Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
July 18, 2014
Wow, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? I’m Doug and welcome back to professional wrestling’s most eclectic column, off and on since 2002. Yeah, I was pulling a “Punk”, aka on sabbatical. Actually, I was managing an Internet Sweepstakes parlor here in my hometown of Laurinburg, NC until two weeks ago and then we were closed down by the police-state tactics of our local District Attorney, Miss Kristy and her “Task Force”. And since then, just lots and lots of stupidity, craziness and living in denial. But that’s now what or why I’m here now. It’s time to forget about the reality and move into the world of sports-entertainment, aka the world’s greatest sport, professional wrestling. And I have quite a bit to hit upon so I guess I should can the chit-chat and get to steppin’, right? Right.
We’ve got a pay-per view coming up on Sunday night called WWE Battleground 2014. So that means I’ll be doing that “shades of Sister Cleo” thing we call predictions (complete with a fake Jamacian accent if you’d like!) I’ve also got that “Fact or Fiction” thing to do, as well as a few questions. So much to do and so little time. Let’s start off by clearing the head a bit with that thing we call…
I recently watched, on the Network of course, on their Countdown series, “The Magnificent Managers”. I’ve always been a big fan of the men and women who stand outside that ring and “guide their clients to greatness”. It’s something that the WWE and professional wrestling in general has only recently started to bring back with guys like Zeb Colter. Lana and… well, I guess that’s it unless you want to count El Torito or the random “tag team partner at ringside” deal. But anyhow, the WWE made their list of who they consider to be the “Top 10 Managers” of all time. Their list, in order from 10 to 1 was: Sherri Martel, JJ Dillon, Freddie Blassie, Mr. Fugi, Captain Lou Albano, Miss Elizabeth, Jimmy Hart, Paul Heyman, Paul Bearer and Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
Look at that list? While I have no objection to Bobby Heenan as the top guy… and I agree that Paul Heyman belongs near the top as well, but the rest? Oh vey! I may do a whole column at some point explaining why the WWE’s list is wrong (and why mine is right), but for now, I’m just going to give my list of who I personally feel are the Top Ten Wrestling Managers of all time. So here we go. In order, from 10 to 1, my list would be…
10. Sir Oliver Humperdink / “Number One” Paul Jones (tied). 9. “Classy” Freddie Blassie. 8. “Sensational” Sherri Martel. 7. “Woman” / Jimmy Hart (tied). 6. Captain Lou Albano. 5. Gary Hart. 4. Paul Heyman. 3. James J. Dillon. 2. Jim Cornette. 1. Bobby “The Brain” Heenan.
Speaking of managers, I’d love to see the newly retired Santino Marella maybe move into a managerial role. I know he’s primarily a comedy character, but it’d be interesting and fun to see him work a serious role and mentor a couple of the guys who need that little extra something and push. Have him announce his new role as a manager and coming out with someone like Heath Slater or Justin Gabriel. No one takes them serious at first, but then we see Santino with cheap shots and taking advantage of opponents wrestling his guys. It would be different and could work to add interest to the product. At least I think it would work.
It was great to see Fit Finlay and Jamie Noble out a couple of weeks ago on RAW as the agents who broke up the fight with Kane versus Roman Reigns. It was even better to see them get physical with Reigns and Jamie get swatted away, while Finlay ate a spear. Maybe it’s crazy, but if I was booking RAW for, I’d have a special “handicap match” by order of The Authority. Let Roman Reigns face the two men he dared to get physical with a few weeks ago. Roman versus Fit Finlay and Jamie Noble. Noble can still go with the best of them as he proved last year by stepping up and facing Daniel Bryan at several house shows. And the toughness of Finlay is legendary. It’d make for a fun match, give two legends a chance to strut their stuff, and be just another step in putting Reigns over as one tough SOB. It’s just a suggestion.
I finally took a moment and started watching the “JBL & Cole” show on YouTube. It is freakin’ hilarious. Currently, the main plot, if you want to call it that, centers around JBL and Zeb Colter and their efforts to catch “the bunny”. Plus Zack Ryder, Alicia Fox, Goldust, Cody Rhodes, Bad News Barrett and Heath Slater as you’ve never seen him before. If these guys were allowed to show 1/5 this much of their personalities on RAW and Smackdown that they do on this show, they’d all be more over than Cena, Orton and Bray Wyatt combined. It is that damn good. The WWE needs to move this show to the Network and most importantly, keep their creative teams as far away from this show as possible. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it and this show is probably one of the best things WWE has going today. Just saying. Clem Layfield is now one of my biggest heroes.
Looking at the calendar, it looks as if the RAW after SummerSlam will be taking place in Las Vegas, NV. As soon as I saw that, I realized that there are two residents of Vegas that definitely need to pop up and do a cameo or spot on RAW that night. One is The Godfather. It’s not RAW in Vegas unless you have the Godfather and his “Ho’ Train!”. After all, I know I ain’t the only one and pimping ain’t easy. The other Vegas resident? How about Glen Gilberti, aka The Disco Inferno. Even if it’s just a cameo as part of Adam Rose’s group, it needs to be done. And with the “Best of WCW Monday Nitro” now on The Network, it’d be a great way to plug the show and the Network. After all, Disco was with WCW from the beginning to the end. And we all know that it’s your duty to shake your booty, right? Besides, it’d be fun.
I think it’s time to move on. Let’s answer some questions.
Mike Martin: I’ll probably regret asking this, but here it goes because I’m bored. If Ric Flair returned to WWE programming with a plan to manage a new Four Horseman stable, who would be your dream four members? Have to be current WWE roster members, no NXT or anything else. But we can pretend current injuries are not an issue. I say Barrett, Ambrose, Sheamus, and Miz.
Using only current WWE Superstars makes it difficult. The Horsemen are the elite, the best of the best and it’s hard to find four current superstars who, in my eyes, would have the credibility, the technique, the “it” to be Horseman material. But who do I think would make a good grouping for Ric to manage and work with in a modern version of wrestling’s greatest clique? How about Dean Ambrose as the “Enforcer” of the group. The technician would be Cesaro. The power guy and veteran of the group would be Mark Henry. And to round things out, I’d use Curtis Axel as the fourth guy. And just for the hell of it, if I could go outside the current WWE roster and have Flair build a group with four guys who are not currently on the roster, I’d have him bring back Drew McIntyre, “The Masterpiece” Chris Masters, Carlito and (current NWA World Champion) Rob Conway. That grouping would be awesome and dominate the WWE.
Stu Cooper: If you could make your own legends house cast, what legends would you use? (living)
They have to be living? Damn, I guess that rules out using the ECW Zombie. As of right this moment, I would go with Hulk Hogan, Mick Foley, Disco Inferno, Diamond Dallas Page, Juventud Guerrera, Vader, Kevin Sullivan and Ron Simmons. Subject to change, of course. And Ashley would have to go, to be replaced by a female wrestling legend. I’d pick either Lisa “Ivory” Moretti or Baby Doll for that role.
Dominic Coleman-Briggs: What wrestler or wrestlers would you like to sit and watch wrestling with and ask them about things ?
Harley Race, Ole Anderson, Jim Cornette and Paul Heyman (and make sure we have a camera recording every single second of it… lol). Hey’ I’ve got an idea. How about those four, along with Vince McMahon, Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair and Roddy Piper for the cast of Legends’ House. Now THAT would be a show worth watching.
Now let’s move on and do that Truth or Dar… I mean “Fact or Fiction” thing.
Wrestling Fact Or Fiction
And as usual when I do this, the questions come from my long time, close, personal friends at 411mania.com/wrestling. And the answers all come from me (and the voices in my head. Randy Orton isn’t the only one who gets to claim that trick… lol.
1. You are excited for Sunday’s WWE Battleground PPV.
FACT: It’s pretty much a stacked show from top to bottom with something for everyone. I think it’s going to be one of the better ones, especially for what should be a B-show. The talent is there and I’m looking forward to watching and see how it all goes.
2. TNA dropping the Willow character and going back to Jeff Hardy was a wise move.
FACT: No one cared about “Willow” and it seemed to confuse people more than anything else. Jeff Hardy should wrestle as Jeff Hardy and that’s that bottom line on that.
3. Despite his pedigree as a great talent thus far in his career, KENTA will not find success in the WWE.
FICTION: I’ve watched some videos of Kenta in action and if they use him correctly, he has the potential to be big. I think HHH has noted the mistakes made in the past with stars like Taijari and Kenzo Suzuki and will take care to make sure that the same mistakes are not repeated here.
4. Now that they officially have a debut date on the El Rey Network, (October 8th) you are now excited about the AAA Lucha: Uprising project.
FICTION: Not really. I’m happy for them and all of that, but I rarely have the time to watch wrestling now and Lucha, while some folks may like it, has never been one of my favorite styles of wrestling.
5. You do not care that the Big Show is about to return to WWE TV.
FACT: He has come and gone so often that it’s not a big deal anymore. He shows up. He leaves. He knocks someone out. He cries. Who cares?
6. Once their current PPV deal is over, TNA would be better off not signing a new deal and focusing on becoming a TV only product.
FICTION: So long as they are making money on the pay-per-views and can stay in the black, they need to keep doing what they’re doing. Don’t throw away sources of revenue. If it changes and they start losing money on the deal, then they should change and consider dropping the events, but only then.
7. The pairing of Paul Heyman and Cesaro has been a bust.
FACT: I love Paul Heyman and Cesaro is one of my favorite guys to watch, but the combination and team just doesn’t seem to really click. I think Cesaro is the type of wrestler that would work better with a manager in his corner, but it just doesn’t look like Heyman is the right one.
8. Josh Matthews would be a positive addition to the TNA announce team.
FACT: Josh is a good announcer and would definitely help improve the TNA product. Although he’s a smart guy and knows the product, I can’t stand listening to Mike Tenay. Let’s try the team of Josh and Taz for a while and Mike can move on to a role as a producer and only be used for the big events. Even a three-man team with Tenay, Taz and Josh would be far better than what they have now.
And now, time to get funky like a monkey and do that prediction thing. Let’s do it.
WWE Battleground 2014 – Prediction Time…
Fatal 4-Way – WWE World Championship
John Cena vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Kane
So we already know that Cena and Brock is penciled in for SummerSlam. Guess that ruins the fun, right? But I’m thinking we get a swerve here, especially since John Cena is scheduled to miss quite a few Monday night tapings over the next few weeks due to movie obligations. So let’s look at the men involved. I don’t think Cena will retain. We know it’s not going to be Kane. So that leaves Reigns and Randy. If I was booking, I’d go ahead and make that move and put Reigns with the gold. I’d pull a “Goldberg” and make him Champion. It’s the right time to just do it. But since this is the WWE and they probably figure that they can stretch it out and make the fans wait (we see how well that went with Daniel Bryan, right?), I don’t think they have the balls to do it yet. So go with tried and true and Randy Orton walks out with the belt. Bleh!
Winner and NEW WWE World Champion: Randy Orton
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose
This is going to be brutal, stiff and possibly steal the show. Look for Seth to bail towards the end of the match and run for the hills, thus allowing this to continue for a while longer. I’ll say that Ambrose wins by count-out and thus, we get to move on to the next chapter, a Lumberjack match on RAW.
Winner (by count-out) – Dean Ambrose
Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal (Bad News Barrett will be in attendance to hand over the title)
Cesaro, Kofi Kingston, Damien Sandow, The Great Khali, Rob Van Dam, Dolph Ziggler, Big E, Ryback, Curtis Axel, Alberto Del Rio, Bo Dallas, Sheamus, Fandango, Sin Cara, Zack Ryder, The Miz, Adam Rose, Diego, R-Truth, Xavier Woods, Heath Slater, Titus O’Neil
Most of these guys are just filler and we all know this. While I’d love to see a true upset and see Zack Ryder or Heath Slater or even Bo Dallas win the title, it’s not going to happen. I think the strongest men with a chance are Sheamus, Cesaro, Miz or Dolph. Sheamus already has the U.S. title and even though there has been talk of unifying the belts, I don’t think it’s going to happen here yet. Cesaro is in a sort of limbo due to his relationship with Paul Heyman, so I don’t think the title will go there. Dolph looks good, but it’s Dolph and the WWE seems to hate to do anything with him. So I’ll go with Mr. Hollywood. Yeah, why the hell not. By the way, where is Mark Henry?
Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: The Miz
WWE Divas Championship
AJ Lee vs. Paige
The new friends go at it for the WWE Divas Championship. AJ is not going to lose this soon. A good match and AJ retains.
Winner and STILL Champion: AJ Lee
Two Out Of Three Falls – WWE Tag Team Championship
The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family
I love the chemistry with these teams and the matches they’ve had thus far have really turned me into Uso fans. Hard to believe, right? I think it’s time to bring some gold home to the Wyatt family though. So let’s say that the Wyatt’s win the first fall by DQ, the Usos win the second fall by pin and in the third and final fall, Harper scores the pin on Jey.
Winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: The Wyatt Family
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
It’s too soon to have a conclusive winner or loser. Bray loses and he looks weak. Jericho wins and the feud is over as quickly as it started. Let’s go for the double-disqualification. Works for me.
No Contest – Double Disqualification
Rusev vs. Jack Swagger
A few days ago, I would have been saying that Rusev would end up getting the nod, but since the airliner was shot down yesterday in Europe and there is possible Russian involvement, that has all changed. I think Vince and the WWE have learned from the Muhammad Hassan incident a few years ago. I think the push for Rusev and Lana will either be ended or else they’ll tone down the whole Putin connection. The WWE doesn’t really have a choice. So who wins? Jack Swagger of course. And now, let’s all put our hands on our chest and speak in a loud, clear voice. WE THE PEOPLE!
Winner: Jack Swagger
Cameron vs. Naomi
And this is the match that starts it all. The one with talent versus the pretty one. And nobody cares. I sure don’t. Hard to believe that Brodus Clay lost his gimmick to these two. Someone better call his mama. I’ll go for Naomi and hope that this is over quickly.
And there you go – my predictions for Battleground 2014. And with that, I guess I’m going to close this bad-boy up and call it a day. Thank you for reading. Questions and comments can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com. Hopefully, I’ll be back soon with more wrestling stuff and maybe, if things go as planned, a recap of a live wrestling event taking place tomorrow night in McColl, SC. Will have to wait and see, but I’m hoping that things will work out and I’m able to do that.
And now, I’m out of here. I’m Doug and I’ll see you on the flip side. As the great Baron Von Raschke used to say, “dat’ is all de’ people need to know!”. Later gators!