Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A look back at SCW Unbroken

I had the pleasure of attending my third SCW show in Walcott, Iowa over the past weekend. Unbroken presented a different experience from previous SCW shows with a limited roster of regulars and a few guest stars out of the Kansas area. (Just enough for a car full, hmm.)

Mark Sterling does not look like that at all anymore.
The show opened with a ten bell salute for Dusty Rhodes, a fitting tribute for the American Dream, but also a little sad when you consider several other great classic stars passed in the six weeks between shows. But I suppose Dusty means more to a lot of folks than the likes of Buddy Landel.

Connor Braxton and Eli Machete, the SCW Tag Team champions, kicked off the show but tonight they were not at the Walcott Coliseum for a title match, but in solo action. Braxton kicked off the show as he took on Johnny Wisdom of The Sindicate.

Now Wisdom definitely plays a heel, but his comic chops are good enough to sell against just about anyone. He put on a crisp, hard-hitting battle with Braxton and not even interference by Steven Youngblood could help him score the victory.

Wisdom and Youngblood waylaid Braxton and Machete after the match, but this was only the start of another match on the card as Machete took on Youngblood. Eli sold an injured foot for the entire match (and the rest of the show) which allowed Youngblood to mount a lot of offense. Machete came back more than once to look like he would pick up a win, but Youngblood proved too much for him. The end of the match was harmed more than a little by John G not counting the three count at any level of normal speed, which leaves me to believe that Machete may actually have been hurt and the finish changed.

Adrian Alexander and Bodie Van Zandt came to the ring and laid a smackdown on Braxton and Machete again. They made it clear they were angling for the SCW Tag Team titles.

Match three was the visiting Jeff O'Shea, a super talented young high flyer out of Omaha, against the devious Black & the Brave turncoat Fabian. The announcers weirdly hyped Fabian's undefeated streak during the match—he won his first outing and last show ended in a double countout—which seemed a bit early for such talk. But while Jeff looked golden against the face-painted weirdo, the announce team telegraphed the finish as Fabian planted O'Shea for the finish.

Krotch versus Mark Sterling closed out the first half of the show. Sterling was here at the invite of The Sindicate's leader Mark Storm to take on the fan favorite Krotch. Sterling celebrates his crossfit training now, which earned him a few boos in the land where Seth Rollins is king, but he earned even more boos when he brutally assaulted Krotch. But while Krotch probably gave up a hundred pounds at least to Sterling, he's built far more on balls than brains. No matter what Sterling hit him with, he wouldn't stay down. Ultimately, he scored with a flash roll up to beat Sterling 1-2-3. But Sterling wasn't done there. He leveled Krotch to make sure he wouldn't be interfering in the main event.

After the intermission, Alexander and Van Zandt took to the ring again. They were making their tag team match debut against two stars new to SCW, the King Brothers. Jake and Brian King, two very big guys that regularly work for Metro Pro Wrestling out of Kansas City. They work a real rough and tumble style that didn't mesh quite as well as one might hope against the far smaller heel team. But both teams did get to show off a lot of talent. Alexander and Van Zandt hit an awesome double team move (an Eat Defeat / Facecrusher combo) to pick up the win. I checked in with the team on Twitter to learn the name of the move. Bodie answered  that it was called the Old Yeller "as we will be putting people down like dogs with it."

The only match with a title on the line hit the semi-main event spot as Bobbi Dahl defended his Quad Cities Cup against Biff Malibu. This was a true battle of the big men and the two guys had a lot of fun with it. In the wake of Friday's Supreme Court decision the effeminate Dahl got a lot of play out of his love for other men with far more fan support than usual. But the match came down to some hard hitting action for the last few minutes before Dahl planted Malibu for the pin.

The main event was the big showdown pitting The Sindicate's Tank Roberts and the SCW champion Nevin Knoxville against Shane Hollister and Marek Brave. With the explosive history between these two units, people were going to throw down hard. That's just what happened as the action spilled all over the Coliseum. The match was utterly brutal, but it would ultimately be shady tactics by The Sindicate that scored them the victory for the second month in a row.

SCW Commissioner Sean Morrow hit the floor after the screw job finish and made an ultimatum. Mark Storm would put complete control of the company on the line in a match at Red, White and Bruised or the entire rest of the roster would start a new promotion. Storm had no choice to set up the match for July 10th whether he liked it or not.

Overall, another great show from SCW. While I missed the advertised Latin Thunder and a few of the other stars from the last couple shows (Bucky Collins, Mallaki Matthews and J.J. Garrett were all missed), the show put on a very solid show with its regulars and four guest stars.

Sadly, their next show is scheduled directly against the Hall of Fame show in Waterloo on July 10th, so I am not sure I will make it to Red, White and Bruised. But if you're in the Eastern Iowa area and want to see some great action, go check them out. You will be glad you did.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Looking back: Shane Hollister vs. Silas Young

I will be back tomorrow with a review of the last SCW show, but for the time being, enjoy this classic match from AAW featuring SCW headliner Shane Hollister battling Ring of Honor star Silas Young.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Two promotions kick off a busy wrestling weekend in Eastern Iowa!

This looks like it will be a doozy of a weekend for professional wrestling in the eastern third of Iowa and I don't even have to count the TNA pay-per-view towards that.

SCW has some great posters.
On Saturday evening (June 27), SCW returns to Walcott with Unbroken, which should continue the Marek Brave and Shane Hollister versus The Sindicate storyline. The two men battle it out with SCW champion Nevin Knoxville and Tank Roberts.

Unbelievably that is the only announced match I could find on their social media feeds. They have announced appearances by 3XW and Metro Pro standout Mark Sterling and another Midwest independent star named Jeff O'Shea (who has worked St. Louis Anarchy among others.) SCW stalwarts Krotch and Latin Thunder have also been announced. I would assume the turncoat Black and the Brave students will be in attendance and would be surprised to not see the tag champions, Conner Braxton and Eli Machete (especially since they are on the poster.)

I will say the lack of information from SCW online does sometimes make it hard for me to promote the company to friends and coworkers, just as it makes this preview a bit hard. I can say that after two months of action though, the company does offer a good in-ring product to check out.

Another local independent out of Algona, Impact Pro Wrestling, will come to the Linn County Fair, just a few short miles from Cedar Rapids. They have a Sunday afternoon show scheduled to open around noon.

The main event will be an over the top rope battle royal, because what wrestling show at a fair doesn't feature a good battle royal?

The rest of the card is filled with a title match between Justin Decent and James Jeffries, Aaron Von Baron vs. Chad Strong, AJ Smooth vs. Ryan Slade, Latin Thunder (again!) battling Nicky Free and a mixed tag battle pitting UGLY and Miss Frankie Jay against Sparrow and Kiandra.

Hopefully I will make it out to that show as well for a full report of the action.

So if you're a fellow Iowan, go check out some great wrestling this weekend from two solid shows in the area.

Brock is Back!

So I just discovered the Total Divas TV show, luckily the wife is enjoying it too. I am going to be posting about it later when we've finished the first season. But I will say this: Eva Marie is a piece of garbage. She is the perfect example of all that I hate about people. I honestly can't believe they let her work there. I haven't even seen her wrestle yet but I doubt she can, she can't really do anything but start shit and bat her eyelashes. I feel bad for Fandango, who kept getting dragged into her shit in Season 1. Great show if you love to see a bit of what life is like backstage.

On Kevin Owens. . .

The John Cena, Kevin Owens feud continues, with Owens letting loose this week with a little bit of French, just to make the crowd boo him a little more. I was very impressed with John Cena's comeback, not only could he speak a little French, but he busted out some Chinese as well. Seeing John in Total Divas and comparing that to his in-ring performances and you can tell he is a born wrestler, he never shows as much emotion in front of the reality show cameras as he does in that ring.
Meanwhile, Kevin Owens talked about how, unlike Cena, he doesn't care what people think about him. Well Kevin, I call bullshit on that.

See, I remember what it was I said to him to get banned on Twitter. I sent him a tweet when I heard he was moving to the WWE roster, at that time I hadn't watched much NXT. I told Kevin something like: It's time to hit the gym, dude. Your moving to the big time now!

He obviously cares what people think, because he blocked me. I guess his tough guy, I don't care attitude is a facade, because clearly he can't take a little criticism online from a humble writer of books.

On a side note, apparently Hulk Hogan is a big fan of Kevin Owens. Here is the quote from Hogan, who I guess watches NXT.

Kevin actually reminds me of one of the older wrestlers of the late Seventies, some of those guys that didn't have the build, but they would scare you if you met them at a bar. What hooked me about him was that I was watching a match of his on NXT and I found myself disassociated with being in the moment, all of a sudden I started watching him and he made me believe again. I watched real close, and there were no holes in his boat - his punches, his kicks, everything he did looked like it was killing the guy, which it probably was. He caught me with my guard down and he made me a believer again, he hooked me. He's got that look, man; that demeanor and that swagger.

On Bray Wyatt, Roman Reigns

I am not a big fans of Roman being dragged away from the main event for the summer and forced into a silly stunt. I like Wyatt, although I disagree with him being a face, and I totally agree with my Wrestling Weekday partner in thinking the Wyatt Family should be reunited. Hell I'd love to see Reigns take them all on, but I don't think they need to go so far with the games and manipulation. Let the in-ring action sell the feud, not pre-taped promo bits. I hate the idea that a wrestler is just going to stop in the middle of a match and run out of the ring because of something on-screen, the guys have more respect for the game than that.

I personally never saw the Wyatt family in more than one or two matches, so I have no problem with them getting more exposure. Speaking of which, I was glad to see Adam Rose getting some air time. I cheer for the dirty pirate because I don't think many people do and I think he deserves to be there, far more than some other people on the roster.

The big news of the week is, of course, the return of Brock Lesnar. Nice to see Seth Rollins get laid out a couple times with some powerful suplexes. I respect Rollins, but creatively I don't see how far they can take him as champ of the Authority. I'd rather see Brock VS Kane or Seth vs Triple H, Seth and Brock can only end with Brock winning, or Seth doing what seems unlikely and impossible. Seth Rollins defeating Brock Lesnar would make Seth the smallest guy to do so. It took the whole gang to take him down on RAW, does this mean Brock just turned face?

This weekend I'll be checking out Smackdown and watching the Dusty Rhodes story, so I should have a post Monday about it. I'm excited to see NXT matches coming out of Japan, not sure when that is.

AND we got our tickets for the WWE show at the Ricoh Coliseum here in Toronto! Not sure if it is live or not, but we've got seats at the base of the stage, on the floor. First time ever seeing a live wrestling event!

Keep reading and keep body slamming!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Was Wednesday the day hell froze over on Impact Wrestling?

I planned today's article to be a preview of this weekend's King of the Mountain main event at Slammiversary. Instead, I find myself talking about the major moment that came on last night's live Impact. Then this happened.

The King of the Mountain is back to enter the King of the Mountain match for one last time.

Jeff Jarrett is no stranger to TNA Impact Wrestling. He founded the company alongside his father Jerry, only to help remove Jerry as he sold the majority share of the company to Panda Energy just months into TNA's history. He remained a minority owner of TNA even after his dismissal from the company's roster and backstage.

The segment of TNA last night served as a five minute commercial for Global Force Wrestling, but it also served to sell Slammiversary far more than anything else TNA has done in the last month. We have a reason now to be curious about the pay-per-view, even though it doesn’t really seem built around continuing the plots of most of TNA's storylines.

Via ImpactWrestling.com

The return of Jarrett opens up a whole bunch of questions for wresting fans and analysts. Will Jarrett stay with the program for longer than one match? Will this lead to a longer invasion angle? Is Jarrett going into the TNA Hall of Fame? Jeff Jarrett even called out his Global Force Wrestling partner Toby Keith to end his promo. He quoted one of Keith's most famous songs: “I ain't as good as I once was, but I'm as good once as I ever was.”

If this is truly meant to be Jeff Jarrett’s swan song to TNA and perhaps even active wrestling, he could do much worse than his signature TNA match. Who he will face in that match still is up in the air as I write this however. No other competitor has been announced, nor has it even been made clear if the World title will be on the line. But whatever the case, the Slammiversary main event now has a reason for fans to watch.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Latin Thunder tells his story as a pro wresting journeyman

I have always wondered as I have followed professional wrestling on the independent level for the last decade: why don’t more of the indie veterans write their biographies. With so many great biographies by WWE, TNA, WCW and classic stars out there, I cannot imagine autobiographies not being an easy supplement to an income built as much around t-shirt and merch sales as it is the in ring aspect of the business.

I am clearly not the only one with that thought. Local Iowa independent star Latin Thunder agreed. So he put his life and adventures into book form, appropriately titled Latin Thunder: My Journey Off the Top Rope.

Much respect to the Superman tattoo. 
In just under 250 pages, the Muscatine, Iowa native details his time as a wrestler from his days training with Skandar Akbar and Harley Race, to his days promoting small shows in his hometown and into his modern reinvention as Iowa’s premier luchador.

After over twenty years in the business, Latin Thunder delivers a strong history of the tribulations inherent with living the wrestling dream outside of national television. It is a hard road built around the reality of a day job, a growing family and a normal everyday life. But Thunder covers his path up and down the roller coaster of his time in the squared circle, never shying away from the ties he almost gives up on his journey.

As a part-time writer, I can certainly relate to those tribulations, as can any creative mind in pursuit of a dream.

The book is not without flaws. It could use a good pass from another editor and could be better formatted to fit the printed page. But while this leaves the interior not quite as pretty as it should be, the content shines through as you follow the compelling journey of Latin Thunder.

Pick up a copy of Latin Thunder: My Journey Off The Top Rope now at Amazon. Fans can see Latin Thunder in actin for Impact Pro Wrestling, Scot County Wrestling and at the upcoming Waterloo Hall of Fame show, as he teams with U-Gene Dinsmore against Jake Dirden(!) and Nate Redwing.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's time for the Wyatt Family

Note: this was written as news came out that Erick Rowan may be injured. If he is, we wish him well in his recovery.

One of the biggest mistakes WWE ever made was the break up of the Wyatt Family. While Bray Wyatt's continued push might come at the expense of Luke Harper and Erick Rowan to some degree, none of the characters were ever firmly established enough to be out on their own.

Luke Harper received a short Intercontinental title reign. Erick Rowan got a weird obsession with Renee Young and a short face run mostly against his old partner. Bray Wyatt bounced between feuds with little or no purpose as to why he sought to break his current foe.

While Harper and Rowan have reunited, their purpose remains unclear. Meanwhile Bray Wyatt has moved into a new feud with Roman Reigns, another ill conceived notion that just pushes more fans to cheer for The New Face of Fear. None are reaching their full potential on current WWE programming.

The fix seems easy: reunite the group. And this time, make them all faces.

Let's be honest, people want to cheer for Bray Wyatt. He may be creepy. He may be a creepy cult leader. But he also has an honest rapport with fans. Harper and Rowan have the same creepy vibe, but could easily turn face with just the right set of opponents.

The New Day could be the perfect foils for such a turn. Put Harper and Rowan into handicap situations with the newly heelish group. Have them be beat down by Big E's superior strength. And have their savior be none other than their former mentor, Bray Wyatt.

Harper and Rowan should have a run as tag team champions, while Wyatt could serve as their manager and third man. He could continue to cut the same creepy programs, but just as fans grew to love Mankind's insanity as a face, his creepiness would become a positive asset. No longer would the cheers for The Eater of Worlds be off-putting. He would be far from the last character to keep his heel shtick while working as a television hero.

Let them go that way for a year or so. Wyatt could run through a promo or two while his allies would face off against the likes of The Ascension or a turned Usos. Then let Bray Wyatt pull the rug out from under all of them. Have him suddenly side with a new pupil and use that man (or woman) to help destroy Luke Harper and Erick Rowan in a short feud.

After months as the top tag team, Harper and Rowan would whether the storm and remain strong faces. And Bray Wyatt could cement his place as an evil ringleader out to corrupt everyone around him. He could use that corrupting influence to finally propel himself to the top as WWE champion. And Wyatt could be a force so evil, that perhaps the entire WWE would be forced to face him--and his people--down.

The skies the limit for all three members of the Wyatt Family. It's just up to WWE to make that future happen.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Learning to Love the Beast. . .

I have a confession to make. When he first joined the WWE, I hated Brock Lesnar.

I don't usually dig on guys with that much muscle. They tend to be stiff in the ring and limited in their abilities. Brock though was different, he was agile and fast, but he was so young and inexperienced that he just seemed like a big, spoiled baby.

So I stopped watching wrestling, mainly because I lived on my own in a over-priced apartment and I couldn't afford the cable channels that showed wrestling shows and the internet was not quite as easy for me to navigate.

Then Brock left, going off to join the UFC, which I had been watching. I was skeptical, because most guys that big can't fight, unless they've been born into it. Brock seemed like a bully, not a champion.

Brock had a lot of power, and he wasn't afraid to try new things, that shooting star press off the top rope, even though he completely botched it, was a brave attempt and showed that he could, with a little work, be a complete wrestler. Match after match, fight after fight, Brock Lesnar started to impress me.

By the time he was set to meet Cain Velasquez, I was willing to give him a second chance. He'd earned his way to the top of the UFC and even though he'd made a few dumb mistakes, he proved that he could fight and even more impressive, that he could think.

By the time he had lost to Velasquez, Brock had proven himself a champion. I remember feeling pity for him at the end of that fight, he seemed to so broken and disheartened. Cain beat him in a straight fight, no controversy, just a good clean brawl and when it was over, Brock was a different man. He looked like a child who just lost a dog that day, and from there I began to see him in a different light. He was no longer a young man, and neither was I.

When he returned to the WWE, he became something else. No longer was he just a powerhouse kid for the old-timers to overcome. Now he was a man and it was time to do the work. Now his personality and skills were honed to a fine point, one which the WWE used to maximum potential. Brock Lesnar has become one of the most dominant wrestlers of all time.

Now, when I hear Brock Lesnar's music go off, I recognize it as a symbol of strength and dominance. Now that Brock is no longer the young gun, he is even more dangerous. The WWE have done a fantastic job as portraying his as unstoppable, which he pretty much is.

There is a whole new generation of WWE superstars in the top spots right now. Dean Ambrose, the crazy guy, Seth Rollins, the slimy architect, Roman Reigns, the big badass, Kevin Owens, the loud-mouth heel, etc. None of these guys has the sheer presence and power of Brock Lesnar.

When Brock steps into the ring, it means Big Daddy Brock is home and as good as the kids are, they can't beat the Beast. Every time I see him, I get a rush, the way people used to when Stone Cold stepped into the ring. I know when Brock is in the house, things are going to get dangerous.

It's going to be interesting to see who can stand up to Brock next. I am not sure Seth Rollins has what it takes. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

This Sunday, Daniel Puder returns to the wrestling ring!

Of all the failed Tough Enough winners, Daniel Puder will always go down in history as the great "What if?" His big win on WWE television seemed to set him up to become a major star for WWE, but his run in OVW came to an end before he could have a proper call up. He moved to Ring of Honor for what was supposed to be a grand program, but financial issues derailed his career path there as well. His MMA career never took off, but Puder managed to make a decent living in the last decade anyway.

Puder has been running his non-profit My Life My Power for over a year now. The group is focused on positive anti-bullying techniques. But on June 21st they will also put on their first wrestling card in Pasadena, Texas.

The event is solely for charity and features a ton of local Texas talent on the undercard. Matt Cross is the only name star in attendance. His presence is a nice nod to a more recent version of Tough Enough. Davey Richards and Angelina Love are also on the event poster, but neither has an announced match as of this time.

But the main event is the big story as Daniel Puder comes out of wrestling retirement for the first time in five years. Puder will team with independent wrestling Major Mark to take on the nefarious team of Alex Chamberlain and former TNA talent Jessy Sorenson. Puder's positive message and Major Mark's specific brand of pro-American heroism will pit itself against two hungry stars more than willing to break the rules for their future.

The show runs four to seven local time on Sunday night. Tickets are available at the My Life My Power Entertainment site. If anyone in the area checks the event out, be sure to let us know more about it in the comments!

A word from your humble blogger: my new book is available

The Wrestling Weekday exists so as to separate my super powered fiction novels from my wrestling fandom. But that doesn't mean they will always stay separated. I share posts from other sites on my website on occasion. When I have a new book, I will also bring that news here.

Lightweight: Black Death is the second book in my ongoing saga of Kevin Mathis, the young hero known as Lightweight. Following the events of Lightweight: Senior Year, he is now embroiled in a war between two forces out to use him. But as Lightweight seeks answers, the threat grows exponentially. In the end, it will be a matter of survival for Kevin, Howl and his allies as Lightweight crashes toward an ultimate confrontation with the monstrous Black Death.

The book is now available at Amazon in print and Kindle format.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

It's time for Stardust

Dusty Rhodes' loss was a shocking blow to wrestling fans around the world last week. Few personalities are as engrained in the history of the sport as he was. Over four decades, he main evented, scripted, trained and held pretty much every backstage job imaginable in the squared circle.

He also gave the world two more great wrestlers in the forms of his sons Dustin and Cody. Dustin spent decades in the business working both as Dustin Rhodes and Goldust. He cemented a legacy of his own right with his great in-ring presence and unique style beneath his gold paint. But he also is an aging figure in a young man's business. At forty-six, he probably wrestled his last match back in February against his own brother at Fastlane. Now he's following in his father's footsteps as a trainer at the WWE Performance Center, a position that will do him well over the next several years or even decades.

That leaves only one man to carry on the legacy of Dusty Rhodes in WWE and it is a man that has been long deserving of a stronger place on the main roster.

With his new cape, he should also go after the DNA of any future X-Men film franchise guest star.
Cody Rhodes came into WWE as a young brash upstart and almost immediately became a tag team specialist alongside folks like Hardcore Holly, Ted DiBiase, Drew McIntyre and his brother. But Cody has also bounced up and down the card endlessly in that time. He flirted with the main event a few times in his career, but every push to the top always seemed to derail before he could main event a pay-per-view.

Back in mid-2014, he debuted his current look, that of Stardust. A more cosmically weird version of Goldust, Stardust quickly took the tag team division by storm alongside his brother, but over the months under the makeup, he grew more and more strange. Eventually he turned on his brother and his father with a newer crazier attitude, all the time hating the name Cody Rhodes.

Since Goldust left the company, he has mostly floundered on the undercard with little or no direction. Now it seems the perfect time to end that.

The advantage of a character as weird as Stardust is he needs very little motivation to enter a feud. His own craziness can turn the smallest slight into a major war in his mind. He could easily enter battles with anyone on the roster at a drop of a hat.

But I think the best way for him to come back is to acknowledge his father's passing. Let him embrace his family legacy alongside his own perceptions of reality. In doing so, he could free himself to truly live up to the Stardust personality. He could take his own odd streak somewhere Goldust never quite achieved: into a main event match.

We all know that Cody has all the talent in the world. He's show his fire with The Legacy, as the mustachioed Dashing One and now as Stardust. It's time for WWE to give him a chance to do it on a bigger stage than ever before.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Dan Gable Wrestling Museum events set for July!

One of the highlights of being an Iowa wrestling fan is the annual induction ceremonies at the Dan Gable Wrestling Museum and George Tragos/Lou Thesz Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame. Every summer a new class comes into the Hall of Fame and every year it comes with some great fun for wrestling fans both new and old.

This year the show actually starts on Thursday night instead of the usual Friday with a reception for the folks that splurged on the all access pass and the inductees. It is a chance to get up close and personal with inductees, see a new Rob Schamberger painting unveiled and hear a new audio tour voiced by Jim Ross.

The next day starts with an open tour for pass holders, a wrestling evaluation put on by IPW with Jim Ross and Gerald Brisco in attendance and a reception for Kurt Angle's arrival. (Angle famously missed the event during his induction a couple years back.)

Friday is capped off with an Impact Pro Wrestling event (an Iowa based promotion) that features some interesting guests. Here's the list of announced matches:
  • In a very interesting and first time ever main event, Colt Cabana returns to the Hall of Fame show to take on former WWE star Bob Holly.
  • New Hall of Famer B. Brian Blair joins forces with James Jeffries and UGLY to take on Aaron Von Baron and the IPW Tag Team Champions Matty Star and Sparrow.
  • With his dad in attendance, former Aces & Eights member Wes Brisco takes on local favorite AJ Smooth in the Third Annual Legends Lumberjack match.
  • Plus the sixth annual Legends Battle Royal takes place which always features a surprise or two. 
Saturday is all about the induction ceremony. With a ton of events leading up to it, including a Brisco Brothers retrospective, a banquet and a meet-and-greet. That all leads up to the induction of B. Brian Blair, Wade Keller, Beth Phoenix, famed MMA coach Matt Lindland, the late Jim Londos and Midwest legend Greg "The Great Wojo" Wojciechowski. Plus Kurt Angle will finally get to personally accept his own induction with a speech.

The weekend seems to be shaping up to be a great one. If you're in the Iowa area the weekend of July 9th through the 11th, go check it out.

All access passes are available for $100 by contacting the National Wrestling Hall of Fame Dan Gable Museum at (319) 233-0745 or dgmstaff@nwhof.org.

Money in the Bank: Shocking or Boring?

So the Money in the Bank pay-per-view is over and almost every match had an unexpected ending. Not all of them were happy endings either. In fact, depending on your point of view, none of the matches had a happy ending.

The MITB match was first, pitting Dolph Ziggler, Neville, Randy Orton, Kofi Kingston,Sheamus, Roman Reigns and Kane against one another. Yes, it was a seven man ladder match, which meant a lot of time was spent laying on the mat outside the ring. The pacing of the match was changed from the traditional "beat each other and get the ladder later", in this match the ladder stayed up in the ring for a long time. In fact the ladder only went down when someone needed some room to do a big power move.

All in all, it was a decent match. Personally I feel like Randy Orton has been phoning in his matches recently. Other than hitting Neville with an RKO off the ladder, he really didn't do much in this match. In fact I don't even think Orton needed to be in this match, it would have played out better without him. With New Day coming out to help Kofi later in the match, there was a total of ten guys who made an appearance in the ring for this match.

I can't make sense of why the WWE would give the briefcase to Sheamus. There is no combination of matches this can create that I would be interested in. Sheamus is a mid-card heel and that's all I can picture him as. He's one of the wrestlers that appeared when I wasn't watching wresting and he has yet to impress me. Now I know everyone has an opinion, every wrestling fan with a blog site thinks he can book better matches. But I am a writer, storytelling are my life, so I am going to give my EXPERT opinion on which wrestlers would have provided the best story lines from their MITB:
#7- Sheamus. Worst possible choice.
#6- Neville. Would  have been a waste of a contract since he's already challenged three different champions already.
#5- Dolph Ziggler. Rusev is gone, the Lana thing is bogus and I am not even sure if he is a heel or face. Ziggler's a floater and will continue to float around until he finds someone to elevate him, either as a partner or an opponent.
#4- Randy Orton. At least he'd use it wisely. Personally I've never seen Randy with the briefcase so for me, this guy is fourth.
#3- Kane. Kane's always dangerous, I can't knock the guy. Having him win would have given him a great tool to manipulate and infuriate Seth Rollins.
#2 - Kofi Kingston, Had Kofi won, we could have seen New Day against the Authority and Kofi would finally get a MITB victory. Too bad MITB was not a good night for the New Day.
#1 - Roman Reigns. He's perpetually getting screwed. But his victory would have been like a sword of Damocles hanging over whoever wears the belt. Instead, we got a set-up for a pay-per-view match between Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns. I like Wyatt, I like the idea of a feud with Reigns, just not like this.

My guess is that Sheamus is going to join the ranks of such illustrious failures as Mr. Kennedy and Jack Swagger as men who have failed to cash in the contract for a victory and title win. I really hope Roman Reigns absolutely destroys Bray Wyatt for this.

Nikki Bella VS Paige: This was actually one of my favorite matches of the night. I don't know why Paige keeps complaining and talking about change but then going right back into the match and doin the same old thing. I think Nikki is right, Paige just isn't good enough. She did manage to score a victory here, briefly, until the ref realized the Bellas had pulled a switch with the old Twin Magic routine. I actually thought that meant Nikki lost her title to Paige, but when Nikki returned to the ring, the ref continued the match as if nothing had happened (even though there was a third party in the ring who clearly interferred). Nikki Bella scored the victory. Which is great, because the Bellas rock.
(Yeah I watch Total Divas, so?)

Ryback Vs Big Show: Ryback's strong. That's about all I got from this match. Both men did their thing and if this was 1992, it would have been an epic match. But this is 2015 and watching two big moose push each other around a pen just isn't that interesting. Ryback tried to put a few holds on Big Show and actually wrestle a bit but both men were either sloppy or uncoordinated, I am not sure which of them is to blame but a lot of the moves looked poor. Throwing Miz in between these two guys makes no sense, unless they simply swapped Miz for Daniel Bryan and continued the same storyline.  . Ryback maintained the Intercontinental Championship anyway.

Cheers to the WWE for the fantastic tribute to Dusty Rhodes. My wife and I had a disagreement about whether or not Stardust and Goldust should have wrestled. She said they should be with their families, but I disagree. Dusty's life was wrestling, his friends and family were wrestlers, his children should have wrestled a match as a tribute to him. I have no yet seen RAW but I hope Stardust at least gets a chance to shine, it would be great to see crazy Cody come off the top rope with a "bionic elbow".

John Cena VS Kevin Owens: Owens is so good in-ring, he's helped John Cena push his game up to the next level. This match was everything a major sports entertainment show is supposed to be. The heel KO kept the fans interested and by stealing Cena's three move combo, he forced Cena to come back with something original. There were a few incidents where they missed their mark or didn't sell the move, but that is to be expected in a live event match of this caliber. Unlike the previous matches in this pay-per-view, this match actually had a legit ending in the ring. I actually thought Owens might turn face after he shook Cena's hand, but I was wrong. Turns out KO the heel is here to stay. As I mentioned in a previous post, as tough as Owens is, Brock Lesnar is back and I really believe that when they meet, the chant "Fight Owens Fight" is going to be changed to "Please Don't Die."
Owens really needs to return the NXT title though. If these two face each other again at Battleground, its going to get ugly.

New Day VS Prime Time Players: I kind of knew that they were going to push Titus and so it was not much of a surprise that New Day lost. It's great we got new champs, but Titus really needs to work on his in-ring performance. He's the same size as Roman Reigns but has none of the same energy and impact. Throwing guys is not wresting (well, unless its off the ropes or out of the ring I guess. . )

Seth Rollins VS Dean Ambrose: So far, every Seth Rollins match has been a great match. This was no exception. It went on for over a half hour and when it was over, Seth had just barely managed to hold onto the belt and score the victory. Dean Ambrose lost primarily because he was too cr/lazy to go up the opposite side of the ladder. Instead, both men went up the same side, took hold of the belt and fell on their heads. In the end, Rollins won and Ambrose cried. Definitely a good match but it is disappointing that Ambrose's title run is over now. Or is it? We shall see.

"Listen, forget all this. Clear your mind. This is what you wanted, right? To stand on your own two feet. So show them. Show them. Show them why I chose you. Show them that you are not the future, that you are the man. Show them who you are. Show them you are Seth Rollins, the World Heavyweight Champion. SHOW THEM!"  - Triple H

Can't wait for Monday Night Raw, to see where the WWE is headed this summer. It was a surprising pay-per-view that was well crafted but somewhat disjointed due to all the shady victories and heroic defeats. Maybe the WWE bookers are taking inspiration from that Games of Thrones show?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

That weekend I ran into Paige and Rob Schamberger

Apologies to regular readers of The Wrestling Weekday, as we went quiet for Monday. Yours truly spent all of the weekend at Wizard World Des Moines. And while I didn't get to watch any wrestling action (I even missed Money in the Bank, for shame), I did get to see a couple wrestlers take the stage in two panels within twenty-four hours.

First up was Rob Schamberger on Friday night. For those folks not in the know, Rob is the guy behind all those amazing WWE (and wrestling in general) paintings all over the internet. He officially works for WWE producing many of them. The current WWE Auctions site is built around his originals. Rob covered a lot of territory about why he creates art, how he got into drawing figures of professional wrestling and his strange journey into WWE employment.

He also painted a Paige original piece (part of his Champions series) during the show which was fun to watch take shape as I walked by a few times over the three days.

Via Rob Schamberger on Twitter.

As seen in the picture above, Paige also made her appearance the next day at the show. She appeared in a panel on Saturday afternoon, packed to the gills with a few too many smitten fans. But it was a lot of fun to hear some of her insights into wrestling. Paige is madly in love with wrestling and it shows in everything she says. Unfortunately the panel only ran about thirty minutes so it wasn’t too in depth, but it proved very interesting to hear her thoughts on WWE, the Divas division and the likelihood of #GiveDivasAChance really making a major momentum shift in WWE. She definitely implied certain individuals in the current main roster regime do not want to see it happen. Take that to mean Kevin Dunn, Vince or whoever you would like, but we can all just hope it will change over the coming months.

I ended my wrestling parts of the weekend by picking up a print you will probably see referenced a bit on this site, just because I consider it so freaking awesome. Ladies and gentlemen, Finn Balor.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dust to Dust. . .

My morning started with the death of Christopher Lee, and it ended with the death of the American Dream, Dusty Rhodes.

I never was a fan of Dusty Rhodes, for mainly the same reasons the WWF never used him; he looked old, tired and out of shape. His Southern drawl, especially to a Canadian, was weird and annoying. In fact for many years, I used to get him confused with Adrian Adonis. But I learned as the years went by how much he contributed to wrestling, how many young stars he helped put over, how much knowledge he had about The Game. Dusty was a legendary wrestler, even if he wasn't "my type" of guy, or Vince McMahon's.

What I DO know is that Dusty's two sons, who wrestle under the names Golddust and Stardust, would not exist if not for the American Dream. Their gimmicks are certainly inspired by their father and I am sure he gave them a ton of direction over the years. In fact it was that match that got me interested in wrestling again; Fastlane 2015 was all new wrestlers and the Rhodes family were the only ones I recognized and I am glad that we got to see that battle between the Rhodes brothers with old Dusty on screen, one last time.

Now, watching his victory over the Honky Tonk Man at Meadowlands Arena back at Summerslam 1989, jiggling and dancing with a big smile on his face, I can see what a huge influence he was on that generation. Much like Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens, Dusty inspired people who might not ever think they weren't good looking enough or had the right physique to be a wrestler. Dusty had fun and he loved wrestling more than just about anyone. For that, I will salute and respect him and I wish I'd been a little more open-minded when I was child because I know now that men like Dusty Rhodes are far more inspirational than men like Hulk Hogan.

You can see Dusty in his polka dots face the Honky Tonk Man at the link below.


In tribute to Dusty, I am posting a couple of my favorite Goldust matches. Hopefully one day his youngest son, Cody Rhodes, AKA Stardust, will reach the same level of fame and success his father enjoyed.

Cheers to you, Dusty, and thank you.

A classic: 

Interesting side note: The term "Dusty Finish", which is mentioned in my blog partners post below, was just used to set up the current battle between Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
The Dusty Finish is the nickname for a match ending where one man was named the winner, only to have the victory overturned on some small technicality (such as a second referee entering the match).

Thursday, June 11, 2015

The death of a Dream

I started the day lamenting the death of Christopher Lee at the age of 93. An amazing acting talent that stayed relevant to the very end, Lee improved both The Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Star Wars prequels with his presence. But despite the sadness of his loss, he was a man in his nineties. He lived a good long life and did many amazing things.

Then this popped into my feed.

Just a few months short of his seventieth birthday “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes is gone.

I didn't grow up with Dusty the way a lot of fans my age did. I was a northern guy in the 80s, entrenched in the celebrity superstars of WWF. NWA/WCW were the other guys, a pale comparison without the awesome production values and larger than life characters of WWF. But I was also missing a creative renaissance brought on by the mastermind of the promotion through much of that period, Dusty.

Dusty didn’t really fit the 80s WWF mold at all. He was overweight, dressed like a cowboy and spoke with a lisp. His talent in the ring or on the mike were never enough to make him ready for their cult of personality. But they made him perfect for the higher workrate, more grounded storytelling of the Southern brand. While I was watching Hogan perform four moves a match, Rhodes put on amazing matches against Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Harley Race and hundreds of others. Meanwhile, he booked the late 80s Jim Crockett Promotions with an eye for great storytelling (albeit sometimes marred by his favorite non-finishes that were used so often as to become called Dusty finishes).

Perhaps his finest moment as a booker came in the wake of the tragedy that cost Magnum T.A. his career. With months of stories thrown out the window by the injury, Dusty took Magnum’s arch nemesis, the evil Russian Nikita Koloff, and turned him face. With the softening Russian-US relations, fans accepted Koloff instantly and his team with Dusty against the Four Horsemen would be big bank for the NWA.

Of course much can be written about Dusty’s pathetic early 90s run in WWF or his less than stellar WCW commentary years later, but Dusty did so many great things, those things are barely worth mentioning. Instead, we can remember him for all his great work, personified no better than in his most famous promo.

While Dusty did have his share of “Hard Times” in professional wrestling, he also did so much to innovate and evolve it. His legacy will be felt for decades to come. And while he is gone, the Rhodes name will live on for many more years through the careers of Goldust and Stardust.

Dusty, you will be missed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Seth Rollins and Paige take Des Moines!

Iowan wrestling fans like myself don't get tons of chances to see WWE superstars. The roster makes maybe a half dozen stops anywhere in the state on any given year, so having any chance to actually meet the stars is rare.

With the advent of Des Moines first Wizard World convention that changes.

Despite a busy Sunday being planned for both stars, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins and Divas Championship #1 Contender Paige will both be in Des Moines for the convention. Seth Rollins makes his appearance on Friday from 5:30 to 8. Paige will come on Saturday, with her appearance starting at noon.

So, fellow Iowans stop in for a chance to see two great talents before they both have major matches this Sunday at Money in the Bank.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Do you want a documentary on Chyna?

It appears Chyna has now made (or will soon make) her return to the United States after a few years abroad in Japan. With her careers as a reality TV star and an adult film actress seemingly behind her, she is apparently ready for her next move into the public spotlight: as the star of a new documentary.

The documentary The Reconstruction of Chyna is now funding on Kickstarter. The documentary will cover her return to the states as she gets back in touch with old friends and compatriots. It indicates a bit of a learning experience as she tries to move past the bad press and into a brighter future. Of course with Joanie Laurer’s past, who the hell knows what that means.

Although she is probably a few years past the point where she could truly make a full-time in ring return, Chyna remains an aloof and interesting figure in the history of professional wrestling. And while she was never the most skilled mat tactician, she still carries a great present (as shown in her one match return in TNA.)

Ultimately, I suspect it is a good thing for her to try to get back into public view in a more public light after the online mess after the Stone Cold interview with Triple H. And perhaps with the rise of Global Force Wrestling and Lucha Underground’s lack of fear in promoting intergender matches, she could still find a few more years in the ring.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Kushida is the Best Super Junior of 2015!

Kushida (sometimes romanticized KUSHIDA) is one of the best light heavyweight wrestlers in the world today. Trained by Tajiri as the breakout star of the now defunct SMASH promotion, he moved on to New Japan Pro Wrestling a few years back. Since that time he has most famously been the tag partner of Alex Shelley in the always amazing Time Splitters. He even gets to rock an awesome Marty McFly jacket every now and then.

For the last couple weeks, he has participated in the always great Best of the Super Juniors tournament put on by NJPW every year. He performed amazingly well in his Block, topping the chart and moving on to the finals against an American independent stalwart Kyle O'Reilly. The result was the biggest match of both young wrestler's career as they main evented a New Japan card.

Check out the awesome action and see why Kushida deserves more attention both in Japan and internationally.

Best of the Super Jr. Final: KUSHIDA vs Kyle O'Reilly by purocentral
For his win, Kushida earns a title shot against Kenny Omega on July 5th at the next major Dominion show. Expect another epic encounter that night as Kushida finally takes his place as a major juniors star in NJPW.

Friday, June 5, 2015

The Rise of Kevin Owens and the Future of the WWE

Maybe you didn't hear, but last Sunday at Elimination Chamber, a meteor named Kevin Owens hit the WWE. There are probably thousands of websites gushing over the amazing first WWE match of the biggest heel to hit the WWE since Brock Lesnar.

I recently watched the debut match of a young John Cena against Kurt Angle, who had challenged anyone in the locker room to come out and face him, following his stunning submission defeat of Hulk Hogan. Cena, without his trademark (ugly) colors, came out of nowhere and almost scored a victory over Angle. Almost, but not quite. Kurt gave the kid a chance, but he didn't put him over.
KO's rise to fame is much different than the route John Cena took and Owens is the current NXT champion. My guess is that this victory over Cena cements Owens as a WWE superstar, which will make it easier for them to bring Samoa Joe up to face him after the Cena feud finishes. Cena may be following the Triple H formula for putting guys over: Three matches, two losses followed by a huge victory. Whether you love him or hate him, you got to give Cena credit for giving Owens a shot. Lately Cena has been doing a great job putting over the new guys, something that a lot of legends refused to do back in the 90's. I've always said the worst thing Bret Hart did was let his ego interfere with his position as a leader. Bret Hart, although one of my favorite wrestlers, never gave back to the industry that made him by helping develop new talent.

Right now we have not one but TWO amazing Canadian performers ready for the prime time.

I am curious what they are going to do with the NXT title, however, I really don't think it belongs on a WWE program. Having the wrestlers cross over once in a while is okay, but the titles need to be distinct.

The only down side to the Owens/Cena feud is that it has devalued the US title, after Cena worked so hard to give it back some prestige. It's hard to claim "the champ is here" when the crowd is chanting "you got beat!"

The top rope reversal was one of the best moves of the night. Cheers to my fellow Canadian for finally reaching the top. Fight Owens Fight!

Interesting note from my wife: One of the announcers mentioned Owens physique but they changed directions when he pulled off a big move. My wife says "NO! What we they going to say about his physique??" She is no fan of Kevin Owens.

Elimination Chamber Results:

For the record, this review only features the main event matches. I only watch the pre-show if there is time. I tend to ignore them. In this case, I heard there was a Stardust match so I will probably watch the pre-show this weekend. Yes, I watch a lot of wrestling out of sequence. As a writer, I can easily jump into story lines at any given point and no keep continuity. :)

Divas Triple Threat Match

I'm a big fan of the Bella Twins and I was glad to see Nikki retain her belt. No one in this match really stood out; I keep hearing that Paige is a great wrestler but I've yet to see it. Fact is, Nikki deserves that title because no one else in the division is good enough. Until they bring Becky Lynch in from NXT, I don't see the division getting better any time soon. We just need more solid matches, not more gimmick matches. Apparently Paige and Nikki faced each other on Raw, but I haven't gotten a chance to watch it yet.

Neville VS Bow Dallas

These two had a match? I don't remember it, although I do have a mild memory of hearing that whiny Bo Dallas. . . I know Bo is talented and young and could one day become a major player, but all I see when I look at him is a future washed up Comicon guest. . . .

Intercontinental Title Match

The best part of the match was Rusev's tweet.

Little broken foot..... big deal. Stupid American doctors won't let me compete. In my country I put dug tape n fight.

Yes, in Bulgaria they call it dug tape.

So Mark Henry gets his spot. Mark, the mark. Listen, I really want to support black wrestlers, I'd love to see a great black champion, but so many of them are so bad. Shit, Henry isn't even the world's strongest man anymore, that big dude from Game of Thrones is. It was a waste of opportunity. (Had I watched the pre-show, I'd have known Stardust had already wrestled and I wouldn't have been expecting him in the chamber. Do you know how disappointing it is to want Stardust and get Sexual Chocolate??)

I honestly didn't care whether any of these guys one. So Ryback won, but what is he going to do with that title? Unless they get Bray Wyatt after him again, there really isn't anyone in the division who hasn't already gotten beat. The only interesting idea I can come up with is Ryback vs the Wyatt Family.

WWE Tag Team Championship Match

Unfortunately the part I was looking forward to the most, the men squished in the cells, wasn't that interesting. Apparently there is a lot of room in there.

Always glad to see the Prime Time Players get some camera time, but Darren Young did most of the work, Titus just tossed guys around. Like Roman Reigns, Titus has a lot of power but he needs to work on his traditional ring moves; I want to see a suplex or submission move once in a while.

New Day won and I am sort of coming around to them. They are just so annoying that you can't help but cheer for whoever puts them down. Hopefully Titus and Darren can sharpen their skills enough to take and hold the championship.

I don't know what the hell the Lucha Dragons were doing in this match. Mainly hanging out on top of the chambers for no apparent reason at all. Climbing out to the middle and dropping down probably sounded like a good idea backstage but it fell apart in-ring.

Seth Rollins vs Dean Ambrose, WWE Title Match

Seth Rollins continues to show what an amazing athlete he is. These two men have completely different styles and yet they work so well together that you can tell they know each other very well. Seth is the new version of the Heart Break Kid; not everyone will like him but you have to respect his in-ring talent.
Personally, I prefer Ambrose's mic work over his ring work, I find his in-ring style a little rough, but he certainly knows how to entertain.

Ambrose is champion. I heard them announce it and he has the belt so I am just going to pretend they didn't change the call and Seth didn't retain the title. I don't think Seth will hold his belt again until Money in the Bank anyway.

I try not to read too many wrestling rumors, that kind of stuff ruins the show for me, but I heard that Owens was going to be working with the Authority. This would be a huge mistake. Owens needs to be against everyone, especially Triple H. There are enough flunkies to choose from without making Owens another lap dog for "Mom and Dad".

Another great pay-per-view, although that six man IC title match bored me to sleep. . . If Wrestlemania was a 9, this was a 6 out of 10.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Finn Balor takes Japan... and the NXT title?

As announced on this week's NXT, WWE's house show from Japan on July 4th will now be a live broadcast on the WWE Network. Not only will it feature Brock Lesnar's return to in ring action as he stomps the daylights out of Kofi Kingston, but it will also feature a Divas and Tag Team title match (one assumes under Freebird rules so Kofi doesn't pull double duty.) Even Chris Jericho is in on the action as he takes on Neville.


But the big news is that Finn Balor finally gets his epic rematch with Kevin Owens for the NXT title. With Owens making the early move to the main roster and taking names in the process, now seems to be the time for him to lose the NXT title in a big way. Finn made his name in Japan as Prince Devitt where his current demonic alter ego was first designed as creepy cosplays of Carnage, Hannibal and the Joker. One should suspect to see him in his full Eye of Balor regalia as he seeks to unseat Owens.

John Cena will also be in tag team action that night, but hopefully this will not lead to some kind of shenanigans with Cena involving himself in the match. Instead, I would love to see Balor take a big victory that can propel him to the top of NXT before he too makes the transition to the main roster.

In case you're wondering how good Finn was in his pre-WWE Japanese days, here is a match from 2012, where the then-Prince Devitt took on Dragon Gate's PAC, just months before he became Neville. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

It's time for Renee Young

One of my biggest complaints with WWE's current product is the weakness of the announcing and color commentating on RAW. Michael Cole's inability to trumpet anything other than what the production truck tells him (and using the word Vintage a lot). Jerry Lawler's tired pro-babyface no matter what style. Booker T's gibberish that makes little sense. JBL's drumming the same point over and over again. And Lawler again with his need to make every women's match into a degrading exercise that will never get them anywhere.

Yet WWE has a strong set of up-and-coming commentators they seem unwilling to pull the trigger on. Byron Saxton finally got moved on to Smackdown in recent months, but the disastrous post-Wrestlemania use of him seemed to fly in the face of his abilities. He isn't a play-by-play guy. He's a color commentator.

But WWE still has folks like Kyle Edwards, Rich Brennan and Corey Graves at the ready. Oh, and poor Todd Phillips. But there's one name above the rest that is very very ready to fulfill either role at the announce table. And it is none other than the regular kickoff host herself.

She certainly dresses better than King.

Renee Young has spent the last two years paying her dues on WWE television. She started as a backstage interviewer, moved on to show just how good she knows the business with a stellar run on NXT play-by-play before settling into her current place as Kickoff panel host. But anyone that has seen her announce or color commentate knows she is ready for a lot more than just gauging three other superstar’s opinions. Renee is more than ready to start calling matches on the main roster.

Unfortunately her work with the Kickoff material often cuts into her ability to announce on Superstars and Main Event, but that could easily be solved with the promotion of currently play-by-play guy on both shows—Rich Brenan—to the Kickoff position. Renee could easily show her chops there, but the true test for her is simple.

In my opinion, she is ready to replace Michael Cole on Smackdown at any time.

Now will any of this happen? Who knows. However with reports of ESPN, Fox Sports and others highly interested in bringing her in, WWE would be wise to give her a promotion and sign her to a new contract.

Do you agree that Renee Young should be on Smackdown? Go let your voice be heard Thursday night on Twitter or Facebook.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Kevin Owens makes a statement (or WWE can make good booking choices)

I can't always praise WWE for its booking decisions. Often they derail wrestlers for the benefit of long time stars, overpush figures only they see as superstars and ignore writing any kind of stories for the undercard at all. But when WWE is on point, they are so on point.

Owens stands defiant. Image © WWE.

Kevin Owens just signed with WWE last August and made his NXT debut last December, but in the six months since he first debuted, he has been dominant. He destroyed Sami Zayn. He destroyed Neville. He destroyed Alex Riley. Owens is a force to be reckoned with, a man that hotshoted his way to the NXT title in just two months. As Corey Graves often states on NXT commentary, you haven't seen this level of domination since Brock Lesnar.

Then this happened:

Owens made a massive splash on his Raw debut and his first main roster match was set for a show just as exclusive to the network as NXT, but with a much wider appeal: Elimination Chamber.

You don't need to tell me the results from that show. Go check it out with your WWE Network subscription or go get a free one for the month of June and watch it. It is a glorious battle between two stars that know how to control a crowd, build tension and work a great match Cena continues to adopt a much more ROH influenced style offense of big moves while Owens actually develops into a more rounded WWE competitor here as he methodically beat down the face of the company. The crowd was already split with Owens’s indie cred doing a lot to draw in the Cena haters.

Owens not only looked like a million bucks but he also instantly increased the value of the NXT title when its holder beats the United States champion—a man that previously held world titles 15 times. It also cements a strong spot for him on the main roster. But even if his Cena feud should continue and he should go the way of so many other heels in the path of Super-Cena, he has still cemented a strong place for himself in the midcard or above of the main roster.

After his absolutely brutal match, he gave the world this:

WWE has a new true superstar and his name is Kevin Owens.