Daniel Bryan to have neck surgery, return time not known

Daniel Bryan informs the crowd of his injury Image credit: WWE.com

WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan announced on RAW that he is to have surgery on his neck on Thursday 15 May.

Due to the surgery, Bryan will be out of action for a short amount of time. As of now, WWE have not stripped him of the title.

The timing of this injury could not have been worse for Bryan, having finally won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30 last month.

Daniel Bryan has been fighting against the WWE machine for almost a year now and just as he conquers The Authority, this injury threatens to knock him back a few steps.

Fortunately it does not seem that the WWE will strip Bryan of the title due to the short term nature of the injury.

WWE pay tribute to Connor The Crusher

WWE have released a touching tribute video honouring Connor Michalek, a 7-year-old WWE fan who has died of cancer.

During the final year of his life Connor met WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and even got to go to WrestleMania.

Connor seems to have left a fantastic impression on WWE stars like Daniel Bryan, AJ Lee and Dave Batista.

The video is a touching, emotional tribute to a young boy who demonstrated a lot of courage and hope even with a life threatening disease.

Rest In Peace, Connor.

 

Southside Wrestling Speed King 2014 review

Martin Kirby

Martin Kirby poses with his Speed King title

Southside Wrestling held another Speed King tournament on Saturday night in Nottingham, and boy was it incredible.

The show itself was sold out, with people packing in right up to bell time. More chairs were bought in and at the start of the night there were over 370 people packed into the Rushcliffe Arena, West Bridgford, Nottingham.

The show started off slowly with Pete Dunne taking on Scotland’s Noam Dar in a slow, technical affair and El Ligero facing off against Kay Lee Ray in another slow-burning match. Dunne and Ray advanced to the final.

Petey Williams Robbie X

Petey Williams and Robbie X lock-up

Then came one of the big-name imports on the show; Petey Williams. The master of the Canadian Destroyer faced Robbie X, a great young British talent who eventually bested Williams in a match that really started to get the crowd going.

Martin Kirby vs Dean Allmark was next with the current Speed King champion Kirby ambushing Allmark before the bell rang to get a head start. Kirby ended up winning and advancing to the final which already contained Robbie X, Pete Dunne and Kay Lee Ray.

CZW’s AR Fox vs Kris Travis was next and what a match these two had. It had comedy, it had emotion, and it was fast paced and hard hitting. The crowd came alive for this one, thanks on the whole to how over AR Fox was. His moveset combined with Travis’ heel mannerisms made this match the best of the night… So far. Fox beat Travis to advance to the final.

The final match before intermission was Will Ospreay vs Mark Andrews, two of the UK’s highest flyers. These two had a great high flying match which received a standing ovation from the crowd. A fantastic way to send the crowd off to the intermission to recover and recollect. Ospreay advanced into the final.

Prince Devitt

Prince Devitt as Anti-Venom

During the intermission, fans, including myself had the chance to take a photo with the main attraction on the card, New Japan Pro Wrestling star Prince Devitt. Irish native Devitt is famous for painting his body to look like many different comic characters and at Southside’s Speed King he chose Anti-Venom.

The experience was fun and Devitt seemed like a very nice guy. The set-up ran smoothly and ensured all fans got some brilliant photos and memories during the short intermission.

Post-intermission saw Prince Devitt face Mark Haskins for his Southside Heavyweight Title. Devitt got the match started early and set a high tempo which continued throughout the match with brutal kicks and some risky dives into the crowd. Devitt and Haskins had match of the night and got a well deserved “this is awesome” chant from the crowd in attendance.

Devitt’s future now hangs in the balance with many thinking he is WWE-bound. Only time will tell on that one.

The Speed King finalists get technical

The Speed King final was the final match of the night and saw Pete Dunne, Robbie X, Kay Lee Ray, Martin Kirby, AR Fox and Will Ospreay competing in a 6-person elimination match for the Speed King Title. Fox and Ospreay provided the high-octane moves while Kirby tried every underhanded tactic in the book to keep hold of his title.

Fox was the fans clear favourite to win but when it came down to Martin Kirby and Kay Lee Ray as the final two, the fans got firmly behind Ray. Ray and Kirby went back and forth for a good ten to fifteen minutes and had a hard-fought singles match which saw Ray kick out of everything Kirby threw at her. In the end, Kirby retained his title but Kay Lee Ray went home as an even bigger star than before thanks to her excellent showing.

So while the show started off slowly it built into a fantastic showcase of the British wrestling scene. Every match from AR Fox vs Kris Travis to the Speed King final had a shout at match of the night and all received standing ovations from the crowd in attendance. The inclusion of Prince Devitt to the roster gave the card a true boost of star-power thanks to Devitt’s current success in New Japan but wrestler’s like Robbie X, Will Ospreay and Kay Lee Ray shone brightly on a great night of British Wrestling.

All images courtesy of Brett Hadley.

Post-WrestleMania RAW ushers in a new era

Daniel Bryan WWE Champion

Daniel Bryan begins his championship reign.

The post-WrestleMania RAW has become a focal point of the WWE calendar over the past few years and this year’s edition really felt like the start of a new era in WWE.

The post-WrestleMania RAW in 2012 saw The YES Movement begin, 2013 saw the crowd Fandangoing and 2014 saw the crowd embrace the new era.

The crowds are always incredible at these shows. High on WrestleMania, the post-WrestleMania RAW crowds are full of passionate fans from around the world and they always create a special atmosphere.

Firstly, the spearhead of the new era: Daniel Bryan. After winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania, Bryan came out on RAW to a huge reaction and a sea of YES chants, much like the night before. Adored by the fans, he spoke from the heart and thanked these fans for bringing him to where he is today.

Paige wins Divas Championship

Paige after pinning AJ for the Divas Championship.

Secondly, the introduction of the NXT stars to the main roster. NXT Women’s Champion Paige debuted on RAW, winning the Divas Title from AJ Lee. This moment was something special, as Paige got a crowd reaction not seen for the Divas since the Lita and Trish Stratus era. While AJ Lee is the most talented Diva in the WWE, Paige is equally as talented and these two could now have a feud similar to Lita and Trish Stratus if booked correctly.

Alexander Rusev also debuted, squashing Zack Ryder with a great display of power, strength and athleticism. Rusev is a big, athletic guy and could be a great foreign heel in 2014.

Bo Dallas and Adam Rose had vignettes aired during RAW which will lead to debuts in a short while. Dallas has a wonderfully annoying Bo-lieve gimmick, which sees him play a frustratingly positive heel and Adam Rose, formerly Leo Kruger plays a camp party-goer who is surely going to catch on with the singing and dancing WWE crowds.

Paige’s debut was a huge, shocking moment and the vignettes aired showed the WWE crowd what to expect in the coming weeks. NXT is full of stars and they seem to be slowly infiltrating WWE TV as WWE under Triple H’s command looks forward to the future.

Cesaro

Cesaro and the Andre the Giant Trophy.

Thirdly, Cesaro. Cesaro won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 30, scooping up The Big Show in a moment strikingly similar to Hulk Hogan slamming Andre at WrestleMania 3 and on RAW he had the penultimate spot on the show, getting a rub from Hulk Hogan and then aligning himself with Paul Heyman.

Heyman’s ‘guys’, apart from Brock Lesnar (Ryback and Curtis Axel), have faltered in the past and have led to them being separated from the mastermind that is Paul Heyman. Cesaro should buck the trend, though, as he has all the skills to be a top star in the WWE. Only time will tell, of course, but all signs seem to point to Cesaro being a major player in the coming years.

The Shield

The Shield look menacing.

Finally, The Shield turning face and The Authority faltering. 2014, so far, has been the year of The Authority. They have kept Bryan under thumb and ruled WWE TV. At the end of RAW, however, The Shield finally snapped and attacked Triple H, leading to Bryan and The Shield standing tall as RAW went off the air.

While this moment may not seem as big as Paige’s debut or the start of Bryan’s title reign, The Shield turning face mean they now have a fresh load of match-ups and storylines against The Authority with Bryan leading the way of champion. Expect The Shield and Bryan to be some of the top stars for the rest of 2014.

The rest of the show saw some great crowd reactions, which you can see below:

All photos courtesy of WWE.

 

WrestleMania 30 review: The end of The Streak

WrestleMania 30 will go down in history as one of the most shocking of all time thanks to one event: The Undertaker’s legendary streak was ended by Brock Lesnar.

Undertaker WrestleMania 30

Undertaker walks to the ring.

The first two hours of the show were pretty much perfect. WrestleMania 30 was kicked off by the host, Hulk Hogan, who cut a promo putting over the importance of the night. It felt special and it felt right. Then Hogan was joined by two more legends; Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. It felt even more special. Three of the biggest stars ever in WWE in one ring at the 30th WrestleMania. A true WrestleMania moment that made the fans laugh, smile and most likely get goosebumps.

Then came the match of the night – Daniel Bryan vs Triple H. The fans were electric for Bryan, and the sigh of 70,000+ people all chanting ‘YES!’ in unison is one I won’t forget in a long time. The match itself was lengthy and told a great story with Triple H working on Bryan’s already-injured shoulder to further stack the deck against Bryan in the main event later in the night.

The Shield dominated the team of the New Age Outlaws and Kane in under 5 minutes. Possibly a waste of potential but at least The Shield won dominantly and furthered their babyface turn.

The Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal was a little messy (when is it not with 30 men in the ring at the same time?) but once the field thinned out it provided us with two great moments. The first being Kofi Kingston’s near-elimination spot, a spot he is now famous for in Royal Rumble matches. Kofi flew over the top rope and ringpost and somehow landed with his back on the floor and feet still on the steps. An incredible show of athleticism that may have stuck in the mind longer had it not been for the Swiss Superman Antonio Cesaro providing us with the modern re-enactment of Hogan slamming Andre by hoisting up The Big Show and eliminating him. The comparison was uncanny and hopefully Cesaro is on his way to Hogan-like success in the future.

Cesaro Andre The Giant

Cesaro wins the Andre The Giant trophy.

Cena vs Bray Wyatt was also a good match as it provided us with another dimension to John Cena’s character. Cena was forced to do things he normally wouldn’t and question his morals to beat Wyatt, who put on another stellar performance at PPV level. Wyatt is really a fantastic wrestler and one to take WWE into the future.

Then WrestleMania 30 cemented itself as one of the most shocking ever. The Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar. The Streak, which stood at 21-0 before WrestleMania 30 went to 21-1 as Taker failed to kick out of a third F-5 delivered by Lesnar. Fans in attendance were stunned to silence for a long while as they watched the legendary Phenom lie motionless on the mat as Heyman and Lesnar celebrated. A truly shocking moment that I and everyone at the SuperDome never thought they would see.

The match itself was a slow affair as Undertaker was not in the best of shape and got even worse early on when Taker suffered a concussion. He was taken to the hospital immediately following his match.

At first, shock and disappointment took over as I believed The Streak should never have been broken but since recollecting my thoughts I respect The Undertaker for his decision and for creating such a shocking moment. The Undertaker is a certified Hall of Famer and what he has done in the wrestling business is nothing short of phenomenal. As fans, respecting his decision is a compliment that Undertaker deserves.

Undertaker 21-1

The Undertaker lies motionless after being defeated by Brock Lesnar.

AJ Lee retained her Divas Title in a throaway Divas Invitational which was merely used to let the fans recover from the shock of Undertaker’s match before the main event. AJ Lee retaining was the best decision as there is really no other Diva on her level.

Then came the main event. The moment fans had been waiting for for months was finally here and it did not disappoint. There was a huge announcers table spot which saw Bryan get Batista Bomb/RKO’d through the table and stretchered out, there was The Authority intervening to try and screw Bryan again and there was near-falls for a cocky Batista, who the fans definitely did not want to see win. At the end of the day, Bryan finally prevailed and became the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and what a moment it was.

Confetti, fans chanting ‘YES!’ and Bryan standing tall at WrestleMania 30 all made for an epic emotional moment similar to when Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit won the titles at WrestleMania 20 ten years prior.

Daniel Bryan WWE World Heavyweight Champion

Daniel Bryan celebrating after his match.

There really wasn’t anything bad about WrestleMania 30 except for The Undertaker’s match. Partly because it was hard to watch one of the greatest of all time wrestle in bad shape and partly because Undertaker lost. Everything else on the card contributed to making WrestleMania 30 a great show, culminating in Bryan celebrating to close the show. WrestleMania 30 will certainly go down in history.

Behind the scenes videos from WrestleMaina 30 can be found on WWE’s YouTube channel here.

WrestleMania 30 predictions

Here are my WrestleMania 30 predictions, in the order that I think the card will go.

Fatal 4-Way for the WWE Tag Team Championships: The Usos (c) vs Rybaxel vs The Real Americans vs Los Matadores

The Usos have been on a roll over the last 6 months, a roll which culminated with them winning the Tag Titles. Real Americans have also been hot, with Rybaxel and Los Matadores merely there to make up the numbers. This match could have (and probably should have been) a traditional tag match with The Real Americans facing The Usos. I think Swagger and Cesaro leave New Orleans as new WWE Tag Team Champions.

Daniel Bryan vs Triple H

I can see this going one of two ways: either Bryan wins clean and goes into the main event as normal or Triple H gets a cheap win over Bryan, gets himself added to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match later in the night and then Bryan later gets added via Vince McMahon.

The latter is the most likely, with that then giving fans something to cheer for with Bryan finally getting added and then Vince McMahon returning to storylines at WrestleMania 30.

The Shield vs New Age Outlaws & Kane

Expect the newly-turned faces The Shield to win this one. The Shield have had fantastic matches since debuting and despite the age of their opponents at WrestleMania 30 I still expect to see a pretty good match.

After teasing a break up over the last few months, The Shield look to have a new lease of life as a face team.

Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

I really have no idea who will win this. With 30 men competing it really is anyone’s pick but the odds-on favourite seems to be Alexander Rusev making an immediate impact by winning. That wouldn’t be the worst outcome as it seems like a trophy that a young up-and-comer could do with winning to kickstart their WWE career.

Interestingly, there are three spaces in the Battle Royal so expect these to be filled up by legends. It may be just coincidence but Roddy Piper is teasing a WrestleMania experience and Stone Cold Steve Austin is confirmed for the event.

John Cena vs Bray Wyatt

While Wyatt beat Bryan at the Rumble to claim another major scalp, I can’t see him beating Cena at WrestleMania considering the build-up this match has been given. However, Cena is not in a position where he is immune to losing at Mania so Wyatt could get the win.

Vickie Guerrero Divas Championship Invitational

Again, this is a choice between 14 Divas. I think AJ will retain or Naomi of the Funkadactyls wins this one.

The Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar

While Lesnar is a beast and will make this match as physical as possible, the streak will not be ended by Lesnar. Short and sweet; Undertaker makes his streak 22-0.

WWE World Heavyweight Championship match: Randy Orton (c) vs Batista vs ???

As I mentioned earlier, I think this one could go to a Fatal 4-Way match. Even so, the outcome should still be the same with Daniel Bryan triumphing to win the title after months of being screwed. The fans have persisted and Bryan deserves his moment of closing out WrestleMania with 70,000 fans chanting “YES!”

WrestleMania 30 takes place on Sunday, April 6 at 7pm ET, 4pm PT, 12am UK.

WrestleMania 30: One week away

WrestleMania 30 logo

WrestleMania 30 is now just one week away and preparations have begun for The Grandest Stage of Them All.

Talents have received itineraries (Cody Rhodes tweeted his below), the stage is being put up and the card is pretty much finalised with 8 matches set to take place.

A blog post closer to the time will detail my predictions but here’s a general overview of what to expect in New Orleans on Sunday April 6:

  • Fans will LOVE Daniel Bryan. This one is no surprise considering Bryan has been the biggest star in the WWE for a good number of months but inside the SuperDome the noise for Daniel Bryan will be loud.
  • There should be some great matches. Cena vs Wyatt, Bryan vs HHH, Shield vs New Age Outlaws & Kane and the tag team Fatal-4-Way all have the potential to be fantastic for their own reasons. Again, something that I will go into detail on in a future blog post.
  • Expect a party atmosphere. New Orleans is known for Bourbon Street and Mardi Gras and WWE have taken this ethos and ran with it in its promotional videos and themes. Expect the Divas in New Orleans-inspired gear.
  • The Streak will go to 22-0. Brock Lesnar is a beast both in the ring and in the UFC Octagon, but there is just no way he will break The Undertaker’s legendary streak.

Look out for WrestleMania-related posts throughout the week including predictions and a review following the big event itself. WrestleMania 30 will be live on Sunday April 6.

 

WWE taking Main Event seriously because of the WWE Network

The Undertaker on Main Event. Image credit: WWE.com

For a long time, WWE Main Event was just another hour of WWE programming, taped before the big TV shows RAW and SmackDown.

Over the last few weeks though, Main Event has taken on a new importance; and that’s because of the WWE Network.

WWE have started airing Main Event live on Tuesday nights (the day it used to be taped on), one day before it airs on Ion Television. The reason behind this change is simple; make the WWE Network the primary destination for all of WWE’s content. And with Main Event being a tertiary programme, WWE had to do something big to attract the viewers.

First there was Daniel Bryan (the most popular wrestler in the company) vs Kane and a Tag Team Title match between The Usos and The New Age Outlaws.

Then on WWE Main Event on March 11, there were two title matches: AJ Lee defended her Divas Title against Natalya and Dean Ambrose defended the United States Title against Mark Henry. Ambrose defending his title is a rarity to begin with but the fact it aired on Main Event on the WWE Network shows that WWE really want people to tune in to see it live.

WWE’s most recent attempt to boost the status of Main Event was on Tuesday night, when the legendary Undertaker appeared. Taker did nothing more than a similar promo to the one he delivered on RAW a number of weeks ago, but still, he was there.

Whether WWE continues to put the big guns on Main Event in an attempt to increase the pull of the Network remains to be seen but it is at least refreshing to see WWE put care and attention into a show that falls way behind the priorities that are RAW and SmackDown.

Revolution Pro Wrestling: High Stakes Review

Revolution Pro High Stakes

Revolution Pro Wrestling returned to York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday 15th March for High Stakes 2014 which featured fantastic matches, singing and dancing and the legendary Sting.

Entering York Hall I was bubbling with excitement; my first Revolution Pro show and the card was looking great; some of the UK’s top stars such as Kris Travis and Marty Scurll joined by some of the best the American indy scene has to offer in The Young Bucks and the Inner City Machine Guns.

Young Bucks

Myself with The Young Bucks

The anticipation built to a fever pitch in the arena and by the time the first match kicked off the fans were well and truly ready for a good show.

Opening match: Josh Bodom vs Jay Lethal. Lethal and Bodom put on an entertaining opening match with Lethal working the crowd as his Black Machismo gimmick. Nothing to go out of your way to see but a good way to kick start the show with fan favourite Lethal. Bodom picked up the win, however.

Sha Samuels vs Mark Andrews was next with Andrews attacking Samuels with fast paced offense before Samuels was ready. This allowed Andrews to score a near-fall but then led to Samuels dominating the match for the rest of proceedings. Andrews won by DQ after Samuels smashed Andrews over the head with a chair on an attempted suicide dive. The crowd went crazy for the big chair shot and it was just a sign of things to come.

Next up was the Swords of Essex (Revolution Pro Wrestling’s tag team champions Will Ospreay and Paul Robinson) facing off against the Inner City Machine Guns (a team comprising of Dragon Gate’s Open the Dream Gate Champion, Ricochet, and Rich Swann.) This match was the best of the night. From Inner City Machine Guns all-singing-all-dancing “All Night Long” entrance to the comedic opening of the match to the frankly insane crescendo, this match was incredible fun. All four guys put on a fantastic display of athleticism, speed and strength which, by the end of the match, had sent the crowd into an absolute frenzy. The Inner City Machine Guns picked up the win and became the new RPW Tag Champions. (SPOILERS: They lost them at the show the night after in Sittingbourne.)

Inner City Machine Guns

Intermission then allowed the crowd to calm down and regain themselves before the next match: Project Ego (Kris Travis and Martin Kirby) vs The Young Bucks (Nick and Matt Jackson.) This match featured one of the best UK tag teams against one of the best US tag teams and did not disappoint. It was a great match in its own right, but was following such an incredible match and intermission, so felt a little flat. No doubt that Matt Jackson’s hand injury also hindered the Bucks slightly, but they were still able to turn the crowd’s volume up when the superkicks started to fly. The Bucks picked up the win.

Then it was showtime. Sting, filling in for Ric Flair who cancelled due to personal reasons, came to the ring to speak to the Revolution Pro Wrestling Fans. Cutting a promo no more than 5 minutes long, Sting kept it short and sweet, thanking the fans and putting over the great wrestlers and matches seen on the night.

Main event: Colt Cabana (Revolution Pro Wrestling’s Heavyweight Champion) vs Marty Scurll. This match was a 30-minute Iron Man match, and was eventually won 3-2 by Marty following interference. The match itself was a scrappy affair, choosing story over the fast-paced action seen earlier in the night but a lot of that story was hard to see from the floor with each wrestler being thrown into the crowd and outside of the ring multiple times.

Overall, RPW put on a fantastic show that will encourage first-time RPW visitors such as myself to visit again and again in the future. There was a good mix of UK stars and US imports, which meant there were great matches across the board and the crowd were loud all night long. Pun intended.

Hulk Hogan announces Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal but it is Daniel Bryan who steals the show

Hulk Hogan WWE

Image credit: WWE.com

Hulk Hogan’s teased announcement on RAW was that at WrestleMania 30 there will be an Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

30 men will compete in the Battle Royal, which is named after the larger than life legend, and the winner will receive the Andre the Giant Memorial Trophy.

So far Big E and Ryback have confirmed their entry into the Battle Royal, with John Cena teasing a possible entry if he gets through his match with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania.

It remains to be seen if the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal will become a WrestleMania tradition that can elevate new or young talent, but the inaugural event will certainly be interesting.

The Undertaker’s promised announcement was merely an obligatory “Rest In Peace” promo for Brock Lesnar delivered via Paul Heyman. Heyman discussed how iconic Taker’s streak was and Undertaker followed that with a few words on the fear of death being worse than death itself. Nothing as shocking as speculated yesterday.

Elsewhere on RAW, Daniel Bryan stole the show with not one but two huge moments. Firstly, he began #OccupyRAW, where he entered the ring, along with what looked like hundreds of fans all in their YES Movement gear to occupy the ring and force Triple H into accepting a match against Bryan at WrestleMania. This scene was something special, with all the fans in YES uniform chanting in unison along with their hero Daniel Bryan.

Daniel Bryan YES movement

Image credit: WWE.com

Triple H eventually caved and accepted a match with Bryan, but Bryan pushed further and added a stipulation to that match; if Bryan beats Triple H, he is added to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at WrestleMania along with Randy Orton and Batista.

Bryan then went on to pin Randy Orton in the tag team main event of RAW when Bryan teamed with Big Show to face Orton and Batista.

Finally, it seemed like everything the fans have been asking and wishing for over the past number of months had come true on RAW. Not only does Bryan get the chance to have a special match with Triple H at WrestleMania 30, he also gets his chance to become the champion again on the same night.

After months of getting screwed, it finally seems like WrestleMania will be Daniel Bryan’s crowning moment.