You know, it doesnâ<80><99>t seem that long ago (it wasnâ<80><99>t, actually) that I was editorializing on the mediaâ<80><99>s relations with the WWE. Iâ<80><99>ve covered the topic extensively, as a newspaper man myself, from a perspective that differs from most Internet wrestling journalists.
One of the points I threw out there was that, as an entity that is constantly covered by both IWJs and the mainstream media, the WWE needed to work on throwing out some curve balls to surprise then fans. With the Internet especially, long gone are the days that sports entertainment can draw up a script well in advance for something big (e.g. Chris Jerichoâ<80><99>s return) and have it remain a mystery.
And letâ<80><99>s face it. The fans, yours truly included, love a good mystery.
But as difficult as it is to pull off, Iâ<80><99>d become a bit discouraged when it came to this topic. An odd feeling when, as someone in the news business, you are still hoping that the news can be kept under wraps now and then. But we knew well in advance who was coming to â<80><9c>Save Us,â<80> we know that Big Show has resigned with the company and will be returning soon, and the news just keeps on flowing.
So imagine my excitement when, at the Royal Rumble, that countdown to #30 wound down to zero and John Cenaâ<80><99>s music hit the stadium. The crowd, both lovers and haters, erupted. Hell, I erupted! After all the well-known-in-advance moments weâ<80><99>ve seen, the WWE had finally pulled off a major coup.
No one that I know suspected Cenaâ<80><99>s return at the Rumble. I did throw out a theory to my keyboard comrade Chris Cash, having finally made the trip down to watch a PPV with him.
It was about halfway through the Rumble and we were trying to keep count of the â<80><9c>unknownâ<80> slots still available in the match. I said something to the effect of, â<80><9c>You know, wouldnâ<80><99>t it be something if Cena was one of the unknowns and all the talk about his rehab lasting well past WrestleMania was just a misinformation campaign?â<80>
We quickly shrugged the theory off as a million-to-one shot.
Little did we know that one of the best-kept secrets in recent WWE memory was about to appear. For that matter, apparently neither did some of those in the company. Word has it that Cena didnâ<80><99>t even arrive at Madison Square Garden until the show was in progress. I donâ<80><99>t know how tight-lipped they kept his return amongst the stars, but can you imagine a complete â<80><9c>need-to-knowâ<80> approach?
I suppose itâ<80><99>s completely feasible that, amongst the wrestlers, only the last men standing knew what was coming (Batista and Triple H). For the rest, I can picture them seeing the script on their way out to the ring: â<80><9c>Youâ<80><99>re going to get your ass kicked by #30.â<80>
Well, that might be pushing it. Chances are better that most of them knew and were well aware of the fact that theyâ<80><99>d better keep their mouths shut.
No matter how it went down, this is exactly the dose of excitement that this PPV needed. This was the â<80><9c>perfect stormâ<80> of shock and awe that the WWE pulled off.
Despite being in the news business, where we always strive to get the â<80><9c>scoop,â<80> my hatâ<80><99>s off to those responsible, and I hope this is a sign of more surprises in the future.
The Punching Bag
Ok, ok, so I’ve gotten a little behind in sorting through my e-mails. But I’ve gotten some good ones lately – some of them a bit longer than I’d normally post – but you can’t help but love the fans who send in reports from the events themselves.
So here we go!
We’ll start with letters on the Royal Rumble:
Hey.I was at the Rumble at the garden and just read your review of it.It was the 3rd time that Ive been to an event and I had the best seats that Ive ever had.Section 10 Row H!The only problem was that the camera was in the way most of the time.It was better than Section 300 though,which was where I sat last time.Do you know how to get the best seats?I just wanted to say a few things about the rumble now.
Thanks for the report, Nick. It’s great to hear from fans who were there telling about their experience.
Thanks for the report, Johnathan – but it’s SEAN, not Shane. I am, unfortunately, not a McMahon.
Hey there I was at The Rumble. A few things I’d like to say. The crowd was lively and really involved. As stated before on WZ the sign guy was there and he was a really cool guy. He shook hands with kids, spoke to people, and even signed my sign. Shane O’Mac was in the crowd just below the hard cameras but left 10 minutes before the end of the show. Pete Gass was in the crowd too, 2 rows behind me. He was really cool just like Shane and was enjoying the show. Shane was walking back and forth between his seats and the row in front of me speaking with some handicapped fans. A minor correction from earlier we DID see the Santino Maria ashley vignette in the Garden. The crowd was pretty much all Hardy except for a few fans who were about to get beat up by a pint size female Jeff Hardy fan. And of course a lot of Giants chants.
Thanks for the report and the pic, Gustavo. It’s nice when the stars give their time to the fans outside of the ring, even though we must all realize that this has to become a tedious task very quickly. Love the ones that do and don’t take them for granted.
I think why Edge was getting cheers is because they were in Madison Square garden which is in New York which is close to Canada were of course Edge is from.
That’s quite possible, Dixie. Or it could just be that New Yorkers like a bad boy more. Who knows?
I think it was Mike Cole who announced that Finlay was DQed for entering early and using his shalayly(how ever you spell it). On the other hand I don’t think anything was said for Horny ???
It’s actually spelled shileighleigh, but who’s checking? I don’t remember hearing Cole say that Finlay was disqualified, but if he did and I missed it that doesn’t make much sense to me. We’ve seen foreign objects in the Rumble in the past. When it comes to the possibilities that were available with Hornswoggle at the Rumble, I think WWE blew this one big time.
I am starting to think the boos for Rey were coming because of Edges cronies, Ryder and Hawkins. I know they had A LOT of support at the Garden because they are from Long Island. I know one of the Edgeheads as I grew up with him. They have a following from their NYWC days, and I really think this had something to do with it. Since they are aligned with Edge, they cheer for him. I thought it was funny too, but I would have cheered for Edge too.
I don’t know the reasoning behind it, Dennis. But I was frankly a bit pissed at the fans for booing Rey. I mean, this is a guy that, yes, is a face, but he gives his all in the ring and plays to the kids big time. From what I hear, some chants directed at him during the match weren’t exactly “kid friendly” either. Get some class, New York!
Dear Sean Oâ<80><99>Macâ<80>¦.one thing that you missedâ<80>¦the ECW heavyweight champion of the world participated in the 30 man over the top rope royal rumble. As a world champion, why was he participating in an event that if won, would earn yourself a shot at a world championship match? Is the WWE now admitting that the ECW title is not a recognized world championship? Last year, Bobby Lashey was not a participant in the royal rumble event. And when the undertaker won, he was allowed to choose between the WWE, the Smackdown and the ECW world heavyweight titles. Just a thought you may want to consider.
Richard, that point was complete missed by me, I must admit. When considered, it certainly does suggest a devaluation of the ECW Championship.
Matt Hardy is on the WWE promotional poster for the rumble on the train. He is clearly attacking Kennedy. So this leads me to believe he’ll be in the rumble.
Well, we know otherwise now, but I had the same thought pre-Rumble.
Who is ur prediction to win the whole dam thing tonight.
Well, it’s a bit late now, but I’ll be honest about it. I completely expected them to give it to Triple H. But who saw Cena coming?
On other matters:
First of all, I’d like to apologize because I’m not a native American, and my English may suck a bit. Cleared that out, I personally don’t think only two people read your ‘takes’: I was expecting this week’s SmackDown! too. Anyway, I don’t think we’ll see a curve ball this Sunday: I smell a Orton – Triple H rematch at ‘Mania and Undertaker – Edge for the title. I think the WWE should already start pushing the Edge – Undertaker rivalry, since it’s really what the fans have been waiting for. Otherwise, I’d expect the ratings to keep coming down. But thinking the way the company does, I don’t think this is gonna happen soon either.
Thanks for the props, Luis, but the whole “both of my readers” thing is really just a bad joke. I know in actuality that most days the readers are well into the thousands. But no bragging here. Glad you’re one of the readers!
Love the column, the mailbag, the Rumble predictions. Keep up the good work.
Well, now we know what’s going on with the Elimination Chamber – and that there will be two of them with six in each. I think they’ll be good matches and I’m looking forward to them. We’ll see! Thanks for the props and for reading!
You know, with things being as they are now with the announcements concerning the Chambers at No Way Out, it gets a bit harder to predict where things are going. But if I had to venture a guess, I’d say that WWE is probably going to give the belt back to Cena and we’ll see Cena vs. Triple H at WM. As for the World Heavyweight Championship, Edge vs. Undertaker is probably the odds-on favorite.
I figure, that as much as I browse this site, I’ve never bothered to get in touch with anyone on there, but I guess we can say that I’ve got a hair up my ass for this one. See, I’ve been watching wrestling since I can remember, around three years old or so. Honestly it’s always caught my interest, I mean what better a job can you have then performing for thousands of people by beating the hell out of people you know?
Thanks, Ryan. But to my surprise, you’re the only one who commented on my opinion of the new set.
Yes, they really need to work on the tag-team division. Good luck in the job quest, though!
Sean “O’Mac” McGuinney’s day job is as a newspaper editor. He has been a journalist for nearly 10 years and has covered everything from government to sports. The wrestling? Well, that’s just been enjoyed since he was a kid. Don’t ask how long ago that was.
Have a news tip? Attended an event and want to send a live report?