Quick Hits 1/31/11: 2011 Royal Rumble

I had begun writing a Royal Rumble article to be posted yesterday but unfortunately became ill before I could. I will post it in it’s entirety below but wanted to give a few thoughts on the event as well.

– I assumed that we would get a few unadvertised matches since there was only 3 besides the Rumble listed. I was wrong and feel a little letdown by it.

– Both World title matches were strong but Ziggler/Edge was clearly the stronger of the two. I just hope the powers that be felt the same, for Ziggler’s sake.

– Does Edge’s use of the Unprettier foreshadow the long awaited feud between he and Christian? Fans may hope but I would nit be surprised learn Edge “went into business for himself” to start talk just like this.

– Punk/Orton at ‘Mania is the strongest matchup “The Viper” could hope for right now but was Punk’s Rumble elimination really the end of his storyline with Cena?

– Was Punk’s early elimination a consequence for his recent fan run in?

– John Morrison’s “Spidey-moment” was the coolest thing I’ve seen in awhile.

– The nostalgia appearances of Booker T and Kevin Nash went over as well as planned and maybe even moreso with Nash as Diesel. I know I’d be intrigued to see these two greats mix it up with the current crop of cookie cutter stars.

– No Triple H. I’m surprised but not disappointed. Del Rio, Barrett and even Daniel Bryan and Sheamus to an extent all benefited from not having too many top guys stealing the show.

– Del Rio makes sense and is obviously the new golden boy. Barrett will recover with a strong program with whomever (Undertaker) but I think Del Rio might have headed the McIntyre route if he didn’t win the Rumble.

– The Santino moment was fun but I won’t lie and say I wasn’t nervous. McMahon is insane and the WWE is at a desperate time in their history. But hey, at least it wouldn’t have been Hornswoggle.

Below you will see the Rumble article I planned on posting yesterday morning:

I was planning on writing my typical “Predictions” piece for tonight’s WWE Royal Rumble PPV and as I thought about it I realized what’s the point? The only match that truly matters at the event is the main event, the Royal Rumble match itself.

The Rumble is by far my favorite match of the year. It’s something I constantly look forward to and am absolutely intrigued on how it’s going to play out. Except for this year. The hype for the Royal Rumble has been lackluster to say the least with pathetic being a more fitting term. I am hoping that the company will objectively realize this and therefore put on a stellar performance that we as fans look forward to every year. And no, making it watered down with 40 participants instead of 30 does not count.

As far as winners of the Rumble go, I feel that it is far more open than many critics think. Of course there are the obvious picks of John Cena, CM Punk, Wade Barrett or the returning Triple H. But then there’s the cocky newcomer Alberto Del Rio. The reigning “king” Sheamus. And has anyone else noticed how strong John Morrison has been made to look recently? Obviously these are dark horse candidates but I really don’t feel you can count anyone out. With WWE’s business being absolutely dismal, will they take a drastic chance on someone new to spark interest? If it doesn’t get people talking, they always have the Elimination Chamber as an escape route to set up a more “traditional” main event for Wrestlemania. I’m not saying to count on a mid carder to have the spotlight tonight but I’m not sold on an established main event walking away with a ticket the Wrestlemania.


Top 5 Wrestlemania Matches That Outshined The Main Event

I was watching the Chris Jericho DVD the other day (I highly recommend it) and he brought up his main event match against Triple H at WrestleMania 18 in the SkyDome. While he was proud of the match, he justly felt that his match should not have followed what many feel was the true main event of the show, the returning Hulk Hogan versus the Rock. As I thought about it, there’s be numerous times when the main event of ‘Mania surprised people and really didn’t live up the quality of a match lower on the card. Here’s the top 5, in my humble opinion.

Honorable Mention: “Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat – Wrestlemania III

~ I know many will say this should be on the list or ever at #1 but here is my reasoning. Savage/Steamboat was widely considered the greatest Wrestlemania match of all time until HBK/Undertaker but the one problem with putting their match on this list is that the main event at Wrestlemania III was Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant, one of the biggest matches in Wrestlemania history. Now while Savage/Steamboat was a wrestling classic, Hogan/Andre was a “sports-entertainment” classic and was definitely not overshadowed by the Intercontinental Title match.

5 – Razor Ramon vs Shawn Michaels (Intercontinental Title Ladder Match): Wrestlemania X

~Before this match, the idea of a gimmick match on the biggest stage was unheard of. Shawn Michaels might not have created the idea of a ladder match but he can be credited for coming up with the idea for Wrestlemania and it was executed perfectly by Michaels and Ramon. And the lasting impact this match on the wrestling landscape is still being felt today with the Money in the Bank ladder match being highlighted yearly in the WWE.

4- Ric Flair vs Shawn Michaels: Wrestlemania XXIV

~2 matches… two featuring the Heartbreak Kid and you’re not going to find a more emotional match in Wrestlemania history. Ric Flair had been fighting to continue his career for months and handpicked Michaels as his opponent at Wrestlemania figuring if he was going to go out, he was going to go out against the best. The best is just what we got… and it was only the 5th match on the card!

3- Bret Hart vs. Steve Austin (Submission Match): Wrestlemania XIII

~A star making match. A changing of the guard. The birth of the Attitude Era. Whatever you want to call it, Hart/Austin is one of the greatest matches in WWE history both in the ring and it’s effect on the company. The quintessential babyface Bret Hart beat the black boot/black tight bad guy to an absolute pulp and was booed by the fans he needed to be adored by. It was bloody, intense and scientifically sound – more than anything the true main event of Sid versus the Undertaker gave us.

2- Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock: Wrestlemania XVIII

~Everyone felt the electricity of Icon versus Icon before ‘Mania even started. The biggest star of the 80s was finally going to face off against one of the biggest stars of the 90s and fans were just praying for this match to be good. Well the stars were aligned that night over the SkyDome. Rock was at his physical and creative peak and Hogan had just enough left in the tank to show why he was on top of the business for about 15 years. And let’s not count out the fans that night in the SkyDome. With the unbelievable atmosphere they provided to this match, I don’t know if we wouldn’t be looking at this match now as just another sad attempt to pit a fading star against a shining star. They made Rock/Hogan feel special and both men delivered in the ring.

1- Shawn Michaels vs. The Undertaker: Wrestlemania XXV

~The greatest match in Wrestlemania history… period.

Quick Hits: 1/22/11

— Dolph Ziggler had another stellar performance at Raw against Orton. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a star making breakthrough like this without the help of a Money in the Bank briefcase.

— Punk/Cena was a lot more than I expected on free TV. Hopefully the rest of their program is just as entertaining.

— WWE’s Top 50 Superstars of All Time DVD = absolutely ridiculous.

— From all reports coming out of this week’s Smackdown, it appears that The Corre might have a stronger run than the original Nexus.

— Jeff Hardy’s ruling has been delayed once again due to the kinks of his bargain being worked out. TNA has to be counting their blessings now that the “Antichrist” can headline their UK tour.

— I was intrigued by the Angle/Karen/Jarrett soap opera… 2 years ago when it happened. Now it seems like a desperate ploy by a desperate company that can only make everyone involved uncomfortable.

Quick Hits: 1/17/11

— Barrett’s leading a new faction to take over Smackdown. He’ll be missed on Raw but he’ll get a stronger chance to shine on the “B”- show and this group definitely looks impressive with the addition of Jackson. Good move all around.

— Brock Lesnar has signed on as a coach for the new season of The Ultimate Fighter. What’s the over/under he heads home after the third week?

— Shawn Michaels has won the award for PWI 2010 Match Of The Year for his Wrestlemania 26 retirement match against The Undertaker. This marks the 11th time he’s won this award and the 7th year straight since his return to the ring from a career threatening back injury. As remarkable as this accomplishment is, I still can’t get over the fact that he has NEVER won the PWI Wrestler of the Year. Such a shame.

— Of all the recycled WCW ideas TNA repeats, I’d love to see the rebirth of the Nitro girls (as long as they had NO involvement in storylines, which we all know they would).

— TNA is taking iMPACT out on the road in February as a trial run for future tapings. Only good can come from this as now there will be actual wrestling fans in the arena instead of tourists who were too tired to wait for the Harry Potter rides.

— So the rumor is the Royal Rumble is moving to 40 participates this year instead of the traditional 30. Honestly I don’t even think I can name 30 wrestlers on the WWE roster and really have my doubts about uping the Superstars in the match. That being said, the Rumble is by far my favorite yearly match so I have to try to keep my hopes up.

— The trailer for WWE’s next film, The Chaperone has been released featuring Triple H. Think Mr. Nanny meets Nickelodeon. It’s not going to win any awards but at least it’s not The Marine 3.

Quick Hits: 1/14/11

— Along with CM Punk’s messiah complex, the Straight Edge Society has been reborn with the “new” Nexus. Hopefully this group will be able to hang around longer than the typical Sunday prayer service.

— Speaking of Nexus, can we get a name change for Mr. Perfect’s son? No one’s going to buy a t-shirt with “McGillicutty” on it.

— Triple H is ready to return and is quoted in WWE magazine as not needing to be in the title picture anymore. How long will that last before he needs “one last run?”

— The Miz’s title reign has surprised many, including me. Just can’t help questioning putting him against Orton at another PPV. Go full board with the youth movement and give one of the other 20 guys a shot at the PPV that sells itself.

— ROH has parted ways with HDNet. Hopefully they can survive and remain as optimistic as they keep telling the press. Does this mean the TV title is going to be retired or renamed the Global championship?

— “They” are coming again… The Hardy Boyz are reunited again… Hogan is coming to take over again… And Karen has married her 3rd TNA wrestler. I’m so glad I “Crossed The Line.”

— My wife and I have been watching a ton of the documentaries the WWE has released the past few years. Her opinions: Eric Bischoff is an egotistical asshole, doesn’t see the appeal of Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes might be the greatest of all time (except for maybe HBK) and “Wow, championships really don’t mean anything anymore, do they?” And that’s from someone who had never seen a wrestling match in her life until 3 years ago.

TNA Genesis 2010 Predictions

The following predictions are made with no inside information on the match results. I’ve also included my predicted match ratings.

{Matt Morgan vs. Mr. Anderson to become No. 1 contender to the TNA Title}

There’s no World Heavyweight Title match on the card so this one’s headlining. The recent storyline of Anderson’s very real concussion issues has made for some strong weeks of TV but it’s begun to get repetitive so hopefully this is the blow-off and Anderson will be revealed as to have been working Morgan for a while. I see Anderson taking it as he was supposed to face Hardy before the injury. – ** to *** rating

{Kurt Angle vs. Jeff Jarrett in an MMA exhibition}

Angle’s return to the ring and the audience doesn’t find out until 3 days before the PPV… wasted opportunity. Angle schools Jarrett for a few minutes before his MMA crew interferes and Kurt clears house. Look for this feud to continue until late Spring at least. – * 1/2 to ** rating


{Rob Van Dam vs. an opponent of Jeff Hardy’s choosing}

The common assumption is that Jeff’s brother Matt will be making his TNA debut tonight has RVD’s opponent, especially with the older Hardy’s cryptic messages. Actually, what Matt Hardy message isn’t cryptic lately? Either way, I see this opponent being a disappointment unless Jeff Hardy takes the challenge himself. TNA is oversaturated with talent as it is so bringing in someone new will just steal the spotlight from stars like Samoa Joe or the Pope who aren’t even on the card despite large contracts and extended TV time. – * to ** rating


{The Motor City Machine Guns vs. Beer Money for the TNA Tag Titles}

These two teams had some Match of the Year candidates last year in their best of 5 series and it was by far the tag team program of 2010. They have the talent and ability to steal the show and Beer Money steals the titles here because of Bischoff’s bounty on the belts. – *** to *** 1/2 rating


{Madison Rayne vs. Mickie James for the TNA Knockouts Title}

Mickie’s first TNA program with Tara is a lot to live up to and I don’t think Rayne has the inring ability to go like the two WWE Divas. Plus if TNA’s history with former big names is any indication, Mickie will get the win and the Knockout’s championship. – * to ** rating


{Bully Ray vs. Brother Devon}

While Bully Ray’s new character seems fresh, this storyline doesn’t. Why is it an unwritten rule that tag teams that decide to spilt have to feud? I just don’t think their styles will compliment each other when they’re standing on opposites sides of the ring and the PPV will suffer for it. Unfortunately, I don’t see this as being the end of the storyline. – 1/2* to * rating


{Jay Lethal vs. Kazarian for the X-Division Title}

The PPV opener is for the X-Division… wow that sounds familiar. Hogan and Bischoff might be high on Lethal but not high enough to keep the belt on him. Kazarian wins to add more gold to Immortal and Fortune. – ** to **1/2 rating


{Douglas Williams vs. AJ Styles for the TNA TV Title}

Styles is in a must win situation or he’s out of Fortune and Immortal. Normally I would say he takes the title back and everything’s back to normal for heel AJ but with all the berating he’s been taking in the recent weeks, it’s more likely we’ll see him snap and attack Bischoff only to be laid out by Abyss. Now as much as I like AJ and prefer him as a babyface, there’s just too many top faces in TNA and am afraid he’ll be lost in the shuffle once again. Granted at least he won’t be as bad off as Joe. – *** to **** rating

HTR: The Podcast!

Hittin’ The Ropes is looking to get into the weekly podcast field!

The show would start as a 1-hour/weekly review show and will also answer email questions. We’re looking for hosts who follow the WWE, TNA and to a lesser extent ROH products and want to share their opinions in a radio format. Please comment here or send us an email if you are interested.