It’s been a while since I did my usual wrestling run-down so with four days to go until this years Wrestlemania event, it seemed logical to return to some WWE themed musings, even if I’m slightly short of a rounded top ten…!
I’ve been waiting for his debut since WWE started showing us television teasers and I’m really hoping that its been worth the wait because right now I’m more than a little underwhelmed with new star Fandango (I say new, Fandango aka Johnny Curtis signed to the WWE back in 2006…). I’m aware that it’s all about the build up, but there are only so many weeks I can take of someone using the excuse of no-one pronouncing their name correctly to not fight in the ring. That, coupled with a gimmick I’m not entirely sure is going to be able to last that long, hasn’t left me with much patience for the guy (having said that, Brodus Clay’s gimmick has lasted a lot longer than I thought it ever would). So I’m quite looking forward to his actual in-ring debut against Jericho at Wrestlemania. The guy’s been given a great platform to showcase his debut so I’m really hoping that he’ll deliver.
6) REID FLAIR
On a sad note, wrestling legend Ric Flair’s youngest son Reid was found dead last week, and although cause of death has yet to be confirmed, rumours of a drug overdose are circulating. Reid had recently returned to the US after wrestling in Japan under All Japan Pro. Reid was only six months older than me so this has had me thinking about things over the last week. Whatever the outcome, life is precious and short. Thoughts are with Ric and his family.
5) RHODES SCHOLARS
When this tag team disbanded I didn’t think it would be long before they returned and, for once, I was right! A great team, Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow work well against each other, both have egotistical characters that compliment each other and they can work the crowd really well. They’re not half bad in the ring either and I was genuinely quite disappointed when they originally announced that they would be parting ways… I’m happy to see that they have a Wrestlemania match (we all know that I think Cody Rhodes is something of a talented chap), not just for Rhodes but Sandow’s sake too. He’s currently one of the best in the ring and on the mic. Not so sure about their new cheerleaders though…
4) BELLA TWINS
… Which leads me to the return of the Bella Twins, one of the biggest surprises WWE have landed on me this year. The Diva division is in a terrible state at the moment and it’s not something I’m particularly happy about, but I’m not so chuffed to see these two girls back in the ring either. Again,l I feel like I must stress that I’m still proud of the twins success and admire what they can do, which literally is stuff i can only dream of. But I’ve never thought that they were really much in the ring, and more of a bit of eye-candy for the male viewers. Seeing them handed a new contract isn’t surprising, the WWE really need to do something to improve the female roster but I’m not sure handing contracts back to those who aren’t particularly skilled in the ring is the way to go about it. They havent been back long and have yet to impress me which anything impressive. One only hopes that there are some bigger plans in motion for them and the WWE puts a bit more training behind them (or their boyfriends John Cena and Daniel Bryan show them how to throw a good punch or two). Their return has also rendered one of their specials ‘twin magic’ useless. Nikki has had a breast enlargement which now makes it incredibly easy to tell the two apart.
3) BILL MOODY
Another piece of news which really saddened me was the death of wrestling manager Bill Moody at the start of the month. Moody was probably best known for being The Undertaker’s manager Paul Bearer, whose gimmick of managing a funeral parlour worked really well against The Undertaker. Bearer was always dressed in black and wore deathly white make up, accompanying Undertaker to the ring by carrying the now iconic golden urn. Moody was my favourite manager, for me his gimmick combined with The Undertaker’s presence was just perfect. A perfect equation where manager and client were just meant to be, both becoming stars in their own right, When you think of 90s wrestling, Moody is just as iconic outside of the ring as those you remember inside it. A genuine loss…
2) CM PUNK VS THE UNDERTAKER
…Which brings me to number two on the list and the match I am most looking forward to at Wrestlemania. Do I care about The Rock VS John Cena? Nope. Way too recent for my liking. But this match between Punk and Undertaker has the potential to be one of the greatest matches in Wrestlemania history. Undertaker is going for his 21st straight win and it’s more than unlikely that the WWE are even going to stop that streak, but Punk is a worthy opponent and the run up to this match has been truly something… Because of the use of the now deceased Bill Moody. I’ll be honest, I was a bit in shock to see Punk open the urn and spill the ashes over Undertaker on this weeks Raw (and yes, I know it’s not real but its symbolic) and to see Paul Heyman dressed up as Bill Moody. Still, it’s all building up to one hell of a match and one can only assume that if anyone involved had any problems going with the angle, they wouldn’t have agreed to do it. Still, its clear to see that its left a lot of fans mixed.
1) DDP, JAKE ROBERTS & SCOTT HALL
What I’ve seen so far of DDP I’ve liked but this year the man has jumped up a hell of a lot of notches in my book just for being a decent human being. DDP took in WWF legend Jake Roberts in a bid to help him turn his life around (those who know Roberts will know he has had quite a few problems in his life) one last time for the better and the results so far are nothing short of amazing. So when fellow wrestler and friend Scott Hall (aka Razor Ramon) reached our for help, DDP took him in, worked out what help Hall would need and set up a donation page in an attempt to help fund part of his much-needed hip replacement and rehab, amongst other things. For me, it’s not about calling on the fans to help out financially, it’s the fact that DDP saw he had a friend in need and didn’t hesitate to help. There aren’t enough people like that in the world and its such an inspiring act to see. I know we all say how much we love our friends, sometimes more than our biological family, but how many of us would really help out that much? It’s not about the money, having a big enough home to look after enough people, having the contacts to call upon; it’s about being a friend. Kudos to DDP for not turning his back on people and here’s hoping we can all learn a little lesson from this episode. Here’s wishing Scott Hall all the best for the future.