This Week in ‘E – It’s WrestleMania week!

I’m back for a one shot deal as I break down what’s gonna go down at WrestleMania and explain this little fiasco going on down in Florida.

Opening Witty Banter

“Wrestling fans watching a wrestling program wanna see wrestlers wrestle.”

What? You didn’t expect to see (er…I mean hear…er…I mean read) me, did you?

Just like WWE’s “Last Outlaw” The Undertaker who comes around once a year whether he needs to or not, it seemed fitting for yours truly to make a special “one shot deal” in preparation for The Showcase of the Immortals. Since I’ve been gone two different writers have tried to pick up the mantle of This Week in ‘E but no one has succeeded. For four years I worked for the Pulse on a variety of columns and did “E” for over three years. My where did the time go?

But it was time to move on to bigger (*cough*) and better (*cough*) things. I still write for Examiner.com as well, but that hasn’t turned into the Pulitzer Prize winning gig I had dreamed for either. Some things in my life have changed for the better, some have changed for the worse, and some haven’t changed at all. One of those things that hasn’t changed at all is my love of professional wrestling.

So now…for one last time (again)…let’s take some ‘E…

The News of the Week

Yeah it’s WrestleMania week; that’s why I came back for the week. Do you think I’m not going to talk about anything not related to WrestleMania?

There is one thing I miss about writing for the Pulse, I can write fast and loose and not have to explain everything. With Examiner I feel like I am writing more “proper” and writing to a new audience every time. I mean if you found your way all the way here you pretty much know the score and I shouldn’t have to break down a lot. So I’m going to cut the bullshit and go with a quick and dirty preview of this weekend’s show and who I think will win. Everybody cool? Alright…

WrestleMania XXVIII preview:

The Rock versus John Cena 

If John Cena doesn’t win this one then something is seriously wrong. The phrase “a main event anywhere the company” completely rings true. Rumors are running that The Rock is actually sticking around a little bit so bouts at SummerSlam and next year’s WrestleMania seem like logical for more Rocky goodness. If they are serious about truly making Cena “the guy” (like he hasn’t been for years already) then this is logical in the “passing of the torch” succession. Andre jobbed to Hogan in 1987. Hogan jobbed to Rock in 2002. Now it’s time for Rock to job to Cena in 2012.

Hell in a Cell
The Undertaker versus Triple H (with Special Guest Referee – Shawn Michaels)

Yeah Undertaker isn’t jobbing to Triple H. I would probably lose all complete faith in WWE if that happened. Adding Shawn Michaels and the Cell to the equation only adds to the mystique, intrigue and WrestleMania worthiness of the ordeal. If the company doesn’t completely have their heads up their ass, Undertaker goes over here, depending on how they all react to each other in the end, and then start the march for UT-Cena next year.

World Heavyweight Championship
Daniel Bryan (c) versus Sheamus 

Remember when these two got bumped from the WrestleMania card last year? Yeah me neither. Sheamus has been literally marching to WrestleMania by kicking ass week after week. Bryan has found himself in a great niche as the slimy, righteous heel. He can now survive for a while without the World Title. This just seems logical that Sheamus’ win streak continues here as he steamrolls the bad guy. Sometimes it’s alright for the good guy to win.

WWE Championship
CM Punk (c) versus Chris Jericho 

I’m actually okay if these two guys open the show. Times have changed and it’s not like opening the show means it’s a death knell and you’re the jobbers, like at WrestleMania I. If they open they literally have all the time in the world to tell a story. Clearly this shouldn’t be a one-and-done either and I anticipate rematches all spring. With any luck these two wrestling marks will do their best to put on the best WrestleMania wrestling match since Savage-Steamboat. Jericho should win here to give reason for the feud to continue.

12 Man Tag Team Match
Team Teddy: Santino Marella (c), Kofi Kingston, R-Truth, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali & one more versus Team Johnny: David Otunga (c), Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, Christian & one more

Okay I have a lot to say about this one. How the hell are these two clowns the captains? Otunga is leading a team of four, potentially five, former World Champions. That’s absurd. And how mismatched are these teams? And why is Great Khali taking up valuable WrestleMania time? Isn’t that why God created the pre-show battle royal? Remember when Zack Ryder was popular for like five minutes and we were all fooled into believing he’d be something actually worthwhile? Yeah me neither. I really, really wish they didn’t do that scary battle royal the night after Elimination Chamber so Wade Barrett wouldn’t have gotten injured and we could’ve had Money in the Bank instead. Who are the other people? If they announce them on RAW then it’s either Zeke or Brodus for Team Teddy and either Miz or Del Rio for Team Johnny. If they’re surprises for the show itself then Rey Mysterio is on Team Teddy and A-Train is on Team Johnny. Yeah Team Johnny wins.

WWE Intercontinental Championship
Big Show versus Cody Rhodes (c)

So my personal hope this slot was supposed to Rhodes beating his big brother Dustin “Goldust” Rhodes into retirement here. But somehow Big Show got shoehorned into the spot with an insta-feud that started after Elimination Chamber. I love how Rhodes has humiliated Show at every turn, reminding everyone how bad he is at WrestleMania. Of course with that booking it seems like a Big Show victory to get his heat back on the evil villain. But I really, really hope Cody destroys him here to keep his much needed momentum going. A former multi-time World Champion Big Show doesn’t need this win and certainly doesn’t need the Intercontinental Title.

Randy Orton versus Kane

Speaking of insta-fueds…Hey, we have two upper mid former multi-time World Champions who don’t have a plan for WrestleMania. Let’s book them together. Orton wins. Next.

Maria Menounos & Kelly Kelly versus Beth Phoenix & Eve Torres

A celebrity and a Diva match combined together? Yeah the good girls win. I will leave the snark out of this one just because of what happened to Kharma.

Okay, I lied. Here’s some stuff about FCW too…

This past week the wrestling world has been running wild with rumors about WWE’s developmental territory, Florida Championship Wrestling.

Early Tuesday morning after this past week’s Monday Night RAW, word broke on The Wrestling Observer that WWE was ending their association with Florida’s Bright House Network, essentially cancelling the FCW television show and shutting down FCW altogether.

Then later on March 20, word came out on PWInsider that only the FCW television would be ending, not the territory in general. WWE vehemently denied at FCW was closing.

 

Also on March 20, FCW President Steve Keirn responded to the rumors via an e-mail to WrestlingNewsWorld.com. Keirn wrote, “There is no truth to the rumor we are at school today training and the WWE will respond to this to clear it up. Thank you for your concern. SK”

Due to the furor regarding the rumors sweeping the Internet, WWE had no choice to address the rumors head on. Completely breaking kayfabe, Executive Vice President of Talent, Paul Levesque (Triple H) spoke about the issue.

In a statement Levesque said, “It is absolutely not true. FCW is not closing. I don’t know how the rumor started but I believe it’s a situation where the ‘dirt sheets’ want to believe they have the scoop on everything. If anything, we are in the process of ramping up our entire developmental system. It’s the lifeblood of our company. It’s what feeds our future and in no way are we going to close it down.”

Levesque did indicate however that there will be changes to the WWE developmental system in the near future but would not offer any specifics at this time.

On Wednesday, March 21, PWInsider offered more information about the news. Their sources claim that WWE is planning on building something related to developmental in the company’s home base of Connecticut. The idea would be a sort of finishing school for developmental’s top prospects. Perhaps a smaller class of top students would relocate to Connecticut where they would work in a new facility or something related to the company’s production facility in order to bridge the gap from developmental to the main roster.

Naturally WWE officials were furious about all the rumors that were flying of FCW’s closing.

Since then it has been business as usual for WWE and FCW. FCW’s website has posted dates for upcoming television tapings through April and May.

WWE has also extended the relationship between the two brands by including FCW talent’s official Twitter accounts on a WWE approved list.

Clearly something is in the works in the very near future regarding WWE’s developmental system. As Triple H slowly gains more power on the corporate side of the company it is obvious he has plans for improving things in the system.

An idea that would seem logical would be a wealth of mini developmental territories across the United States and Canada. In addition to FCW in Florida, a stronghold in Texas (perhaps ran by someone like Shawn Michaels or Booker T), Lance Storm’s Academy in Calgary, Alberta, Canada a Jerry Lawler-run territory in the hotbed of Memphis and something out in California would add to the system’s dimensions. Logistics and finances notwithstanding, it would give the young stars valuable experience traveling the country in front of a variety of audiences while learning new styles from a variety of trainers and teachers.

Right now FCW has the strongest talent roster it has had in a long time with wrestlers such second generation stars Richie Steamboat and Raquel Diaz, third generation brothers Husky Harris & Bo Rotunda, former WWE wrestler Damian Sandow, South African import Leo Kruger, and former independent standouts such as Seth Rollins (the former Tyler Black), Kassius Ohno (the former Chris Hero), Antonio Cesaro (the former Claudio Castagnoli), Corey Graves (the former Sterling James Keenan) and Dean Ambrose (the former Jon Moxley).

 

The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2012

Edge (inducted by Christian)
The Four Horsemen (Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, Barry Windham & James J. Dillon) (inducted by Dusty Rhodes)
Mike Tyson (inducted by Shawn Michaels & Triple H)
Ron Simmons (inducted by JBL)
Mil Mascaras (inducted by Alberto Del Rio)
Yokozuna (inducted by Rikishi and Jimmy & Jey Uso)

Wrestler of the Week

Sheamus:

Each week The Celtic Warrior quietly just keeps kicking ass. While The End of Era guys and Rock-Cena, the WWE Title guys and even his own opponent Daniel Bryan gets far more promo time, week in and week out Sheamus just keeps winning. (All I do is win, win, win!) This past week he destroyed The Miz one-on-one on RAW. Then on SmackDown he teamed with CM Punk to beat Miz and Daniel Bryan again, and once again Sheamus won by kicking Miz’s head off.

RAW’s On Tonight!

It’s the go home show for WrestleMania. If you think you are getting 20 minute, five-star in-ring wrestling you are insane. Expect plenty of jibber jabber between Rock and Cena, all three participants in the “End of an Era” bout and more goodness from Punker and Jericho. Plus Team Teddy & Team Johnny’s teams should be finalized and hopefully Brodus Clay gets funky. Don’t watch it for the wrestling, watch it for the inevitable shit talking and last minute hype. This show, alongside the show right after WrestleMania, are traditionally two of the most hyped, entertaining and important RAWs of each calendar year.

On Last Week’s Episode…

Widro himself handled the flagship review, SK brings the awesome ranti-ness and the always entertaining Matt Harrak brings his thoughts.

This is not even close to WWE, but I gotta give some love for Pulse’s Impact coverage. Blair brings the sublime and Scott brings the smark.

Mike loves SmackDown. But where the hell is Kelly? She was obviously carrying the team.

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?

Robert Schwabe brings some awesome, old-old school ECW goodness.

Rey is back! This guy makes CB look like a miser in the positivity department. Good to see him back.

This is a couple weeks old but this dude brings the funny with the At the Movies gimmick.

 Mark was a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over four years, evolving from his original “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into the Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” He also contributed to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and was previously a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow him on Twitter here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,