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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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A True Wonder Of The World

By Anthony Zevoteck 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

The wrestling world was shaken to its foundation Apr. 21 when Joanie Laurer (aka Chyna) had tragically passed away. Grief was expressed as worldwide news outlets began to break the news.

When I was first asked to write this piece, I woke up to a text about the idea and hadn’t come “back to Earth” yet. I thought maybe the reason would be that WWE had let her back in the company in some capacity and as I glanced social media feeds, that sadly wasn’t the case.

Despite her recent gripes with WWE, there’s no denying her influence.

She was a major unsung heroine of the Attitude Era ever since she debuted as Triple H’s bodyguard in 1997. Vince McMahon wasn’t crazy about the idea that a woman could beat up men convincingly, but he gave her a chance and she went out to become the first WWE female to be known for her strength rather than looks/attire.

Not to mention that she was a founding member of D-Generation X, one of the era’s most influential factions. She was an integral part of their initial success and after Shawn Michaels left, she stood side-by-side with Triple H as a leader.

During this time, she also broke barriers as an entrant in the 1999 Royal Rumble. This was revolutionary and set a high mark for every woman there after.

After DX broke up, Chyna would leave her real mark in WWE.

She was perhaps best known for her reign as WWE Intercontinental Champion, beating Jeff Jarrett in a controversial “Good Housekeeping” match at No Mercy 1999, showing that women could do anything they wanted, even competing and winning a men’s Title. Even though the idea was criticized, the reign gave us some excellent promos and matches between Chyna and Chris Jericho, who’d defeat her for the belt, jumpstarting his WWE career.

She was also a comedic element in some Attitude Era storylines. Who could forget her time as Eddie Guerrero’s “mamacita” or Mark Henry’s date?

She finished out her WWE stint by becoming WWE Women’s Champion, but tensions with her ex-boyfriend Triple H and his on-screen/real-life girlfriend Stephanie McMahon was too much for her and eventually led to her departure. The true reason behind her departure is still up for debate, but it was clear her WWE time was up.

Lauren’s post-WWE life proved tumultuous, colliding with drugs, alcohol and domestic abuse. It had since overshadowed her in-ring career and despite her attempts to clean up, she never maintained that status.

Although many people have, I won’t speak negatively about her numerous adult films. She was fascinated with the industry and proud of her films. I can’t knock someone for doing what they enjoy. In fact, that makes it even more admirable.

Chyna’s legacy is felt and will continue to do so for many years. She showed an entire generation of girls that it was okay to have muscles and taught all of us that anything was possible if your mind was put to it.

Some day, we’ll see Chyna get inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame. Her in-ring contributions are way too important to let her outside career diminish it. Time heals all wounds and we can only hope that Triple H puts his personal feelings aside so we can honor one of WWE’s most recognized females.

I’m sure everyone fears that Laurer’s death is drug-related, but let’s not think about that. Rather, let’s remember her as a woman strong enough to compete in a man’s world and bodyslam all of them.

There’ll never be another “Ninth Wonder Of The World.” There never could be.

Thank you, Chyna.

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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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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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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A League To Lead Us

Image courtesy of WWE.

Image courtesy of WWE.

By Anthony Zevoteck 

 

 

In the wake of Seth Rollins’ recent devastating injury, WWE was forced to find a solution.

They placed the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the 2015 Money In The Bank winner, Sheamus, which was met with fans ready to riot because the Irishman hadn’t proven to be a main event player this year.

Suddenly like a Brogue Kick out of nowhere, we were given a foreign supergroup that has captivated us thus far.

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A Tournament To Decide The Future

Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck 

 

With the injury to Seth Rollins, the WWE was forced to think of a way to find a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

In what turned out to be a great last-minute decision, they chose to have a tournament to decide the outcome.

Being able to showcase your top talents in singles competition heavily for two weeks was a great way to break the monotonous six-man tag-filled shows over the past month that were starting to wear out.

I’m not a big Roman Reigns fan but in my opinion, it would’ve been logical for Triple H to declare that the tournament winner would face Reigns at Survivor Series for the Title and that winner would be Dean Ambrose. That’d be an amazing story that the fans could really get into.

This isn’t the first time a WWE Heavyweight Championship Tournament concludes at Survivor Series.

In 1998, at Survivor Series: Deadly Games, we saw The Rock walk away with the gold that night and it kickstarted what became one of the greatest careers we’d ever seen. Maybe someone could take advantage of this same opportunity and launch theirs to the next level?

On the first Monday and Thursday after Rollins was stripped of the belt, we saw the tournament’s first round take off. There was an elite group of men competing for this coveted honor. We saw guys likes Reigns, Ambrose, and Cesaro competing. We even saw underdogs like Titus O’Neil and Kalisto. One thing we knew for sure: we were in for some exciting matches.

The first round went as expected, with WWE Intercontinental Champion Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, Reigns, Kalisto, Ambrose, Neville, Cesaro and WWE United States Champion Alberto Del Rio picking up victories while Miz, Ryback, Show, Stardust, O’Neil, King Barrett, Tyler Breeze and Sheamus lost.

It was a series of matches that stretched from Raw to Smackdown and had WWE fans abuzz about potential winners and upsets. It makes watching the product even better when there’s an element of not knowing what’s going to happen next and that’s where the tournament is succeeding.

As we rolled into the second round, we were treated to some dream WWE matches such as Reigns Vs. Cesaro, Del Rio Vs. Kalisto, Ambrose Vs. Ziggler, and Owens Vs. Neville. Any one of these matches could headline most Pay-Per-Views for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. After a long night of great matches, we’d see Reigns, Del Rio, Owens, and Ambrose advance to Survivor Series to have their semifinal matches and move on to the end of the night for a chance at the belt.

Things got more intense on Smackdown when MizTV hosted all the competitors and even R­-Truth, who seemed confused as usual. A tag team match between the four main-evented the show and proved exactly what everybody already knew: this situation was combustible.

So that brings us to Survivor Series, where we’ll see the culmination of the beginning of the long road to recovery by WWE since losing Rollins.

In my opinion, it’s obvious that we’ll see Reigns and Ambrose win their respective matches and compete in the finals. Who else better to fight for the belt than the other two Shield members? In what’ll no doubt go down as one of the best Title matches seen in years, Ambrose will walk away Champion.

He’ll probably do so with a little help from The Authority either by choice or not, because let’s face it: The Authority hates Reigns. It’d be ideal for Ambrose to accept Triple H’s offer he first extended to Reigns which would provide a great story to be told once Rollins returns and assumes the babyface role to combat the heel Ambrose. That’d be best for business.

Dont forget about Mr. Money in the Bank Sheamus, as he could also easily claim the night his own.

What we’re seeing is an emergency situation that’ll either be a massive success or a horrific train wreck that we won’t look away from.

Personally, I already see huge success from this tournament, maybe not for the entire product, but most definitely for a single superstar. There could be a new star or we could see a current one fall from the sky. After all, anything happens in WWE.

Don’t Assume Life’s A “Breeze”

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

 

If beauty’s truly in the eye of the beholder, my eyes see much beauty in young Tyler Breeze’s career, even though said beauty can be destroyed by misinterpretation of those in charge.

In 2010, when WWE signed the 22 year-old Canadian superstar trained by Lance Storm, I assumed they didn’t see anything special seeing how there were several different ring name changes.

After vast soul searching, Tyler Breeze was born and WWE fans were introduced to a character that’d teach us the true power of a selfie stick.

While taking countless pictures along the way, Breeze showed us that he had a special set of wrestling skills. The man could fly around the ring while showcasing impressive technical skills. Feuds with top NXT talent like Neville, Sami Zayn, Tyson Kidd, Hideo Itami and current NXT Champion Finn Balor helped solidify Prince Pretty’s reputation as one of NXT’s most well-rounded.

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What Can We Build Without An Architect?

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

 

Every National Football League fan knows that when the starting quarterback of their favorite team gets a season-ending injury, it usually means the team has little chance of success for the rest of the year. Ladies and gentleman, the WWE have just lost their quarterback.

This week, we received unfortunate news – WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins sustained a bad knee injury, which actually puts it lightly, since when an athlete tears their ACL, MCL and medial meniscus simultaneously, it’s looked at as extremely severe and even career-threatening.

Ever since June 2014, Rollins has been heavily involved in many major storylines. After winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 31, Rollins has defended and retained against some of the biggest names in the business including Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose, Brock Lesnar, Sting, and Kane.

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Wyatt Family Values

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Anthony Zevoteck

 

 

I remember at age six when the dark, creepy, rat-befriending Mankind debuted in 1996 that he was “scary.”

WWE always has a knack for supplying terrifying characters to haunt our dreams, young or old.

These days, we’re seeing both the most ultimate and unique performers to scare the WWE Universe, with one group coming quickly to mind.

In spring 2013, we were introduced to The Wyatt Family, led by “The Eater of Worlds” Bray Wyatt and his “followers” – Luke Harper and Erick Rowan. The group quickly ran through the main roster, destroying the likes of Kane, Justin Gabriel, R­-Truth, and 3MB, setting the world ablaze.

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