Saturday, April 19, 2014

One-on-One: The Future Stars of WWE

Greetings everyone!  Welcome to the newest Enuffa feature - One-on-One, where I'll pose a question to one of my wrestling pals and we'll each give our thoughts. 

This week my friend Jim and I talk about who we think are the future stars of WWE.  This year's post-'Mania RAW episode felt like a season premiere of sorts, with new stars debuting and young WWE talent being given the spotlight.  We'll see where it goes from here, but as of now the WWE product feels fresher than it has in a long time (I'd liken it to 1998 when the Austin era began in earnest).

Question: In 5-10 years who do you see as the top 5-10 guys in WWE?

Jim: To me, the biggest star of the next ten years won’t be a person at all.  For the second time, the real biggest star will be a place: the Performance Center at WWE Full Sail University, the home of NXT.

For years, the real biggest star in the world of professional wrestling was the NJPW dojo, in Sendai and later Tokyo.  Look at the great performers who survived to conquer: Asai. Hashimoto. That-shithead-I-won’t-name-but-was-an-incredible-wrestler. Fujinami. Joe. Shamrock. Melissa. Liger.  Too many stars to mention, really.

The thing that doesn’t get mentioned much about the New Japan dojo is its commitment to wrestler safety.  You’ll get hurt there, sure.  But graduate and you won’t get hurt much later, or hurt others much later.  This is a very good thing.

Full Sail wants to be the NJPW dojo.  And it’s already getting there.  Look at the current training staff.  Want to be a striker?  Sara Del Rey!  Want to be a power grappler? Nick Dinsmore!  Want to be a technical wrestler?  Ricky Steamboat!  Want to cut a promo? Dusty Rhodes!  Want to learn all of that stuff in a safe environment?  Google “NXT mat”.

That place will make stars, hell it already has in the Wyatt Family in particular, and that makes the place a star.

If I have to pick someone currently there that’s a “lock” major star, I’ll say Paige.  She’s gold, baby.  But it’s the place.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Guest Column: I Love You, Pro Wrestling - by Jim Fitch

Editor's Note: I made friends with a couple of dudes over a decade ago that were probably as serious about this silly fake fighting stuff as I was, and definitely as analytical.  Each of them has achieved great success in their respective fields (much more than I have in mine, I assure you), and the fact that I personally know two such highly intelligent fellas who are as passionate about pro wrestling as myself is a testament to how far-reaching this "male soap opera" really is.  Tonight's guest column is from one of these guys, Jim Fitch, a Senior Legal Writer with Thomson Reuters.  In the coming weeks I'll be posting some discussions with Jim about various aspects of the wrestling industry, but for now I'll let him have the floor, so to speak.  Enjoy!

There are seven stages of grief, supposedly.  For a wrestling fan of my vintage (I am 44 now), there were really just three stages of development for want of a better word, and for me none of them contained grief at all.

In real terms stage one was when my Dad told me “professional wrestling is when the bad guy wins and then the good guy wins”.  It remains for me the truest expression of the perfect 19th-century melodrama that is wrestling at its best.  “Look behind you, puppet Prince Kindness!  It’s the big mean dragon!  Puppet Prince Kindness, why won’t you just LOOK BEHIND YOU”?   In a perfect story, the bad guy wins, and then the good guy wins.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

WrestleMania XXX & RAW Thoughts - The Daniel Bryan Era Begins!

Wow.  What a huge few days it's been here in Wrestling Nerdville.  WrestleMania XXX is in the books, as is the follow-up RAW.  Both shows were immensely significant on so many levels, and it'll take some time (and multiple viewings) to process everything and figure out just how important the events of the past two days were long-term.  But for now here's where my head's at....

WrestleMania XXX

First up, the pre-show Fatal 4-Way Tag match was a fun, action-packed bout and would've been a welcome hot opener on any card.  It really should've been exactly that on the actual PPV.  Nice to see The Usos retain, and even nicer to see Cesaro turn on Jack Swagger and begin his rise to singles stardom.  More on that later.

The PPV itself opened with the obligatory Hulk Hogan host segment, but Steve Austin and The Rock made surprise appearances, and seeing all three in the ring together was certainly historic. 

Unfortunately the segment lasted twenty-five minutes.  Twenty-Five.  Look, I get that this was a really special moment, having these three in the ring at the same time, but this is WrestleMania.  This night should by and large be about the actual wrestling and the promos should be kept to a minimum.  A promo is meant to sell a match or an event.  We've already purchased the event, so what are you selling us at this point?

Anyway getting past that, the opening match (which incidentally didn't begin until 38 minutes in!) was the much-anticipated Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H main event qualifier.  And as expected it was an epic duel.  Both guys played their roles to perfection and told a helluva Face-In-Peril story for 26 minutes.  As predicted, Bryan won the match clean to propel himself into the WWE Title match, but Hunter attacked him after the bell in the hopes of rendering him too injured to compete later on.  Made perfect sense and beautifully enhanced the drama of Bryan's quest.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

WrestleMania XXX Predictions!!!

Welcome to the official Enuffa Blog WrestleMania XXX Preview, where I'll dissect the card and my colleague Dan Moore and I will make our predictions for the show.

We've reached the three-decade mark of the monumental wrestling extravaganza known as WrestleMania.  It's the biggest wrestling event of the year when WWE attempts to pull out all the stops and present the most stacked card imaginable.

This year, for the first time in a long while, it genuinely seems like WWE is looking to the future.  In recent years the company has been much too reliant on names from the past to sell the show, and while that's still true to an extent, the big story around which WrestleMania is centered this year is The Rise of Daniel Bryan.

As of January, the company was all set to build yet another 'Mania card around big ticket returning stars while the current full-timers once again took a backseat.  But the fans spoke loudly and clearly that this was not acceptable for the biggest show of the year.  The fans wanted Daniel Bryan to be the main focus of the show, and WWE had no choice but to acquiesce.