During the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania, a lot of opinions on the new generation of wrestlers changed. Every episode of Raw and Smackdown was excellent and they did a fantastic job revealing the Wrestlemania card. Sure, the IC title theft story was a bit silly, but at least you got to see a bit of the personality and skill set of the wrestlers involved. Except for R. Truth. He's the kind of guy you see once and never want to see again.
Watching Daniel Bryan and that beard drove me nuts at first, I couldn't stand watching that grimy beard flinging itself around the ring. But I found a two disc set of Ring of Honor matches featuring the best of Bryan Danielson, the real guy before he became a WWE star, as well as the documentary of his rise to Wrestlemania 30. The guy has a huge amount of in-ring talent, even better than Bret Hart in his prime. I am sort of glad I missed his rise, because now I can appreciate his talent, I didn't have to see Bryan get fired (was it twice?), I didn't have to see him lose over and over again at the beginning of his career. Bryan is an amazing talent and totally deserves the love he gets from the WWE universe. I'm even a fan of his wife, Brie Bella, and I hope the Bella twins hold onto the Divas title for a long time. Bryan is a lot like Macho Man; his moves aren't all that devastating but they are beautifully simple in their execution. I'd love to see a Bryan/Rusev match-up.
My opinion of Dolph Ziggler changed over the weeks as well. At first I thought he was Miami Vice character, a left-over Billy Gunn wannabe, but he proved himself to be a talented scrapper in every match he was involved in.
I just discovered today while researching for this blog post that Ziggler's a two-time world heavyweight champion. I'm surprised, because he really doesn't seem to be at that level yet. Being champion isn't about being the best, its about being able to create the best matches. Ziggler's not at the point where I can see him squaring off against the other top tier stars, not unless he can manage to channel the crowd the way Shawn Michaels used to, get them behind him. We'll see, I am sure he'll be around for a while.
Seth Rollins. Another darling of the underground wrestling scene. I don't know much about Rollins, which in this case is a good thing. Let me explain:
The more you know about wrestling, the less you can enjoy it. Let me explain:
As I watched old matches and read the rumors and blog posts, I realized that Seth Rollins is the guy they are grooming for the top spot. I know a lot of fans felt like the WWE was pushing Roman Reigns, but after watching Daniel Bryan's epic run and victory at Wrestlemania 30, I knew Roman's chances were slim to none. Wrestlemania 31 was not going to be the story of another underdog rising to the top; whether Brock Lesnar stayed or not, I knew that Seth was going to cash in that briefcase. So I've done everything I can to avoid seeing old Seth Rollins matches, I figured I'd see him enough in the coming months.
I really like Roman Reigns. I think he's a good looking guy with a lot of in-ring talent he's yet to harness. I'm glad to see the fans are coming around to him, but I couldn't help but feel bad for the guy. First, he had to deal with the crowd, then he has an ass-kicking at the hands of Lesnar to look forward to.
Paul Heyman, a guy I used to hate, has become one of the greatest pitch men in the business. His microphone work is a perfect match for Lesnar.
GLAD TO HAVE MISSED:
Basically during the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania I did my best to get caught up on what I'd missed. Here are some of the highlights, the stuff I am glad I never saw and I hope to never, ever see:
CM PUNK's career: Never liked this guy or anything he stood for. He always came across as a whiny, ungrateful, loser. I don't know how he ever became a champion, I sure as hell can't understand how he headlined a Wrestlemania. His absence from the sport gave better wrestlers a chance to shine and allowed a brighter, more positive attitude to come through. I've been saying this for over 25 years: Never trust a straight edge. The guy had 400+ days as champ, one of the longest runs I've seen in modern wrestling, he had everything given to him that the WWE had to offer and it still wasn't good enough. Well I hope the UFC pays him well for the beating he's going to take, because I believe that PUNK is just a punk and hasn't faced reality yet.
There was a point on Tough Enough where Bob Holly beats the hell out of Matt Cappotelli, where coach Bill DeMott tells Matt that every man has to swallow shit in his career in wrestling. I totally believe that, I believe that those horrible, shitty, matches that pop up every now and then are what a champion. Triple H would not be the man he is today without that "Pig Pen Match". CM Punk never understood this. He saw his rise to fame as something he earned himself, not something the fans gave him. Fans hated him in the WWE because he had no respect for the WWE or its history. I could go on about this guy for another page or two but I won't, I am just glad he is gone. The comic industry is full of toxic, arrogant, people. He'll fit right in there, take it from me, the comic industry deserves a guy like PUNK. It was always sour grapes with that guy, you know why he is gone forever and John Cena is still the man? Because he respected the sport, he respected the fans and he paid his dues. I am not a fan of Cena, but Cena works harder than CM PUNK ever did. The guy couldn't even be bothered to stand up while he dropped his "pipe bomb" crap on Raw.
I'm glad to have missed the Vickie Guerrero years. And Thedore Long. And John Laurinaitis. Just a bad, bad set of years. I feel like I've come into a party just as its starting again, with Wrestlemania 31. I do wish I'd seen Team Hell No in action though! I'm going to look into finding some of those matches today.
I believed in Roman Reigns. Hell, the man played Canadian football!
It was just too late though, the tide was against the Samoan.
Stay tuned for the next blog post on the greatest event in sports entertainment, WRESTLEMANIA!