Friday, March 28, 2014

IWC Podcast Episode 4 The Rocky Road to Wrestlemania

We are back for another week with the normal cast of character myself and Chris Walder. We talk about the build or lack of build to Wrestlemania 30. Some thoughts on that as well as some thoughts on what ROH is doing right that TNA and WWE are not. Also some pretty cool booking ideas that I spitball for Mania and beyond.

Thanks for listening and please spread the word about the IWC podcast and the Condo on the Moon Blog.

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Wrestlemania Is Suppose To Be A Privilege Not A Right

I have some serious concerns with what the WWE has done with Wrestlemania and the card this year. What the hell happened to "Ruthless Aggression" and the idea of being on the biggest show of the year being a privilege and not some entitlement by simply being on the roster? Between the Andre The Giant Battle Royal and the Diva’s Invitational, I am left to think if you are not on this Wrestlemania card you should just quit now or accept you are never going to be on T.V again.

Yes wrestling is not a true sport and it doesn’t have playoffs or keep track of your win/lose record over a time period, but Wrestlemania is billed as the showcase of the immortals. Sorry to break the news that Zack Ryder, Rosa Mendez and a list of other jobber level talents are not immortals. They have no business at all being on the biggest show of the year.

The logic as to why they are is it allows people to get Wrestlemania Payoffs as a reward for the year of service. Which by the way has yet to be explained how those will work and likely is a reason that Zack Ryder is in Wrestlemania and C.M Punk is not? That issue aside Wrestlemania is suppose to be a show that you earn the right to be a part of. The plot line of Total Divas that saw the Bellas match get bumped showed how crushing it can be for a performer to be left off the show. You can debate if that was a real or scripted moment but it did drive home the fact that Wrestlemania is special and unlike all the other PPVS in a year.

The WWE has become PG and geared at kids and this idea of everyone getting on Wrestlemania is like every kid getting a trophy in a sports league. What kind of a world have we become honestly? This is a professional business and it isn’t about making everyone feel all warm and fuzzy, it is about putting on the best show possible regardless of the number of people that takes. If I get to see HHH and Daniel Bryan wrestle 10 more minutes and am not able to see a battle royal that means nothing I am all for that. If Bray Wyatt gets 5 more minutes with John Cena and the Divas Title match has to go on the pre-show that is the way it goes.

When exactly was the point the WWE lost it’s grapefruits about booking Wrestlemania 30 the way it should be? If you book it like this is there any motivation for talent to strive to make it to that next level? Just by giving them some manufactured meaningless moment is that suppose to be some carrot to drive them to want to be in bigger more meaningful matches?

Just because you do bust your ass is no guarantee of anything and history shows that. C.M Punk has never made it to the main event. He has surly earned it through his work over the years but he has been upstaged by former stars and even The Miz taking that spot from him. Aside from Daniel Bryan who initially was not going to be in the main event the guys that have had the best year in the WWE you can argue have been The Shield. Their reward for that is another 6 man tag match with lesser stars than the year prior. Big Show, Randy Orton and Sheamus are a step above a match with Kane and New Age Outlaws that have not been in a mania in like over a decade.

Is the Undertaker in a match with someone who is a regular on the roster that can benefit from challenging the streak….5 out of the last 6 years the answer has been no. Granted it has produced classic matches and the Undertaker at the end of the day has to sign off on his opponent but still can we not find someone worthy on this roster of that honor?

Wrestlemania is a brand that has been established for having the very best compete in matches that are meant to have a chance to stand the test of time. The more that concept is watered down the more the brand of Wrestlemania suffers for it. Maybe not next year or the year after but if you continue down this path eventually it stops being the showcase of the immortals, it stops being different from every other WWE PPV and in the end it stops being special.

This is the one show a year that draws even some of the most casual and past fans of the product to it. If your goal is to win those people back shouldn’t you be giving them the very best of what you have to offer? Isn’t that the point of a show like this?

Wrestlemania is starting to lose its magic and just like the age of the Undertaker the warts are starting to show through. Wrestlemania has now reached the number 30 and if it is to keep on rolling to 50 and higher numbers this can’t be the type of attitude that is going to take it there. At some point these new young stars need to take ownership of this event and make it into what it is suppose to be which is not a right but a privilege to be a part of. Signing a contract to be in the WWE should not be a ticket to being on the biggest show of the year. It should be an opportunity to earn the right to be on it.

Hell the Scooby Doo Movie that just came out was harder to be a part of than Wrestlemania. Making the WWE Video Game was harder too. According to the Bauer and Pollock show no less than 63 performers are booked for this Wrestlemania. That is insane and not necessary in any way shape or form. NXT Arrival was harder for the NXT Roster to get on than it was to be on Wrestlemania how screwed up is that logic?

If you want to call wrestling a sport it would never work like that. If you want to call it entertainment how many people are left out of movies and T.V shows on casting calls?

Wrestling is all about establishing some sense of credibility with its audience. Things like this make it hard to take any of this seriously in the slightest. The reason we love the C.M Punk’s and Daniel Bryan’s of this world is their long struggles to make it to this big stage but not just because they made it to the WWE. Once they got there they didn’t stop earning it, they progressed and became two of the biggest stars in the company.

Being handed things like appearances in Wrestlemania for whatever people say it does for moral of the roster is over shadowed by the damage it does to the credibility of the card and the special nature that Wrestlemania has come to represent. Kids that dream of getting into this business dream of being on this show and one day being in its main event. The boyhood dream of Shawn Micheals is as real as wrestling can get. Now you are starting to spit on what that represents by allowing talent that isn’t even good enough to be on Raw be allowed to be a part of the biggest show of the year.

It is just NOT what is BEST FOR BUSINESS in a REAL and significant way.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wins, Loses and Titles and If They Matter For Wrestlemania?

Coming from a pro sports background everything in that world is about wins and loses at the end of the day. Yet in pro sports today there is so many stats and the focus on those wins and loses seems to be to a lesser extent. While in the world of wrestling where outcomes are pre-determined we all seem to be obsessed with wins and losses some times. This includes the talent at times not wanting to put this guy over and lose a match.

Which leads to the obvious question do wins and loses actually matter in wrestling? The answer is not as black and white as it would seem. Obviously once have established yourself to a certain level the wins and loses don’t really matter as much as the match itself. Unlike in pro sports there is a story that goes along with the event or match. Sure sports can have stories too sometimes made by the media and sometimes just naturally happen. Wrestling is not like that it is a story that is already laid out to some extent.

Wins mean more for people that are trying to establish themselves with a wrestling crowd. Take the Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena match coming up at Wrestlemania 30. It seems fairly obvious who benefits more from a win between these two. John Cena gets a win it is a minor notch on his belt that would mean very little in comparison to his career. Bray Wyatt is a guy on his second gimmick and starting to build a huge buzz for himself. This is first big moment at Wrestlemania in a high profile match simply based on who stands across the ring from him.

It leads to this great debate on does Bray Wyatt simply need a good performance and wrestle a match that makes him seem on the same level with Cena?  If wins and loses truly doesn’t matter, the answer is obvious, but it does matter here based on people involved and where they are in their careers.

Another example of this is Daniel Bryan and his long and winding journey to Wrestlemania 30. There is no way to justify anything other than two wins for Daniel Bryan. It is all about building what the WWE has liked to coin “Wrestlemania Moments”: and Bryan is due for his this year in New Orleans. He has come full circle from a loss a few years ago with an 18 seconds loss to Sheamus.

In a strange sort of way this was the reverse of logic where a loss started all of where we find ourselves today. Fans were so upset that Bryan had been booked in the opening match and losing in such quick fashion that they rallied behind him and the Yes! Chant was made and got over to this day.

Perhaps the best example of wins and loses and what they mean especially at Wrestlemania comes down to what we all know as simply “The Streak” and it has a life of it’s own. That zero in the loss column for the Undertaker has become the biggest angle in the history of Wrestlemania.

The Streak for many should never come to an end. Others think it should one day end at some point. What we all believe though is that likelihood it ever ends becomes harder to imagine as the years go by. Still we all have that moment of doubt in a match for the streak. Going in we all know deep down it isn’t going to end but still there is that moment when something happens and you question yourself. The last 5 years of Undertaker matches involving HBK, HHH and last year C.M Punk have been some of the best matches in the history of this event.

So maybe just maybe wins and loses do matter at least on the biggest stage of the year at Wrestlemania. What has seemed to have lost its meaning and mattering at Wrestlemania at times have been the titles themselves.

In the early years of Wrestlemania the title matches for both the WWE and I-C titles were very important matches and so were the titles themselves. Long before the Rock won a title at Royal Rumble and lost it at Wrestlemania did the value of titles seem to lose their importance. In fact another example of The Rock against Hulk Hogan being booked as the Main Event at Wrestlemania 18 took the shine away from a HHH vs. Jericho match for the same Undisputed title we have today. Go back further to Wrestlemania 9 in Las Vegas where Hulk Hogan not even booked in a World Title match would walk away with the title after Yokozuna defeated Bret Hart. Year prior at Wrestlemania 8 the Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair match did not close the show it was Hulk Hogan vs. Sid Justice (Vicious) instead.

That just touches on the World/WWE Title there is no comparison to how far the Intercontinental Title and Tag-Team Titles have fallen.  Randy Savage against Ricky Steamboat has stood the test of time as one of the greatest matches not just in Mania history but in Wrestling history. This Wrestlemania the I-C Champ is in a battle royal. The Tag Titles had huge matches like the British Bulldogs defeating The Dream Team of Greg “The Hammer” Valentine and Brutus Beefcake. This year we may see the Jimmy and Jay Uso defend there titles against two guys that were having mania matches over 14 years ago. At least we think so but we are just weeks from the event and at this moment the Tag-Team titles are not even booked on the show as far as public know. Would it shock anyone to see this match on a pre-show?

I step out of the WWE and look over to ROH and what they do at their big show Final Battle and how they treat their titles. ROH makes Final Battle what Wrestlemania use to be as the conclusion to the unofficial wrestling year for a company. They have big feuds climax at that event. It always ends with what matters the most the Ring of Honor World Title.

It is a company where the focus of pretty much everyone on the roster is about getting to a level to win that World Title or one of the other two championships in the company.

No one is going to say filling a place in New York City that holds 2000-3000 people at most is the same as filling a football stadium. WWE no matter what path they take will always be number one and Wrestlemania is so established the name of the event sells it now more than any match they make or do not make.

A lesson can still be learned though about making the titles mean something and making a big show for your company mean something as well. Adam Cole will be defending his ROH Title in Ladder War 5 down in New Orleans against Jay Briscoe. It will not be seen by 70,000 people but it will be a hell of a match because the belt Adam Cole wears is not just a prop it matters. Just like if Daniel Bryan doesn’t win that title it will matter for fans. The champion that holds that belt doesn’t matter at the moment in WWE.

Even when Punk had historic title run the belt he held was not treated like the most important thing. John Cena was and that is flawed logic. The title in any wrestling company always outlasts the people that hold it. When a title isn’t strong than you have a problem that needs to be solved or addressed at some point to make it matter. Now you’re not relying on a belt that never gets injured your relying on a person or people to carry your show. If done correctly, that marriage of people and title can carry a company on to greatness. 

So really wins, loses and titles all do matter to some extent. If they didn’t why bother even declaring a winner and having a belt.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

IWC Podcast - Special Guest Brian Fritz From Between The Ropes

Excited to have a guest this week who has covered the wrestling business for 16 years. Brian Fritz has been covering the pro wrestling buisness for both radio and print outlets over the years. He currently runs a great website that I mentioned in a post on podcasts that I love. So it a great pleasure to have Brain from Between The Ropes on our IWC podcast here on Condo on the Moon.

Chris Walder will be back next week along side me for the podcast. I want to thank Brian for coming on board and being our first guest. Trying to work at getting more guests you'll enjoy and maybe even get some wrestlers at some point? I hope so, I learned from my experience in basketball if you work at you can build relationships and get guests. It just takes working hard at it and some people being willing to give you a chance. Brian did that for me and I thank him for that and for not mentioning Kobe Bryant scoring 81 points against the Raptors.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Raw Notebook: Realism and Proper Babyface Booking

In my transition into writing on wrestling I have tried to not fall into the typical stereotypes of what I see out there. Doing blogs or podcasts after Raw is the standard thing to do if you cover wrestling. I am not saying I will never fall into that standard type of things, but at this point I am focused on building myself an audience for this.

With that all said last night’s Raw in San Antonio had me compelled to talk about it a bit. From an in ring point of view the show wasn’t anything special at all.  Although I thought a couple of things on this show for me caught my attention that was different from the standard stuff we have come to expect from Raw.

The biggest thing I noticed was the treatment of Daniel Bryan. While on the surface it seemed the standard way Daniel Bryan has been treated on the program since Summerslam.

But look a little closer and it was different. Michael Cole who I have never praised for his commentary to any large degree at any time I can recall did a good job on this show. He drove home a theme of the night about Daniel Bryan causing problems between all the various heels on the show.

The show began with a promo by Triple H in which he would be interrupted by both Batista and Randy Orton. Batista and Orton were to say the least upset about HHH granting Bryan a match that could see him be a part of their main event match.

This caused HHH to be angry with them doubting his abilities to beat Bryan. In reality everyone does expect HHH to lose to set up the main event match that people want to see. HHH cut a great promo that actually was attacking both Orton and Batista using actual feelings of the fan base on both. 

Than he dropped the bomb on Batista and Orton but more in reality the fans watching when he declared there will be a triple threat match for the title at Wrestlemania 30 but it will not be Bryan in the match it is going to be him. In other words the winner of the Bryan vs. HHH match regardless of the outcome will put the winner in the Main Event for the title.

Brilliant because now fans that feel HHH is out to bury people now have a concern that maybe he just might now win his match with Bryan. This match lacked any drama to it and now it has some for people that question HHH’s desire be it in storyline or in reality to put over Daniel Bryan.

Cole did a good job selling the fact that Daniel Bryan was the cause behind all of this drama between the three. Fans are fully aware of the history of the three in evolution and in reality most are fully aware of the friendship between the three. Daniel Bryan even in storyline causing a riff between them makes him seem more important.

During the body of the show the riff also extended to between HHH and Stephanie. This again was sold by Cole as being caused by Bryan. In the end this tension was proven to be just a work that would get revealed in the final segment.

Still now it took people plotting to destroy or set-up Bryan which makes him important. In the end the show ended with HHH and Stephanie being on the same page. Steph would come out and call for the cops to arrest Daniel Bryan for his actions last week disrupting Raw. As it turned out the Cops were fake and had cuffed Bryan while Steph and Hunter were fighting outside of the ring. HHH enters the ring and at first looks like he is going to call off the cops but instead reveals the cops are phony and a beat down of Bryan commences. The fact Bryan is handcuffed makes him seem again important and a threat. HHH if he was so confident he could handle Daniel Bryan why go to the extent to have him handcuffed to beat him down.

The combination of Cole getting it over and the storyline made Daniel Bryan feel like he was being treated by the company as a top baby face.

While many will leave the show more concerned than ever about Daniel Bryan getting to the finish line at Wrestlemania the subtle seeds have been planted that he will.

What I also liked on this show was all the subtle jabs of the reality we had mixed in the program. From the opening segment we talked about to Bray Wyatt’s promo on John Cena to Christian on commentary. The WWE on this same show introduced a show for kids called Slam City that is basically the cartoons on the net that are a modern version of the old Hulk Hogan’s Rockin' Wrestling.

The Attitude Era is dead but for fans of that era if you can add more of those “Real Life” lines into promos it will be something that will appeal to that older Attitude Era crowd but sill stays in the WWE’s PG world. If you think about Jake” The Snake” Roberts  mainly existed in that kid friendly WWE era with Hulk Hogan and still did his thing. Bray Wyatt often draws comparison to him and can have that same amount of success. In the Attitude Era we likely see Bray Wyatt not just subtle reference to Nikki Bella but he likely kidnaps her and does God knows what. Back to Jake “The Snake” Roberts and his feud with Randy Savage. He would just intimidate Elizabeth and never cross that line too far. There is no reason to think Bray could not do something similar in his current situation.

There is a way for everyone to be somewhat happy at the end of the day. WWE just has to work extremely hard at doing that. Regardless of if people will believe it or not the exit of CM Punk might have served as a wake up call for folks in the WWE to work harder at reaching that goal. It seems like at least a legitimate theory as you can’t argue that Punk’s absence has not had an impact on the company having to alternate plans and re-evaluate.  This along with the continued strength of Bryan and the lack of strength of Batista has led to the most winding road to Wrestlemania we have seen in some time perhaps ever.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ronda Rousey In WWE Just A Matter Of When Not If?

The WWE always loves main stream attention and they have a history of not being afraid at bringing outside people to pop a rating. It seems that every scrum of late for the UFC’s Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey includes some WWE talk. She was in attendance at UFC 171 and in the 11 minutes or so she took some of that time to talk about loving the WWE and not being opposed to be involved in it although with her schedule it likely doesn’t make sense. She also talked with school girl like enthusiasm about meeting CM Punk after her most recent victory at UFC 170. Have a listen to the media scrum from MMA Fighting Website:

While we joked on the IWC podcast about bringing her in for Wrestlemania this year that likely makes no sense given Rousey’s schedule. Summerslam would seem to make a ton of sense being in L.A but that also appears to be around the same time Rousey expects to jump back in the octagon. So if she is preparing for a fight that likely is not going to work. Wrestlemania 31 up in San Francisco might make a ton of sense.

I seriously wonder if people in WWE have her on the radar because if they don’t they damn well should. You bring back Batista, in part, based on a movie roll, a guest slot for the most famous women’s fighter ever and a movie star in her own right, this needs to happen for WWE. 

More than that Rousey unlike some guests that get thrown into the WWE world is a legit fan and a legit threat physically. She may not come alone either as she has a group of female fighters that make up her group they have named the 4 horsewomen. This is just something waiting to be exploited by Vince McMahon.

WWE may already have a storyline waiting for this to all come together. Ric Flair’s daughter Charlotte currently in WWE Developmental at NXT has recently taken on her dad’s history in storyline. They have even gone to the point of calling her the “Dirtiest Diva in the Game” as a play off her dad’s famous catch phrases.  A storyline involving Rousey’s 4 horsewomen rolling into WWE even for a short one off appearance could fit in with all of this perfectly.

Am I obsessed with the idea of Ronda Rousey and WWE coming together? Yup I am, but as crazy as I am about it this does make sense if you can make it happen. WWE got a big boost back in the day from Mike Tyson, there is no reason to think they couldn’t do it again with Ronda Rousey.

I think the idea of her getting into a match of any kind is never going to happen but to see her involved in a way like Tyson was is something I could totally see happening.

It doesn’t seem like Ronda’s love for Pro Wrestling is going away despite true MMA only fans perhaps rolling their eyes. In the same way they do when CM Punk talks about wanting to fight in MMA or at least teasing the idea of it.

Rousey recently met Punk at her fight which was a rare public appearance for Punk since leaving the WWE after the Royal Rumble. If Punk was part of the WWE when and if Rousey were to come around he would only be helpful in making this happen you have to figure.

Not sure what strictly WWE fans would think of Rousey but as she has proven in MMA she is cool with playing the heel if it works out that way. I have a feeling the WWE fans that are also MMA fans would embrace this has something pretty big.

But the biggest reason the WWE would do such a thing is Ronda Rousey brings with her a ton of media interest and her own built in fan base and haters as well. Whatever Ronda Rousey does these days seems to draw a ton of attention. You can make the argument she is the most famous female athlete on the planet today. 

Friday, March 14, 2014

IWC Podcast Back Talking Mania, ROH, And Divas Oh My

Week two what you gonna do brother! Well I will tell you we talk about Daniel Bryan and his road after Wrestlemania. TNA's return to PPV that was called Lockdown but by looks of the crowd maybe it should have been Lockout. While TNA struggles ROH seems to on the rise? Talk about the lack of knowledge about the Mania under card. Does a Battle Royal work in 2014 as a concept. In addition what former WWE Women's Champion is not a fan of the term Diva. We look at the state of Diva's Division in WWE.

If your enjoying the show please let people know about as we are trying to get this podcast off the ground and build an audience and a fanbase for this. We have some guests were trying to book for the upcoming weeks that we hope you will enjoy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Yes! Yes! Yes! But What Happens After Wrestlemania 30 for Daniel Bryan?

It would appear after Raw that fans have got what they have not so quietly demanded for Wrestlemania 30. The table has been set for Daniel Bryan to be the star of Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans. He will face Triple H sliding into the role originally cast for C.M Punk and when he wins would advance to the Main Event in a triple threat with Batista and Randy Orton.

Let’s give the WWE the benefit of the doubt and assume they book this as fans want to see it with Bryan going over HHH and winning the three way to close the show and end Wrestlemania with 70,000 or so chanting Yes! Yes! Yes!

All seems great right...but where fans often fail to think about is what comes next? So, Bryan finally has the Championship that people have wanted him to have since the summer now what?  Now what comes next and can he be anything different from what C.M Punk was in a similar position?

Will he actually be treated like the champion and the top guy in the company? Is John Cena going remain content being the second fiddle to Daniel Bryan in storyline? Probably not but he also isn't going to turn heel anytime soon. The babyface vs. babyface clash at Summerslam was deemed by Vince McMahon as a “Swing and a Miss” as far as a main event goes.

The obvious direction would be a program with Batista who was originally pegged to win the title, but thanks to a major miscalculation by WWE to reaction to his return he now is a heel instead of a face. Bryan is not exactly in a good place in a feud like this. Batista is not a guy that can hang with Daniel Bryan in terms of putting on a long and exciting high tempo match.

A guy that is sits on his couch in Chicago and seems unlike to leave it to return to WWE anytime soon. If he did the promo for a returning Punk writes itself and allows Punk to return as a heel. Bitter that the fans that once cheered for him now chant Yes! Yes! Yes! Angry that once Bryan got his matches at Mania the fans forgot about him. He is after all the Best in the World not Daniel Bryan. While he has no love for the Authority and Triple H at least he knows where he stands. While Bryan was a wolf in sheep’s clothing that stole his spot.

Bryan points out what all the fans have since Punk left that he abandoned them and was doing it about money and greed and not about loving the business like he claims he does. The two have feuded before in WWE but there would be some added realism to a feud like this that would get fans really excited.

Not holding my breath on this as it seems pretty clear CM Punk is in no rush to return to the WWE.

When you look at this roster as a whole with expected face turns for Roman Reigns and (Antonio) Cesaro around the corner the WWE is lacking top heels at the moment. Rusev should get a big heel push coming out of Mania from the lengthy build he is being given. He is not ready to move all the way to the top. Orton and Bryan we have seen far too often so he is not likely a fit for Bryan either.

As important as it was for Bryan to get his moment in the sun at Wrestlemania it will be just as important if not even more important that the follow up is strong once he gets to the top. While no one can deny how over he is once you reach that big moment if you don’t hang on to that momentum going forward the chances Bryan’s fan base gets fat and lazy and doesn’t Yes! As loudly as they did in the past is a concern. That may sound crazy but you only need to look at how fast people have jumped off the Punk bandwagon as proof that stardom can come and go real fast with very fickle wrestling fans of today.

After the big party on the night after Wrestlemania and the Yes chants blow the roof of the place what comes next? That is the question that Daniel Bryan’s short sighted fan base doesn’t have to answer that is one for the WWE to have to deal with. Add in the fact that this wasn’t their idea to begin with those who feel Daniel Bryan will have climbed the mountain with a Wrestlemania win of championship might have to think again.

The best advocate for Daniel Bryan is himself and if he is given those chances to connect with larger audiences and casual fans he can be a likeable guy just like a John Cena. It is just a matter of how really committed the WWE is in him and will they be willing to endure some bumps in a Daniel Bryan title reign to get him to that superstar main stream status like few guys have ever reached.?

Wrestlemania 30 is just a big battle in a long war that it has been to get Daniel Bryan to this point. The war and the fight are not over with 70.000 people going Yes! Yes! Yes! The funniest thing of all is the guy that appears the least concerned about all of this is Daniel Bryan. He does have going for him the fact he is a lot like a C.M Punk minus the moody attitude and unpredictability. Daniel Bryan is safe…just like a John Cena is safe. WWE has always liked the top guy in the company being the safe choice. This maybe based on battles in the past with HBK, Stone Cold and Punk to name but three. Less headaches dealing with a Cena or a Bryan and Vince is not getting any younger.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Can ROH Be Number Two In Wrestling?

I admit that I totally forgot to watch TNA Lockdown. The first TNA PPV in a long time as TNA has been undergoing yet another face lift. I have too admit with all the doom and gloom talk I have not bothered to tune into TNA at all. I keep up with what is going on there but don’t feel compelled to watch. Based on the reviews of Lockdown that I have sought out I am not regretting passing on it.

What I have been a huge fan of is ROH and what they have been doing. On the same weekend as TNA returned to PPV the folks at ROH brought back the Young Bucks and had them go over on Red Dragon that had held the Tag-Team straps since the summer. It is just the latest thing that ROH has done that has caught my attention.

TNA’s PPV featured Japanese talent from wrestle one promotion that is run by the Great Muta. Who was actually on the Lockdown show and is no shock showing his age. ROH recently announced they have a promotion deal with New Japan Pro Wrestling where ROH and NPJW talent will appear at shows in Toronto and NYC in May.

I admit my wrestling fandom has never got to the point of being into the Japanese product. I have got the impression from people that do that New Japan is definitely the bigger deal. It is just one example of maybe ROH being ahead of the curve in relation to TNA. Just imagine if TNA was unable to stay on Spike-TV because of the WWE getting a deal done with Viacom.

Would you not than be forced to consider ROH as clear number two promotion in North America?  There is no comparing TNA to WCW or ROH to ECW but both to a lesser extent have played those rolls. ROH is becoming the one independent promotion that is consistently getting talent into the WWE. It has got to the point that even the WWE is acknowledging that fact in the start of February with an article on

Wrestling rumour mill has been saying both Kevin Steen former ROH Champion and current ROH and PWG Champion Adam Cole will be getting a look down in Florida at the performance center. They are just two of the many stars on a roster that has got even bigger. Former WWE Developmental Talent Chris Hero has returned to ROH and left Ono behind him.

While TNA failed to come to an agreement A.J Styles he also returned to his former home of Ring of Honour Wrestling. Styles and Hero just add more legitimacy to a roster that already is filled with talent.  Former WWE Diva Maria joined ROH back in 2011 pairing with actual real life boyfriend Michael Bennett who has always been a guy rumoured to be making a jump to WWE a number of times. Jay Lethal another long term ROH guy that had a run in TNA. You could go on and on with the talent on this roster Michael Elgin, Matt Taven, Tommaso Ciampa, Roderick Strong and Independent scene favourite of late ACH.

Even former WWE talent Matt Hardy has been working in the Promotion for some time. His recent legal issues make you wonder about his status with the promotion going forward.  He had been paired with Adam Cole as his mentor. Recently on ROH Bennett has been paired with Cole and seem to be creating a threesome with Maria.

The thing I like most about ROH is it has an old school base to it. Everything in ROH focuses about people wanting to be the World Champion. Jay Briscoe was the champion and was stripped of it due to an injury and carries around his own title he calls the Real ROH World Championship. Cole has challengers coming at him from all sides. Steen has declared his desire to regain the championship again. Michael Elgin also as a legit claim to the championship as well.  In addition a returning Chris Hero and I am sure an additional contender will be made of A.J Styles.

It is something that wrestling hasn’t done in a long time with having strong titles and having that being the main focus that all of the individual feuds get based on. Same is true of their T.V title and Tag-Team Belts. They all matter and Champions have legitimate runs with the belts.

Even behind the scenes ROH has added someone like Court Bauer that was part of the WWE Creative team and has experience running his own MLW promotion as well as a great background in television in general. ROH has never attempted to be WWE and in reality no one can be at this point. WWE Stock price is at an all-time high. Vince McMahon made a list of the most wealthy people in America being pegged as having an estimated worth of 1.2 Billion dollars. Increases in television rights fees expected and the recent launch of the WWE Network seem to all be signs that WWE has never had a larger gap to being number one than they do today.

While that gap is massive the gap to being number two might be in reach for ROH to catch TNA. It isn’t going to happen over night unless TNA completely falls apart. Still if ROH could slowly build and find a way to get back into some form of PPV business it might help. ROH’s struggles with I-PPV’s were a huge problem and caused them to back away from the concept. That is one of the huge concerns for the WWE Network with all the PPV’s being offered on there. If the technology improves over the next few years maybe ROH will give it another go.

As for now they are producing a compelling product that really has got me interested in the promotion.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

IWC Podcast Debuts Talking Road to Wrestlemania 30

Today we debut are weekly podcast with just under an hour of wrestling talk focused on the Road to Wrestlemania. Myself....James Borbath and Chris Walder are your hosts for this hour of hopefully fun and intelligent wrestling talk. Thoughts on C.M Punk and him not being on the road to mania. Breakdown of many of the matches that have been set up for Wrestlemania. All this and a pretty decent idea to have Ronda Rousey be apart of Wrestlemania.

So that was it hope you enjoyed it and if you did let people know we are here. Want to give us some feedback reach me @Dinonationblog or get a hold of Chris @Waldersports on Twitter. Will be doing this podcast every week so take a ride with us each and every week taking you into all the news and notes in crazy world of wrestling each and every week.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

I Love Me Some Wrestling Podcasts

I love wrestling podcasts and enjoy a great many people doing them out there. Each podcast is its own unique little world but all have common bond of wrestling. Anyone that is going out of their way to produce a podcast has to at the very least be a fan of the business on some level. There is nothing more fun than stories about this wacky world of professional wrestling. I could spend hours on end listening to stories about this world that is both interesting and has an intrigue of what goes on behind the scenes in this crazy world. From serious stories that relate to real life to the craziest funny stories that just seem too funny to be true. It all is entertaining in its own way.

So I will run through some of my favourites that I do my best to listen too on a weekly basis. I think the original king of the wrestling podcast world is Colt Cabana. His Art of Wrestling show is for me the place where it all begins for wrestling podcasts. Colt has been doing his podcast since I believe somewhere around 2010 or 2011 long before podcasting was the rage it is today. He has interviewed everyone from wrestling legends from the past to guys that work on the independent scene that I knew very little about.

If you are one of the few that has not heard the Art of Wrestling it is an hour of Colt talking with his guest with the listeners getting to be a fly on the wall. It is based on wrestling and stories but sometimes dives into real life stuff both funny and serious. Colt makes an effort to steer away from the negative aspects of the wrestling business aside from the struggle that wrestlers go through. At the end of an episode of Art of Wrestling you will feel you have got to know someone better that you already knew or got to know someone you never knew and get to know someone you might not have ever known or heard of.

Perhaps the most popular podcast that has burst on the scene is Stone Cold Steve Austin’s show on Podcast One. It has led to a couple other WWE personalities getting involved with Podcast One in Chris Jericho and Jim Ross. Austin obviously can right his own ticket and booking whoever he wants on his show likely isn’t too difficult. Still Austin is an entertaining guy and if you are an Austin fan he is giving you everything you love about Stone Cold in his podcasts. He can be just as entertaining complaining about driving etiquette in L.A as he is at interviewing his guests.

What is great with Austin is while he can book pretty much his choice of wrestling talents he has not just stuck to the WWE world or just the Attitude Era wrestlers that he was a part of.  Austin has had great podcasts talking with MMA fighters and with guys like Kevin Steen who wrestles in ROH. Even a nice tip of his hat to the aforementioned Colt Cabana as they both appeared on each others podcasts about 6 months ago. Even having fans on episodes taking calls has been something Austin has done most recently. The one thing that has become some what of a cult hit with people is Austin reading the ad copy for the sponsors on his podcast. It is something to be experienced rather than explained. He claims to bring a can of “Audio Whoop Ass” to every podcast and does his show for the “Working Man” but what he does is just give you everything you love about Stone Cold. He has taken this venture seriously and has improved a lot as an interviewer which is something that prior to this was not likely in his wheelhouse. What? What he was use too. What? Oh hell you get the idea.

I do also enjoy Chris Jericho and J.R’s podcasts that have started more recently. They are both entertaining guys and also seem to fit in very easily to this podcasting format. I am sure like Austin they will grow a comfort level and get better and better at it. Ross really already is fit like a glove for this type of thing. Jericho has done a variety of various things in entertainment and his natural humour comes shining through in something like this.

Before there was podcasts there was Radio and Live Audio Wrestling is a show that has lasted for over 15 years in one form or another on the airwaves in Canada. The days of just two hours of The Law on Radio late on a Sunday night are in the past. They still do that show currently on TSN 1050 in Toronto at 11-1 or if actual “Real” sports gets in the way 12-2am on Sundays.

However as part of The Fight network they have expanded to include a laundry list of podcasts that are just excellent wrestling content. Let’s see we have Review-a-Raw and Review-an-Impact which is pretty self explanatory. John Pollock and Wai Ting recap the goings on of a Raw Episode or Impact episode. Well they do but it also has a ton of side talk about a great many things including MMA to the hate of some but not myself. In fact I credit The Law for turning me around and making me a fan of MMA. It also is some just hilarious stuff that has nothing to do with wrestling at all.

John and Wai have a unique way of making a connection with their audience that allows me to feel like they are friends of mine even though I have never met either. I feel I have got to know them through all of the crazy stories that have nothing to do with wrestling. But they do eventual get to giving you a detailed rundown of Raw or Impact with great thoughts from both a business and fan prospective on the shows.  Than at the end they take feedback from fans via their law message board in which you hear what the audience has to say if they are able to write it in plan English which sometimes is a struggle for some.

Review-A-Wai is a show where the two review old mostly wrestling based shows be it PPVS or old episodes of Raw. But they have more than a few times stepped out of the box reviewing documentaries and all kinds of things you would never expect. It is by far the most fun show they produce on a weekly basis and really is an enjoyable history lesson or trip down memory lane depending on how old you are.

What’s NXT is the newest Law Podcast that features Law Host Jason Agnew and newest member of Law Family Braden Harrington. It is like Review-a- Raw and Impact a review of WWE NXT but. Like the Pollock and Ting shows though it dives into the personal lives of the co-hosts as well. It gets a lot more out there than the chatter between Wai and John but is amusing and entertaining in its own way. The format is pretty much the same with a recap of the show and some thoughts on the product and upcoming talents in the WWE Developmental Show. Also they have feedback on both NXT and their podcast which can be somewhat entertaining given Jason’s lack of patience for stupidity if it is reflected in the feedback. This is a much kinder and gentler version of the Agnew that we get in comparison to The Law.

What show has become my favourite though in the Bauer and Pollack show which they jokingly call the King and the Fish. This however is perhaps the least joking show of the lot with a lot of hard news on the wrestling industry and mixed martial arts. Court Bauer is a former member of the WWE creative team, he ran his own promotion called MLW and now hosts his own Podcast with former WCW Talent Konan and a wacky character known as MSL. Will get to that podcast in a minute. But Pollock and Bauer is a real good education for people that want to understand the business side of this sport. Bauer also currently is working with ROH Wrestling in some former of advisory role that he has never truly defined.

There are fun moments but for the most part this is hard hitting analysis of the world of wrestling in all promotions not just the WWE and TNA. It is really interesting to hear things from the insider prospective the Bauer brings to this program. It is something that I honestly can’t miss on a week to week basis. When the show went a brief hiatus I was concerned it may not return with Bauer’s new role in Ring of Honour but it has. In fact I respect Court some much he is one of the people I reached out too when starting this blog back up. I got his opinion on it and if I was wasting my time here by writing this blog. His feedback was fairly positive so that meant a lot for me to get inspired to keep this idea going.

MLW Radio the podcast the Bauer is a part of is without a doubt the most off the wall podcast I have listened too. It is mix of the strange and bizarre with a lot of pop culture to pro wrestling all mixed with some humour that may not be for everyone. It is however just a crazy fun laid back show that offers some great stories from the past from K-Dawg and Bauer. MLS is a somewhat strange guy that has also worked in the business. I can’t really explain him he has to be experienced.

The show has its own language to some extent with phrases and expressions that you will come to understand as you listen over time. They shoot the breeze about wrestling and a variety of pop culture based things and on some episodes have a guest that joins in and becomes part of the mix. It is somewhat like an interview but more like having a fourth person in the mix that becomes the focus on the conversation. At the end of MLW episode you likely have laughed and maybe even learned a thing or two about the wrestling business.

MLW like The Law has other shows but some of them are part of a VIP package that you have to pay 15 dollars/year to listen too. The other free show they have is with Jim Cornette who has been a fixture in the wrestling business for decades. I started off listening to this as well but fell off after I just had my fill of Jim Cornette. If you love Jim you get a ton of him on this podcast. I like Jim but at times get burned out on him and can only take so much. What had me jump off that train was his bashing of Kevin Steen who I really like as a performer. Kevin and Jim have had their very public differences about Jim’s time in ROH. I just had heard enough and stopped listening after that. Cornette has the people he likes and people he does not and that is painfully obvious in anything he does.  I can only take so much.

Between the Ropes is also like The Law a hub for a lot of great wrestling content. Brain Fritz and his crew do some excellent work with interviews and podcasts that are entertaining and informative stuff. Lots of news mixed with opinions done in a very professional way.  A weekly podcast summing up Raw and live google hangout show is provided on a weekly basis with some great interviews with people in the business on a regular basis.

If your into the Google + Hangouts Straight Shoot with Aubrey Sitterson is also world a look. He actually took a suggestion I had for a game I had called Push, Re-Package and Fire and has really run with it. He has a really great guest list of people that act as his co-host for re-caps of Raw and Preview and Reviews of PPVs.

Last but not least are Mike and Maria in Wonderland which is a podcast with former WWE Diva Maria and her soon to be husband and ROH Wrestler Mike Bennett. This show is my guilty pleasure wrestling podcast. It isn’t all about wrestling and goes into other areas of life like politics and pop culture. What it reminds me of is the old reality show newlyweds with Jessica Simpson and Nick whatever his name was.

Not saying that Maria comes off like Jessica in fact she is a pretty smart cookie and nothing like the somewhat ditsy lovable character. Mike Bennett was/is a guy that a lot of people disliked in wrestling. I am not sure why exactly. I have never had that opinion but listening to him on this podcast would change some minds I think. He comes off as a pretty cool guy and very genuine. He is not afraid to express his opinions on any topic from gun control in the U.S to the pro wrestling business.

It is not for everyone as I found out when I professed my love for it but for me it is a great fun hour to 90 minutes that flies by with lots of laughs and the zany out of control nature the show has a tendency to do. This show does not work with much of a format but if it did likely wouldn’t be as fun as it is.

So that about covers the gambit of what I am listening to on a regular basis. Not a pod cast but if you don’t watch Kevin Steen’s Weekend Escapades or Colt Cabana’s World’s Worst Promo with Marty DeRosa you’re also missing some things that are pretty amusing.

Who needs the WWE Network I got podcasts for days up here in Canada.

There is a sea of wrestling podcasts and I am thinking about jumping into that ocean with one of my own in the not to distant future. I hope it can be as entertaining and fun as the ones I enjoy on this list. The Internet Wrestling Channel Podcast is coming soon. Get it IWC which is a term that I think needs to be put in the trash.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

CM Punk Did Not Come To Save The Day

Raw came and left Chicago without CM Punk appearing but his influence on both the crowd and the WWE booking was all over the show. Word on street was WWE made an offer to CM Punk to return that he rejected. Some people are trying to make him look like the bad guy here. How on earth can they say that without knowing what exactly this offer was? Hell do we even know why exactly Punk left in the first place? We have all speculated and have our opinions but only CM Punk knows why he isn’t part of the WWE at the moment. I would venture to say even WWE might not know exactly what his concerns are fully if they couldn’t make this work for a big return in Chicago.

Who knows if CM Punk was watching the show but if he was he saw an amazing battle outside of the contests in the ring itself between the WWE and the fans of Chicago. The night started out with C.M Punk’s theme and out came not Punk but his former manager and real life friend Paul Heyman.

Heyman being the genius that he is some how walked into the minefield and didn’t step on any. He started cutting a promo talking about CM Punk and why he wasn’t there and wasn’t going to be tonight. Heyman being the perfect guy to deliver that message cause as he has pointed out he would lie to his own Grandmother if it benefited him. So even though as it turned out he told the truth fans were more than willing to assume he lied.

He talked about Punk losing to the Undertaker last year and he blamed him for Punk not being around anymore and than he blamed the fans as well for him not being around. He went on to say that he was going to make things right by having his client Brock Lesnar defeat the Undertaker. It is a little out there considering that Punk/Lesnar feuded at Summerslam and Heyman had taken a royal butt whipping from Punk. Still it was brilliant and the typical great work from Paul. Brock was handed the mic and did not have the same success.

We had the tag titles switch hands as the Uso’s defeated the New Age Outlaws. You had the Wyatt’s and Shield fight again and have Seth Rollins walk away from The Shield causing them to lose and increasing the build to that break up. Tease of Csearo Face turn as Jack Swagger interfered causing Csearo to lose to Big E again.

They packed as much crowd pleasing stuff into the first hour and fifteen minutes of this show it was insane. By CM Punk not being there he forced the WWE to do a smart and well though out booking plan. This was one of the things Punk has been on the record as it not being good and one of the reasons people think he has left.

The crowd was getting there CM Punk chants in mind you but WWE did a masterful job of keeping them somewhat under control. Even to the point the hi-jacking Raw that had made its way onto Social Media also made it into Daniel Bryan’s Promo. Bryan and his Yes Movement were taking over the show until he got an answer from HHH on his challenge for Wrestlemania.

The promo and exchanges with both Stephanie McMahon and HHH was honestly some of the best mic work Bryan has done in his WWE career. Stephanie was almost drowned out by the boos anytime she spoke. Hunter stuck to his guns and refused Bryan’s challenge for a match at Wrestlemania against him.    Kane would get called to the ring and Bryan would dive out and attack him leaving him laying.

Everything was well thought out all night long. Cena came out to cut a promo and refused to reference Punk by name. The fans who in this town truly hate Cena as the greatest rival to Punk let him have it. The Wyatt’s would cut a promo and it was done in a soft tone. At first annoying cause crowd was still hot at Cena and chanting CM Punk. They like Bray though and wanted to here what he had to say and so the quieted down.

Batista and Randy Orton were kept from cutting promos in front of the live crowd another wise move by WWE. There were some bumps in the road like a Christian vs. Sheamus match that not many seemed to care about. A Divas tag but with no A.J Lee involved as to keep the Punk noise down.

The Celebrity host came out with Ziggler who is popular with an audience like this. He helps Ziggler get the win distracting Alberto Del Rio.

The main event was Batista against Daniel Bryan. Randy Orton was at ringside the match would end via a DQ with a beat down with Kane HHH and Orton and Batista would all take their turned beating down Bryan. HHH would bend down to talk to a fallen Bryan and get a kick to the head for his troubles. Fans kept hoping for a heroic CM Punk to come save his Indy buddy Daniel Bryan but it never happened.

Just as we have seen far too many times, Bryan was laid out and the show ended.

Credit to all the performers that had a rough experience tonight dealing with a crowd that only wanted to see one guy and it wasn’t them. Well maybe a few they wanted to see but none more than CM Punk.

CM Punk indirectly minus a few things here and there including the finish that were not good by and large had far more thing that was good. Punk’s lack of appearance forced the WWE to careful construct a card that would allow them to make it through the night.

Punk not being on this show almost guarantees he will not be going to Wrestlemania. The longer he is away the more likely it is we may never see Punk again. I think Punk more than any other wrestler is capable of staying away.

Ironically enough Punk by leaving may have at least caused the change he was always searching for if only for one night. As much as people and WWE will try to turn this into CM Punk being selfish and not caring about the fans it is a load of crap. If Punk was that guy he would be hosting Wrestlemania as a past his prime joke. If he was that guy he would have come back and taken his Mania payoff and left in July when his contract was up. Punk is a guy with principles and a guy that has been smart enough to save his money along the way.

Punk represents a lot of the hope wrestling fans have for change and that hope has died a little with him gone. This is kind of sad at the end of the day. The future for the WWE should be bright and CM Punk has had a big influence on a lot of the young talent in this company.

The reality is setting in of a Wrestlemania that really on paper looks like it will be underwhelming.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

WWE Comes To CM Punk's Backyard In Chicago

We all remember the night that CM Punk came home to Chicago had a match of the year with John Cena at Money in the Bank and won the title driving off to his house and putting the title in his fridge and tweeting it to the world. It is the iconic moment if you are a CM Punk fan where he was at the peak of his popularity. That crowd in Chicago the often mentioned hometown of “The Best in the World” was a huge part of that moment.

Wrestling is not like traditional sports very often but on that night CM Punk had the home field advantage perhaps more than any other wrestler has ever had. The only comparable is Canadian stars like Bret Hart, Chris Jericho and Edge have returned to Canada at certain points.

When the news broke that CM Punk left the WWE and went home to Chicago many people soon circled Match 3rd on their calendar with the WWE returning to the building of that iconic Money in the Bank match in 2011.

Wrestling fans over the past few years have become more and more a part of the show which can be both good and bad at the end of the day. In this case many feel it will be bad as Chicago will attempt to hijack the WWE’s flagship show Monday Night Raw.

The WWE has to be fully aware of what awaits them in Chicago. If they don’t have a C.M Punk rabbit in their hat they are going to face an uphill battle. Punk has been silent since leaving the company and next to invisible. Other than some TMZ style photos of him picking up girlfriend A.J Lee at a Chicago airport. Along with the a low key CM Punk appearance at a UFC fight when he was in attendance at UFC 170 to watch Ronda Rousey vs. Sarah McMann main event. Steve Austin was at the same show and appeared on camera during the event.

The WWE Storyline has moved forward without Punk and the rumoured match against HHH is now being pegged for Daniel Bryan. This makes you wonder where Punk would fit even if he were to suddenly reappear in Chicago.

What happens on Monday in the crowd is of more interest to everyone than anything that will take place in the ring. Which makes you wonder has all of this crowds being a part of the show has gone too far? We have seen the signs if Cena wins we riot or if Punk loses we riot before. No one honestly believes that would actually happen in reality.  What is happening is a struggle for the WWE to get its agenda over to its audience.

At a time when the WWE is trying to get over a brand new network with a very different concept from the normal conventional thing we are use too. Entering the biggest part of their year building towards Wrestlemania. This is in addition to the on going negations for their new contract on conventional broadcast television. 

This is not to say this is a make or break time for the WWE right away. In fact in terms of the business with the stock price the WWE has never been stronger. This is a company that has been able to eat loses with such things as the WBF, XFL and more recently their failed WWE Studios that has lost a reported 48 million dollars in the last 3 years.

WWE has lots of money to maintain itself through troubled times if they do indeed come. As much as people may complain about the Wrestlemania 30 card the reality is the building gets sold out long before a match is even announced. The event is what sells not the parts that make up the event. We are a long way off from that changing.

Even Punk himself said in his famous promo in Vegas that he realizes the WWE Machine will keep on rolling with or without him. That no matter the mistakes they make, they will still make money in spite of themselves.

This does feel like a moment though where we could see something that we have never seen before from a WWE crowd and how the WWE will attempt to combat it is far more interesting than any match that we will honestly forget in future months and years.

The WWE Universe vs. the WWE might be the most exciting angle in wrestling today. The advantage the WWE always has over a fan base is the fact that they are always a united front where wrestling fans to find that unity consistently is a struggle. To get them to turn away from the product is an even larger struggle. Wrestling fans more than fans of anything else have been conditioned to accept that they may not always get the product they want and desire. Deep down through all the crazy chants and rants on social media they all know this.

The WWE know what they are having on their pizza while the fans can’t always agree on the toppings for their pizza.

About the only thing that would be surprising is if CM Punk showed up to the party on Monday uninvited. Even than most would think it was part of the show or storyline. That is highly unlikely to happen as Punk has always been a wrestler that seems to have no issues separating his job from his life. It wouldn’t shock me if Punk is the one person that isn’t even watching on Monday. He has better things to do like watch a MMA Fight or do the Blackhawks have a game? Maybe the Cubs have a season preview on somewhere.

He might be the only one not totally fascinated with what might happen in Chicago on Monday night.