There has been so much going on in the world of professional wrestling this week. So instead of doing a regular piece on a singular topic, I’m going to elaborate on a few major stories.
1. WWE Network is Still the Talk of Wrestling
First, we are a little more than a week removed from the groundbreaking announcement of the WWE Network. There has been a ton of media all over the place, most of which has been extremely positive. This may be the biggest game changer the industry has seen since the demise of World Championship Wrestling in 2001. For the first time in history fans will have 24/7 access to an on-demand library of 100,000+ hours of archived wrestling footage. However, the biggest selling point is that network subscribers will be able to watch all 12 PPV events beginning with WrestleMania 30.
The network officially launches on Monday, February 24. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that all this wrestling goodness comes at a hefty price of $9.99 per month.
2. Death of Mae Young
The wrestling world was saddened by the death of Mae Young. By passing at 90 Mae became one of the longest living professional wrestlers on record. She is also one of the few wrestlers in history to compete in seven decades.
Many of the biggest names in the industry—including Rock, Triple H and Jim Ross—flooded Twitter with heartfelt condolences and WWE produced a marvelous video tribute (which you can view below). Mae was truly a pioneer of the mat game.
3. Daniel Bryan Turns on Wyatt Family after Two Weeks
Fans and critics were skeptical when WWE made the decision to take one their most popular superstars and align him with the Wyatts (didn’t management remember the failed Steve Austin heel turn of 2001?).
The turn made little sense and many felt it was an intentional move made to sabotage Bryan’s career.
Well, WWE realized the error of its ways and had Bryan turn on the Wyatts in what amounted to the hottest moment of an otherwise average show. The crowd, which had been very reserved for the majority of the evening, exploded with thunderous yes chants as Bryan laid waste to Bray Wyatt inside of a steel cage. Along with December’s championship ascension ceremony, this has to be considered as one of the best endings to a Raw in months.
4. Ultimate Warrior Announced as First Inductee into 2014 Hall of Fame
You can add Ultimate Warrior to the list of wrestlers that you never thought would make amends with Vince McMahon. Following the 2005 release of the Self Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior DVD, I never expected to see him in the good graces of WWE again.
But time does heal all wounds.
I was genuinely excited to hear the news although it wasn’t a complete shocker. Ever since Warrior’s participation last year in the WWE’14 video game it was widely rumored that he’d be a probable HOF candidate. Whether you like Warrior or not, he was one of the company’s biggest stars of the late 80s-early 90s. His induction is long overdue. Plus he is one of only two men to have cleanly beaten Hogan at WrestleMania.
5. The Animal Cometh
This Monday, January 20, marks the return of the “Animal” Batista. Batista hasn’t stepped foot into a WWE ring since 2010 and I’m sure the fans in attendance at the Nutter Center will be at a frenzied pitch when his music hits. Aside from already being announced as an entrant into the 2014 Royal Rumble match, it appears he will be feuding with Alberto Del Rio.
6. Impact Wrestling Delivers a Decent Show
Despite all the talk of gloom and doom talk associated with TNA, I found their show on last night to be quite enjoyable. There was a very good Bully Ray vs. Mr. Anderson street fight and a fun 12-man tag that opened the show. There were also further developments in the longstanding Chris Sabin/Velvet Sky and Kurt Angle/Bobby Roode storylines.
Last night also saw the debut of former ROH standouts Davey Richards and Eddie Edwards, The American Wolves. Plus Ethan Carter, III, scored a tainted victory over Sting. Regardless of how you feel about the quality of TNA, EC3 stands out as one of the industry’s best young talents. His in-ring skills may not set the world on fire, but he has top-level charisma for someone with his level of experience which is something you don’t exactly see every day.
Well that is all for this week folks. Enjoy the MLK weekend !