2012 is going to be a fantastic year for the WWE. Launching the WWE Network, the much needed re-vamping of the logo (the attitude era is long-since gone, its time to get rid of the “extreme” font), and some good old fashioned fun being brought back to the squared circle, from two of the most unexpected sources. First we have John Laurinaitis and this whole Corporate interference thing the WWE is bringing back. Now, don’t get me wrong, the guy still can’t act, and has an absolutely desolate wardrobe, but the storyline he’s in right now is fantastic and Punk is good enough on the mic to make up for Johnny. This character is great. He’s hated in a comparable yet completely separate way from the way Mr. McMahon was hated. And how appropriate is it that Punk is pretty much the modern day Stone Cold to play antagonist to Laurinaitis’ stumbling, bumbling, executive-vice-president-of-talent-relations version of the Boss.
And then there’s Brodus Clay. Where the hell did this come from? I remember a few short months ago watching Brodus stoically destroy hometown jobbers and all the sudden, i have a fatter version of the Godfather on my hands? Let me just say: I love it! I know I’m the heel and all of that, but this guy is entertaining as hell. For a big man, he can move very well in the ring, and I have to admit, i’m totally captivated by this guy. For reasons unknown, I’m fully on board the bandwagon.
However, what has me even more geeked is the Royal Rumble match coming up in about 10 days. To me, this is the best match the WWF has ever created. Born in ’88, improved in ’89, and perfected in ’92 (making the Rumble winner become WWE champ, or at least WWE #1 contender), the Rumble is non-stop action for an hour. The only thing that they could do to improve the rumble is to bring back the wrestler thoughts segment. Why the hell would you ever get rid of this? This is promo gold!
I’m not one for predictions, especially in a scripted sport, so I’ll just say the top 5 Wrestlers I’ll be pulling for in the rumble.
Brodus Clay – If this guy wins, it’d be the quickest and biggest push any superstar has received since Hogan winning the WCW title in his first in-ring appearance for the company. However, he’s entertaining, and i dont think nearly enough big men have won this rumble. Again, i know it’s scripted but Rey Mysterio going coast-to-coast? give me a break. Brodus would have eaten his children before Rey even hit the ring.
Chris Jericho – This return still has me confused. He’d be such a great opponent for Punk, and while I love Dolph, there’s no chance Punk loses that title before ‘Mania. So why not have 2 of the best technical wrestlers in the biz face each other for the title at Wrestlemania? Besides, we still have no idea what he’s doing back in the WWE yet because of his silence, but they’ve already had him turn his back on Punk in a match, perhaps the Rumble will really set this thing in motion?
Sheamus – Going back to the big guys, it’s totally plausible for Sheamus to win the rumble from a size standpoint, he’s been in several undercard feuds, coming out the winner in all of them (literately and figuratively ). He’s a great character who’s fantastic in big matches. Him and DB could have a great Wrestlemania match. Especially now that Mr. Bryan is becoming quite the convincing heel.
Randy Orton – The Viper has been out of the Main Event scene for too long. This guy is still unbelievable, and lately i’ve been watching matches from earlier in his career before I got back into the scene. This guy deserves to be one of the most decorated champions ever. An Orton/Punk reboot would be much appreciated by me, who missed some of the better moments the first go-around, and Orton/Bryan would be entertaining also. Pretty much anybody you put in the ring with Orton will have a good match. And damn…those dropkicks…
Cody Rhodes – My man-crush on Cody does not appear to be dying down at all, does it? The current I.C. champ (5-month long reign and counting. Just sayin’) recently said he was going to pull an Ultimate Warrior and hold both titles. Now, even I admit that Rhodes is not ready to be the face of the company yet, but a push like this could get him ready very quickly. Either way, I think 2012 is going to take Cody to the main event level, and I say bring it on.
One bold prediction I will make: This year, the winner comes from the dreaded 11-20 range. I’m thinking #15. Go define the odds, middle men!
Discussion Question: Who are YOU pulling for in this year’s Rumble?
The attitude of gratitude has arrived. Survivor Series is less than a week removed, and I want to share what I was most grateful for during the pay-per-view: Every single person/team that I wanted to win did. I can’t help but feel that the WWE put this pay-per-view on just for me. The only dampening of spirits that occurred was Mark Henry holding on to the belt (not that Big Show would be that much better of a champion), but nonetheless, i was a perfect 6/6 on people I wanted to win. The most surprising result was the one I personally felt most invested in. Somehow, the WWE had Randy Orton’s team lose in the Traditional SS match. Orton has a very good track record in these matches, and is famous for being the Sole Survivor. And with the way this match was going, it looked like there was going to be another Randy Orton comeback as The Viper has become so popular for. But this year, it wasn’t meant to be.
Randy Orton is def. in my top 5 in the WWE right now. Probably top 3, but right now #1 on that list has to be Cody Rhodes. The current IC champion is absolutely sick. Phenomenal in-ring skills, a great wrestling personality, good looks, and championship bloodline really make me wonder how far they are going to let this guy go. I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but I see a LOT of main events in this kid’s future. This is a chance for the WWE to right the wrongs they are famous for by allowing this guy to live up to his potential, despite the fact that he’s not bulging with muscles or 6’6+. And before anybody wants to shoot back with HBK or Bret Hart or even Randy Savage, remember this: they were all faces when they won the ‘ship. The only way for a heel to be champ it seems is if he’s physically intimidating, despite how stiff or awkward he is to watch in the ring. This is one of the things that WCW always did better than WWF. If you are a good enough draw and put on the most entertaining match on the card, why the hell shouldn’t you be rewarded with the belt? Imagine if Ric Flair had been in the WWF the whole time. The Nature Boy would have had 2 title reigns. If Mason Ryan gets a Heavyweight Championship match before Rhodes does, I’ll start watching TNA (and then probably drown myself out of boredom). I don’t know anybody who has luke-warm feelings about Rhodes. Most hate him, some love him. Either way, I am grateful that Cody Rhodes got to be one of the Survivors in this year’s Survivor Series match.
Also, I must express gratitude that CM Punk will (hopefully) actually have a legitimate title run. Finally, I’m most grateful for the host of my Survivor Series watching, Colin, and my friend Tony for inviting me to watch the Series the way it was meant to be watched, on a real TV!
Discussion topic: what was the most shocking WWE victory you ever saw?