Avengers United (Fan Fiction)

Avengers United… (A Marvel Comics / Avengers Fan Fiction Story)

A/N:  This story is based in my AU “Avenging Shadows” Universe, which combines the world’s of Marvel Comics and The Avengers with the world of Dark Shadows.  In this Universe, there are three teams of Avengers, two teams in the United States (East Coast and West Coast) and one team in Europe, known as Avengers International.  This little fic is just to help identify who is a part of what team and what the current statuses for my characters are.  It’s mainly for my own benefit, but why waste a chance to write a story, right?  Captain America, The Black Widow and Hawkeye discuss the teams and the rosters.  For more information and to read my other fics, go to Fanfiction.net and look up the author TSfiction19 – that’s me. Or just use this link:  https://www.fanfiction.net/~tsfiction19.  Have 56 fics up there currently.  Let me know what you think.  Thanks!   – Doug

Avengers United…

Steve Rogers, aka “Captain America” looked across the table at the two heroes sitting across from him. Wearing a green blouse and black slacks, the former assassin and spy Natasha Romanov, aka the legendary “Black Widow”, sipped on her cup of tea, watching him. Sitting next to her, in his customized purple and black uniform, eyes blazing with nervous energy was the marksman and current Chairman of the Avengers West, Clint Barton, aka “Hawkeye”.

“I realize that this meeting has run a bit long”, Cap said to his two fellow Avengers, “but we had to take care of all the legalities and paperwork involved in running the three different divsions and teams of Avengers.”

“I get paper work as a necessary evil”, Hawkeye smirked, “but couldn’t we have done this via skype or something like that? Sitting here for three hours talking about food budgets and community outreach is a bit much. We’re Avengers. We should be out busting heads and chasing bad guys. Stuff like this is for the birds!”

“Hush Clint”, Natasha smiled. “I hate paperwork and red tape as much as anyone, but it’s part of the responsibility that I accepted when I became the Chairperson of Avengers International, just as you accepted when you agreed to lead the West Coast team. But look at the bright side. How often do the three of us get an opportunity to spend some time together without having a major fight or risking our lives involved?”

“I’m always glad to spend time with you and Cap”, Hawkeye replied. “I just hate these budget meetings.”

“We’re nearly done”, Cap interjected. “And if the two of you are game, how about a workout in the gym when we finish. The Beast was here earlier this week and has added several new simulations for us. It should be fun.”

“Cool”, Hawkeye smiled. “I’m getting stiff from sitting here all day anyways and could use a good work-out to loosen up the muscles.”

“So what do we have left on the agenda?”, the Widow asked her red, white and blue clad comrade.

“We’ve taken care of all the annual budget matters and necessary crossing of the t’s and dotting the i’s”, Cap said as he glanced at the notes he had been taking during their meeting. Now it’s just a discussion of the currrent rosters so I can update our main computer and know who is available for missions and current statuses.”

“And then we’re through?”, Hawkeye asked.

“Yes Hawk”, Cap laughed, shaking his head. “And then we’re through.”

“Then I’ll start”, Hawkeye said. “Out in California, at the Whacko compound, our current team as of last night, consists of myself as the Chairman of Avengers West. My lovely wife Bobbi, better known as the Mockingbird, our orange furred feline Avenger Tigra, founder and general pain in the ass Iron Man, Wanda, aka the Scarlet Witch, the mysterious Spider Woman and our resident actor and major ham Simon Williams, known to the masses as Wonder Man, and of course the US Agent, they make up the rest of the official roster. And on an unofficial, but always willing to lead a hand status considering how much he’s been hanging around the Compound lately, is Pietro, aka Quicksilver.”

“I haven’t talked to Pietro in a long time”, Cap said thoughtfully. “How is he?”

“Arrogant, obnoxious and over-protective of Wanda”, Hawkeye responded. “But he’s mellowed a bit lately and seems happy and content for a change.I believe that he’s been seeing a young lady who lives out in San Diego.”

“That’s good to hear”, the Widow commented. “Pietro has always had a hard and bitter road to travel. He deserves a bit of happiness in his life. It’s too bad that he and Crystal haven’t been able to work out their problems.”

“The way I understand it is that for the time being anyhow, they’ve both decided to start seeing other people and the marriage is pretty much over in everything but name. They’re trying to remain friends for the sake of Luna, plus Crystal’s royal family of the Inhuman’s situation. A divorce is out of the question, but they’re making the best of it.”, Hawkeye said.

“Crystal has been back here in New York working with our team”, Captain America said. “And so I guess that means I’ll go next with an update on the roster of the current Avengers New York team.”

“The Eakos”, Hawkeye interjected.

“Currently as the Chairman of the New York team, operating out of the Avengers Mansion”, Cap began, ignoring Hawkeye’s comment”, is myself, Captain America. Our current active roster for this team is Hank Pym, operating as Giant Man, our resident Norse entity, Thor, the telekenetic mutant known as Justice, Janet Van Dyne aka the Wasp, The Vision, the elemental inhuman Crystal and Carol Danvers, aka Warbird.”

“I thought Firestar was still on your roster”, Haweye noted.

“Angelica is currently on reserve status”, Cap replied. “She decided to take some time off for personal matters, but is still available if we need her. The same also replies to Jennifer, also known as the She-Hulk. She’s not part of the active roster at the moment, but her law office is only a few blocks away and she’s made it clear that she’s available if we call.”

And I guess that leaves myself and our London based team, Avengers International”, the Widow sighed. I am currently serving as the Chairperson of the group. Our current active roster consists of myself, Dane Whitman, better known as the Black Knight, Olympian and demi-god Hercules, the shape-shifting Skrull and former member of the Fantastic Four Lyja, part time X-Man and master of the bad joke, Bobby Drake, aka the Iceman, Isaac Christians, also known as the Gargoyle, Miguel Santos, aka the Living Lightning, Union Jack and as a reservist status, when she’s not and I quote, ‘dealing with the bloated ass-hats that don’t have a bloody clue’ in the House of Lords, Jacquiline Falsworth Crichton, aka Spitfire.”

“Jackie always did have a way with words”, Cap snickered.

“She is quite outspoken at times”, the Widow agreed. “I find her quite refreshing to listen to.”

“What happened to Druid? And the werewolf and vampire connection? And Mantis for that matter?”, Hawkeye asked.

“Dr. Druid has currently taken a leave of absence from the team”, the Widow said. “Our young apprentice hero, Kori has gone with him and they are currently back in Boston investigating some supernatural activities.”

“Druid recently led a team of reserve Avengers consisting of Falcon, Ant Man, Hellcat, Joscota and a couple of others on a mission to prevent a breakout at the Raft”, Cap added.

“Oh yeah”, Hawkeye said. “I read that in a report from the US Agent. I had forgotten. So he’s back here in the states?”

“And from what I understand in our recent conversations, putting together his own team to investigate and combat supernatural situations”, the Widow said.

“Probably for the best”, Hawkeye said. “Druid has never really struck me as a spandex type of guy. He just seems as if he’s more of a working behind the scenes, in the shadows type.”

“He’d probably agree with you on that”, the Widow agreed. “But he tried hard and has really been a good and effective Avenger. I will always be glad to have him as part of my team when he’s available.”

“I agree”, Cap said. “Druid’s abilities are probably not quite as flashy as we’ve become used to and he’s not quite as out there as some of our members, but he’s proven to be a good and effective Avenger, especially with this most recent run.”

“I just said that he’s not quite the spandex type”, Hawkeye remarked. “But what do I know? I just shoot a bow and arrow.”

“As for our resident vampire and werewolf”, the Widow continued, “they are currently living here in the States and running a private school in Collinsport, Maine. Professor Xavier of the X-Men asked Quentin and Barnabas if they would consider opening and running a third branch of the Xavier School and working as the co-headmasters. They accepted the challenge and now run, along with their associate Dr. Julia Hoffman, the Stoddard Institute. Mantis is currently also residing and working at the Institute and I believe, has a romantic involvement with Quentin Collins.”

“Mantis… and the werewolf guy? Wow! Where have I been?”, Hawkeye chuckled. “Wait until Bobbi hears this?”

“So they’re not with the team anymore, but they have made it clear that if we ever need them, they are available.”

“Wasn’t the Alantean Andromeda working with your team as well”, Cap asked.

“She was”, the Widow answered. “But Namor decided to recall her back to Atlantis and she’s currently the Commander of the Atlantean Royal Guard. But she is also available as a reservist if we need her.”

“So your current roster, the official one anyhow, for the Avengers International group is youself, the Black Widow, the Black Knight, Iceman, the Gargoyle, Hercules, Lyja, the Living Lightning, Union Jack and Spitfire?”, Cap replied.

“Yes”, the Widow said.

“And for your West Coast team Hawk, the official roster is yourself, Mockingbird, Tigra, Wonder Man, Iron Man, the Scarlet Witch, the US Agent, Spider Woman and, more or less, Quicksilver?”

“Sounds right to me”, Hawkeye smirked.

“And for the official roster of the Avengers East, it’s myself, Vision, Thor, Crystal, Giant Man, Wasp, Justice and Warbird with Firestar and She-Hulk as our reservists”, Cap said.

“Oh, I almost forgot. Rhodey, better known as the War Machine, just moved back to California a few weeks ago. I’m planning to contact him and see if he is available for reservist status”, Hawkeye quickly stated. “I’m sure he’ll agree so long as he and Stark are getting along.”

“War Machine? Got it!”, Cap nodded. “So I guess that’s it. We have an official roster list for each team to provide to the government and the United Nations, as per our charter…”

“Subject to change of course”, the Widow quickly interjected.

“Subject to change”, Cap smiled. “It’s just part of the deal and paperwork that we let them know who is and isn’t part of the team.”

“Big brother is watching”, Hawkeye joked.

Ignoring the archer, Cap continued. “And now, I believe that concludes this meeting of the three Chairpersons for the Avengers. I’ll go over everything and forward the paperwork to the necessary persons and officials later. I think it’s safe to say that the expansion of the Avengers franchise to two additional teams, Avengers West and Avengers International, has been a major success thus far. All three teams have strong and solid rosters and the capability to handle major threats against our world and people.”

“I have to admit that I wasn’t sure about the addition of a team based in Europe”, the Widow added, “but it was a good idea and we’ve been able to reduce our reaction time to dealing with threats on that side of the planet by a great deal. With three teams, located as they are, we can respond to almost any situation quickly.”

“And we have more back-up to call upon if needed, having this many Avengers on active status”, Hawkeye remarked.

“Very good point”, Cap smiled. “Before, we had only six to eight Avengers on active status at any given time and it limited our abilities and responses to emergencies. Now, with three teams of active heroes, plus a steady supply of reservists available, we are much more capable and effective.”

“So, is that it?”, Hawkeye asked.

“I believe so”, Cap said. “Unless either of you have anything to add?”

Getting up and stretching, Hawkeye let out a big yawn. “I’m going to the kitchen to grab a sandwich and then I’m headed to the training room. You ready to get a workout, old man?”

“I think so”, Cap laughed. “If you think you can keep up, you young whipper-snapper.”

“I’m going t go change into my work clothes and I’ll see the two of you in the gym in what… say fifteen minutes?”

“That’s fine”, Cap said.

“Excellent”, the Widow said as she stood up, stretched and walked from the room.

Hawkeye grinned and walked out behind her. “Fifteen minutes, old timer!”, he hollered back at Cap.

“I’ll be there”, Cap smiled as the Widow and Hawkeye left. Looking back at the papers and notes on the table in front of him, Cap glanced once more at the list of names, the men and women who made up the current rosters of the Avengers.

“And to think, I used to think we had too many Avengers”, he laughed to himself. “Now all I can do is wonder why we didn’t do these expansion teams several years earlier. What was I thinking?”

With another smile to himself, Cap quickly gathered up the papers and notes.

“Not to sound egotistical, but this group, these people… I believe they truly deserve the title of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. We’ve come a long way since that first teaming of Thor, Jan, Hank, Tony and the Hulk. Quite a long way.”

And with that thought, Cap walked from the room turning off the light as he left.


Tossing Salt: WWE Night Of Champions Predictions & Thoughts

Tossing Salt: WWE Night Of Champions Predictions
September 19, 2015
Doug Maynard

We are less than a day away from the WWE Night of Champions, the one night a year where every WWE Championship title is defended and on the line. Well, every title except for the ones representing NXT, but whatever. I’m still not complaining because the card looks stacked and it should be an entertaining three hours of WWE action and excitement. And of course, since it’s a big WWE show and pay-per-view event, that means that it’s time to break out the crystal balls, the Sister Cleo 800-number and call Dionne Warwick. It’s prediction time.

I’m currently on my lunch break and in the middle of a lovely 11-hour workday so I’ll skip the small talk and get straight to the business at hand, offering analysis and predictions about the eight scheduled matches at Night Of Champions and who I feel will emerge the winner of each match and take that trip to the pay window, if you will. Let’s do this.

Kickoff Show Match
Neville & The Lucha Dragons versus Cody Rhodes & The Ascension

This should be a good match to start off the show with a lot of high flying and fast paced action. Cody Rhodes and Neville continue their straight out of the comic books feud, but now instead of “Arrow” in the mix, we get the Lucha Dragons and the Ascension. This should help, I hope, rebuild the Ascension after their disasterous transition to the main roster from NXT, going from dominating to “eh”, by allowing them to get the rub from the crazy, face painted one formerly known as he with the pornstache. Expect a lot of near falls and quick moves. In the end, one of the Lucha Dragons gets pinned by one of the Ascension and the feud with Stardust versus Neville gets to continue.

Winners: Cody Rhodes & The Ascension

Rusev w/ Summer Rae versus Dolph Ziggler

What I would like to see here is a double-turn, with Dolph showing his true colors and “stealing” Summer Rae away from Rusev, thus showing Rusev as the sympathetic man-beast, Dolph as the two-faced dog who can’t even be loyal to Lana while she’s out with an injury and is playing the field and thus, eventually reuniting Rusev and Lana in the end as faces while Dolph and Summer are the nasty, heel power-couple of the WWE. And it could happen down the road, but so far as this match goes, back and forth. In the end, Summer makes a mistake and causes a distraction. Dolph takes advantage and snags a check in the win column.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler

The Wyatt Family versus Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & A Mystery Partner

The big question here is who will be the mystery partner for Reigns and Ambrose. Erick Rowan hasn’t been cleared to return yet so he’s out. I don’t think it’s Randy Orton or Jimmy Uso since they were “taken out” by the Wyatt Family over the past week. I’ve heard mention of Kane, who is scheduled to be backstage at NOC and RAW the following night, but in the context of things, that doesn’t make sense. Could it be… The Rock? Hell, maybe it’s Seth Rollins who doesn’t think two matches are enough and wants to take part in three matches and reunite The Shield. It could even be The Miz looking for some payback for the way he was manhandled on RAW this past Monday night. Nah, it was Roman who tossed him from the ring so it’s not Miz.

Honestly, I have no idea who it might be and I like this feeling of mystery and intrigue that’s surrounding this match. It makes it exciting and fun to be a wrestling fan again with surprise and anticipation. But that being said, I don’t really think it matters. I’m pulling for Bray and the boys here. Wyatt family wins.

Winners: The Wyatt Family

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
The New Day (c) versus The Dudley Boys

The New Day has become one of the best things about WWE these days. These guys are AWESOME! And the Dudley Boys are back and putting people through tables and they’re awesome as well. This match should be really fun to watch. The Dudley Boys will get the titles eventually, but not now and not yet. Let Woods pull some shenanigans and help his team steal the win and retain the titles for now. Then he can eat a 3-D and a table for his efforts and everyone is happy. The champs retain.

Winners and STILL WWE Tag Team Champions: The New Day

WWE Divas Championship Match
Nikki Bella (c) versus Charlotte

Nikki kept her title on RAW and now AJ Lee is no longer the longest reigning Divas Champion. Mission accomplished by the WWE. Now at the pay-per-view, it’s time to put a new face at the top of the Divas Division. And that new face is Charlotte. Wooooooooo!

Winner and NEW WWE Divas Champion: Charlotte

Intercontinental Championship Match
Ryback (c) versus Kevin Owens

The WWE is currently high on Ryback and he seems (for some reason) to be getting big pops when he comes out to the ring. I don’t get it, but then again, I think Heath Slater could be a top mid-card talent if they pushed him right and brought back the One-Man-Band gimmick like he had back when he was fighting the WWE Legends building up to RAW 1000. Kevin Owens is one of the hottest new acts in the WWE right now and can’t afford to go down in another feud like he did with Cena. Ryback is the babyface here and as a general rule, I think it’s better for faces to chase titles rather than hold titles. With that in mind, Owens over Ryback to capture the IC title. Then Owens can be a champ and get a big push, which he deserves and Ryback can play the guy chasing the title, which suits his character better too.

Winner and NEW Intercontinental Champion: Kevin Owens

United States Championship Match
Seth Rollins (c) versus John Cena

Cena was doing a great job as the U.S. Champion and I think he needs to be the champion again. And anyhow, Rollins needs to lose his first match to make him more determined in the second one. Cena wins and reclaims the U.S. title. The Champ is here!

Winner and NEW United States Champion: John Cena

WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match
Seth Rollins versus Sting

So does Seth hold on to the WWE World Championship or does Sting, who currently boasts a WWE record of 2 – 1, become the first man to ever hold the NWA, WCW, TNA and WWE World Championships? I can see an argument for going in either direction. And where does Mr. Money In The Bank, Sheamus, fit in all of this? Rollins is a great chicken-shit champion and I don’t really want to see him lose the WWE Championship. I want to see Sting win the title and have a short reign as the champion, but is that really best for business? How about this. Sting and Rollins have a great match. Sting captures Rollins in the Scorpion Death Drop and looks like he’s going to become the Champ, but here comes the big red machine, Kane. He’s pissed at Rollins and wants revenge and attacks Seth. A DQ and the match is over. Sting wins, but Seth retains the title. This sets up Kane versus Sting for the next pay-per-view event and we get the next best thing to the Undertaker – Sting match everyone has been wanting. Kane lays out Seth with a chokeslam and maybe even a tombstone. Sting and Kane brawl out of the ring. Seth is laid out and here comes Sheamus. He cashes in the briefcase and we have one more match. This match is over.

Winner by DQ: Sting (Seth retains the WWE World Championship).

But Sheamus is here and has the Money In The Bank Contract. The referee calls for the bell.

WWE World Championship Match
Seth Rollins (c) versus Sheamus

Sheamus with the Brogue kick and we have a new champion.

Winner and NEW WWE World Champion: Sheamus

And that’s how it’s all going to come down… maybe. Guess we’ll find out on Sunday. As for me, I have to go back to work and do my part to get the residents of Scotland County liquored up. Lunch break is nearly over. Have a great weekend and I’ll catch you on the flip side. I’m Doug and I’m out of here.


Little Ol’ Coffin Maker (Fiction)

The Little Ol’ Coffin-Maker
Doug Maynard

A/N: I had a dream and decided to go with it. Not your classic vampire story, but I’m proud of how it turned out. Thoughts and reviews are welcome. Thanks!

There was no one more proud of their work than Herr Wagner. He had been in the United States for over twenty years. carrying on a proud tradition as his father and grandfather had before him, but still had that air and aura about him that reminded everyone of Central Europe. He hummed an old traditional German folk song as he proudly polished the wooden lid of his latest creation.

“Ah yes, making coffins by hand is surely a lost art”, Wagner spoke to himself as he polished the lid once more. “Hardly anyone wants ol’ Johann’s caskets any more. Everyone is using those cheaper, factory made models. But thank heavens that there are still some that know and appreciate true craftmanship when they see it and will pay well for it.”

Glancing at the clock, Wagner continued to talk to himself.

“It’s almost time. Soon he’ll be here. My customer. I’m certain that he’ll like this coffin. It’s my finest piece of work ever.”

Meanwhile, as Herr Wagner reflected on his masterpiece, outside of his small shop, a different scene was taking place.

Running down the street, hair plastered to his face and a look of fear mixed with anxiety covering his face, a tall blonde haired man fired two shots from his revolver into the night.

“The cops almost had me that time”, he swore to himself. “That old man had to hit the silent alarm. All I wanted was some money. Well, he won’t be calling no cops no more!”

The man felt a small smile forming despite himself. An unsuccessful robbery attempt led to the murder of an old man at his hands.

“But what the hell! Just like those others I did! That old bastard deserved to die! Now I just gotta get away and find a place to hide for a few hours.”

In the shop, Herr Wagner heard the sounds of the gunfire and glanced out the window, peeking through the shades covering his store-front window.

“Is that the sound of a car backfiring?”, he wondered. “No… it sounds more like gun shots!”

Backing away from the window, Herr Wagner walked back towards the center of the shop, thinking, “Well, that’s no concern of mine. All that matters is getting this coffin into perfect shape. I don’t want to disappoint this customer. Oh, my no!”

Suddenly, the door of the shop flew open and the tall blonde haired killer came bounding into the store.

“Who are you?”, Herr Wagner proclaimed. “What do you want?”

“I don’t have time to answer questions, old man”, the man snapped, clicking the lock on the door and pointing his gun in Wagner’s direction.

“That gun? Is this a holdup? You’re wasting your time”, Wagner said. “I’m just a poor old man!”

Then, looking more closely at the face of the gun-welding thug, Wagner suddenly realized who the man was.

“Wait! Now I remember where I’ve seen your face before. On the television. You’re John Jacobs! The one they call the Dirtside Maniac!”

“Brilliant deduction”, Jacobs scowled. “Since you’re so damn smart, you know I’m not afraid to use this. I’ve killed before and I won’t have any problem doing it again unless you do as I say!”

“And what is that, Mein Herr?”, Wagner asked.

“The cops are after me”, Jacobs grunted. They’re checking out all the shops around here. They’ll be here soon so you gotta hide me!”

“Hide you?”, Wagner remarked. “Have you looked where you are?”

Jacobs, for the first time, looked around the room and saw the many coffins spread around the room.

“What? A coffin-maker’s shop?”, he asked.

“Yes”, Wagner said proudly. “One of the only ones left these days!”

Thinking quickly, Jacobs commented, “Looks like I got no choice then. I gotta hide in a coffin.”

He walked over to the gleaming new coffin in the center of the room.

“This one looks better than the rest of ’em”, he said. “So I guess this one will be it!”

“N-no!”, Wagner said, a look of stress forming on his face. “Please take any coffin but that one. It is special. If anything happens to it, the buyer will….”

“Be quiet”, Jacobs said as he climbed into the coffin. “If you say anything, I’ll shoot you!”

Suddenly, there was a knock on the door.

“Open up in there! This is the police!”

“They’re here!”, Jacobs said as he closed the lid. “Don’t say a thing and you’ll stay alive!”

Herr Wagner opened the door to see two policemen.

“We’re sorry to disturb you”, one of the officers said. “But we’re looking for someone… a fugitive.”

Giving a quick glance towards the coffin, Wagner spoke quietly, but firmly. “No one has been here. Look around for yourselves. All you’ll find are my creations.”

“Creations?”, asked the second cop.

“My caskets… they’re hand made… like a piece of sculpture”, Wagner explained.

Pointing at the large coffin that held Jacobs, Wagner smiled.

“Look at this one, Officer”, he said. “Have you ever seen anything as beautiful?”

“Well…”, said the first officer, not sure how to reply.

“And look”, Wagner continued. “My customer even wanted a lock on the outside. It keeps out the Boogey Man! Heh! Heh!”

Wagner reached over and turned a small key, locking the lid to the casket.

“Man, that’s crazy”, the second Officer said, shaking his head.

In the casket, Jacobs began to panic.

“That old fool locked me in here and I can’t do anything about it without tipping off the cops!”

“We’re on our way Sir”, the first Officer said to Herr Wagner as the two men walked towards the door to exit the shop. “Keep your doors locked and if you see or hear anything, please give us a call.”

“I will”, Wagner smiled. “Thank you!”

As the door closed behind the departing officers, Wagner clicked the lock and then turned towards the coffin.

“And now Mr. Jacobs, I’ll teach you what it is like to have your life threatened. I’ll show you how much I like having a gun waved in my face”, he said.

“Let me out, old man!”, Jacobs pleaded from inside the coffin. “You have my word that I won’t threaten you again! But please… open this coffin before I sufffocate!”

“Don’t worry”, Wagner laughed. “There is enough air inside that box to keep you alive until… until… hee hee hee!”

The sounds of Wagner laughing were interrupted by the chiming of the clock.

“It it time”, Wagner thought to himself. “My customer should be here any moment now!”

“Let me out! In the name of sanity, let me out!”, Jacobs pleaded from inside the casket.

As the final toll of the clock sounded through the walls of the coffin shop, a strong, dark presence filled the room.

Wagner turned and with a small bow of respect, spoke to the figure who now stood behind him.

“Ah, your Excellency. You are right on time”, he said.

“The very existence of one such as myself depends upon being on time. Greetings Herr Wagner”, the tall, magestic figure replied.

In the coffin, Jacobs heard the voices and thought to himself, “Now there is someone else out there. I can hear a different voice but can’t make out what he’s saying.Could be another cop. I’d better clam up!”

The dark figure moved over nd rubbed his hands over the outside of the coffin.

“This coffin is indeed a fine piece of work”, he said with a sinister smile.

“You flatter me, Excellency”, Wagner replied, his face beaming with pride at the compliment towards his craftmanship. “In the old country that we both once called home, as my father and grandfather did before me, I made coffins for kings. And now it pleases me to once again create for one of royal blood.”

“And I am glad to have found you”, the figure replied. “My old coffin was, after all, centuries old and I could use a new one in which to sleep during the daylight hours.”

“Shall I have this delivered for you?”, Herr Wagner asked.

“You forget, Herr Wagner, that I have the strength of twenty men”, the figure replied with a smile. “I’ll take it with me!”

With ease, the figure picked up the coffin and hoisted it on it’s shoulder, carrying it out the door and into the dark night air.

“What’s going on?”, Jacobs wondered from inside the casket. “I’m moving and being carried. But where? Where?”

As the figure carrying the casket vanished into the night, Herr Wagner smiled and closed the door to his shop once more.

“Soon his Excellency will open his coffin… and both he and Jacobs will be surprised! In fact, John Jacobs might die from fright when he looks into the face of Count Dracula! Hee! Hee!”


Tossing Salt: SummerSlam Predictions – August 23, 2015

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
SummerSlam Predictions
August 23, 2015
Doug Maynard
In just a few hours, it will be time for the WWE’s biggest show of the summer, SummerSlam. I was planning on doing a full Tossing Salt column and including my predictions for SummerSlam as part of the column, much like I did on Thursday with my predictions for NXT Breakout: Brooklyn. That’s what I was planning. Well, Hulk Hogan was planning on having a match at Wrestlemania XXXII and that didn’t quite work out for him either. That nasty little thing we call “work” beckoned and called to me and instead of writing, I ended up moving around a few dozen boxes of liquor. What fun. Yay! And I also watched a couple of movies. Oops!

So this is going to be short and sweet, just like a midget that’s been rolled in syrup and fruit loops. Yummy. I like my little people (which says a lot about why I was involved with Chris for so long… lol). Anyhow, it’s prediction time. It’s WWE SummerSlam 2015. Let’s do this!
WWE World Heavyweight champion Seth Rollins vs. WWE United States champion John Cena in a Title versus Title Match for the United States and WWE World Heavyweight Championships

So how is this going to work exactly? I don’t want to see Cena as the WWE World Champion, but I like the job he’s been doing as the United States Champion. I like Seth as the WWE Champion (he’s grown on me), but I don’t want to see him holding two titles. Whoever wins, I think they’ll be short lived as a double-champion and will probably have to defend both titles in two seperate matches at Night of Champions in a few weeks, thus resulting in a title loss of one or both titles. This can really go either way and I can see some great stories coming out of a win for either man. If Cena wins, he ties Ric Flair’s record of being a sixteen time World Champion (although he’ll never come close to being the champion Ric was or defending his titles even a fourth as often). I don’t want to see Cena tie Flair’s record so I’ll go for Seth being sneaky and maybe having some help from the returning J&J Security (I miss those guys!) to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat. Cena dominates the match, but at the end of the night, Rollins steals it away and gets the win.

Winner and DOUBLE-CHAMPION: Seth Rollins

The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar w/ Paul Heyman

WWE logic and wrestling logic say that Undertaker gets his win back from Wrestlemania and we end up with a rubber match. I don’t like it. Brock is a monster and a beast and should not lose here. So I’m hoping for one of two things. Either Brock wins clean or else Taker wins, but has to use low blows and the help of his “brother” Kane to get the tainted victory, thus leading to Sting making an appearance and the build for a Sting / Brock versus The Brothers of Destruction match at Night of Champions, as I explained in my “Tossing Salt” column earlier this week. Another great match that I can see going either way. I don’t agree with it, but I think that by hook and by crook, we’ll see Taker get his win back. Brock should not lose. I repeat, Brock should not lose. But come tonight, as much as I regret saying it, the Dead Man will walk out with the arm raised in victory.

Winner: The Undertaker

Team B.A.D. vs. PCB vs. Team Bella in an Elimination Tag Match – When a competitor is defeated, her team is eliminated.

After the performance that Sasha Banks put on against Bayley last night at NXT, I expect this one to be off the charts and be a really good match as well. The only thing that may hurt it is that there are just too many people involved and it could turn into a cluster-f*ck just as easy. Well, that and the Bellas are not quite as strong in that ring as Bayley or any of the NXT girls. I don’t think that Team Bella will win. I just don’t. I’m kind of pulling for PCB because I know that Charlotte’s family, including father Ric (wooooo!) and brother David Flair will be in attendance. That’s where my heart is going. My logic and mind says though that “The Boss” Sasha Banks, fresh off her great performance last night and the loss of her NXT Women’s Championship to Bayley, will rebound and prove that she’s the real deal, taking in the pin in the end against the current Divas Champion Nikki Bella. Yeppers, that sounds good. Team B.A.D. takes the pin when Sasha pins Nikki. And there you go.

Winners: Team B.A.D. (Sasha Banks, Naomi & Tamina)

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Do we really have to see this again? Nothing against Sheamus or Orton, but this match just does absolutely nothing for me and I have no desire to see these guys wrestle again for about the ten millionth time. If I remember correctly, Orton won their last encounter so for the sake of fairness, I’ll go with the red headed Miracle Whip wannabe, Sheamus, for the nod here. Maybe he can cash in that MITB contract and briefcase later in the night too? Hmmmmmmmm!

Winner: Sheamus

Cesaro versus Kevin Owens

After the great match and performance he put on last night at NXT, I know that Kevin Owens has to be walking around stiff and sore today. The guy is really stepping up and taking things to the next level. He really is that damn good. And Cesaro? What can we say about him that hasn’t already been said. A wrestling machine that has few peers. He’s reaching for that “brass ring” that Vince McMahon has spoken of and I can’t see anyone or anything getting in his way. It’s really bad that one of these guys has to lose the match tonight because they are both two of my favorites and are both so good in that ring. I think Cesaro has proven to be, to a point, teflon, and a loss won’t hurt him quite as badly. In his last couple of outings, Owens has lost to Cena and then Finn Balor and “walked away” from several matches as well. He needs the win more and another loss, especially if it’s a clean pin, does hurt him. I think, after another off-the-charts, exciting and brutal match, we’ll see the fans cheering “This is awesome” and Kevin Owens will take the nod.

Winner: Kevin Owens

Dolph Ziggler w/ Lana vs. Rusev w/ Summer Rae

Dolph is back from injury. Everyone loves Dolph. Lana is hot and sexy. Everyone loves Lana. I would love to see Lana turn on Dolph, beat the hell out of Summer Rae and end up back with Rusev. I would love to see it, but when the turn comes (and it will – believe that), it should be in a title situation so Rusev gains gold from the heel turn and it shows a reason why. Right now, though I’d love to see it, is way too soon. So Lana beats up Summer and Dolph gets the pin on the formerly unstoppable Bulgarian monster.

Winner: Dolph Ziggler w/ Lana

WWE Tag Team champions The Prime Time Players vs. Los Matadores with Torito vs. The Lucha Dragons vs. The New Day

While I like Titus and Darren, their time as the tag team champions has been somewhat boring. They do commentary quite well, but they don’t really stand out as champions and just kind of seem to just be there, especially compared to former championship teams like the Usos or the New Day. I would love to see the New Day come out with the gold one more time. They’ve grown on me and their gimmick is just fun to watch. You can see how much fun their having each week and it’s contagious. I would be picking them here, but I’ve been hearing stuff and just have a feeling that it’s time for a swerve. I can’t see the Lucha Dragons winning. They’re a good team and fun to watch, but I just can’t see them as the Champions. But what about Los Matadores. Or should I say Epico and Primo Colon? It’s time to drop the silly bullfighting gimmick and hopefully Torito and take off the masks and show everyone once more what the Colon family name is all about. So yeah, I’ll calling for new champions and for a gimmick change / heel turn as well as Epico & Primo, the team we know now as Los Matadores, takes the win and the gold. And as Primo’s brother, who I would love to see make a return to the WWE at some point would say, that would be cool!

Winners and NEW WWE Tag Team Champions: Los Matadores w/ Torito

WWE Intercontinental champion Ryback vs. Big Show vs. Miz

I do not want to see Big Show as a champion of any sort. I could stand it if he was a tag champion (maybe), but as the Intercontinental Champion or U.S. Champion, hell to the no. I would love to see Miz win the gold and proclaim his awesomeness as the champ. He’s a good worker in that ring and on the mic, he is, dare I say it, awesome! But let’s call it like it is here. The fans (for some reason) like Ryback. Vince, Hunter and the WWE powers-that-be like Ryback. I don’t like Ryback. But they have more power and influence than I do and thus, we will get Ryback. He’ll come in hungry and will make a meal for the ages out of both Show and Miz. And in the end, the “Big Guy” keeps the title and walks out the winner.

Winner and STILL WWE Intercontinental Champion: Ryback

Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper

This should be another stiff and brutal match for the ages. I keep hearing people talking about a possible heel turn by Ambrose on his “brother” Roman, but I hope not. It’s not time yet for anything like that. What I would love to see is a new member of the Wyatt Family debut, either Bo Dallas joining his brother as part of the team or else Adam Rose, dumping the party-pooper gimmick and going back to the awesome Leo Kruger character he used in NXT, and help Bray and Harper steal a win from the two former SHIELD members. Bray loses too many matches and it’s hurting his character. It’s like he talks a great fight, but can’t seem to back it up. Roman and Ambrose, especially Ambrose, can lose every night and no one seems to care. Plus, if there’s a new member of the Wyatt family (or if Erick Rowan was to return), that would give the Wyatt’s a big numbers advantage and then Reigns & Ambrose could recruit help (Sting) to help them out, thus giving us the long hoped-for six-man tag encounter at Night of Champions. That’s what I want to see happen. And what the hell? I think that, by hook or by crook, even if it takes a small child singing badly as a distraction, that Bray and Harper will find a way to win. Yes, I said it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Winners: Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper – The Wyatt Family

Neville and “Arrow” star Stephen Amell vs. King Barrett and Stardust

And finally, it’s Hollywood meets super-heroes as the Red Arrow and the Green Arrow team up to take on the WWE King of the Ring and Master of the Crazy. It’s going to be fun to see what Anell can do in that ring. It’s obvious he’s in great shape and I expect he might surprise us a little bit. This should be a really fun and interesting match. Three really good wrestlers and a talented actor all doing their thing. Barrett and Stardust should win. They have the size, the experience and just the pure crazy factor all in their favor, plus a Hollywood star making a one time appearance should NEVER beat a full time wrestler. But this is the WWE and that means the fans have to be happy. Neville hits the red arrow on Barrett and tags Amell in to get the win. The fans are happy and poor Barrett does the job. Yeah, that sounds about right.

Winners: Neville & Stephen Amell

And now, I am out of here. Got things to see and people to do (or something like that). Questions and comments can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com. And if you’re on Facebook and want to join a great wrestling group that has something for everyone (but YOU – yeah, you – you know who you are!), come see us at http://www.facebook.com/groups/thewrestling people. It’s “That Wrestling Group”. Check it out. I’m on Facebook and Twitter as well (@doug28352) – come find me.

And there you go. Thanks for reading and enjoy SummerSlam tonight. I’m Doug and “dat is all de’ people need to know!” I’ll see you at the matches. Have a great one.


Tossing Salt – Worldwide News: August 21, 2015

Tossing Salt – Worldwide News
August 21, 2015
Doug Maynard

Just a few days from the Wrestlemania of the Summer, WWE Summerslam. That’s on Sunday night. And on Saturday night, it’s NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. Two big shows on the same weekend. The WWE is cranking it up and getting busy, just like Sunny on skype night. Oops! Did I say that? Oh vey! Oh well, at least I’m not talking about the borderline psychotic, blame Vince for everything wrong in the world, self-admitted drug addict and sociopath, Billy Jack Blames. But don’t worry. Before this column is over, I probably will. You’ve been warned.

I’m Doug and this is professional wrestling’s most eclectic column since 2002, the one and only “Tossing Salt – Worldwide News”. I guess I should probably include the disclaimer because I have a feeling one or two people may end up being offended in this overly politically correct world of ours and will be complaining and whining like little marks playing in the basement with Stu Hart. So here goes: “The views and opinions expressed in this column are mine and mine alone, unless you agree with me and then the opinions expressed are ours to share. They are not necessarily the opinions of anyone else who may be sharing this column or anyone else for that matter. It’s all on me. And now you know!”

So what’s on the agenda for tonight? I’m thinking Sting and how he could be included at SummerSlam if the WWE decides to do so, the craziness that is Billy Jack Haynes, predictions for NXT Takeover: Brooklyn, and maybe a top ten list of something or another, just to round things out. It sounds like a packed and loaded column, doesn’t it? Well, now the intro is complete and here comes the hard part, just like watching a Dixie Carter promo. Painful, but gotta do it. Time to get to stepping… I mean writing. Let’s do this…

Sting at SummerSlam?

Though he’s scheduled for some autograph signings, currently Sting is NOT scheduled to be at SummerSlam. And that, in my opinion, is crazy. He’s one of the biggest stars in the history of the sport and he’s in great shape and ready to do something. WWE dropped the ball by having him do the job to HHH at Wrestlemania and now they’re dropping the ball again. They’re promoting SummerSlam as the “Wrestlemania of the Summer”, yet they’re bringing in Sting to do nothing but sign autographs? Why? I know he’s not booked for the show right now, but here are a couple of ideas where he could appear and make an impact.

Undertaker versus Brock is being pushed hard and should be a slobberknocker of a match. So far, Undertaker has pretty much been playing the heel in the build for the match, repeatedly kicking Brock in the nuts. Well, play on that and during the match, have Kane reappear, complete with mask, to help his brother. It’s a heel move, but what the hell. Taker is the heel here and they’re family. So here you go and Taker uses Kane’s appearance, after a great match that goes back and forth, for a distraction and kicks Brock in the nuts once more. Taker wins and gets his revenge. Then we have a “Brothers of Destruction” beatdown on Brock and the lights go out. Here’s Sting in the ring for the save on Brock. Thus, we get the start of a build for a match with Taker versus Sting at Wrestlemania XXXII in Dallas, plus this can set up a main event for the Night of Champions PPV with Sting & Brock versus Taker & Kane. I’d watch that match. Wouldn’t you?

Or since the original plans for Sting were to team with Ambrose & Reigns against The Wyatt Family, he could come out as an ally of the two former SHIELD brothers. Ambrose & Reigns have their match against Bray and Harper. A new Wyatt family member debuts, either Bo Dallas or Adam Rose in his previous identity of Leo Kruger, and we get the three on two beatdown. Lights go out and Sting appears to help Reigns and Ambrose. And then we get a six-man tag at Night of Champions.

That’s just a couple of ideas. Maybe he can just come out and do a promo challenging the Taker for a match at Wrestlemania XXXII. Just use the man and do something with the WCW Icon and legend. Please!!!

Billy Says It’s All Vince’s Fault…

Have you heard the latest ramblings of former WWF performer (for two whole years), admitted drug addict, sociopath and drug mule (not admitted, but he was arrested and charged) Billy Jack Haynes. On his Facebook page, Haynes latest rants include blaming Vince McMahon and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin for the death of Roddy Piper (although autopsy reports show it was a blood clot), for getting Piper fired from Podcast One (although Piper actually quit and moved his podcast to another server), for firing Piper from the WWE after thirty years of employment (although Piper spent several years away from the WWE, working for WCW and was still under a WWE Legends Deal at the time of his death.)

None of this is a surprise. After all, Haynes has also claimed in the past that Vince was the father of Nancy & Chris Benoit’s son, Daniel and the revelation of that was why Benoit snapped. Of course, Daniel was born one month after Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko and Perry Saturn debuted in the WWE so the timeline doesn’t work at all since that would mean that Nancy & Vince were together when she & Chris were still working for WCW. But why let facts get in the way of a good story, right? The man is a raving lunatic with the credibility of Bill Clinton claiming that he “never had sex with that woman”. It’s just not there. And he’s the lead plantiff in the Kyros lawsuits against the WWE and Vince McMahon? As Gorilla Monsoon would be saying, “Give me a break!”

Anyhow, the funny thing here is that Billy Jack, in his outrage against “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, for getting Piper fired and causing him to stress out and die three days later as a result (that’s what Haynes says), has challenged Steve Austin to an UFC style fight, with each man putting up a million dollars and the winner take all. Austin might have a bad neck, but have you seen Haynes? Austin would kick his ass! So far, there has been no response from Austin although I’m kind of hoping that he decides to address this on his podcast Thursday night. Someone needs to rip the delusional master of the full nelson a new one and Austin would be the right one to do just that. I expect that Austin is just ignoring the insane rantings of the delusional one. That’s probably the right idea. Haynes is a just looking for attention and publicity and will say and do anything to get that attention. I probably shouldn’t even be talking about him here, but then again, I do a lot of things I shouldn’t and he’s such a total trainwreck, it’s hard to look away and ignore him. You know that the WWE and their attorneys are listening and taking note of every single rant and claim that he’s making and are going to use his own words to totally crush and destroy him should this money-grab concussion lawsuit ever actually make it to trial. This guy is just a nut-job to be sure.

As for the lawsuit itself, my opinion is that it’s a money-grab, pure and simple. I’m not saying that the WWE shouldn’t reach out and help out some of these former stars and wrestlers sometimes, but blaming the WWE and Vince for drug addictions and everything that’s gone wrong in someone’s life is wrong. Yes, these men who are trying to sue the WWE suffered injuries in the ring. But how many of those actual injuries occurred in a WWE ring? Is the WWE responsible for Billy Jack Haynes being injured while he was working in Portland or for Crockett? He seems to think so. Is the WWE responsible for Haynes being addicted to drugs, being arrested several times and for his being molested as a child? He seems to think so. Haynes is the most extreme, but my point is this. These men knew what the business was like when they signed on. They made the choice to be professional wrestlers. They were paid very well (at least in the WWF) for their services. They chose to wrestle and perform in that ring. They made that choice and if they didn’t like it or how things went, they could have and should have quit and left. They enjoyed the benefits of the job with the good money, the fame, the traveling around the world, the women, etc. With the good comes the bad (the injuries, the hard travel schedule, etc). Bottom line is this. They made the decision to be professional wrestlers and with that decision, they accepted the risks as well. They signed the contracts and enjoyed the benefits. Don’t come in fifteen or twenty years later and try to play dumb. Accept responsibility for your lives and move on. In this life, you make choices. If you made the wrong ones, deal with the consequences and move on. Quit trying to pass the blame and make excuses. That just doesn’t cut it. ‘Nuff said!

Let’s move on.

Coming up on Saturday night in New York, one night before WWE SummerSlam, will be NXT Takeover: Brooklyn. Let’s do a few predictions, shall we?

NXT Takeover: Brooklyn Thoughts and Predictions

WWE NXT champion Finn Balor vs. Kevin Owens: Ladder Match

I’m expecting this to be one helluva stiff and brutal match. It’s going to be interesting to see how Owens holds up, working this brutal match on Saturday, working SummerSlam against Cesaro on Sunday and then RAW on Monday night. It’s make or break time for the “Fight Owens Fight” superstar. Balor won the title last month in Japan and I don’t think it’s time for him to lose it just yet, especially with Owens spending all his time these days on the main roster. Look for a slobber-knocker of a match, but in the end, Balor retains and keeps the NXT gold. It’s what makes sense and would be best for business.

Winner and STILL Champion: Finn Balor

WWE NXT Tag Team Champions Blake and Murphy vs. The Vaudevillians

Both teams are awesome and this match could easily go either way. I like Blake and Murphy and the energy they bring. The Vaudevillians have that entertainment thing about them down to a science. And both teams rock. I’ve been hearing rumors that Blake and Murphy are on the short list to be called up to the main roster very shortly. That says title change. But for some reason, despite all signs pointing to title change, I just don’t think so. The Vaudevillians are good, but the title is staying with the current champions, Blake and Murphy. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Winners and STILL NXT Tag Team Champions: Blake & Murphy

WWE NXT Women’s champion Sasha Banks vs. Bayley

Currently, Sasha is spending the majority of her time on the main roster and once Nikki Bella gets her record cinched as the longest running Divas Champion, I’m totally expecting to see either Sasha or Charlotte to slide in and relieve her of that title. Bayley is just an awesome talent and just as good as anyone on the current main roster. She’s a major star just waiting to break out and I think that this Saturday night will be her night. Both of these women are so good in that ring and would fit in well with the women wrestlers of the Attitude Era. What was I saying? I went blank there for a moment. Oops! Anyhow, Sasha is working the main roster more and more and Bayley is ready to break out and bust loose. She’s going to walk out as the new NXT Women’s Champion. ‘Nuff said!

Winner and NEW NXT Women’s Champion: Bayley

Jushin Liger vs. Tyler Breeze

This should be a fun match. In all honestly, I think that Tyler Breeze should win. He’s been in NXT for a while now and deserves it. But let’s be honest. Jushin Liger isn’t traveling all the way from Japan to just visit his old friend William Regal and do the job in his WWE debut. Liger will win. I’m sure that Breeze will get his spots in and get a few close two-counts in the match, but when that final bell rings, Liger will get that arm raised.

Winner: Justin Liger

Samoa Joe vs. Baron Corbin

Another match where the one that I think should win won’t. Corbin is just a great talent and one of my current favorites in NXT. He’s just got that “It” about him and while he doesn’t strike me as a main event talent or World Champion material, I see a long and promising future as a solid upper mid-card talent. Corbin should win this match. Joe doesn’t need the win and has nothing to gain from a victory. But Joe kills bitches dead and blah, blah, blah. Joe wins.

Winner: Samoa Joe

Carmella vs. Eva Marie

Eva Marie is the one who’s set for a big push and is one of the stars of “Total Divas”. She’s been repackaged and is not coming to Brooklyn to lose.

Winner: Eva Marie

Apollo Crews vs. Tye Dillinger.

Apollo Crews is making his debut and is expected to get a big push. They even had a t-shirt made for him before he even debuted in NXT. So will Apollo lose in his big time NXT debut? I don’t think so.

Winner: Apollo Crews

Becky Lynch vs. Charlotte vs. Dana Brooke vs. Emma

Four hot women who not only look good, but can actually wrestle and go in that ring. Let’s figure out who’s going to win. Becky and Charlotte are working the main roster so in all fairness, they should not be the ones taking that trip to the pay window. They shouldn’t, but when has that ever stopped the WWE? Emma is in the process of rebuilding from her disasterous main roster run and I don’t think she’s getting that push again just yet. Dana Brooke is the one who should get the win. She’s damn good and by process of elimination, she and Bayley should be the female faces of NXT for the next few months. That means that she should win. All roads point to Dana. Thus, I’m going to pick Charlotte. It doesn’t make sense, but then again, what does that matter. If I’m going to pick a winner, may as well do it with Flair. Wooooo.

Winner: Charlotte

Bull Dempsey vs. Elias Sampson

Squash match. Dempsey takes out Sampson in about five minutes.

Winner: Bull Dempsey

Chad Gable & Jason Jordan & Dash Wilder & Scott Dawson vs. Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady & Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley

Eight man tag action in what should be one helluva fast paced and totally awesome match. Team Enzo wins just because Zack Ryder is part of the team and they’re in his hometown. Ryder rules! Woo woo woo – you know it!

Winners: Enzo Amore, Colin Cassady, Zack Ryder & Mojo Rawley

And there you go. My predictions for the NXT Takeover: Brooklyn event. I might be right. I might be wrong. Guess we’ll find out on Saturday night on the Network. And finally, let’s just go totally nuts and do a Top Ten List. Why? Just because I can.

Top Ten Dream Matches I’d Love To See

10. Harley Race versus Kevin Owens
9. The Midnight Express (Eaton & Lane) w/ Jim Cornette versus The Hart Foundation w/ Jimmy Hart
8. Scott Hall & Kevin Nash versus Ole & Gene Anderson
7. Arn Anderson versus Triple H
6. Billy Jack Haynes versus Dan Spivey (Special Guest Referee: Steve Austin)
5. John Cena versus The Undertaker
4. Disco Inferno & Alex Wright w/ Tokyo Magnum versus The New Day
3. Ivory, Victoria & Molly Holly versus AJ Lee, Paige & Charlotte
2. Vampiro versus Bray Wyatt
1. Shawn Michaels versus Stevie Richards

Cheap plug: If you’re on Facebook and love wrestling (and who doesn’t?), go check out “That Wrestling Group” at http://www.facebook.com/groups/TheWrestlingPeople. You won’t regret it. Them folks are a slight bit crazy, but they know their sports-entertainment / pro wrestling.

And with that, in the words of legendary star of TV and film Porky Pig, “That’s all folks!” Questions and comments can be sent to Doug28352@yahoo.com. Follow me on Twitter at @doug28352 and I’m on Facebook at facebook.com/saltpalace. I’m Doug and guess what? Another column coming up soon with predictions for SummerSlam plus all sorts of other stuff. Look for it. Thanks for reading and in the words of the legendary Baron Von Raschke, “dat’ is all de’ people need to know!”. I’m down and I’m gone.


If I Was The Boss (My Dream Wrestling Company)

John Pomfret of “That Wrestling Group” put forth a great question for the group last night. What Mr. Pomfret inquired was this:

“Quick question while I’m thinking about hitting the hay. If you had to form a promotion with you as the head and then one of each of these using anyone in the business…retired, active, dead, etc…who would you choose? Booker? Top Face and Heel? Top Female Face and Heel?
Top Tag Team, both Face and Heel (Female too if you want). 3 Managers? 2 Commentators? 2 Special/Wildcards (basically workers you could throw into any situation above and they could probably thrive.) (Note: if they are male they wouldn’t go for female gold and vice versa).”

I started to quickly give my answers, but then I realized that the majority of my answers, in a 2015 enviroment and a world dominated by “sports entertainment and the WWE”, probably wouldn’t be as successful as one would hope. So I decided to change up my answers a bit and although, as you will see, the majority of names I picked are “old school”, I’m trying to think as both a fan and businessman and who would be able to do the best job in filling each role, even in today’s world of short attention spans and overly politically correctness. And I think I’ve come up with a solid group that are essentially ageless and would work both in their prime as well as in today’s enviroment. Let’s do this.

The Booker: You’d want someone who knows the business, knows how to put together a story and make it work, and who can see the coming trends and get ahead of the curve as to what is hot and what won’t work. Someone who can work with the wrestlers and hide their weak points and make everyone look strong. While personally I prefer the more straight forward booking styles of Ole Anderson (ran both the Georgia and Mid-Atlantic territories at the same time and both were thriving) or Jim Cornette, I know that in today’s world of cable and national touring and exposure, their styles wouldn’t work. I would try to hire them on as assistants with Ole running the house shows and live events and Corny helping with promos and putting together the TV. But as the top guy, the head honcho, the main man where the decisions stop and go, it’s pretty obvious who the ideal person would be and that’s Paul Heyman. Just don’t let him near the checkbooks.

Top Face and Heel: Now it’s getting a little harder because there are so many great stars out there, especially when you’ve been watching and enjoying wrestling as long as I have (close to 40 years) that just picking one name for each role is a rough call. So I’ll forget about my personal favorites and go with the names I think really stand out above all others in each role and have proven it week in and week out by doing what matters most, putting butts in the seats. For top face, a man who can seemingly do anything and the fans will still cheer, I’ll go with former WWE Superstar and current podcast phenom, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin. I was going to choose Hulk Hogan, but no matter how successful he was, I have never been and will never be a Hulkamaniac, brother! So “Stone Cold” gets the nod as the top, beer drinking, hell raising, baddest S.O.B. face in the company.

As for my top heel, I want someone who can just get under the skin of anyone and everyone without even trying. I want someone who’s a natural ass-clown and just makes you cringe in anger each and every time you see him perform because he really is that damn good and you know it and so does he. Roddy Piper from the early 80’s keeps coming into my mind, as does Honky Tonk Man, who sucked as a wrestler, but could really piss everyone off just by being there. It’s a hard choice so I’m just going to jump ahead to current times and pick the man who is known for the “pipe bombs” and even though he’s been out of wrestling for close to two years now, still manages to piss off wrestling fans the world over just by being there. For my top heel, let’s go with CM Punk.

Top Female Face and Heel: For the women’s division, I’d get Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon) as my top heel woman wrestler. I keep remembering the great job she did as the psychotic, crazy bitch during the WWE Attitude Era, with Stevie Richards as her associate and ally, a role he excels at, and even now, I keep wishing WWE would bring her back and let her work with the new talents. She was (and is) that good. So the psychotic Victoria gets my nod as the top heel.

As for my top female face, my personal pick would be Ivory because… well, because she’s Ivory. Anyone who has listened to my ramblings for the last thirteen / fourteen years knows that she’s my beloved and I would even go straight for a chance to enjoy her majestic presence. But this isn’t about personal choices so much as it’s about who would work best in each role and get over in a promotion I control in today’s world. Ivory would be part of my roster for sure, but as the top female “face” of the company, I think I’d go with Lita. She’s a good wrestler, the fans connect to her and she can play face or heel with equal success. Yeah, Lita, at least initially, would be my top female face.

As for tag teams, now we are going old school. My top heel tag team is pretty simple. They didn’t really break the rules so much as just plain out-wrestle everyone in a tough, by the numbers, dominating fashion and everyone hated and feared them because they were just that damn good. My top heel tag team is the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Ole and Gene Anderson.

As for my good guy / face top tag team, there is mainly one team I think of when I think about top baby-face teams and although personally, I’m not crazy about either man, I will give credit where it’s due. The fans love them and they are the definition of what a good guy tag team should be all about. So for my face tag team, I’ll go with Ricky Morton and Robert Gibson, the Rock & Roll Express.

Three Managers: Gary Hart, Bobby Heenan and the late, great Sir Oliver Humperdink. No explanation needed – these were three of the very absolute best by any standards.

Two commentators: So who would I get to be the A-team faces of my television, calling the action and presenting my product to the world. Well, my main voice and lead announcer would be the man who hosted World Wide Wrestling in the Mid-Atlantic region back in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and did a fantastic job in my opinion. He’s vastly under-rated and left the business to sell cars, I believe. But I’d find him and bring him back, the one and only Rich Landrum. As for the other man to call the action, I realize that he wasn’t quite everyone’s cup of tea, but the knowledge is there, the talent is there, and since I already have my other two favorite color guys in other roles (Jim Cornette helping with the booking and Bobby Heenan as a manager), I’d go with “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko as the color analyst.

As for my two “Wild Card” wrestlers who I could use in almost any role and they would do well, I’ll go with “Nature Boy” Ric Flair. Flair is too good to not have somewhere in the roster. He can play heel or face with equal enthusiasm and glee and is arguably the best all-around performer in wrestling history. So he’s my top “insert star here” performer. As for the second spot, I’m kind of torn between “The Loose Cannon” Brian Pillman or Barry Windham. Both had that energy and enthusiasm that is hard to find. Pillman had that “it factor” in major bloom and if he was in the room, he’d be the one everyone was watching. But Windham just had so much raw and pure talent in that ring. He wasn’t really great on the mic, but he got the point across and when he stepped into that ring, he never failed to deliver a great match. Aw, damn it all. My secondary “wild card” performer would be “The Beast” Brock Lesnar. As he’s proving time and time again in the WWE, you might not like him but you WILL respect him. And he draws fans, makes money and puts butts in the seats so what more can you ask for?

So let’s do a quick recap. My booker is Paul Heyman. My top face and heel are Steve Austin and CM Punk. My two top female stars are Victoria as my heel and Lita working as the face. My top heel tag team is the Minnesota Wrecking Crew, Ole Anderson and his brother Gene. My top face tag team are Ricky & Robert, the Rock & Roll Express. The managers that I’d working for me are the great Gary Hart, “The Brain” Bobby Heenan and Sir Oliver Humperdink. The men who would be my A-team announcers would be Rich Landrum & “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko. And my “Wild Card” stars would be “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and “The Beast” Brock Lesnar.

So there you go…

Republican Debate: The Top Ten (Thoughts & Analysis)

Last night on Fox News, the top ten candidiates for the Republican Presidential nomination held what will probably be the first of many, many, many debates. Earlier in the evening, seven other candidates took to the podiums and had an hour long debate of their own, which I have not had the opportunity to watch yet, so I can’t comment on that or those participants yet. But I did watch the second debate, among the top of the pack. I watched it twice. So based on those two hours, as well as my own general perceptions about each of the men running for the opportunity to become Commander In Chief, I’ve decided to do a quick analysis of each of the top guys, the pros and cons and why I think they would (or would not) be a good choice to occupy the White House.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R – FL)

Rubio is a good looking kid who says the right things and seems to have his ducks in a row, but he doesn’t strike me personally as someone who would make a great President. Maybe it’s as one of the others noted, that he has no executive experience and is merely a legislator. I think that does matter and more often than not, someone who has been a Governor or a CEO, where you make decisions and actually govern and manage, is a far better choice to lead the nation than someone who acts as part of a committee all of the time and just makes proposals and suggestions. I just don’t feel any confidence in this guy. Better to keep him in the Senate where he can argue and debate. And look at those ears. This is petty, but everytime I watched him speak, all I could notice was he has the largest ears which stick out pretty prominently. They keep me from taking the rest of him seriously. A good guy, I have no doubt. But President? Nope!

Sen. Rand Paul (R-TN)

He looked tired and worn down last night. He’s another one who I generally respect. I liked his father a great deal and was a strong supporter of his father being a Secretary of the Treasury or maybe head of the Federal Reserve. That never happened, but given his knowledge and common sense on the financial matters of our government, it would have been a good idea. But Rand Paul is NOT his father. I respect the man for going against the grain and not being afraid to ruffle feathers, but the thought of this man as President scares the hell out of me. Sometimes, I wonder if that elevator goes all the way to the top. And again, he’s a Senator. That means he can debate and legislate, but can he govern or lead? I have my doubts.

Governor Scott Walker (R-WI)

Last night was not his best night, but Governor Walker is a good example of a strong leader and the kind of person we need in the White House. He said what he was going to do and he did it. But he’s just so damn boring and plain. He doesn’t stand out in the crowd and looks like the good Uncle from a TV sitcom. He knows how to win elections, as he’s proven in Wisconsin, but does he have the personality to stand out from the pack and move to the front. And how would he do against Hillary or Sanders? I think he’d make a good leader of a state, as he’s proven. He’d make a good CEO for a company. He’s a smart and competent guy, but in terms of charisma and voter appeal to the general public, he has a long, long ways to go. In today’s world, it’s as much about flash and sizzle as it is substance. Walker has the substance, but needs to work on the rest of it. It shouldn’t matter, but it does.

Governor Chris Christie (R-NJ)

I like Governor Christie. I admit it. He’s a smart man who has done a good job, not great but good, in a state that really needed it. He’s got fire and charisma, as he showed several times during the debate last night, especially in a dust up with Sen. Rand Paul, but he was also articulate and well spoken for most of the night, something given his reputation, one would not really expect. Of the crowded pack, he’s among my top three or four guys to be sure. I know that most die-hard Republicans will complain that he’s not “conservative enough” and bring up the “hug” with Obama, but let’s be honest, he’s more of a “common sense” guy than conservative. He’s blunt and says what he says and no apologies. He’s not so restricted by a certain ideology that he can’t work with whoever it takes to get things done. He doesn’t pander or kiss butt and as Lou Grant once said about Mary Tyler Moore, he’s got “spunk”. In this case, spunk is a good thing. I’m thinking Christie is a good man and will be one of the top guys in the end.

Governor Mike Huckabee (R-AK)

And here’s another guy I like, personality wise anyhow. Huckabee is quick witted and intelligent and I used to enjoy watching his show that aired each weekend on Fox. He’s a good interviewer and talented musician. He’s also closed minded, homophobic and a hypocrite. He panders to the far right of the Republican party, the extremist faction, but at the expense of the common man and woman. While I could get along with him on a personal basis, he’s not the type of person I want in any kind of power or control over my life. Huckabee means well, I’m sure, but the kind of things he talk about and stands the strongest for would only set our country back to the dark ages and hurt a lot of good people. The best of intentions, but… Stick to the church, Governor and leave the politics to the people who are open minded and living in the twenty-first century.

Governor John Kasich (R-OH)

Of the entire pack shown last night, Kasich is probably the best best dark horse candidate running for the nomination who actually has a chance and would make a good, strong candidate. He’s done an incredible job as the Governor of Ohio, plus has a long history in both the House and the Senate, making him one of the few who not only can legislate, but lead as well. He has a kind of quirky personality at times and thart could hurt him, but the record is there. The knowledge of the facts is there and the open attitude to try new things and be respectful of others works well in his favor too. I didn’t like his non-answer on expanding Medicare in Ohio, but he’s a politician and why directly answer a question when you can talk around it instead, a trait shared by the vast majority of the men on stage last night and the majority of politicians in general. His performance last night was hit and miss, but he’s going to get better as the debates progress and the election campaigning continues. He’s definitely one to keep an eye on.

Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL)

Still the top guy in the Republican field in terms of money and name recognition and unless something really big happens, poised to wait out and just simply outlast the rest of the players. It’s a marathon and not a sprint and he knows this. Bush is a good man and was a good Governor for Florida. I don’t agree with him on a few issues, but for the most part, he’s a solid guy and would be a competent leader for our nation. But he needs to step it up a bit in the personality department. He didn’t make many mistakes last night, but he didn’t hit any home runs either. And the name. I’ve looked over his resume and did my research and it’s pretty obvious that he’s not George H.W. Bush or George W. Bush. He’s his own man and that’s pretty obvious and based on his governing skills in Florida, would be a different and possibly better type of President than either his brother or his father, but it’s hard to get past the name. This country is Bushed (and Clinton’ed) out and while name recognition is a great thing for raising money and making speeches, those are two names that probably hurt as much as they help. It’ll be interesting to watch and see what direction Bush heads in and what he does to establish himself more as “Jeb” than just a third Bush.

Dr. Ben Carson

Soft spoken, Dr. Carson looked so out of place on that stage last night, a dolphin in the middle of a pack of sharks. He’s a smart man to be sure and had one of the lines of the night when he made that joke about “half a brain” and Washington. But honestly, why is he there? What does Dr. Carson, a brilliant man to be sure and a great example and role model for anyone, know about arms treaties, being the Commander in Chief or establishing guidelines for the EPA? Dr. Carson is a great many things, but a politician is not one of them. He was way out of his element last night and it showed. He has a great future ahead of him writing books and giving motivational speeches to be sure, but as the leader of the free world and President? I don’t think so.

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)

Ted Cruz is a smart man. That’s pretty obvious. He’s also not afraid to call a spade a spade or a liar a liar, regardless of who it may be. But there’s just something about the man that makes me nervous. Maybe it’s because he’s like Governor Huckabee, pandering to the extreme right at the expense of more moderate America. While I think he could be a big time player in the world of Washington DC and international politics, maybe with a Cabinet position at some point, I just don’t feel comfortable with the idea of this man in the White House and to be honest, I don’t think he could win a general election. I liked some of his answers last night and he made a few good points, but he’s not what this country needs in charge right now. He just strikes me as too extreme and unwilling to compromise or keep an open mind. I may be wrong and I’ll be paying attention and watching the Senator from Texas, but he gives me bad vibes right now.

Donald Trump

And finally, we come to “The Donald”. Trump says what’s on his mind and doesn’t mind stirring the pot. Those are his good points, but that mouth and that ego, could we really survive with that in the White House. His comments about Rosie O’Donnell, while funny, are not what we should be hearing from someone who wants to be President. His comments to Megan Kelly, the remarks about telling Hillary to be at his wedding and she was, and just so much more. Trump is a showman and he’s entertaining and makes for great TV (and debates), but President? The main thing that annoys me about our current President Obama is not his policies (although I disagree with about 98% of them) or even the bad decisions he constantly seems to make, but his attitude. The man is all ego and won’t allow himself to even entertain the thought that someone else might have a better idea or that his ideas might not work or be wrong. And when I look at Trump, I see the exact same thing, but probably even worse. He’s saying what needs to be said and isn’t politically correct in any way, shape or form. That’s the good thing about him. He’s stubborn, outspoken, and doesn’t think that the rules apply to him. He’s just a richer, even more arrogant if that’s possible, clone of President Obama. Not on politican issues or hopes & dreams for our Nation, on those these two men are complete opposites, but in terms of coming across as cocky, arrogant and just in general ass-clowns, there are few differences. Trump is the flavor of the month and the “star” right now, but it won’t be long before the ghosts of the past come back and karma shows her head. Then Trump will be regulated to the side-show where he belongs and the real, serious candidates and contenders, can step up and take over.

So there you go with my take on the “Top Ten” current contenders running for the Republican nomination for President of the United States, based mainly on their debate performances last night, but my general perception and feelings as well. I’m going to go online in a short while and try to watch the other debate, consisting of the other seven contenders attempting to secure the Republican nomination, later today and if all goes well, I should have an analysis of them as well.

Just a quick thought here before I close this up. In our reality-show type enviroment that seems to dominate everything today, after all, how else could you explain Donald Trump as the current leader in the polls, there has to be a better way to determine who the Republican nominee (and the Democratic nominee as well) should be. Why don’t we just do it American Idol style. Each week, the candidates perform (debate) for a panel of judges of top Republicans. For example, we’ll say George W. Bush (since he was the last Republican President), Mitt Romney (since he was the last Republican Presidential nominee) and Nancy Reagan (because she was married to Ronald Reagan), and Ric Flair (just because…. woooooo!). And each week, a candidate is voted off the island until it’s down to a manageable number of perhaps, three candidates. And then, they can do the whole political campaigning and mudslinging in the traditional manner. Makes sense to me and in the world of Big Brother, Tough Enough and Survivor, it would make for some great TV. It’s just a thought.

And with that, I’m out of here. I have things to do and people to see (or is it people to do and things to see?) I’ll never tell. Have a great one and thanks for reading. I’m Doug and as the great Baron Von Raschke would say, ‘Dat’ is all de’ people need to know!”