-The First Shot-
Hello once again and welcome to your 28th edition of The Shoot. WWE Summerslam has come and gone and as customary, we will see how I did in my predictions. The ongoing saga about Hulk Hogan’s heel turn continues in the final shot, and this week, I did something just a little bit different. I have a single Quick Shot headline which will be a mini-column, and then I have the main column mainly because I have two things I wish to talk about this week. So let’s dive in.
The news story that’s making the biggest splash for me is the news that ?American Dragon? Bryan Danielson has signed as contract with World Wrestling Entertainment. Bryan is one of the most talented wrestlers on the independent circuit and while he has been holding out for a while on this decision, he finally decided to make it and placed the ink on the dotted line.
The one thing that shocked me was the response from the fans on the ROH message boards. One would think that they would start their usual banter about the big ?E misusing Danielson and that he would just falter and fall into mediocrity like some other well-known ROH stars (Colt Cabana comes to mind which shocked me since his character just screams WWE. Cabana and Marella would have been an instant hit.) , but the board didn?t do that. They actually applauded Danielson for making the move (well, within the first two pages of the topic since I haven?t read any others since then), and wished him the best of luck.
A lot of people feared that Danielson wouldn?t make it in the WWE because Bryan loves to work that slow, thought out submission-style match. That crash TV or short 4 minute matches wouldn?t be his forte, but I highly doubt that Danielson will have any trouble adapting to the new style.
Some have even argued that he doesn?t have the ability to capture a crowd and to this, I highly disagree. I?m not talking about the Cheshire cat smiling Danielson that had the crowds doing karaoke to The Final Countdown? I?m referring to the days when Bryan Danielson was YOUR (I miss Bobby Cruise saying that in the introductions) ROH World Champion. Danielson was one hell of a heel when he wore the strap. He literally made the crowd cheer him and boo him on a dime with simple mannerisms, taunts (like the ?I have ?til 5?) and switching up wrestling maneuvers. I remember when the crowd popped huge for the Mexican surfboard and when Danielson heard it, instead of applying the move he would flip off the crowd and do a double stomp to the calves.
Those little things help capture the crowd and it worked very very well in ROH. Danielson didn?t really use a lot of flashy entertainment or over the top gimmicks to get the crowd to eat out of his hands every night? he just went out there, listened to the fans, and reacted which is part of the essence of professional wrestling.
If Bryan can bring that knowledge and experience with him and apply it to the WWE style, Danielson will make it pretty far in the WWE. I have no doubt in my mind that he will become the next CM Punk in terms of how fast his star can rise.
The only thing that would make part of his contract perfect is if Vince McMahon reaches into his deep pockets and buys a license to use ?The Final Countdown? at the Wrestlemania Danielson will one day headline! I know it’s a dream, but to dream is to be human afterall.
So yeah? that’s a little mini-rant of a collection of thoughts on the whole Danielson signing with the WWE scenario. Danielson is one of my favorite wrestlers of today and it was very exciting for me to read that piece of news. CM Punk got me back into watching the WWE and now Bryan Danielson will make me an even bigger fan of the product once again. But now we actually have the possibility of the two dream teacher vs student matches? of course those would be Bryan Danielson vs William Regal and Bryan Danielson vs Shawn Michaels? the latter, I?m sure, we?ll have to wait a pretty long time for.
-The Big Shot: What it Means to Be World Champion-
At one point or another? you?ve had a wrestling conversation with a friend who also enjoys professional wrestling and one of the topics that came up in your discussion was who should be world champion. The answers usually vary from so and so to whoever because YOU felt that they deserved it. You felt that they worked hard and were deserving to be the world champion. When I say world champion, I?m not referring to any wrestling company specific? I?m keeping the nature of this introduction on the broad side here because I?m about to make a point.
Saying that a wrestler deserves to be a world champion and that they should be world champion is fine, but it doesn?t always work for every company. In fact, smaller companies like PWG, ROH, Chikara, etc. cater to the internet fans who love workrate more than anything so saying that so and so has worked hard and is deserving of being a world champion could be a fine and dandy statement to make, but it’s not the true essence of being a world champion in the big leagues like the WWE or, even to an extent, in TNA.
Something happens when your company goes national and then global. You get television and pay-per-view deals and your world title is no longer about who can work sixty minutes or who can get a five-star match by Dave Meltzer. When you become a world champion, you take your career to new heights and you enter a brand new level of professional wrestling. Wearing the 5, 10, 15, 20, X Pounds of gold around your waist changes your job description from entertainer to face of the company.
That’s correct. Being world champion means taking on a whole new set of responsibilities. You need to increase your travel schedule because now you?ll be booked in autograph signings, day time AND night time talk shows, you might even be placed into a movie role, you?ll be doing photo shoots, interviews, appearances, all while trying to maintain the same travel and work schedule that you previously endured before you became the world champion. It is a major step, but it’s also a pat on the back because that means that the company has confidence in your abilities and wants you to represent their company.
Now comes the flipside to the coin and if you haven?t guessed the main focus of this column by now, go back and look at last week’s major news headline. But before I get on my rant, let me ask one question to all the readers. When do you think a company should step in to protect its image? Think about that question while I turn the attention to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
So in case you still don?t know what I?m talking about or you just don?t want to MMB Click and find out the story I?m talking about, last week, TNA World Champion Kurt Angle was arrested for violating a restraining order. He was charged with not only the violation, but also for possession of HGH (Human Growth Hormone for those who are acronym-challenged) as well as stalking his girlfriend, who is TNA Knockout Rhaka Khan.
In Angle’s defense, he claimed in an associated press statement as well as on the ever-popular Bubba the Love Sponge radio show, that she followed him out of his home and that he has security cameras that can prove it and that the needles containing the HGH were from two years ago that he forgot about.
While that may be true or false remains to be seen, however, the fact of the matter doesn?t stem from the fact that Kurt Angle may or may not be guilty? the whole issue is that he is currently the TNA World Champion and that this negative press is not only damaging Kurt Angle’s reputation but TNA’s image overall. Especially when TNA decided that they were going to keep the World Title on Kurt Angle throughout this entire investigation. Does TNA really believe in Kurt Angle that much that they are still willing to have him as the face of their company while all of these proceedings are taking place? Even if Kurt Angle is innocent, until he is proven as such in a court of law, having him continue to represent your company is a bad decision.
Even if it was a temporary thing, Sting or Matt Morgan should have taken the title off of Angle until this situation blew over. I mean, I know Kurt Angle has name value, but when you make national headlines, and not in a positive way, that name value depreciates extensively. Even if he is found innocent, given Angle’s past addictions and demons, the public may not view him the same as before. I know that is a little extreme to say, but people do think like that. Does TNA really wish to have this entire black cloud looming over their world title, the symbol of their company, and the man they are branding their company around? I sure as hell wouldn?t.
That doesn?t mean that TNA shouldn?t support Angle. If TNA believes his story as well as believes in Angle overall, then I wouldn?t blame TNA for sticking up for him, but I still wouldn?t have Angle as world champion. What if Angle is found guilty? That sends a message that TNA is blind to what is happening around them and that they would rather put name value before company value just to put butts in the seats. That’s not how wrestling is supposed to work.
What if this were the WWE? What if Angle was still under WWE contract, he went through the divorce, and started dating someone like Kelly Kelly (just pulling a random diva name out of the hat here). Then Kelly Kelly files for a restraining order, Angle violates while the WWE Championship is around his waist, he gets arrested, etc. Do you think Vince McMahon would keep the WWE Title on Angle? I highly doubt it? either Vince would just end up stripping Angle of the belt or make him drop it on the next available show. Vince knows the importance of protecting his company’s name value? TNA? not so much.
But, of course, I would be interested in hearing your opinions on the matter. Do you think that TNA was right in keeping the title on Kurt Angle or do you think they should have put it on someone else, at least until this entire ordeal blows over? Looking forward to the feedback.
Now let’s see how I did with WWE Summerslam Predictions
-One Extra Round: WWE Summerslam Picks-
The Great Khali vs. Kane
PICK: The Great Khali
Thoughts: Well, off to a great start, am I? This one could have really gone either way, in my opinion and it was a coin toss. Looks like the Big Red Machine got the win. Oh well.
MVP vs. Jack Swagger
PICK: Jack Swagger
Thoughts: I didn?t think that MVP would have gotten the rub here. I thought that with Summerslam being the Wrestlemania of the summer, that they would have given Swagger a bit of a bigger heel push to help solidify him on the Raw brand, but I guess they brought closure to this story back on Sunday and the good guy won in the end.
Degeneration X (HBK and HHH) vs. Legacy (Rhrodes and DiBiase, Jr.)
Thoughts: My first win only because this was the obvious choice here. DX lose? Come on?
For the Unified Tag Team Championship
Big Show and Jericho (c’s) vs. Cryme Tyme (Shad and JTG)
Thoughts: Okay, so my nickname isn?t really that clever, but Cryme Tyme are, by far, nowhere near ready to carry the tag division on their backs. This one was an obvious choice as well.
For the Intercontinental Championship
Rey Mysterio (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
WINNER: Rey Misterio Jr.
PICK: Dolph Zigger
Thoughts: You know? ever since I wrote that column about promoters using the internet to its advantage, either I?m becoming the biggest hypocrite for writing or I?m just blindly falling for it each and every time. If there is any truth to the news story then Rey got his way for another month.
For the ECW Championship
Christian (c) vs. William Regal
Thoughts: As much as I love William Regal, I couldn?t see him winning the title. I believe Christian may very well hold onto the ECW Title for a while. Who knows.. maybe they?ll bring Danielson up quick and he?ll be the one to take if off of Christian? wishful thinking?
For the World Heavyweight Championship (TLC Match)
Jeff Hardy (c) vs. CM Punk
WINNER: CM Punk
PICK: CM Punk
Thoughts: Jeff Hardy confirmed he was leaving which means the internet rumors were true. CM Punk is now a three time World Champion in the WWE and Rainbow Brite says farewell for now. I was hoping deep down that this wasn?t going to be another swerve, but it looks like there is some truth behind the news this time. Thank god, because I didn?t want another hash mark in my loss column.
For the WWE Championship
Randy Orton (c) vs. John Cena
WINNER: Randy Orton
PICK: Randy Orton
Thoughts: This is what I like to see?. Orton with that title around his waist. He work this year has been stellar and the fact that they are keeping the title on him past Summerslam is a very good thing. Orton is not getting stale by any means and, if anything, his star is shining brighter each and every month. Orton is the perfect heel champion and I hope that titles stays where it is for the rest of the year.
This brings my overall total to 57-39? currently ranked 8 among the faculty at wrestleview.
-The Final Shot-
As I said at the beginning of the column, another e-mail came in about the Hulk Hogan debate. If you wish to know what I am talking about, scoot back a couple columns to Shoot 26 where I did a piece on Scott Hall and mentioned Hulk Hogan’s nWo heel turn. This is NOT the official return of the Friendly Fire segment with reader feedback? I just felt it was nice to have a debate sparked and felt it would be interesting to the readers to display it here in my column? but alas? John Giammarino, the original emailer, sent this in:
Okay, I stand corrected, if you look at it that way, then technically he never “turned” heel. I am not positive that he didn’t somehow start as a face and quickly turn heel, I’ll have to go back to his book and check. I do want to say that I am not a big fan nor was I ever a big fan of Hulk Hogan, but his story is interesting. His friendship with Andre The Giant, as told in his book was my favorite part of it.
My Hulk Hogan knowledge is limited? so if anyone out there knows the answer for sure on whether Hogan started as a face then quickly turned heel or if he, for sure, did enter the business as a heel, be sure to pass the information along.
My oriental song choice of the week is ?Soshite Boku wa? by Yui Sakakibara. Light, upbeat, but it grows on you and becomes addicting. Be sure to check that out.
That does it for me this week. If you wish to drop me a line? you may do so by using any of the following:
Until next week?