Emotions are running rampant post-WrestleMania, fueled largely by two men: Daniel Bryan and The Undertaker. Bryan deserves as much praise as you'd like to dish out to him, but this article will be dedicated to Undertaker and all he's meant and will continue to mean to Professional Wrestling.
“It isn't necessary to imagine the world ending in fire or ice -- there are two other possibilities: one is paperwork, and the other is nostalgia.” - Frank Zappa
For those of you who check in each week to read up on whatever random Professional Wrestling topic I’ve decided to tackle, you’re just gonna have to exhibit a little bit more patience with me. I may well find a way to tie some of this into a bit of wrestling, but I’m really just gonna go free flow this week and see where it takes me. Reason being, I just returned from a two week trip back to my homeland, the beautiful Costa Rica, where I’ve spent various parts of 10 years of my life and rarely had a bad day.
I absolutely loathed “The Living Legend” Larry Zbyszko when I was a kid. He was smug, a braggart, cheated each and every time the opportunity presented itself, and topped it all off by seemingly never running out of obnoxious things to say. In short, what I’m trying to say is, he was one of the the single greatest wrestling Heels in the history of ever, and doesn’t get nearly enough credit for just how good he truly was. I’ve been watching Professional Wrestling for close to 30 years, and during that time, I’ve seen few wrestlers I’ve more wanted to choke than Larry Zbyszko. If only more of today’s wrestlers were willing to go that extra mile at being a Heel, efforting at being legitimately hated, the business as a whole could possibly reclaim a bit of what’s been lost since society decided it was cooler to be a jerk than to be a superhero.
Though the true level at which Impact Wrestling’s finances currently reside is known by few, there is no doubt the company is at least a little strapped for cash. Despite their claims to the contrary, I can think of no other reason for allowing the likes of A.J. Styles and Hulk Hogan to walk out the door, unless the company is playing the odds that WWE might not have much interest in signing many, if any of TNA’s castoffs. This is potentially risky, at least where A.J. Styles is concerned, but recent history has shown it could well be a smart gamble.
I haven’t missed a single episode of Impact Wrestling over the past 5+ years. During that time I’ve seen a lot of different wrestlers, a lot of different storylines, different announcers, different timeslots, and different philosophical approaches regarding the direction best suited to ensure TNA’s continued growth. Throughout that entire stretch, I found I felt most confident in the direction TNA was going when Bobby Roode was wearing the Heavyweight Title. Going back to the early Beer Money days, I believed everything about Roode screamed ‘champion’, and his 256 day run with the Title did nothing but give credence to this belief. So why is it that TNA seems to be trying to give the championship to anyone in the company but him?
I'm fully convinced Vince McMahon just enjoys messing with those of us who take Professional Wrestling a little more seriously than perhaps we ought. I can find no other plausible explanation for the burial of such a talented individual as Dolph Ziggler. With WWE churning out six hours of weekly programming, new and fresh stars would seem to be at the top of their Want List, but for whatever reason, the ball seems be continually dropped when it comes to the proper way to showcase the talents of perhaps the most athletic wrestler the WWE has seen since the heyday of “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels.
This is not the first time Kane has joined up with a WWE 'Corporation', nor is it the first time he’s come out from under the mask to make an impact on Professional Wrestling. It it, however, the first time Kane has put the entire ‘monster’ gimmick away completely, exchanging it for a suit and tie. I have read a multitude of varying opinions on the move, but if you know a little about the man, Glenn Jacobs, I fully believe the overhaul of the Kane character is going make him even more menacing, even more of a monster, albeit in an entirely different way.
Michael Hutter aka Derrick Bateman aka Ethan Carter III is proof positive that a lack of success within the big, bag juggernaut that is the WWE doesn’t necessarily preclude one from ever making large strides within the world of Professional Wrestling. Though still very early into his run with Impact Wrestling as Ethan Carter III, early returns give every indication that TNA may have just found their next superstar.
For those of us who enjoy his work, WWE’s release of Chris Hero aka Kassius Ohno is more than a little surprising. If you’re familiar with his work in Ring of Honor, you’re fully aware of the level of talent we’re talking about when we mention Chris Hero. Certainly, WWE isn’t so loaded with talent that his release had anything to do with his workrate. Perhaps the rumors of his indifference to regular workouts has some merit. Honestly though, at this point who can really ever be sure what exactly is true or not true in the world of Pro Wrestling. At that same time, who can really ever be sure what is on the minds of those in power at WWE? This much is certain: Hero’s release deprives a good many people the opportunity of seeing a charismatic worker with an old school flare that has all but been snuffed out from today’s Pro Wrestling.