Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Difference Between Ryback and Goldberg

By Brian Phelps

For everyone at the WWE Live Events and RAW Tapings who continuously chant "Goldberg" at Ryback... just stop it. It's an insult to Goldberg and it's just unfair to Ryback. Goldberg and Ryback are nothing alike and I'll tell you why.
Sure enough, I agree that when Ryback first started he was clearly a Goldberg rip off in terms of mannerisms, snarling and spitting, etc. Even his catch phrase "Feed Me More" was just a synonym of Goldberg's classic "Who's Next?" catch phrase. 
However, that was a long time ago and Ryback has evolved. Think about it. When did Goldberg have a Manager? Oh, that's right... he never did. When did Goldberg wear air brushed wrestling singlets? Oh, that's right... he never did. When did Goldberg have a "Bullying" gimmick? Oh, that's right... he never did. So why continue to chant "Goldberg" at him? Oh, that's right... there's no reason to. Just stop it. At this point, the only reason crowds are still continuing the "Goldberg" chants is because Ryback is a musclebound bald guy with a beard and power moves. That's it. It's as lame and stupid as it was in 1998 when some fans tried to claim that Goldberg was a Steve Austin rip off just because they were both bald with black trunks. By that same logic, The Shield are all Big Boss Man rip offs because they look like they raided Boss Man's ring gear. 
To compare Ryback to Goldberg is an absolute insult to the legacy of Goldberg. Goldberg was faster, more agile, and far more intense than Ryback. He was also leaps and bounds more athletic than Ryback. Last time I checked, Goldberg never botched his own finisher. Ryback botched Shellshocked TWICE. How do you botch Shellshocked on Paul Heyman? Goldberg successfully lifted Big Show vertically and standing jackhammered The Big Show (then known as The Giant) at a time when Show was much heavier than he is now. Youtube it and you'll see how much harder it is to Jackhammer Big Show than it is to give him an Attitude Adjustment. Goldberg's feats of strength were more impressive than John Cena let alone Ryback. 
Another often used comparison is the undefeated streaks and squash matches. Here's the thing though. Squash matches worked for Goldberg. They didn't work for Ryback. Why do you think that is? Part of the reason squash matches worked so well for Goldberg and not Ryback is because of the amazing depth the WCW roster had in 1997-1999. WCW had the deepest roster in pro wrestling history for about a 3 year period. Don't believe me? Hook up a Nintendo 64 and pop in a copy of WCW/nWo Revenge and look at the roster on deck. WCW was so deep with talent in 1997 and 1998 that the British Bulldog, "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan, Virgil, Jim "The Anvil" Niedhart, and Big Boss Man were jobbers and mid-carders on WCW Saturday Night. Those guys had trouble making it on the main shows. That's how loaded WCW was at the time. Chris Jericho, Rey Mysterio, Eddie Guerrero, Booker T, Chris Benoit were opening match guys. That's how loaded WCW was. Goldberg was squashing legit wrestlers like Mr. Perfect, WWE Tough Enough Trainer Bill Demott, The Faces of Fear, Raven, Chris Jericho, Booker T, Scott Hall, etc. Even the ham -n- eggers like karate jobber Jerry Flynn, Vincent (aka Virgil), and Norman Smiley were better than Ryback's competition. Goldberg was squashing legitimate stars, legends, and future Hall of Famers while Ryback spent 6 months squashing "local bums". 
The allure of Goldberg was similar to the allure of Mike Tyson. Goldberg was viewed as a knockout artist and came off like a legitimate and credible pro athlete thanks to his molding from the NFL. That's why Goldberg's squashes were more legit than Ryback's. Goldberg was getting over beating Ric Flair, Mr.Perfect, Chris Jericho and Raven while Ryback was bullying local wrestlers who would probably work for a sandwich.
Ryback dominated local bums and ham -n- eggers. Goldberg dominated legends of the "sport". Not entirely Rybacks fault because I do like Ryback to a degree. Ryback doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as Goldberg though. It's an insult to Goldberg and it's unfair to Ryback.
On an alternate note, for anyone who wants to talk bad about Goldberg's wrestling ability... listen. Goldberg never claimed to be the second coming of Bret Hart. Goldberg was what he was. A believable athletic beast who had more drawing power in his day than Cena has in his entire career. For anyone who disagrees... call me when Cena draws 40,000 people to an episode of RAW.
Guys like John Cena and Ryback make Goldberg look like the Michael Jordan of pro wrestling. Was Goldberg limited in the ring? YES. The difference is Goldberg KNEW his limitations and played it smart by working to his strengths. He had the decency not to embarrass himself by trying and horridly botching a hurricanrana or injuring his neck trying a shooting star press. He was also wise enough to know he had no business wrestling Iron Man Matches and to Goldberg's credit he never put us through one. 

The fact is Goldberg in 3 years drew more money than most main eventers draw in 20 years. Goldberg was drawing 40,000 people to an episode of Nitro. There was no question that Bill Goldberg was a box office draw and had every bit the star power of Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, The Rock, Stone Cold or anyone else. 

Goldberg has been often imitated, but never duplicated. The magic of the Goldberg gimmick is like the magic of the Stone Cold / Vince McMahon feud. It was lightning in a bottle, and no matter how many times WWE and TNA try to replicate the Goldberg character it will never happen again. You can throw out all the one-syllable squash monsters you want from the Rybacks, Lesnars, Lashleys, Batistas, Crimsons, etc but there is only one Goldberg. 

Ryback by comparison is a farce. So stop chanting "Goldberg" at Ryback. It's not even close. Ryback will never be Goldberg. He will never live up to legend of Goldberg and it's not fair to Ryback to heap that kind of pressure on him. His bullying gimmick is great (though it was better before Paul Heyman... when he was beating up the catering crew and making them run shower water into their duffle bags). Let Ryback be his own man. 

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Preview of Tonight's TNA Bound For Glory Pay-Per-View

by Brian Phelps

No DQ Match for the TNA World Heavyweight Title
AJ Styles vs. Bully Ray

AJ styles vs Bully Ray is a tough one for me. I like Bully Ray as a heel. I like AJ Styles, but I feel like TNA has kind of pooped on this match-up. AJ Styles won the BFG Series (which is absolutely fine), but why did they drop his "No One" gimmick? For once, the AJ Styles character was compelling and different. It wasn't just his wrestling that was cool. With the "No One" gimmick, AJ Styles finally appeared to have the total package of gimmick and wrestling skills. For some reason, they just dropped his "No One" gimmick with kind of a haphazard explanation... AJ suddenly came out and cut a promo where he decided he was "ok" with being under appreciated and as a result he is back to the classic AJ Styles. He even went back to the Get Ready to Fly theme song. I think the one problem with AJ Styles legacy is that his character never fully evolves. Even the Hulkster evolved into Hollywood in the '90s. Styles always starts to evolve, but then suddenly devolves back into generic AJ Styles. He reverted back to old AJ after he took on some Ric Flair characteristics. Now, he reverts back to the generic AJ Styles after finally evolving into a compelling and entertaining character with his "No One" gimmick. Oh well, AJ Styles became the total package for about 5 months and then decided to revert back to generic AJ. As for Bully Ray, I'm happy for him that he is finally main eventing the biggest PPV in TNA as the champion. I do think it's time for Bully to drop what's left of the Aces and Eights and just keep Brooke Tessmacher. Knux and Bischoff at this point are just dragging his star power down. Time to cut bait with those jobbers. On a lighter note, what ever happened Tito Ortiz being in Aces and Eights? Or, Rampage in MEM? Boy... they just kind of forgot about them didn't they? lol. And what happened to Mr. Anderson? Why would you leave a 2-time TNA World Champion off the PPV? 

Ultimate X for the TNA X Division Title
Jeff Hardy vs. Chris Sabin vs. Austin Aries vs. Samoa Joe vs. Manik

I think this Ultimate X match will be the show stealer tonight. Anytime you put Hardy, Aries, Joe, Sabin, and Manik in a match together good things are going to happen. If you buy this pay-per-view, than this is the match that will make it worth the money. Weirdly, it kind of seems like a waste of several main eventers. You're wasting Hardy/Aries/Joe all in one match for a mid-card belt? The two biggest superstars in TNA who headlined last years Bound For Glory over the heavyweight title are now just tossed into an X-Division match. Don't get me started on Samoa Joe. It seems like TNA hasn't known what to do with Joe for the last 5 years. He just sort of floats around as nothing more than PPV filler nowadays. I am intrigued to see what Hardy will pull out for Ultimate X. It's kind of strange to think that Hardy has never participated in an Ultimate X match before this given his risk taking background. This is an awkwardly awesome match. Hey, does anyone else wonder why Chris Sabin never invoked his rematch clause? Or, why Sabin never exacted revenge on Tito Ortiz for costing him the TNA Title? lol. 

TNA Knockouts Title Match
Brooke vs. Gail Kim vs. ODB

TNA seemed to tease that Lady Tei'pa (or however you spell her name) would get involved. I don't expect a lot from this match. The Knockouts division has kind of fizzled in the last couple of months after a wild start to the year. Speaking of which, what ever happened to Taryn Terrell? I mean, weren't they raving about her ladder match a few months ago? And where is Mickie James? Why hasn't Velvet Sky wrestled lately? Weird.

TNA Tag Team Title Match
Winners of pre-show vs. Gunner and James Storm

This tag team title match feels like TNA's creative team really had nothing to do for Gunner and Storm, so they just threw this together real fast. It's kind of odd considering how important TNA's tag team division used to be. I used to rave about how great TNA's tag team division once was, but now it's really no better than WWE's. In fact, lately... dare I say the WWE Tag Team Division has been better. Wow, I never thought I'd say that. 

Angle/Roode at BFG is yet another sloppily thrown together at the last minute match. This storyline is sort of stupid. Kaz and Daniels decide to induct Bobby Roode into some made up Hall of Fame of theirs, and for some reason Kurt Angle is angry at Bobby Roode and not Kaz and Daniels? Wow... that makes a lot of sense. What makes this worse is that they already fought at Bound For Glory 2011, and it doesn't feel like all that long ago. Here's another question... is Kurt Angle still in the Main Event Mafia? Because since he returned they haven't really mentioned him as being a member. 

Sting vs. Magnus

Sting vs Magnus is a match-up that could've been much more intriguing. Magnus held a large lead in the BFG Series only to suddenly start getting screwed every week until he ultimately lost. Lately, it seems TNA is teasing a heel turn for Magnus as he is starting to turn into a whiner. A real "woe is me" character. This match-up with Sting was kind of thrown together, and honestly seems somewhat random. Their was really wasn't much build-up to this match. Two and a half weeks ago, Sting claims he will put Magnus on the map after Magnus whines for weeks about losing all the time. Dixie Carter randomly tries to sabotage the Sting/Magnus match at Bound For glory for some reason... but fails. Then this past week, Magnus fights Bully Ray and loses and whines some more. This match just seems rushed, awkward, and forced... but if any two men can make this work... it's these two. 

An appearance by Ethan Carter III

TNA has done absolutely nothing to interest me in Ethan Carter III. The video packages seemed really low budget and second rate. Let's hope he makes a splash. 

Pre-show Gauntlet Match
Daniels & Kazarian vs. Joseph Park & Eric Young vs. Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez vs. Robbie E and Jessie Godderz

This Pre-Show Gauntlet match to decide who faces Gunner and James Storm for the tag team titles seems like it was just lazily thrown in for filler. It's interesting to see TNA now taking a page from WWE's playbook and having a pre-show to shore up last minute PPV buys. 

Official WWE Hell in a Cell 2013 Theme Song (Stone Temple Pilots feat. Chester Bennington "Out of Time")