RingSide Report

World News, Social Issues, Politics, Entertainment and Sports

WWE & TNA Random Wrestling Recap

By John Pitroff

Bret Hart finally returns to Raw: It is about time. I was wondering what had happened to the guy. However, I couldn’t really be less pumped for a WrestleMania marquee confrontation, unless you count last year with Mickey Rourke. I have never seen Bret Hart work. I was not watching wrestling when he was at the top of the company. Just like when Shawn Michaels returned, it was something totally new for me. I have been nothing but astounded with Michaels, but I really can’t say the same for Hart. Actually, it has been quite the opposite. I’m not impressed in any aspect of what makes a wrestler a wrestler.

Now, I realize he isn’t in wrestling shape, but, how bad is this guy on the mic? I can’t believe he was main event material with such terrible mic skills. I thought the first time it was because he was nervous, but this time around, he couldn’t seem to put a proper sentence together and just seemed so unnatural in his confrontation with Vince. It all seemed faker than that hug he gave Michaels when he made his return the first time. It came off as if he was acting. It really felt as though he was thinking, “I really don’t even want to be here saying these things, but it will be nice to have the paycheck.”

I am a bit nervous about what is going to go down at WrestleMania between Vince and Bret. It looks as though there will be no match, sense he can’t even take a punch. What was with that “attack” by Batista? My two year old nephew sold better than that when I gave him a powerbomb the other day. It is sort of sad to see, really. Hart is obviously not in shape to be in the ring, and it is depressing that WWE is attempting make something out of this McMahon/Hart storyline, squeezing it to the last drip of cash it can gain. But, what is the payoff going to be? I highly doubt they can work a match together. Will they tag with Cena and Batista? Will they be in their corners? Why was Batista even involved? It feels all so forced. Batista showed up because Vince and Bret won’t be able to have a one on one match, so he was interjected in this twelve year old storyline that he has nothing to do with. I guess I just wish that WrestleMania was about the performers who perform all the time, instead of bringing in guys who really can’t do much just to create a buzz. WWE has a way of surprising in a good way, especially at Mania, so I’ll keep an open mind.

Edge wins the Royal Rumble: I was glad when I read this. It is good to see Edge back, and I’m glad to see he will figure very prominently into WrestleMania. As I have mentioned, I am a fan of Edge. But, seriously, how bad does he look? He needs to get that upper body into shape in time for Mania. He looks less muscular than when he returned at Survivor Series 2008. I guess the Wellness Policy will do that to you. The same thing happened to Jericho. Edge also returned with the long beard again just as he did at SS 08, a look I think really works for him as a heel. Then, the next night, it was shaved down again. What is with this beard saga Edge? He changes facial hair more than gimmicks.

Edge winning the Rumble was more important than his beard, however. It was very interesting because it showed that WWE can still surprise the audience. Sure, I had read a few predictions that said Edge might return at the Rumble. But how many people actually believed it, and of those who did, how many thought he would win the thing? It was a well kept secret, even for the biggest insider in the wrestling game. Only days before, I had been reading the dirt sheets saying that Edge would most likely not be back in time for Mania. The same thing happened a few years ago with Cena. He returned at the Rumble from an injury when no one saw it coming. RVD made a surprise appearance last year as well. WWE does a good job in keeping the surprises hidden and well executed at the Royal Rumble. If only that could be said of the rest of their shows.

WWE apparently done with ECW: I couldn’t be happier. The entire abomination of the ECW brand name has been totally depressing. When WWE brought the name ECW back for their first ever return PPV, it was special. It wasn’t quite ECW, but it was pretty damn close. And, it was interesting, entertaining, and enthralling. It was a good show with a lot of action. I always appreciated the fact that WWE as a company would put on an ECW show. Plus, it nearly felt like it was an actual ECW show. Referees, camera angles, ring set up, guardrails, arena, and most importantly, the fans felt of the old ECW. It was all there. The only big gripe was the big involvement of WWE wrestlers. However, it could have been much worse. Well, no worries about that, it soon got a lot worse. If there is ever a good idea, WWE likes to run it into the ground until it is no longer a good idea, right Cena? After doing another ECW PPV, which the WWE style had crept into a bit more, WWE decided to bring back the name ECW full time.

It had Bad News Brown written all over it since the beginning. It was never ECW. ECW never played big arenas. The talent wasn’t right, the wrestler’s weren’t ECW wrestlers, it was all taped at a WWE show before a WWE show, the most important aspect of an ECW show, the fans, were just WWE fans. This latest incarnation of ECW had nothing in common with ECW except the three letters describing it.

I am so glad it is finally over. It is about time. I never like seeing a legacy spit on by overdoing it. That is what ended up happening. Does anyone really think Paul Heyman would ever want his name associated with what ECW had become as a WWE product? ECWWE made Paul Heyman’s bounced checks look good by comparison. Now that ECW has been canned, we can only hope the “brand extension” is next…

Impact to move to Mondays permanently: I have read this at a few websites, but it has not been “officially confirmed” yet. Actually, I read it about a week ago at The Torch, but never heard about it from any other wrestling news source. I saw it at that one site, but couldn’t find it anywhere else. Then, recently this week, the story hit other sources as well.

I don’t understand why this isn’t bigger news amongst the wrestling community. This really is one of the bigger stories of the last few years. A new wrestling “war” is going to be on soon. This will push both companies to have a better product, and wrestling fans will be the true winners. I am very excited for Mondays to be an all out war again. I can’t wait to see what TNA and WWE pull out to stay the next step ahead of the competition.

Thursdays just does not cut it anymore for Impact. TNA needs to be seen, they need to make an “Impact.” Moving to Mondays will do that. In fact, it already did with their previous Monday special show. It got people talking. It made a buzz in the wrestling community. Fans that hadn’t paid attention in years started to again, at least for one week. I realize that not every week is going to be full of new wrestlers, huge matches, insane surprises, big returns, or Jeff Hardy painting, but at least WWE is no longer the only game in town. At least we will have a choice as wrestling fans.

WWE interested in bringing Conan O’Brien as guest host: Although I absolutely despise the guest host idea, I think Conan could make it work. Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather see it go away than have Conan on it, but if WWE wants to keep it, at least have people worthy of doing it.

If WWE wants to do this Conan thing, they already missed the ball slightly. They should have had him on the week after his show ended. You know, when the story was hot and people cared. The Conan/Jay Leno saga was one of the biggest news stories recently. Seriously, I heard people talking about it nearly as much as Haiti. It was on the top of people’s minds, and most of Conan’s fans would have followed him anywhere on television, including a wrestling show. It would have been a great opportunity to bring in some new fans. Conan has a lot of young, hip fans and them being exposed to wrestling would be a good match. Conan can apparently show up on Raw without breaking his contract through some loophole of him being a guest host. I’m not sure of the legalities behind it, but it something I would like to see. Plus, he would be even more proof of how much of an idiot Sheamus looks like, especially as WWE champion. I think Conan is taller, but Sheamus is whiter and has even worse hair.

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