WrestleMania 30 announcements coming from Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker tonight

Undertaker WWE

Image credit: WWE.com

WWE have announced that both Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker will be making announcements regarding WrestleMania 30 tonight on RAW.

Hogan’s announcement was promoted last week on RAW, but The Undertaker’s announcement has been revealed in the new Raw Five-Point Preview on WWE.com.

Undertaker’s announcement could be that he will inducting Paul Bearer into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania 30 but given how little Taker breaks character, this seems unlikely.

What is more likely is that The Undertaker will announce that the match at WrestleMania 30 will be his last. Undertaker (real name Mark Calaway) is 48-years-old and currently has an extremely light schedule due to nagging injuries and pains in his body after such a lengthy wrestling career.

Hogan’s announcement, on the other hand, is anyone’s guess. Since Hulk Hogan is hosting RAW the announcement could be anything from certain guest stars set to appear at the show to a new match being added to the card.

Come back to Pro Wrestling Is Fake tomorrow to find out what the announcements are.

Kris Travis on being the UK’s #1 pro wrestler

Kris Travis in action at Southside Wrestling. Photo courtesy of Brett Hadley.

Kris Travis in action at Southside Wrestling.
Photo courtesy of Brett Hadley.

Kris Travis recently stormed the annual Fighting Spirit Magazine Awards, winning UK Wrestler of the Year, UK Tag Team of the Year and UK Pro Wrestling Match of the Year 2013. I spoke to Kris Travis himself to ask him what it means to win such an award.

“It’s so ridiculous. Every time I’m in a magazine I keep the magazine. It’s a massive mark-out moment.”

Travis described winning UK Wrestler of the Year as a cementing of his skill, passion and desire for his craft that he has applied himself to over the past 12 years: “All of the people who have looked at it as a joke can look at this magazine and see that I share the same pages as the guys who they consider the ‘real’ wrestlers.”

Kris Travis is referring to a number of people who saw his career choice of a pro wrestler being a joke in the early years. He told me his friends often joke around and call him Hulk Hogan, but a select few thought Kris’ decision to pursue wrestling was a bad one.

After 12 years of performing and honing his skills, which Kris admitted to being generic and rubbish at first, he has now reached a level which he can be happy at: “I’m seen to be one of the top in the UK so I’m just happy being at that level and hopefully making a bit of money from wrestling because it’s not a glamorous world.” Shoulder and neck injuries are just a few nagging pains 30-year-old Kris Travis deals with on a day to day basis when at the gym maintaining the fitness level required to be at the top of his game.

Kris Travis.  Photo courtesy of Brett Hadley

Kris Travis.
Photo courtesy of Brett Hadley

Digging deeper, I asked Kris to explain his character and his pretty boy look. “I’m pretty much the person who you would see on a night out and think ‘what a dick’.

“He loves himself, he thinks those girls are gonna fancy him. He thinks everyone loves him.”

Travis said he does this to wind people up. Another thing he does to wind the crowd up is wear bright pink: “Pink is kind of associated with being a bit of a girly colour so it automatically makes people dislike you.” Travis must be doing something right as even though he tries his very best to annoy the crowds he wrestles in front of, they still voted in great numbers, with Kris Travis scoring 28% of the votes in the Fighting Spirit Magazine Awards, 5% more than second place Zack Sabre Jr.

“It’s given me a lot of fans and a lot of pleasure.”

Not only did Kris scoop the solo award, he also won UK Tag Team of the Year alongside Martin Kirby as Project Ego, with the pair garnering 51% of the votes: “Kirby’s an amazing wrestler. I rate Kirby as higher than me, as better than me; especially in the tag format.” Travis and Kirby were first placed together as a team on a small show in Rotherham at what Kris described to me as a “shitty working men’s club.” Since then the team has gone from strength to strength, mixing charisma with athleticism to form Project Ego: “We just work as a team.”

Rounding off his treble, Travis won UK Pro Wrestling Match of the Year for his match against former WWE star Chris Masters on June 1 at Preston City Wrestling. Travis said: “I go out there and have some of the best matches and take some of the biggest risks.” Watch Travis vs Masters below:

While Travis has done a lot in his 12 years of wrestling, he still holds a dream of one day making it to the WWE: “I have always said to myself I’ll be on WrestleMania next year. If I’m looking at it from an honest point of view, I don’t think I’ll ever make it to WWE/TNA but that’s not going to stop me trying.”

NXT ArRIVAL announces the stars of NXT to the WWE Network

Cesaro and Sami Zayn embrace as a sign of respect. Image credit: WWE.com

NXT ArRIVAL took place last night as the first ever live-streamed show on the newly launched WWE Network.

Being the first ever live-streamed show on the Network, the show didn’t go without any troubles, but the show itself announced the wrestlers on the card to every WWE Network subscriber.

Headlining the show was Cesao vs Sami Zayn IV, Bo Dallas (c) vs Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship and Paige (c) vs Emma for the NXT Women’s Championship.

Cesaro vs Sami Zayn IV kicked off the show and did not disappoint. Both men put in stellar performances with Cesaro continuing to show his skillset that sees him as one of the top stars in the WWE at the minute. Sami Zayn, an NXT favourite, might have been unknown to many of the WWE Network subscribers watching, but not for long. Zayn, with the fans firmly behind him, gave Cesaro a run for his money and showed how versatile of a wrestler he is but fell just short. Expect to see Zayn on the main roster soon.

Paige vs Emma was kicked off by Stephanie McMahon, signifying how important WWE see these two Divas from NXT. Paige is a very different Diva to the Divas you see on WWE TV every week and backed up her unique look with some unique moves rarely seen from WWE wrestlers, never mind Divas. These two had a very good match that put all of the Divas matches on WWE TV to shame and showed the fans that Emma is more than just a comedic sidekick for Santino Marella. Paige retained the title.

The last of the three big matches on the NXT ArRIVAL card was Bo Dallas vs Adrian Neville for the NXT Championship in a ladder match. As good as Bo Dallas and Adrian Neville are, this match was always going to have a hard time living up to the ridiculously high standards set at the outset by Cesao and Zayn. This is not to say that this match was bad by any stretch of the imagination; Neville’s high-flying and Bo Dallas’ cunning character traits meant this match was equal parts interesting and action packed. Adrian Neville defeated Bo Dallas to become the new NXT Champion after delivering his spectacular finisher, the Red Arrow.

Elsewhere, Mojo Rawley defeated CJ Paker, the NXT Tag Team Champions defeated Attitude Era favourites Too Cool (Scotty 2 Hotty and Grandmaster Sexay) and Alexander Rusev attacked Tyler Breeze and Xavier Woods, dominating the two wrestlers that were scheduled for a match.

NXT ArRIVAL was just the start of NXT on the WWE Network. While a lot of fans have been watching NXT for a while, there is doubt that more people now have access to it through the WWE Network. The Network should give NXT the attention it deserves and a continued place for the stars of tomorrow to practice their craft before being called up to the main roster.

Check out videos from NXT ArRIVAL here.

Elimination Chamber, WWE Network, Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker return. Analysing a very busy few days in the WWE.

The Undertaker strides to the ring, glaring at Brock Lesnar. Image credit: WWE.com

What a few days it has been in the WWE. First the Elimination Chamber, which provided a number of big talking points, then the long-awaited WWE Network launched and then WWE bought back the legendary Hulk Hogan and the iconic Undertaker on RAW. Time to analyse all of the big talking points from the last two days.

Elimination Chamber: The Shield and The Wyatt Family tear it up

Wow. What a match we were treated to on Sunday night at the Elimination Chamber PPV. The anticipation and expectation had reached a fever pitch, even before the match had begun. After both teams made their respective entrances and engaged in a pre-match stand-off, the fans began chanting “this is awesome” before the match had even started.

Once the match started though we were treated to a fantastic match. Each individual character shone brightly at different stages in the match; Ambrose’s volatility boiled over in a pre-match brawl, Rollins’ high flying athleticism was showcased in a great spot with Luke Harper and Reigns’ power and strength was demonstrated throughout. As for The Wyatt Family; Rowan provided the craziness, Harper showed a degree of athleticism never seen before from The Wyatts and Bray Wyatt, the leader of the cult, showed that he is not just a character; he can wrestle, too.

The match was a brilliant clash of two brilliant teams and with the crowd duelling with themselves chanting each team’s name, the match had a fantastic atmosphere to boot.

The Shield face off against The Wyatt Family. Image credit: WWE.com

Elimination Chamber: Daniel Bryan screwed again

Elsewhere at the Elimination Chamber PPV, Daniel Bryan had the match won before Kane interjected, distracting Bryan and allowing Randy Orton to RKO Bryan for the win. This left the fans smarting and booing the finish, but really there was no other outcome. Randy Orton was always going to retain and go on to the WrestleMania title match against Batista. However, that did not soften the blow. Bryan had been screwed over again, a theme that has been running since SummerSlam last year. Orton vs Batista remains the main event of WrestleMania 30 while Daniel Bryan looks elsewhere for challenges.

The WWE Network

At 9am EST on Monday the WWE Network finally launched. At $9.99 a month and with a one week free trial you get to watch all of the PPVs WWE produces in the year, as well as a massive on-demand library of past WWE, WCW and ECW shows, live, original programming and weekly WWE TV Shows. The only catch is it is currently only available in The United States of America.

I did find success in using a friend’s American address to sign up for the free trial, though, and I found the content available very exciting. As a wrestling fan there is so much content for you to sink your teeth into that it actually becomes a task in itself simply deciding what to watch. The on-demand content streamed fine and in good quality on both a laptop and an iPad, but the live content was unavailable to watch from the UK. The WWE have since blocked all UK users using this method to access the Network, but with the live programming an issue anyway, it may be worth holding off on the Network until it officially launches in the UK and other territories later this year and early next year. If you do want to access the WWE Network, you can subscribe to a DNS-changing service and it does work that way. 

What the WWE Network does is changes the dynamic of how wrestling is provided to fans. Currently, WWE’s TV shows will take a while to be able to watch on-demand on the Network, because of the current TV deals the WWE has in place. Even so, the sheer amount of content available, with more being added as time goes on, is mind-blowing. There’s WCW, ECW and WWE content spanning years and there is something for everyone to watch. It really is a game-changer.

Hulk Hogan is all smiles on RAW. Image credit: WWE.com

Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker return on RAW

With the WWE Network out to the masses, Monday Night RAW was always going to be huge in terms of turning viewers into subscribers. Enter Hulk Hogan, who returned to the WWE after a long hiatus and a stint in TNA. Hogan opened the show to a huge ovation, and provided all the classic Hogan-isms that the fans wanted to see, brother. Hogan plugged the WWE Network, and reminded everyone that he will be the host of WrestleMania 30 and then went on his way.

Later in the night, Brock Lesnar was in the ring with a contract for a WrestleMania match. Then, all of a sudden, the famous gong went off and The Deadman returned. The Undertaker has been missing from WWE since a brutal beatdown from The Shield last year, and as it is WrestleMania season, it was time for The Undertaker to return. Taker strode to the ring, pointed at the WrestleMania sign, signed the contract for a match with Brock Lesnar and then proceeded to chokeslam Lesnar through a table. Drama, excitement and a very simple way to announce a WrestleMania 30 match.

WrestleMania 30 begins to take shape

So Hogan has returned and announced he will be the host of WrestleMania 30. The Undertaker has returned to challenge Brock Lesnar. Daniel Bryan, as I mentioned earlier, is looking for a challenge. On RAW, Bryan challenged Triple H to a match at Wrestlemania, which The Game shrugged off and disrespectfully declined; don’t let that fool you though. Bryan vs Triple H will surely happen at WrestleMania as it will give Daniel Bryan the chance to finally get back at the authority figure that has been holding him down and screwing him over for months. It should provide a good WrestleMania moment for Daniel Bryan, even if it’s not the title win that the fans have been clamouring for for months.

WrestleMania 30 will take place on Sunday, April 6th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

 

Elimination Chamber: Why The Shield vs The Wyatt Family is so exciting

Image credit: WWE.com

On Sunday at WWE’s Elimination Chamber PPV two of the most exciting and unique teams on the modern era will go face to face; The Shield will face The Wyatt Family.

The Shield debuted at Survivor Series 2012 and for months went on to dominate and destroy everyone and everything in their path, including The Undertaker and John Cena. They didn’t lose for a number of months and at one stage they all held championships. Dean Ambrose won the United States Championship and still holds the title to date, while Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns won the Tag Team Championships. The Shield have a unique entrance, a unique promo style with the handheld camcorder gimmick and a great style to boot.

Rollins is the fast paced, athletic member. Ambrose is the crazy, unorthodox member. Reigns is the powerhouse. Each element meshes extremely well in matches and The Shield’s 6-man tag team matches have been a highlight of WWE programming since their debut match at TLC.

Image credit: WWE.com

The Wyatt Family debuted in summer 2013 after a number of vignettes teased their debut. The Wyatts are a creepy, cult-like team who are led by Bray Wyatt. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan make up the muscle of the team and they are often seen doing Wyatt’s bidding.

Again, The Wyatt Family have a unique entrance but instead of entering through the crowd like The Shield, they enter with nothing but a lamp guiding their way to the ring and a rocking chair in tow for Wyatt to sit on. The Wyatt’s don’t have varying styles like The Shield, instead they are primarily based on power with Wyatt and Harper being deceptively quick.

Over the last few weeks, WWE have teased The Wyatt Family challenging The Shield at Elimination Chamber with a number of tense stand-offs that have had the crowd buzzing at the prospect of the match.

Both teams are incredibly popular and even the mere hint of a brawl between the two has elicited big reactions from the crowds. On Monday’s RAW, the two teams finally went at it in a brawl to close the show but on Sunday at Elimination Chamber there should be a fantastic 6-man tag team match featuring the present and future of the WWE – Roman Reigns is being primed for the big time, in case you missed it.

The match at Elimination Chamber is so big it could be saved for WrestleMania but on Sunday we should get a WrestleMania quality match; it has excitement and intrigue, power and athleticism.

Wyatt vs Reigns. Harper and Rowan vs Rollins and Ambrose. The Shield vs The Wyatt Family.

Guardians of the Galaxy trailer featuring Batista

The first trailer for the Guardians of the Galaxy is here, starring WWE superstar Batista as Drax the Destroyer.

I know Batista returned to boost WrestleMania XXX, but I have no doubt that starring in a big Marvel movie helped.

The trailer comes via a world premiere on The Jimmy Kimmel Show. Guardians of the Galaxy will be released on 1 August 2014.

Cesaro

Cesaro swings Randy Orton. Image credit: WWE.com

Cesaro. Quietly dropping the Antonio from his name last week, alongside beating WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton, the WWE made a very clear statement: Cesaro is going to be a key player in this company in years to come.

Cesaro announced the change on Saturday, just after he appeared on SmackDown with his new name. On SmackDown, Cesaro defeated Randy Orton clean, in what was an excellent wrestling match.

Then, on Monday Night RAW, Cesaro faced John Cena in another fantastic wrestling match. Cesaro lost, but that match was so good that he reportedly received a standing ovation in gorilla position following the match. There is a trend here.

For a long time, Cesaro has showcased his skills to the WWE Universe as United States Champion and, more recently, as a member of the tag team The Real Americans alongside his tag team partner Jack Swagger. Cesaro and Swagger form a powerful duo who utilise a lot of amateur wrestling moves with powerful strikes and gripping grapples and, under the tuition of Zeb Colter, they have become one of the best tag teams in the WWE.

Cesaro alongside his tag partner, Jack Swagger. Image credit: WWE.com

Cesaro has recently started using the giant swing, a move which has become wildly popular and has the fans counting the number of rotations as Cesaro’s opponent dangles from his grasp, trapped in a whirlwind of centrifugal force. This move has increased Cesaro’s popularity as it is a unique move that adds an air of light-heartedness to his moveset.

Even more recently, Cesaro has been involved in some big matches throughout the WWE. His feud on NXT with Sami Zayn has already encompassed three matches, all of which have been excellent, with a fourth on the way at NXT: Arrival on February 27 on the WWE Network. On the bigger stage Cesaro qualified for the Elimination Chamber match by defeating Dolph Ziggler on the January 27th edition of RAW while his team-mate failed to do the same against Christian.

Cesaro will face Zayn in a 2/3 falls match at NXT: Arrival. Image credit: WWE.com

While Swagger is now chasing Big E’s Intercontinental Title, Cesaro is edging towards the main event picture following the two great matches against the biggest two stars in the company and the Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View should see Cesaro put in another excellent performance.

I don’t see Cesaro winning the WWE World Heavyweight Title so close to WrestleMania but what I do expect is Cesaro to have a stand-out Elimination Chamber and a stand-out 2014 and really take his game to the next level.

Antonio is gone. Cesaro is here to stay.

Lita to be inducted into WWE Hall of Fame

Image credit: WWE.com

Attitude Era favourite and one of the greatest WWE Divas of all time, Lita, will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014.

The announcement was made on Monday Night RAW with the following induction video:

A blog post was also put up on Lita’s official website which you can read here.

Lita tweeted the following after the announcement was made on RAW:

Lita is one of my all time favourite Divas as her unique arsenal of moves and attitude made her stand out during the Attitude Era. Alongside Matt and Jeff Hardy, she constantly revolutionised WWE and was involved in fantstic storylines during her career, especially the Edge and Matt Hardy love triangle.

Watch current WWE Divas talk about Lita in this episode of Backstage Fallout:

The WWE Hall of Fame 2014 induction ceremony takes place on Saturday April 5, the day before WrestleMania 30.

Royal Rumble: Analysing Roman Reigns’ performance

Image credit: WWE.com

Roman Reigns had a great Royal Rumble match. The Shield member entered at #15 and lasted for 33 minutes 58 seconds, eliminating 12 superstars. Roman Reigns beat Kane’s record of 11 eliminations in one Royal Rumble match that had stood since 2001.

In his time in the match, Reigns eliminated Kofi Kingston, Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Nash, The Great Khali, Goldust, El Torito, JBL, Luke Harper, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Antonio Cesaro and Sheamus before being eliminated himself by the Royal Rumble winner, Batista.

Breaking Kane’s record is symbolic for Roman Reigns, who is in the infancy of his WWE career. Over the past two years he has dominated huge stars as a member of The Shield and since Survivor Series 2013 he has been receiving more and more attention for his fantastic in-ring work.

Fellow Shield members Ambrose and Rollins are often talked about as the fan favourites of The Shield, mainly due to their time on the independent scene and, especially in Seth Rollins’ case, in NXT. Reigns, however, should not be overlooked. He is a member of the Anoa’i family which features Samoan wrestling greats such as The Rock, Rikishi, Yokozuna, Umage and The Usos. He has a great look; Reigns stands at 6 feet 3 inches of pure Samoan athleticism and even has the Samoan sleeve tattoo to match.

In the ring, Reigns has been increasingly impressive since eliminating four out of five opponents at Survivor Series (tying the record), utilising an impressive arsenal of moves which include a devastating spear and a highly unique superman punch.

Reigns looked at ease during the Royal Rumble match, showing off his power and athleticism at numerous times during the 33 minutes he was in the ring for. He entered the match after delivering a running dropkick to CM Punk who was hanging over the bottom rope, going on to spear Cody Rhodes and then launched Kofi Kingston over the top rope to eliminate him. It was an emphatic start and it got better from there for Reigns as he dominated the competition.

Reigns’ dominance shows a sign of faith from WWE. The Shield looks to be teasing a separation soon and it looks like Reigns could be getting a good solo push following the split. While many will clamour for Ambrose or Rollins to be pushed, Reigns looks to be the first in line.

Roman Reigns seems extremely capable of going far in WWE. Can he reach the heights of The Rock? Only time will tell.

CM Punk leaves WWE

Image credit: WWE.com

WWE superstar CM Punk has left WWE, following a meeting with WWE officials at RAW this Monday.

CM Punk reportedly told Vince McMahon and other WWE officials that he was going home and not coming back, possibly due to WWE’s plans for him at WrestleMania where he was due to face Triple H. Punk is under contract with WWE until July.

In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, CM Punk noted that he does not know what he’s going to do yet [regarding his contract] and he seemed to express a lack of enthusiasm for the gruelling schedule of WWE.

TMZ says that Punk was “livid” after learning Batista was set to win the Royal Rumble match because he feels Batista is not in great wrestling shape.

Punk tweeted this on Monday, just before he would have told WWE officials he was leaving.

After Punk notified Vince McMahon of the change, RAW re-writes began, but details are conflicting at this time. PWInsider notes that one of their sources claimed Punk was due to wrestle Antonio Cesaro and lose via interference from Kane, who Punk is currently feuding with.

With Punk gone and seemingly not coming back, WWE are now changing plans for WrestleMania and are instead said to be going with Daniel Bryan vs Triple H at WrestleMania.

As ever with professional wrestling, this could all be a big work, so keep an eye on Pro Wrestling Is Fake for updates.

Sources: ProWrestlingNetPWInsider, TMZ.