With the first three inductees into this years Hall of Fame class announced as Mark Henry, Goldberg, and the Dudley Boys will be going into the Hall this year. It seems like a great time to try and predict who will be joining them and filling out the class. Typically the WWE has around 5-6 people gain entrance into the Hall of Fame every year with multiple inductees falling under the legacy award. Due to the impossible nature of predicting who could be inducted under the legacy award I will not be touching that allowing the WWE to surprise us this year like always. However, I will fill out the class with three others choices that deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
The first induction for me would be Lisa Moretti better known to wrestling fans as Ivory. Last year I said that a woman of the past should get in like Judy Martin or Leilani Kai, but this year I am switching to someone else. Ivory's career extends all the way back to the 1980's as a member of the company GLOW which recently was brought back on Netflix last year. Though Ivory didn't make it into the mainstream until the latter part of her career she absolutely left an impact in the world of wrestling for years to come and deserves her place in the Hall of Fame. I personally would like some other names to go in first, but I do think this person earned his way in and should go in solo & as a member of a tag team. This man is Davey Boy Smith the "British Bulldog" who enters the status of legend just by how many times he moved from WCW to WWE and vice versa during the 1990's. For me the Bulldog needs to go in before the Hart Foundation due to them not likely wanting to make him a two time inductee and I think his achievements as a singles wrestler would also warrant an induction.
For this last inductee I will pull something out of left field and that is someone who had a big part in southern wrestling. Even though at first I was leaning toward someone from the UWF due to the connection with New Orleans, but instead I am going with someone known very well in Georgia and Florida. I think that following suit from last year with Teddy Long wouldn't be a bad idea as Eric Bischoff is a very deserving choice to be inducted. I don't think that I have to go over Eric's achievements in wrestling, but I do have to mention the fact that his career kicked off as an office worker in the AWA before becoming the interviewer for the company. Eric's career in announcing left much to be desired but his career as an authority figure and a direct rival to Vince McMahon is enough to punch his ticket into the WWE Hall of Fame.
The one time of year that the WWE that really produces can't miss programming on a consistent basis is WrestleMania season. For those who may not be aware the company usually releases the following years Mania location a year ahead which means that fans can know were the show will be even before the current years event. Last year ahead of Orlando we found out that this years event would be back in New Orleans to be a part of the a larger scale event that they are having in the city at the time. However, next years event was a very big surprise for everyone who looks out for this stuff. For those who don't remember it was back at WrestleMania 29 when the WWE returned to the tristate area for WrestleMania which left some of us puzzled knowing that the WWE had been in the Garden for 1,10, & 20, but wouldn't be for 30.
As it turned out they wouldn't be there for 29 either as the home of WrestleMania 29 is the same place that will house WrestleMania 35 and that is Met Life Stadium in New Jersey. This once again is sort of puzzling because of much of a short gap it's been since the last time they were in New York/New Jersey. Though reports have come out that the WWE wanted to go back in the East Coast area for this years event, but go a better offer from the New Orleans representatives to hold Mania this year.
The only thing that I have to question is when they had the event in the stadium that fans were complaining about obstructed views in the arena. If this is the case that the fans were complaining then why picked this stadium to return to and find another arena in the region that they wanted to be in. One thing that I will say is that most fans would also say that WrestleMania 29 wasn't a terrible event and that the bar is set very low. Well you'd be right and that this could be centered around them redoing a past mistake from one of the biggest events of the year.
Over the last few months I have looked at matches that were both likely and unlikely for the big event in April. At this point though I want to take a look at the card as a whole rather than one match at a time like I did the first time around. With that being said at this point we officially know that Shinsuke Nakamura will challenge the WWE Champion for the title at WrestleMania. This is currently the only official match for the card other than the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal & the Final of the Cruiserweight title tournament. Outside of those matches everything else will be predicted & could allow some interesting possible matches at the biggest event of the year.
Cruiserweight title Finals
(c) The Miz vs Finn Balor
(c) Charlotte vs Carmella vs Becky Lynch
(c) Alexa Bliss vs Asuka
(c) The Uso's vs Benjamin & Gable
Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal
(c) The Bar vs Anderson & Gallows
Kevin Owens vs Sami Zayn
Rousey & Strowman vs Triple H & Stephanie McMahon
John Cena vs The Undertaker
(c) Brock Lesnar vs Roman Reigns
(c) Shinsuke Nakamura vs AJ Styles
With all the WrestleMania rumors coming about following the Royal Rumble it leaves us sorting out what might happened and what likely won't happened as we move to the "Show of Shows" on April 8. Now that we know where Shinsuke Nakamura stands as far as his pick for the guaranteed title shot he earned for WrestleMania. This leaves the current Universal Champion Brock Lesnar wide open for a possible match at the big event. Following this past weeks episode of Raw we have found that whoever gets the win at the Elimination Chamber will face the "Beast" at WrestleMania. To be honest one thing that slipped my mind is that Brock is actually approaching the year mark as champion which most fans might point to his part-time schedule, but he has defended the title a fair amount of times this past year.
Now most fans believe that it is pretty academic that Roman Reigns will be challenging Brock for the Universal Title at WrestleMania. However, until we know that for sure though due to some questions about Roman and his status for Mania. With that being said lets focus on a rumor going around from Dave Meltzer that points to the possibility that Brock could stick around in the WWE following WrestleMania. Though some might think its time for Brock to go I would agree to a point, but I think keeping him around for one more year with intention of building new stars with him would be something good.
If you'd to see the rumors surrounding Brock & a former star that could be returning to the company that gave him his start. Said former star has yet to resign with the WWE and due to this it leaves us questioning what could happen following Mania. I will not mention the talent by name, but I do think depending on when his contract expires it could point to the possibility of him debut around WrestleMania. But I guess we shall have to wait and see what happens in the future.
Over the last few weeks I have taken sometime to watch old Royal Rumble's from years past and even though I haven't watched many of the events it still makes me remember why I love the event so much. With the build to the start of the "Road to WrestleMania" coming very quickly this weekend and we can look forward to the height of the WWE year. However, we still have some time to talk about the past and remember exactly why this event is so special.
Take a look below at the full 2008 Royal Rumble match:
I've been thinking about doing a small series combing all the old Royal Rumble's in a different way then I've normally done in past years. So I will be selecting another past Royal Rumble to talk about along with the upcoming event set for next weekend. For those who may not know about this event the WWE at the time was struggling to draw and really wanted to make this event a big deal which is one of the reasons they tried get fresh talent in for the event. One of the names that WWE wanted for the show Sabu, but as the story goes Paul Heyman talked him out of appearing in my opinion to try and avoid seeing Sabu leave the company again. In end top stars from Mexico made appearances at the event like El Canek, Hector Garza, Perry Aguayo, and others.
However, this event is more known for what could've been in the main event as original plans didn't have Sid Vicious facing off with Shawn Michaels for the World Title. The original plan for the event was that Vader would win the World Title at likely Survivor Series which is when Sid won the title and would then loss the belt back to Shawn the same way that Sid in real life. But due to backstage politics and the old Shawn Michaels killing all of Vader's momentum in the company really starting the fall of any chance of Vader having anywhere near the success that he had in WCW or Japan.
Overall the reason for the title is simply due to the idea of wondering how the WWE could've changed had Vader held the title going into the event and fought HBK instead of Sid Vicious. Because remember Sid would be World Champion going into WrestleMania against The Undertaker and it's possible if Vader hadn't been buried that could've been him. Even though Sid's reigns were nothing more than transitional reigns it still would've given fans the ability to look at Vader's run in a more positive light had he had one of these runs with the title.
We are now within two weeks of one of my favorite PPV's of the year and the start of the "Road to WrestleMania." We will start things off with a random edition of the big event from 10 years ago. I actually watched this one earlier today & I was losing track with the amount of times that I said it's hard to believe how many faces in the ring aren't in the company anymore. It is also incredible seeing how quick the Madison Square Garden audience would turn on Cena following his surprise entrance at the end of the match when he came in as entry 30.
The other reason I chose this match is because of the fact that the surprise entries of this match was two legends of not just WWE but legends of the garden. In at number 19 & number 20 were Jimmy Snuka & Roddy Piper respectively & it was crazy cause it was like the action stopped as both men went to the ring. Even though Piper & Snuka both seemed quite out of shape at the time. It was incredibly surreal seeing Piper & Snuka in the ring especially since they are both gone, but I had goosebumps seeing "Hot Rod" come out. I really thought that there is no better way to start hyping things up for the Rumble event.
With the New Year here now it is time to look forward to the major events that we get at the start of every year. Even though in recent weeks a lot of predictions about the event have been taking place I will kick things off at the top of the show with the Royal Rumble match. This means that I will be covering who I think could and should win the Rumble this time around. Now I know about the rumors & the predictions, but I am going to ignore and go with my opinion even if it is clear that it wouldn't happen that way.
I am going to start with the rumors to try and help you all sort out what could happen and what likely won't happen. Recently reports have came out that two possible choices are up for the Rumble win. Rumors have pointed to John Cena & Shinsuke Nakamura possibly winning the Royal Rumble. For those wondering this does absolutely mean that Nakamura vs Styles could be in the cards next year after all.
Earlier this week it was reported that it seems that John Cena is out of the discussion for a Rumble win and signs seem to point to Cena having a big match at Mania. At first the rumor seemed to point to Cena heading to Mania and winning to get his 17 World Title, but now things maybe changing. As far as the match John could have at WrestleMania instead of the WWE title it is unknown at this point and could be answered on the 20th Anniversary of Raw. With that being said it seems as though Nakamura could be the only likely choice to fight for the title come WrestleMania. However, this is the rumors and with that out of the way next time we will look at predictions of what could happen later this month.
Recently reports have been making the rounds that Dean Ambrose has been injured and will be on the shelf for around 9 months. However, most are assuming that the WWE has given a lot longer of timetable to return to make for a bigger surprise when he returns. From what I have read it seems as though most expect that Ambrose will miss around 3-5 months which would likely give him the return time of around WrestleMania. At this point I feel like allowing Ambrose & Rollins to fight one another at Mania would be rushing what should be a drawn out feud.
In my opinion at this point what should happen is Ambrose could return and accidently cost Jordan & Rollins their newly won tag title. One of the main reasons I think that this would be a better idea as it would keep Jordan in a big feud and continue to allow him to work with top stars. Ambrose could even work with Jordan ahead of working with Rollins given the idea that Dean's problem technically isn't with Seth, but more with the one who took his spot.
Now we move onto the other member of The Shield which is Roman Reigns the current Intercontinental Champion. Looking at the current landscape of the championship is occupied by Samoa Joe and not based on anything dirt sheet based it is clear to me that Joe will become champion at some point with Roman moving into a new direction. This likely means that Roman will be open for a rumored match at WrestleMania against a certain World Champion.
Since the summer time we have seen the development of Ambrose & Rollins reuniting as The Shield after three years. Rumors for Wrestlemania point to the possibility of Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins breaking up again ahead of Mania to allow for them to work the big event. However, i do believe that it really would be too soon for a break up between the partners as it wouldn't get as much as they could out of them as a team. Honestly, also the WWE at this point they need teams in the company's tag divisions as oppose to more singles competitors that could flounder within the roster.
In my opinion giving us the match at Wrestlemania would make it extremely clear that the company doesn't hold long term booking in the same regard as they once did. I think that seeing that match at Summerslam would be better or even at Survivor Series as it would help the match have more meaning and background. Also holding the match off until August or November would allow them to have a major match on a PPV not called Wrestlemania.
The one thing I don't understand is that the WWE has really tried to make both Survivor Series and in particular Summerslam feel like major events again in recent years. So with that being said they should try and long term book for at least one of them giving us major matches to make it feel like another Wrestlemania. Fact is I think it would a hugely missed opportunity if Ambrose and Rollins collide at Mania instead of later on in 2018.