Why this person can’t and shouldn’t ever be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame

 

It’s now been 10 years since the horrible act of violence current and former WWE Staff, Superstars and alumni refer to as “The Incident” happened. I’m referring to the morning Chris Benoit killed his wife, young son and then himself in a double murder-suicide. The incident shocked the Wrestling world and made national headlines.

According to Benoit’s suicide note, he killed his own son with his signature submission move the Crippler Crossface. He then shot himself in the head with a pistol. Benoit, who had known anger management and drug issues in and outside WWE had been overheard arguing with his wife by neighbors. He’d been suspended by WWE for domestic violence-related arrests in the past, which of course WWE kept out of the public eye (his absence was explained as an injury as I recall but everyone in the locker room knew the truth).

In the years since the Benoit Incident, we now know it’s very likely Benoit had CTE. At the time, chair shots to the head were allowed. Research on possible long-term effects forced WWE to ban head-shots, On a related subject, Kevin Nash announced a few years ago he is going to donate his brain to researchers when he dies.

The timing couldn’t have been worse: The week before, Vince McMahon’s on-screen character died when the limo he got into blew up. The Benoit Incident forced WWE to immediately scrap that storyline to address the incident. Mind you, this was after Vince’s “death” was announced as having actually happened. Stunned viewers watched as Vince McMahon–alive and well–came down to the ring the following RAW. I dismissively explained he staged his death to see if he would be missed.

WWE was cordual in regards to the Benoit Family because they had to. Once that grace period ended, they immediately removed all mentions of him from WWE.com and elsewhere. WWE does not talk about him because he murdered his wife and child. That is more than enough reason to forget he ever existed.

The Internet’s reaction, on the other hand was beyond tasteless: 10 years later, they overhype a wrestler who had a mostly mediocre career. He will always be remembered as the man Randy Orton beat to become the youngest WWE Champion ever. Yet, you still have internet tough guys who feel what he did should be separated from his career, which is pretty forgettible in reality. Benoit himself knew it.

Ok, let’s look at just Benoit’s WWE career. He won the Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania (which WWE Network does not have) and the U.S. Title once each. He put then new talent over as a Face and a Heel. That’s it.

The inconvenient truth is Benoit did not have a Hall of Fame career. Like it or not, what he did disqualifies him from ever being considered for the Hall of Fame. “But what about the other superstar involved in his matches?”, you ask? WWE does reference them but they do not specifically mention him by name.

Some people felt Stone Cold Steve Austin not mentioning Benoit during his video podcast with Vince McMahon was a missed opportunity on his part. Austin knows it’s one subject to stay far away from is all.

So no, Chris Benoit will NEVER be inducted into the Hall of Fame EVER. Yes, what he did is as much a factor as Razor Ramon’s substance abuse kept him out of the Hall of Fame for several years. Pete Rose was banned for life from MLB for gambling and fixing games, which could be argued as far less tame compared to what Ron Artest (biggest fight in NBA history about 10 years ago, 1 year suspension and legally changed his name to clean up his image) and Michael Vick (dog fighting ring, spent time in jail as a result) have both done.

So, yeah. Follow WWE’s lead and forget Chris Benoit ever existed. Everyone he ever wrestled did years ago. LOL.

Why this person can’t and shouldn’t ever be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame

ESPN’s Latest 30 for 30 revisits the XFL

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…Ah, the XFL. The only project of Vince McMahon’s that actually bombed. I mean that both literally and figuratively. The documentary revisits what turned out to be the materialization of crazy ideas, some of wich the NFL adopted. The Skycam, Helmet Mics and player intros? The XFL introduced those.

Likely due to time, the documentary glossed over the ulterior motive Vince had when he decided to take a shot at launching a football league: WCW. At the time, WWE was in real trouble of losing of the Monday Night Wars. Superstars were jumping ship from WWE for WCW and there was concern the brand only had a few years left.

At the same time the XFL was being drawn up, WWE was also laying the groundwork for Smackdown, which also launched in 2001. We know since the XFL only lasted one season that it was the Plan B that never was: If WCW won the Monday Night Wars, at least the company had a profitable sports league to fall back on.

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Some of the ideas on the table if the XFL was successful was for more of WWE’s assets to be shifted over. This included Superstars having matches at halftime to promote the brand. You can tell from the documentary Vince tried everything he could think of to get a 2nd season but when NBC backed out, that spelled the end of the XFL.

At the end of the documentary, Vince reveals he wants to bring back the XFL or do something similar. In the 15 years since the XFL, the McMahon Family is one of the most prolific in America and WWE is one of the most iconic brands in TV History.

…I think the time is right.

Vince has the experience from the XFL and this time, I think the networks will trust his judgement. In my opinion, Vince should launch a Baseball league this time. The XFL ended up being good for the NFL. Who says an XLB can’t do the same for the MLB?

 

ESPN’s Latest 30 for 30 revisits the XFL

Possible Wrestlemania matchups are starting to come into focus

According to a few sources within WWE, The Phenom vs. The Roman Empire at WM33 is “prettymuch set”. Vince McMahon has reportedly wanted to book them in a match for some time now. This seems to match rumors I heard last year ‘Taker was originally going to be Reigns’ opponent last year.

It ended up not happening as we know for two reasons:

  1. The Reigns/Triple H feud was going unexectedly well even though everyone knew Trips was just putting Reigns over.
  2. The creative team had to scramble to write Shane McMahon’s sudden return to WWE after a nearly 10 year hiatus. Since Vince was personally involved, they had no choice but to book Shane with The Undertaker. The buildup fell flat but the match itself was unexpectedly good.

…This will be a match for the ages. The foundation for their match at Wrestlemania was laid when Reigns eliminated The Undertaker at the Royal Rumble (See above picture). It’s just a matter of when in regards to when the buildup begins.

What would make this matchup real interesting: According to an interview by Roman Reigns himself, he might Heel turn real soon. That would make the buildup believable and his character has been teasing a Heel turn for some time now.

I think it’s a safe bet the match is a done deal. Even though it won’t be a title match, this time we can expect to see a full match between the two titans of destruction =O

…This was obviously being set up to happen but due to Seth Rollins re-injuring his surgically repaired knee (The same one that cost him 9 months from fall 2015 to Spring 2016), he may be out for up to 8 weeks (!) which means he’s definitely missing Wrestlemania. Ouch! He has not been medically cleared to compete in any live events since the injury on RAW.

WWE has promised to provide an update in the upcoming RAW episode. Should Rollins be shelved, WWE’s creative team apparently has a replacement match set to go…

…The match alot of insiders thought was actually going to happen at last year’s Summer Slam believe it or not. For those who don’t know, there is legit…”tension” is the word I’ll use between Triple H and Shane. Triple H and Stephanie feel threatened by Shane’s return to the company after being away for 7 years. While Shane was away,

Triple H and Stephanie worked their way up the corporate ladder both on and off-screen (By the way, Triple H is the Director of Talent Relations and the Principal Owner of NXT). Triple H’s brain child NXT moved WWE out of the PG Era and helped kick off the rebranding of the Women’s Division. The story goes, it was Stephanie who convinced Vince to trust Triple H and cut back on his on-screen appearances, allowing the company to move into The New Era.

Their concern–more specifically The Game’s–is the possability Vince might hand the company over to Shane. Shane wasn’t lying when he said he “never lost his place in line” this time last year on RAW. As far as I know, Shane does not hold any executive positions within the company aside from being the Smackdown GM since his return.

Should Rollins be shelved–and I don’t think WWE will rush him back for the match–then they will start building this instead.

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…We could see what WWE had planned for Seth Rollins and Finn Balor last year: NXT’s best brawler vs. The Face of WWE. Could be crazy but it could also be real interesting. That said, as of right now we still don’t know which roster Samoa Joe will be on yet. I don’t think that’s been set in stone.

That said, I do think it could be an interesting match. They both have crazy stamina and both have impressive mat skills to boot =O

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I only just heard about this possible matchup this morning: Bray Wyatt is apparently the favorite to win the WWE Championship at the Elimination Chamber PPV later this month. He would then go on to face Randy Orton at Wrestlemania for the title.

Orton has been part od the Wyatt Family for the last three months. The Apex Predator is one of a handful of superstars who can be Over with the crowd weather he’s a Face or a Heel. We probably won’t see the buildup until after the Elimination Chamber match though.

 

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Possible Wrestlemania matchups are starting to come into focus

WWE pays tribute to Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka

…Let it not be said WWE doesn’t have class.

This is pretty significant given Snuka was part of 3 recent class action lawsuits against WWE, all of which were quickly thrown out in court. If there were hard feelings, I doubt they would have done this much.

It also clearly leaves the door open to Tamina Snuka returning later this year. I knew she was on leave from WWE to be with her father, who ultimately lost his battle with stomach cancer at the age of 73. I always wondered if that was the only reason she’s been away for so long or if her father’s litigation with WWE also played as role.

It is worth nothing Tamina–if she returns this year–wasn’t drafted to RAW or Smackdown due to her absence. she stands to gain more going to Smackdown so she isn’t competing against her cousin Nia Jaxx. Tamina was a Heel before she left but depending on which brand she goes to, she could have a run as a Face. She could come to RAW as a Face and compete with Paige (who is expected to return later this year), then Charlotte for a title run. She’d probably make more of an impact on Smackdown as the brand’s Monster Heel in my book though.

…Moving on.

For me, Jimmy Snuka was the first of 18 consecutive opponents The Undertaker faced and defeated at Wrestlemania (Facing Triple H, Kane and Shawn Michaels twice each). That’s what I will always remember him for. I knew he was the one who made aerial moves popular though.

WWE pays tribute to Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka

Former 1996 Olympic Athlete Kurt Angle to be inducted into the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame

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This is easily the biggest surprise entrant in the history of the WWE Hall of Fame so far. Not because of who it is but why he left and where he went after he left WWE.

Kurt Angle.

Before Brock Lensar, John Cena and Randy Orton, there was The Gold Medalist. Kurt Angle, who wrestled for the Team USA at the 1996 Olympics and won Gold (“Where are YOUR Gold Medals?”) came to WWE in 1998. Angle came at just the right time: Shortly after his arrival, WCW’s Finger Poke of Doom happened (Their commentators announced in advance Mick Foley was going to win the WWE Championship, which ultimately cost them The Monday Night Wars). With their biggest competition beginning to tank and WWE asserting itself as the winner of The Monday Night Wars, Kurt Angle led the charge.

He did everything: Put over new talent, had title runs and took on all challengers. Folks need to be reminded of John Cena’s first match in WWE:

…if not for this match, John Cena would not have become a 15-time Champion. It can easily be argued John Cena owes alot to Kurt Angle on a professional level. You can easily see glimpses of the superstar Cena would go on to become not long after being put over by Angle this match and after it.

Angle spent most of his WWE career as a Babyface Heel. Unlike most of the other Heels who came before and after him, Angle was an athlete and he was so damn good both in the ring and selling a promo almost all of his wins as a Heel were clean wins.

By 2006 John Cena, Randy Orton, Dave Bautista and Brock Lesnar (before the latter two left) were major draws for the company and WWE was finding it harder to work The Olympic Athele in new storylines. After being sidelined with many injuries during the latter part of his career, he was quietly released from WWE in 2006.

His arrival on TNA later that year would prove to be the second wind he needed as a wrestler. Angle would go on to become the biggest superstar in TNA and would later be joined by other former WWE Superstars in Matt Hardy, Bubba Ray Dudley and more recently Cody Rhodes, Stu Bennett (Wade Barrett in WWE), Ryback and Aron Rex (Damien Sandow in WWE). The story goes AJ Styles and Samoa Joe both left TNA for WWE after talking to Angle.

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…It is worth noting, however Kurt Angle didn’t leave WWE on bad terms. In fact, he never spoke negatively about the company during his time with TNA. He still has alot of respect and class to say the least. Angle left TNA in 2015, announcing he was taking a year off from Wrestling but was prettymuch done with TNA. It goes without saying he’s trying to position himself for a possible return to the WWE. Angle was inducted into TNA’s Hall of Fame in 2013.

In an interview he gave last year, Angle said “it’s not a question of if he will return to WWE but when”. His induction into the WWE Hall of Fame being an olive branch aside, Angle did say he was very interested in having a match with Daniel Bryan. He also said he would like to have his final match with fellow TNA Alumn AJ Styles. I think it’s fair to say he will likely compete on Smackdown in that case (which he did during the first brand split).

Now that the way has been paved to make it happen, it’s a question now of when Angle himself will make his first WWE appearance in 10 years. I suspect it won’t be until after the Royal Rumble given he’s clearly looking to come back and perform. Me personally, he needs to be booked for a match John Cena. it would truly be an epic match to watch. Hell, book it for Summer Slam if not Wrestlemania =O

Former 1996 Olympic Athlete Kurt Angle to be inducted into the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame

More Op-Eds urge Ronda Rousey to pursue a WWE Career

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…At this point, I think it’s only a matter of time.

After losing in her redebut match in 48 seconds at UFC 207, it’s become painfully clear to everyone–most importantly Rousey herself–her MMA days are over. Her best bet is to take her talents to WWE, which she is already on very good terms with. She has said in the past she’d like to compete in the WWE several times before. It’s not a matter of IF but WHEN at this point. She is a huge WWE fan after all.

Rousey famously appeared alongside The Rock, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a promo at Wrestlemania 31. If WWE isn’t on the phone with Rousey right now, they should be. Getting Rousey would probably kill TNA and bring in more UFC fans at the same time just to watch her.

Maybe even have her introduced as a Free Agent at Wrestlemania.  Steph and Shane come out and introduce her. Rousey comes out, crowd goes nuts. Rousey says she came for one purpose and that was to win the Women’s Championship. The current RAW and Smackdown Women’s Champions come out to size her up. Shane speaks up saying Rousey may have signed a WWE contract but she hasn’t signed with either brand yet.

The months leading up to Summer Slam, Rousey appears on both shows. Then she’s booked in a match against both Women’s Champions. She will join the show of whichever Champion she beats. However, she will go to opposite show of whichever Champion beats her.  THAT would be good booking.

Make it happen, WWE!

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More Op-Eds urge Ronda Rousey to pursue a WWE Career

John Cena addresses his critics on 12/27/2016 Talking Smack

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It was obvious during Smackdown Cena had alot more to say than what he did at the beginning of the program. So, he came on Talking Smack (which now starts after 205 Live on WWE Network) to set a few things straight.

In short: He’s far from done.

Weather or not he will tie and then break Ric Flair’s all-time record of 16 title reigns remains to be seen. He’ll get his chance to tie Ric Flair when he faces AJ Styles at the Royal Rumble next month.

Cena didn’t shy away from what fans called the Super Cena Era during his comments. That was that period of time in which Cena racked up most of his title reigns because there was literally no one other than Randy Orton who could work with him long enough to get a decient feud going.

Why?

Because superstars were getting suspended left and right due to PED violations. WWE was forced to aggressively punish superstars who took PEDs after the Chris Benoit incident. Being the only superstar available to carry the company doesn’t automatically make you the best. I don’t know why his critics think he felt that way but the man never did feel that way himself.

It was also during much of that time Lesnar (to UFC), Batista (Hollywood), Goldberg (retired) and Bobby Lashley (TNA) all left. ‘Taker, Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry and Shawn Michaels all stuck around (though HBK would get retired by The Undertaker at Wrestlemania a few years later) but they weren’t used to put other superstars over (because of poor booking).

It’s worth noting Cena pointed out the fact he’s one of several superstars who’ve done acting gigs. The Miz, Dolph Ziggler, Kane, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose and Triple H have all appeared in movies (though in most of them, they were in movies produced by WWE Studios). Hulk Hogan (Rocky III), The Big Show (Jingle All The Way) and of course The Rock (too many to list) all have hollywood experience.

The problem Cena basically said “I don’t give a fuck” on is he’s getting a pass on putting people over. AJ Syles wasn’t wrong when he broke kayfabe and said Cena does the burying not put others over. Remember: The Rock was brought in to put Cena over at Wrestlemania a few years back. Twice. That should tell you all you need to know about WWE’s decision to put Cena on Smackdown instead of RAW.

I predict Cena will at least match Flair’s record if not break it in 2017. It’s just a matter of time at this point. He tells Vince McMahon to jump and the response is “How high?” There are only 6 other superstars who can basically do whatever they want: Lesnar, ‘Taker, Kane, Big Show, Mark Henry and of course, Triple H.

The only thing he said that I disagreed with was when he said he’s a Underdog now. He’s John Cena. He’s never the underdog. LOL.

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The other big story involved Dean Ambrose and Renee Young, whose relationship became the subject of controversy as of late. As I noted in my previous post, Ambrose and Young are in a relationship. The couple didn’t back down from the potential conflict of interest–her being a reporter and he being a WWE Superstar–as they discussed their feud with The Miz.

Could be interesting as there have been rumors Young has been looking into getting trained for in-ring action like Lana and Maryse recently did. Given all the undue disrespect she’s been getting from basically everyone, it could be real interesting.

John Cena addresses his critics on 12/27/2016 Talking Smack