JC’s Top Rope Report: Random Thoughts From This Week’s Wrestling News

Columns, Top Story

Hello everyone. I’m back this week to take a look at the latest news coming out of the pro wrestling world. Hopefully you guys can all settle for this instead of my five columns that I pulled out last week. I’m on vacation again two weeks, but don’t expect another five columns from me.

Was Triple H’s Promo All That Bad On RAW?

-There was a good amount of backlash regarding Triple H’s promo this past week on RAW. I must admit too that I was first baffled by it when I heard it live. It just seemed like a complete burial. But re-watching the promo it wasn’t as bad as it sounded. He called guys like Chris Jericho, Edge and Rob Van Dam top guys and said they were all very good, but never called them THE guy. And is that statement really false? Edge was never considered the top guy in the company, and the same can be said about Jericho. And RVD was never close to being the top guy. I think HHH could have done without the “we’d all be working for Ted Turner” line, but the promo wasn’t that bad. In fact, Triple H is doing a great job trolling the hardcore Internet smarks right now. During the CM Punk angle, we wanted HHH to be a corporate like heel boss and we didn’t get it. Now he’s playing that exact role and people are up in arms about it and saying he is killing the product. This angle still has legs, if Daniel Bryan wins this Sunday. And it needs to have the proper pay off: Daniel Bryan pinning or making Triple H tap in the middle of the ring at Wrestlemania. That is what the end result of this angle needs to be. Triple H doing everything he can to get the WWE Title off Bryan, similar to what Vince McMahon did with Steve Austin during the Attitude Era. But Bryan needs to keep coming back and regain some of the momentum he’s lost in recent weeks.

Has The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania Opponent Been Picked?

-Reports started to come out this week that the WWE may have settled on The Undertaker’s Wrestlemania opponent, and that man is Brock Lesnar. I can maybe understand the WWE’s point of view on it. Lesnar is a big draw and a monster, and some people might see him as a threat to end The Streak. Of course, that argument would hold a lot more water if Lesnar didn’t lose to John Cena and Triple H already. It would have been nice to see Lesnar going into a match with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania and also have an undefeated record during his return to the WWE. That’s on the WWE for not booking Brock Lesnar properly, which is an entirely different story.

I don’t like the idea of this match for two reasons. The first being The Undertaker’s health. We all know how banged up The Undertaker has been in the past couple of years. There is always speculation on whether or not he will appear at Wrestlemania. He probably doesn’t have too many more left in the tank. And Brock Lesnar isn’t the most polished of workers in the ring. One wrong move and The Undertaker may be wrestling his last match. And since you know it will be a No DQ match because Lesnar can’t wrestle a one-on-one match, that rises the threat of a possible Taker injury.

The second reason I don’t like this match is because I think there could be a better use of both men. As far as Brock Lesnar goes, I have been behind the same use of him for months. Triple H brings Brock Lesnar back to beat Daniel Bryan for the WWE Title at the Rumble, Punk wins the Rumble, and Punk vs Lesnar for the WWE Title happens at Wrestlemania. For The Undertaker, it simply BAFFLES me that the WWE doesn’t have him wrestle John Cena. I think it is a bigger match than Lesnar/Taker. It’s a good use of John Cena. Even a non-Cena fan like me wants to see that match. Again, it’s simple: Cena fails to win the Rumble or the Elimination Chamber. The next night on RAW, Cena challenges Taker and he accepts. I’ve been selling a Wrestlemania card of Punk/Lesnar, Cena/Taker and HHH/Bryan for months. That sounds like a much better card than what the WWE might end up giving us.

Has Ryback Fallen Out Of Favor In The WWE? -A report came out late Friday this week that Ryback may be on a short leash with people in the WWE. PWInsider reported that some of the higher ups in the WWE don’t like the way Ryback handles himself backstage or in public. He reportedly comes off as very stand-offish and doesn’t like to make public appearances. They also aren’t happy with his work in the ring and feel he hasn’t improved much.

I can totally get the not handling himself well in public part. When I was in Atlanta for Wrestlemania 27, my friend and I ran into Wade Barrett and Ryback walking down the street. Nobody else around, just happened to be walking the same. We chatted briefly with Wade but Ryback barely said a peep. I also know someone who saw him working out at a gym before Battleground here and said he came off as a huge prick. He even spit, yes SPIT, on the gym floor constantly. And he told a young child that he didn’t have time for an autograph while he sat in the car and did nothing for about 10 minutes.

I was willing to give Ryback a chance when he first started. Yes, he came off very Goldberg like, but I thought it might work. Of course, the WWE didn’t handle him very well from a booking standpoint. He didn’t win a PPV match from Hell in a Cell 2012 to Payback 2013. They tried to give him another chance with Paul Heyman, but it isn’t working out there either. Ryback’s ring work continues to be mediocre at best. I don’t think he will ever reach the main event level in the WWE again. And there isn’t much left for him to do in the company. Unless something changes soon, I could see him possibly out of the company by Wrestlemania time. If he doesn’t make an effort to improve on his own, then he has no one to blame but himself.

TNA Is Going Back To Orlando. Is Hulk Hogan Coming With Them?

-TNA announced early this week that they will moving back to Orlando for their Impact tapings at the end of the year. From a short term perspective, this makes sense. TNA is bleeding money by going on the road and not gaining the crowds they would like. Everyone saw the picture from Bound For Glory with a crowd that couldn’t even fill half of the lower level of an arena. When you saw that, you knew it was bad for them. Long term, however, TNA needs to be successful on the road. I think they should start as a territory like promotion. Promote your live events in Florida then slowly branch out, maybe throwing a big city in the mix from time to time. Start small and branch out.

But the big question going forward is whether or not Hulk Hogan will be with TNA going forward. Hogan has yet to sign with TNA. At Bound For Glory, a fan in a Hulk Hogan muscle suit was forced to give up his sign and they also asked him to remove his outfit. They offered him a Hernandez (LOL) shirt instead. To me, that doesn’t point to good signs ahead for TNA and Hogan. I’ve always been of the belief that TNA needs to part ways with Hogan in order to A-Save Money and B-Focus on their talent. TNA didn’t market themselves properly when they had Hogan. They focused more on Hogan first and the company second. But Hogan never did anything great for them once he was finally there. From a long-term perspective, Hogan will do more damage to the company than good. Money spent on Hogan is wasted money that could have been spent on new talent or upgrading production. To steal a line from Triple H, TNA parting ways with Hulk Hogan is what is best for business.

Until Next Time,

Justin C

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