Let Them Eat Raw

The news is all over every site already. WWE has announced that beginning with it’s 1000th episode of Monday Night Raw, airing on July 23rd, Monday Night Raw will permanently switch to a three hour format. Yes, Gilligan, a three hour format.

You’ve got to hand it to Vince McMahon. When demand for his show is slowly sinking, and ratings are mirroring an arythmic heart, he has found the solution: More is more! For all that 12-17 demographic whose attention they can’t hold with a two hour show, add in another hour. If there’s anything people love, it’s three hour television shows.

Facietiousness aside, this could end up being one of the best or one of the worst decisions WWE has made in recent years. Of course there is the argument that moving to three hours was one of the major factors that led to the downfall of WCW, but WCW seriously lacked the ability to support a three hour show and showed no backstage organization in preparation for it. Though we often hear about WWE changing plans the day of the show, it’s rare that Raw looks chaotic and confused like Nitro used to. Ultimately, three hours of Nitro was a drop in the bucket of what was a flooding disaster.

What good could come out of this, you might ask? Well, for one thing, maybe WWE can finally manifest Divas matches that last more than a minute on Raw. Doubtful, as they seem to care as much about the Diva division as I care about Hornswoggle. That being said, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Divas matches get an entire two minutes in the future! Wouldn’t that be something. Eight moves instead of four… seriously, though, giving more time to the divas is one thing on a long list of things they should be able to do.

In addition to increasing time for the women, perhaps we could get more wrestling over promos. These seems like a longshot, as there is a fear they’ll want to get people watching so we’ll get promo heavy moments at the beginning and end of each hour, as we typically do. Remember when wrestling shows used to open and close with wrestling matches? Wild idea.

More wrestling, more divas, what more could you want? More talent, perhaps. I’m not talking bringing back guys like Kevin Nash (sorry Kev,) but new, young, rising talent. Something fresh for the WWE. I wouldn’t be opposed to them bringing in some established guys from TNA either, though I consider that doubtful (outside of Matt Morgan, at the moment.)

Granting themselves another hour could give WWE the time and space to make good choices and build a better show. Unfortunately, their track record has shown that three hour Raws are usually total disasters where the first hour is essentially useless. This doesn’t mean it will be like that every week. Hopefully, they’ve got something better in mind.

An interesting thing to consider is the overall effect on the ratings. It seems likely that the first hour of the show will be the lowest, as it typically is during three hour Raws. That being the case, it’s possible that the low rating for hour one could drag down the overall rating for the whole show, which won’t look good for the WWE either.

Ultimately, I find it hard to wrap my head around this one. With attention faltering, ratings wavering and interest depleting, why make this move? Usually you supply a demand, you stock up when you’re selling out. You don’t fill your stock room with more and more of a product that less and less people are buying. Even Nitro went to three hours when they were commanding a massive audience, not when the people started turning away.

This is the same audience that swelled post-Wrestlemania with the entrance of Brock Lesnar, but returned to normal within a few weeks. WWE has the ability to pull those people back on occasions like this, they just can’t seem to keep them. So.. three hours then?

I’d like to see this succeed and I’d like to see a lot of amazing things come out of this. New talent, more matches, a better quality show and an increased probability of success in WWE’s future. Unfortunately, I’m not a look at the bright side type of person, especially when it pertains to WWE who have time and again show the prominent ability to take what is prophesied as great and turn it into total garbage.

So, it remains to be seen. In the end, it comes down to you, the fans, the people who are invested in this business and want to see it improve. Whether or not three hours of Raw keeps you wanting more, or pushes you away. At this point, the ratings remaining the same as they have been would be a success for an additional hour every week. If ratings begin to decrease, however, will WWE stick with it or pull the plug? Figuring that out is figuring out the mind of Vince McMahon and that takes much longer than three hours.

Extreme Boredom

People have been wondering where I’ve been. I’ve been getting emails, tweets and messages on Facebook asking me what I’ve thought about the post-Wrestlemania / Brock Lesnar era taking place on WWE television these days.

I haven’t been answering. I haven’t been saying much. I haven’t been too interested in what’s going on. Frankly, I’ve been finding it hard to watch anything WWE lately. I haven’t been caring.

I’m well aware that Brock Lesnar has come back, and yes I’ve tuned in enough to see him F5ing Cena, cutting his pretaped promo and doing that awful contract signing segment. I saw Edge return to tell Cena that he needs to be the Cena he used to be (which I’m fairly certain is the same Cena we’re still watching.) Ultimately, I haven’t been pulled in.

There is some argument that could be made saying I’ve fallen victim to the infamous Wrestlemania hangover. I can’t argue against that, but to say I think that is only a small fraction of why I am not enthralled by current WWE programming.

I consider it more logical to chalc it up to several factors. After watching WWE for years, and seeing the past few where it has been, debatably, bouncing from good to dreadful, it can be difficult to replenish that interest which caused me to tune in in the first place.

Sure, I like Brock Lesnar and I popped just as loud as most people did when he arrived and wiped the floor with John Cena. Internally, I can’t help but wonder if this is half because of my interest in Lesnar and half because of my hatred for Cena. I watched Jericho smash a bottle of Punk’s head with as much interest as the next guy, and laughed just as hard when Jericho slipped in the fake liquor. Still, something is missing here for me as well.

So, what’s the problem? I’ll tell you. First and foremost, I just sat through an entire year of John Cena being the main event focus while not in the title chase and I’m simply not interested in watching it happen again. I don’t care how many times he makes his boo-boo face and puts a ridiculous looking chain around his neck. I’m tired of Cena and I thought, I hoped, I wished, I pleaded, that after Wrestlemania we’d get to see just a little less of this guy. Well, we’re seeing more. I can’t take it. I can’t take this guy.

I love the Rock, but wasn’t too into the angle because it involved Cena. I think Brock is awesome, but I’d rather watch him feud with Santino than John Cena. Cena has the magical ability to disrupt any sense of realism (I know, it’s fake, but you want suspended disbelief) that could exist without his BS. I can’t torture myself to watch this guy.

The Jericho / Punk thing was certainly interesting. I thought it was a little unnecessary to involve family members, but I did think it was funny because Jericho is a promo master and he sold it like gold. I thought Jericho breaking the bottle over Punk’s head was great. Then they had to do that angle with Punk coming out of the Pub which I found to be stupid. I thought they couldn’t get much stupider until I saw the retarded sobriety test angle. I changed channels back to the NHL Playoffs faster than it became clear Punk was only pretending.

These are two talented wrestlers, great promo men and interesting personalities who are trying to sell a match by acting like total goofball morons. It’s a sad state of affairs when the best way to sell what could be a fantastic match is to have them acting like children. Jericho comes off like he’s too stupid to see what’s happening, which is fine if you do it after the buildup, and Punk looks like a fool for playing along with it. Remember when he was all about pipebombs?

The rest of it, I’ll just run through quickly. If a Bella is Diva’s champion than Kharma better be coming back.. oh it didn’t matter, WWE could care less about the title so why should I? Orton vs Kane.. again.. really.. don’t do this to me. The Miz is challenging for the US title against the great champion of…. Santino. Right. Usually Santino is telling jokes, but here the joke is on us. I could go on, but why bother?

So, I’m trying WWE. I am. I’m trying to watch and I’m trying to care and I’m trying to fight through this, but they’re certainly not making it easy on me. Maybe I’m alone, and maybe you guys are loving this right now. I’m glad for you if you are, but I’m certainly struggling to keep my television tuned in. Maybe it will get better.

Miami Heat


Wrestlemania is almost impossible to put into words. There is so much to take in. The spectacle, the matches, the crowd, the atmosphere. Ultimately, it is WWE hitting the reset button and initiating a new year of programming.

Wrestlemania 27 was not nearly as good as it was made out to be. There were a lot of fans feeling let down after last years event. It all felt so half-assed, thrown together and poorly executed minus the Triple H vs Undertaker Match.

Wrestlemania 28 was a thousand percent better.

This isn’t to say that Wrestlemania 28 didn’t have its down times. Many people are upset about Daniel Bryan and Sheamus. Despite my sincerest efforts, I simply cannot muster up and explanation. Hopefully, desperately hopefully, WWE has something in mind and this wasn’t just Vince McMahon giving a giant middle finger to the IWC.

However, I would say, Wrestlemania 28 had greater peaks than it had darker valleys. Jericho and Punk definitely put on a show. This match was not the five star classic some had come to expect, but their performance was by no means a letdown. It was entertaining, back and forth and the closing five minutes of reversals and tapout teases was extraordinarily executed. I’d have gone with a different finish, had Punk lose and then have him walk into his hometown of Chicago as the challenger next month.

Triple H, Undertaker and Shawn Michaels reminded us that wrestling can be one hell of thing when it is done correctly. A nearly flawless match that absolutely lived up to whatever hype was drummed up in the past few weeks. That match has a series of moments (Triple H jumping back when Undertaker sat up, Shawn Michaels pleading with both men, the Superkick / Pedigree combination, blood, spit and eats) that should, and will, live on in the legacy of Wrestlemania. What this match did leave us with though, is three important questions: Was this the Undertakers last match? Is Triple H down for good? Was this the last gasp of the attitude era?

There were so many questions, doubts, backstage rumors, on screen bombs and chaotic experiences leading up to John Cena vs the Rock. Did this match payoff? Absolutely. Understandably there are some upset John Cena fans, but as someone who dislikes John Cena (his character, not the Make-A-Wish champion) I think this is the absolute best thing that could happen to him. This will force Cena to go to new places, assuming that he sells this loss and doesn’t come out giggling tonight like he often does after a big loss. If this is handled properly, John Cena could come out of this shinning. Also, no one should associate the Rock winning to the Rock not giving John Cena some amazing shine and Legendary rub.

The Rock proved he could still go. John Cena proved he could hold his own against the greatest superstar of all time. This is absolutely a win win situation that WWE can make into something even more amazing. Remember, folks, there’s always the possibility that this is a best of three series. I certainly hope not, I’d rather this was a one time thing.

Wrestlemania 28 was definitely a great show worth watching and paying attention to. The challenge for WWE coming out of this, which could be a fantastic thing, is to build new stars so that next years roster is full of young talent rather than returning names and old stalwarts. It’s time for a changing of the guard, but don’t be surprised if they wait until Wrestlemania 30 to make the switch. Next year they may want to cash in on that New Jersey, New York attitude with some old names. We know the Rock will be there, speculation points to Brock Lesnar and don’t forget a beer drinking, ass kicking, mudhole stomping guy from Texas with some gas left in the tank who might want to make a last impression.

Wrestlemania 28, as a whole, did what it was supposed to do. It reinvigorated, and for the most part, it paid off what it has been hyping. I rate the event an eight out of a possible ten. The eighteen second world title match kept this away from being a nine. Oh, and did I forget to mention, Good ol’ Jim Ross showed why he is, was , and always will be, the best announcer in the business.

Monday Night Raw has all the potential to be absolutely amazing tonight. Maybe WWE will show us that they don’t just pull out all of the stops for Wrestlemania.

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Wrestlemania Questions

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In 9 days, all of our questions will be answered. In 9 days, the big names will clash and the face of the WWE will be changed. In 9 days, Wrestlemania 28 will come and deliver or fall short of expectation. No matter how you slice it, we are 9 days away from what is being pushed as the biggest Wrestlemania of all time (they should have gotten Tony Schiavone to announce that.)

Wrestlemania 28 is almost upon us and there are a few burning questions which are only going to scorch that much hotter in the 9 days leading up the event. There are several matches on this show whose outcomes will define the future of WWE for, at least, the next few months. There is a rumor that next years Main Event will be announced a year in advance, again, so it is probable that this event could lead to another year of build up (or tear down, based on your perspective) of the Rock, or perhaps, another name from the past.

Regardless of where you stand on the feuds heading into the event, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at a few of the questions which will, hopefully, be answered.

Does Kane vs Randy Orton do anything to help either of these guys?
Kane is facing Randy Orton in what could best be described as a last minute, thrown together feud all revolving around Kane randomly attacking Orton. It should be obvious that this match is being given to these two to assure them a place on the Wrestlemania card, but not to do much more. I sincerely doubt that the outcome of this match makes any difference whatsoever for either of these men. It seems highly unlikely this could be a sleeper match that steals the show, and even less likely that it will result in a long standing Orton vs Kane feud, which I’m not sure anyone would want to see anyway. You can’t get much lower on the card, short of being in a twelve man tag match. Speaking of which…

Team Teddy vs Team Johnny – Does it Matter?
We all know that Team Teddy will face Team Johnny at Wrestlemania with the winning team winning control of both Monday Night Raw and Smackdown for their respective namesakes. The question lingering here is, who cares? Whether Teddy or Johnny are in charge, it isn’t going to make a bit of difference. They’re going to be the same shows, ultimately. The only difference is whether or not we have to see Johnny introduce himself randomly or Teddy saying “Hold on playa.” The result of this match will change absolutely nothing, aside from who you see as the GM from time to time. Let’s face it, the GM storylines have been played out for years. Johnny has become a pretty big heat magnet, but I could live without having a GM on either show.

Who truly is the best in the world?
Chris Jericho vs CM Punk was originally billed as the Battle of the Best in the World. This has recently taken a backseat to being the battle of the straight edge superstar with a family history of drug an alcohol abuse versus the smug, not sure where he stands, he wasn’t talking, but now he is, Chris Jericho. To both men’s credit, they’ve managed to take a WWE Title match, which should be important but has been almost ignored by WWE, and made it must-see-TV. This angle has been excellently executed, and last weeks attack from Chris Jericho on CM Punk’s sister was nearly flawless. It should also come as no surprise that these two are highly capable of tearing the non-existent roof off of Wrestlemania. One question which lingers is, does CM Punk walk out with the title only to defend it the next month in Chicago, or does he walk into Chicago as the challenger? Either way, I don’t foresee this match letting anyone down.

Does anyone remember Sheamus is facing Daniel Bryan?
You can’t be faulted if you’ve forgotten, WWE hasn’t exactly gone out of their way to make this match seem like something you can’t live without. I hear more about AJ than I hear about Sheamus when Daniel Bryan is on my screen. Regardless of WWE’s severe lack of push for this World Heavyweight Title Match, this could absolutely be that sleeper. Daniel Bryan and Sheamus were the opening dark match last year and you have to believe they want to show WWE and the world exactly how good they can be. Keep your eyes open during this one because it may be the show stealer.

Does Big Show’s embarrassment continue?
Cody Rhodes has made it his business over the past few weeks to go out of his way to show recaps of Big Show’s most embarrassing Wrestlemania moments. From Big Show getting beaten by Floyd Mayweather to hosting a dinner party at the old WWE restaurant in Time Square. This past Monday, Cody handcuffed Big Show to the ropes and delivered several blows which resulted in the announcers pushing that Big Show was officially pissed. There is more than meets the eye on the line in this match. Cody Rhodes has held the Intercontinental Title for quite some time and is giving some credibility back to it. Should he lose, and the belt goes to Show, does this destroy the small build they’ve been giving that belt? If Rhodes should win, where does he go from there and could this be a step toward the main event? This all remains to be seen, and though I have complete confidence in Rhodes abilities, I do question the quality of this match and whether or not it is granted more than seven or eight minutes.

Does Maria Menounos actually qualify a celebrity?
This is highly debatable. What is not debatable is that WWE continues showing just how unimportant they consider their Divas division to be. Imagine the awesome matches we could have gotten in place of this tag team debacle; Beth Phoenix vs Natalya was a match I was truly hoping for. Two tough, gorgeous, badass women going out there and showing what women’s wrestling can actually be. Instead we’ve got Beth working with Eve whose claim to fame is being called a whore, Kelly Kelly whose wrestling skill is somewhere on par with a door mat and Maria Menounos who.. hosts a level C show where they talk about celebrities. Perhaps the burning question here is WHY?!

Does the Undertaker’s streak end?
I’d say there is a good chance the streak stays in tact, but this could be the last harah for the Undertaker. He’s been through a hell of a lot, and aside from wrestling once a year, I can’t see him doing much more after this. WWE have gone out of their way to make it debatable as to whether or not Triple H can end the streak and the involvement of Shawn Michaels is pivotal. The problem is, does anyone truly believe that if there streak were to end it’d be to Triple H? It seems unlikely they’d have HBK screw the Undertaker, and if he screwed Triple H it seems worthless since he has said he will not wrestle again. Is it possible he’d come back for Triple H’s last match? Maybe, but I think it is highly unlikely the Undertaker will lose. One question I have, though, is can these three live up to the hype and deliver a Hell in a Cell match worthy of the grand stage of Wrestlemania? We shall see.

Do the Rock and John Cena make it worth our while?
The hype has been insane. Between personal attacks, cutdowns, verbal assaults, songs, raps and everything in between, we have been told, time and time again, that this is the biggest match in Wrestlemania history. The ratings for Raw argue that fact, hell the ratings seem to show that this match doesn’t mean a great deal. Then again, maybe people have stopped watching because they’ve already decided to buy the show and they don’t want to watch these guys behave like children any further. Suffice it to say, this Monday has the dubious challenge of making this entire years feud come to a head where you can’t live without seeing what happens. What matters, though? The match? Absolutely. These two who have legit heat have to make a match together that will go down in history as amazing. What also matters, though, is what comes after. I’ve been pretty vocal about this, and it remains true today, I have no idea who is going to win this match. If Cena loses, well then he lost to a guy who is a part timer and hasn’t wrestled a singles match in years. If the Rock loses, well, actually, does it really matter to him? Probably not, but it seems likely a Cena victory would ensure Wrestlemania goes off the air to a sea of boos. I somehow doubt this is where they want to go. Ultimately though, will this match and the result make the past year worth the while for those of us who have committed to it? It better. Also, does the rumor come true and do we see the Miz make an appearance?

So many questions linger about Wrestlemania 28 and we’re only 9 days away from having all of the answers we’ve been seeking. Truly though, one of the greatest questions is what happens in 17 days. The Raw a week after the one which follows Mania. No more Rock, Undertaker, HBK. More than likely Triple H will be back behind the scenes. The show will fall back to the default superstars. Do the ratings continue their steady decline, and if so, what is done to correct it? This is a much more precarious time, creatively, for WWE than we have seen in a long time. Ultimately the one question which will remain is: Where do we go from here?

The Royal Fumble

The road to Wrestlemania has begun. The most exciting time to be a fan of the WWE is finally underway. This is the time when wrestlers become superstars and superstars become legends. The best storylines, the most hype, the best matches, the most excitement… so why doesn’t it feel that way? Why does it feel like this particular road to Wrestlemania is littered with potholes and speed bumps?

The Royal Rumble is a key in the road to Wrestlemania. It is the first spark that begins burning down the fuse to an explosive, exciting and WWE Universe altering experience on the grandest stage of them all. This year, however, the Royal Rumble was more, or less, a Royal Fumble. It was a sub-par pay-per-view with a few highlights, but overall nothing worth writing home about. The entire show didn’t seem to kick into any sort of higher gear until the last few moments of the Rumble match itself when Jericho went head to head with Sheamus.

The opening match for the World Heavyweight Title was nine minutes of little activity. Understandably, Mark Henry was injured and incapable of doing much. Big Show isn’t known for his ability to create movement. Daniel Bryan is a spectacular athlete and fantastic wrestler being thrown into a match with two people who are not, on most days, capable of performing the same style that is conducive to an excellent performance with Bryan.

The next match was an eight Diva tag match which was treated with the same respect, dignity and appreciation by WWE management as a dead raccoon in the middle of the road. I cannot, for the life of me, begin to comprehend the logic (or lack thereof) which goes into the planning of this division. If any planning goes in at all, that is. It seems more likely that Vince McMahon throws darts at a copy of WWE magazine and whatever divas he hits get to wrestle in a five minute match. Unless, of course, we’re talking television in which they get half of that time.

Cena and Kane have an interesting storyline going, but no one believes this is going anywhere other than giving Cena a top tier storyline while they wait for the Rock to be around more often. I love Kane, I always have, but I could care less about this right now. I’d rather see Kane working with someone who has a capacity for selling and a capability to make what is happening seem important. Between Cena’s lack of selling and his half-hearted, half-comedy, all-bullshit faces that he makes, I can hardly keep my eyes focused on the screen. How am I supposed to take this guy seriously when it appears quite obvious he is phoning it in and doesn’t take himself seriously?

Oh, and I’m supposed to care that he’s facing the Rock at Wrestlemania? I care, in the sense that I want to see the Rock again. I’d be just as hyped if the Rock was coming back to wrestle Zack Ryder. The only thing about Cena that keeps me interested in this match is hoping to see the Rock beat the ever-loving hell out of him. Please, please, Dwayne, throw a few potatoes.

Brodus Clay went up against Drew McIntyre. Wow. Enough said.

Finally, we got to see CM Punk defending the WWE Title against Dolph Ziggler with Johnny Ace as a special outsider referee. What a cluster this match was. First of all, I think Punk is an amazing talent and Ziggler is really on the rise. That being said, this match was incredibly below the standard that should, and is, expected of two athletes of this caliber. It is hard to tell if this match was a victim of Punk and Ziggler or of the horrendous angle which was involved with it. Following this match, Ziggler hasn’t continued getting his push so it raises a few eyebrows. Out of a possible five star rating, I gave this match a solid 2.5 Not good enough, and it really should be much better.

Now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the Royal Rumble match itself. Royal may be an overstatement. This was more of a mid-card, nostalgia Rumble from numbers 1-20. It was filler, it was half-assed and it was reminiscent of Stone Cold Steve Austin’s first Rumble victory in 97 when half of the entrants were borrowed talent from Mexico. This speaks volumes, not only about WWE’s lack of roster depth, but of their failure to build new stars. What the hell is happening here? No wonder they went down from 40 to 30. They couldn’t find enough worthwhile names to fill the roster.

Everyone and their mother believed Chris Jericho was winning the Rumble. Aside from his statement on Raw when he said that, at the Rumble, “The world as you know it is coming to an end.” They seem to have forgotten that when they gave Sheamus the nod. Rumor has it that the outcome was changed shortly before the PPV which, if true, is eerily similar to previous short term decisions made by McMahon and his team based less upon what is best for the company and more upon swerving the so-called “smart marks” and “internet fans.” Seriously?

I like Sheamus, but they really left Jericho dangling out there. He had to come out on Raw the next night and basically explain what his comments had meant. The angle between he and Punk could certainly be a hot one, and I am hoping it is, but right now my confidence in WWE’s ability to build is severely shaken. I have confidence in Punk and Jericho, I have little confidence in the creative team behind them.

So the Royal Rumble has passed, but we’re coming out of the gate with more of a limp than a quick stride on this road to Wrestlemania. There is still time to correct it, there is still time to build this into something remarkable. Don’t ever count them out when you’re approaching Wrestlemania, but right now, I want to see a lot less hype and a lot more substance before I’m willing to commit to believing in this being the biggest Wrestlemania ever.

The Future Legend

The wrestling world is flush with incredible talent.  Some talents are promoted, pushed and given the spotlight whether they deserve it or not.  Others fight, scratch and claw their way to the top where they belong to be.  Still others, regardless of how talented they may be, are never granted the chance or presented the opportunity to step up and show us all of the amazing things that they can do.  Female wrestlers have an even more difficult ladder to climb with a lot more loose rungs that could deposit them in the basement if they don’t move quickly enough.  For some reason female wrestlers have historically not been paid the respect they deserve and, in many cases, are treated as afterthoughts.

WWE has a long history of dismissing female talent and treating them as expendable.  TNA / Impact Wrestling has, arguably, treated their female talent a little better at least in respect to granting them time and developing storylines for them.  Despite TNA’s efforts, their Knockout division is not as entertaining as it used to be and their direction seems to be mirroring the path WWE followed:  less matches and more skin.  Even still TNA grants their female talent a lot more time in the limelight than WWE does in its ridiculous one minute Diva battle royals.  This is why incredibly talented performers like Gail Kim, for instance, choose to go to TNA for less money.  They love the business, they love to wrestle and at least in TNA they’ll get a chance to do that.

Then there are other women.  The ones who for some reason don’t fit into the mold of TNA or WWE.  Perhaps they don’t appreciate the idea of being pretty bodies first and wrestlers second.  Maybe they don’t understand the correlation between putting on fantastic matches and the frequent necessity to wrestle in bikinis or lingerie.  For some of them you can’t put your finger on the reason why they aren’t standing at the top of the wrestling world.

One of the most talented, physically dominating and entertaining female wrestlers in the world was in and out of WWE.  She was in TNA but never given her due and now exists as one of the most prominent female names on the independent scene.  Her name is Melissa Anderson.  You may know her as Raisha Saeed.  You may have seen her as Alissa Flash.  She is best known and at her most electric as Cheerleader Melissa.  She is currently the Shimmer Champion.

In an age when mainstream female wrestlers seem to necessitate appearance over skill, Cheerleader Melissa is a standout.  Not only is she one of the most beautiful female wrestlers but she is also incredibly gifted in the ring.  In 2004 she was the first ever female recipient of the prestigious Cauliflower Alley Club’s “Future Legend” award.  She has held major titles in multiple wrestling organizations and was ranked #4 on Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s “Best 50 Female Singles Wrestlers” of 2010.

Cheerleader Melissa has been involved in some truly remarkable matches.  Watching her work with MsChif was exciting, her feud with Wesna was awesome and if you haven’t witnessed her in the ring against Mariko Yoshida you’re really missing out.  Melissa captured the Shimmer Championship on October 2, 2011 at the tapings for Volume 44 when she defeated Madison Eagles.  The “Future Legend” DVD is an excellent way to check out some of her matches, or you could just head over to Youtube where a search for Cheerleader Melissa will pull up not only many awesome matches but fan made music videos and some of her more exciting moments in the ring.

It is exceedingly thrilling to watch Melissa step into that ring.  In one match alone you will watch her perform moves not only that you’ve never seen female wrestlers pull off, but ones that men don’t perform either.  There is no denying that Cheerleader Melissa is the total package.  She possesses everything that you want to see in a wrestler, be they male or female.  She has the “it” factor, she has the ability, she has the talent and if I had the option between watching her wrestle a cardboard box or watching some Divas or Knockouts roll around in their underwear I’d take Cheerleader Melissa any day of the week and twice on Sunday.

Cheerleader Melissa gives hope to what women’s wrestling can be.  Through her hard word and dedication she represents a large portion of the wrestling industry that is hell bent on showing that women wrestlers aren’t just T&A and they aren’t disposable.  Through her matches Melissa exhibits that not only can women compete on the same level as the men but they can also blow the guys out of the water if you give them the chance.  Melissa truly is an icon of what a female wrestler can and should try to be.

Old School

The first time I ever sat down to watch a wrestling pay per view I had no idea what I was in for.  I’d never watched before, I’d never been interested before.  Frankly I went along because my friend was having a viewing party and when you’re eleven years old you don’t want to be left out.  I was drawn in almost immediately.  By the second match of the night I found myself wondering just how I’d managed to make it eleven years without seeing this before.  All of those Saturday and Sunday afternoons spent toiling around, bored and aimless with nothing to entertain me meanwhile this was airing and I hadn’t even the slightest clue about it.  I’d heard about it.  I’d heard it was fake and I’d heard it was stupid and at eleven I considered the opinions of other eleven year old’s to be pretty valuable.  A lesson was learned though, a lesson which remains true today in so many different areas of life:  most of the time the thing that everyone loves can stink, and the think that everyone hates can be awesome.  Either way, from that day forward, I was hooked on wrestling and it is an affair that has lasted for the past eighteen years of my life.

Wrestling today would be almost unrecognizable to my eleven year old eyes.  So much has changed, the industry has rapidly moved away from the strong, long matched which told a story, worked a pace and kept you hooked and waiting to see what would happen.  Promos took place backstage and lasted one to two minutes and were usually just about the match at hand.  The matches themselves were slower paced, building towards the big finish unless of course they were PPV but there was only four or five a year so they felt special and instead of deciding if you wanted to watch you knew that you had to watch.  Who wanted to miss the big showdown?  You never saw the major names clashing on free television unless it was a very special night and in keeping things that way it made those PPV matches all the more necessary to witness.

Your commentators were invested in the show.  These guys made it seem like every match you were watching was the most important thing you’d ever see in your life.  They threw in some humor, some wit and layered everything with a deep field of knowledge on wrestling psychology.  You knew it was fake but it all felt so real when everyone was playing their part properly.  The great commentators of their day have mostly gone now, or are no longer involved in the business.  Gorilla Monsoon was a personal favorite of mine.  I loved his time with Bobby Heenan, and even his perhaps lesser known time with Johnny Polo (Raven.)  It all seemed so special back then.

Maybe things change with age, perhaps wrestling is now just the result of the same course it was always on but these days that feeling has gone from me.  I don’t sit down to watch a PPV with those butterflies in my stomach, I don’t tune into Raw wondering what exactly is going to happen.  In most cases you can predict the outcome because it is the same as it usually is.  There are moment that feel special.  Incidents which occur like flashes of greatness in an otherwise dark arena.  CM Punk has reminded us of the way wrestling could matter if the interest existed to perpetuate this cycle.  Of course the fear looms on the horizon and while WWE delivers us something we seek so desperately there is the worry of waiting for the other shoe to drop.. more about this in my column later this week.  So is wrestling still special, does it still awaken that excitement inside of you?

Sometimes I miss the old days, the old school of wrestling.  So many of the great names of those days have left us now by one tragic way or another.  Vince McMahon has transformed himself from the mogul of a wrestling company into the CEO of an entertainment company that seems to be ashamed of the very business that brought him all of his fortunes.  Twelve or thirteen PPVs a year seem almost as commonplace as Raw every Monday.  So why do I keep watching, and why do you?  Perhaps because when we fell in love with wrestling it showed us something and from time to time it shows us a little glimmer that it still exists as pristine as it comes to us in our memories and that someday, maybe soon, it could erupt once again and remind us why we started watching in the first place.  One can always hope.

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