Undertaker – 9,9,7,7,9 = 41… The reason for the knock down here is when he cut his hair and became a damn biker! He told great stories, was very good for a big man in the ring, could speak when needed – but had Paul Bearer, and he sold millions of Wrestlemania buys, thus of great value.

Chris Jericho – 8,7,8,9,8 = 39… He played too much with his character in my opinion, but made up for it with mic skills. He was a fantastic worker and, like mentioned above, was very transparent. That Rock debut again, didn’t hurt his cause!

Randy Orton – 8,7,8,8,8 = 39… Much of the same as Jericho. Had a chance to be great, but he had John Cena to deal with – stole his thunder. Also, a few suspensions didn’t help his cause.

Triple H – 8,8,8,9,8 = 41… Hunter was very good, just not GREAT in any specific area. He was consistent, and his mic skills in DX gave him a great asset.

Steve Austin – 9,9,8,9,10 = 45… Austin’s character was brilliant and that’s the bottom line! He sold the storyline, was pretty damn good in ring, worked the mic like a champ and his value was top.

Hulk Hogan – 10,9,7,9,10 = 45… So he is tied with Austin, we will break that later. His only flaw was in-ring to me. He didn’t everything else the American way. He headlined the biggest events – Andre, Savage, Warrior, Slaughter. He even came back and work a great one with the Rock (see what I did there?!).

John Cena – 8,8,7,7,10 = 40… Imagine Cena in the Hogan era, what could have been between those two! You could have gotten away with turning Cena heel! That said, Cena is bland to me over time. He really isn’t special in-ring, but his value is second to none, tied with the best.

Shawn Michaels – 9,8,9,8,9 = 43… If it weren’t for injuries, HBK would rank higher. Sorry, but it’s part of the game. He wasn’t durable enough to be on top – but he is still one of the best.

The Rock – 9,9,8,10,10 = 46… Dwayne recreated the way to succeed in the industry. His character was awesome, heel or face. He told a story in the ring and on the mic. His only hitch, to me, was that he was very very good in ring, but others were better, which is why I gave him an 8. His mic skills, yeah. Value, double yeah.

So lets break down this top ten…

10. Bret Hart (38)
9. Randy Orton (39)
8. Chris Jericho (40t)
7. John Cena (40t) – overall value is greater than Jericho
6. Triple H (41t)
5. Undertaker (41t) – this is a judgement on what he DID for the WWE, not what he WILL DO in the future
4. Shawn Michaels (43)
3. Hulk Hogan (45t)
2. Steve Austin (45t) – Hogan created it with Vince, Austin executed it with Vince.
1. The Rock (46)

Now, lets compare my rankings and the Mitchamore scale to come up with an average and comparison.

    Wrestler – Mitchamore/Gulish

Bret Hart – 10/10
Randy Savage – 9/NR
Randy Orton – NR/9
Chris Jericho – 8/8
John Cena – 7/7
Steve Austin – 6/2
The Rock – 5/1
Hulk Hogan – 4/3
Shawn Michaels – 3/4
Undertaker – 2/5
Triple H 1/6

The average ranking would appear as follows –

10t – Savage/Orton
9 – Bret Hart
8 – Chris Jericho
7 – John Cena
6 – Steve Austin
5t – Hulk Hogan, Shawn Michaels, Undertaker, HHH
1 – The Rock

Overall, the results are similar. Each wrestler has their value for each ranking. My problem with the Mitchamore scale rating Triple H 1 and Undertaker 2 is the fact that the Undertaker is 3-0 at Wrestlemania vs. Triple H. Our biggest differing of opinion is Steve Austin and The Rock. However, both scales for me show greater value for those two wrestlers.

It’s all a matter of opinion, but the top 10 is a great list and a good place to start. Who would be the WWE Mt. Rushmore? This is just WWE in the past 20 years – imagine if we added WCW, NWA, and all the other territories and great wrestlers. Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat, Harley Race, Terry Funk, Sting, Dusty Rhodes.

The interesting thing about the combo scale is the 4-way tie for 2nd/ or 5th. Hogan was Mr. Wrestlemania, Michaels became Mr. Wrestlemania, Undertaker is 21-1 at Wrestlemania and HHH one day will book (w/out Vince) Wrestlemania.

What are your thoughts? Leave comments below or let me know on Twitter @BrianGulish

The Stumble in the Rumble!

Off the heels of the best ending segment to RAW in a long……….. long time, and a perfect triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship (or WWE Championship, or WWE Title – depending on which superstar or talking head is on the mic), the WWE couldn’t screw up – could they? They couldn’t possibly do the unthinkable and ruin the most anticipated night in many moons – could they?

YES, they could!

I am not upset by the fact that Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble, or the fact that many WWE fans all act like petulant and immature crybabies – what, did everyone in attendance in Philadelphia and watching on the WWE Network expect a hug and free gear from Triple H for crying? THERE’S NO CRYING IN WRESTLING!

Hell, I’m not even upset that the under card wasn’t even suitable for WCW Thunder.

I am upset that the WWE had the ball – fully inflated, in hand and… dropped it, or deflated and let all the air out!

Kane and the Big Show – yeah, because they were REALLY going to main event w/ Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania. Sure, Rusev – the Russian bull who is unstoppable was left but, they pretty much ruined that as well. The anti-American was actually cheered to win the damn thing by the time it was down to him and Roman Reigns.

Dolph Zigger – wasted, Dean Ambrose, yep – same. Ryback, Bray Wyatt (who I actually was behind in this match and expected great things from), and yes, DANIEL BRYAN all were made to look of no value to the WWE by night’s end. How could something SO promising be SO disappointing in the end?

HELL, a recent TNA talent was one of the top 3 moments of the Rumble!

As Bray was cleaning house, the EASIEST card for WWE to play would have been Bo Dallas coming to the ring and going toe-to-toe with his real-life brother. We aren’t idiots, we know they are brothers. And don’t say – “you have to separate fantasy from reality.” Because if that’s the case, WWE24 wouldn’t air tonight with all the backstage footage from Wrestlemania 30. And once Bo and Bray would have been going blow for blow, who would have been best to play mediator? How about their father, IRS?! How can I book that and WWE not? Is there no value in that? You could have then had the brothers eliminate the father, and told him to pay his taxes!

Miz and Mizdow – yep, ball deflated yet again.

The Bunny should have eliminated Adam Rose, although the Rosebuds saving Kofi and not Rose was OK, at best.

Why not utilize ALL 30 spots with big names, not c-list stars which included…

R-Truth, Curtis Axel/Erick Rowan (and all of us will save breath even trying to explain his role), Sin Cara, Tyson Kidd, Titus O’Neil, The Boogeyman (of all the surprises you could have had), and Fandango. Those superstars occupied 7 of the 30 spots! Those 7 spots could have been filled by….

Bo Dallas, IRS, Randy Orton, the Bunny, the American Dream (see Bo/Bray – imagine if Dusty would have come out in a bodysuit and face paint!), John Cena and Seth Rollins.

Yes, Bo and IRS as previous noted, the Bunny as well. The American Dream, see above. Orton could have returned to eliminate and jump start feud with Rollins, and John Cena just because. No need even for Sting or the Rock… actually, let’s talk Dwayne Johnson.

A) I have been an advocate of bringing him in to HELP, not be Roman Reigns! Mentor him, work on his mic skills, and yes – save him from an attack. BUT, to have him come out to try and silence the boos, not smart. The Rock was booed. The post-show interview was trash. The Rock even noted on Instagram – “Booed the hell out of my boy.”…

B) Why the teasing all day from both the WWE and The Rock? Pictures of the Rock in South Philly, pictures of the Rock and his mom. If they really wanted the Rock to be over and help put Roman over, do it IN the match, not after – which wasn’t actually after since Rusev was playing hide-and-seek outside the ring.

C) No Rock v. Brock, no Rock v. Rusev (insert John Cena), no Rock vs. anyone at Wrestlemania 31. I’m fine with that.

The Royal Rumble had the buzz, the anticipation, and the hope… in the end, the Rumble was a trip and stumble. Tonight’s Raw will be interesting – does Orton return? Does Reigns address the crowd on the mic? He is going to be booed from Hartford to Boston (pending Blizzard Juno), Boston to Pittsburgh (March 9), and Pittsburgh to Santa Clara. Do we hear from Daniel Bryan? Is the only way to fix this is by having Bryan team up with Reigns so the crowd cheers the duo – or would that backfire and play the role of Miz (Reigns) and Mizdow (Bryan).

From the hottest Raw in years to the best title match in well, years… to the Stumble in the Rumble, We are 62 days away from Wrestlemania and it’s already a Rocky road!

2015 Royal Rumble Predictions

It’s been 72 hours since we were in the studio producing Chair Shot Reality for this weekend. @JustinLaBar @JoshIsenberg4 @LadyNexus13 and I (@BrianGulish) discussed possibility after possibility of what SHOULD happen tonight in Philadelphia.

And then The Rock decided to post a photo of himself in South Philly and all the PoonTang Pie hit the fan!

While the WWE has confirmed 20, now 17 Royal Rumble participants, there are a lot of RETURNS that could be imminent – key word, COULD… here are the names that might make this year’s Royal Rumble the best, ever!

Rob Van Dam
Chris Jericho
Bo Dallas
Sheamus
Randy Orton
Batista
Sting
…with Sting comes HHH…
The Rock

What about Hulk Hogan one last time… or, seeking revenge for Monday night’s attack at the hands of the Big Show – what about Ric Flair?! No stone should be left unturned when preparing for tonight’s event. NOT EVEN THE CM PUNK stone… yes, while it may be about a .00005% chance, it will be one year ago tonight that we last saw Punk in a WWE ring.

If logical thinking plays out – Sting and Rock WON’T be in the Rumble match itself. I still believe that Daniel Bryan DOES NOT need to win the Rumble. Do you really think the WWE cares if the arena is booing because Daniel Bryan is eliminated? NO! With that said, here are my Rumble Entrant predictions and odds – then who I think will win.

1. Roman Reigns 3-1
2. Daniel Bryan 4-1
3. Rusev 8-1
4. Bad News Barrett 25-1
5. Bray Wyatt 12-1
6. Dean Ambrose 12-1
7. Goldust 125-1
8. Stardust 125-1
9. Big Show 16-1
10. Kane 20-1
11. Miz 75-1
12. Mizdow 74-1
13. R-Truth 150-1
14. Dolph Ziggler 15-2
15. Ryback 10-1
16. Fandango 100-1
17. Luke Harper 80-1
18. Erick Rowan 90-1
19. Rob Van Damn 65-1
20. Chris Jericho 55-1
21. Cesaro 77-1
22. Kofi Kingston 125-1
23. Adam Rose 150-1
24. Bunny 149-1
25. Bo Dallas 125-1
26. Curtis Axel 115-1
27. Jack Swagger 87-1
28. The Rock 19-1
29. Randy Orton 19-1
30. Sting 19-1

Depending on when the Royal Rumble match takes place – John Cena, Seth Rollins, and Brock Lesnar ALL could be entrants depending who is champion. If the Triple Threat match goes on before the Rumble Match, two of the three will not have the title and will be looking to attain it. However, if the Rumble match goes on before the title match, that would eliminate those three possibilities. I think the WWE must make the title match last. If Sting is involved, it will be in one match or the other, not both. I could see Sting actually make a surprise entrance in the Rumble, eliminating Kane, Big Show, and then Triple H coming down to the ring and though not it the match, eliminate Sting – further advancing their Wrestlemania storyline.

If the Rock appears, I would love to see him in the final 4, along with Reigns, Rusev and ? I think that, if you don’t have Rock vs. Reigns in a high profile match to where the Rock puts over his cousin, they can do it in the Rumble match. The Rock doesn’t even need to be in the ring at the end and eliminated by Reigns, it can be done earlier. I could see the Rock enter, clear the ring, lay the smackdown – and then Rusev could eliminate Rock, followed by Reigns eliminating Rusev… OR, Reigns eliminating Rock – then Rusev eliminating Reigns… which would lead to a Daniel Bryan v. Rusev showdown as the final 2.

There are so many options on the table for the WWE, the question is which option they will pick. WHO will headline Wrestlemania? Will it be Brock Lesnar as champion? Will it be John Cena as champion? The one thing I am sure of, unless he cashes in MITB after the title match tonight, it won’t be Seth Rollins.

Last 10 in the Rumble..
10. Big Show
9. Kane
8. Dolph Ziggler
7. Dean Ambrose
6. Bray Wyatt
5. Randy Orton
4. Daniel Bryan
3. The Rock
2. Rusev
1. Roman Reigns

What I want to see happen –

Last 4 – Daniel Bryan, The Rock, Rusev, Roman Reigns

Rusev eliminates Daniel Bryan
Rusev eliminates The Rock
Reigns eliminates Rusev

If, IF, the crowd boo’s because Bryan is eliminated, at least Rusev gets the heat – and he quintuples that heat by eliminating the Rock. Roman Reigns, the next John Cena – vs. Rusev, the biggest villain on the block. Reigns saves the day and wins the Royal Rumble.

Rusev vs. Daniel Bryan is set
Rock mentoring Reigns is set

In a second scenario I would like to see happen, put Rock and Sting in the ring at the same time, along with Reigns and Bray Wyatt… quite frankly, the fourth person in addition to Rock, Sting, Reigns doesn’t matter… As Sting clears the ring of Authority members (especially IF Rollins is champion by this point in the night), Triple H comes to the ring and causes Sting to be eliminated in some capacity. The last three would be Rock, Wyatt (or whoever), and Reigns. The final two would be Reigns and Rock… Rock puts over his cousin, setting up the new face of the WWE coming to headline Wrestlemania.

What WILL happen, because it’s the WWE….

I HAVE NO FLIPPING IDEA!

Sting could add to his legacy by being the only person to win both Battle Bowl and the Royal Rumble.

Maybe Big Show is in the final four for no damn reason. Maybe Dolph gets that push? Maybe Bryan wins… I wish I knew the lineup of the card because that changes everything – which match is held last – the Rumble or the Title match?

Regardless, the possibilities are endless and tonight’s Royal Rumble – aside from the under-card, will be one of the best, if not best, ever!

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!