WWE Extreme Rules Thoughts & Predictions

Tomorrow night is WWE Extreme Rules, live on pay-per-view and on the WWE Network. I almost forgot about the show. Almost, but not quite. So here are my thoughts and predictions for each match scheduled. Let’s do this.

WWE Extreme Rules Predictions

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Tyson Kidd & Cesaro (c) w/ Natayla versus The New Day (Big E & Kofi Kingston) w/ Xavier Woods

This will probably be the match to kick off the show and should be pretty decent. I like how the New Day have taken what was (and is) a rather stupid gimmick and turned it into a positive. The fans are crapping (rightfully so) all over the gimmick so play on that and turn heels. Works for me. And it makes Cesaro and Kidd, who you find yourself wanting to cheer despite their “heel antics”, the defacto baby-faces. Should be a decent match, but it’s not time to take the belts off of Cesaro and Kidd yet. They’re really just beginning to find their groove and we still have the other teams like The Colons (I hate the Matador gimmick), the Prime Time Players and J&J Security waiting in the wings. Look for Cesaro & Kidd to retain the titles via pinfall.

Winners & STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: Tyson Kidd & Cesaro

Steel Cage Match – WWE World Championship (Kane is the “Gate Keeper” – Orton is banned from using the RKO)
Seth Rollins w/ J&J Security versus Randy Orton

Just like Cesaro and Kidd, Seth Rollins is really beginning to come into his own as the WWE Champion. They’re in the cage and I have no doubt that Orton will dominate and decimate Rollins for most of the match. I expect to see Noble and Mercury to get involved quite a bit and end up getting choke-slammed to hell by a Big Red Monster, playing the role of gate-keeper. More and more discension and conflict between Kane and Rollins, but in the end, Kane will do what’s “best for business” (albeit reluctantly) and save Rollins from being pinned and losing the title.

Winner and STILL WWE World Champion: Seth Rollins

Russian Chain Match – United States Championship
John Cena (c) versus Rusev w/ Lana

I think that the WWE missed out on an opportunity with this “Chain Match” gimmick. Why not have Ivan Koloff, former WWWF World Champion and WWE Hall of Famer Nikolai Volkoff help “train” Rusev on the finer points of using the Russian Chain? They could have filmed vignettes for the past few weeks and use those legends to help add to the seriousness and danger of the match, as well as promote the WWE Network with their legendary presence. Oh well, more money thrown away and left on the table.

As for this match, it should be brutal and stiff and I really don’t know who should get the winning nod. If it was a normal show and we still had Daniel Bryan doing the open challenge for the IC title, then I’d say shift the belt (U.S. title) back to Rusev. But Cena has been doing a great job as the U.S. Champion and has been working hard to help restore the title back to it’s former place of prestige and I’ve actually gotten to where I like those open challenges and don’t want to see Cena lose the title. Damn, did I say that? I don’t think Bryan will remain the IC Champ and I want at least one of these belts to stay with the “fighting champion baby-face”. Rusev deserves to beat Cena and win the United States Championship. But the title is in better hands (for now) with Cena. A hard call, but I’ll go with Super Cena winning by trickery and retaining the title.

Winner and STILL United States Champion: John Cena

Intercontinental Championship Match (pending)
Daniel Bryan (c) versus Bad News Barrett

I don’t think this match will actually take place. Bryan isn’t cleared to wrestle (so far as we know) and thus, will be forced to forfeit the title.

Winner by Forfeit and NEW WWE Intercontinental Champion: Bad News Barrett

Kiss Me Arse Match
Sheamus versus Dolph Ziggler

I don’t even want to talk about the stupidity of this match. This isn’t the attitude era anymore and a “kiss my ass” match really has no place in the WWE PG market. It’s demeaning and humiliating to both men. Maybe we’ll see the return of “Dusty’s Ass” from the last days of WCW? Dolph gets screwed over by WWE management at almost every turn and yet still manages to get over with the fans and be one of the hot tickets for the company. So if at first they don’t succeed, keep trying. Sheamus wins and Dolph kisses the ass. And Sheamus still looks stupid.

Winner: Sheamus

WWE Divas Championship Match
Nikki Bella (c) w/ Brie Bella versus Naomi

At the moment, the Bellas have a firm grip on that WWE Divas title and I can’t see anyone on the current main roster taking that title away from them anytime soon. Maybe when they meet a favorite daughter of a former 16-time World Champion, but not until then. This match should be okay, but no title switches here.

Winner and STILL WWE Divas Champion: Nikki Bella

Last Man Standing Match
Roman Reigns versus The Big Show

Superman punch and the spear. Roman needs the win and nobody gives a damn about the Big Show at this point.

Winner: Roman Reigns

Chicago Street Fight
Dean Ambrose versus Luke Harper

This could easily be the show-stealing, most fun match of the night. Two mid-card guys who could easily be on top with nothing to lose. Both men have been lost in the shuffle and buried so many times, what’s one more loss, right? Or one big win on a pay-per-view show? Look for this to be stiff and smash-mouth from start to finish. And while I think that Ambrose can handle a loss slightly more than Harper, Ambrose is the fan favorite here and I think that they’ll be wanting to cater to the fans and give them something to cheer about. Both men deserve a big night and a big push, but for Sunday night at Extreme Rules, I think the night belongs to Ambrose.

Winner: Dean Ambrose

And there you go. Am I right? Am I wrong? Am I doing the hokey-pokey and shaking it all about? We’ll find out tomorrow night at WWE Extreme Rules.

And with that, I’m out of here. I have to go to work and sell liquor to the masses. ABC is the place to be. Woo-hoo!

Ubuntu!

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News: Tough Enough

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
April 8, 2015
Doug Maynard
Welcome to another edition of pro wrestling’s most eclectic column, “Tossing Salt – Worldwide News”.  I’m Doug, your humble host, and I’m going to switch things up a bit today.  Instead of my usual jumping around from topic to topic, with all kinds of rambling and craziness inserted for your pleasure and mine, I’m just going to talk about one subject and try to keep it short, simple and sweet.  Yeah, that’ll be a switch, won’t it?  I’m just trying something new here, for me anyhow.  So let’s just jump to it, shall we?
On the mind this morning is WWE Tough Enough.  It’s the WWE reality show where the stars of today search out and attempt to find the next big WWE Superstar.  Last time the show was in production, we had the team of Bill DeMott, Trish Stratus and Booker T, led by the “Texas Rattlesnake” Steve Austin as the coaches and mentors / judges.  Well, now the WWE is bringing the show back for the WWE Network and word has come down that Austin will not (what?) be returning as the head honcho.  Bill DeMott is no longer with the company, having recently resigned after being accused of essentially being a bully and an assclown.  Booker is working WWE Monday Night RAW as one of the color commentators, along with JBL and Michael Cole (or is it Byron Saxton now?).  And Trish is traveling the world with her bestie, Lita and living life as a wife, mother and yoga instructor.  So the question on my mind is, who will be the judges and mentors for the new season(s) of Tough Enough?  I want to look at the possible candidiates and see if we can figure it out.
It would be nice if the WWE could secure the services of original Tough Enough head trainer, Al Snow and bring him in for this venture, but Al is currently working with TNA as one of their agents and giving up that spot for what would essentially be a temporary, part time gig that would last probably a half year at the best would be crazy.  Other former Tough Enough trainers included Bob Holly, Ivory, Jacqueline, Tori (who remembers her from Season 1?), Tazz, and Chavo Guerrero Jr.
Let’s look at the former trainers and where they are now and analyze if they’d be the proper men or women to make a return.
“Hardcore” Bob Holly certainly has the skills and talent, but he’s been out of the WWE scene for quite a while now and would he be capable of making a return in such a high impact position?  Probably, but I can see a big elephant in the room already.  Holly has a reputation as a bully and a bit of an ass-clown.  With the WWE currently trying to work it’s way through the fallout of the Bill DeMott situation from NXT, I can’t see them willingly bringing in someone who has a similar reputation.
Ivory is next on the list and I personally would love to see Lisa Moretti back in a WWE ring.  But Lisa is older now and retired and is currently running a successful dog grooming business and with the exception of the occasional shoot interview or appearance, I believe she has made that transition from the world of pro wrestling into a happy and productive life outside of the ring.  I have a hard time seeing her giving that up or disrupting her current life for work as a trainer, even if it is for the WWE.
Jacqueline would be great for this role and could easily step back into the WWE scene, never missing a step in the process.  She’s still in tremendous shape and was working with TNA as recently as a year or so ago.  But that being said, I think the politics of WWE and her long time affiliation with Jeff Jarrett might be a problem.  And she’s probably way too stiff and tough for most of the current WWE Superstars, at least those in the Diva’s division.  I would love to see her come back and work with the men and women of NXT.  She has a lot to offer and could be a valuable partner for the WWE in terms of helping to build the future.  Do I think it will happen?  Not really, but she definitely is “tough enough” for the job.
Tori.  Bwah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!  Who?  What?  Nah, I just don’t see it at all.  Moving on…
Tazz is the next former trainer on the list and while I think he’s on good terms with the WWE management, he’s also currently employed as an announcer for TNA Impact Wrestling and under contract to that company.  Also, Tazz currently has a podcast deal going on that takes up a great portion of his time.  His reputation as a trainer at the ECW House of Hardcore is impressive and I’m sure he could do a great job, but honestly, he has way too many other things going on and wouldn’t have the time for a project such as Tough Enough.
And finally, we have Chavo Guerrero.  As far as talent and skills goes, Chavito is probably top of the list and would make an excellent choice for the role of a trainer for this show.  But he works for TNA, has bad mouthed the company quite a bit since leaving the WWE a few years ago, and has legit bad blood with current WWE Superstar John Cena.  And there is no chance in hell that he would be considered for such a prominent role on the WWE Network. Chavito has burned quite a few bridges over the past couple of years and while we should never say never about anyone coming back and working the WWE in some capacity when it’s best for business, I think Chavito is right in line with Jeff Jarrett in regards to that ever happening.
So pretty much, with the exception of possibly Jacqueline, that rules out all of the old trainers from coming back.  So who would be good choices to take their spots, make Tough Enough worth watching and help to bring a new generation of superstars into the WWE Universe?  I have a few ideas for who I would pick for these valued roles.  Let’s look at the folks that I would have as the trainers.
Dustin Rhodes, aka “Goldust”.  This one already appears to be in the works as rumors have come from the WWE that Dustin has been approached about this job.  Or maybe the rumor is that he’s campaigning for this job.  Regardless, it looks likely that we’ll see the former multiple-time champion working with the new talent in come capacity.  And who better?  Dustin is a second generation superstar who has worked both WCW and the WWE.  He’s been a main eventer in the pre-attitude era, the Attitude Era and in the more recent “Reality Era” as well.  He knows exactly what the WWE would want in a future wrestler or Diva and he’s probably in the best physical shape of his life, so getting into the ring and showing, as well as teaching, wouldn’t be any kind of problem at all.
Lisa Marie Varon, aka “Victoria” would be my second pick.  Lisa is another great talent who has worked both the WWE and TNA and knows exactly what the WWE would want and look for in a future superstar.  She has great name recognition and was active in the TNA ring until roughly a year or so ago so she would still be current in the minds of most hardcore wrestling fans.  She’s definitely not the lady to mess with and her reputation as a worker in that ring is second to none.  She’s on great terms with the WWE right now and recently gave up her business of running a restaurant in Chicago (and her marriage because her husband is allegedly a cheater and a dumb-ass) so she has the time and most likely desire to do something big right now.  I believe that she’s been down to the Training Center down in Florida a few times to help mentor the talents and work as a guest-trainer and if it’s good enough for NXT, why wouldn’t it be good enough for the Network and Tough Enough?  She would be a great choice in my opinion and would definitely whip those young talents into shape pretty quickly.
Mark Henry.  As far as the physical side of things goes, who would be better than the “World’s Strongest Man”, Mark Henry, to help coach and train the new talents?  While approaching the twilight of his in-ring career, I think that Mark Henry still has quite a bit of gas left in the tank and quite a lot to offer the next generation.  He’s been a part of the WWE for close to twenty years and knows what to look for and what the WWE would want in a future superstar.  And plus, from all accounts, Henry is just a truly nice and good hearted man who could provide motivational support and advice to the trainees from a perspective that they might not get anywhere else.  He would be tough, but fair and could really make an impact on the lives of the people selected to compete for this show.
And finally, who would I have to step in and take the role of the top guy and head trainer, a role previously filled by Al Snow and Steve Austin?  My pick for this spot would be Bubba Ray Dudley, aka “Bully Ray”.  Look at the man’s resume.  Part of arguably one of the greatest tag teams of all time.  A top star in ECW, the WWE and TNA.  A multiple tag team and singles champion.  And he (along with his “brother” Devon) already run a very successful wrestling academy / school.  Bubba is on great terms with the WWE right now, having recently appeared as part of most recent Royal Rumble.  Since that appearance, the fans have been wondering where Bubba will appear next and what role he will play, if any, in the future of the WWE.  This spot, the spot of the head trainer and top dog for the WWE’s “Tough Enough” program, would be a greart place and role for him to fill.
And there you go, my picks for the cast and trainers for the upcoming new season of WWE Tough Enough.  I’m sure that the WWE already has their choices made and knows who they want for these spots, but as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin has shown, they don’t always get exactly what they want, do they?  So, WWE Tough Enough, Season 2, with Bubba Ray Dudley, Victoria, Goldust and Mark Henry as the trainers.  What do you think?  I’d watch… would you?
And with that, I’m going to call it a day. Thanks for reading.  Comments and thoughts are welcome and can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com.  I’ll be back at some point… believe that!  Have a great day and always stay a fan.  I’m Doug, I’m down and I’m gone.
Update:  I wrote this early Tuesday morning before I went to work and by the time I came home from a hard day of stocking shelves and selling alcoholic beverages to the fine citizens of Scotland County, I noticed that there has been some news and a few new rumors in regards to the new season of Tough Enough.  Let’s address the news first in regards to former host “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.  Austin says that he was planning on returning to host the new season of TE and was available when the original tapings were planned, from February to March.  But the WWE changed the taping and airing schedules and Austin was forced to drop out due to CMT wanting more episodes of the “Broken Skull Ranch” series.  I was wondering how Austin would be able to find time to do a new Tough Enough when he’s already doing the BSR series, the “Redneck Island” series and two podcasts a week.  If the show had been produced when originally planned, Austin would be there.  But it wasn’t and so he’s not.  End of story on that.
The other rumor that I just heard only moments ago that current plans by the WWE as they currently stand are for Chris Jericho to be the man who does the hosting and acts as the face for the new editions of Tough Enough.  Y2J?  Really?  I like Jericho and he’s a true icon in this sport and one of the top names in this business, but for some reason, I see Jericho as more of an entertainer than a wrestling coach.  But then again, that’s probably what the WWE wants.  No doubt that the WWE is looking at Jericho and thinking he’s got the name recognition and background to really bring the fans and viewers to Tough Enough and that’s true.  He does.  But Tough Enough already has enough name recognition and the WWE brand name going for it and it doesn’t matter if it’s Chris Jericho hosting or Bret Hart (for example) or even Zack Ryder.  At this point, who the host is won’t make nearly as much a difference than the whole WWE package.  I guess what I’m saying is that having Jericho as the host, I’m afraid, will make it all about Y2J.  Will be be seeing new talents and new stars being formed or will it just be a package of “Tough Enough Is Jericho” with everyone and everything else being pushed to the background?  If the rumors are true, it could happen.  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see though.  I still prefer my pick of potential host as being Bubba Ray Dudley.  I just hope that someone in the WWE upper management agrees.
Tough Enough starts their new season on the USA Network on Tuesday, June 23, 2015 at 8:00 pm. I’m looking forward to it and seeing who the trainers are, who the potential WWE superstars are and what the WWE has in store for us.  It should be interesting.  Very interesting indeed.
And that’s the bottom line because I just stole Steve Austin’s catch-phrase and said so.  Now it’s time to really sign off and call it a day.  But before I do, I want to give a quick shout to an old friend of mine, a man who’s been a part of my world for a long, long time and is actually more my crazy-ass brother than just a friend, “Phoenix” Michael Youngblood.  Mike has two big matches coming up in the next few months.  One will be on May 2, 2015 in Laurinburg, NC working for All Pro Classic Wrestling against former WCW / ECW / TNA / WWE star Kid Kash.  These two men have a history going back fifteen or more years and when they get into the ring together, you’re going to see old-school wrestling at it’s very best and a match for the ages.  I only regret that the WWE or TNA is not there filming this match when it takes place because it’s going to be off the charts. Both men are great workers and when they get together, it just moves into the next level.
And the other match will be for All Pro Championship Wrestling in Douglasville, GA on April 17, 2015.  Michael is headlining the card in an Indian Strap Match against the “Nature Boy” Paul Lee.  These two men have split a series at one win apiece and it’s time for the rubber match, a classic match made famous by the legendary Wahoo McDaniel, the Indian Strap Match.  Expect to see pain, agony and blues as these two men tear down the house and take it to the extreme.  This is Michael’s speciality match and I expect him to give Lee a whipping that would make even the most sadistic person cringe, but he can’t take the crafty “Nature Boy” for granted.  Lee’s going to bring the fight and anyone who is able to attend in Georgia that night will see a match for the ages.
So make a note on your calendar and be there if you can, in Douglasville, GA on April 17th and here in Laurinburg, NC on May 2nd.  I’m not sure what my work schedule is yet for that Saturday, but if at all possible, I’ll be at the Laurinburg show and will do a recap for this site.
And now, finally, I’m calling it a night.  Have a great one, please always support your local Indy wrestling group, and always be a fan.  Thank you for reading. I’ll catch you on the flip side.
Ubuntu!

4:00 AM Ramblings

Well,it’s four in the morning and I’m wide awake. That sounds like it should be the beginning of a sad country song more than an intro for a rambling blog, doesn’t it. Let’s see.

It’s four in the morning
and I’m waide awake
the memories of you
playing their games

or maybe last night
I just went to bed too soon
sleeping with the fishies
waking up with the moon

And so on and so on. I could add some more and get all deep with that stuff, but I’ve never claimed to be a songwriter. I don’t want to jump in there and make Bob Dylan jealous and cry. Maybe later.

So what am I here to do? How about just ramble for a bit and touch on several topics that have been in the news lately. Doesn’t that sound like fun? And a few things that are just playing around in my head as well. I have issues – I admit it! And stuff bothers me sometimes and I overthink it until it either rectifies itself or I explode and freak out, going crazy. And sometimes, I just take pen in hand (or keyboard under my hands) and write it out. I think that’s what I’m doing now.

The main thing that’s been bugging me lately is this whole Indiana deal with their new law allowing people to discriminate or whatever if something violates their religious beliefs. I get it, really. If a person doesn’t approve of homosexuality or gay marriage, I think it’s stupid that they should be forced to bake a cake or cater the gay wedding with their pizza deliveries or whatever. But here’s what I dont understand. Businesses are created with one primary purpose in mind and that’s to make money. If you’re running a business and your goal is not to make a profit or make money, then why the hell are you running a business? And so long as it’s legal and helps to increase sales and profit margins, who the hell cares who your customers are?

But I get it. Some people like to take the high ground and if they don’t agree with someone or believe in something, they choose to go with their morals instead of good business sense. It’s a personal decision and not usually a good business one, but more power to them. But what if these same people who refuse to serve gay couples or homosexuals decided all of a sudden that they wouldn’t serve blacks? Is that okay and legal too? How about if they decided that they didn’t want to do business with left handed people? Would that be okay? It seems to me that the small, but loud assortment of people who are claiming that they need to be protected and not forced to do business with anyone outside their comfort zone are pretty selective in who they’re deciding to pick on and protest against. And it’s a shame that they feel they need laws so that they continue with their selective businesses.

But look at the situation. They (the business owners) feel they need laws to protect their prejidices because on the other side, you have the lawsuit happy show-boaters who are determined to push the issue, stir the pot and cause problems for anyone who doesn’t agree with or promote their own choices in life. Let me clarify that I understand their point. They feel, and are correct, that they are being treated unequally and unfairly, because, they’re gay. And it’s true! They are. It’s wrong that a person can single them out and treat them differently because of a conflict between the business owners religious beliefs and the probable customer’s sexual orientation. But why make threats. Why calls lawyers and force the business owner to do something they’re not comfortable with? That’s why I don’t get it.

If a business doesn’t want my money, I’ll just take it to someone who will appreciate it. Maybe it’s just me, but I wouldn’t want something made by someone who was forced to do business with me. I’d go elsewhere, find someone who can do the job I desire, and we all end up happy, me with whatever I wanted and them with my business. I look at these situations and think, I wouldn’t go into a Jewish deli and ask them to cater for a celebration of Adolph Hitler’s birthday. I wouldn’t go into a black-owned bakery and ask for a cake for a KKK rally. I wouldn’t go into a Muslim establishment and order a bacon sandwhich. I know some people that would, just for the hell of it, but I’m not one of them. And I wouldn’t listen to a radio station and get mad when they don’t play AC/DC or Alice Cooper, for example when their format is R&B. And I’m not going into a “Christian” pizza establishment and ordering thirty pizzas to go for my gay wedding if I know that the owners of that resturant don’t agree with and are uncomfortable filling that order.

The bottom line is, no one can be forced to do business with anyone else. And if a business doesn’t want my money, because I’m gay, because I’m a writer, because I like wrestling, because I have a cat, etc… for whatever reason, I’ll just go somewhere else that does appreciate me and my business. And it’s the law of supply and demand, capitalism at it’s best, that will take effect here. If a business keeps losing customers for whatever reason, it’ll eventually end up as part of the bottom line profit margin and they’ll either adapt and change their policies or else go out of business. And if a company or business welcomes and embraces the customers and provides their services without regards to the things that really shouldn’t matter, they’ll do better, make more money and succeed. So I guess it comes down to be nice to the businesses that want your money and business, ignore and boycott the businesses that don’t want to do business with you, and it’ll all come out in the wash. We don’t need special laws – we just need common sense and a little bit of the golden rule about doing unto others. The rest is just people stirring the pot and trying to cause make mountains from a molehill. ‘Nuff said!

Let’s move on.

Damn, I just forgot what I was going to say and talk about next. I think it was more of a personal thing, about friendship and trust and family. But thinking on it now, it’s probably not appropiate for the here and now. So I’ll keep it very short and sweet. Friendship is an amazing thing not to be taken lightly. If you find someone that you feel good and real with, that gets you as you get them, that makes you appreciate the here and now, hold on to them and value that relationship. And don’t betray that trust because while the common bonds and friendship may remain intact and together, things will never be the same again. And family? Well, to me, my friends are family, but some of my family are not necessarily my friends. It is what it is.

I miss my extended family… a lot.

I”m sorry. I don’t feel like writing anymore. I think I’m going to go take a walk around the block or something. Have a good night.

Ubuntu!