— WWE (@WWE) January 16, 2017
Now that we’re less than two weeks away from the Royal Rumble, ‘WrestleMania season’ is starting to take off. It’s far and away the best time of the year to be a wrestling fan, and a big part of that is WrestleMania weekend. One of the biggest events of that weekend is the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, and we now know that Kurt Angle will be apart of the 2017 class. Angle is one of the most decorated and entertaining wrestlers in WWE history, and also happens to be a legitimate Olympic Gold Medalist. The only question left for WWE fans: will he have one more match? I hope so, but either way, congratulations to Kurt Angle on his hall of fame induction.
Last nights Raw featured a 3 song concert by Wiz Khalifa and the two top tag teams losing to The New Day and Los Matadores, respectively. Sting finally “spoke” in response to HHH’s challenge and general bashing of himself and WCW, and even that was weird. It would have been a sub par Raw in general, but since we’re less than three weeks away from WrestleMania, it felt especially stale. There’s no way I could pick five things that I liked about this episode, but I’ll try my best.
1. At Least the IC Title Picture is Interesting
After another talking segment to open Raw, we were treated to two matches featuring four superstars who be vying for the IC title at WrestleMania. The first was BNB vs. Daniel Bryan and the second was Dean Ambrose vs. Stardust. While the merry go round of competitors for the IC title has been fun, I can’t help but think how much better this whole thing would be if the IC belt itself wasn’t treated like garbage for the last 1-5 years. WWE is making up for this by putting pretty much all their best workers in one match, and the build up has been fun because you know the in ring product will be great no matter what. R-Truth on commentary for almost a half hour was a little much, but both matches were solid, and a multi person MITB style ladder match that includes Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Luke Harper and a face painted Cody Rhodes can’t possibly be bad.
2. Paul Heyman, The G.O.A.T.
I have a feeling someone backstage is purposely messing with Heyman’s microphone because they know how much it’s going to piss him off and unleash his inner verbal beast. This was one of Heyman’s best promos EVER, and I hope no contract talks leak out ahead of Mania because after this promo I really can’t see Brock losing the title. If news leaks out that he’s definitely going to UFC then we’ll know he’s losing, but it if doesn’t, I’m having a hard time picturing a scenario where he loses. Heyman is the ultimate hype man, and here he mixes some old school pro wrestling theater with a little bit of shoot promo skills and sells the main event at the same time. It’s refreshing hearing Heyman speak so passionately especially after the rest of the show’s promos from Rollins, Orton and The Authority were so emotionless.
3. Bray Wyatt & The Undertaker
Yesterday I wrote about The Undertaker possibly coming to Raw last night to answer Bray Wyatt’s challenge, and I’m glad he showed up (sort of). The Undertaker’s nemesis’s stealing his urn is one of those turning points in Undertaker feuds. Mankind did it. Yokozuna did it. CM Punk did it. Every time somebody took his urn, his essence, they thought they had the upper hand on Taker, but he’d always resurrect and defeat them. This time’s it’s different, obviously. Undertaker is as close to the end of his career as he’s ever been, and he hasn’t faced a competitor as young and in need of a giant push since Randy Orton in 2005. Regardless of the outcome, Undertaker feuds are just so much fun to watch. They’re different than everyone else’s matches entirely, and almost seem to exist outside the WWE Universe. When Seth Rollins and Orton feud, you know you’re going to get duel promos and a brawl at some point. With The Undertaker, you have smoking urns and lightning being shot from the ceiling and thunder and voice overs from beyond the grave. It’s awesome. I think Wyatt should win at Mania, but I’m also just happy to have the Deadman back again.
4. Randy Orton
This probably should have happened the day after Fast Lane, but it was still a good brawl. My only question is where does Orton/Rollins go from here? I’m assuming they’re going to fight at Mania, but what’s the point? Orton got his revenge. He drew Rollins in, played him like a fool, destroyed him and forced him to leave the arena on a stretcher. What would they be fighting for at Mania? Unless a stipulation involving the briefcase is added, I’m not sure what kind of drama would surround this match. With that said, it was nice to see some aggression from Orton. When he’s on, he’s still one of the best guys on the roster with one of the best and most unpredictable finishing moves.
5. Connor “The Crusher’ Michalek
You can’t say enough about the WWE for doing something like this, and that video package made me cry some serious man tears. Congrats to Connor’s family, and congrats to the WWE for being awesome.
The Bushwackers Getting Inducted Into The WWE Hall Of Fame Proves That The WWE Hall Of Fame Means Nothing
— WWE WrestleMania (@WrestleMania) February 23, 2015
First and foremost, congrats to The Bushwackers on getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. If it actually means something to them then good for The Bushwackers, but their inclusion in the Hall of Fame proves that the WWE does not take the Hall of Fame seriously. We already knew this, especially with people like Drew Carey already in there, but now it seems like the WWE is just eventually going to put everyone who ever wrestled in there. For those of you too young to remember The Bushwackers, they were a tag team that dressed in matching camouflage outfits and marched to the ring while rotating their arms up and down. Occasionally they’d lick the fans faces at ringside. That’s pretty much the extent of their characters. They’re also responsible for this, possibly the most awkward GIF in the history of the internet:
If licking people’s faces and rubbing people’s dicks are all it takes to get you into the Hall of Fame, I expect future classes to get super weird.
First it was Macho Man Randy Savage, and now Arnold Schwarzenegger will be the second entrant into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2015. Arnold has been on WWE TV multiple times over the years, including a recent episode of Raw to promote his movie Sabotage. Arnold also inducted Bruno Sammartino into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2013. The choice makes sense, considering this year’s Hall of Fame ceremony and WrestleMania will take place in California, the state that turned Arnold from the Terminator to the Governator. I only have one request for Arnold’s speech:
Ouuuu yeahhh! The ‘Macho Man’, the man that was too hot to handle and too cold to hold, is finally going into the WWE Hall of Fame. It took longer than expected, but I’m glad Vince McMahon put whatever bad feelings he had for Savage behind him and finally decided it was time to induct one of the most legendary wrestlers in the history of the business. Last night following Raw, WWE aired a 25 minute preview of their Macho Man DVD, the first of it’s kind that will feature an actual documentary on Savage including interviews with his family and fellow wrestlers. It was just a sneak peak, but they get into Macho’s early days when he was creating his character, and it’s easy to forget just how memorable he was OUTSIDE of the ring. A lot of people like to bring up his matches and his promos, but the whole ‘Macho Man’ experience was something to see. It started with his entrance music, Pomp and Circumstance, a song that only Savage could have used so effectively. He would come through the curtain in his custom made robes, hats, sunglasses and ring gear, and your eyes were immediately drawn to him. His original valet, Miss Elizabeth, made the pair a real life Beauty and the Beast, and made Macho a much more sympathetic character during his baby face World Title run. His matches and promos were always top notch, if not insane, but it was all the intangibles Savage brought to the table that truly made him one of the greats. Congrats to Macho and the Poffo family. Nobody deserves it more.