Itâ<80><99>s been an eventful week in the WWE since I hit you all with the first edition of PnP. Fans have seen the WWE Championship change hands three times at No Mercy, the return of Sean Michaels at this weekâ<80><99>s episode of Raw and continue to ask the question â<80>” â<80><9c>What is the Matrix?â<80> (You die-hards out there know what I mean.)
Boy, thereâ<80><99>s a lot I could hit on this week that could surely polarize a few of you out there. I opined in my Take on Raw this week that we should be grateful for HBKâ<80><99>s return to help boost the star power on the brand â<80>” and that topic alone could take up an entire column.
But today, I prefer to discuss another topic that we at Wrestlezone have been reporting on, but doesnâ<80><99>t seem to be garnering a whole lot of attention in the fan world (at least from what Iâ<80><99>ve seen thus far.)
That limousine-ridinâ<80><99>, jet-flyinâ<80><99>, kiss-stealinâ<80><99>, wheelinâ<80><99> dealing son of a gun â<80>” The Nature Boy himself, Ric Flair.
Itâ<80><99>s still not exactly clear where things stand between Flair and the WWE, but at last report they werenâ<80><99>t looking good. Flair was allegedly upset over the use (or lack thereof) of his character and some reports had said heâ<80><99>d quit the WWE (a report he later denied). Others had him in negotiations that went badly when he showed up armed with attorneys for a meeting with VKM.
Either way fans are left wondering if a smiling Flair giving his signature â<80><9c>Whoo!â<80> repeatedly in the face of Vince (who at the time was trying to figure out which Superstar was his bastard child) will be the last weâ<80><99>ll see of The Nature Boy.
Now you can talk personal all you want about Flair all you like. The allegations of abuse, real-life feuds with other wrestlers, reports of road rage â<80>” I really donâ<80><99>t care.
No matter which way you slice it, no one wrestler has had as profound an effect on the business as The Nature Boy. No one character has been both so loved and so hated by wrestling fans. And no one worked the mic and cut promos better than â<80><9c>The Man.â<80>
Though he may be aging, Iâ<80><99>d certainly have to agree that with a talent like his, he was extremely underused by the WWE lately. With the exception of going off on Carlito months ago about having heart, the guy hardly gets to speak any more.
The man is a legend who I say should go out with one hell of a bang, not fade into the night because the creative team or VKM doesnâ<80><99>t push him well. Iâ<80><99>m even of the opinion that Flair could have one more title reign to add to his list before finally retiring from the ring.
Listen up, WWE! Even when absent, the signs of Ric Flair are all around you every night you book. Just listen to those crowds every time someone uses a knife-edge chop or a figure-four leglock.
Youâ<80><99>ve had problems in the past with how youâ<80><99>ve treated top stars who were on their way out (e.g. Bret Hart, and lately Hulk Hogan). Learn from your mistakes and letâ<80><99>s allow â<80><9c>The Manâ<80> to end his wrestling career in a way that does justice to one of, if not the, most influential characters in the history of the business.
THE PUNCHING BAG
Wow. Lots of e-mails and feedback flowed in from readers this week. Time to dive in!
Here’s where you’ll find feedback from wrestling fans on my takes and opinions. You’re welcome to send yours, good or bad, to email@example.com. But be warned – the WWE isn’t the only ones I won’t pull punches for!
Keep ’em short and you have a better chance of getting in. Got a long one? Then expect me to pull excerpts.
Just thought i would point out that not only on the WWE Magazine cover, but on all the undertaker photos that are on wwe.com the Sara tattoo has been Photoshopped out.
Well, not exactly true Carl. If you go through the photos under Takerâ<80><99>s bio, you can find pics in there where the â<80><9c>Saraâ<80> tattoo is still visible. But you want my take on the whole thing? Sure, we as fans are going to notice this. I think the signs all say that, for one reason or another, his relationship with Sara is either over or very much on the rocks. But either way, itâ<80><99>s none of our business, and Iâ<80><99>m not going to speculate any further on it. The man has given much of his life to the wrestling business and the fans â<80>” I say we let his personal life be his own.
I thought your Smackdown recap was very good. I’m glad someone does it for Smackdown as it’s hardly ever re-caped. Are you doing this every week?
Conor, I agree that a rivalry between two tough guys like Palumbo and Masters could be a good thing. I have a couple of problems with it currently, however. First, from what I understand Palumbo comes by his love of motorcycles honestly, but the big tough guy riding down to the ring was done already. (Undertaker, remember?) He needed a fresh gimmick.
I feel it’s gonna be hard for the WWE to become as great as it used to be. They need to stop bringing in people that have bad gigs like Jesse and Festus. Jesse for one has an amateur background, and if he didn’t act so stupid, people might actually get into him becoming a champ. The same for Festus. What’s up with him changing moods at the bell? I didn’t know that bipolar people were allowed in the WWE. Both have so much to offer, but their gigs are horrible.
I agree with you wholeheartedly, Robbie. I know that when a business has been going as long as the WWE has, it probably does get difficult to come up with new and exciting gimmicks. But this one stinks. From what I saw Friday on Smackdown!, these two look to have great potential. This could be a good tag team that mixes both power and speed. The drooling idiot who turns into a monster when the bell rings just doesnâ<80><99>t do it for me.
Good column about the PPV…
According to Network Solutions, the domain is registered to Christian Wattengard of Norway through GoDaddy.com. Iâ<80><99>d say youâ<80><99>ve got another fan here who was just pumped enough about these bits to go get the domain himself.
I am one of the happy fans that liked the ppv. I hated the punjabi match but I must say that I’m pumped up about the Jericho return more now that he didn’t show up. I wish that most arenas had crowds like Chicago because the fans were awesome. They really do make the show better.
Fans, truly, can make or break a show. If the fans are really into matches, I believe that energy even transfers to viewers at home who may become more â<80><9c>intoâ<80> a match as a result.
Gotta say i’m digging your editorial’s, etc on the weekly shows and PPVs. I rarely used to read the editorial section on Wrestlezone, but have been doing so past week or so and am really enjoying them. I gotta say I was disappointed there was no Y2J. While watching with my kids tonight, I was trying to explain who Jericho was to them. They haven’t been watching WWE long, but they are really into it now. Jericho is an exciting talent, I can’t wait. But, i gotta say i loved the WWE championship matches. I was hoping Umaga would win from HHH only to lose it later against Orton, but I’ll give them big-ups for doing what they did. You know it had to be hard for them to come up with new plans so fast, but they pulled it off fairly well.
Thanks for the kudos, Fulton. I know both my fellow Wrestlezone writers and I appreciate the feedback. Keep watching the site! I may be new to the scene, but word has it the improvements have only just begun on the Internetâ<80><99>s number-one wrestling Web site (aside from WWEâ<80><99>s site, of course.)
I just read your recent article on WrestleZone.com and found something kind of interesting. It was funny that you stated you “notice the small things” when you noticed Triple H had already had his name on the Championship belt by the time he came out to face Umaga (at No Mercy). Interestingly enough, you also said earlier that the title was passed around so much that the spinner had another use, or something to that effect. Well, if you “notice the small things”, then you would’ve noticed that the Championship belt no longer spins. The diamond WWE logo in the middle is now stationary. 😉 Just thought I’d pass that along.
I may be damn good, Nolan, but Iâ<80><99>m not perfect. Ya got me on that one, and itâ<80><99>s one that shouldnâ<80><99>t have gotten past me.
Hey man, just read your No mercy review, must say I liked it a lot, I missed the PPV as I was working and just wanted to write to say I enjoyed your review, KIND OF made up for not seeing the PPV but oh well.
Thanks for the props, Jay. But I guess we all know better about HBK now, eh?
Hart Foundation 2.0 is the second coming of the original Hart Foundation.
True. But it would also technically be Jerichoâ<80><99>s second stint with the WWE.
The way No Mercy should have gone: the show starts vince is in the ring with the royal rumble tumbler he tells the fans he is going to reach and make one wwe stars dreams come true he is going to pick a name and that person is going to represent the wwe as champion vs randy orton in the last man standing match….he picks a name he says “well this man is no stranger to being world champ he is a double digit world title holder… your thinking hhh? no! he says i give you your new world champion Ric Flair! … flair comes out #17 times champ the building goes nuts ….fast forward to the last man standing match somewhere mid card flair loses clean rko at some point new world champ! fast forward to a match or 2 later flair tells vince he wants his rematch TONIGHT! vince says “come on you and i both know the only way you will ever be world champ is if it happens just like tonight the belt is handed to you” he grants flair the match …. flair has a look of doubt in his eye …. fast forward 1 on 1 flair and orton world title …rule 1 never count out the dirtiest player in the game … FLAIR WINS! #18 dirty but wins just the same … hell then you could set up cyber Sunday flair vs orton 2 out of 3 falls the belt goes back to orton you move on to the next opponent …
Not a bad way to do it, especially considering my column this week!
TNA Impact grows increasingly less entertaining.. WWE puts on an amazing PPV.
Whoâ<80><99>s bashing WWE? If youâ<80><99>re accusing me of WWE bashing, then youâ<80><99>ve read me all wrong Andrew. I agree that WWE still has a much better product overall than TNA (despite my nostalgic love for Sting). When I say WWE is down, however, Iâ<80><99>m not comparing it to TNA or anyone else other than WWEâ<80><99>s own history. The star power is down right now because of injuries and suspensions (most of which are ending or have ended now). But make no mistake about it, I watch WWE every week for more reasons than writing these columns.
While watching the end of Raw, I thought that Triple H was going to come out and attack Orton during the “Good Luck Champ” Ceremony. I shook my head and said “Here we go again. Another predictable ending to RAW”. Suddenly I heard something I’ve been waiting to hear ever since Unforgiven.
I certainly didnâ<80><99>t see it coming last night, as I had heard he would be a bit longer before returning. Love him or not, heâ<80><99>s certainly needed though.
Last Nights Raw was good, great work between Kennedy and Hardy, but when are they going to elevate these two? I don’t want to see them fighting for IC gold but for heavyweight gold.
Iâ<80><99>m not sure about Hardy (although I am a fan) but I donâ<80><99>t think it will be long before Kennedy is back in the WWE Championship hunt. He was on his way when he won the Money in the Bank, but was then injured and has since faced a suspension. But heâ<80><99>s got the skills and charisma to be a top star and Iâ<80><99>m sure WWE recognizes this.
(Deep breath) Wow, thatâ<80><99>s a lot of e-mails. But Iâ<80><99>m not complaining, keep them coming!