This piece also appears on Cageside Seats. I apologize for it being a little scattershot, but I hope the general idea gets across well. If you’ve never seen the music video for “No Rain” by Blind Melon, be warned: its plot is referenced in this column.
Now where’s that pin button… as always, thanks to the boys at CageSide Seats for the rumor pack.
Our Top Story
Becky Lynch vs. Mickie James is the direction SmackDown is heading, but don’t expect that feud to make the WrestleMania card – where whoever is wrestling Nikki Bella has the best chance of working the main show in Orlando.
Dos Cientos Y Cinco En Vivo!
WWE is sending out fan surveys again, including one to fans in Mexico asking about content from local promotions and a tournament-style lucha show, which is seen as an indicator that a WWE Latin American Championship Tournament may be on the docket soon.
GFW Status: Only Mostly Dead
Jeff Jarrett flew from the TNA tapings in Orlando to Los Angeles for meetings regarding the future of Global Force Wrestling last week, per PWInsider.
Where in the World Is Carm^H^H^H^HKenny Omega?
Still no word on his future plans, but here’s a rumor killer on Kenny Omega. While there was never much chance he’d be in San Antonio seeing as his New Japan contract is in force through Jan. 31, Omega is scheduled for an appearance in Chile during Royal Rumble weekend, making it almost logistically impossible for him to be there.
Meanwhile, in TNA
Marti Belle is said to be done with TNA, per PWInsider.
There, did I say it right? Grumble… anyway, all rumors blatantly stolen from my other site, CagesideSeats.com. Presumably they did their homework.
- While his in-ring future is up in the air, Kurt Angle is expected to get involved in on-screen stories for WWE in one way or another moving forward.
- Michael Cole is looking to step away from an on-screen role and get more involved in production and training the next generation of announcers, according to PWInsider.
- Despite his presence on most episodes of Raw over the next several months, Brock Lesnar will not wrestle at Fastlane match, and the only telvised bout WWE is currently planning for him is his WrestleMania rematch with Goldberg.
- Hideo Itami is hinting that he’s ready to return to action following the neck injury he suffered at a house show last year.
- Former Ring of Honor tag champs War Machine, the hoss team of Hanson and Raymond Rowe, are believed to be WWE bound.
Also, for non-wrestling sports news: Baseball will announce the Class of 2017 Hall of Fame today at 6PM USET.
Female Rep for WWE Hall of Fame
According to those at PWInsider.com, Beth Phoenix is up for the WWE Hall of Fame this year.
HHH’s Eventual Return to Raw
Although HHH implied on social media that he was rushing back to the US for Raw, there was never a plan to have him appear on the show.
New WWE Network Promotion?
WWE is in negotiations with Scottish promotion ICW to appear on the WWE Network, per PWInsider. This would include defending the WWE UK Championship within the promotion, though OTT and PROGRESS may also be host sites for title defenses.
Injury at Main Event Taping
Darren Young appeared to have injured his arm at the Main Event tapings prior to Raw. His match with Epico was cut short.
I don’t know Japan much, but I know news, and there’s quite a bit of intrigue from what I do know. Here’s the field:
Team WLW (Brian Breaker/Leland Race, and yes, that’s Harley’s kid)
Bullet Club (Adam Page/Yujiro Takahashi)
Guerrillas of Destiny
Hiroshi Tanahashi/Juice Robinson (NXT’s jobber extraordinaire CJ Parker)
TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan/Satoshi Kojima, at a total combined age of 91)
War Machine (from ROH)
Tetsuya Naito and… eh, he hasn’t said yet.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL/SANADA)
Bullet Club (Chase Owens/Kenny Omega)
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale/BONE SOLDIER)
Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe/Tomoaki Honma)
Katsuyori Shibata/Yuji Nagata
Chaos (Hirooki Goto/Tomohiro Ishii)
Chaos (Kaz Okada/YOSHI-HASHI)
Yoshi Tatsu/Billy Gunn (seriously)
Now, I don’t know why the two CHAOS teams are in the same block when the Bullet Club got split 2-2 (Guerrillas are also Bullet Club), but there you go. Also, Naito’s partner has to be someone outside of LIJ as EVIL and SANADA are already booked.
Each block does a full round-robin. Winners meet in the final. 2 for a win, 1 for a draw, just like the old time hockey of Eddie Shore and Toe Blake.
A few months ago, I reviewed the local indy show, Northern Virginia Pro Wrestling (or NVPW, or NoVa Pro) Presents American Slang. This weekend, I hope to review their anniversary show from September. But first, I want to present a look at their top tag team, which could provide a few lessons to the major promotions on how to do an odd couple that grows in character over time… while still remaining odd.
Last night, after SmackDown Live, I (under the alternate internet name Duke) took part in a podcast-style discussion on CageSide Seats about SmackDown, doing a thorough recap and analysis. WARNING: because of my known tendency to ramble and make really dumb connections (though at least I’m self-aware), this podcast is 90 minutes. If you get a chance, give it a listen!
So, I had a feeling I was going to regret listening to WWE talking heads for 6+ hours… so instead, I did my own! Anyone who thinks there’s no way I could be worse than WWE talking heads can try their hand at me. Here’s the links:
The Pre-Show (2 hours): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-u7knxItNG0
The Show Itself (including my immediate thoughts and reactions): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vxqo2cm92Ak
If you want to listen, have fun. I can’t be worse than Saxton or JBL, can I?
Anyone seen Bayless? No? Good.
This puts at least one of the SummerSlam weekend matches into flux.
So as I was performing in my second (third?) job as a hockey ref at the JCC of Northern Virginia on Wednesday (June 29), the security guard told me that there was going to be a big deal on Friday. Turns out there was a wrestling event that day. For geography’s sake, the JCCNV is within 2 miles of my house! Independent wrestling within 2 miles? Hell, I’d WALK to that!
Which I did. Because I don’t own a car.
But if I’m going to take in the joy of indy wrestling, all of you are going to enjoy it with me. So, after taking a couple days to celebrate the holiday with family, I’ve snuck out to type up the following. Now, it won’t be anywhere NEAR as detailed as my usual notes because I don’t have a computer in front of me at the event. However, I hope you enjoy it anyway.
From Fairfax, VA, NOVA Pro Wrestling presents American Slang!
As a public service for the people who do not get the newsletter, I have scoped out Dave Meltzer’s star ratings for all the big shows. Here’s what he thought of Payback:
Dolph Ziggler d. Baron Corbin – **1/4
Kalisto d. Ryback – **3/4
Vaudevillains d. Enzo/Cass – no rating
Kevin Owens d. Sami Zayn – ****
The Miz d. Cesaro – ***1/4
Dean Ambrose d. Chris Jericho – ***3/4
Charlotte d. Natalya – ***1/4
Roman Reigns d. AJ Styles – ***3/4
As always, Meltzer love of the Flair dynasty overrates Charlotte’s match, and I think Ryback/Kalisto deserves slightly more love, but otherwise these seem to be internally reasonable. Thoughs?
Windham is known for his time with the Blackjacks team in the 1970s alongside Jack Lanza. As part of that team, he was a member of the 2006 Hall of Fame class. He was the patriarch of a wrestling family that includes sons Barry and Kendall, son-in-law Mike Rotundo, and grandsons known as current WWE superstars Bray Wyatt and Bo Dallas.
Our condolences go out to the Windham/Rotundo family at this time.