WWE Planning Latin American Title and Special?

-Rumors are starting to circulate about WWE’s next two specials. The first expected this Spring and or Summer will be the Womens classic to follow the CWC format. Also now following the UK tournaments success scouts are looking for top Mexican and to a lesser extent other Latin American stars to have a fall title tournament. The plan is a 16 person tournament that will air live from an arena in Mexico. Hopes are this tournament could help expand the WWE reach to Latinos. Vince has been trying to expand their Latin American presence for years he feels prior efforts have not produced as planned.

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WWE Hall Of Famer “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka Dead At Age 73

The WWE Universe has lost another legend.

WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross broke the news via his official Twitter page on Sunday that the legendary “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka has passed away.

According to “Good Ole’ J.R.,” Snuka lost a long bout with cancer this weekend and has officially passed away at age 73.

“Our condolences to the family and friends of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka who died earlier today after losing his fight with stomach cancer,” wrote the fellow WWE Hall Of Famer on Sunday afternoon.

Our condolences to the family and friends of Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka who died earlier today after losing his fight with stomach cancer. RIP🙏

— Jim Ross (@JRsBBQ) January 15, 2017

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Mensa Match Reviews: Evolve 75 edition

Evolve 75

7.5/10

My first look at a recent Evolve show was a pretty lackluster one to be honest as this reminded me a lot of ROH from around 2012 where they had some good guys but also a lot of crap guys who dragged the show down. With all of the talent on the indy scene why are guys like Chris Dickinson, Jaka & Ethan Page getting a spot? Why is Chuck Taylor of all people hanging around the upper tier of the card? Thankfully there is some good stuff on this show, like the main event which despite a lack of drama was a great technical show piece. Ricochet/Riddle & Cobb/Yehi are worth a look. Overall, this wasn’t a bad show I guess, but one that could’ve easily been a lot better.

Match List:

Fred Yehi Vs Jeff Cobb ***1/4

Chris Dickinson & Jaka Vs Peter Kaasa & Darby Allin *3/4

Ethan Page Vs Dick Togo **

Chris Hero Vs DUSTIN ***1/4

Matt Riddle Vs Ricochet ***1/4

Drew Gulak Vs Tracy Williams ***3/4

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2016 was Jericho

Chris Jericho wins United States Championship (inquisitr.com (2017)

“I’m gonna give you what you want. I’m gonna give you what you need. Sit back, as I give you, the gift of Jericho. Drink it in, man”. – Chris Jericho

As the award season has begun in Hollywood, it was only fitting, that on Monday Night Raw, WWE handed out their (unofficial) best superstar of 2016 award. The award came in the form of the United States Championship and the recipient was none other than the “sexy piñata” himself, Chris Jericho. This was the one championship that was missing off Chris Jericho’s list (no, not that list) of championships. It’s not hard to see, why Chris Jericho was given this honour, as his current WWE run has certainly been one to remember, and at the age of forty-six he has been the best superstar on WWE television.

Jericho’s current run has been one of the very best of his career, second only to his remarkable 2008-2010 run which saw him in perhaps, the greatest WWE storyline with the legendary Shawn Michaels. Prior to his return in 2016, Jericho’s runs in 2013, 2014 and 2015 whether, intentionally or unintentionally, focused on Jericho’s in-ring performances and him working with younger talents. Those years saw him wrestle great matches with the likes of Bray Wyatt, Neville, and Finn Balor (for those lucky enough to have seen their match on YouTube). In 2016 however, Jericho’s WWE run was the total package. In 2016 we were given great matches, great feuds and also great comedy (a lot of it).

Reinventing oneself is a key to a performer’s longevity and continued success. This can be said for an actor in Hollywood and also a WWE superstar. Jericho has been a prime example of a performer reinventing himself – from Y2J to the suit wearing, slow talking villain and then the bright, light jacket Chris Jericho. 2016 saw another character reinvention for Chris Jericho and to look at how Jericho reinvented himself and why he was the best performer of 2016, I will look at the three WWE shows I had the privilege of attending in 2016.

WWE Monday Night Raw (18th April 2016 – London 02 Arena)

The world saw Jericho’s performance on Raw as it was aired on televisions around the world; it was very simple but brilliant. This show was at the very beginning stages of Jericho using, what has now become a signature catchphrase of his “stupid idiot”. This new catchphrase, combined with his other legendary catchphrases (e.g. “best in the world at what I do”) helped create a very fun opening segment with the likes of Sami Zayn, Shane McMahon, and Dean Ambrose. Jericho and Zayn also competed in a very good singles match, which entertained the near twenty thousand in attendance. Although these segments were highly entertaining, it was what happened after the show and what the world didn’t see, that was the true highlight of this show. Once Raw was off the air, Jericho put on a show stealing performance. Jericho engaged in some highly entertaining improve-comedy with AJ Styles, his soon to be partner Kevin Owens and the fans. Jericho bragged about his incredible physique and claimed he had abs, but they were hidden by his big diaphragm and he also had a go at a fan who he believed spent far too much time on their I-pad and not enough time watching the actual show. Jericho’s off-air antics combined with his on-air performance made him the clear MVP of that night and his off-air antics gave the paying crowd something extra and made sure they went home happy.

WWE Live event (7th September 2016 – London 02 Arena)

Chris Jericho vs Roman Reigns – London

On this night, Chris Jericho wrestled Roman Reigns in the semi-main event, in what was one of the greatest matches I have had the privilege of seeing live. Jericho entered the building first and then proceeded to expertly draw in the crowd with a near five-minute promo, where he insulted England, individual members of the audience and gave the crowd all of his new catchphrases from “quiet”, “stupid idiots” and the “gift of Jericho”. All of this had the fans undivided attention and had them all cheering or booing, Jericho. Jericho then went on to have a brilliant match with Roman Reigns, which built to an incredible climax, full of twists and turns and brilliantly executed false finishes. Roman was ultimately victorious, but the key takeaway here was the crowd was loud and one-hundred percent invested from the first words that came out of Jericho’s mouth to the final bell of the match.

WWE Live event (4th November 2016 – Wembley Arena, London)

The final show I attended saw, Chris Jericho wrestle Sami Zayn. The match was not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, and in fact, it was not that great of a match, as the match I watched at Raw in April was a better wrestling match. However, if I were to compare crowd reactions this was far superior and what truly stood out was Jericho’s ability to do so little and have the crowd at a fever pitch. Jericho, once again began with a pre-match promo as he stood in the middle of the ring with “the list” (yes, that list) and the ten-thousand people in attendance wanted one thing. They (or should I say, we) wanted nothing more than to be put on “the list”. Jericho had the crowd on edge, anticipating the magical moment, only for him to then swerve us all and claim we were not good enough to go on “the list” (a trick he later used on Raw) and he even played on the old-age rivalry between Germany and England, by claiming Germany were good enough to go on “the list” which of course drew a sea of boos from the crowd. The match itself had Jericho demanding that the fans stop chanting “ole” and of course the chants only got louder and louder. Jericho even held the referee’s hands against his ears, so he could block out the “ole” chants and while the referee was trying to pull his hands away, ten-thousand people were laughing hysterically. Jericho’s new and famous piece of wardrobe was even used, as Zayn grabbed Jericho’s scarf and Jericho begged Zayn not to hurt his poor, defenceless scarf. It’s incredible to think that these were moments that stand out in my mind and these were the moments that had a sold out, Wembley Arena going crazy. This show was quite simply another master-class by the hall of fame bound, Chris Jericho.

These three, Chris Jericho performances show how he was able to reinvent himself by introducing new catchphrases, new props to entertain the fans and most importantly still wrestle at the highest level. Chris Jericho is a rare performer in today’s world of professional wrestling; he is brilliant on the microphone, brilliant in the ring and has over twenty years of experience. Jericho’s incredible performances in 2016 not only explain why he was the best superstar of 2016 but why he is an example for young wrestlers and veterans. Jericho’s run in 2016 has seen him reinvent himself and perform at the highest level at the age of forty-six, but he has also helped the future of WWE by working with likes of Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles and his best friend Kevin Owens, who along with Jericho have been the highlight of Monday Night Raw over the past four months.

Chris Jericho is the United States Champion and although this title victory may not be remembered as fondly as his Undisputed Championship victory when he defeated The Rock and Stone Cold on the same night. This Jericho title win seems to be, a reward from the WWE for being the best superstar of 2016. Chris Jericho certainly isn’t showing any signs of slowing down, but at the age of forty-six, it is clear he will not be around forever. If there is one piece of advice, wrestling fans should take on board, that is if you are given the gift of Jericho, just “drink it in, man”.

 

 

 

 

 

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Okada vs Omega: Follow That 2017

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

New Japan Pro Wrestling kicked in the door of 2017 with Wrestle Kingdom 11, an action packed wrestling event of the highest quality executed to perfection by every talent showcased on the card. It was the main event however that would bring down the house, setting the standard for not just the company or its biggest show but for professional wrestling as a whole going forward in 2017 after what some are calling the greatest match they have ever seen.

If you haven’t seen it sign up for NJPW World, go on YouTube or DailyMotion and find it. If you have AXS TV on your cable or satellite provider Wrestle Kingdom 11 will begin airing with this match featuring commentary by Jim Ross on January 13th at 8PM with a variety of replays to follow.

Having finally vanquished his heated rival Tanahashi the year prior and forcibly attaining his role as the unquestioned face and “new ace” of New Japan Pro Wrestling, Kazuchika Okada would compile an impressive list of victories in great match after great match throughout 2016, as he carried the company and the championship for most of the year. Though facing a new opponent in the form of Kenny Omega, Okada would find himself in a familiar position at Wrestle Kingdom 11, fighting once again not only to retain his title but to reinforce his position as the leader of New Japan as it continues its global expansion.

Kenny Omega sought to cap off a year long journey in which he transitioned from junior to heavyweight while racking up wins against top talent like Tanahashi and Naito in stellar matches. This new career path would see him become the first North American to win the fabled G1 Climax tournament and secure a spot in the main event at Wrestle Kingdom 11. His main event title match with Okada in the Tokyo Dome was the last hurdle to overcome before Omega could take his place as not only IWGP Heavyweight Champion or the international face of New Japan Pro Wrestling, but as the legitimate legend he already believed himself to be.

From the stylized entrances to the closing bell everything about the match was intense. Though the title was on the line and the match certainly served to elevate its prestige following the bout, it didn’t feel like a title match. Closing what was already a fantastic show that kept the momentum building bout after bout, Kazuchika Okada and Kenny Omega clashed in New Japan’s biggest spotlight as if their lives were on the line (and at times that very much appeared to be the case) as they attempted to prove to themselves, to the world and to each other that they were the best that the professional wrestling world has to offer.

The moves, the psychology and the storytelling were on a level very few have ever seen before. Each man’s technical prowess and toughness undeniable as they channeled their totality of career experience in the squared circle. They would unleash a bevy of bone rattling strikes and jaw dropping maneuvers as they constructed the crown jewel to Wrestle Kingdom.

If it had ended after 22 minutes it would have been a respectable main event to close out Wrestle Kingdom 11 but it didn’t. The match would last  another grueling 24 minutes and never lose an ounce of intrigue, intensity or excitement…in fact it would continue to up the ante to the amazement and adulation of the fans in the Tokyo Dome and the worldwide audience streaming it. Back and forth action, tables and top rope insanity were all intricately woven into the fabric of this thrilling story between two men who with this match demanded their inclusion in not only the discussion of best in the world, but best match of all time. The drama heightened in the closing moments as Omega would rally from Okada’s best shots continually trying to hit his finishing move, “the One-Winged Angel”, only to be denied and countered again and again until Okada was finally able to keep him down and earn an incredible and surprising victory.

Following this instant classic that was given an unprecedented 6 star rating by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, Kenny Omega would leave the world wondering about his next move posting several tweets that he was “stepping away from Japan” to make a decision on his future. Several online reports have suggested that his contract with New Japan expires on January 31st, the day on which SmackDown Live will air following the Royal Rumble. Could he be jumping to WWE?

His stock has never been higher after his G1 victory and now this incredible match with Okada. He’s now wrestled the three biggest stars in the company (Tanahashi, Naito and Okada) in a year in high profile matches and come up short in chasing the heavyweight title in the main event of their biggest show, so if he was scheduled to slide back down the card perhaps that would affect his decision to cash out now and join WWE. AJ Styles and Nakamura have had excellent runs in WWE thus far and even his old tag team partner Kota Ibushi had a fantastic showing in the Cruiserweight Classic as well as several other appearances on NXT.

It is also curious to note that not a single match for either of New Japan’s “New Beginning” events in February contains any member of Bullet Club. With the current storyline featuring the Suzuki-Gun faction could the absence of the Bullet Club be a precursor to a fan favorite turn for the notorious faction? Does Kenny Omega continue as their leader? If not, would Cody Rhodes assume that mantle? His debut and rumors of Omega’s departure occurring at roughly the same time may be more than coincidence, leaving New Japan scrambling as to what to do with the Bullet Club, having already seen their domestic popularity be eclipsed by Los Ingobernables de Japon.

The speculation on the future of Kenny Omega adds excitement to an already stacked month kicking off 2017 for wrestling fans. The fact is Okada and Omega went out in front of the world and showed off exactly what is cool and exciting about professional wrestling.  They bulldozed language and cultural barriers by telling an incredible story and captivating a worldwide audience with unique and stunning athleticism. The unwavering belief in their own abilities and the pride and passion for their craft shined through in what was nothing short of a 46 minute “F you, follow that” to the entire world.

Fair or unfair, this is the match every high profile bout this year is going to be compared to. So the question isn’t whether or not it’s the “best match of all time”, the real question is: “What, if anything, in 2017 is going to be able to top it?”

 

 

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Ryback Says John Cena Is Responsible For Ruining Alex Riley’s WWE Career

– On the latest edition of his Heated Conversations with The Big Guy podcast, former WWE Superstar Ryback went on a rant about John Cena, calling the longtime top WWE Superstar a “piece of sh*t.”

“He’s been a piece of sh*t to me since Day One. I was nothing but nice and respectful to him and I know Alex Riley just came out and [admitted he had issues with Cena] and when people hear what really happened with that, they’re going to lose their sh-t. Like, and I know, I have a pretty good idea of what happened with that and the guys in WWE. And, one, it’s f-cking hilarious. And, two, it’s hilarious what people will find out about John.”

“Because of John Cena and I swear to God, I swear to f–king God, because of John Cena, Riley’s career is over in the WWE for no f–king reason outside of John and his personal issues. Unbelievable.”

“Cena’s been poison to the wrestling industry. I told [co-host Pat Buck] this before. We talked about this before. And again, this is my opinion, but I think I’m pretty accurate on this is I think he’s done so much harm for so long to new talent to getting over, breaking out, over there.”

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New WWE U.K. Championship Title Belt Revealed (Video)

– Ahead of this weekend’s two-night, 16-man tournament to crown the company’s first-ever WWE United Kingdom Champion, fans were treated to a glimpse of the new WWE title belt.

Featured below is a video released by WWE via their official Twitter page on Thursday afternoon that shows off the new WWE championship belt.

WWE’s two-day tournament for the U.K. Title begins on Saturday, Jan. 14th and concludes on Jan. 15th, airing live on the WWE Network from the Empress Ballroom in Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

Feast your eyes on the brand new @WWE United Kingdom Championship courtesy of @MichaelCole @McGuinnessNigel & #BluePeter! @WWEUKCT pic.twitter.com/S1p8vGhslO

— WWE (@WWE) January 12, 2017

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