Dead Man Walking.

The main event of Wrestlemania 33 was the Undertaker’s last match…ever.

I was in tears as he laid his gear down and stepped out of the ring. I had always thought about what the wrestling world would be like without the Undertaker but it was one of those things that I didn’t think would ever happen. To me, he was larger than life, he was immortal and would be around forever. That is no longer my reality and it breaks my heart but I am SO incredibly grateful that I got to watch the greatest of all time go out in style.

I don’t know what I’m going to do next year when he doesn’t appear at Wrestlemania. I will never get to hear that gong hit, see the lights go down, or get that chill run down my spine ever again. The Undertaker was the last wrestler that was still competing from my childhood, I’m talking from the time I was a baby. I’m almost 29 but that’s how long I’ve been watching wrestling, and I have my dad to thank for getting me hooked when I came home from the hospital. There has been no greater thrill in my life than watching wrestling. I’ve written about this multiple times before but I don’t care, wrestling is literally my life.

I was just over two years old when I first saw the Undertaker and that is one memory that has stuck with me over my entire life. Any wrestling memory I have, I’m usually with my dad eating snacks and this one was no different. There has been no character that has transformed so much over his entire career and still commanded the same respect and authority that he has. Even now, I’m struggling to find the words to describe how important he is to me. I couldn’t even name my favourite moment of his because he’s provided me with so many and for that, I am truly grateful.

There’s not much left I can say that can describe how he made me feel as a fan or how much joy he brought other than thank you.

 

Passing Lane.

For the first time in WEEKS, Monday Night Raw was actually watchable. There were some moments that dragged but overall it was a good show. Compared to Fastlane, they didn’t have to try that hard to do better.

Can we talk about Fastlane for a moment? For the last event before Wrestlemania, it was awful. There was just nothing really special about it at all. There were no surprises, no real builds to anything, it was just mediocre. I always felt that from the time that the Royal Rumble happens until the final moments of Wrestlemania, everything has to be special in some way. With the brand split, there is only a limited amount of time for them to finish of current storylines and build to the matches. At Fastlane, they didn’t really utilize what time they did have and it felt like a regular show. And don’t even get me started on Goldberg taking the title from Kevin Owens, that’s a different post for a different day…

What we got on Monday was the show that we should have gotten on Sunday. It was full of action, built intrigue for the matches at Mania, it had the Undertaker for god sakes. You can’t really ask for much more than that. The standout moments to me were the interactions between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens and, of course, the Undertaker. I’ve been saying for months that if KO and Chris have a Wrestlemania match that it will be amazing. Those two guys have such a great rapport with each other that they could wrestle in the most ridiculous match ever and it would still be main event material. I’m actually really sad about the breakup of their friendship but I’m secretly hoping that it’s just a giant troll on their part.

My absolute favourite moment was when the Undertaker appeared because I was legitimately not expecting it at all.

When Strowman came out to confront Roman, I thought that’s who we would get. Roman’s music would hit, he’d come down the ramp, they’d get into a tussle, and then the show would be over. Instead what we got was the arena going black and the sound of a gong. I got so excited that I threw my phone and scared my dog. That stare down between Braun and Taker was the things that Wrestlemania matches are made of. I thought that they had abandoned the idea of Roman and Taker because we haven’t seen Taker since the Royal Rumble. Braun is a big guy but I didn’t think that a match between the two would go the same as the one with Giant Gonzales at Wrestlemania 9 (I think it was).

As the crowd grew louder, Braun backed out of the ring and the Undertaker was left by himself. Roman’s music then hit and the crowd let out a collective sea of boo’s. Even I turned on him, and I love Roman Reigns. One does not simply just step to the Undertaker and NOT expect an ass whooping. Now, I’m ever the WWE optimist and I want to believe that their match will be great because they both are great wrestlers and I enjoy them both. Like I mentioned before, Raw was everything that Fastlane should have been. There’s not that much time left before Wrestlemania and the build to it has been lacklustre.

They have a little over three weeks to get their asses in gear and actually build something of the biggest event of their calendar year. I hope that they can get it together…

He’s Here…Run.

February 12th saw the very first Smackdown exclusive pay-per-view of the new year, Elimination Chamber. To get to the point, I thought that most of the event was mediocre with a few shining moments and one thing that came right out of left field for me…Bray Wyatt won the WWE championship. Allow me to repeat myself…

BRAY WYATT WON THE TITLE!

I was absolutely floored. Looking at the competitors in the match, I didn’t think that Bray was even considered to hold the title. One would have assumed that it would have been Styles, Miz, or Cena taking it. I’m always the WWE optimist but often times there is a small group of superstars that the titles seem to rotate through. Having Bray win the title, especially in a match with such talented competitors, really raises his stock within the company and demonstrates that there is a consciousness to what fans want. Before people start losing their damn mind, I’m not saying that this awareness is always present but they try so you have to give them credit.

I also think that it gives Bray some legitimacy on the roster, not saying that the title makes the man but Bray sure needed it. Bray was so intriguing but it seemed like every time he was in a major feud, he shit the bed. It all went to hell in a hand basket rather quickly and it left fans feeling deflated. He was like a rising balloon that was popped before it reached the roof (look at me with the analogies!). Bray needs to look strong and like he’s a strong champion, this week’s episode of Smackdown went a long way to prove that.

Bray had to defend his title in a triple threat match, two men who have held multiple titles and had everything going for them. I, in all honesty, was half expecting Styles or Cena to take it because sometimes the WWE just likes to screw with us. I also think that it is very Cena-like to steal the thunder or spotlight from other title holding superstars. He comes in, praises them, and then says something so lame it makes your eyes roll like the Undertaker. When Bray got the victory, my jaw hit the floor. What made Bray look even stronger (in my eyes at least) is that he holds so much power over Randy Orton that he got him to forfeit his title match at Wrestlemania. Wyatt was always a leader but that action by Randy shows how powerful he can actually be.

My hope is that the momentum carries on past Wrestlemania and Bray gets an actual contender for his title. Personally, I’d like this to build to Luke Harper taking on Bray for the title but there is this little monkey on my back that thinks it’ll be one of the usual suspects. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…at least until Tuesday.

Royal Rumblings.

The Royal Rumble is the first stop on the road to Wrestlemania and it’s always been one of my favourite events on the WWE calendar. I still count down with that clock with the same level of enthusiasm at age 28 as I did at age 8. I was really excited for this year’s Rumble because I thought that there was really no way to know what was going to happen.

You had the possibility of Kenny Omega, Shinsuke Nakamura, Finn Balor, and/or Samoa Joe being in that match. Excitement was high and I was literally on the edge of my seat waiting, counting down, and trying to contain myself.

I was a tad bit disappointed to put it politely.

I do want to make something clear, I thought that the pay-per-view as a whole was really good. The cruiserweight title match between Rich Swann and Neville was actually my favourite. As I was watching the Royal Rumble match, I could feel my excitement escape me as each entrant came out and it wasn’t who I thought it would be. I expect a few surprise entrants and maybe one or two people that are new to the roster. We didn’t get ANY of that. I had thought that with Shinsuke losing the title to Bobby Roode the night before at Takeover, he would be at the Rumble…NOPE! I thought that Finn Balor would appear as the thirtieth entrant and be dressed as the Demon King and have a stare down with the Undertaker…NOPE! With Samoa Joe being in a suit at Takeover, I thought for sure that he would be in the Rumble…and again I was a little disappointed.

The biggest disappointment for me was that Kenny Omega wasn’t there. Now, I know that he did interviews and stuff saying that he wasn’t coming to WWE but, as fans all know, that means nothing.

What really pissed me off about the Rumble was that Orton won and Roman was entrant number thirty. My heart literally sank. I love Roman but was his entering as the last man really necessary? Short answer is no, it wasn’t. The only thing that was gained from Roman even being in the match was to set up a potential feud with the Undertaker at Wrestlemania. And the icing on the cake was Orton winning the entire thing and getting to main event the biggest event of the year. They could have literally given it to anyone else in that Rumble and it wouldn’t have been half as disappointing. I see no value at all in giving it to Randy other than boring the bejesus out of people.

This year was the year that they could have done ANYTHING with the Royal Rumble. There was an air of unpredictability surrounding it and literally nothing happened. There’s less than two months until Wrestlemania, now is not the time to be screwing around trying to figure things out.

New Years Resolutions.

With the year winding down, I thought it would be fun to come up with some resolutions for wrestling. Let’s face it, I’m not going to follow through with any of my own…

Dana Brooke goes away. I was actually starting to like her on Breaking Ground, and then she came to the main roster. Everything about her just annoys the holy hell out of me. She’s not entertaining, she can barely perform a move without botching it in some way, her promos are terrible, her voice sounds like a whiny teenager, and her presence elicits a silence so deadly you could hear a pin drop.

Dolph Ziggler gets a lengthy title run of at least six months to a year and a half. Dolph is one of the most talented guys on either brand roster, yet he can’t hold a title for longer than it takes to make toast. It’s actually super annoying. I get so worked up that he gets a title belt/shot and then he just loses it to someone like the Miz, someone who can’t even touch his in-ring abilities.

The Club becomes an actual thing. When it was announced that several NJPW stars were not renewing their contracts, I immediately was thinking about the Bullet Club invading the WWE. In all honesty, I’ve never been a fan of Luke Gallows but I do like Karl Anderson. I could deal with them not using the

Fans would make up their mind about Roman Reigns. I’ve said it before, in multiple posts and tweets, that fans need to make up their mind about Roman. They boo him when he comes out because they just see him as another Cena. They pop for him when he’s a bad ass. It annoys the holy hell out of me because Roman is GOOD. He may not be the best on the microphone but he’s coming into his own, he is great in the ring. Being in the S.H.I.E.L.D, he never really had to speak for himself, he was basically the muscle. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose were more of the mouthpieces of that faction. I like his character right now but everyone could use a shake-up every once in a while, that brings me to my next resolution…

Roman turns heel. The fans would probably boo this as well haha! Seriously though, Roman has the potential to ride that fine line between face and heel. What I envision as a perfect heel turn scenario for him is that he and Seth celebrate their victories at the Royal Rumble and Roman just drops Seth like a bad habit. He doesn’t even have to do a signature move. He should just knock Seth out and leave the ring. Let them feud for a few months and then he can go back to being a face, I see it as a relatively easy transition for him. The audience has clearly proven that they both love and hate him, sometimes at the same time!

The Women main event one of the ‘big four’ pay-per-view events. I will have to admit that I wasn’t the biggest fan of the women’s division in WWE. I thought they were mostly boring (with a few exceptions…okay, just Natalya) and their matches were really considered piss breaks for me. When they announced a women’s match, I would literally roll my eyes and go get a snack. That doesn’t happen anymore. Ever since the women of NXT have been invading the main roster, I actually sit and watch their matches, I’m interested in what they’re saying, and they are proving that they can put on high quality matches that aren’t just fluff. Women are having Hell in a Cell matches, Ironman matches, no DQ matches, falls count anywhere, and their match quality is on par (or better than!) with their male counterparts. They aren’t just glorified models anymore. Women main-everted two events already, there is NO reason why they can’t do it at one of the big four pay-per-views for the main roster.

It’s not a big list and some of it may happen and some might not. With the last pay-per-view being subtitled ‘End of the Line’, the new year is the PERFECT time to give fans a surprise.

Best Friends Forever.

There’s a lot of interesting things happening on Monday Night Raw.

You’ve got the battle for the Universal Championship, Sasha vs. Charlotte, and the Cruiserweights in the mix. The most interesting thing, in my opinion, isn’t a title or a rivalry. It’s the friendship (or lack thereof based on this week’s show) between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho. It sounds ridiculous but those two are my favourite part of Monday Night Raw.

You could ask me what my favourite thing about Jericho and Kevin Owen’s friendship is and I wouldn’t be able to tell you. They’re just so hilarious and their comedic timing is perfect. It’s kind of similar to what Abbott and Costello would be like if they were in 2016. They have this incredible chemistry that can only be contested by the likes of Enzo and Big Cass and the New Day. When I watch them on Raw, it’s like I’m watching two friends that have known each other for twenty years. In the last few weeks, some cracks have been showing in the foundation of their friendship.

The fact that you don’t really know what’s going on between them is one of my favourite things about their friendship. Are they friends? Do they hate each other? Is the other one going to show up and help in the others match? The unpredictability is what draws people in. Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho are one hundred percent ridiculous and people eat it up. If one episode of Monday Night Raw was just the two of them ripping on people, I could sit for the whole three hours and just laugh. It’s something you never want to see end. I don’t know what it says about me that the thought of Owens and Jericho not being best friends anymore makes me really sad and excited.

The only thing that is quelling my sadness over a potential break up is the epic match that would follow.

 

In A Flash.

I’ve waited a while to post my thoughts on Survivor Series weekend simply because it was just such a bizarre four days of wrestling. There were title changes, unexpected victories, unexpected losses, and it was glorious. This past weekend also bore witness to some of the best wrestling I’ve seen in a while.

The weekend kicked off with NXT: Takeover in Toronto, I had a friend in attendance and I was DYING with jealousy. Especially after that tag title match between The Revival and #DIY. I’ve always had a soft spot for tag team wrestling and this match struck me right in the heart. Both teams wrestled with so much passion and drive that you couldn’t help but be drawn in. The raw emotion on the face of Tomasso and Johnny was truly a sight to be seen and the crowd felt with them. Emotion like that is what makes wrestling something I’m happy and proud to be a part of. Years of hard work, determination, wins, losses, it’s all worth it for those three seconds leading to victory.

Those three seconds that lead to victory can also lead to defeat, as was the case when Shinsuke Nakamura lost the NXT title to Samoa Joe. That was a victory that left me absolutely floored. I was expecting to have Nakamura as the NXT champ for a few more months and then see him bumped up to the main roster to take on Finn Balor at Wrestlemania. I have lofty dreams my friends but if this weekend of wrestling has taught us anything, it’s that expect the unexpected.

Survivor Series echoed that sentiment the following night. I took a few notes but I had to stop because I was just in awe of what I was watching. The whole event was so wonderfully chaotic, it made me so happy! I thought that the show had good pacing, the matches were all pretty good, and there were some surprises. My favourite traditional Survivor Series match had to be the men’s teams from Raw and Smackdown taking each other on. Granted, the match didn’t have the same emotional tone that the NXT tag match did but it had all of the excitement and then some. The obvious standout moment was that spear that Shane McMahon took from Roman Reigns in mid-air. I thought for sure that he wasn’t going to get up from it, and that’s no fault of Roman’s. Yes, there were actually people freaking out saying that it was Roman’s fault that Shane was injured and had to be eliminated. The whole match was fantastic from start to finish and didn’t seem as long as it was.

As I had suspected, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar main evented the entire show. What I didn’t expect was how the match would end…with a Goldberg victory. The whole match lasted less than a minute and a half and the place erupted. I mentioned in my last post that Goldberg had to win to get them out of the hole that Brock had put them in with his booking. Goldberg’s victory showed that the Beast was NOT unbeatable and definitely isn’t the king of the mountain.

Lame, but let me have my moment.

I found it very curious that people complained that Bill squashed Brock but Brock does that EVERY time he has a match. What was even more curious is that only Goldberg came out to address the results of the match, he also announced that he was officially entering the Royal Rumble in January of 2017. There was no speech by Heyman, no taped interview with Brock, not a single peep. My thoughts are that this is going to result in some sort of rubber match between the two of them at Wrestlemania in Orlando.

By the time Smackdown rolled around this week, I was spent. I wish every week in wrestling was as wonderfully chaotic as this one was but I don’t know if I could handle it.

On to the next event…