Thursday, April 28, 2011

Vince Scared to Pull the Trigger on the Cena Machine

by Brian Phelps

Well, it's draft time again. I'm usually not overly excited about the draft each year because they normally don't move anyone that matters and if they do... they usually go back to their brand after a month anyway. This year though, the draft started off with a bang... or so we thought. John Cena was drafted from RAW to Smackdown in a shocking moment that no one saw coming. I thought this was great as it would truly shake things up instead of claiming big things and falling short. This draft really delivered... until the end when Cena was drafted back to RAW... essentially wasting two draft picks. What was the point of even teasing it? This is another example of WWE having a great idea, but then turning around and being too scared to pull the trigger. It's like when Cena "joined" the Nexus. Now had he really joined and turned heel it would have been the biggest heel turn in 15 years and would truly shake the foundation of WWE to its core. Instead, he was nothing more than usual Cena forced to wear a Nexus shirt. He was just a slave to the Nexus, which was really lame. The storyline became boring at that point and seemed to drag on for months. The thing is, Vince McMahon is so scared to tamper with the Cena Money Making Machine that he refuses to do whats good for the product. In other words, Cena sells so much merchandise as a face that Vince is afraid to turn Cena heel because he might take a dip in merchandise sales. It's the same reason they won't turn Mysterio heel. He sells too many masks. WWE has gotten so corporate over the last 5 years its not even funny. Vince is trying to milk the Cena Machine for every penny he can get. Same with Mysterio. It's become less about bettering the product, and more about milking every cent he can and running an idea into the ground until no one cares and the well runs dry... and by that time it's too late to better the product because we stopped caring about that particular superstar. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Impact Starts With a Bang! AJ Styles Returns!

This past weeks Impact was probably the best Impact of the year, and the best Impact since the week before Bound For Glory last year. It started with the return of AJ Styles who descended from the ceiling, and cut a real good promo on Bully Ray. It was even followed up by some good tag team action in the cage as Beer Money defeated Rob Terry and Murphy. This is how you start off an Impact, and this is how you differentiate yourself from the WWE. Typical TNA for you though, they'll give you an embarrassment of an episode one week and a great one the next. If TNA could actually be consistent with shows like this we might actually have some real competition down the road. 

Flashback of the Day: Vince Cuts Hilarious Promo on Cena and HBK

Check out this classic backstage segment between Vince McMahon, John Cena, and Shawn Michaels from 2007

Friday, April 22, 2011

Who is Better? Undertaker or Sting?

by Brian Phelps

I recently got into a debate with a guy on youtube on who was the greater wrestler between Undertaker and Sting. He said Undertaker, and I said Sting. This is my response to him. What do you guys think?

Bear with me, this will be long... but it contains some good information. Before I start, I want to say that I do not think you are wrong in your opinions or that I am "more" correct than you in my opinion. We just have a difference of opinion. I couldn't exactly explain myself fully because Youtube doesn't let you type that much lol. Undertaker or Sting. I say Sting, and you say Undertaker. I base my decision on the following criteria

1. Ability
2. Gimmick
3. Who did they put over?
4. Feuds
5. Storylines
6. Mic Skills
7. How did said wrestler impact his company?
8. The X Factor - A special attribute or significance about the wrestler that puts them over the top

While I respect both wrestlers as two of the all-time greats... I consider Sting the better all-around wrestler. Here's my argument as to why. The Undertakers biggest pitfall is that he is a one trick pony. Now, don't get me wrong The Undertaker is beyond the shadow of a doubt one of the all-time greats. Let's be real though, and examine that he does have many flaws.

1) Undertaker has NEVER been great on the mic. Undertakers gravelly voice, and cookie cutter "one size fits all promos" prevent him from standing out. Does anyone ever truly recall a great Undertaker promo? The answer is no. You're not going to get much beyond "This is my yard"... and "Rest in Peace"... or "One by one they've came and one by one I've put them down".

2) The Undertaker is not an amazing wrestler. He's not going to wow you with any fancy moves. He's just a very agile big man. We can talk all day about how HBK/Taker matches are the greatest Mania fights ever... but that's not because of the Undertaker. That's because HBK can make any man on Earth look like a million bucks. HBK did for Taker's legacy what he also did for Razor Ramons career at WM10... and that's make a bigger guy look like a million bucks. HBK did the same for Stone Cold and Bret Hart at Wrestlemania. Taker also had a fairly solid match against HHH this past year, but that's because it was a no DQ. Think about it... how many legendary Mania matches does anyone remember Taker for before HBK? MAYBE the 1st Kane match at WM14??? and that's a big maybe. The Undertaker has gotten by on his theatrics for at least a decade now. He isn't the wrestler he was in the 90s. Also, how many people has Undertaker really put over? I can't really think of anyone who wasn't already over. You might make an argument for Brock Lesnar, but by the time they feuded Lesnar had already defeated The Rock and Hulk Hogan CLEANLY. That's because Vince McMahon has fed EVERYONE to the Undertaker. He spends 99% of each year injured now anyways. He only wrestles once a year and he is 6 years younger than Sting.

3) This is my biggest schtick with him. The Undertaker is all gimmick. Everything about him is a gimmick. He's the most successful gimmick wrestler ever. The Undertaker has gotten by on his theatrics for a decade now. If you took away the Undertaker gimmick, he would just be another big man (which is exactly what he was in WCW before he went to the WWF in 1990). He was just in the right place at the right time, and got saddled with the greatest gimmick in wrestling history. Without "The Undertaker" gimmick, Mark Calaway would've just been another Crush or Adam Bomb flash in the pan big man. He was a low mid-carder in WCW. Look at when he tried to change his gimmick from the "Deadman" to the "Biker" gimmick. It was widely panned, and he eventually went back to the "Deadman" gimmick but by the time he did the damage had already been done to his character. He was no longer as believable as he once was. The "Biker" gimmick really killed his aura... and he's never really got it back all the way. He has the look, but the mystique is gone. I think I've made a very strong case thus far. The Undertaker character is the greatest one trick pony of a gimmick ever. Even all his memorable matches are gimmick matches. Hell in a Cell, Casket, Buried Alive etc. He needs all the theatrics, smoke and mirror entrances, and gimmick matches because unless he's wrestling HBK... the majority of his basic singles matches are boring. Anyone can "no sell" another wrestlers moves... and that is why any other big man could've very well have been chosen to be "The Undertaker". His act never really changes, but no one cares. He's like a classic rock band that just plays the same routine every concert but will always sell out the arena. He's even spawned spin-off characters like The fake Undertaker, Kane, The fake Kane, Paul Bearer, and even the short lived character Mordecai (who was supposed to be the "Undertaker" of Light... instead of darkness). The Undertaker was also the precursor that led to future successful deranged gimmicks like Mankind, TNA's Abyss, and The Brood. I'm not taking anything away from The Undertakers accomplishments, but Mark Calaway would likely have never had the career he had if the "Undertaker" gimmick hadn't taken off the way it did. Any number of big men could've played "The Undertaker" gimmick and had the same result. The fake Undertaker proved it, as Brian Lee pulled off playing the Undertaker to the T. He had the look, a stunning resemblance, the moves down, and everything. He actually had most people fooled initially. He was just 2 inches too short, and you could've fixed that by thickening the bottom of his boots... but they left it that way to help tell the difference. Nash, Crush, Adam Bomb, Brian Lee could've been given the Undertaker gimmick instead of Mark Callous and the result would've been the same. When Crush was in WCW as Brian Adams in Kronik, he actually looked like he could pull off an Undertaker style gimmick.

On the other hand, no one else could've pulled off Stings character.

1) Sting is one of the top mic workers ever along with The Rock, Ric Flair, and Rowdy Roddy Piper as far as electrifying the crowd. The only person who can get a crowd more juiced than Sting using only a microphone is The Rock. I'll hook you up with several Sting promos if you don't believe me. People sometimes forget Stings mic skills because WCW's hey day is 10 years gone now, and because not as many people watch TNA. Only The Rock has more NATURAL born charisma than Sting.

2) Sting isn't afraid to put people over. Sting in WCW put over rising singles stars Booker T and Scott Steiner, and as a result made them legitimate main eventers... and even put over Vampiro. In his nearly 6 years in TNA, he has worked his butt off to put over AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels, Abyss, Christian, and Samoa Joe.

3) Unlike The Undertakers reinvention as the "biker", Stings reinvention as the "Crow" was the most successful reinvention in WRESTLING HISTORY and is still talked about constantly to this day. Sting has reinvented himself SUCCESSFULLY, not once but TWICE. To reinvent yourself this late in your career successfully is incredible. "Joker" Sting became along with CM Punk the most talked about story in wrestling in 2011. It was a hit for TNA, and a much needed one at that. Sting's ability to reinvent himself is amazing, and a true testament to Sting's understanding of the business and the fans.

4) Sting has held legendary feuds and battles with a who's who of hall of famers and legends including Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, The Four Horsemen, Lex Luger, Rick Rude, Randy Savage, Goldberg, Bret "Hitman" Hart, The Great Muta, The Steiner Bros, Dusty Rhodes, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Kurt Angle, Rob Van Dam, Jeff Hardy, The Road Warriors... I could go on but do I need to? Stings classics with Ric Flair at the Clash of the Champions really put WCW on the map. Stings feud with Hulk Hogan culminated in Sting SHATTERING PPV BUY RECORDS at Starrcade 97.

5) Sting is arguably the greatest all-around pro wrestler of all-time, and never had to step in a WWE Ring. Sting NEVER had the million dollar production, publicity, promotion, and marketing that Undertaker had with the WWE.Sting has done so much more than the Undertaker, with so much less. The thing is, Sting would've still been just as big of a legend without his "Crow" gimmick. 3 out of the record 4 times that Sting won PWI's Most Popular Wrestler award was BEFORE THE CROW GIMMICK. Sting was winning the most popular wrestler award with a 1/3 of the audience that Hulk Hogan had.

6) Sting was a part of the nWo Wolfpac... which was the most popular wrestling faction of all-time. At the height of WCW in 1998 the nWo Wolfpac was the most popular faction ever in terms of popularity (Sting was the most popular wrestler in the world in 1997 during the biggest time in wrestling history in terms of ratings as evidenced by him winning a record 4th PWI Most Popular Wrestler award). All anyone talked about was how awesome the Wolfpac was back then. They were like rock stars, and yes they were more popular than DX at the time... they just weren't around as long because WCW had to figure out how to end the nWo angle all together. Also, Sting was a part of the most legendary faction in TNA Wrestling, The Main Event Mafia.

7) Sting is one of the 1st wrestlers to have 2 different finishing maneuvers. Sting would beat you with a Scorpion Death Drop or the Scorpion Deathlock (Sharpshooter). Sting and Ronnie Garvin were the first two wrestlers to use the move prolifically in North America BEFORE BRET HART as it was originally called the Scorpion Deathlock which is derived from its original Japanese name. Sharpshooter was coined by Bret Hart later on, so despite what some think Sting popularized the move in N.America before Bret Hart did.

I could go on, but I think I've made a pretty strong case for Sting being the better wrestler.

Monday, April 18, 2011

TNA Did Not Rip Off Raw's "Anonymous GM" With "The Network"

by Brian Phelps (

I'm sick of this insinuation that TNA stole the Anonymous GM crap. Anyone who knows Vince Russo, knows that "The Network" is not a rip off of the "Anonymous GM"... it's actually a rehash of an old angle he wrote in WCW in 1999 where "The Powers That Be" were handing down decisions and no one knew who they were. Everyone is so quick to accuse TNA of stealing the Anonymous GM idea... when anyone who knows their wrestling history knows its him reusing his old "Powers That Be" story angle that HE WROTE in WCW. Watch a clip on Impact of Hogan talking about "The Network" and then watch a clip of Jarrett talking about "The Powers That Be" from WCW 1999... both storylines that Russo wrote.

Why Gunner as TV Champion?

Recently on Impact, Gunner defeated Rob Terry and Murphy to capture the TNA Television title. I'm baffled as to why TNA put the belt on Gunner. Gunner is a guy that you can probably count on one hand the actual number of televised matches he's had. There was absolutely no build at all for his title win. It came across as really random and made no sense at all. I'm not even counting the fact that Gunner has zero personality, and thus far has only come off mediocre in the ring. He has no visible mic skills that I've seen either. So why on Earth did TNA think it was a great idea to put the title on a mindless goon who has barely wrestled and has no mic skills? Better yet, why did they have Rob Terry job to Gunner? As bad a wrestler as Rob is, he at least has the "look" and can cut a promo even if they aren't exactly memorable. For all you IWC guys out there that cry out that Gunner is awesome because of what he's done on the Indy Scene... I'm talking strictly about the "Gunner" character and his TNA run. So, don't give me some Indy bias. The TNA character of Gunner so far is just a mindless goon. There are so many more deserving wrestlers such as Jay Lethal, Christopher Daniels, Doug Williams, Matt Morgan, Hernandez etc. who could give the title some credibility. It's silly booking like this that make people want to stop tuning in to TNA.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Upon Edge's Retirement... Who Gets His Spot?

What a wild week it's been. Edge has announced his abrupt retirement. A guy we thought could go another 5 years at least. We lost Shawn Michaels to retirement last year, and Edge this year. On the flip side, if there is anything good that can come of this it's that it will force WWE to give other superstars a chance at the big time. Edge's retirement has the strong potential to benefit one man in particular. Christian. Edge's retirement and the subsequent vacancy of the World Heavyweight Championship should plunge Christian into the title picture that he was taken out of last week upon losing to Alberto Del Rio. So, at Extreme Rules it should be Christian vs Alberto Del Rio for the World Title. There couldn't be a more perfect way for Christian to ascend to the top then to honor his best friend of the last 27 years... Edge. Edge could walk away from the business happy knowing that his best friend filled the void that he left. Christian is very worthy and deserving of taking Edge's "spot", having waited patiently for a decade for his shot at WWE glory. Alberto Del Rio on the other hand has his whole career ahead of him. A loss to Christian over the World Title wouldn't derail his career, as he could be the perfect foil to Christian since they have a vicious ongoing feud. Only time will tell, but I got a feeling that it may finally be Christians time. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

WWE Robs Fans with False Advertising

One thing I noticed about WWE lately is that they have gotten exceedingly awful about false advertising. In the last 6 months alone, WWE has falsely advertised on RAW, Smackdown, and now most recently Wrestlemania 27. Back when WWE held the special "Old School" edition of RAW, commercials advertised Ricky "the Dragon" Steamboat and the Ultimate Warrior, neither of which appeared (it should be noted that everyone else in the commercial appeared). Then a few weeks ago, WWE aired commercials advertising Edge & Christian reuniting to face the Corre for the tag team titles on Smackdown. However, when Smackdown aired both Edge and Christian wrestled in singles matches and the tag titles weren't even defended. This next one takes the cake though. WWE spent weeks advertising a US Title match at Wrestlemania 27 between Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Then, to the shock of approximately 800,000 people who paid to see it on ppv... the match wasn't shown. At the last second, they decided to make it a dark match so anyone who paid to see Sheamus vs Daniel Bryan as advertised were blatantly screwed out of a great match-up. WWE needs to be held accountable for their false advertising. It'd be one thing if Sheamus or Bryan had gotten injured right before Wrestlemania, but they weren't. It isn't right and the people that paid to see that match and were robbed deserve to be compensated.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

John Cena vs The Rock at Mania 28!

Cena vs Rock at Wrestlemania 28. This is what we have been waiting for. This is the kind of Wrestlemania main events that the company was built on. Finally WWE does something right lately. By letting the fans know of the main event one year in advance, that means they have a whole year to build to that match in the same way that Sting and Hogan built their feud for a year before Starrcade 97. Anticipation will grow, anxiety will increase because it's the match we all want to see. Now, with the main event set in advance they can figure out how to stack the card now... and this is how WWE will get over a million buys. They won't get it with silly guest appearances, and special refs, or celebrities. They get it with epic matches. Hogan vs Andre. Hogan vs Warrior. Savage vs Warrior. Stone Cold vs Rock. Rock vs Hogan. Not Miz vs Cena. This is what we want to see. 

What is Vince Russo doing? (Impact Review)

Impact started off great with an interesting confrontation between Sting and Mr. Anderson. Both Sting and Anderson are two guys that know how to tell a story, have great mic skills, and wrestling skills as well. So, when they got face-to-face it got me psyched. Not only that, but it's a match-up that has never been seen before. So, the crowd is buzzing until... you guessed it. Hogan HAD to come out to steal their thunder. He had to come out and put all the attention on himself. Hogan babbled on about crap we don't care about with Bischoff at his side. Anderson claims he was screwed out of his match with RVD. RVD then comes out to respond by telling Anderson he'll face him again. Then, all of a sudden of course Bully Ray, Matt Hardy, and Abyss come out and beat on RVD, Sting, and Anderson for no apparent reason. So, Hogan decides to make a 6-man tag team steel cage match. Ok, last time I checked a steel cage match was meant to settle a feud between either two guys or two tag teams. I didn't know it was to put 3 guys in who aren't feuding with anyone (Hardy, Abyss, Ray). Wouldn't it have made more sense to pit RVD against Anderson in the cage to decide the #1 contender? Well, it gets better because toward the end of the match all hell breaks loose. We get to see Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan, Robert Roode, James Storm, Kaz, and a returning Christopher Daniels interfere. Only Vince Russo could book this kind of moronic crap. Only Vince Russo would sit there and say "Ok, let's have a 6 man tag match inside a steel cage, and then have 6 other guys run in during it so that we'll have 12 bodies lying around in a match that was designed to keep everyone else out." It's so stupid, and it's not the wrestlers fault. You can tell that the wrestlers are giving it their all. It's just bad booking by Vince Russo. A typical Russo match. When will he learn that not every match has to be a triple threat match, or have 20 guys interfere at the end? It's ok to have two wrestlers duke it out, and have a fair and square ending with no interference. It's this kind of silly booking that is going to continue to hold back TNA from competing with WWE.