The Wrestling 5&1 10.06.12: Winter vs Tara
I don’t know if you’ve noticed the slow transformation from DeMarco to Acero here at the 5&1, but I thought it would be a great time to bring it up. This column is now, officially under my rule. DeMarco is not gone, and will likely never leave from the column simply because I enjoy his opinion – even if I don’t always agree. It may seem like a hybrid for a while, and I’m ok with that as the biggest key here isn’t us, the writers, but the content. This column started off with a large focus on the women, and although that will never fully leave, I like to think that Greg did a good job of changing that up, and I continue to go that route. All in all, a large percentage of you had welcoming arms, and I thank you. For those that don’t like it, I’m sorry, but DeMarco and I probably have the largest egos in the 411 universe. It’s unlikely you’ll put a dent in them.
BRING ON THE GIRLS!
Torrie Wilson kicked Sables ass in the Battle of the Blondes, with Sable not even getting a full 25%!!
Future Versus Updates:
* Brooke Tessmacher has two wins, two away from a return engagement with the Hall of Bang…
* Candice Michelle has two wins, and will continue her own journey…
* Tiffany will receive a new opportunity at the Hall as soon as the opportunity is available…
* Until I get the hang of things in the 5&1, the match ups will be seemingly random and ran heavily by your suggestions…
The Choice Is Yours!
Take your pick and vote in the poll below!
Remember, you can vote multiple times—once every 12 hours.
And you can track the results right here, too!
There were comments…Great comments that I was really excited to respond to. But, we lost those comments due to the wonderful and glorious change in our comment system. A small price to pay, really, for the greatness that is the new comment section. I implore you all to register and check it out!
Why Ryback will be a World Champion (and Why He Won’t)
By Greg DeMarco
WWE Raw ended with a CM Punk-Ryback staredown that still has the internet buzzing. Will Ryback replace John Cena at Hell in a Cell? Will Ryback turn out to be a “Paul Heyman guy?” Is he associated with Mick Foley? While we await answers to these questions, one thing has become clear this week: Ryback will be a world champion. You read that right. It won’t happen in 2012, and it likely won’t happen in 2013. But Ryback will be a world champion. And there are four reasons why.
One issue facing the WWE today is the realization that John Cena won’t be around forever. Since 2004, Cena has been the face of the WWE—and like all great things, that must eventually come to an end. He also recently had elbow surgery and reportedly has other physical ailments. He has been going non-stop since the day he was drafted to the Raw brand, and that has to take a toll on the man. The WWE needs to groom John Cena’s replacement. That man could be Sheamus, but he has struggled to get comfortable in his World Heavyweight Championship reign. Plus, his character has no problem stealing cars and causing tremendous property damage. Not to mention his short temper and love for a good old-fashioned fight. Sheamus might not be “the guy.” Meanwhile, Ryback is doing everything right. His charisma is spot on for his character. He did a great job in his backstage interaction with Subway’s Jared Fogle. He combines a unique look with WWE-friendly size. Ryback has everything the WWE would look for when trying to fill this need.
In every city on the WWE circuit, one man gets a stronger reaction than anyone. That man is John Cena. He’s the most requested mainstream media interview. He has the most commercial endorsements. He sells the most merchandise. That reaction is also heard for stars like Randy Orton and Sheamus, and is remembered by fans when thinking about legends like Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin, The Rock and Hulk Hogan. One new superstar has begun getting strong reactions from fans all over the WWE circuit as well. That man is Ryback. As soon as “Feed Me!” blasts through the speakers, the people react.
You might scoff at the notion that a catchphrase making this much of a difference. But they all have them…
Hulk Hogan had you saying your prayers and eating your vitamins.
Ric Flair made sure you knew that you had to beat the man if you wanted to be the man.
Bret Hart was so good, he was the best there is, was, and ever will be.
When Steve Austin spoke, it was the bottom line. Because he said so.
The Rock wanted to make sure you could smell what he was cooking. And that he was finally back to your city. And that it didn’t matter what you thought.
And John Cena constantly reminds you that you can’t see him. Even when you can.
Get the picture? Those are marketable catchphrases that can be immediately linked to the performer. They sell t-shirts—and believe it or not, they sell tickets, too. When Ryback is nearing the end of a match, the people scream “Finish It!” with him. And after this match, they all continually chant “Feed Me More!”
He Can Be a Hero
Kids are a huge part of the modern-day appeal of the WWE. John Cena has granted more “Make-A-Wish” wishes than anyone. He’s worshipped by children, and he appears in posters on more of their walls than we will ever know. Ryback can be that guy. He’s already larger than life, literally. He’s huge. He can amaze young kids with what he does in the ring. They can wear his shirt and scream “Feed Me More!” in the school yards. He can also catch-on in mainstream sports. Imagine a defense chanting “Feed Me More!” when they take the field, wearing Ryback shirts under their shoulder pads. It happened with the NWO. Look at the included commercial. You can do that with Ryback.
There are two items that could potentially stand in the way of Ryback being World Champion.
The Goldberg Comparison
While the chants of “Goldberg!” have become less prevalent when Ryback makes an entrance, the comparison is still there. Can the WWE book Ryback with an added layer of depth that will separate him from the former WCW World Champion?
Ryback missed two years of college football due to a foot injury. He had a rib injury when he was part of the 2004 $1,000,000 Tough Enough. He also suffered a broken ankle in 2010 that lead to his hiatus and his return (as Ryback). He’s also dealt with an eye infection during his current undefeated streak. For Ryback to consistently get to the main event, he has to be reliable. If he’s labeled as “injury prone” he will have a harder time getting a world championship.
People are already buying into his stare down with CM Punk, and he is positioned to be a major player in the promotion. While any push can go the way of Tensai, it appears that Ryback is primed for a successful career with the WWE. Despite the Goldberg comparison and his prior injury history, Ryback will be a world champion. He has the charisma and his return to WWE television has been memorable.
Now Feed Me More: Share your thoughts! Will be Ryback be a world champion? If no, why not? If so, when do you think it happens?
The TNA Experiment Continues!
By Tony Acero
Keep in mind, these aren’t whole reviews or recaps as much as they are thoughts on the show, and certain parts that I enjoyed or didn’t enjoy. I also look to you for help in padding the holes of storylines I’m not aware of, and just guiding me in the right direction during this TNA Experiment!
TNA Impact 7.12.12
Right away, I assumed that the episode following Destination X would go a long way of filling in a lot of holes that were left, considering I knew very little beforehand. The preview before Impact started also introduced me to Bully Ray’s issue with one Joseph Park. Aside from just being a fan of Bully Ray in general, I was very interested to see him considering the growing love for his heel work and I can see why. I don’t know anything about this Park/Abyss/Bully storyline, but it seems interesting enough. Also, cheese grater to the nuts? Wonderful!
Bound For Glory Series
I still don’t have a firm grasp on the point system, but any type of long term competition makes for easy booking and possibilities for long term storytelling. The downside is that although wins for points mean something, there are times when it’s unbelievable, and that much was evident here with Joe and RVD (at least to me). Joe comes off a huge win on Sunday and loses to RVD in such a small amount of time…to a cradle. It just makes it seem like they wanted to give RVD points, so sacrificed Joe for it, and I’m not sure about all that. Thoughts?
As for Anderson and Angle, well I was actually a big fan of Anderson in the WWE. I was one of the few, but I liked the guy’s character. It seems not much has changed here in TNA, so I like the guy. Kurt winning makes sense to me, but only because he’s Kurt freakin Angle. Where do we go from here?
So THIS is what everyone is hating on? Rightfully so, y’all. I don’t know if that whole “smoking while pregnant” thing was intentional or not, but it felt wrong…actually, everything about what I saw regarding this storyline felt wrong, and is made only worse due to some compelling and good shit surrounding it. Granted, it’s not the WORST thing I’ve seen, and I can see some minor positives, but it really sticks out as…overtly dramatic and cheesy.
As a somewhat aside, the backstage segments in TNA seem much more realistic and each build towards something, such as Mr. Anderson talking about Angle, Styles yelling, etc.
Austin Aries Promo
Perhaps one of the most important promos in Aries’ career, this was to build him up as a champion, considering there are still – to this day – people that can’t buy him as champ due to the size. This is actually my first time being exposed to the man’s promo skills, and I think they’re the perfect combination of arrogance and acceptance. There was a hell of a lot of foreshadowing in this promo that may very well have been unintentional but truthful. Aries talking about his reign being a BOOM period is a solid prediciton considering, at the very least, TNA has perked some ears up – including mine.
As for Roode…is this his typical promo? I understand that he lost the title, but he seemed really over-the-top and that didn’t mesh well with the realistic approach of Aries’ promo.
TNA used to seem to me like a toddler, barely able to walk and making a large amount of mistakes, but as years have gone by, there is a maturity in its story-telling that is commendable, solid wrestling, and the ability to engage with a pro wrestling audience that is different in the way WWE does it. Suffice to say, they’re not toddlers anymore.
Match of the Night: Angle vs Anderson
Best Moment of the Night: Aries Promo
Worst Moment of the Night: AJ’s the Father
TNA Impact 7.19.12
Aces and Eights
The presence of these guys really took over a majority of the show. In most cases, this can damage a show, particularly if you’re hitting up top stars like they’re nothing. For now, it’s alright, considering the numbers game and it adds intrigue, showing that anyone can be attacked, from Angle, to Hogan, to a Gut Check competitor (which was pretty cool). As with everyone else three months ago, I’m intrigued.
Open Fight Night
How often do they do this? It’s pretty bad ass. It’s simple and effective, having someone stand in the ring and call out whomever they’d like to. This adds intrigue to the BFG standings as someone (such as Joe) can call out one of the lesser people and gain some points on the board. Speaking of Joe, he faced Pope and handled him quite quickly, which goes back to the issue that I pointed out from last week, where booking seems haphazard because of this series. Maybe I’m looking at it differently, considering I don’t know these guys as well as most, but having Joe lose to RVD but handle The Pope rather quickly doesn’t make too much sense to me.
Wrestling vs. Promos
This week’s episode was much more wrestling heavy than last week, and that’s something that I enjoyed a lot. They were able to progress storylines and still keep a good flow. I didn’t particularly enjoy the Hardy/Robbie or the Joe/Pope matches, as I don’t think either broke the three minute mark, but they make sense (well, the Jeff/Robbie match makes sense…I mean, I’m not supposed to take that guy seriously, right). They more than made up for it with the Anderson/AJ match and the Aries/Roodes rematch. Both of those matches had minor issues, but still were pretty solid. This whole TNA thing might be pickin up steam.
This week seemed to prove to me that not only are the stories they are attempting to tell compelling, but they are also backed up by in-ring action. It’s a definite treat!
Match of the Night: Aries vs Roode
Best Moment of the Night: Aces and Eights attack on Aries, THEN turning to Roode and doing the same.
Worst Moment of the Night: AJ gets TMZ’d
Questions for you: So what’s the deal with Brooke Hogan, does she run the Knockout’s Division? And can someone explain to my lazy ass all of the rules of the Bound For Glory Series? Also, without giving anything away from the future episodes, is there anything I should know about the Aces and Eights storyline that prefaced this episode?
You Decide: Are there any changes or additions to the Experiment that you would like to see?
Why Sara Del Rey Is the Future of the NXT Developmental Brand
By Greg DeMarco
WWE developmental has a core group of trainers who—if you think about it—are not the most decorated bunch of wrestlers the business has ever seen.
Bill DeMott wrestled as Hugh Morris (among other monikers) and was best known for his run with the Misfits In Action. Joey Mercury found some success with MNM (teaming with Johnny Nitro and managed by Melina). Norman Smiley is known around the world. For “The Big Wiggle.”
All three are tremendous workers, and every developmental talent can learn a lot from each. But the WWE obviously felt there was something missing, especially on the Diva side of things.
Enter Sara Del Rey, who credits former World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan as one of her trainers, is a well-traveled pro who has been wrestling for 11 years. She’s 31 years old, and is one of the most respected women’s wrestlers in the entire world.
According to a report from Diva-Dirt, head trainer Bill DeMott sent out a Tout that showed Del Rey with the other trainers, confirming her status with the company. Diva-Dirt provided a screen shot (pictured) of Del Rey in the FCW/NXT offices with Smiley and Mercury.
This should end any real speculation about Del Rey being an active member of the Diva roster. If the need arose, she could step in and make a quick impact, but I wouldn’t expect her to be on television anytime soon.
Since becoming a trainer, how often do you see Mercury wrestling on television? What about Smiley and DeMott? While many fans of independent wrestling want to see her on television, common sense tells us that we won’t.
It’s entirely possible that the potential to move away from in-ring competition made this move easier. Wrestling is torturous on the bodies of those who perform just at a local level. Add in the travel and pressure of being a WWE Superstar, and Del Rey might feel that she can extend her earning potential from the business by moving into the trainer role.
Del Rey is the perfect candidate to train the future Divas of the WWE. With TNA recently releasing several Knockouts, the WWE has an opportunity to build a division that fans can get into. The bulk of that division sits in FCW/NXT, but with the help of Del Rey, they can make it to television and have a real impact.
But what makes Del Rey the future of WWE developmental? The answer lies in simple attrition.
Sara Del Rey is 31 years old. Joey Mercury is 33. Bill DeMott is 45. Norman Smiley is 47. It’s very easy to assume that one or more of the men on this list could end up on the road with the WWE as a producer in the next few years, provided they enjoy the travel.
Del Rey, being the youngest, could end up as head trainer in the next 8-10 years. As head trainer, she would be responsible for driving the program that trains both the men and women in the company.
Look at any of Del Rey’s matches. They are smooth, crisp and clean. She tells a great story, and tells it with great wrestling. She will pass that on to her trainees. It’s entirely possible that the main event of WrestleMania 40 will feature two wrestlers who list Sara Del Rey among their biggest influences.
Where can Sara Del Rey have the greatest impact?
You may never see Sara Del Rey on WWE Monday Night Raw, or on any WWE programming for that matter. If not, it’ll be because you won’t be looking close enough. Sara Del Rey, through her trainees, will be entertaining fans for many years to come, long after her in-ring days would have ended had she remained an active, touring wrestler.
You Decide: Where can Sara Del Rey have the best impact on the WWE product: in the ring or as a trainer? (And you can’t say both!)
She’s Too Young For You, Bro!
By Tony Acero
Recent reports claim that Vince and Co are looking for the next big thing, the next John Cena, the next flag-bearer. Fellow writer Sean Kelly did a breakdown of the ages of what he claims to be the top Five “Next John Cenas”. Kelly’s top five looks pretty interesting, with Cesaro, Ambrose and even Ryback within, but it did get me to thinking about ages of wrestlers and how much it matters. Of course, there’s Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan, who still find themselves in the ring past the 60 mark, and for a long time, Batista was the butt-end of age jokes when he was in the WWE. Then there’s someone like Shawn Michaels, who bowed out when he felt was right, and shows no signs of return. And finally, there’s Edge who was forced to retire, similar to Stone Cold.
When I look at the age of all of these guys, there’s really no common thread, no golden age where it’s “too late to wrestle.” Two things come to mind, really, and that’s 1) personal choice and 2) skill. If someone like Ric Flair chooses to continue to wrestle for whatever reason (whether it be ex-wives, kids, whores, etc), then it’s his choice and even though it’s at times cringeworthy to watch, it’s Flair who suffers, ultimately, not us. Second, if the skill is still there and the drive is still present, then who are we to stop it. While yes, it’s awkward at time to see Flair flop his way to a loss, one cannot deny where there are times when he’s still got it. Another man that proved gray hair hath no bearing on the in-ring work was Ricky Steamboat a few years back when he was placed into a feud with Jericho. The man was on point and I wouldn’t be surprised if he could still pull a match or two out! HBK, even on his last match, blew away the entire years’ worth of matches against another OVER 40 dude.
We who have been fans for years have that one guy, that one guy that we wish could hop between the ropes just one more time. If that one guy was Hogan or Flair, then you’re still watching, and probably wishing that they’d just stop and “leave the legacy alone.” While I appreciate the sentiment, there’s nothing The Undertaker can do (short of losing at Mania – and even then, I’d blame the E, not he completely) that would destroy his legacy to me. I’ve been a fan of the man since I was four and I WISH he would wrestle more. So how is that different than the biggest Flair fan still loving Flair?
While I commend Vince and Co for looking towards the future, and knowing that Cena is somewhat expendable, I don’t think that age is – or should be – a factor. I’d go so far as to say that WWE doesn’t make stars, the stars make the WWE. Someone like Cena isn’t created and farmed to be where he is at, he is – and was – created by the fans and by himself, like most big time stars. I think the WWE had little to do with Austin or Rock’s rise other than give them a platform. No, the WWE isn’t going to make the newest star of the company, that star will rise amongst the cream, and he may very well be…PERFECTION…
You Decide: Is the newest face of the WWE currently on the roster, and will age be a factor in his rise?
Leva Bates returns to the program!
The Greg DeMarco Show with Greg DeMarco and Patrick O’Dowd, presented by 411Mania.com, airs Tuesday nights at 10:30 PM eastern and streams all weekend—WORLDWIDE—at VOCNation.com.
Listen as Greg, Patrick and Andy Critchell breakdown the TNA, discussing where we are now and what we want to see going into Bound For Glory.
Special guest Leva Bates returns to the show to discuss her recent Shine Wrestling win, her upcoming match for WSU’s Full Steam Ahead, her now famous outfit choices and more!
Listen in for hour three as Greg, Tony Acero and Terra Calaway answer listener questions submitted by members of the VOC Nation!
About The Greg DeMarco Show:
Discussing current events in professional wrestling—including WWE RAW, Smackdown, TNA Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor and many US independent promotions and regularly featuring guests from Ring of Honor, Chikara, Extreme Reunion and countless other promotions, Greg DeMarco and Patrick O’Dowd present opinionated analysis on the wrestling world that remains rooted in a love, passion and respect for the industry. The show is presented live each week by 411Mania at http://www.411mania.com/wrestling and streams worldwide each weekend via Bruce Wirt’s Voice of Choice Nation at http://www.vocnation.com. You can reach the show via e-mail at [email protected], Facebook by searching for “Greg DeMarco Show” or Twitter @gregdemarcoshow.
To the homies that we lost:
Hit up the ‘Mania on the TWITTER (so Ashish will like me, okay?)
http://www.twitter.com/gregdemarcoshow – that’s Greg!
http://www.twitter.com/TonyAcero411 – That’s me!!
Recognize this woman? No? It’s ok, she wasn’t around much. She was on the indy circuit for some time before TNA swooped her up, and shortly thereafter, she had a small stint on the WWE version of ECW. She has since retired from the squared circle, but one cannot deny the hotness factor.
Plenty to talk about in the comments!
And this week’s Versus Battle of the Bang—(Tara vs. Winter)—You Make the Call!
Until next time…