Report from the Fort: Best Newcomer

As Rae mentioned in her Best Newcomer award, we’re eschewing the lure of the country show with its home-made preserves and tombola stalls. Rather, we’ve kicked off our shoes, slipped into our favourite pyjamas and took up residence in the pillow fort section of the Wrestlegasm Bunker to discuss this years winners. I’ll miss the excellent scones we got to sample last year, but crumbs and pillow forts don’t really mix anyway…

We struggled trying to find a recipient for Best Newcomer this year, and while I’m quite ashamed to say that Archibald Peck completely slipped my mind until just now, we ended up looking to FCW for our winner and the graphic’s been made up now and everything. Sorry about that Archie.

The trouble is, this year just hasn’t been one for newcomers. For all of Punk’s rhetoric about the winds of change moving through the landscape of the WWE, the “debuts” of 2011 tended to be returns such as Kevin Nash, Booker T, The Rock and HHH. Over in FCW however, along with Wrestlegasm favourite Claudio Castagnoli, the erstwhile Jon Moxley debuted as Dean Ambrose and quickly became a bit of an internet sensation after feuding with Seth “Tyler Black” Rollins, CM Punk and, most notably, William Regal.

After a debut interview in which he epitomised the word “grubby” and put a huge smile on Regal’s face, he went on to have a trilogy of matches with Seth Rollins, culminating in a great 30 minute effort showcasing two of the indie talents that have made it into developmental.

Following on from his Rollins feud, and a chance to challenge CM Punk at another FCW show, Ambrose moved onto Regal and the two of them brought the best out of each other, both in promos and in the following match in which Regal finally gets to be himself in the ring again.

In a promotion where the majority of the talent are still trying to find a personality beyond “tanned muscley bloke” Ambrose stands out as the greasy-haired kid from the dodgy estate that you always felt would get you in serious trouble one day. He’s got a great future ahead of him, and we’re very happy to present him this award – probably his first of many.

Honourable Mention: goes to Mason Ryan. Can you guess who might have decided on this one? Much like the interstellar radiation still detectable from the big bang, I’m sure that in the furthest recesses of the Bunker you can still hear the faint echoes of the immense squeal let out by Boss Lady Rae when she saw this photo on a Tuesday morning last January.

While it would be extremely generous to say that Ryan has set the WWE alight with his in ring prowess and fly-away hair, never underestimate the power of local bias. My love for Regal is no secret, and the same goes for Rae and her homeboy from the ‘Diff. As for me, I’m always happy to see more UK wrestlers getting a break in the US, and I’m still hopeful for Barri (as we in the know call him) to improve and become better in the ring as time goes by.

PS I’m well aware that, much like last year, neither of these guys are actually “newcomers” having had careers over the last few years, but for the sake of the awards, we’re taking major company debuts as counting

Celebrating the nuptials of HRH Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton

Yes, it may have escaped your attention during the incessant media coverage of Extreme Rules this week, but there was also a Royal Wedding planned for this weekend. By the you read this the rather low key affair will be all over, and we can get back to being swamped by coverage of yet another gimmick PPV from the WWE. And, sticking with tradition, we’d like to share our thoughts, predictions and well wishes for all involved.

Sidekick Andrew: It almost seems sacrilege to discuss this match on such a heartwarmingly romantic weekend, celebrating as it does the break up of one of our favourite WWE couples. No, not that kind of couple, although I’m sure if you search hard enough in the darker recesses of the internet you can find crudely photoshopped images and tawdry scribblings discussing just that.

We’ve long been fans of LayCool here at The Bunker. Despite a rather shaky start during the infamous Piggy James angle, we soon came to appreciate the comedy genius of Layla in particular. Through their genius internet-baiting role as NXT Pros to their run as “BFF Champs” they’ve been consistently entertaining characters. They may have even influenced our choice of XBox LIVE mottos, depending on how sad that revelation makes us sound.

Anyway, before I embarrass us anymore I should reveal that I want Layla to win this “Loser Leaves Smackdown” match. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t like Michelle McCool anywhere near as much as I like Layla. However, if I was going to be all “internet wrestling community” about it, I would say that McCool seems the type to buy into the whole A-Show/B-Show nonsense and would want to be on Raw facing the likes of Kong and Phoenix. And let’s face it, she has the influence to get what she wants…

Saturday Morning Edit: What? Loser leaves WWE? Really? Oh well, despite the fact that the overdubbing only managed to remind me of the infamous “I have to go now. My planet needs me.” line from The Itchy and Scratchy and Poochie show, I suppose this lends a degree of gravitas to the match. I think the (Scott Stanford approved) Boss Lady is right on this one, and someone will interfere. Having said that, as it’s a No DQ, No Count Out match, I’m sticking with Layla to win, but due to interference
McCool will have an argument to stay with the WWE.

Boss Lady Ray: When this was a ‘Loser Leaves Smackdown’ match, I was pretty sure Layla was staying on Smackdown, with Michelle trotting off to Raw. However, after watching Smackdown and hearing the hilarious and atrocious dubbing of Michelle McCool replacing “Smackdown” with “WWE”, I’m inclined to think neither of them will win. If ever there was a clear sign from them on high that Kong/Kharma is about to debut in the WWE, this is it. My guess is that Kharma will interfere with the match and they’ll both be disqualified, leaving the two of them gainfully employed. Who knows? Maybe it’ll bring them back together. Here’s hoping. I supposed it’s No DQ though, they’d both have to be unfit to continue. A small price to pay to keep your job.

Flawless?

Sidekick Andrew: “Country Whipping Tag Match?” Yeah, I’ve no idea either. I’ve just checked the match description on wwe.com and they offer no help whatsoever. Admittedly I’ve been rather lax with my WWE watching over the last couple of weeks, so there’s always a chance that they may have explained this in meticulous detail on TV. I can only assume it’s something to do with butter maybe? Although the idea of these four wrestling in butter brings forth an uncomfortable mix of Deliverance and Last Tango in Paris – a mental image I could have happily gone to my grave without ever experiencing…

I think everyone can agree that unlike the previous match, we’ll all be happy to see the partnership of Cole and Swagger fall apart on Sunday. Swagger deserves better, and let’s be honest – Cole outstayed his welcome after the first appearance of his gong on NXT. Having said that, I think Cole and Swagger will win, with Swagger getting the pin (or more likely submission.) This will cause Cole to get all stroppy as he wanted the glory. As I explained to Boss Lady Ray across the boardroom table during our discussions, this can only lead to “PUSH – PUSH – PUNCH – PUNCH – GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB” and the end of the Cole-Swagger partnership at last.

Boss Lady Ray: I just want it to be over. This storyline should be have been drawn to a close at Wrestlemania. Michael Cole’s ego has been on the puff-up since Daniel Bryan gave him a smack way back on series one of NXT. This really has to be the moment where Cole eats his humble pie, shuts up and lets the people in the ring be the stars. King and JR to win with Swagger sticking the GUTWRENCH POWERBOMB! on Cole after it’s all done. As for the whipping thing, I have no idea, but if it does involve butter I’ll be skipping the toast and having cereal for my breakfast the next morning. Bleurgh.  

Sidekick Andrew: This Falls Count Anywhere match could be great. Cody’s a great wrestler and Rey always pulls out the stops at PPVs. The fact that it’s Falls Count Anywhere gives Mysterio chance to jump off something tall to get a victory, and much as I would like Cody to win I think Rey will get the pin.

Actually, you know what? Despite the fact I am pretty much looking forward to this match, I can’t actually come up with much to say about it. We’ve seen these two go at it a few times now, and there’s only so much to talk about. Instead, here’s a completely irrelevant video of another short flippy masked guy we really like here in The Bunker:

Boss Lady Ray: Being that Rey Mysterio is moving to Raw and possibly winding down for a break, I’m going to go with Rey. With Cody staying on Smackdown the feud needs to end and it’ll be a nice farewell to SD if Mysterio wins. Cody Rhodes was the surprising winner in the Legacy split and with himself, Ted DiBiase and Randy Orton all now on Friday nights, there’s potential for something interesting between Ted and Cody in particular. It’ll be a Rey Mysterio spot-fest, but hey, let him enjoy it.

Sidekick Andrew: Hmm… Wrestlegasm favourite Punk vs the Most Boring Wrestler in Christendom, Randy Orton. I don’t think anyone has dropped in estimation as much as Orton, not since Powell Motors revealed “The Homer”

Now that my obligatory Simpsons reference is out of the way, I’ve a feeling that Punk will take this one. After all the rumours swirling around this week about Punk wanting a break and not signing a new contract yet, this could go either way. There’s a possibilty the WWE could decide to punish him and give him a loss so that he doesn’t feel like he’s indispensable. But I think they’re more likely to give him the victory as an incentive to keep him. A Last Man Standing loss is particularly embarrassing for a wrestler: being unable to answer a ten count is almost up there with an I Quit loss and I just can’t picture Punk being down for that long. Orton, on the other hand, is a big fan of the rest hold and slow action – so there’s always a chance he’ll just not realise the time has passed letting Punk get the win.

Saturday Morning Edit: OK, I’ll admit Orton looks good with his new beard, and I enjoyed his little smiley promo at the start of Smackdown last night. Is it just me, or does he have a look of Beckham with that stubble? Anyway, doesn’t effect my prediction, just thought I’d mention it.

Boss Lady Ray: My inherent wish to see CM Punk win is never far away when making predictions. There’s a good reason why I’m losing 2-5 in our little competition. But even though it goes against every fibre in my body, I think they’ll give this one to Orton. They’re on different brands now, so it has to come to a close, and I never really dug it as a feud anyway. It’s hard to know what plans they have for Punk. It’s even harder to know whether the rumours that he’s not planning on renewing his contract are true or not. But I think Punk’s work for the next few months lies with Mason Ryan.

Those big hints of tension between them lead me to think Mason may be about to cost his boss the match on Sunday, leading to a run that finally puts Mason over. They made him FCW Champion amazingly quickly, to the point where he even mentioned that he wasn’t sure he deserved it so soon. Modesty is a Welsh trait. They also excused him the embarrasment of appearing on NXT like the rest of the FCW roster. They’ve got plans for Mason Ryan and this might just be the push they’re waiting on. If that’s the case and Punk’s about to bring him up, I may need to watch those matches alone in a darkened room.

Ray: Asian Edition


Sidekick Andrew: I have no idea why Morrison is suddenly in the main event scene. I like the guy as a wrestler, but he still can’t talk and I can’t quite picture him as champion. Of course it could be worse, R-Truth could still be involved in the match.

Thanks for that John, I almost feel bad for saying you shouldn’t win now. Almost. I suspect that the reverse of this will happen before the match itself, and Truth will take down Morrison backstage or on the entrance ramp. Morrison and Truth can then carry on feuding all they want, without muddying the title race on Raw. That leaves Cena and Miz to have a Cage Match by themselves: a match which should be good fun. I think Miz will win this one, despite not having Alex Riley at his side anymore after the draft.

I think Miz has earned a legit title defence without any outside interference to make him look like the champion, rather than someone who needs help to win everytime. Cena can afford to lose now and then without losing any credibilty or fans, and he genuinely comes across as someone who is happy to put over new talent, so that’s what I hope happens.

Boss Lady Ray: Andrew’s prediction is very logical. This is why he’s winning our little predictions competition 2-5. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Morrison will win. I KNOW! It’s ridiculous! He can’t string more than two sentences together without fumbling the order of the words and it definitely looks like they’ve put him there so he can start something more long running with Truth. But I’ve decided that’s a bluff. Yes, Miz absolutely deserves a clean win over Cena, but since when is wrestling logical and generous? I’m not saying Morrison will have it for long but….actually, this prediction is completely ludicrous. I’ll stick with it to see if I’m cuckoo or a genius.

Sidekick Andrew: Here’s a strange one. Whoever wins, this definitely has the chance to be the match of the night – these two in a Ladder Match should steal the show. Also, both men deserve a win – Christian is long due another title run, and Del Rio won the Royal Rumble only to lose in the opening match at Wrestlemania.

Of course, Del Rio has been drafted to Raw now, so the chances of him winning are pretty slim, but that needn’t effect the quality of the match at all. Knowing the winner (or assuming you know the winner) doesn’t always lessen your enjoyment of the actual match. So, although I think it’s reasonably foregone conclusion that Christian will get the belt, I’m still really looking forward to this match and I think it’ll be something pretty special.

Boss Lady Ray: I agree with everything my esteemed colleague said. Christian will most likely win, but I’m more excited about watching what promises to be an outstanding wrestling match.

So there you have it. Feel free to add your own predictions in the comments box if you so desire. Real predictions only. If you’ve read spoilers and want to look big and clever by getting everything right, you’re only cheating yourself. Oh and if you’re wishing you could eat your tea off those gorgeous plates…… so are we!

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As per the new Wrestlegasm tradition, whichever of us loses the PPV prediction competitions has to write up the results. So guess who lost again? The Boss! I’m very grumpy and have spent the week skulking around the Wrestle Bunker with a permanent frown on my face while the Sidekick does his smuggiest  smug-face every time I walk past his desk. It also took me a good three days to get over the live PPV-watching jetlag, which didn’t help with the tetchiness. For the rest of this post, assume I have reverted to being the sullen teenager I was in the 90s, sucking on my baggy sleeves and rolling my eyes when it’s suggested that listening to a personal CD player in a restaurant is rude. This may or may not have actually happened. Aren’t teenagers absolute twats?

Dolph and Edge were up first and this was by far the best individual match of the night. To be honest, it was probably always going to be, but not only was the in-ring action brilliant, the interplay between Vickie on the sidelines and the boys on the other side of the ropes was magic. When Vickie tried to interfere with the match Kelly-Kelly, of all people, ran out to make sure that didn’t happen. It seemed random at the time, but it lead to a fantastic main event on Smackdown. I should learn to trust wrestling more. (N.B. Never trust wrestling. It will break your heart.)

Long story short, everyone was having a punch-induced nap apart from Edge & Dolph. With nobody to tell him off, Edge decided to initiate the Spear. Thrilling, of course. But more thrilling was the fact that we could now spear onion rings with crunchy sticks, as discussed in the predictions post.

Everyone woke from their slumber and Edge took the match with the Killswitch. All was buoyant in the Bunker.

Ah the Royal Rumble. The only show that can be opened with two title matches. Which leads me neatly towards Randy Orton vs Mizzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz-zzz-zzz-zzzz-zzz. Everything we said about this match turned out to be true. Miz was great, as always, but Orton was dull and managed to knocked the air out of every Miz move. We used this time to chat about nonsense, spear more onion rings and debate whether we should turn the fire on or not.

Not gonna lie, towards the end there I genuinely thought Orton was going to take it. But I was even more thrilled than usual to see the New Nexus bods trot out to distract Randy. He didn’t know where to look. What he should have done is kept an eye out for CM Punk, who was waiting to knee him in the chops with a GTS. From there is was a simple case of dragging Miz’s broken carcass on top of Randy and letting the ref do his job. The happiness continued in the Bunker.

To unleash a Kong or not to unleash a Kong? That is the question. The Divas handicap match was about to get going when the lights flickered and the anonymous GM did his/her bleeping email sound thing. YESSSSSSS! This is it! This isn’t going to be a handicap match. It’s a Fatal 4-Way. YESSSSSSSS! She’s here! I’ve wanted to see this for so long. Heeeeeere’s Ko….EVE? The entire world groaned all at once. It was like being told you were having an amazing dessert after your dinner and it turns out to be a rice-cake. It’s a shame, because I really like Eve , but if ever someone was used as a pawn for Vince McMahon to flip his middle finger to the internet, Eve was she.

With Eve in the mix, Bunker disappointment turned to quickly deciding how we were going to work the predictions. We settled on me sticking with LayCool and Andrew taking Natalya and Eve. The match itself was great and those little hints that cracks may form within LayCool at any time are always a tantalising reminder of what will be a brilliant story when Layla and Michelle finally go their separate ways.

So, who won this pre-Rumble tussle? Eve. Yes, EVE! After the collective global groan came the collective global ‘WTF-Just-Happened-Face’. I’m not sure Eve was ready for the heat she was thrown from the crowd, just for not being Kong. Still, this turned out to be a very important result in our predictions competition. Just a second, I need to put my teenage angst face back on.

Rumble tiiiiiiiime! Woo! Time to head to the kitchen and break out the WWE themed ice cream bars I made for the Sidekick and myself.

Ah-ha. When I tweeted about them on Sunday you thought I was joking, didn’t you? Wrong. They were delicious. If you’ve ever wondered what Mason Ryan and Beth Phoenix taste like (and we definitely have) they taste like……printer ink.

Where to start with the Rumble? CM Punk came in at no.1 and Andrew was already expecting to lose. Then when Daniel Bryan came in at no. 2, we both figured we were screwed. And to make me even more miserable, when the New Nexus and The Corre stormed the start of the match, I was waiting for them all to be disqualified, culling the quota of entrants and depriving me of Mason Ryan screen-time. Luckily, they were all sent backstage and the match began. PHEW!

Daniel Bryan was eliminated after about 20 minutes by Punk while I was out of the room feeding the cat. At least I didn’t have to watch Andrew begin his gloating fiesta. Much the same as last year, where Punk held a sermon in the middle of the ring and attempted to save every entrants from themselves, he managed to sweep the decks with his Nexus ship-mates at his side. Waiting for Mason to appear was absolute agony. And then….

Of course, their work was all for nothing. Super-Cena showed up and got rid of every single one. And not just the sidekicks, but Punk too. Then there was a whole thing where Hornswoggle came out and they practically tag-teamed everyone out of the ring. This didn’t do much to keep us awake at 3:00am. Wait, I’m forgetting something…….

I’d tell you how exciting this was, but knowing what happened on Smackdown this week, I’m on a Booker T embargo. I’ll discuss this more in our new feature, to be posted later tonight.

We were at the business end of the Rumble. It all becomes a little hazy from this point. There were so many possible winners and still no Trips or Kong. My fixation with the HHH comeback clouded my thoughts and, you know, it was creeping towards 4:00am. There’s only so much you can take in at this ungodly hour. It was safe to say that, once Sheamus was eliminated, Triple H was not coming back. It then became about Wade Barrett and Del Rio for us. Either one would have had us leaping in the air in our new pyjamas.

So this is it. It’s Del Rio. YAY! Amazing! He so des…..oh no. This can’t be. Santino? SANTINO is going to win the Rumble? FUUUUUUCK!

I suggest you take a moment to scan to faces of people in the crowd. This is wrestling.

Ah. It was just a joke. Oh WWE, you silly little sausage. You had us going there.

Jumping in the air in our new pyjamas commenced right about nnnnnnnow:

This is not an accurate depiction of myself and Andrew. We look much older.

After the ticker-tape had fallen we went to our respective wings of the Bunker and stared at the ceiling for a few hours. Europeans: how on earth does anyone sleep after a live PPV? If you figure it out, let me know. In 12 years I’m yet to solve the mystery. Luckily, I didn’t have to work in the morning. Being a hard taskmaster though, I put the Sidekick to work and saw to it that he didn’t fall asleep by poking his arm with a newly sharpened pencil every time he did the nod at his desk. MWAHAHAHA!

As a whole we thoroughly enjoyed the Royal Rumble. Sure, it has its dull moments, but it was miles away from being a bad PPV. Was 40 too many for one match? Maybe. But then, they needed the New Nexus to be in there and they wanted The Corre involved. That gives you most of the extras. Booker and Nash were nice surprises (assuming you hadn’t had them spoilt for you). The biggest surprise was the lack of HHH and Kong. Maybe the internet (including ourselves) should learn to shut up a little more. The more we want something, the less McMahon is likely to give it to us. We never learn.

The one thing I forgot to mention was John Morrison’s velcro-feet move. He jumped from the ring to the audience barrier, shuffled about, jumped over to the steps and made it back into the ring without his feet touching the ground. It was fab. Such a shame he can’t string a decent promo together. He’s some vocal training away from being a mega-star.

Okay, that’s another Rumble and another results post in me the bag. If you’ll excuse me I need to pull my fringe down in front of my face, turn my mouth downwards and do some more eye-rolling. God, teenage life was hard work.

Head Lock Go! Go! Professional Wrestling: Royal Rumble Predictions

It’s here already! Our favourite WWE PPV of the year is upon us and it’s time for us to blindly fumble our way towards a vague prediction of who might win. We’re both really looking forward to the show this year, especially as the Rumble itself is generally one of our favourite matches. Given that there’s only 4 matches listed for this year we were expecting more to be announced on Smackdown, selfishly hampering our practically paranormal predicting as usual. In retrospect though, last year only had 6 matches (one of which only lasted 20 seconds!) and the Rumble match was (presumably) shorter so 4 matches is probably all we’re getting. Still, with only 4 matches to predict we should be able to get a 100% hit rate right? Maybe…

Sidekick Andrew: First up, the Divas Title handicap match: Natalya vs LayCool. Now there’s a lot of rumours that Awesome Kong might debut during this match. Or rather Amazing/Astounding/Astonishing/Alarming Kong as TNA have kept the rights to Awesome, and the whole Miz thing might get confusing…

Anyway, assuming Discombobulating Kong does debut I would assume she’ll be a heel supporting LayCool so they can lead to a feud against Beth or Natalya (God I wish!) But I don’t think this means LayCool will win, I’m going with Natalya to get the win and retain the belt, although there’s a good chance she’ll get beaten down after the match. I can’t see them taking the belt off her just yet, but then that could be more wishful thinking on my part that the WWE actual care about having a great wrestler holding the title for a while. Much as I like Layla, she’s no Natalya.

Boss Lady Ray: Contrary to popular belief, I don’t think Kong will debut during the Divas match. I think it’ll be during the Rumble. My only hope is that there’s at least one other Divas there for her to begin a feud with. I’d hate for them to make it OK for Kong to fight boys just because she’s bigger than the other girls. But anyway, this is all speculation. The match itself is what we’re predicting here.

Boring as it would be to go back to where we were, at least without some interference, I think LayCool will get the title back. I have this feeling that WWE are bored of Natalya being champ and they’ll take the title back to Smackdown where they can do more with Beth. Of course, this entire prediction could be based on the fact that, ultimately, I just want Beth to have the belt again. This girl-crush thing is getting hardcore. Maybe it was because Beth publicly thanked us for making her Wrestlegasm Female Wrestler of the Year on Twitter. See? Didn’t we say she was lovely?

Sidekick Andrew: Next up, Miz vs Orton. Awesome vs yawnsome. Genius vs tedious. The Money in the Banker against the arrogant wan… well you get the point. Like many people I was a fan of Orton once upon a time, but now? I really struggle to muster any interest in him, either in or out of the ring. His promos are dreary and his in ring action is nowhere near as interesting as it used to be.

So, despite Randall’s shameless baby-kissing and giant puppy action I’m going to go with my fervent hope that Miz wins and keeps the title until Wrestlemania at least. There’s no mileage in another Orton title run, and if the rumours are true that he’s working injured it would make even less sense. Miz, on the other hand, is the WWE’s new media darling: taking on the promotional duties that would normally fall to Cena and doing a great job of them. Miz deserves a Wrestlemania title defence after the work he’s put in, even if it’s only to lose.

Boss Lady Ray: I’m right in saying that Orton is still injured, right? And I’m right in saying that he’s become pretty boring to watch, yeah? And I’m correct in saying that Miz lights the place up the minute his toothy face arrives on screen, yah? Yah? I agree with Andrew, Miz really deserves to take the title to Wrestlemania, so I think he’ll win this one. I just can’t see him losing to Orton at this stage. He has too much to offer the biggest show of the year. Besides, if he loses that totally screws my Rumble pick, so don’t lose or I’ll stop wearing your t-shirt, Miz. (I won’t.)

Even if Randy isn’t that seriously injured, I think he should go away for a while. I feel a little bit like he’s blending into the background and going through the motions. Randy, take some time off, have a break, put your feet up, watch Cash in the Attic, eat brunch, drink some full-fat lattes and come back refreshed and ready to punt someone in the head. It’s like poetry, isn’t it?

Sidekick Andrew: Spear! Spear! Spear! Actually, we’re more likely to hear “Edgecution! Edgecution! Edgecution!” after Vickie banned the Spear on Friday’s Smackdown. Now, this would usually be deemed slightly unfair but let’s be honest, she has done this before when she banned the Undertaker’s Hell’s Gate move while he was feuding with… erm… Edge! As Derren Brown sung: What Goes Around… Comes Around

Now, it’s no secret we’re huge Dolph fans (or Dolphans as he insists on calling them on twitter) and I definitely want him to take the title at some point this year, but I can’t see it happening before Wrestlemania. I think Edge will win this time, but I’d be very surprised if there was no shenanigans. I suspect Edge will use the Spear behind the ref’s back, maybe while Vickie is distracting him – giving them an excuse to have a rematch at Elimination Chamber.

Having said that, I would be over the moon if I was wrong and Dolph won the title. Sometimes being wrong isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Something which Boss Lady Ray and her slightly askew prediction are very glad of. [BOSS LADY RAY'S EDIT: Set some time aside next week, young man. You're writing the results show this month.]

Boss Lady Ray: Did Andrew just reference Justin Timberlake? Wow. This is what happens when you spend your time hauled up in a WWII Bunker with me. Anyway, I’m very annoyed with Vickie Guerrero. By banning the Spear she has effectively ruined our Bunker Rumble party. Our plan was to spear an onion ring with a salt & vinegar crunchy stick and scoff it every time Edge hit the Spear or someone hit a Spear-like move. Now, it’s spoilt and we’ll have to eat them separately.

On a more serious note, there’s way too much mileage in this feud between Dolph and Edge. Ex-husband is feuding with ex-wife’s younger, more ripped boyfriend? Come on, there’s months of material in there. It’s soap opera gold! I know it’s all been done before, but I’ve a feeling this squabble will carry through to Wrestlemania where Vickie will be seduced by Edge again and turn on Dolph.  She falls for him every. single. time. Dolph will retain this time, but his days are numbered.

Sidekick Andrew: Yay! The Rumble! And this year it’s a biggie – 40 men (or rather, 40 wrestlers *wink wink*) Last year’s was great, with Punk preaching, Beth battling and Edge entering from nowhere. I’m hoping for good things this year too. There’s a lot of feuds that will collide in the ring: Corre vs Nexus, Punk vs Cena, Barrett vs Cena, Big Show vs Nexus, Sheamus vs HHH (probably) all of which should lead to an interesting match.

There’s a few people I think could win this year. Other than the usual big names that always have a chance, there are a few newer guys that seem to have a good chance. If I was allowed to pick a few then Del Rio, Barrett or Bryan might get a look in…

I can’t believe I spent so long on a crappy photoshop of a magazine none of you will be old enough to remember. On a Saturday night no less… the things we do here in the Bunker for you lot. [BOSS LADY RAY'S EDIT: I remember it. But then, I'm old too. Ah, the good old days. When magazines were 20p] Anyway, happy as I would be to see any of those guys win, I going to go with Punk to win the Rumble. They need someone who can ostensibly main event Wrestlemania and Punk vs Miz could be a great match. Punk also has Nexus behind him, and Bunker favourite Mason Ryan on his side so he’s my pick. The predictable finish would involve Cena, Barret and Punk as the final three, with Barrett and Punk teaming to take out Cena before Punk eliminates Wade.

Of course, there’s always a chance I’m wrong: the Big Show might win. After all he’s the biggest man in the Rumble, and surely someone that big must have an advantage?

fiiiiiine...

Boss Lady Ray: We spent a long time pondering the winner of the Rumble. Like a whole 20 minutes. I know, right? Ages. It’s the most fun match to predict because there are so many variables. My original prediction during this conversation was for Mason Ryan to be around towards the end. Batista comes out as number 30. They eyeball each other, Barri Mason eliminates Dave and that begins a feud leading up to Wrestlemania. Young Buck vs Ageing Legend. Everyone loves that. They eventually become mates and start a tag team, which leads to Batista’s proper farewell. Whaddaya think? OK, before you send me out the room with my tail between my legs, consider the fact that Dave never really had a proper send off. He announced he was retiring, walked out and was never seen again. He’ll be back to beat up Barri at the Rumble. (Sorry, the alliteration was just too good to ignore there.)

GRATUITOUS MASON RYAN IMAGE

My real prediction is Daniel Bryan. I haven’t seen many people predicting him as a winner, which makes me think I’ve either come up with a genius prediction or I’m on totally the wrong track. Here’s my reasoning….. If Edge and Dolph are going to feud through Wrestlemania, they don’t need the Rumble winner challenging for the Heavyweight title and interfering with their fight on Smackdown. With this in mind the Rumble winner needs to come from Raw. If Miz is going to keep the title and Randy’s going to slip away to fix his injured whatever, Miz needs someone new to scrap with at ‘Mania. Daniel Bryan and Miz have beef going back to season one of NXT. Bryan came back after his “firing” and took Miz’s US title, so it makes sense that he would now want to take his WWE Championship. See? It works. Of course, my Rumble prediction relies on my other predictions being correct too. If Randy Orton get the belt back this whole thing is shot to bits.

Have fun watching the Rumble, kids. This is the first PPV we’ve watched live in the Wrestle Bunker for some time, so we’re very excited. I’m off to make a Mason Ryan ice-cream bar now. I’m not even joking.

Sidekick Andrew: Right, you know what happens now. This is the bit where I ask you to put your predictions in the comments and you either don’t bother or you do and your predictions are much better than ours. Either way, thanks for that. Seriously though, I’d genuinely like to know at least who people think will win the Rumble, so if you’ve a spare few seconds please let us know. You know you want to…

the welsh are coming: an update

In the post I wrote on Sunday I suggested that if BarrrrmmmMason Ryan was allowed to speak Welsh in his promos I might cry. On last night’s Raw he was allowed to use his mother tongue. OK, so it was very brief, but I wasn’t expecting it so early on. Did I cry? Not exactly. But that’s about as happy as wrestling can make me and it started my day off with a massive, happy contraction in my chest. And if you missed it…….

If you’re wondering, he was just saying that CM Punk WON’T be eliminated. So shutup, Husky Harris! (I added the shutup bit for effect. But that’s what his eyes were saying.)

It has come to my attention that world geography is escaping some people across the pond. No, Wales is not in Ireland or Scotland and DEFINITELY not in England. Here is a diagram to help you.

To be a little more specific, Barri Mason is billed as being from Cardiff, as am I. Or as CM Punk pronounces it “Carr-duff, Wayls.” Not technically true though. It wasn’t even true when they billed him as from Rhyl for a brief time when he joined FCW. He’s actually from a tiny little town in the North West corner of Wales called Tramadog. It’s so Welsh nobody speaks English unless they really have to. So now you know.

Mae’r arholiad yn cychwyn mewn un munud.

the welsh are coming! – mason ryan arrives

I said it would happen. Didn’t I say it would happen?  Almost a year to the day I wrote this post about Barri Griffiths, he appears on Raw. And if you’re not sure who that is, he’s now going by the name ‘Mason Ryan’. Still none the wiser? Fine. It’s this guy.

He made it. My Welsh-speaking Welshman from Wales made it to the big-time and I’m so unbelievably proud that I felt a little bit sick with excitement when I heard the news on Tuesday morning. I logged into my Twitter account and saw this:

I ran across the Wrestle-Bunker hallway and ordered Sidekick Andrew to tell what had happened. He showed me this:

I cried. No, not really. But I was absolutely thrilled. After a year of trawling the internet looking for FCW downloads so I could watch him wrestle in his new guise, he’s moved up to Raw. After a year of tweeting Steve Keirns to get FCW on YouTube, I can leave the poor guy alone. After a year of crossing my fingers, toes and other unmentionables hoping Barri would be in the next series of NXT only to be disappointed every time, he’s done it!

Sidekick Andrew continuously said “Don’t worry, I’ve a feeling he doesn’t need NXT. They’ll move him straight up. They made him FCW champion really early and he’s been on overseas tours already.” I wanted to believe it, but I worried that he’d be future endeavoured before he’d even had chance to grace my television screen. Actually, do cut FCW guys even get future endeavoured? That doesn’t matter any more. If you’ve been living under a rock this week, here’s how it went down……

CM Punk, now the leader of New Nexus, had a match against John Cena. John was back for the first time since Christmas and the crowd bellowed and hollered liked children just given a bag of Haribos after a fortnight without a sugar-hit. Nexus were banned from ringside for the match and Punk’s posse were worried. He, on the other hand, was not.  Let’s be honest, CM Punk can take Cena any day of the week.  Flexibility and speed beat slow and chunky every time.

Proof!

This goes on for a while and despite a brief comeback from Cena, he never really made a dent. Had I not known how this ended I would assumed that after Punk dominating the match, Super-Cena would dust off his hands and take the win. No. Both boys were splayed on the canvas  when a large gentleman in a vest, jeans and fetching tan slip-ons jumped up on the apron to point and shout at Cena.  Some random member of staff made a futile attempt at dragging him down by the leg, but this was never going to work. Barri was on a mission.

With Cena duly distracted, Punk was able to crawl up to his feet and kick him in the head. Nice. Delirious that his plan had come together, Punk held his arms out and invited  a celebratory kick to the gut. Barri obliged.

Barri was now FURIOUS and channelled his rage into slamming Cena into the mat. This is what all Welsh people look like when you spill their pint. Take note if you’re planning a weekend away.

The rest of the Nexus fellas ran in, unsure of who this person was and if his strange, foreign ways should be trusted. But Punk liked him. He liked him a lot. In fact, they way they eyed each other up I wondered if a man-snog might be in the offing.

Then Barri dropped to his knees, lowered his head and…..(behave yourselves)…..raised his arm so Punk could induct him into the New Nexus with an elastic armband.

Then it ended with Barri’s face as the final shot. That’s huge! That’s like getting the drums at the end of Eastenders.

Mae hen wlad fy Nghadau yn annwyl i miiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

So anyway, he may be some random stranger who genuflected in front of CM Punk at the end of Raw to you, but this was seriously significant news in my homeland. Well, kind of. They did a piece about him on BBC Wales Today, Wales’ nightly news programme. I didn’t think much of the report. It all seemed rather generic and strung-together at the last minute. I would suggest that the BBC hire me to run a weekly segment called Barri Watch. It could be sandwiched between the sport and the weather report. Lucy Owen could hand over to me:

This is Lucy Owen.

Then I could hand over to local legend Derek ‘the weather’ Brockway.

This is Derek 'the weather' Brockway

The report they put together was quite humorous actually. The sports dude referenced Hulk Hogan, The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin as he lead into the report:

Then during the report they spoke with Barri’s super-proud mam and dad:

Ah yes. Now I see where he got that tropical tan and raven hair from.

Who were apparently watching:

Yep! Wrestlemania! Not Raw. Which their son was on. Silly BBC Wales Today.

But my favourite bit was after the report where the sports dude and Derek discussed their favourite wrestlers. Sports dude liked Big Daddy, Derek Weather liked Giant Haystacks. What they were trying to say was……

Oh how we all laughed.

I’m poking fun, but I actually love Wales Today and they were thoroughly proud of our Barri. Not nearly as proud as I am, but still, they glowed.

So what happens next? Tricky. My expectations have already gone through the roof. In my mind, and maybe his parents’ too judging by that news report, he’s already headlined Wrestlemania and won every belt possible. I’m guessing he’ll hang around in the Nexus for a while and, realistically, as long as he appears in the Rumble that’ll already make my wrestling year. Oh and he hasn’t spoken yet. Assuming they’ll let him at least take part in a few promos, there’s a good chance I’ll cry when I hear his accent. If they let him speak in Welsh, I’ll definitely sob.

Three final points:

  • Yes, he looks a lot like Batista. You’ll need to get over that.
  • In case I haven’t already laboured the point enough, he’s not American or Canadian. He’s not even English. You may refer to him as Welsh or British. Anything else is inaccurate.
  • I will try really hard to retrain my brain to knowing Barri Griffiths as Mason Ryan. I can’t promise I’ll succeed.

This post is dedicated to Sarah.

royal rumble voicemail – LISTEN LISTEN LISTEN

The one where I plug my collaborative live Royal Rumble blog with LOL, Wresslin’, announce that Crotch Watch is taking a very long hiatus, mention the forthcoming one-year anniversary of Wrestlegasm and say “cool” and “ummm” way too much. Someone buy me a thesaurus for my birthday.

i present to you…..the REAL celtic warrior

As a wrestling fan, I feel under-represented by the WWE roster. Hold your horses. Don’t back slowly away from the page. I’m not about to go on another immense ‘women in the workplace’ rant. This feeling of being left out relates to my nationality. I know what you’re thinking… “What’s her beef? There are plenty of British born wrestlers in the WWE!” True, there’s Drew McIntyre, Finlay, Layla, William Regal, The Burchills, Alesha Fox etc. And to satisfy my Celtic blood further, I also have Sheamus. WWE champion, no less.

But what about my Welshness? It’s as important as my Britishness but Wales is always the poor relation to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland. While in America, it’s all I can do to maintain my polite exterior as I’m asked “Which part of England is Wales in?” AAAAARGH!  I’ve also been asked on several occasions if I’m Australian, which is weird.  No, I’m not an Aussie, but I want to go Sydney sooooo baaaad! I digress. You could say that a small province stuck to the side of England and with a population of three million people has no right to representation on a global wrestling product. That would be a fair deduction, I suppose. Thankfully for me and the other 2,999,999  people in this strange little place, Vince McMahon thinks otherwise. This, my friends, is Barri Griffiths:

And that's Barri with an i not a y.

Fabulous, isn’t he? And yes, you’re right, he does look like a younger, more handsome Dave Batista. He’s Welsh. VERY Welsh. He speaks the Welsh language AS HIS FIRST LANGUAGE. That’s huge. I speak fluent Welsh and spent every day from the age of 4-18 in Welsh medium education. But being dirty, filthy, Cardiff kids, everyone at my school spoke English at every opportunity; much to the despair of all our teachers.

So why am I telling you about this guy? Because he’s been signed to a developmental contract with the WWE and he’s making his way over to Florida this month to begin his amazing new life as an employee of the McMahons. I’m sure he’s very excited, but surely not as giddy as I am. Ok, maybe he’s a bit more excited than I am. Just a dash.

I’ve never paid a huge amount of attention to FCW, but from this month onwards that all changes. Barri’s not on the roster page of the website yet, but he needs to settle into the Florida way of life and get some training under his belt before stepping in front of an audience. Not that Bazza’s any stranger to an audience. He was ‘Goliath’ on the 2009 UK Gladiators……..

Tres Gerard Butler in 300, non?

…… and he’s wrestled locally. Although, he’s been going by the name ‘The Celtic Warrior’, so that’ll have to go. Unless he ends up in a feud against Sheamus where they battle it out for who gets to keep that prestigious moniker. Oooh and he could come out in Welsh flag trunks and drop whole sentences of our mother tongue into his promos the way Rey Mysterio drops Spanish into his. Then again, we could have some kind of Celtic Alliance where Drew McIntyre, Sheamus and Barri team up together………I’m getting ahead of myself. Observe his wrestling while I relocate reality:

Admittedly, 99% of people won’t have a clue what he’s saying, but in this next video he’s basically telling the story of how he was signed to his WWE contract and how he’s looking forward to moving to Florida. This video is from Uned5 (pronounced ee-ned-pimp) which is a daily TV show for teenagers on S4C, the only Welsh language TV channel. If you live in the UK, think of it as a less trendy version of T4 but a cooler version of Blue Peter. Got it? Sidenote: I was actually in the same year in high school as one of the girls who hosts this televisual gem, though as she was in the ‘cool-rugby-players-and-their-girlfriends’ group, and I just wanted to be, I doubt she’d remember me. Enough of my pitiful high school years, let’s get back to Barri. Watch and be transfixed:

And if you want another one, click here. Again, it’s in Welsh but it’s my favourite of the lot. Unfortunately it can’t be embedded, but in this one he takes part in a quiz about himself, two teenage girls struggle to stay composed in his presence and he reveals that he’s actually got red hair and eyebrows which he dyes black. Oh and his favourite meal is tuna and broccoli. Riveting stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Just in case Barri happens to be reading this….. Pob lwc i ti yn yr UDA. Da ni’n edrych ymlaen i dy weld ar y teledu. Ddangosa i’r byd beth mae’r Gymraeg wedi eu wneud o. Cariad mawr o Gaerdydd!

There will be more on this young man. Oh yes, there will be more. Stay tuned.