An All-Diva WWE Pay-Per-View?

Recently, a question was put forth to the members of “That Wrestling Group” on Facebook. I wish I could find the post itself and paste it here so I could give proper credit to the gentleman who asked, but I scrolled up and down the group page and can’t find it. It’s just like Hulk Hogan in the WWE – vanished into limbo forever. However, the question asked about the possibility of the WWE at some point doing an All Divas pay-per-view or special. And I commented on it that perhaps somewhere down the road, I could see it happening, but I didn’t think that the WWE and NXT had enough female talent on hand to provide for a full show.

And then I started thinking about it. And the more I thought about it, I realized that I was wrong. With a little creative work and one or two names from outside the current Diva roster, it could be done and done well. And then I decided to do just that and book myself a WWE card using nothing but the female talents. I did bring in four names from outside the current WWE roster, but all four ladies I decided to use are in the WWE’s good graces and it wouldn’t take more than a phone call to assure these ladies’ participation. And only two are in active wrestling roles so their participation would be more to add star-power to the event than anything else.

So just imagine this. A two hour WWE special, live on the Network, called “Ladies Night Out!”

Brought in just for the evening, to act as the special “General Manager” for the event would be Vickie Guerrero. The ring announcer would be Eden and JoJo would handle all of the interviews. And calling the action from ringside would be Renee Young, Stephanie McMahon and special guest Rhonda Rousey.

Here is the card I’ve come up with…

NXT Women’s Championship Match
Sasha Banks (c) versus Charlotte

The Bella Twins (Nikki & Brie) w/ Alicia Fox versus Team Bestie (Trish Stratus & Lita)

Note: This match has been talked about and teased for Wrestlemania XXXII by both the Bellas and Lita so it isn’t too far fetched from happening. Just move it up a little bit, have a confrontation between Lita & the Bellas on either RAW or Tough Enough and that’s all it would take – the match would be on.

Paige & Becky Lynch versus Naomi & Tamina

Diva Street Fight
Lana versus Summer Rae (Dolph Ziggler and Rusev are both banned from ringside).

Natayla versus Bayley

Diva Battle Royal – Winner Gets A Shot At WWE Divas Championship
Alexa Bliss versus Carmella versus Devin Taylor versus Dana Brook versus Emma versus Layla versus Cameron versus Eva Marie versus Rosa versus Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon) versus Sara Del Ray

Five matches and a Battle Royal. Two solid main event matches that would be almost certain to deliver, plus a strong match with Natayla versus Bayley. Paige & Becky could carry Naomi & Tamina to a good match and no one would really expect the Diva Street Fight to be good. It would be the spectacle / smoke & mirrors match of the night. Then round it out with the Divas Battle Royal which has a mixture of good workers and not-so-good workers. Throw the talents of Del Ray, who works as a trainer at NXT and Victoria, for name recognition and shock value and it’s a pretty unique and solid card from start to finish.

There are a lot of people that don’t think the ladies could work a show and carry an event on their own. Look at this card. Look at these matches? So, what do you think now?

Thoughts and comments welcome.

Ubuntu!@@@ wwe divas

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News: July 27, 2015

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
July 27, 2015
Doug Maynard
It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world. That was the name of a classic movie from 1963 starring Spencer Tracy and also an apt description of the world that we live in each and every day.  And even more to the point, the world of professional wrestling / sports entertainment over the past couple of weeks.  Are people getting crazy or what?  We’ve got Hulk Hogan, the face of professional wrestling for more than thirty years, being branded a hate mongering racist and being fired / scrubbed from the WWE.  We’ve got WWE Hall of Famer Tamara Sytch with some less than sunny remarks about the NXT Divas.  We’ve got iconic legends going back and forth on Facebook about personal responsibility and the infamous class-action lawsuit against Vince McMahon and the WWE.  We’ve got Roddy Piper and Steve Austin having issues and podcasts being dropped as a result.  And the Undertaker is back.  Oh vey!  Where should we begin?
How about this?  I’m Doug and this is “Tossing Salt – Worldwide News”, pro wrestling’s most eclectic column.  And today, I’m going to talk about all of the above.  I guess I should throw a disclaimer in here.  The views and opinions expressed here are mine and mine alone and not necessarily those of anyone else (with the possible exception of my cat, Goldy.  I’ll ask her when she wakes from her nap).  So don’t hate the players – hate the game… or something like that.  And I think that also, I’m going to do a Top Ten List towards the end of the column.  Sticking with the theme of the day, how about the Top Ten Most Politically Incorrect Gimmicks / Characters from the World of Pro Wrestling.  Yeppers, my Peeps.  A look back at the characters and gimmicks that were hot / big / over for their day, but in today’s so easily offended / politically correct / people are mindless sheep who can’t think for themselves world, would be protested, burned at the stake, dragged into the streets and forced to sit in a room with Nancy Grace instead.  Can you tell that I don’t think much of the P.C. police?  Anyhow, let’s get busy and get to work.
Crazy Times…
Let’s get started and do this in reverse order.
Undertaker is back…
We all saw it at Battleground.  Brock Lesnar is on the verge of decimating Seth Rollins and becoming the new WWE World Champion.  The lights go out, Rollins and the referee have both vanished and standing there in the middle of the ring is Brock’s greatest nemesis, The Undertaker.  A kick to the balls, a choke-slam and two tombstone piledrivers later, Brock is laid out and the Dead Man stands tall.
I’m glad that the Undertaker is back.  It was a great pull-apart brawl with Taker and Brock on RAW and having Taker versus Brock II at SummerSlam is big time news and money for the WWE.  If Taker wins, we have them tied at 1 win each and can milk this for another pay-per-view and do the rubber match.  If Brock wins, he is cemented in wrestling history as the biggest and baddest of all time.  But why did they have to cost us a finish in the Rollins / Lesnar match to get this rivalry jump started.  Wouldn’t it make more sense for Taker to let Brock win the belt first and then at SummerSlam, take not only vengeance for the Wrestlemania match, but the WWE World Championship as well.  Beating Brock up doesn’t bother him. Taking that title away does.
I get it that we’re not going to see Taker wrestle a full or even part-time schedule so putting the gold on him makes no sense at all.  But going after a title makes more sense than all of a sudden getting mad and wanting vengence for a clean loss over a year and a half later.  Taker and Brock were both at Wrestlemania XXXI and if Taker was so upset about Brock (and Heyman’s) bragging, that would have been the time to say something… not six months later. Poor explanation is hurting the build for this match, but I guess in the end, it doesn’t matter. Taker is looking like a major heel, but since it’s the Undertaker, that doesn’t matter either.  Just give us Brock Lesnar versus Undertaker at SummerSlam and take our money Vince.  That’s the bottom line and hopefully, both men will be physically able to pull off the build and the match that everyone seems to anticipate.
And then, when the dust settles, Brock can get back to business and take Rollins to suplex city one more time as he should be doing.  Is it too early to request Brock Lesnar versus Kevin Owens at Wrestlemania XXXII?  That’s where the money will be and want I want to see.  ‘Nuff said!
Piper versus Austin:  Podcast Wars…
So let me see if I can get this straight.  Roddy Piper had comedian Will Sasso on his podcast pretending to be Steve Austin.  The results, while funny, were also a bit insulting to Austin and he complained to the President of Podcast One, who at the time, hosted both Austin and Piper’s podcasts.  The offending podcast was removed and all was good again.  Then Piper is suddenly gone from Podcast One and says that Austin had him fired.  Austin denies the claims and while admitting that wasn’t happy with Piper’s show, wasn’t responsible for Piper’s dismissal.  The President of Podcast One says that Piper quit the company after the offending podcast was removed, albeit a few months later and is welcome back if he ever desires to come back to Podcast One.  And Austin has moved on. Piper is still ranting about Austin and everything else under the sun. Who else thinks that within a year from now, we’re going to have a special edition of Austin’s “Unleashed” podcast with guest Roddy Piper.  And the next week, Piper’s podcast will be back on Podcast One with special guest Steve Austin.
My own thoughts are that Austin did get pissed about Piper’s podcast with Will Sasso. If he did, I don’t blame him.  It went above and beyond simple satire and would piss me off too.  I don’t think that Austin asked for Piper to be fired and tend to feel that the Podcast One President was being honest when he said that, after removing that one show, Piper quit.  Piper is prone to rash actions and having the one episode removed probably hurt his feelings and made him feel like they were trying to control him.  And then it all blew up from there.  Piper and Austin are both iconic figures in this business and legends and if they ever happen to get together, share a beer and talk, I have no doubt that apologies will be made, hugs will be shared and both men will move on and try to find a way to make money from and work all of this into a story line.  How about Team Austin versus Team Piper at the next WWE Survivor Series?  I don’t want to see Piper or Austin wrestle (unless it’s Austin at Wrestlemania XXXII), but each man can coach a team and to the winner goes the spoils.  It’s the next natural step here.  I just hope that someone with money, influence and power can see that (Vince) and acts accordingly.
The Lawsuit…
As most wrestling fans are aware, there is a movement led by Billy Jack Haynes and allegedly about fifty or more other wrestlers against Vince McMahon and the WWE.  The Haynes led faction, which includes such noted names as Bryan Clark, Koko B. Ware, Blackjack Mulligan, Ivan Koloff, Big Vito, the estate of the late Viscera and the estate of the late Matt Borne, is going after Vince McMahon and the WWE, seeking money, medical aid, royalties for past matches, etc. And while I tend to agree with the Haynes group on some things, let’s call it as I see it.  For the majority of this group, it’s a money-grab lawsuit… period.  Haynes wrestled for the then-WWF for just over two years, but he blames them for 27 years of being a drug addict.  In the Matt Borne suit that was filed, they talk about not using helmets during training and concussions.  Borne was trained by his father, Tony Borne.  So how can what the WWF did or didn’t do affect his personal training to become a professional wrestler?  Pretty much, Haynes and company are blaming Vince and the WWE for every injury, every drug addiction, every bad things that’s ever happened to anyone who’s stepped foot in that ring and competed as a professional wrestling… and they want to get paid for it.
I don’t get it. I can see how, after years and years of competing in that ring, they want help with medical bills and maybe compensation for their matches, but guess what? If Vince wants to do it, he should, but he doesn’t have to.  It would be nice, but that’s not the issue here.  These guys wrestled all over the world, not just for Vince or the WWF.  I’ve personally witnessed Blackjack Mulligan in dozens of matches here in the Mid-Atlantic region that were brutal beyond compare.  But he’s not going after Jim Crockett Jr., is he?  Billy Jack Haynes used to get bloody every night in the Portland territory, but I haven’t heard him speak a single word out against Don Owens.  Everyone is going after the WWE because Vince won the wars and is the last survivor.  But what about the other promoters they all worked for? What about taking personal responsibility?
Every single person that steps into that ring knows how rough and physical it is and the toll it will eventually take on the body.  Every single person who stepped into that ring was living a dream, doing what they loved to do and was trying to be that larger than life character.  They knew the risks to live that dream and were paid and compensated for their efforts with their paychecks, with the opportunity to be on television and perform in front of large crowds, to travel the world and be stars.  I hate it that life wasn’t all rosy and grand forever, but what’s the old saying about  dancing the dance, but eventually you have to pay the band.
Bottom line is that, in my opinion, if it’s too rough, then quit. If you aren’t willing to pay the piper and make the necessary sacrifices to live the life and dream the dream, then move on and go on to something else.  Everyone who has stepped into that ring or will step into that ring, is making a decision to do so.  And every single person who chooses to abuse drugs is doing the same thing… making a personal decision.  I hurt every day with my legs and feet, but the strongest thing I take for the pain is the occasional Advil if it gets too bad.  I make a choice.  I’ve seen people who abuse pills and medication.  I hate it that they’re in pain or sick, but when the doctor has prescribed two pills and they take ten or fifteen, that’s their choice and no matter how much they might want to blame someone else (Vince) for their addictions and the problems that come along with that addiction, it just doesn’t float.  People make choices every day, good and bad, and whatever happens next, the consequences, are their responsibility as well.  Don’t go, twenty five years down the line, and make excuses blaming the boss or this or that.  That’s all they are – excuses.
Anyhow, I’m getting off the subject. I have friends, people I respect and admire, on both sides of this issue in the business.  It would be nice if Vince McMahon and the WWE established an out-reach program to help former WWE talents with medical expenses and financial problems, much like they have with the Wellness Programs and the rehab programs, but that’s up to them to decide.  It wouldn’t surprise me to see that happen eventually, but these lawsuits are pointless and not the way to go it.  I’ve listened and read and researched and while there are men and women out there who need help and assistance, this lawyer is out for money, pure and simple.  It’s a money-grab lawsuit that will put cash in the pockets of a few, use the ones who really need help as pawns, and just tie up the court system, preventing any real change for years to come.
Let me hit on one more point and then I’ll move on.  I’m going to use Blackjack Mulligan as my example here.  Blackjack is in extremely poor health.  He suffered a stroke recently and reportedly either had or needs to have surgery to relieve swelling on his brain.  According to Ric Flair, Mulligan is up to over four hundred pounds and is in terrible shape. If Jack or someone in his family had contacted Vince or Triple H, prior to this lawsuit crap, and explained the situation, I have no doubt that they would have been there, helping Mulligan with his medical expenses and looking out for him.  Mulligan’s son-in-law and two grandson’s all work for the WWE and he’s a Hall of Famer and true legend.  But since this lawsuit was filed, and given Mulligan’s admitted memory problems (having to write himself notes to remember to go to the restroom, giving out his phone number on Facebook), I wonder just how much he really understands about what’s going on and what this lawsuit is about, the WWE can’t help him now even if they want to.  If they do anything, it would be used against them and considering pandering.  Mulligan signed on to this fiasco though and here is where personal responsibility comes into play.  He knew what he was doing (allegedly) when he signed on, but since he’s signed on, the people most likely to help him can’t.  He’s scorched earth legally and off limits.  Something to think about, right?
It’s time to move on…
Sunny Doesn’t Like Them…
Recently, on Facebook, Tamara Sytch, aka WWE Hall of Famer and Skyper for Hire Sunny, had this to say about the NXT Invasion by female Divas and superstars Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch.  Let me go to her page and get the quote.  Okay, here is what she said.  “ok…….who else thinks the 2 new red/purple/orange heads in the diva divisions are buttafaces??? and charlotte (Ashley) really has in ring talent!!”.
So Charlotte has talent and Sasha and Becky are “buttafaces”?  Does the one-time Diva sound jealous to you?  She does to me, but then again, Tammy seems to be petty at times.  Maybe it’s because these so-called “buttafaces” are talented in other places besides the bedroom and are getting credit as actual legitimate WRESTLERS who can do more than fill out a bra.  They can talk.  They can wrestle.  They are respected and have main evented shows.  And Tammy has… well, she can pose in a bed with her fans and skype (for a fee).
I think Miss Sytch owes Sasha and Becky an apology.  She won’t do it and will probably just insult and trash anyone who suggests such a thing, but it would be the right thing to do.  As a Hall of Famer, Tammy should be above making petty and personal insults to the ladies of the WWE just to get attention and provoke an reaction.  She should be, but she’s not.  Just saying…
And finally…
Whatchu Gonna Do… Brutha!…
At this point, I think that everyone has heard the racist, filled with the “n-word” rant, by the legendary Hulk Hogan.  And we’ve all seen the fall-out.  He was fired by the WWE and essentially scrubbed from WWE.com.  He’s being replaced as a judge on Tough Enough and even TNA has removed him from their alumni page and pulled their new Hulk Hogan DVD that was just released a couple of weeks ago.  Hogan has been pretty-much Benoit’ed from the world of professional wrestling, all because of a private discussion and rant from nearly 8 years ago.
As anyone who knows me can tell you, I’m not a big fan of Hogan.  For me, it was always Flair and NWA style wrestling and not Hogan / WWF sports-entertainment crap.  But that being said, I can’t help but feel sorry for the guy.  There is no excuse for going on a racist rant, but look at the time period.  Hogan was at the time having major issues with his wife, trying to finance his daughter’s career, the reality show was ending and as he’s spoken of several times in the past during interviews, was at one of the lowest points ever of his life and had even contemplated suicide.  All of this going on had to have an effect and thus, we see a part of Hogan that otherwise, we never would have seen.
Think about it.  If he had just called that guy who was allegedly sleeping with Brooke an ass-clown or a piece of crap or just a stupid f*****, there would not be a word uttered.  In a fit of anger, he called him the n-word and now the world is losing their minds.  Never mind the context or reasoning behind it all… the word was used and now Hogan is facing the fall out.  Note what I said earlier about taking responsibility for one’s actions?  Hogan has apologized and taken responsibility and that should be the end of it.  I hope so, but I doubt it.  I don’t blame the WWE for terminating Hogan over this.  In today’s overly politically correct world, he’s scorched earth and as a publicly traded company, WWE had to get out there and take action before it came back to bite them in the butt.  They did so, to the extreme to be sure, but they’re doing exactly what they have to do.
I hope that Hogan can survive this and come back from all of it.  Radar Online and The National Enquirer have both implied that there is more to come and the rest will be even worse and more damaging to Hogan and his career / reputation.  At this point, all we can do is sit, wait and see what they have.  Hogan just needs to come clean, address the situation and then work on rebuilding and damage control.  What I expect we’ll see is an apology tour, with Hulk  doing the talk shows, being open and honest about the whole matter and maybe even take a (very public) class in sensitivity training.  Just play it by ear and try to rebuild that reputation.  Wrestling fans are a forgiving lot and when it comes to their heroes, the American public is as well.  Hogan is not only a wrestler, but an American Icon and with time, with apology and with some effort on his part, it’s not hard to imagine him back in the good graces of John Q. Public once again, sooner rather than later.
As a matter of fact, I’m calling it now.  Expect Hogan to go on an “apology tour” and attempt to mend fences with the black community.  We’ll probably see more of Hogan in the next 18 months or so than we have in years.  Within a year, WWE will have quietly put back his merchandise and links on their webpages.  Hogan is too big to erase or ignore and I think they know that.  And probably by Wrestlemania XXXIII, roughly a year and half from now, Hogan will be back in the WWE as the lovable, forgiven, returning hero.  Watch and see.
And now…
Top Ten Politically Incorrect Wrestling Characters / Gimmicks…
10.  Indians
Using this gimmick is kind of a double-edged sword.  Using it as a proud Native American like some of our local performers (Indians With Attitude, Dylan Kage) do is generally acceptable and okay.  But throw in some feathers, maybe a tomahawk and just watch the P.C. police go nuts.  In today’s world of trying to get the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Redskins to change their names because a few politicians deem the names offensive, just imagine a feather wearing, face paint wearing Native American wrestler in today’s WWE or TNA, using the patented chops and doing a “war dance” before pinning their opponents.  By the way, for the sake of transparency, I have to admit here that I agree that the Redskins should change their name.  It’s not the Redskins part that bothers me, but the Washington tag.  After all, look at our “leaders” and elected officials in Washington.  If they’re not embarrassing and humiliating, I don’t know what is.  Being an Indian warrior can still be done and done well, but it’s touchy at best.  Too bad because some of the greatest talents in wrestling history (Wahoo McDaniel, Jay Youngblood, Michael Youngblood) have used this gimmick and done it proud and well.  And then you have Chief Jay Strongbow and Billy White Wolf (an Italian and an Iraqi) who also wore the feathers and paint and used the chops.  The less said about those two, the better, but at least they did manage to pull it off and tried.
 9.  Arabs
When you think of Arab wrestlers, the images that come to my mind are the Sheik, Abdullah the Butcher and the Iron Sheik.  They have the pointy-toed boots and carry the foreign objects and are anti-American, hate filled creatures of evil intent and nature.  I’m trying to think of any wrestlers from Iraq, Iran or the Middle East that ever had the good-guy gimmick and were pro-American, but can’t.  The closest we had was Muhammed Hussen & Shawn Daivari who started off as two Arab-American’s who wanted to show that all Arabs weren’t evil, but quickly had their characters changed to more typical, borderline terrorists.  As scared to offend anyone as our world seems to be these days, can you imagine two stereotypical coming on TV now in 2015 and doing 1/3 of the stuff that the Iron Sheik did during the ealry nineties during the Gulf War?  The show would be protested and pulled off the air pretty quickly, kind of like how Muhammed Hassan and Daivari were after their masked associates attacked The Undertaker on Smackdown on the same day a terrorist bombing occurred in England.  One moment they were there and the next, gone from our television set.  The only difference is today, they wouldn’t even make it to RAW or Smackdown to begin with.
 8.  Akeem & The Rev. Slick
A white man dressed in traditional African clothing and pretending to be black managed by a slick talking, watermelon and fried chicken eating manager from the ghetto.  Just think about it.  The black stereotype gimmicks given folks such as the Nation of Domination, the Harlem Heat and the Godfather were bad, but nothing and I mean nothing that I can remember ever crossed that racial line quite so badly as this particular gimmick.  I’ll give One Man Gang and Slick credit that they really pushed the envelope and took these characters way farther than anyone could have possibly expected, even to the point of having Slick release a musical single called “Jive Talkin’ Bro”, but could you just imagine if they tried to do this now and today.  Al Sharpton, he of the racist hate-mongering protests and extortionist ways, would be in Stamford so fast, even the Flash would be saying, “Damn, he moved fast!”.
And in the same category, although I just remembered it, can you remember when DX used the black-face and did a mockery of the Nation of Domination?  It was so funny that they had to go find Jason Sensation to join the pack and do it twice.  Now, move ahead a few years and picture (for example) Curtis Axel, Damion Mizdow and Heath Slater all dressed up in black-face and doing a parody of the New Day.  How well do you think that would go over?  How quickly do you think that the WWE stock would start dropping and Vince would start getting phone calls from politicians.  White people making fun of back people, be it Akeem or DX, in today’s world.  Not going to happen.
 7.  Adrian Street / Rico
A male wrestler acting less than manly, weak and timid and, dare I say it, gay. How would that go over today?  I think back to “The Exotic” Adrian Street and his dancing and prancing around the ring, wearing the make-up and pig tails and kissing his male opponents.  He smacked them on the butt and painted his title belts pink. Every single gay stereotype that existed, he used and played up to the max.  And this was the late sixties, seventies and early eighties when he was doing all of this.  The irony of the situation is that Street was not gay at all and was married to his long-time valet, Miss Linda.  But he knew a gimmick that would catch heat and ignite the crowd and ran with it far better and longer than anyone had a right to.  Later, such stars as Terry (Simms) Garvin and Rico would add their own spins to the gimmick and use the gay stereotypes to maximum advantage.  Adrian Adonis added “Adorable” to his name and had a talk-segment on WWF television called “The Flower Shop”.  Playing up to the gay stereotypes has always been a major way to give a character instant heat with the fans.
Now move ahead to today and 2015 and the only two gay wrestlers (who are actually homosexual males) that I can think of are Orlando Jordon and Darren Young.  When Jordon was working as a straight up wrestler in the WWE, he was getting over fairly well, but when he decided to make his bisexuality a part of his gimmick and character, he bombed like Letterman at the Oscars.  And Darren Young? His sexual preference isn’t an issue and isn’t brought up except for the occasional public appearance.  He’s enjoying the biggest success of his career thus far as one half of the WWE Tag Team Champions.  These days, unless it’s on the Indy scene, finding a character that embraces the old stereotypes and acts like Street or Rico did, is next to impossible.  That’s probably for the best though.
 6.  Pistol Pez Whatley
You have a prominently successful wrestler, a fan favorite.  He turns on his partner and changes his name from “Pez” to “Shaska”, embracing his black heritage.  And then after being dumped by his manager, he goes to Florida and becomes part of a tag team, along with Tiger Conway Jr., called “The Jive Tones”.  He’s “Shaska” and then he’s a “Jive Tone”.  Any other black stereotypes that Pistol Pez Whately could have stuck on him?  If he had come along twenty years later, he could be part of the “New Day”.  Whately isn’t so much of a certain type of stereotype than just someone who seemed to get all of the worst ones.  He was a good wrestler with a lot of charisma and could have been a much bigger star for the territories than he actually was.  He had the ability in the ring, but it seems he couldn’t say no when the promoters had a bad idea.
 5.  Virgil
Paired with the rich, white “Million Dollar Master”, Ted DiBiase, the character of Virgil was pretty much every stereotype of a servant and slave known to man thrown in one character and played to the max.  Think how it would go over in today’s world if JBL or Vince McMahon came out each week and had a black man-servant with them to cater to their every whim.  The character was a stereotype and painful to watch, even in the eighties.  Borderline slavery and indentured servitude, made worse by the races of those involved.  In today’s world, it would never fly.  Not at all.
 4.  Baron Von Raschke
I used to really enjoy watching the antics of the great Baron Von Raschke back in the day.  The heavy accent, the evil sneer, occasionally wearing the monocle, and then, in the ring, the patented goose-stepping across the ring, Nazi style and then the application of the claw as the Baron went on to victory after victory.  Now, can you imagine a wrestler today doing the Nazi goose-step march?    Instant dismissal and black-balling.  Hell, just a few years ago, JBL was nearly arrested and got in major trouble with the WWE when, during a tour of Germany, used the Nazi salute to stir up the crowd and get some instant heel heat.  Nazi characters were cheap heat back in the day and it took a special person to pull those characters off, literally putting their lives on the line each time they went to the ring.  In today’s world, the character wouldn’t work and there is no place for it.
 3.  Kevin Sullivan & his “Cult”
If you want to get people upset, talk about politics, race or religion.  And if you really want to stir the pot, have your own “cult” of devil worshipers to follow your every movement and accompany you to the ring, aka Kevin Sullivan in the early 80’s in Florida.  It’s one thing for a wrestler to be a “leader” of some kind of movement, such as Bray Wyatt and his Wyatt Family or CM Punk and his Straight Edge Society, but when you have disciples called “Fallen Angel” and “The Purple Haze” and use special effects and rituals to allegedly invoke demonic sources, it’s obviously a bit too much. Kevin Sullivan pushed the envelope about as far as it could go with his antics in Florida thirty years ago and that state still hasn’t recovered.  The religious groups weren’t as sensitive then as they are now and while something like that may have escaped their notice back in the day due to just being a “wrestling thing”, it wouldn’t take but one appearance or show with a Sullivan like cult to show up and do something and Bill O’Reilly or Geraldo would be showing up at the promoter’s door.
 2.  Eugene
It could be Eugene, played brilliantly by wrestler Nick Dinsmore, or Norman the Lunatic or Evad Sullivan or even Blackjack Mulligan’s “Cousin Luke” (played by Killer Tim Brooks), but it seems that mentally ill characters have always been a big part of professional wrestling.  Even as recently as 2009 where Luke Gallows wrestled for the WWE under the name of “Festus”.  Mental illness is a serious thing and not to be mocked in today’s society and the thought of a grown man from an Asylum and carrying a teddy bear, a dyslexic simpleton who has a pet rabbit or a monster of a man who is a total idiot, but turns into a wrestling machine at the sound of a bell, is just plain (pardon the pun) crazy.  I had always hoped that in the WWE, they would eventually have Eugene pull a swerve and show that his character wasn’t really “challenged”, but was just pretending and using that to make people underestimate him.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen and Dinsmore was eventually dismissed from the company.  Back in the days when people didn’t know so much about mental illness, this stereotype was common and a part of almost every wrestling company to some degree. Now it’s not and hopefully will never be again.
 1.  Wild Eyed Southern Boys / Freebirds
And taking the spot as the most politically incorrect gimmick and character in today’s P.C. world, the Confederate flag wearing, Southern Pride characters such as the Fabulous Freebirds, The Wild Eyed Southern Boys and Col. Rob Parker.  In today’s world, a person is not allowed to have pride in the heritage of the land for which he lives.  I’ve lived in North Carolina for all of my life and for 99% of the people around here, the whole controversy about the Southern flag, the “Stars & Bars” is pure ridiculousness.  Yes, it was used by the KKK back in the day, but so was the United States flag.  For a lot of us, and I’m including my friends who are black in this, the flag is about being a redneck and being a rebel, proud of our states, our country and our attitude.  It’s about fighting oppression and not taking crap from the folks up North.  And some people think it’s a symbol of racism.  This isn’t the place to argue what is and isn’t racist so I’ll save those arguments for my blog and personal discussions.  Everyone has their opinion and so long as we can be sensible and smart about it, discuss differences like adults and perhaps agree to disagree, it’s all good.  But anyhow, after the actions of one crazy little racist ass-clown in South Carolina, anyone who wears the Confederate flag or appears to embrace any part of the Confederacy is considered public enemy number one.  So could you imagine the heat if Tracy Smothers and Steve Armstrong came out on television today, wearing the Confederate jackets and waving the “Stars & Bars”?  Could you imagine Michael Hayes out there waving the Confederate flag in a WWE ring as he often did back in his days as one of the Fabulous Freebirds?  Could you imagine Col. Rob Parker, dressed like a poor man’s Col. Sanders, out there on TV today, cutting a promo in that heavy southern accent and wiping his brow every few seconds? Ten years ago, it wouldn’t have mattered and no one would say a word.  Two years ago, it wouldn’t have mattered and no one would care.  Now, there would be protests, calls for boycotts and Al Sharpton going after any sponsor the wrestling company may have.  It’s not right, but that’s how it is when the world has gone crazy and everyone is offended by everything.  Welcome to 2015 and today’s America.
And there you go…
And with that, I’m going to close this bad boy up and call it a day.  Thank you for reading.  Thoughts and comments are welcome.  I can be contacted at my e-mail, Doug28352@yahoo.com, my Facebook page, Facebook.com/saltpalace, or on Twitter at @doug28352.  Take care, have a good night, and always support your local Indy wrestling groups.  See the stars of tomorrow today.  And dat is all de’ people need to know.  I’m Doug and I’m gone.
Ubuntu!

WWE Battleground Predictions: July 19, 2015

WWE Battleground Predictions and Thoughts
July 19, 2015
Doug Maynard

Here we are just a few hours away from the latest WWE pay-per-view offering, WWE Battleground 2015. Wait, I forgot. We don’t call it a pay-per-view anymore since it’s not just exclusively on pay-per-view. Now it’s a WWE Special Event and it’s live on the WWE Network. Does anyone still actually pay $49 bucks anymore for these things? I know I don’t and won’t. I’ve gotten spoiled by being able to go back and indulge in my WCW addiction nightly. Add NXT and the special events to the mix and I’m hooked. Here Vince… take my money!

Okay, it looks as if I’m starting to get a bit off track. I hate it when that happens. Why am I even here? What is my purpose for sitting here at 2:30am and writing? Oh yeah, it’s WWE Battleground. And I have predictions to make, analysis to do and most likely people to offend… because that’s what I do. Did I ever tell you the story about the man who came into my place of employment a couple of days ago and for no reason other than it must have been on his mind and maybe because it was a Thursday, told me that “I didn’t like you!”. He repeated it several times and never quite specified why he “didn’t like me”, but he was quite serious about it. Just one of the many I’ve seemingly offended over the years. How will I ever get over the pain and agony of knowing that someone doesn’t like me? What ever shall I do? I just shrugged and gave him a Stone Cold Stunner right then and there in the middle of my store. I followed up with a People’s Elbow and then, screaming, “Now… it’s time to go to school…. Wooooo!”, locked him a figure four leglock until he passed out from the pain. That’ll teach him to “not like me”. The ass-clown! Actually, I just shrugged, rang up his purchase and told him to “have a great one”, smiling as he walked away. No laying the smackdown on customers allowed at work. Well, maybe the occasional eye-poke, followed by a DDT, but nothing more than that.

And I’m definitely off track here. Let’s just get right to the nitty gritty and do that prediction thing. Where’s my Sister Cleo outfit? It’s in the dirty clothes. So let’s just break out the glittery tux and the funky weird wig. It’s Gary Spivey time. And no, I’m not “Mr. Wonderful” Paul Orndorff. I’m Doug and I’m here to pump… you up! I really need to quit watching old reruns of Saturday Night Live when I write these things. Let’s do this…

WWE Battleground 2015 Predictions…

WWE World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar.

I have to admit, this one has me scratching my head. Brock is going to kick Seth’s ass. That’s pretty much a given here. It’s going to be Suplex City all night long and Mr. Rollins is going to be extremely sore at the end of the night. But will Seth still be the WWE World Champion? That’s the question here. Seth, as the champion, has grown on me over the past few months and I don’t think he should lose the title. BUT (and there’s always a “but”), Brock has been built up so well as the total monster and wrestling machine, I can’t see him taking a pin or loss. I keep hearing rumors that both Undertaker and Sting are scheduled to be at the event so maybe we’ll see Taker come in and get involved, attempting to avenge both his loss at Wrestlemania XXX and get retribution for his “brother” Kane, who is currently suffering a “broken leg” because of Lesnar.

That would be cool and all that, but Taker is a good guy and getting involved to save the title for Rollins is a total heel move. Since Lesnar is getting cheered too, that would be a big no no for the Dead Man. So how about this? Brock kicks Seth’s butt and repeatedly takes him to “Suplex City”. Brock is ready to win, but someone gets involved by order of “The Authority”, let’s say Jack Swagger or maybe Mark Henry. They cause a DQ and Seth retains the title even though Brock wins the match. We have a gang beatdown on Brock by Seth and associates and the lights go out. The lights come back on and Taker is there. He saves Brock by clearing the ring of Seth and friends. Taker and Brock then go face to face and Taker gives the dazed Brock, the man he just saved, a chokeslam. The lights go back out again and Taker is gone. Then all of this can be continued on RAW and we end the show with a helluva cliffhanger that leaves the fans talking and wanting more. Works for me.

Winner by DQ: Brock Lesnar (Rollins retains the WWE World Championship)

WWE United States champion John Cena vs. Kevin Owens.

Along with the Rollins – Brock match, this will be probably the most anticipated match of the night and I have no doubt that Cena and Owens will deliver. I want to see Owens win. He’s been nothing short of awesome since coming up to the main roster and defeating Cena to capture the United States Championship would be a great way to put that exclamation point on what has been a remarkable first few months as a WWE Superstar. But the other side of that is I like the John Cena open challenges each week on RAW. I can’t stand his promos and he comes across (to me anyhow) as a bit of an arrogant pinhead, but in the ring, Cena has been delivering some fantastic must-see matches. I don’t want to see that end. I keep thinking we might see Rusev or more likely Cesaro come out and get involved, costing Owens the title and the win, just like he’s done to both of them over the past few weeks. I’m thinking that, but I dont’ think they’d do outside interference in both main event matches. That would just be wrong, even for WWE. So I’ll go with a title change and Owens winning the belt. He can deal with Cesaro or Rusev on RAW and Smackdown, but at Battleground, it’s Owens with the clean win to become the new United States Champion.

Winner and NEW United States Champion: Kevin Owens

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus.

It’s Orton and it’s Sheamus. I really could care less. Orton always wins, but he’s pretty much just there these days and involved in any kind of major program with anyone. He can afford to take a loss. Sheamus is the Money In The Bank contract holder. He should win… and will.

Winner: Sheamus

WWE Tag Team champions The Prime Time Players vs. The New Day.

This is another match that could easily go either direction. I was just starting to really enjoy the New Day as the champions when they lost the titles to the PTP. Talk about taking a bad gimmick and making chicken salad out of chicken crap… the New Day has really done just that. And the PTP are starting to grow on me as well. I wasn’t crazy about seeing them become the WWE Tag Team Champions, but they’ve been bringing it each week in that ring and Titus is a hoot on commentary, so I’m not complaining about it anymore. This is a hard choice, but I think the numbers game will be the deciding factor come Sunday night. And for Big E, Kofi and Woods, it’s a new day and a new reign as the tag team champs.

Winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day

Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt.

I love Bray Wyatt’s character and I enjoy watching Roman Reigns perform. He has that “Big Sexy” Kevin Nash hair-flip down to a science. But with this match, I don’t feel much of anything. Wyatt has lost so many matches that he just doesn’t have any kind of momentum going and is just kind of there. He can’t afford another loss, but if he does, so what. Roman is getting that big push and a loss would hurt him slightly, but I don’t see how a win would help him here either. Wyatt’s character has become stale and this match just doesn’t seem like it will help or hurt Reigns no matter what the outcome. They need to do something with Bray to create a major impact and get the ball rolling again. It won’t happen tonight though. Reigns wins.

Winner: Roman Reigns

King Barrett vs. R-Truth for the Crown: Kickoff Match.

King Barrett versus King What’s Up. This is what the King of the Ring, held by such greats as Harley Race, Haku, Owen Hart, Bret Hart and King Booker has come to. As the great Gorilla Monsoon would say, “Give me a break!”. Truth is the resident comedy wrestler for the WWE these days (and saying that really makes me miss Santino Marella a great deal) and he’s here to entertain and put on some great matches. And he’s good at that. Is he good enough to be a king though? I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news for him. The winner and still WWE King of the Ring will be Wade Barrett.

Winner: King Barrett

WWE Intercontinental Champion Ryback versus Big Show versus The Miz

This match was pulled from the card due to a staph infection by Ryback, who won’t be cleared to wrestle. I’m thinking and hoping that they decide to let Show and Miz still compete in a Contender’s Match or something of that nature. It’s not right to pull Show and Miz from the card (and thus take away their pay-per-view bonuses) because of something that they have no control over (an injury to Ryback). If it does happen and we get a match between Show and Miz, my money is on the annoying man with the money-maker. It may not happen, but then again, it just might. Better to go ahead and call it, just in case.

Winner: Miz

And that’s it for my predictions. The WWE hasn’t announced any kind of Divas match for the show yet, but most likely they will try and squeeze some kind of Diva action into the event. I’ve already heard that the NXT Divas are scheduled to be there and especially if they don’t have the Triple threat IC match, the WWE will have a lot of time to fill. What better than the most talked about segment from this past weeks RAW, the NXT Diva Invasion. As soon as I see any kind of official notification from WWE announcing Divas action… or any other match that I haven’t already covered here, I’ll post my prediction either on my Facebook page (facebook.com/saltpalace) or my Twitter (@doug28352).

And now, it’s late so I’m going to call it a night and go to bed… or going to go watch Netflix. One or the other. But anyhow, that’s all folks! Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you on the flip side.

Ubuntu!

Consequences (A WWE Kevin Owens Fan Fic)

Backstage at Monday Night RAW, NXT Champion Kevin Owens is walking towards the locker room after another successful defense of his NXT Championship in the NXT Championship Open Challenge.

“Heath Slater is a tough kid”, he thought to himself as he walked towards the dressing rooms. “Good moves tonight too. He deserves to get more television time and better matches… Just not at my expense though.”

As Owens walked into the dressing room, he looked around. R-Truth and Jack Swagger were in the corner of the room playing cards. Titus O’Neill was listening to his tag team partner, Darren Young talk about some mutual friends. Zack Ryder and Dolph Ziggler were having a friendly argument with Macho Mandow and Axelmania about the NBA Championship series.

But as Kevin walked into the room, everything seemed to freeze. All the talking stopped and everyone seemed to look in his direction.

“What?”, Kevin asked. “Why has everyone gotten so quiet? What’s going on?”

“I think I hear Stephanie calling”, Ziggler spoke up as he walked past Owens and out of the room.

“Wait, we’ll go with you”, Ryder said as he signaled for Mandow and Axelmania to follow them.

“I have to go to the Gorilla position”, Swagger said as he stood up and walked out.

“I think I saw a spider”, Truth said. “I ain’t staying in here with no spider!”

As Truth and Swagger left, Owens turned to the only two men remaining in the room, Titus and Darren.

“What’s going on?”, Owens asked the two Prime Time Players? “Why is everyone leaving?”

Darren looked as if he was fixing to say something, but Titus touched him on the shoulder and shook his head. Darren quickly closed his mouth, put his head down and walked out, followed closely by his tag team partner.

“Damn, that’s weird”, Owens thought to himself. “I wonder why everyone left so…”

And then he saw the shape of a man sitting in the far corner of the room. Older and definitely having seen better days, but sitting straight, tall and proud. The quiet, but strong gravely voice carried across the room. Harley Race was here and he had something to say.

“Mr. Race? Harley? How are you sir?”, Owens started to say, trying to show the proper respect to the former 8-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, but Harley raised a hand and spoke.

“Be quiet and shut your mouth”, Harley said.

Owens started to respond, but the cold, hard look on Race’s face quickly made him rethink that decision and he stayed quiet.

“Sit down!”, Race said, pointing towards a bench next to where Race was sitting.

Owens sat down and Race began to speak.

“A few weeks ago, on the TV, you had a confrontation with John Cena. And after laying Cena out, you stepped on the United States Championship belt.”

Owens started to speak to defend himself, but Race quickly stopped him before he could start speaking.

“Just be quiet and listen”, Race said. “I was the first man to hold that United States Championship. I won that belt in 1975 and apart from my NWA Championships, it was one of the proudest moments in my career. Do you understand me?”

Owens again started to speak, but seeing the fire in Race’s eyes, just nodded instead.

“Some great legends have held the United States Championship. Men like Johnny Valentine, Ric Flair, Paul Jones, Wahoo, Rick Steamboat, Blackjack Mulligan, Roddy Piper, Snuka, Greg Valentine, Tim Woods and so on. Real men… real wrestlers. And when you stepped on that title, you stepped on every single one of us. And I don’t like it!”

Race paused for a moment and gave Owens a cold, hard stare before continuing.

“Listen, I know that you were only doing as you were told by Vince or one of the agents. I get that. That’s the only reason I’m not in here slapping the shit out of you and am talking instead. I’ll make this to the point. You’re a good kid with a hell of a lot of talent. I’ve watched your matches and you’ve impressed the hell out of me. You’re damn good in that ring and on the mic and I wish like hell that I was twenty years younger. I would love to have a go with you in that ring. You’ve got a big future ahead of you and if I can ever help you out in any way, just let me know.”

Harley paused to take a breath and continued once more.

“But I’m only going to say this once. Talking junk and getting yourself over is fine. Beating the hell out of Cena is fine. Being proud to be the NXT Champion… that’s fine. But if you ever step on that U.S. title belt again, if you ever disrespect me or the other men who have held that championship like that again, you’re going to deal with me and I won’t be so damn nice. Now, you wanted to say something?”

Owens hesitated for a moment and then began to speak.

“Mr. Race”, Owens began to say, but Race cut him off.

“Harley”, he said. “We’re both men here and the only time I ever hear Mr. Race being used is when some damn cop is trying to give me a speeding ticket.”

“Well, Harley then”, Owens started once more. “It was never my intentions to disrespect you or the United States Championship or any of the men who have held that title since it’s inception. My intentions were to put over myself and my NXT Championship. I was told to go out there and convince everyone watching, all of the fans, that I’m the better man and the better champion than Cena and that’s exactly what I did. I was told to make an impact and so I did.”

“Who’s idea was it to step on the title belt like you did?”, Race asked.

“One of the writers”, Owens admitted. “I wasn’t happy with the idea, but I’m still new here and can’t rock the boat by saying no or arguing too much.”

“Well, if they ever tell you do do something like that again, say no. If they have a problem with that, they can take it up with me personally. I’ll make sure that Vince and Hunter know that too. You won’t catch any heat so don’t stress it.”

Owens nodded.

Harley smiled and said, “Okay kid, we had our talk. Just make sure that when you do your thing and make that climb to the top, you don’t disrespect or step on those of us who came before you. Look to the future, but never forget the past either.”

“Yes sir!”, Owens said.

“Now go get showered and dressed”, Race told Owens. “I’m going to go find Vince and put a little fear of Race into him. And when I get done with that, you’re coming with me, Flair, Orton and JBL.”

“Sir?”, Owens asked.

“Well, if this was twenty years ago, I would be obliged, even though it wasn’t your idea, to slap the shit out of you for disrespecting the U.S. Championship. But this is a different era and I’m a calmer, quieter, more gentle Harley Race now. So you’re going to the bar with me, Flair, Randy Orton and JBL and any other wrestler who decides to tag along. We’re drinking all night and it’s on you. Consider this a wrestling court sentence for the disrespect of the United States Championship. Do you have a problem with that?”

“No, I don’t think so”, Owens said quietly.

“Good man”, Race smiled. “Now go get showered and cleaned up. I’m going to go find Vince and have a word with him and then I’ll spread the word that drinks tonight are on the NXT Champion.”

With a nod, Race walked out of the room, looking for Vince McMahon. Owens watched the former NWA World Champion exit the room and then let out a deep breath he hadn’t even realized he had been holding in.

“Too bad Race isn’t twenty years younger”, he thought to himself. “A match between Harley Race and Kevin Owens would be a classic for the ages.”

Then with a small laugh, Owens sighed and added. “Who am I kidding? He’d whip my ass!”

Another sigh and then Owens started getting ready to head to the shower.

“I’d better hurry up and get ready. Tonight is going to be a long night!”

THE END!

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News: June 12, 2015

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
June 12, 2015
Doug Maynard

I’m Doug and this is pro wrestling’s most eclectic column, going strong since 2002, Tossing Salt – Worldwide News. Let’s just do this…

Dusty…

I’m not even sure how to start this. Yesterday (Thursday), was a very sad day for the world of professional wrestling. Yesterday was the day that “the Dream” died… literally. I sat down in front of my computer, ready to go check out the amazing world of Facebook and clear out my mailbox when I saw the news and from there, it was just a blur. I checked out a couple of my favorite websites for confirmation, but still didn’t want to believe it. I went to WWE.com and had it confirmed once more. I could feel a small tear in my eyes slowly running down my face. It was true. Virgil Runnels, aka “Dusty Rhodes”, had passed away.

And for most of the day afterwards, I spent time going back and forth between watching old videos on YouTube with Dusty fighting Harley Race, Dusty winning the Bunkhouse Stampede, Dusty and Sapphire dancing around in the yellow polka-dots in the WWF, a six-man tag from Memphis with Dusty teaming up with Jerry Lawler and Magnum TA to fight Ole & Arn Anderson and Tully Blanchard, Ole Anderson turning on Dusty in the cage in Atlanta and re-sparking a feud that would lay the groundwork for what would eventually become the Four Horsemen, and so on and so on. So many matches and so many memories.

And then I started remembering the great angles with Baby Doll and Tully Blanchard, the infamous “manilla folder” that Baby Doll and Larry Zbyszko threatened to blackmail Dusty with, the teaming with Nikita Koloff as the “Super Powers”, the times Dusty wore a mask as the “Midnight Rider” and then as part of the “James Gang”. So many memories of “The American Dream”.

He was a wrestler, a great talker, a promoter and booker, charismatic beyond belief and truly a legend and superstar in every way, shape and manner of the word. While there were certain aspects of Dusty that I didn’t really care for personally, there is no doubt that he took creativity to a new level and was always entertaining and fun to watch. There are wrestlers and there are legends, but there is only one “American Dream” and his name was Dusty Rhodes.

Rest In Peace Dusty… You definitely will be missed.

It’s kind of ironic to me that just a few nights ago, I was sitting up at my computer, bored and restless, and had a quick whim of an idea for a fan fiction story about “Nature Boy” Ric Flair and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes. I decided to go with it and after about an hour of relentless typing, here is what I came up with: https://www.fanfiction.net/s/11304686/1/Ric-Versus-Dusty-One-More-Time. Check it out if you’d like.

And now, let’s talk about this Sunday and the latest WWE pay-per-view offering, “Money In The Bank”. It’s available on pay-per-view and also on the WWE Network. Isn’t it ironic that the last big WWE show / special event featured a so-called “Dusty finish” in the main event of Seth Rollins versus Dean Ambrose? I just thought about that. And on this Sunday, we move on to the next stage and that’s “Money In The Bank”. For my predictions for “Elimination Chamber”, I only went 2 out of 6 correct. Hopefully, with this event, I’ll do much better. So now, let’s put on the Gary Spivey wig and get to doing that predicting the future type thing. Are you ready? Let’s go…

WWE Money In The Bank 2015 Predictions…

WWE World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose.

A ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship as Rollins, who now walks alone after alienating all of his team mates from The Authority, faces the “Lunatic Fringe” Dean Ambrose. No doubt that this will be a hard hitting and stiff match that will leave both men bruised, battered and sore for weeks to come. It will be fun to watch and see if Seth can truly do it on his own and defeat his former “Shield Brother”. Yeah, right. Do you really think that The Authority is going to send Seth out there alone? These arguments are all a ruse to give Ambrose false security. Ambrose will dominate the match and Seth will take a beating, but when it comes time to see who climbs that ladder and wins the WWE World Championship belt, look for J&J Security to make the save. Ambrose goes down and Rollins makes that climb, grabbing the belt and retaining the title “all by himself”.

Winner and STILL WWE World Champion: Seth Rollins

Money In the Bank Ladder Match: Dolph Ziggler vs. Neville vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Sheamus vs. Kane.

This one could honestly go any way or to any of the participants. It’s being billed as an “All Star” match and this is one time that the billing on the Marquee is not over-hyped. I don’t think we’ll see Randy Orton or Dolph win. They have both already won previous MITB matches and there’s a “been there – done that” air about them. I also don’t think that Neville will win since he’s still primarily seen as a NXT guy and hasn’t really paid his dues on the WWE roster yet. I just don’t really care for Sheamus so that will eliminate him from contention, at least in my eyes as well. So that leaves Kane, Kofi and Reigns.

I love the idea of Kofi and the contract, especially as part of the New Day where they would all three try to use the “Freebird rule” and all go after the WWE World Title. It could be extremely entertaining and fun, but is the WWE ready to take their top prize in that direction? Probably not at this point so that probably eliminates Kofi from the picture. And now we have Kane and Roman. The smart money says it will be Roman. He’s the man they’ve strapped a rocket to and are pushing towards the top of the card. But think about it with Kane. He’s already part of The Authority and the Director of Operations for the WWE. His dislike of Seth Rollins, the WWE World Champion, is extremely well known and part of all the current storylines. Just imagine the turmoil and tension in The Authority if Rollins is the champ and Kane has that briefcase. Roman is starting to get over and doesn’t need the briefcase at this point. There’s far more intrigue and story if Kane wins and holds that contract in his demonic little hands. I think I’m going with the “Big Red Machine” on this one.

Winner: Kane

WWE United States champion John Cena vs. WWE NXT champion Kevin Owens.

And here we are with Cena – Owens II. Common sense says that since Owens won the first match with a clean pin, then Cena should win this one to even up the score and set the stage for a rubber match at SummerSlam. That’s the way WWE likes to do things and most likely that’s the way they’ll go here now as well. I hope not though. I don’t want to see Cena win against Owens. I’d like for it to be established that Owens is the one man that Cena “can’t beat” so they can really expand on this in the future and establish Owens as the “Anti-Cena”, much like it was with Flair and Sting in WCW. So I’d like to see either Owens get another clean pin on Cena or else win by maybe a count-out as he just leaves Cena laying out of the ring and just watches non-chalantly as the ref counts the fallen U.S. Champion out. It won’t happen though. Look for another great match and lots of hard hitting, in your face action. And Cena gets the clean pin to tie them up at 1 – 1 and sets up the rubber match for the next big show.

Winner: John Cena

WWE Intercontinental champion Ryback vs. Big Show

Ryback is the new champion and for some reason, the humanoids like him. Big Show is… well, he’s the Big Show. Unless a Divas match is added to the card, this is the designated bathroom break match of the night. Show is big, but Ryback eats him like a plate full of chicken salad at the backstage buffet. ‘Nuff said!

Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Ryback

WWE Tag Team champions The New Day vs. The Primetime Players.

While the Players are entertaining and could be fun to have as tag team champs, I think they’ll have to wait for another time and another day because this day belongs to the New Day. The act is still fun and fresh and the New Day folks (Woods, Kofi and Big E) are really growing into their characters and getting over big time. It’s too soon to take the straps off the champs. Sunday will be a winning day for the New Day.

Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day

Bad News Barrett vs. R-Truth (Kickoff show)

Ever since becoming WWE King Of The Ring, Barrett has been losing to everyone. Will the mighty ruler regain his standing and proclaim his standing as the King of the WWE Universe once more with a mighty victory over Little Jimmy’s favorite tag team partner? Nah, I don’t think so either.

Winner: R-Truth

And I guess that’s it. So far, as I write this, no Divas match has been announced for the event although I do expect that WWE will realize this and throw one out there at the last moment before the show starts on Sunday. If this does happen, I’ll post my thoughts and predictions on my Twitter account (@doug28352) and on my Facebook page (Facebook.com/saltpalace) as soon as I can. Or I can just do it here. Whatever the match is, the Bellas win or the Bella wins or however that goes.

And with that, I’m out of here. I have to go ride uptown and pay some bills. Uugh! What fun! So this is a wrap. I’m Doug and thank you for reading. Comments and thoughts can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com or else at the Twitter and Facebook pages listed above. Have a great weekend and I’ll catch you on the flip side. But for now, “dat is all de’ people need to know!”

Ubuntu!

Flair versus Rhodes: One More Time

A/N:  Suppose Ric Flair wanted to wrestle Dusty Rhodes one more time? Had a late night inspiration about that possibility and well, here’s what came out of it if you will… A little Nature Boy / American Dream fan fiction.  Enjoy…

*****************************************************

“The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes was in the mass video library of WWE Headquarters.

“I know that video is around here somewhere”, he said to himself as he looked through the archives for Florida Championship Wrestling. “Me and ol’ Jack Mulligan putting a whoopin’ on that nasty ol’ devil, Kevin Sullivan and the Purple Haze!”

As Dusty looked through the videos, he heard a noise from a small room off of the main library. Dusty got intrigued and followed the noise until he came upon a familiar platinum blonde head hunched over a small tv screen, chuckling and letting out the occasional “Woooo!”.

“Nature Boy”, Dusty spoke up. “What is you doing here, hiding in the dark like a common snake in the grass, watching video and laughing like a looney-toon crazy man?”

Ric jumped up at the interruption and had his hands balled into fists, prepared to fight. Upon seeing it was only his old sometimes nemesis / sometimes friend, Dusty Rhodes, Flair relaxed.

“Dream, you startled me”, Flair said.

“Nature Boy”, Dusty repeated. “What are you doing here hiding in the darkness. What are you watching?”

“Watching some old matches between myself and Harley Race”, Flair explained. “I’m going out to Kansas in a few days to work with Harley at his training camp and wanted to refresh my memories of some of our matches to use as examples for his students.”

“You and Race sure put on some classics”, Dusty agreed. “But hell, so did you and I?”

“Very true”, Flair agreed. “Too bad we can’t get Vince to let us do it again. We could show all these young kids in the WWE how to really wrestle and prove what I’ve been telling them for years.”

“Less is more?”, Dusty asked.

“Exactly”, Ric said. “Pick your spots and tell a story. That’s how you do a wrestling match. It’s not high spot after high spot after high spot. Make the moves count and sell.”

“No matter how much I tell those kids down in Florida that, they still want to hit move after move and not sell anything”, Dusty agreed.

“And forget about working a body part or chain wrestling”, Flair added.

“Don’t I know it”, Dusty agreed once more. “I would love to see just one kid pull an Anderson and work on the arm or leg. That would make my day!”

“The kids can wrestle and are athletic monsters”, Flair said. “But the powers-that-be, Vince and Hunter, want flash and sizzle instead of technical skills.”

“What they should do is mix it up… have some high impact mixed with the chain wrestling. Make the big moves count when you use ’em and tell a story with the wrestling holds.”

“I thought I already said that”, Flair noted. “I’ve talked to Hunter until I’m blue in the face though and while he mostly agrees, he says that it’s Vince that wants sports-entertainers and not wrestlers. Vince is the one who wants the flashy high impact and larger than life moves.”

“And we all know that ain’t no one talking Vince into changing anything if he don’t want to”, Dusty said.

“We ought to do something to try and change his mind”, Flair smiled.

“Like what?”, Dusty asked. “Do a Flair versus Rhodes match one more time? My body is too old for that stuff and yours is too!”

“I feel great and could still put in a good thirty minute match”, Flair said.

“Well, I can’t”, Dusty said. “I’m nearly seventy years old. My days of gettin’ funky like a monkey are over and done!”

“Hell, Dory Funk is a lot older than you and he still wrestles in Japan several times a year, plus has his own promotion and Dojo!”, Flair threw back at Dusty.

“That’s Dory and he’s funkin’ crazy!”, Dusty laughed.

“You mean to say that I got Vince or Hunter to agree to let us go one more time, Flair versus Rhodes, the Nature Boy versus The American Dream, man versus man, legend versus legend, on an episode of RAW or even NXT, you wouldn’t do it?”, Flair asked.

“No”, Dusty said.

“Walking that aisle, stylin’ and profilin’ as only you and I can do?”

“Nope”, Dusty repeated.

“Limo riding, jet flying, kissing the girls all night long. Woooooo!”

“Not gonna happen, Naitch!”, Dusty said one more time.

“Well, I’m going to bring it up to Hunter and suggest we do it. We can put on a wrestling clinic for those kids at NXT and those new kids, the Tough Enough ones, and show ’em all what being a legend, being the American Dream, being the Nature Boy… Woooooooooo, is all about!”

“You’re crazy… crazy as a loon!”, Dusty laughed. “Ain’t no way that Hunter or Vince would ever go for that.”

“But what if they do?”, Flair asked, a big smile forming on his face. “If I can get them to say yes, are you in? Will you do it? Will we see Flair versus Rhodes headlining, on the marquee one more time?”

“It ain’t gonna happen. They are not gonna say yes!”, Dusty explained.

“But what if they do? What if they do? One more time. Are you in?”

“If you can get them to say yes… well damn it all, the Dream is in and will go one on one with the Nature Boy one more time, one night only!”, Dusty smiled.

“Woooooooooo!”, Flair belted out loudly. “And there you go! I’m going to Vince’s office right now! Wooooooo! The Nature Boy and the American Dream! One more time! All night long! Woooooooooo!”

And with another “Woooooo!” for good measure, Flair strutted out of the small room and headed upstairs to the offices of Vince McMahon and Triple H.

“One more time! Wooooooo! The Dream and the Nature Boy! Woooooooo!

As Flair headed for the elevator to take him upstairs to the offices of WWE Management, Dusty just watched him go. Shaking his head and smiling to himself, Dusty let out a big chuckle.

“Naitch is still crazy as hell!”, Dusty laughed. “And now, time to get back to finding that footage I was looking for!”

About an hour later, Dusty was finishing up his search, having found and copied the wrestling footage he had been searching for. Suddenly, the sounds of “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams Jr. filled the room. Dusty reached down and seeing that the call was from Ric Flair, he flipped open his cell phone.

“Nature Boy”, Dusty said. “What’s the word, if you will!”

“Well, I talked to Vince and Hunter”, Ric said. “I asked them about having us wrestle and going all night long, stylin’ and profilin’, Wooooooo!”

“And?”, Dusty asked.

“They said no”

“They said no?”, Dusty repeated. “Did they say why?”

“I’m not sure”, Ric said.

“Why aren’t you sure?, Dusty asked. “What did they actually say?”

“I don’t know”, Ric said quietly.

“Why don’t you know?”, Dusty asked. “What happened?”

“Well, I was talking to them about having you and I wrestle and I got a little excited and started taking off my clothes….”

“No, you didn’t? Please say you didn’t?”, Dusty sighed.

“And then I elbow dropped my jacket on Vince’s desk”, Ric continued.

“Oh lord!”, Dusty laughed to himself. “I wish I had been in that office.”

“And about the time I did my flop into the potted plants in the office, Vince started freaking out!”

Dusty just chuckled as Flair continued.

“And then Hunter just said, ‘No!’.”

“So no more matches between the Dream and the Nature Boy?”, Dusty laughed. “I wish I had seen that! Can’t say I’m disappointed though.”

“But don’t worry”, Flair said.

“Why should I not worry?”, Dusty asked. “And why does you saying not to worry make me worry?”

“I’ve got an idea”, Flair said.

“Should I even ask?”, Dusty wanted to know.

“I’ll tell you later”, Ric said. “Now I’ve got to go. There’s Stephanie and Linda. Vince and Hunter may have said no, but once I turn the old Nature Boy charm on to the ladies, I know I can get that match for us.”

“Don’t do anything crazy”, Dusty warned his old friend. “It’s not that important!”

“When have I ever done anything crazy?”, Ric asked.

“A few minutes ago in Vince’s office”, Dusty reminded him.

“I’ve got to go. We are going to main event one more time! Wooooo!”

Ric hung up the phone and Dusty heard the click.

“Should I head upstairs and try and run interference for Steph and Linda or should I let Ric make a fool of himself?”, Dusty asked himself.

Memories flashed through Dusty’s head of Ric defeating him to win the NWA World Championship in 1981, of Ric and the Andersons beating him down in the cage in Atlanta, of Ric and the Horsemen jumping him in the parking lot of Crockett promotions in Charlotte, etc.

“I think I’ll let Ric handle this on his own”, Dusty smiled. “If you will!”

THE END!!

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News: May 28, 2015

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
May 28, 2015
Doug Maynard

Hello and how the heck are you? I’m Doug and this is pro wrestling’s most eclectic wrestling column since 2002, “Tossing Salt – Worldwide News”. I’m in a writing mood and have wrestling on the mind. I’m thinking about the most elite faction in wrestling history, the Four Horsemen and also have that little thing coming up on Sunday, the Elimination Chamber, on my mind. There’s no time for small talk. Let’s just get right to it, shall we? And away we go…

The Four Horsemen…

So here I am at the house on a hot and very humid Thursday morning. It’s a rare day off where I have no committments or responsibilities to anyone and actually have a full day for myself. And having just said that out loud, I’m sure my phone will start ringing at any moment now or else someone will come knocking at the door and say those magic words, “I need a favor”. I just hope that whoever it is, he’s cute. But anyhow, what was I saying? It’s a lazy day and I’m fresh out of the shower and going through my drawers looking for something comfortable and appropiate to wear as I attempt to find creative ways to hide from the world and avoid any and all responsibility. A pair of shorts? Check! And a t-shirt? Absolutely, but what shirt should it be? The nWo black and white? Nah! How about the nWo red & black Wolfpac shirt? Nah! The “Peep Show” shirt? My Kevin Nash “Big Sexy” shirt? How about the classic DX t-shirt with HHH, Chyna, X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws gracing the front? Once more, it’s a negative. And then I see it. One of my classic favorites, the vintage “Four Horsemen” t-shirt, with Ric Flair, Arn Anderson, Chris Benoit and Steve “Mongo” McMichael on the front. It’s fading and worn out and even has a small hole in the front , but it’s one of my favorites and since it’s the Horsemen, it never goes out of style.

And that got my mind to working and pondering about something. We all know that the legendary Four Horsemen franchise is one of the most revered and elite names in professional wrestling. There are many groupings of professional wrestlers that are respected and made an impact in our sport such as Evolution, the nWo, Degeneration X, The Corporation, The Hart Foundation and the Mean Street Posse, for example, but when it comes to being first, setting the standards and being the symbol for excellence, the Horsemen are the top of the line. Some may argue and disagree, but when you lay out the history, the impact, the legacy and just the amount of championship gold held by the men who represented that infamous faction, the arguments are pretty mood. When it comes to groups and factions in professional wrestling, you have the Four Horsemen and then you have everyone else. ‘Nuff said!

But who are the best Horsemen? Who are the men who really set the standards and fit that “elite” status the best? Yes, I’m going to take a few minutes and look at the fifteen men who wrestled as part of the Horsemen and do my best to rank them as to who, in my opinion, was the worst to the best. I’m not including the managers and valets (James J. Dillon, Woman, Miss Elizabeth, Debra, Baby Doll, Dark Journey, Hiro Matsuda, Fifi) because while they were a part of the mystique and image of the Horsemen and each served to helping and building the legacy in some way to varying degrees, they were not active wrestlers and not technically “Horsemen”, at least not in my opinion. I also won’t include the men who were associated with the Horsemen, like Butch Reed, Michael Hayes, David Flair or Kendall Windham. They were associates and allies, but not true Horsemen. This is about the men who walked that aisle, styled and profiled and had that true moment in the sun as one of wrestling’s most elite.

So far as my methods and standards for how I’m doing my ranking and determining the best and worst of the group, there are no set standards. I’m just calling it like I see it and who I felt helped set the bar and truly belonged and who I felt was in over their heads and were not up to the Horseman standard. We’re doing this from the bottom to the top with the least effective Horseman starting things off and we’ll move up to bigger and better as we determine who the best of the best really and truly is / was. So let’s do this…

Jeff Jarrett: Why is the so-called “Chosen One”, who had a brief stay with the group in 1997, at the bottom of the list as the worst Horseman? It’s pretty simple actually. In his book, Arn Anderson says that Jeff Jarrett was never a true Horsemen and was never part of the group. While I actually like Jarrett as a performer and think he’s an excellent wrestler, if “the Enforcer” says that Jarrett was not a Horseman and doesn’t belong, then so be it.

Curt Hennig: Another fantastic wrestler and amazing talent who should be near the top in theory and if given the opportunity, could easily have been one of the top men in WCW, a potential World Champion and a true leader for the Horsemen. But the powers-that-be at WCW used Hennig as their pawn, forced the Horsemen to take him in as a member and then did the whole “betrayal” thing a few weeks later. He took Arn Anderson’s “spot” and then turned on the team a couple of weeks later and while this doesn’t detract from Curt’s abilities or reputation as an incredible performer and talent, it does destroy any chance for a potential legacy as a member of the Horsemen.

Paul Roma: I’m kind of mixed about Paul Roma. Everyone was expecting Tully Blanchard and we got “Pretty” Paul Roma instead. He was a good looking kid and was actually pretty decent in the ring, as multiple tag-team title reigns with both Arn Anderson and Paul Orndorff proved. But was he “Horseman” material? If Arn and Ric had the time and opportunities to work with him and build him up as (for example), Ric and HHH did with Batista and Randy Orton in the Evolution faction, I think that Roma could have had a great future. But things didn’t work out and his legacy as a member of wrestling’s elite is more of a footnote than anything else.

Dean Malenko: Dean Malenko is one of the best pure wrestlers in the world and probably one of the most intense men in the business, but was he really and truly what a Horseman should be? I loved watching Dean perform and his matches against Chris Jericho for example, show just how talented and skilled this man truly is. But when I think of the Horsemen, there should be a touch of bravado and cockiness mixed with the intensity. There should be some of that killer instinct bubbling just below the surface and a willingness to do “whatever it takes” to achieve your goals. I didn’t see that with Dean. He’s a great wrestler and a technician second to none, but as a member of the Horsemen, it just seemed like a strange fit and that he was there more from his relationship with Benoit than any other reason.

Sid Vicious: He’s big and strong and mean and intense and has that great look. He was perfect for the role of the big strong man of the group except for one minor thing. His actual wrestling skills pretty much sucked. With that look and intensity, he really didn’t need to do much in the ring except for a few power moves and look mean and he did that well so he was right for the group at the time. I don’t think he was really ever truly part of the team though and worked better as a solo performer.

Sting: Sting as a opponent for the Horsemen, the “David” against their “Goliath” was perfect. But Sting, who was the top baby-face for the company, alligned with the manipulative and out-for-themselves ego-maniacs known as the Horsemen? It just didn’t seem or feel right, especially when you’d see Sting standing next to Arn or especially Ole Anderson. It made for some good TV and an entertaining and stimulating time for us fans, but it was obvious from the get-go that Sting and The Horsemen was a marriage made in hell and couldn’t last. It wasn’t a question of if they would eventually turn on Sting, but just when.

Steve “Mongo” McMichael: I’m probably one of the few, but I liked Mongo as a member of the Horsemen. His in-ring wrestling ability pretty much sucked and his promos weren’t really all that, but think about it. He didn’t get into wrestling until he was in his late-thirties and that was after a long and extremely successful career in the NFL, including a Super Bowl ring. The body was already broken down at this point so we couldn’t expect much. He gave it his all though. He wasn’t a great wrestler, but Mongo was legit tough and there was something about him that just said “this man is freakin’ crazy!”. Flair and Arn picked him to be a Horseman and he gave a legit sports credibility to the franchise. Also, adding someone like Mongo to a group that included Flair, Arn and Benoit would hide the weaknesses and allow the strong points to shine through. It’s a strategy that Paul Heyman used quite often in ECW with his wrestlers and it worked for Mongo as well. Maybe he wasn’t a great wrestler, but in my opinion, Mongo was a great Horsemen.

Lex Luger: Looking back, Lex was the perfect person to bring in as the Horsemen’s first “associate” and then later on, recruit to replace Ole Anderson. Lex was young, fresh, arrogant and had that great look. That brief time with the Horsemen, and then the later feud after he was “fired”, was what took Lex to the next level and made him a star. Lex might catch a lot of heat these days for his ego or politics, but there’s no doubting that he did a great job in this initial sink-or-swim spot as a member of the Horsemen. He eased right in there and really made a good, strong impact that got people talking and made them stand up and take notice.

Brian Pillman: Brian Pillman had been around WCW for a while and was a good wrestler, but never really impressed me much until two things happened. The first was the tag teaming with the future “Stone Cold” Steve Austin as the Hollywood Blondes. I think that partnership and the time they spent as a team was really the main thing that took them from mid-card level to the main events and pointed each man to the direction it took to really take their career to the top of the card. Austin, as we all know, went on to the WWE and became a beer drinking, hell raising bad ass. Pillman went from the tag team ranks to a certifiable “loose cannon” who would literally do or say anything. He also, around this time, became a member of the Four Horsemen. The main thing I remember from Pillman’s time is that he constantly stirred the pot and caused some major problems between Kevin Sullivan’s “Dungeon of Doom” and the Horsemen. It kept things interesting and exciting and you never knew what to expect when Pillman came to the ring or got ahold of a mic. His time as a Horseman was short, but the impact he was was eternal.

Ole Anderson: I hate putting Ole down this low because in my opinion, if there wasn’t an Ole Anderson, there never would have been a “Four Horsemen” to talk about. Ole was the seasoned veteran of the group and really seemed to be the brains of the group in the early days, setting the direction of the group, be it protect Flair’s title, go after Dusty, etc. The whole gang warfare mentality and sacrifice and protect the titles at all costs were from the Anderson Brothers playbook and Ole, as the mentor for the group, passed it on and helped to make those sentiments part of the Horseman legacy. Ole was stubborn, tough as nails and one of the most dangerous men to ever step into a ring and having him there just gave the group a credibility that few other teams or factions could even dream to match. I may have five other men ranked above him on this list, but have no doubts, Ole was everything that a Horseman could ever strive or hope to be and is a true legend in every way. And on a personal note, the “Four Horsemen” may be in the WWE Hall of Fame, but without Ole’s name being included, put an asterick by that induction because it’s not real or complete. Just saying.

Chris Benoit: The ability and the intensity said it all. If there was any man, aside from the original four or Barry Windham who was meant to be a Horseman and represented everything that a Horseman should be, then Chris Benoit is that man. While not physically the biggest man, the heart and soul of Benoit always made him the biggest man in the room. “Silent but violent” was the description used and how appropiate it truly was. While the way his life ended and the tragedy surrounding those final days will always overshadow what Benoit did in the ring and his legacy as a wrestler and a Horseman, the time he did spend as a wrestler truly made an impact and left an impression as well.

Tully Blanchard: If Ole was the foundation for the original Horsemen, then Tully would be the attitude. Tully was the perfect heel in so many ways, always able to get under the skin of everyone, be it an opponent or a fan and looking great while doing it. He was such a dick, you couldn’t help but feel a grudging respect and admiration for the man even as you booed him and hoped that someone would kick his butt. He would out-wrestle his opponents and then hit them with a chair just because… he didn’t need to cheat to win, but did it because he could. He had the nice cars, the fancy clothes, the beautiful women in Baby Doll and Dark Journey and always made sure that everyone knew that he was better than they are. With Flair, he was entertaining and you liked him despite his tactics. With Ole and Arn, they were straight forward and blunt and even if you didn’t like them, you respected them for their toughness. With Tully, there were no redeeming qualities. He was so annoying and such a brat, you hated him, yet respected him at the same time. And that’s what made him great as both a wrestler and a Horseman.

Barry Windham: A man with so much natural talent and ability, a second generation superstar (son of the great Blackjack Mulligan) and for the longest time, the ultimate baby-face wrestler. No one was sure how he would work out as a heel when he was recruited as a Horseman, but the second he did that turn on Luger and gave the tag team titles to Tully and Arn, arguably the greatest Horseman who was not one of the original was born. He had the size to work as a big man, but had the speed and technical ability to match up against anyone as well. He was (no offense to Lex Luger) the true “total package” of professional wrestling. And while he had many good runs as a “good guy” over the years, if you’ll look at the promos and matches he had as a heel and as a member of the Horsemen, that’s when he really seems to be enjoying himself the best and having the most fun. Barry was a natural heel and truly one of the greatest ever to lace up a pair of boots. That’s what made him a great Horseman.

Ric Flair: The 16-time World Heavyweight Champion and the leader of the Four Horsemen. The original purpose of the Horsemen was to protect Flair and protect that NWA / WCW World Championship. The group did it’s job and did it very well. Flair was the leader and called the shots throughout the years and truly is the primary purpose for the Horsemen. The only reason he’s not number one and the top Horseman of all times in my opinion was that often times, Flair seemed to stray a bit and put his own personal interests over that of the group. There was also a few times where it seemed to me as if Flair was taking the team for granted. It all boils down to perception and Flair may have been the leader of the Horsemen, but he wasn’t, in my opinion, the greatest Horseman of all. That honor falls to…

Arn Anderson: The heart and the soul of the group of elite athletes known as the Four Horsemen. While Flair was a multiple-time World Champion and was often out doing things as a singles star, with Arn, it was all about the group dynamic and doing what’s best for the team. Arn had success to be sure, but his best times were always as part of a team, be it the Dangerous Alliance, the Heenan Family and most especially the Horsemen. With every match and every promo, Arn always gave 150% of everything he had and you could always see, hear and feel the pride he had when performing. And the pride he had when he held those four fingers in the air. Flair was the leader of the Horsemen, but Arn was the motivation, the soul, the resolution, the best of the best. Arn and the Horsemen were one and the same in every way that counts and I don’t think Arn would want it any other way.

Diamonds are forever and so are the Four Horsemen. Woooooooooooooo!

And now, with that complete, let’s talk about what’s coming up on Sunday night, exclusively on the WWE Network. Yes my friends, I’m talking about the Elimination Chamber special event. It looks as if it will be a decent show with a lot of great wrestling action and of course, I have some predictions to make. Let’s do this…

WWE Elimination Chamber Predictions…

Elimination Chamber Match for the vacant Intercontinental Championship
Sheamus versus Ryback versus R Truth versus King Barrett versus Dolph Ziggler versus Rusev

As I’m writing this (Thursday afternoon), Rusev is a question mark for this match. It seems that the big Bulgarian bruiser has suffered a leg injury of some type at the Smackdown tapings on Tuesday night and may not be available for this match. If that is the case, I’d expect to see either Bray Wyatt or maybe Luke Harper injected into the match as his replacement. I’d love to see Zack Ryder be given the opportunity, but we all know that’s not going to happen.

This should be an interesting match and it really could go to anyone. Well, anyone but R Truth because we know that he’s not going to win. I don’t think Ryback will either. There’s a role for the “big guy” in the company, but I don’t see the IC title in his future. Not right now anyhow. And Dolph has the Lana / Rusev love triangle thing going on so that’s going to be occupying his time for the next few weeks. The way I’m thinking, it’s going to come down between one of two men, either Sheamus or Wade Barrett. Wade has been losing to everyone on the roster as of late and since being made “King of the RIng”, can’t buy a victory. Sheamus has looked impressive as of late and is probably the obvious favorite. Of all the people involved in this match, he’s the one I’d have the least interest in seeing as the new Intercontinental Champion. So I guess that means he wins. Of course it does…

Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Sheamus

Tag Team Elimination Chamber Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
The New Day (Kofi Kingston, Big E & Xavier Woods) (c) versus Lucha Dragons (Kalisto & Sin Cara) versus Tyson Kidd & Cesaro versus The Prime Time Players (Darren Young & Titus O’Neil) versus The Ascension (Konner & Viktor) versus Los Matadores (Diego & Fernando)

Where are Axelmania and Macho Mandow? Where are Harper and Rowan? How are they going to fit all of these men in those tiny little pods anyhow? I’ve got a feeling that whoever had the idea for this match made the decision before actually looking at the logistics of this match. Six pods and you’ve got thirteen men, a Diva and a tiny bull all involved in the match. It’s going to be interesting to see how things go and how they prevent this match from becoming total OINGO BOINGO chaos. I really want to see Cesaro and Tyson Kidd back as the champions, but I don’t think that’s going to happen here. The New Day are growing on me more and more each week and I’m really starting to enjoy them as they grow into their gimmick and develop as great heels. It seems as if they’ve really embraced the characters and are just having fun. I like that. I don’t think that the PTP’s, the Lucha Dragons or the Matadores really have a snowball’s chance in hell of winning. I think this would be a great opportunity to really allow the Ascension, who have been pretty much second-rate jokes since coming to the main roster, to really jump out and show why they were so successful in NXT as the tag champions there. Just a quick note here. If the Ascension are going to be viewed as a modern day version of the Road Warriors, why not add to the team a modern day “Precious Paul Ellering”? I know a certain charismatic Canadian who is currently on the roster, but not being used who would be great in a role of that nature, plus it would make the “Peep’s” happy. Just a thought. Yeah, I’m going to pull for the team that I think could do the most with the belts at this point who are not part of the main mix. It’s time for some Ascension.

Winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Konner & Viktor – The Ascension

U.S. Champion versus NXT Champion (Non-Title)
John Cena versus Kevin Owens

This is going to be a slobber-knocker of a brawl and everything that a champion versus champion match should be. That means no conclusive winner, lots of shenanigans and probably an appearance of some sort by Samoa Joe. Neither man can or should take a clean loss at this point in their feud. It’s way too early so let’s go for the old double disqualification finish.

No Contest – Both Men are Disqualified or Counted Out. To Be Continued on RAW on Monday night…

WWE World Championship Match
Seth Rollins (c) versus Dean Ambrose

What do you get when you add the modern day version of Roddy Piper to a manipulative, desperate champion who has all the tools, but relies on two midgets and a monster to do his dirty work for him? One helluva great match. And that’s what we’re going to get. I’ve noticed that Roman Reigns isn’t on the card anywhere so most likely, he’ll be doing some sort of run-in here to counter the J&J Security and Kane presence. And Seth is going to win and retain the title. I don’t think we have to worry much about Seth losing until Brock Lesnar comes back. Until then, I think that WWE World Championship is pretty safe for Seth and the Authority.

Winner and STILL WWE World Heavyweight Champion: Seth Rollins

Triple Threat Match – WWE Divas Championship
Nikki Bella (c) versus Paige versus Naomi

I really don’t care about this match or any of these ladies, especially after watching the women at the NXT show wrestle. This is the go outside and smoke a cigarette break match. I don’t smoke, but my brother does and since he’ll hopefully be here watching the matches with me, this is where he’ll head out to the porch. I think Brie Bella will get involved and so will Tamina and when all the smoke clears, the one who chose to walk out alone, Paige, will also be the one to walk out with a new partner, the WWE Divas Championship.

Winner and NEW Divas Champion: Paige

Neville versus Bo Dallas

As much as I like Bo Dallas, I don’t Bolieve that he has a chance here. I Bolieve that Neville is going to fly and hit that Red Arrow thing that he likes to do and this match will be short, sweet and given the talents of these two men, do their damndest to steal the show. If these guys are given half the chance to show the mainstream WWE fans what they were doing down at NXT a year ago against each other, it will be one of the best matches of the night. Bolieve that!

Winner: Neville

And that’s it for the announced matches for the Elimination Chamber special event. As I noted, neither Roman Reigns or Bray Wyatt are officially in any matches on this card and we don’t know what the situation is yet for Rusev’s participation either. Also not wrestling as of yet are Stardust, Heath Slater, Zack Ryder, Adam Rose, etc so I expect that we’ll have another match added at some point between now and Sunday. If a match is announced, I’ll go on my facebook (facebook.com/saltpalace) or my twitter (@doug28352) and do a quick prediction there as soon as I can.

I guess that’s all for me today as well. I’ve talked about the Horsemen and the Elimination Chamber event. Now it’s time for a nap. Thank you for reading. I do appreciate that. Questions and comments can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com or the facebook / twitter accounts listed above. I’m Doug and I am out of here or as the great Baron Von Raschke would say, “dat is all de’ people need to know!”. Have a great day.

Ubuntu!