Welcome to the High Spot, Place to Be Nation’s weekly pro wrestling update. Steve Wille (@SteveWille34) will take you through the biggest story of the week in the world of wrestling, adding in a unique view to help put the story in perspective. Glenn Butler (@glenniebun) then takes a quick look at other important stories of the week. If you have any tips or story ideas, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org!
News bites galore this week. Try to figure out who wrote each bullet point, and get a supply of new Peeps Pops!
- Then, Then, Now: With WrestleMania XXX looming large on the horizon, the time is ripe to highlight some historical synchronicities. At the time of WrestleMania X the historical vignettes on the first nine WrestleManias shown throughout the show truly stand out, as several of the wrestlers featured were in WCW and few were still in the WWF; ten years later, WWE had begun to move into the nostalgia market and It All Began Again; today, we have voluminous libraries of home video collections taking advantage of nostalgia, and the new WWE Network providing enough archival content to satisfy the most rabid fan. The first WrestleMania anniversary show featured a two-part semi-tournament for the World Title culminating in the main event; the second featured a triple-threat match in the main event; this year we have both, with a qualification match to determine who gets to enter the triple threat. Each crowned, to some extent, a new champion who had to climb a mountain to get to the top: Bret Hart had been marginalized following his WrestleMania IX loss; Chris Benoit had to overcome the legendary-on-the-internet inertia of a Triple H World Title reign; Daniel Bryan now clashes with the same. All are high-workrate smark favorites who either did or should end WrestleMania as champion. There is one big difference: Daniel Bryan did not win the Royal Rumble. More on this later.
- The Bad Guy is a Glad Guy: Scott Hall was announced on Raw as the latest entrant in the 2014 class of the WWE Hall of Fame, completing the induction of DDP’s Safe House of Yoga and Clean Living following the previous announcement of Jake Roberts. While we all certainly hope both Hall and Roberts can lead happy, fruitful, sober lives now that DDP’s gotten them in better shape than they’ve seen in years, the journey of a person struggling with addiction is long and arduous, and you never know. There’s been some hubbub in fan communities, meanwhile, based on the fact that the televised video package emphasized Hall’s WWF career as Razor Ramon to the total exclusion of his time in the AWA. As the esteemed Mr. Wille would say: breathe. Even if they only include Razor in video packages (which is possible given WWE’s oft-discussed pro-WWE bias) and Hall only mentions his time as Razor in his speech (which I would doubt quite severely), the function of any Hall of Fame is to honor the performers inducted into it. Scott Hall’s entire career went into making him notable enough as a performer that people care about his inclusion in a ceremony like this, and the fans experiencing nostalgia hits during his induction will by the nature of nostalgia remember whatever parts of his career they found most entertaining. There’s also speculation that WWE may be saving the marquee name of Scott Hall for a future induction of the nWo, which seems a tad strange to this author; while the nWo was certainly a classic team, such an induction would give Ric Flair’s “twice inducted” line to Scott Hall as well. (It would also give such an honor to Hulk Hogan, but Hogan is such a titanic figure in wrestling history that you could induct him every year and it still wouldn’t properly grasp his importance.) In the meantime, look up your favorite Razor matches from WWF or WCW on the Network, and dodge any toothpicks that may be tossed your way.
- El Final del Camino: The wrestler formerly known as Sin Cara has been released by WWE. While he showed a lot of potential when he debuted in 2011, Místico’s momentum was sadly derailed by in-ring mishaps, a wellness suspension, and an extensive series of injuries that interrupted most of his ongoing storylines as well as his partnership with Rey Mysterio. Hunico, who had played Sin Cara Negro in 2011, has donned the mask once more and will presumably fill the role as long as the character is popular and as long as WWE thinks people will buy masks. Sin Cara has been released. Long live Sin Cara.
- Tapa’d Out (And Other Bad Wrestling Puns): In a somewhat surprising move, Impact Wrestling announced the release of Seini Draughn, professionally known as Lei’D Tapa. In an interview with a group called “Smartasses Radio”, her on-screen partner, Gail Kim, stated the following: “She’s a great girl. She has passion and she has determination. She honestly was just very inexperienced.” Kim went on to infer that getting fired may help Tapa’s drive and increase her understanding in the ring. In my eyes, though, this goes against Impact’s recent strategy of building from within. If you want fresh, young talent, it goes without saying that you should play a role in training and cultivating that talent. Tapa’s partnership with Kim was a huge bright spot for the Knockouts division, and it’s odd that, if Impact targeted her as a rising star, they would cut her for her inexperience. Draughn, the niece of the much beloved Barbarian, will hopefully pop on the independent circuit soon
- If At First You Don’t Succeed…: In late-breaking, hard-hitting news, Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling announced that the jointly produced supercards “Global Wars” and “War of the Worlds” will be broadcast live on iPPV on online provider UStream. New Japan utilizes this service as its own broadcast partner and has offered many events without as many transmission problems as American-based wrestling promotions. Ring of Honor is no stranger to iPPV troubles, struggling with both in-house production and outsourcing to Go Fight Live. These shows look to be solid, and hopefully the added interest, coupled with a more reliable stream provider will help Ring of Honor continue their success from the past few months. Of course, larger traffic may mean more chance for error from the host. Also, I’m under the assumption that Ring of Honor will continue to make replays available for a year past purchase, unlike New Japan, who historically cuts off replay capability after around a week. From a personal standpoint, this has discouraged me from buying New Japan shows in the past.
- Try-Out, Try-Out Again: Prowrestling.net reported that ROH competitors Roderick Strong, ACH, and Kevin Steen all recently had try-outs at the WWE Performance Center. Steen has noticeably trimmed down in recent months, posting pictures on Twitter alluding to working out. In recent events in both the Midwest and Northeast, Steen worked a slightly different style earlier on in matchups, moving quite faster. If all is right in the world, Steen, a huge fan-favorite for his charisma, humor and wrestling acumen, will be signed, make a million dollars, retire, open a zoo in Canada, and make millions more.
- ACH is a much smaller high-flyer who also has tremendous charisma. In years past, it would be shocking to hear of someone his size getting signed by the WWE, but with athletes like Adrian Neville working out so well plus ACH’s youth, he may have an outside chance of being signed. Roderick Strong is always solid in the ring, with extensive experience. It seemed that his big chance in the “mainstream” of professional wrestling was going to be in the days when TNA was on Fox Sports Net, but, unfortunately, that didn’t pan out.
- ?! ?! ?! ?!: Dark energies manifest in unseen spaces. Dark matter moves in ways mysterious to our science, which can only quantify it through supposition. Plans are laid within plans, plots within plots. Wrongs darker than death or night pass us daily. The dreams of a thousand conspiracies come to fruition, put in place by forces the full extent of which is unknowable to our minds, but which all revolve around one mere mortal.
Heisenberg uncertainty means that, at the smallest possible level, probability rules over destiny in a sea of quantum foam, but on a macroscopic level the fact remains that Daniel Bryan did not win the Royal Rumble. This was a desperate attempt by those who shape the future to deny forces beyond their control, which has now placed all they’ve worked for in jeopardy along with our own lives on a scale we cannot predict. The effort to place him in the main event despite this blunder has left deep wounds in the fabric of our reality. What sacrifices must be made to heal them? What energies will be expended in the effort to give the people what They want? They will travel round the Antares Maelstrom and round Perdition’s Flame before They give it up. All the Majicks of Megas-Tu could not stop Them. Their agents on this plane are ubiquitous. The line has been drawn here, this far, no farther, and They will make you pay for what you have done. And if They destroy the fabric of reality in the pursuit of these goals? Sauce for the goose. Savor the time you have left with your hopes. Enjoy every sandwich, for you may yet be doomed.
Fractal plots converge on singular events. The waveform collapses. And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches toward New Orleans to be born?