Hey boys and girls, it’s time for a heaping slice of wrestling news. This week kicked off in a big way with a controversial (and rage-inducing, as you could see on my Twitter account) Royal Rumble and some big news coming out of Monday Night Raw, which brings me to my first headline …
JAKE ROBERTS TO THE HALL OF FAME! YEAAAAH!
As announced during last night’s Monday Night Raw, Jake “The Snake” Roberts will be joining the Ultimate Warrior in the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2014. Most of you will probably know Roberts’ retirement has been plagued with health problems. However, with the help of Diamond Dallas Page and DDP Yoga, he’s managed to turn his life around and restore himself to good health over the past couple years.
Considering his legacy in the WWE, he of course deserves the induction. However, it makes me all the happier when compounded with his recovery. It gives his long road to fitness and now the Hall of Fame almost storybook proportions. In any case, congratulations, Jake Roberts. I look forward to seeing your induction on Saturday, April 5 in New Orleans.
Kurt Angle Discusses WWE Return, Makes Fans Squeal
Olympic gold medalist and notorious Twitter guy Kurt Angle recently spoke with The Sun in the UK about a possible return to the WWE.
“I can't say when. My (TNA) contract is up in September and I've left my options open. I'm very happy in TNA. Dixie Carter has treated me very well and always been there for me. But, I can't lie to myself anymore. I can't lie to TNA or WWE. Yeah, there is that desire to go back. I just don't know when. It could be this year. It could be next year. I don't know when.
“It's not a bad thing to stay in TNA at all. I just have some unfinished business in WWE. Whether it's this year or three years from now.”
As someone who got into wrestling late into the Attitude Era, Kurt Angle is, for me, one of the childhood icons; a character synonymous with Triple H, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Mick Foley, Kane, The Undertaker and all those other larger-than-life Superstars who indoctrinated me to the wild and crazy world of professional wrestling. Kurt Angle sticks out to me as a wildly impressive wrestler who can as effectively play a violent technician as he can a goofy, acoustic guitar-strumming, milk-chugging dork. I’ve kept up with him on-and-off since his move to TNA, but I still most associate him with the WWE, even though he’s now been contracted to TNA almost as long (by a matter of months) as he was to WWE.
Regardless, like Angle said, he has “unfinished business,” which I desperately want to mean he wants to size up and challenge the new wave of talents who’ve staked their claims in the WWE during his absence. Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, Sheamus – there’s a slew of guys with whom Kurt Angle could have some incredible matches.
For now, this is just more fuel to add to the constant Internet rumblings and speculation. If or when he does finally choose to return to WWE, it’ll be a huge moment for the company. Until then, all we can do is wait and see. That, and pray he keeps off Twitter. (Rajah)
So Christian’s Returning to SmackDown, Apparently
As reported by WrestlingInc, two-time World Heavyweight Champion Christian will be returning to in-ring action at Tuesday’s SmackDown taping in Toledo, Ohio. Christian’s been absent intermittently from WWE as far back as 2010, with injuries including a torn pectoral muscle, an ankle injury and shoulder problems. He was also out a while in order to appear, with the WWE’s permission, at TNA’s first Hall of Fame ceremony.
“Returning to SmackDown” sounds archaic. Wasn’t that something we used to say back when there was still a Brand Extension? Yet “Captain Charisma” will be making his long-awaited (by me, anyway) return not to the WWE’s flagship show Monday Night Raw, but SmackDown. Maybe they’re just hoping it’ll help pull off a decent rating this Friday. I’m not really sure. It just seems backwards to have someone return on SmackDown as opposed to Raw in this day and age.
Regardless, I’m looking forward to seeing Christian back in action, even if he won’t get the sort of push he received back in 2011 anytime soon. As much as I respect the man and love his work, he has been injury-prone enough for the WWE to be reasonably hesitant about putting a large investment behind him. I just hope he can prove those doubts wrong with a long and healthy run.
Batista and Orton Are Great Big Stinkers
Rajah reports that some “company officials” are upset by how Batista handled the audience’s negative reaction to him at Royal Rumble. Namely, flipping off and badmouthing a fan beside the barricade, and then imitating Bryan’s Yes! taunt, only using his middle fingers rather than his index fingers. Also, though the report doesn’t indicate any officials are upset with him, Randy Orton was also apparently incensed backstage because of the Royal Rumble audience.
In both their cases, I can pretty much understand the frustration, especially Orton’s. You guys might remember everyone dumping on his match with Sheamus in a similar way the night after WrestleMania 29. It can’t feel good to have fans completely ignore your efforts, especially when the match wasn’t a fraction as bad as the audience made it out to be. Though to be honest, the audience’s chants throughout the match were one of my favorite parts of the show.
At least Orton managed to let his rage simmer under the surface before letting it boil over (although we don’t know how exactly, so let’s not imagine him punting El Torito into the women’s locker room or anything radical like that) in the back, whereas Batista flagrantly demonstrated his resentment for the crowd who I thought hadn’t even been as harsh on him as they were on Orton and Cena. Just puts another notch in the belt of unprofessionalism Batista’s used to hold up his fancy movie star pants since talk began about a return to WWE. Between this and his Twitter burial of WWE’s roster and shows, you’d think he’d tasted his foot enough.
Ziggler Thanks Fans Who Remember When He Still Got to Be Awesome
Dolph Ziggler tweeted the following during the Royal Rumble:
He was referring, of course, to the Pittsburgh audience who made an effort to chant his name on a couple of occasions throughout the show on Sunday. As you guys probably know, 2013 was a rocky year for Dolph Ziggler. It started off with a huge Money in the Bank cash-in on Alberto Del Rio the night after WrestleMania, resulting in a reign that was cut short thanks to an errant boot by Jack Swagger causing a concussion. I know, with all the crazy bumps he takes, he gets hurt by a freakin’ misplaced kick? Crazy.
After dropping the title back to Alberto Del Rio at WWE Payback, I thought he’d ride his face turn into a rematch with Del Rio where he’d reclaim the World Heavyweight Championship. However, his attitude during interviews started to not sit well with the WWE, who have since booked him into months and months of losses and inconsequential mid-card feuds in what can be described as no less than a burial.
Usually I’m hesitant to call something a burial, but this is about as blatant as it gets. Ziggler started the WWE calendar year winning the World Heavyweight Championship to an enormous fan reaction, and now he begins the last stretch of the year thanking fans on Twitter for remembering he’s still a thing. Sad day. (Rajah)
That’s all for this week, folks. Thanks for the read. Be sure to catch my column on Friday and check out all the other incredible content on TJRWrestling. I recommend Brandon Lasher’s article if you haven’t read it already. The guy handled the Daniel Bryan/Batista/Royal Rumble issue better than I would have. I’d just sob uncontrollably for ten minutes, bash my fists on the keyboard and copy-paste a bunch of anti-Batista memes.
Nicholas LeVack is a double major in English creative writing and journalism. His interests include writing, wrestling, video games and occasional outdoorsy things. You can follow him on Twitter, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and take part in his first venture into video game journalism at doublejump.co.