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The Bischoff Family

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck 

 

If you read the article title and hoped for me to talk about Garrett Bischoff, you may leave now.

The Bischoff of topic is Eric.

Arguably one of pro wrestling history’s greatest minds, the man worked his way up from the corporate office to become the face of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), an organization that almost put Vince McMahon and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) out of business in the late 1990’s.

He first made an impact as a backstage interviewer and announcer in the American Wrestling Association (AWA), which allowed him to get a job for WCW, where he’d eventually change the wrestling world. After he positioned himself as Executive Vice President, he turned into a pivotal character and introduced the genius concept of television as he mixed the mainstream “New World Order” storyline with fast-paced ring action from international stars in Mexico. Before long, he’d be directly involved in the nWo storyline as their manager.

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Brand Split Decision

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

Photo courtesy of YouTube.

By Anthony Zevoteck 

 

Randomly, one Wednesday this past May, WWE shook the wrestling community when Shane and Stephanie McMahon both announced via social media there’d be a roster split to create two completely different shows with Raw and SmackDown.

The news was coupled with another announcement that SmackDown would be moved to Tuesdays and to air live, which would start Jul. 19.

Expectedly, the double bombshell was met with equal cheers and jeers from WWE fans alike. For longtime fans, this wasn’t new territory, as WWE had once split the roster before in 2002 upon a sudden influx of talent from the defunct World Championship Wrestling and Extreme Championship Wrestling promotions. It was also due to the fact that at the time, four hours of weekly television time was too little to establish new talent and called for a difference between shows.

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From Bulgaria With Fear

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

If I began to describe a six-foot tall, 300-pound man possessed with the ability to attack his foes with furious strength and also fly around like a human wrecking ball, you’d probably think it’s the latest James Bond villain or my newest created superstar on WWE 2K16.

That’s not the case however.

The man previously described is best known as current WWE United States Champion Rusev, the big Bulgarian whose already had an impressive career complete with a long once-undefeated streak, a lengthy US Title reign and a freaking tank entrance at WrestleMania 31 before he got to work with John Cena in what fans considered one of the show’s best matches.

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The Man With “Strong Style”

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck 

 

 

If you watched NXT TakeOver: Dallas over Wrestlemania weekend, then you saw one of wrestling’s all-time greatest matches.

Shinsuke Nakamura’s NXT debut against Sami Zayn quickly became regarded as Match of the Year four months in. These two laid everything on the line and gave the fans a spectacle of epic proportions.

“The King of Strong Style” made his pro wrestling debut in August 2002 and everyone knew that someday the world as we knew it would change. Nakamura made his start with New Japan Pro-Wrestling and continued to work for them for the majority of his career.

On his way to gaining multiple championships, he took time off from wrestling to improve his in-ring skills and gained the knowledge he’d need to become one of the world’s biggest stars and even trained with Brock Lesnar to increase his muscle mass.

At age 36, Nakamura made a bold move and left his home country that provided him with global fame to sign with WWE.

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Open Your Mind To A Divas Tag Team Championship

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck 

 

 

Tag team wrestling – regarded as one of pro wrestling’s best forms, allows multiple wrestlers to work together and come up with fitting movesets for fast-paced in-ring action. When performed right, it can make fans excited, especially when their favorite team gets the “hot tag.”

For a long time, it has only been the men who get Championships to display any tag team excellence. The women haven’t gotten that chance since 1989, yet how many times have we seen a two-on-two or three-on-three Divas tag match?

For many years, this topic has been thought of as unnecessary or ridiculous, but nowadays, there’s a strong case for it.

The branded “Divas Division” has seen its ups and downs (mostly the latter) over the years with poorly written storylines and characters with “all hair and no care” or “all face and no grace.” There was a time that little fans cared about the Divas and looked at their in-ring time as a bathroom break.

In the modern era, we’ve seen a resurgence of genuine fan interest in women’s wrestling thanks to the uprise of hard NXT workers like Charlotte, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Bayley. There was a time where any of those four ladies could be counted on to steal the show and were thus, even given the main event of a WWE Network Live Special. 

In 2015, with a higher demand for women’s wrestling, the main roster tried to emulate this by bringing up three of those four NXT ladies and teaming them with and against some already-established main roster Divas, all branded the “Divas Revolution.” Although this was an experiment that had its few highs and many lows, the aftermath has started to show some positives that came of it.

It seems lately there are too many Divas going after one Title and causes a lack of fan interest because of mindless feuds over a Title that honestly doesn’t change hands often.

With a stacked roster with talent like Paige, Natalya, Tamina, Brie Bella, Alicia Fox, Cameron, Naomi, Summer Rae, Lynch and Banks, you have all these ladies (with the exception of two) currently involved in a feud for the Divas Championship. Give them another Title to compete for. Give other Divas matches some meaning.

Don’t forget, there’s even more talent on NXT due for an eventual call-up, like Bayley, Asuka, Eva Marie, Nia Jax, Carmella, Alexa Bliss, Dana Brooke, Emma. Some of these ladies are already notorious as duos – Naomi/Tamina, Brie Bella/Alicia Fox, Emma/Brooke, Jax/Eva, etc. They can easily fill spots necessary for such a Division.

Many fans will probably disagree with this based on the grounds that the men should get another singles Title to allow more guys opportunities to get over with fans. I fully understand that point of view, because I’d absolutely love to see the day where the Cruiserweight or Light Heavyweight Championship are resurrected. However, with that not happening anytime soon, give that spotlight to the women.

They could easily knock this out of the park. New ideas give ladies new motivations, new reasons for fans to care about them and thus, they would go hand in hand. Maybe a Diva isn’t primed for a Divas Championship match and can develop skills in a tag team until she is. Either way, there need to be a second level for the Divas because the storylines alone aren’t enough to go off of.

There’s an unexplored side of modern WWE waiting to be discovered, almost 30 years hidden away.

WWE, give a WWE Tag Team Divas Championship a chance.

The Lasting Legacy Of “Yes”

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Though it was over a week ago, the events of Feb. 8, 2016 will be one that WWE fans will always remember – Daniel Bryan being forced to retire from in-ring competition.

How can we possibly forget social media whirling in a tailspin of emotional headlines that spawned sadness, confusion and skepticism all over?

Bryan first gained notoriety in Ring Of Honor as a “founding father” who wrestled in the promotion’s first-ever main event and had classics aplenty with guys like Austin Aries and Homicide. What got him over then was his pure technical style and relentless in-ring nature.

His WWE run started in 2010 on the inaugural NXT. Though it took him a while to tap into his charisma and mic work, we now look at him as one of the business’ best, all because of the word “Yes.”

Without a doubt, his career moment will always be winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX, defeating three men in two matches to do so.

The sad part about it all is that after that glorious moment was when it started going downhill, the latter part of his WWE career more synonymous with the sidelines than the top of the card and was soon stripped of the Title. Fans sat patiently, hoping for good news that Bryan could get back to the ring and we could return to the ultimate underdog story that struck WWE television between mid-2013 and mid-2014.

There was a taste of that last year when Bryan won the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a grueling ladder match at WrestleMania 31, but an injury again forced him to relinquish the belt.

Here we are in 2016 and the unfortunate news has still not settled in our stomachs yet, even after all the “Daniel Bryan” and “Yes!” chants throughout Bryan’s ever-classy retirement speech. He never looked more at ease in his home state, sporting a trimmed beard and haircut, reminiscing in great fondness a 16-year career that brought him happiness, joy and fulfilling a life dream.

Knowing that someone could retire from the job they love with acceptance and happiness makes it easier for us fans to accept, as we saw nothing but love on social media the next day. Everybody seemed to know about Bryan even if they never watched a WWE show in their life.

Needless to say, Bryan will always have a lasting impact in the WWE. His short height and average weight (by WWE’s standards) opened doors for other “indy darlings” like Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe to prove that they too could headline shows. WWE’s future has never looked so bright or diverse.

Bryan’s underdog rise to the top shows us that anything is possible if you keep going, stand up to authority when they’re wrong and do things the right way. A key part to it all was that Bryan was so over with fans, they actually helped him get to the WrestleMania XXX main event (something not even initially planned) by “hi-jacking” shows and social media, pleading for Bryan to get a chance. Fans influenced the product. How crazy is that?

When it comes down to it, Bryan was just a simple man from Aberdeen, Washington. However, his resiliency taught us to always fight back. His ferocity showed us that when a man was pushed too many times, no matter how calm, he’d do anything to achieve his goal.

There’s no doubt that Bryan’s name will soon grace the WWE Hall Of Fame, rightfully along with other names known for paving the future.

However, let’s not make that happen too soon. WWE has a tendency to quickly induct retirees and not allow fans to organically react to the news of an unexpected HOF induction.

Bryan will go down in history as one of the most charismatic and passionate superstars of all-time. He ate, drank and breathed this industry and ruthlessly put his body on the line to entertain millions, that very risk that cut things short, but the least we could do is pay Bryan back with the same thing he gave us – gratitude.

A “Phenomenal” Debut

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

 

The wrestling world had been abuzz with rumors since the year started that “The Phenomenal One” AJ Styles had signed with WWE, moments like these reminding us how wonderful this industry could be.

Rumors turned to reality this past Sunday when Styles debuted in the Royal Rumble match, his first WWE step met with a crowd ovation that nearly tore the roof off. As the third entrant, he rushed the ring with a swagger that showed everyone he belonged, lasting 28 minutes until an unceremonious elimination by Kevin Owens.

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Let’s Get Ready To Royal Rumble

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

It’s that wonderful time of year again, where dreams are made and hopes are destroyed with Wrestlemania not far down the road.

Yep – the Royal Rumble.

The Royal Rumble match is easily my favorite event of the year, since it brings the excitement of finding out this year’s definite WrestleMania main eventer along with the general nostalgia of surprise returns.

It’d be an understatement to say the last two Rumbles have met great fan criticism with Batista (2014) and Roman Reigns (2015) winning – two babyfaces who weren’t “over” and forced WrestleMania plan changes both years.

This year, Vince McMahon has set Reigns up well as the source of his vengeance, giving the valiant babyface the biggest Rumble obstacle yet – defending his WWE World Heavyweight Championship in the actual match against 29 other superstars. I like this move because it establishes McMahon as a pure evil genius while adding more intrigue to the match.

The fun part of it all is that this gives an unpredictability factor that’ll allow for social media to come abuzz. Who’ll return? Do they have a shot to become Champion?

To add to this “buzz,” I’d like to take a look at my top five guys who could benefit from this sudden opportunity to leave the Rumble as Champ.

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Every Rose Has Its Thorn

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

 

Most of us have learned the hard way that too much partying can be bad.

Those of us familiar with NXT from 2012 to 2014 will fondly remember a deadly superstar named Leo Kruger. Many wins and some excellent feuds led the South African to become one of NXT’s brightest stars and a keen fan favorite.

In May 2014, WWE fans were overcome by a storm of flamboyancy when a repackaged and renamed Adam Rose debuted. The partying prophet racked up mid-card wins aplenty and put together an impressive streak that led people to believe that he was on the brink of breaking through to the scene of midcard championship contenders.

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And The Slammy Goes To…

Photo courtesy of Pro Wrestling Wikia Page.

Photo courtesy of Pro Wrestling Wikia Page.

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

The end of 2015 is upon us and that means one thing: the Slammy Awards have arrived.

A nearly 20 year tradition, WWE’s show of celebrating “the best of the best” has always been my favorite just out of seeing if who I like get a “golden grappler,” also making Raw more fun simultaneously.

This piece explores my hopes for 2015 Slammy winners.

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