Cubed Circle Newsletter 204 – Hornswoggle Debacle
In this week’s newsletter we return with coverage of the week that was in pro-wrestling, including Hornswoggle’s tarnishing of the entire roster, Madusa wackiness, a horrid edition of RAW from Monday, and Mid-South from 1982 featuring Olivia Newton John’s ‘Physical’!
– Ryan Clingman, Cubed Circle Newsletter Editor
The Pro-Wres Digest for September 26th – October 3rd 2015
On Monday, WWE announced that the SummerSlam three day weekend would be returning to Brooklyn, NY in 2016 and 2017. The reported gate for this year’s SummerSlam was $1.3 million (13,000 + paid) and with those juicy New York ticket prices, WWE are looking to milk their latest cash-cow for all it is worth over the next couple of years. All three shows will once again be held at the Barclays Centre; it will be interesting to see what kind of state NXT is in by then, as you would have thought all the current stars like Finn Balor, Bayley and Sami Zayn will be called up to the main roster. If NXT can sustain its image as a “hot” product, which will not be an easy feat, they will have no problem selling out the Barclays Centre just like they did this year. However, if the buzz about NXT dies off in the next year and the current crop of main eventers, who are ready to be called up right now, are all gone and they rely on the likes of Baron Corbin, Mojo Rawley, Dana Brooke & Eva Marie to draw 13,000 people, they are in serious trouble.
After nearly three years of everyone in WWE being 100% free of any kind of chemicals whatsoever, that yolked up little freak, Hornswoggle, went ahead and ruined it for everybody by getting suspending for violating the wellness policy. On Monday, WWE announced on their website that Dylan Postl has been suspended for 30 days and I’m sure that will be the end of that. I mean, now that the bad apple, Hornswoggle, is out of the picture, guys like John Cena, Ryback and Neville are free to go about their completely above-board, and not suspicious at all, workout regiments without being tarnished with the same chemically enhanced brush as Hornswoggle. The last person to be suspended for violating the stringent wellness policy was Ricardo Rodriguez, so once again it is these damn non-wrestlers and their fanny packs full of gimmicks ruining it for the honest, hardworking natural physical specimens on the roster.
In a completely unrelated story whatsoever, WWE.com ran a piece on Michael Cole dropping 65lbs. Apparently Cole has been working with a personal trainer for a year and has got himself in pretty good shape for a 46 year-old. If you want to see some gross pictures of Cole flexing and showing off his hot new bod, they are not hard to find. At first I thought it was the work of one of the Photoshop threads on THE BOARD~! However the pictures are legitimate, so good for Cole, I guess. At least now he has one up on his younger clone, Rich Brennan, so when Vince and Kevin Dunn think Cole is too old to be on RAW anymore he can treat them to a most muscular pose in an effort to keep his spot.
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion, King of Pancrase, Pride FC Grand Prix Runner-Up, Tokyo Dome Main Eventer, New Japan on AXS Colour Commentator, and all-round bad-ass guy, Josh Barnett, headlined the UFC’s Fight Night 75 on September 27th from the Saitama Super Arena, the building Pride ran for so many years, in Tokyo Japan. Barnett defeated Roy Nelson via unanimous decision after a five round battle of attrition and afterwards cut a promo in both Japanese and English. He declared, “Japan, I’m home” before popping the crowd by declaring, “pro wrestling is strong, isn’t it?” I’m sure Antonio Inoki loved that.
WWE reacted to the RAW ratings yet again sinking to new lows by sending out a press release on Wednesday announcing Brock Lesnar for next week’s RAW on October 5th in Boston, MA. Coming only two days after his match with Big Show at Madison Square Garden on October 3rd, Lesnar is now scheduled for four appearances in October alone; five if you count the Stone Cold Podcast which Lesnar will be on following the October 19th RAW. You can’t blame the WWE for reacting like this, however you can blame them for writing horrible television, but other than Undertaker and the Rock, both of whom are around even less than Brock, Lesnar is the only real special attraction WWE has at the moment. They are running the risk of burning out the appeal of Lesnar by hot-shotting his dates in order to stop haemorrhaging viewers on Monday nights. Bringing in Brock Lesnar for a couple of shows will probably work on a short term basis, but what about the weeks they can’t use him as a crutch? WWE are left with the same old stale talent – none of whom are over expect John Cena/Randy Orton – never ending feuds between guys nobody cares about, terrible scripting, even worse finishes and 50/50 booking which is guaranteed to help absolutely nobody.
AXS TV will be airing Wrestle Kingdom 9 over a five week period starting on October 9th. That first show will feature reDRagon vs. Young Bucks vs. Time Splitters vs. Forever Hooligans for the IWGP Junior Tag titles and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match between Kenny Omega & Ryusuke Taguchi. October 16th will have Tetsuya Naito vs. AJ Styles and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe for the NEVER title. October 23rd has Tenzan,Kojima & Homna vs. Jeff Jarrett, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi, Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Minoru Suzuki and Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Goto & Shibata for the IWGP Tag titles. October 30th features Yano, Marufuji & TMDK vs. Iizuka, Shelton Benjamin & The Killer Elite Squad and the epic IWGP IC title match between Shinsuke Nakamura & Kota Ibushi. Finally, on November 5th, a special episode will be dedicated to the IWGP Heavyweight title main event of Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada. So if you are fed up with RAW, there is plenty of great wrestling to watch on TV over the next month.
Madusa/Alundra Blayze went on a tirade on Instagram regarding what she perceived to be disrespect, or something, on behalf of Nikki Bella on RAW this week. The WWE Hall of Famer, and current Stardom Commissioner, apparently took offence to Nikki Bella’s reaction when a fan shouted out Madusa’s name. “She [Nikki Bella] heard my name being yelled from the audience on #wwe #mondaynightraw and threw up her hand, as I threw up in my mouth to just ignore the fact the forever existence of #AlundraBlayze IS the REAL REVOLUTIONARY That started this #revolution.” Bad grammar and syntax aside, the whole thing was just really confusing. I don’t even recall this incident occurring at all on RAW, and if it did it can’t have been a big deal, but even if Nikki got on the mic and buried Madusa, someone who has been in the business as long as her should know that Nikki Bella is a heel and getting heat is her job; well, except the weeks she is booked as a babyface. Madusa ranted some more and buried the entire roster pretty much: “Most of you are over rated! Half of you cannot wrestle, some just sound illiterate as soon as you open your pie hole, all so disrespectful .” To be fair, she did put over Paige, Natalya, Charlotte & Becky Lynch, so maybe stating that half of the roster can’t wrestle wasn’t a smart idea. Regardless, this thing is so goofy and clearly a work on Madusa’s part. I mean, come on, does anybody really believe that she would get so offended about something as pathetic as Nikki Bella being a heel? Especially after only recently getting back in the good books with WWE, she is hardly going to start a social media war with John Cena’s girlfriend for no reason. Maybe she is angling for a WrestleMania match.
There is another big weekend of shows coming up this week. WWE live at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, October 3rd should be a really fun show, even if the Big Show is in the main event. It is scheduled to run from 8:00pm – 10:30pm (EST) and final card is as follows. Brock Lesnar vs. Big Show, Seth Rollins vs. John Cena in a Cage match for the US title, New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz for the Tag Team titles, Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho for the IC title, Rusev vs. Ziggler and Sheamus vs. Randy Orton. If you are wondering where guys like Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Bray Wyatt are, well they are headlining a house show in Bangor, Maine on the same night. The two advertised matches for the Bangor house show are Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt & Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper; man, tickets must be selling like hotcakes! Other geeks advertised for the house show are Ryback, King Barrett, Cesaro, R-Truth, Jack Swagger, Lucha Dragons, “the Divas and more!” If I lived in Bangor, ME, I certainly wouldn’t be forking out anything from $20 for a regular ticket, to $599 for a Superstar VIP Package, and would just watch the MSG show on the Network.
There’s TNA Bound for Glory on Sunday, October 4th from Charlotte, NC, but we know you don’t care about that. There are five matches announced: TNA Heavyweight Title match: ECIII vs. Matt Hardy vs. Drew Galloway with Jeff Hardy as special referee. Kurt Angle vs. Eric Young. KOTM Title match: Bobby Roode vs. Bobby Lashley. TNA Tag Title match: The Wolves vs. Trevor Lee & Brian Meyers from GFW. KO Title match: Gail Kim vs. Awesome Kong. Bound for Gold Match: Mr. Anderson vs. Tyrus vs. Robbie E. vs. Jessie Godderz vs. Abyss vs. Chris Melendez vs. others. Imagine PAYING $65 for this thing.
The next NXT Takeover show has crept up on us very quickly, as Takeover: Respect will air live on the WWE Network this coming Wednesday, October 7th. Matches booked: NXT Women’s Title: Bayley vs. Sasha Banks in a 30-minute Iron Woman match. Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Semi-final: Finn Balor & Samoa Joe vs. Scott Dawson & Dash Wilder. Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Semi-final: Jason Jordan & Chad Gable vs. Baron Corbin & Rhyno. Dusty Rhodes Tag Classic Finals: Winners of the semi-finals meet on the same night. Apollo Crews vs. Tyler Breeze. Asuka’s NXT in-ring debut vs. Dana Brooke. Like all Takeover specials, it looks like a fun show and it will certainly be interesting to see how Bayley and Sasha Banks perform in a 30 minute main event. My two main questions are: Can they keep the crowd for the entire half-an-hour and will they be able to remember all their spots they have been practising over and over in the Performance Centre? It’s one thing to perform an 18 minute choreographed match step-for-step, but going 30 minutes is another deal entirely. No doubt the Full Sail crowd will give them every opportunity to succeed and if booked correctly, they could tear the house down once again. I would expect Balor & Joe vs. Jordan & Gable in the Dusty Classic finals, however they do seem high on Baron Corbin so I wouldn’t be shocked if he and Rhyno made it to the finals. Asuka vs. Dana Brooke?!! What the hell are they thinking? Presumably that Asuka can carry Dana to a passible match live on the Network, but this could go horribly wrong if Brooke has a bad night. Why on earth they didn’t book Asuka against Emma is beyond me, but the pressure is certainly on Asuka to deliver, because if goes in there and has a stinker with Dana Brooke, her mystique will dissipate in a hurry.
On a wacky NXT related note, Tommaso Ciampa appeared on both TNA iMPACT and NXT television shows on Wednesday night. Ciampa wrestled, and lost to, Tyler Breeze in the NXT TV main event and over on Destination America, in-between Nashville’s Most Haunted Cheesecake Factories and Centaurs of Wisconsin, Ciampa worked a three-way against Trevor Lee and Zema Ion on iMPACT.