411 Fact or Fiction 01.24.13: Royal Rumble, Edge, Taz, More
Hi, hello & welcome to 411 Fact or Fiction! I’m Steve Cook, and we are just days away from the Royal Rumble! We know that Dolph Ziggler will be entering the match very early, certainly not at #27. The Shield attacked the Rock on Monday. Zack Ryder got knocked out. Edge continues to tell people on Twitter that he will never wrestle again. Bob Backlund will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on WrestleMania weekend. Over in TNA, Bully Ray & Brooke Hogan’s wedding ended with Taz revealing he was a member of the Aces & Eights.
Since most of this week’s questions pertain to the Royal Rumble, I thought it would be fun to invite two of the people that I went to last year’s Rumble with to take part in this week’s column. Introducing first, one of the stars of the Greg DeMarco Show (which is available every week on the Wrestling Smash Network), Andy Critchell!
His opponent is my partner on The Ocho Sports Show, which will air tonight at 8:30 Eastern over at offtheteam.com. Give it up for Trent Howell!
1. The Royal Rumble is the second biggest wrestling show of the year.
Andy Critchell: FACT. In my mind, the Royal Rumble is the only other PPV aside from Wrestlemania that can be sold simply on its name alone. You have other factors in its favor as well; due to the time constraints of regular TV you will never see a Royal Rumble match anywhere other than the Royal Rumble PPV so that precludes the possibility of the gimmick being overused and there is the history of the Rumble match itself being exciting more often than not. Of course, the biggest draw for the Rumble match is stipulation that the winner gets a title shot at Wrestlemania. Over the years we have seen midcard and tag titles lose their importance, stipulations lose their meaning, and gimmick matches be overused to simply pop a rating for one night but the WWE has not damaged the credibility of the Rumble stipulation so it is one of the few times during the year where WWE can craft a moment that legitimately “means something.” That is something significant which can make a show feel huge.
Trent Howell: FACT. I know they like to say it’s Summerslam and I really have no problem with that. That’s how they want to promote it and typically there are large matchups on that card. But if there is hands down a must see pay per view every year it’s the Royal Rumble. I’d even put it ahead of Mania. Those are the only two shows that without knowing anything about the card I know I’m going to buy every year. The undercard is usually full of good to great matches and the Rumble itself is the best spectacle in all of sports entertainment. Add to that the fact that it officially kicks off the Road to Wrestlemania by determining who will be challenging for one of the World Titles, and I think it’s clearly the second biggest show.
Score: 1 for 1
2. Dolph Ziggler will not be the Iron Man in this year’s Royal Rumble.
Andy Critchell: FICTION. Ziggler will indeed be the iron man this year because I believe that WWE wants to give him something coming out of the match but she sure as hell isn’t winning it! Besides, for a midcard guy like Dolph being the iron man is something that he can brag about for a while. Plus it does kind of mesh with his “show off” character.
Trent Howell: FICTION. What is with the wording of this? Come on Steve. Anyways, we already know that Dolph is coming into the ring at either number 1 or number 2 due to the events of Monday night. We also know that Dolph has gone on record as saying the type of match he would most like to try in the WWE is an ironman match because he feels he has the ability to make one work. Finally, we have seen that Dolph is in great shape cardio wise, and probably does have the ability to stay out there for an hour or so. They seem to be doing this story with Dolph that he keeps getting close but then cannot grab that brass ring. The past two years he’s had world title shots at the rumble and has fallen short. I expect him to fall short at this year’s as well, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s one of the final four in the ring, and considering when he’s going to enter that makes him an ironman.
Score: 2 for 2
3. The Shield is in cahoots with CM Punk & Paul Heyman.
Andy Critchell: FICTION. It would be too obvious for them to be in cahoots. Also, Lawler has been beating that drum since day one and I’ll be damned if I am going to live in a world where that idiot is shown to be prescient. Although the ability for some forward thinking (and an intricate knowledge of age of consent laws) would explain how he’s been able to avoid charges over the years…but I digress. I don’t get the feeling that having the Shield as Punk’s de facto stable is what WWE has in mind right now, especially given that Punk has already been in charge of a stable and there is no need to repeat yourself with a guy like Punk who is so versatile.
Trent Howell: FICTION. Sometimes there are storylines that just smell fishy. Almost like they wrote the beginning and middle but haven’t written the end yet. As a child I lived through one with the Black Scorpion Angle in WCW. As a teenager there were multiple car accidents, higher powers, and briefcases that brought the smell to my nose. Now as an adult I feel as though I can pick the scent up pretty quick and I say this is one of those angles. It’s my guess that because everyone expects them to be working with Punk that we will later find out they aren’t working with him at all. If I had to hazard conjecture, I’d say that some evil authority figure shows up around summertime and announces that the Shield was working for him the entire time. This gives us our big summer angle that they always promise to do and fail to deliver on. Either way, when the storyline seems fishy, my experience is to discount the most logical solution. Since Punk and Heyman would be the logical solution, I’m putting my money behind them actually working for an evil returning Balls Mahoney! No? Well alright, but I don’t think they’re working for Punk/Heyman either.
Score: 3 for 3
4. Bob Backlund will have a match at WrestleMania XXIX.
Andy Critchell: FICTION. Ugh, no. He’s old and no one cares. It’s not like he’s Foley and is someone that has been never far from the audience’s minds, he’s just Bob Backlund. Most people probably assumed that he was already in the Hall of Fame, I know I did.
Trent Howell: FICTION. So the old story from Jim Ross (and why would he lie about this) is that Backlund has previously turned down Hall of Fame inductions because he felt he had “one more good run” left in him. This, combined with the nostalgia aspect that surrounds Wrestlemania has led to some rumblings (mostly among us old timers) of Backlund getting a match in the same vein as Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania 25). I just don’t see it. Knowing Backlund he’s still in better shape than most of America. I just don’t think they’ll have the time. Recent Wrestlemanias have been designed around quite a bit of time going to the entrances and action of a few big matches. I just don’t see a place on the card for a Backlund match. That’s not to say someone isn’t going to get put into a cross face chicken wing back stage while Ron Simmons “damns” the whole thing. But not an actual match.
Score: 4 for 4
5. Zack Ryder will keep his job with WWE throughout 2013.
Trent Howell: FACT. I think people forget just how much WWE content is actually being produced right now. With that much content going on while we usually have rumors starting this time of year of a bunch of releases taking place, this year we actually have rumors of more people being added to the roster. Sure, some cuts might be made but I think there are quite a few people in more danger than Zack Ryder. At the worst with him they have a comedy jobber (and WWE loves comedy jobbers). At the best they have an upper midcard threat. So the only danger of Ryder losing his job, to me, is if he were to ask for his release. Ryder seems pretty savvy, having gotten over by using the internet. I think he realizes that the WWE is the only organization with the mechanisms to properly get him over and utilized. Add to that, the rumor that he apparently has some pretty important people who think he’s a good guy (CM Punk and John Cena to name two) and I think Ryder ends up sticking around, at least through the year.
Andy Critchell: FICTION. If Monday’s “match” with the Big Show wasn’t evidence enough that Ryder’s on his way out I don’t know what would be. And there’s nothing wrong with that either. He’s a guy who found a cool way to generate some real grassroots support for his character and that led to some pretty nice success for him despite his limited wrestling ability. Hopefully he was smart with his money and moved enough merch that he can be comfortable for a while after his WWE days are done.
Score: 4 for 5
6. Edge will never wrestle again.
Trent Howell: FACT. Adam Copeland has a condition known as Spinal Stenosis. In layman’s terms (and paraphrased from Wikipedia) this is a condition where the spinal canal is narrowed to a degree that is abnormal. His particular diagnosis is cervical spinal stenosis which comes along with the added danger of compression upon the spinal column. While this is a condition that can cause paralysis and even death, with specialized exercise, and treatment there is no reason that he cannot live a perfectly happy and almost normal life. It should be noted that previous to this diagnosis Mr. Copeland had his cervical vertebrae fused, a dangerous procedure that left him with partial paralysis for an extended period of time. To return to the ring now is legitimately a risk of both mobility and even death. No, he will never wrestle again. That’s why I’m calling him Adam Copeland. He gave us years of his life to entertain in the character of Edge. But Edge is dead so that Copeland can live. Maybe once fans realize that he won’t be wrestling and drop this issue we can get him on our TV again in one of the many roles he could be hilarious at. Until then you can catch him in random TV shows, and at his home with his dogs. He may or may not be dating Beth Phoenix (most reports say he is still) but he is definitely not wrestling again.
Andy Critchell: FACT. Reports from everyone including dirt sheet writers to WWE to Edge himself all say that is neck is completely fucked and he’ll never wrestle again. And really, the factors that lead to old wrestler’s going back when they definitely shouldn’t don’t apply to Edge. He was reportedly very smart with his money and will be able to live comfortably for the rest of his life. He’s been doing some acting work so that gives him something to do and another way to be in the spotlight. And he seems like a pretty level guy, not someone who would you suspect of desperately trying to hold on for one more run. Put that all together and I don’t see him ever wrestling again.
Score: 5 for 6
7. The wrestler that draws #27 will win the Royal Rumble.
Trent Howell: FICTION. This is a statistic that benefits greatly from the fact that Yokozuna and Bret Hart (co-winner along with Lex Luger at 24) were winners in back to back years. Otherwise, you have Big John Studd in 1989 and Steve Austin in 2001. What’s my point with all this? No one has won from 27 since they started making a big deal about it. Just like no one won from 30 UNTIL they started making a big deal out of it. Statistically I’d say your best bet would be a number in the 20’s OTHER than 27. Now that the WWE have gotten the number 27 to stick in everyone’s minds, I highly doubt the winner will come from there.
Andy Critchell: FICTION. I’m just playing the odds here. I think the fact that 27 has produced the most Rumble winners is just a coincidence. Besides, in most cases it is smart betting strategy to take the field, so I am taking the field. Free advice, you’re welcome.
Score: 6 for 7
8. Taz joining the Aces & Eights was a disappointment.
Trent Howell: FICTION. Was I disappointed in the fact that a (truly due to injury) retired wrestler who has become a horrible commentator turned heel during a wedding between Brooke Hogan and Buh Buh Ray Dudley on TNA Impact? Nope. To be disappointed I would have to expect anything better from them, and that sounds perfectly in line with the type of booking I’ve come to expect from this company. In fact this sounded so awful that I actually tracked the segment down on youtube. Much like a car crash or a train wreck I couldn’t turn my head and this is the first entire segment of TNA that I’ve watched for over a year. In a strange MST3K kind of way, this was so bad it was good. Maybe TNA needs to make that their business model. They already have the bad part down pat. Now they just need to make it even worse. If there’s anything I trust TNA can do, it’s just that: Get worse.
Andy Critchell: FACT. As anyone who has heard me on the Greg DeMarco Show knows, I have found the whole Aces & Eights angle to be a disappointing colossal waste of time and the involvement of Taz is just more of the same. My biggest gripe about the whole storyline is that the focus of the angle has been on Hogan; a guy who is not physically able to wrestle so of course TNA throws Taz into the mix and of course Taz isn’t physically able to wrestle. Because…reasons? The main things that Taz did for TNA was commentary and Gut Check and one would assume that now it has been revealed that he is part of a group whose motivation is to tear down TNA, Taz would be removed from those roles. So what does he do now? Mouthpiece for a group that was already speaking for itself? Why should I care about that? This is just dumb.
Final Score: 6 for 8
Andy & Trent are pretty agreeable this week, which doesn’t surprise me all that much since they’re a couple of good ol’ boys from Missouri. We thank them very much for their contributions this week & invite you to supply your thoughts on these topics down in the comment section. Thanks for reading, and we’ll be back next week with more Fact or Fiction!