Posts Tagged ‘wwe’

Wrestlemania 31 is this Sunday, and I am going to share my uninformed opinions and predictions with you all.

4-Team Tag Team Turmoil match:

With the Usos being out of this match due to injury, I am not overly excited about this match. Safe money would be on Kidd & Cesaro retaining, but I could see an angle where the Uso’s interfere to cost the champs the titles.

AJ & Paige vs The Bellas:

AJ & Paige win, with some bad blood spiced in, leading to a triple threat match down the line for the Diva’s title.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal:

I think this should be used to elevate someone from the lower card to mid-card status. I could see this being used as a way to rehabilitate Jack Swagger (if he’s even in the match), or they could plug Sheamus in here for a big pop for his return. (although I think it would be best if Sheamus came back as a heel and sided with the Authority). With people like Mark Henry, Big Show, and Kane in this match, I am almost certain that they will put over someone from the lower card. The winner of the NXT 4-man tournament is the likely choice.

Intercontinental Ladder Match:

This is clearly designed for Daniel Bryan to add value back to the IC Title, but I wouldn’t be totally shocked if Barrett somehow came out of this on top. I like the suggestion of my Getting Networked partner, Dustin Spencer, of putting the title on Bryan and having a ‘best of 7’ series with Bryan and Ziggler. Personally, I say put the IC title on Bryan, and the US title on Cena, and give them long runs, then unify the titles at Summerslam.

Rusev vs Cena:

Cena has done a lot for the company this year, including getting destroyed by Lesnar, a part-time champion, on several occasions. Plus, having Cena be the one to end Rusev’s winning streak gives Rusev some rub too. As I said earlier, having bigger stars compete for and hold the U.S./Intercontinental titles would add value to the titles, which will make them valuable assets when grooming tomorrow’s world champions.

Bray Wyatt vs Undertaker:

Now that Lesnar has ended “The Streak,” conventional wisdom would lead one to think that Wyatt comes out on top here. I disagree, because having Wyatt beat Taker would devalue what Lesnar did. Also, just being IN a Wrestlemania match with Taker adds to Wyatt’s credibility. And if somehow they have a classic match, Wyatt losing will not matter in the least bit.

Randy Orton vs Seth Rollins:

I feel like Orton goes over here, especially if WWE follows their tried-and-tested ‘even Steven’ booking strategy. This could very well be the match of the night, and a feud that could continue on and off for a while. If Rollins goes over here, there’s no way that he leaves Wrestlemania as the Champ.

Triple H vs Sting:

I don’t see how any outcome other than a Sting victory could be booked. If it was my decision, I would book this like Triple H/Undertaker 2, where Trips brutalizes Sting for the entire match, but the Stinger finds a way to win. I really dislike how Trips takes all of these losses at Mania (Taker, Lesnar, probably Sting), but it’s the smart play.

Lesnar vs Reigns:

Lesnar’s gonna get paid big time by either WWE or UFC, and I think that the outcome of this match will be based purely on if Vince McMahon or Dana White’s signature is on his next paycheck. I predict that Reigns goes over here, in a BRUTAL match, leaving the door open for Rollins to cash in and become champ.

Rollins leaving as champ would set up a 3-way title match between Rollins, Reigns and Orton (who would have beaten Rollins earlier on the card).

Or Lesnar could re-sign, and destroy Reigns…which would bring tears of joy to the IWC. I don’t see it happening.

***UPDATE: since I typed this blog, Brock Lesnar has signed a multi-year deal with WWE, so now all bets are off for the outcome of the main event. I suspect the timing of this was not coincidental!***

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This week, Dustin and I discuss 4 different episodes, ranging from WWE, Mid-South, GWF, and WCW. The discussion ranges from hilarious, to heated, as we address how African-American wrestlers have been treated in the industry of professional wrestling. Even if you aren’t a die-hard fan of pro wrestling, this is a must listen!

http://thefanspodcast.com/podcasts/getting-networked-episode-42-black-history-edition-2015

OH YOU DAMN RIGHT, its a double barrel edition of Getting Networked as Dan and the Hardcore Fish review not only Royal Rumble 1999, but also cover Royal Rumble 2015 and the fallout that has ensued online.   As always, follow both Dan and Dustin @danjohnny5 and @dspencecantlose – and continue sending in your suggestions for February reviews!

http://thefanspodcast.com/podcasts/getting-networked-episode-39-wwe-royal-rumble-1999

For those of you that are unaware, in addition to being an indie hip hop artist, I am also 1/2 of the Getting Networked Podcast duo, with my friend Dustin Spencer. We are both life-long professional wrestling fans, and dedicate many hours of every week to watching and reviewing wrestling PPVs from yesteryear (all of which can be found on the WWE Network) on our weekly podcast. New episodes are available every wednesday on Itunes, www.thefanspodcast.com and on the podcast app of your choice. Check us out!

With that being said, tonight WWE presents the 2015 Royal Rumble, and I will be locked in. The Royal Rumble officially kicks of Wrestlemania season, as the main event will be pretty much etched in stone after tonight. With rumors surrounding Brock Lesnar’s contract ending sooner than you may think, tonight’s results are uncertain. Here’s what I think will happen:

The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor):

The Ascension goes over here, hopefully bringing an end to several weeks of horrible booking since they debuted.

Paige and Natalya vs. The Bella Twins:

I really don’t care, but I suspect this will follow whatever storyline Paige and Natalya have going on Total DIvas.

The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) (c) vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow:

I’m gonna say that the Usos go over due to some dissent between Miz and Mizdow.

Brock Lesnar (c) vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins:

My wife thinks that Cena will win, but Rollins walks away the champ after cashing in. I would love to see that, but i think that Brock either wins tonight, or reclaims the title at the next PPV, setting up Brock vs the winner of the Rumble…

2015 Royal Rumble match:

The IWC may just self-implode if Daniel Bryan doesn’t win this year’s Rumble, AND/OR if Roman Reigns does win. I don’t think Reigns is ready to shoulder the pressure of being in the main event at Wrestlemania. If it was me, I would put Bryan over here, but have Reigns be the runner-up. OR give Reigns the heat of eliminating Bryan, and make his character more sinister. The fans would eat that up. But i guess that would only work if Cena wins the title tonight?

Feel free to reply with your thoughts and predictions!

Thanks to those of you that have already read the “Rap is Pro
Wrestling” blog from last week. At the time, I thought that it would be
a one-shot deal, but several of my readers said that they would be
interested in seeing me break down the parallels between individuals
from the music industry and professional wrestlers. So, I figure that I
need to start at the top…

jayz…Hov!
Jay-Z is the epitome of what we as entertainers strive for. A
true student of the culture, Shawn Carter honed his skills under
respected veterans like Big Daddy Kane, Jaz-O, and later was close
friends with the late (great) Notorious B.I.G. He has released some of
the most important songs and albums of his era, and is arguably the
greatest rapper of all time. His business ventures range from Rocafella
Records to the New Jersey Nets, and have him vastly approaching
billionaire status. For the sake of comparison, I’ll try and focus
primarily on Jay’s impact in the world of entertainment. Now you may be
asking yourself, “what wrestler is Dan going to try and parallel to
Jay-Z?” Some of you that know me well might expect a Ric Flair
comparison, since I feel that both are the absolute best ever in their
respective fields. But Hov’s parallel is…
hbk …The
Heartbreak Kid Shawn Michaels. Arguably the greatest wrestler
outside of Flair, Michaels’ career is a collection of controversy and
personal accomplishment that will stand the test of time. So, let’s get
into it!
 
While doing promo for “Reasonable Doubt,” Jay-Z would tell interviewers
that he planned to release 2 more albums then retire. After the success
of “In My Lifetime Vol. 2” (which by Jay’s prediction would’ve been his
last album), there was no way that fans, or Def Jam for that matter,
were going to let go of him that easily. To me, this is reminiscent of
how right after Shawn Michaels had ascended to the top of the World
Wrestling Federation, he suffered what was considered a career ending
injury. The difference is that while Michaels didn’t actively compete
for nearly 5 years, he would always pop up on pay per views, and would
never officially say “I’m retired.” Jay-Z kept releasing albums, most
notably “The Blueprint,” and then told the world that he was REALLY
retiring after “The Black Album.” He took a nice desk job at Def Jam,
and seemed to be content in retirement, until he came back with
“Kingdom Come”…
…just as Michaels returned to wrestling after having his first match
in 5 years against
Triple H (who we’ll get to later) at Summerslam in 2002.

When discussing the parallels between the two with other wrestling
fans, one of the common responses was that both men are more popular
than ever, even though both are considered to be in the twilight of
their careers. It can be argued that Shawn Michaels has stolen the show
at every Wrestlemania that he’s competed in since 2002, even when he
was not headlining the event. (the guy even had a good match with Vince
McMahon a few years back). Not many people will argue if you said that
Jay-Z has taken hip hop to the next level of exposure, relevance, and
profitability. And as for stealing the show, we need to only look back
7 months to early December, when Jay’s “American Gangster” stole the
spotlight from the largest selling hip hop album of the year, Kanye
West’s “Graduation.”

That last statement brings us to another point: their allies and/or
business partners. Michaels broke into the business as a part of the
tag team “The Rockers” with Marty Jannetty. He outperformed his tag
team partner, and showed the charisma and talent that all wrestling
superstars need. So, although it was portrayed in a fictional
storyline, in some ways, Michaels did leave the guy that he broke into
the business with hanging in limbo. As his career continued to
sky-rocket, Jannetty became an afterthought.

To sum up the relevance of that last paragraph, all I have to say is
this: Dame Dash is Marty Jannetty. Jay, Biggs, and Dame formed a label,
with Jay as the flagship artist. The thing that Dame & Biggs
failed to realize is that no matter how many times he put their names
into the rhymes, or let them dance in his videos, Jay-Z WAS Rocafella
Records. They all made insane amounts of money during their run
together, but when the Def Jam era of 5-6 sub-labels came to an end,
Jay was the only one left standing when the smoke cleared. Nowadays,
Dame Dash is about as visible as his boy Camron has been after his
run-in with 50 Cent. (hmmm, what wrestler would 50 be?)

Michaels opened a wrestling school during his retirement, giving up and
coming wrestlers a chance to hone their skills. To date, none of his
former students have won singles titles, and only one student has won a
championship (Lance Cade). Rocafella Records became a label that
consisted of Jay-Z and his homeboys, with just about everyone being
given a chance to release an album. From the original core roster, only
Beanie Siegal became relevant. I know what you’re thinking, but hear me
out…

…Kanye West is Triple H! The current heir to Jay-Z’s throne actually
started out producing records for the Jigga man. He had a pivotal role
in the classic album “The Blueprint,” which many will say is Jay-Z’s
best work to date. Some would say that Shawn Michaels best run in
wrestling history was as a part of Degeneration X, where he was
supported by an up-and-coming Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Triple H was
Shawn’s right hand man, lending a hand during vital matches, and help
write some of their most memorable skits. As Michaels seemingly walked
off into the sunset, Triple H began to rise up the ranks, and fill the
void left by Michaels, similar to how Kanye West kept the Roc on top of
the rap game while Jay-Z was calling the shots from the boardroom.

Both men have reinvented themselves, transforming into something
different from their early years. Shawn Michaels went from a
womanizing, manipulative spoiled superstar to a God-fearing,
spirtually-guided passionate veteran. Meanwhile Jay-Z went from a
throwback jersey to a three-piece suit, expanding his reach from Marcy
Projects to Suburbia.

In 2008, sold out arenas are filled by fans that spent their hard
earned money to see one of the all-time greats put on an unforgettable
performance. Both Shawn Michaels and Jay-Z give everything when it
comes to their live performances. Every time we say “there’s no way
that he can top last year,” they find a way to do it. From the U.K. to
Saudi Arabia, both men have left fans speechless, and almost in a state
of awe.

Hit me up with your thoughts

gunit4h

gunit

Over the past few years, a common response to ‘beef’ between two rappers has been “the industry is like WWE now.” Well, I’m going to agree with that point, but take it beyond disagreements between artists.

For those of you that don’t know, I am an avid fan of professional wrestling. Ever since my great-granddaddy first put me onto the NWA at the tender age of 5, I’ve been a loyal supporter wrestling. For most of my childhood, I won’t front, I thought that wrestling was real. The blood, the injuries, the climatic finishes, and everything had me sold. But, as I watched it more, and got older, I not only came to the conclusion that it was staged, but I also started to appreciate the wrestling culture for what it brings to fans everyday.

Think about it: these performers, promoters, stage hands, drivers, and announcers work 300 days year, risking injury, astranged relationships with their own families and peace of mind to entertain millions of fans worldwide. Pro wrestling is one of the biggest pay-per-view draws in the world, and last April 70,000 fans piled into the Citrus Bowl for Wrestlemania 24. But that’s enough of my lovefest for wrestling. Let’s get to the similarities between ‘rassling’ and rap.

Let’s start at the top. The top of the food chain on any major label is the label’s president or CEO. The head honcho at any radio station is the program director, so the entity that influences all program directors would have a serious impact on airplay. The heads of music channels like MTV, BET (I’ll tear BET apart at a later date), and other music channels have a huge say in who & what we see. Magazine editors decide what artists they’ll feature in their publications (again, that’s another discussion for another day). Those are a lot of people to remember, so from here on we’re going to refer to this conglomerate as ‘the machine.’

Vince

Well, pro wrestling’s equivalent to the machine is Vince McMahon. He has final say over everything related with the WWE. (My apologies to the independent federations such as TNA, but at the time of this your market share is too small to be relevant. And let’s be honest, you pretty much exist in the shadow of Vince’s WWE.) Vince and the machine are both all about whatever will make them the most money.

Anyway, the important point here is the concept. Independent artist who can create a buzz on their own are more attractive to the machine. The wrestling equivalent is the indie wrestler that starts out in local federations, busting his ass for small crowds, all while demonstrating superior talent, personality and charisma. Soon, the locals spread the world about him, and the shows start to get more crowded. Then the internet latches onto the hype, and you start seeing columns, blogs, and even bootleg videos of the wrestler’s work. At this point, someone is whispering in Vince McMahon’s ear to offer the indie wrestler a tryout. (the new World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk followed this path).

punk

punk

In both cases, if the response is good, then the artist/wrestler will be given more. That is, if the first CD sells well in stores and online, then the label is more likely to give the artist more promotional money, and a larger budget for future releases. That’s how an artist like Ludacris can go from 25,000 sold out of the trunk, to a deal on Def Jam, to a multi-platinum artist, actor and label owner. I’ve already mentioned CM Punk. His current position in the WWE is the result of the insane response that he gets from fans, and how his television segments draw in more viewers. Not to mention the fact that independent wrestling fans are the equivalent of backpacker rap fans: hard to please, but when you find a way to draw them in, it’s a great thing. Punk is like a mainstream artist that keeps his underground fans happy while making new fans in the mainstream.

That’s the positive spin on all of this. But what happens when an artist doesn’t sell well the first time out, or if the fans don’t respond to a new wrestler? Well…

If the new artist doesn’t sell well, then chances are that it could be a very long time before the artist gets a chance to do better on the second album. (nevermind the fact that it could be the label’s fault for how they promoted the artist/album) Some of the rap game’s promising acts never got a chance to follow up a solid first album, since that album didn’t live up to the financial expectations. (G-Dep comes to mind, even though rumor has it that he got high more than he went to the studio)

When the fans don’t respond to a new wrestler, his gimmick or his storyline, then the wrestler is going to either be taken off of TV, pitted against lesser/unknown wrestlers at house shows, or possibly released. The process of winning over the fans will have to start all over again, and none of us get any younger from day-to-day.

There are some key factors to the making of a successful wrestler or a rapper. First of all, Vince/the machine needs to provider their employee with the necessary resources. Its not fair to ask an artist to sell 1,000,000 records (or even 100,000) when you’re not getting the lead single played on the radio. Its impossible to win over wrestling fans without them getting to see you wrestle.

50

50

When Edge slept with his then-best friend Matt Hardy’s girlfriend, although Hardy was previously fired, the “you screwed Matt” chants from fans towards Edge at live shows practically forced Vince to re-hire Matt.

So to me, its no surprise that many artists (or their labels for that matter) seek out conflict with other buzz-worthy artists in an attempt to bring attention to what they are doing. Shawty Lo’s video series targeting T.I. is no different than when wrestlers cut promos targeting their opponent at the next pay-per-view. Diss records back and forth aren’t any different than one wrestler attacking the other on Monday Night Raw, then the next Monday that attackee becomes the attacker.

The crazy thing about this comparison to me is that, at least in the realm of pro wrestling, the fans above the age of 9 are aware that it’s a staged performance, and that the ‘drama’ of beef and disagreements are not genuine 90% of the time. But as rap fans, many of us are all too willing to accept every new rapper that claims to be a tough guy who moved weight as genuine. AND…we’re too quick to give a rapper the title of ‘conscious’ after they make a record that makes us think outside of the box. Some of these conscious rappers are bigger hypocrites than the mainstream rapper that they blame for ruining hip hop! (that too, is another blog for another day)

In closing, I hope that now you see the real reasons why the rap game is parallel to pro wrestling. I can only assume that there are members of the machine that dream of having the type of success that Vince McMahon has achieved with his WWE. Either way, I’ll be watching both to see what happens next.