Hello there, my name is Heather. I enjoy long walks on the beach, nachos, and The Shield. My dislikes include whistling, Last Man Standing matches, and Jerry Lawler. I am nervous about taking on the Monday Headlines from the ever-witty Fozzie and Mike, like a baby taking its first steps. There may be a bit of stumbling and some poopy pants. Please point and laugh when I’ve fallen down, then help me up and point me in the right direction.
The WWE Network: Don’t Call It Just Yet
I had seriously written off the WWE Network, barely skimming any updates on its alleged future. I cannot believe how long this project has been on life support, and it looks like they’ve dragged out the crash cart for one more earnings call:
"We continue to aggressively pursue the launch of a WWE Network in 2014 via traditional and non-traditional distribution models; however no launch date has been confirmed."
This statement was made in response to a report that a specific launch date had been set for February 24, 2014. (WrestlingInc) In theory, launching the long-awaited network in the middle of WrestleMania season would be a wise move, as more people watch wrestling programs at that time. WWE could spend an excruciating amount of that airtime plugging the WWE Network (I’m guessing even more excruciating than their current plugging of the WWE App – and can you imagine Michael Cole trying to instruct people on how to subscribe to the WWE Network using these so-called “traditional and non-traditional distribution models”? He would need a white board, some kind of electrolyte replenisher, and maybe Ted Turner.)
Speculating about a specific launch date for the WWE Network is a fool’s errand at this point. If they had any details, I believe they’d release them. There have been too many delays already to be coy, and not much time between now and first quarter 2014 to throw together a plan out of nothing. Given their mandate to satisfy their stockholders, language like “aggressively pursue” is PR Speak for “sh-tting bricks”.
Ziggler Makes the Rounds
Speaking of public relations, Dolph Ziggler joined The Spanish Announce Table podcast and some of his most notable comments were posted at WrestlingInc. While I wasn’t surprised to read that his all-time favorite wrestlers are Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair, I was definitely intrigued by his choice of favorite match, a bout against Edge for the World Heavyweight Championship (at Royal Rumble 2011):
“We had them on the edge of their seats for the full last ten minutes of the match-up. Edge was someone I traveled with and got to learn from. To be able to go out there against him, going head to head and holding your own against someone that great, that’s what makes it that much more special to me.”
I’ve learned that wrestlers tend to assign sentimental value - rather than technical merit - to a favorite match. I remember this being the match in which Edge could not use the Spear, or else he would lose the title. They used this stipulation to good effect, getting inventive with Edge’s offense which meant Dolph had to get creative on the defense. They both shine here, and Edge got to count it among one of his last matches.
When he wants to, Dolph can say a lot without saying much. When asked about his biggest influence, he says the following:
“Just because of a talk I had with him last week, I have to go with Shawn Michaels. When I was in the Spirit Squad and first starting here he wasn’t full time, but he was around all the time… I got to constantly go and ask “What would you do in this situation? Why am I not doing this?” He had been in several similar situations that I had, just trying to get ahead … last week was the first time I had seen him in a while. Sat down and got to talk to him for an hour last weekend. Vent, got to ask his advice. So, I got to go with Shawn on that.”
Call me too literal, but I will take away a few assumptions about Dolph’s current mental state. First, he’s so frustrated that he doesn’t mind revealing that he vented to a visiting Legend. Second, he’s in a state of crisis, where everything takes on greater significance and this conversation alone made it worthy of being his “biggest influence”. Maybe he was just taking an easy out to answer the question, based on the first person that popped into his head, but I suspect Dolph really meant it. Regardless of what comes next for the Show Off, let’s just be glad that he’s seeking the advice of HB-Shizzle, and not X-Pizzle. X-Pachizzle?
Dolph will get his chance to bend HBK’s ear again this week when Michaels visits Raw for a contract-signing segment (WWE) . As the special referee for the Hell in a Cell match between Randy Orton and Daniel Bryan, Shawn’s presence makes sense and adds flavor. I’m sure WWE executives are also hoping that his presence will add to the show’s ratings, as they are pulling out as many tricks as they can to entice viewers these days. When John Canton gave me the thumbs-up to run this headline, he suggested that I make a prediction for Michaels’ involvement, like maybe he will take a bump. I sincerely hope that predictions are not a requirement for Monday Headlines, because I am TERRIBLE at predictions. Not like “Oh, that was a very wild and stupid prediction” or “That was an obvious prediction” but [insert long awkward moment of silence in lieu of a prediction].
Next, imagine me making a pained expression as I report that Kevin Nash has tweeted about maybe attending next week’s Raw in Orlando (the night after Hell in a Cell). This could simply be an innocent “Catch up with y’all backstage since you’re in my hometown” kind of situation. But since Kevin Nash’s best buddy is Triple H, and Shawn Michaels will be coming fresh off a match the night before, I think we need to all join hands and pray (in our own respective ways) that they are able to keep Nash behind the curtain without jimmying him into a storyline. Tell him they’re auditioning for “Magic Mike 2: Big Daddy Cool Makes The Magic” down in Locker Room C, and by the time he figures it out, John Cena will be finished his promo and we’ll roll to credits. WHEW.
Kurt Angle’s in the Hall of Fame!
Not THE Hall of Fame (you know, the one with Koko B. Ware and Drew Carey), but the TNA Hall of Fame, the ceremony for which was held on Saturday night in San Diego. The video used for his induction has been posted on YouTube for our viewing pleasure.
These were the notes that I wrote while watching the video:
Weird voiceover sounds like a horror movie crossed with an oatmeal commercial.
Nice sound bites from people describing his influence on pro wrestling.
Those Impact Grillz are strange and hilarious.
Lots of references to Angle being a cyborg, running on oil not blood, getting more energy as the match goes on, etc. I know he’s a phenomenal athlete but does TNA have a wellness policy (that’s enforced) at all?
Jeff Hardy’s aesthetic choices are really dampening the credibility of this homage.
The Hall of Fame ceremony took place in an intimate ballroom setting, which I’m guessing they were able to fill better than the arena for the next night’s PPV, described on twitter by Wade Keller of Pro Wrestling Torch as a “confusing, odd, dismal, hope-crushing event”.
Rey Mysterio Returns
On Friday night, Rey Mysterio wrestled at a live event in Mexico City, teaming with Sin Cara in a tag match (Rajah). Mysterio is scheduled to appear on TV this week, but no specifics yet on when.
Unlike the hazy updates on the WWE Network, I do believe that we’ll see Rey soon, since they are showcasing a recent interview with him on WWE.com and there are plenty of ways for him to “come back” without overdoing it just yet. In the interview, Rey describes the details of his knee injury and what has been done to repair it for the longer term. He feels that he won’t be retiring for at least 2 or 3 more years, and can compensate for his knee by doing different moves instead. Come and say good-bye, Rey, but don’t ruin yourself before the age of 40.
New John Cena Shirt Revealed
Here’s the latest Cena merchandise issued in celebration of his seriously miraculous return to Hell in a Cell. I like that it has a more generic empowering/badass feel to it, like some of The Rock’s t-shirts. It’s something you could wear without it screaming WRESTLING SHIRT, which I know as a wrestling fan I shouldn’t mind wearing, but let’s just say I pick my battles. Not sure I’d wear this one, but I bet it will be a hot seller on October 26th.