Our friend, Daniel Bryan


When the lure of baby-oiled torsos and borderline Shakespearian tragedies first gripped me in the late 90s, we didn’t really know much about the private lives or genuine character traits of the men and women on Monday Night RAW. The internet was in its infancy and tales of real-life relationships, family mishaps or what went on behind a performer’s ring name took some time to surface; particularly in the UK, where gossip and out-of-ring news seemed to arrive via a combination of Transatlantic whispers and carrier pigeon.

The rise of celebrity culture, WWE’s albeit tardy discovery of the internet as a useful marketing tool, and the immense growth and insatiable nature of social media has meant that the people behind our favourite well-known wrestlers have become highly accessible. It’s now not enough for the engagement to end when the credits roll. We need to know who they are when they pull their coat on and drive home at the end of the night, almost as much as we need to love or hate them in the ring. Those we identify with when they’re in their real lives have a direct impact on how we feel about what or who they portray on stepping out from behind the curtain. And that’s pretty new. 

Nobody has been more intriguing in the gradual WWE merging of real-life and character than Daniel Bryan. And the most interesting thing about it is how little there now seems to be between the man and the character, and what that means in relation to how much we both adore him and feel comfortable with how deserving he is of his current extraordinary success. 

Bryan Danielson was one of the first picks when WWE started shifting recruitment attention from second and third generation kids to skimming off the cream of the American indie crop. His earned reputation as one of the best wrestlers in the world, an exemplary work ethic and known salt-of-the earth personality carried with him a loyal and passionate fan base. 


That army of followers was outraged that the big machine had dared to change his name to the simpler and more marketable Daniel Bryan. When Bryan was forced to spend several weeks taking part in silly parlour games in the jolly but rigged gameshow that was the first incarnation of NXT, the cries from those who had long charted his independent career were of exasperation and embarrassment on his behalf. Even the implication that he was a rookie grated. 


Bryan, however, took the entire assimilation period in his stride and with his now trademark good grace. Even those in WWE who wrote him off as an internet darling who didn’t fit the Connecticut mould didn’t seem to dull the smile. He never once looked like a guy who didn’t love getting up for work every morning. Unusually, even when he slipped into the mid-card after the excitement of the NXT invasion died down, Bryan never really fell out of favour. Regardless of what his character was doing, those who knew what he was capable of stuck with him. 

The long and pleasingly written Yes Movement storyline, which had Bryan spend months playing underdog and oppressed worker to the modernised McMahon-Helmsleys and that culminated at Wrestlemania XXX a few weeks ago, sealed the deal. The support for Bryan throughout the Yes Movement was unprecedented. There cannot be anyone who didn’t muse over whether there had ever been a single roster member quite so over with such a wide cross-section of fans. Maybe it was the 3:55am time check, but as Bryan lifted the title belts and got showered with ticker tape, I shed a few proper tears for his achievement. 


The joy was twofold. We celebrated the fact that, against the odds, Daniel Bryan had beaten his horrible bosses and had the world’s eyes on him during the most coveted few moments in any given wrestling year. But we also felt that our old friend Bryan Danielson had won, too. There is great power and satisfaction in watching someone you’ve seen toil their entire career make it to the highest point possible, without ever complaining or making demands that plaudits are automatically owed to them. We were as much in raptures for the man as we were the character. He was a double hero. 

The almost universal support for Bryan Danielson transferred to Daniel Bryan. And to spread the Bryan love to mainstream media, his real-life relationship with Brie Bella has featured regularly in the Total Divas reality series; always showing him to be the grounded, dependable, nature-loving, good guy we strongly expect he might be when the cameras aren’t pointing at him. 

Total Divas is, of course, largely manufactured. Any representations of real people away from their characters are still carefully created in the company’s eye. But there was genuine affection when the week after Wrestlemania Bryan and Brie got married. The photos released by WWE will no doubt be the wedding ceremony shown as part of Total Divas. But just as we expressed our happiness that both Daniel Bryan and Bryan Danielson won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania, there was also affection for the very sincere union of Bryan Danielson and Brianna Garcia-Colace. The nice guy won again. Twice. 


Life can be almost unbearably cruel at times, and following two of the happiest moments of Bryan’s life, we heard this week that his father had suddenly passed away. He could easily have disappeared from screen for a few weeks without any repercussions or complaint from fans. Instead, he and Brie went to work to make the transition of their time off-screen a little easier on the writers. It was an admirable yet unsurprising move given what we know of Bryan’s dedication to his work. But the tears he failed to choke back as he joined his new wife in the ring at the opening of this week’s RAW were very real. Brie too struggled to keep her composure when faced with her tearful husband. It was hard to watch.

This was not like watching a character in pain. It wasn’t even like watching someone we vaguely know grieving. People pass away every day and even when it’s an acquaintance’s grief we tilt our heads, offer our condolences and move on with our day. We have so much affection for Bryan Danielson and we know so much about his true character that it was genuinely heartbreaking to see him hurting so badly. Bizarrely, it was like watching a good friend in the worst pain of his life. And the thing about friendship is that while you celebrate your successes together, you also share each other’s hurt. 

Social media and living your life in public are not without their pitfalls; not just for celebrities and not only in the wrestling game but for pretty much anyone with a job, or friends, or access to a keyboard. Grave errors of judgement and oversharing are made on Twitter and Facebook every day, sometimes with significant consequences. Accessibility and being generous on your way up, however, often reaps rewards. 

Our experience of Daniel Bryan has been significantly improved upon because of Bryan Danielson’s character, dedication and generosity with his time. Just as we felt he deserved to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship because we knew the personal journey that had led him there, our familiarity with him will be rewarded with all the time and space he needs during the saddest of times. Back in January I said, “…those deserving always get rewarded in the end. Daniel Bryan is proof positive that the nice guy doesn’t always finish first, but he definitely finishes best.” With that now fulfilled, Bryan is also the perfect example of why modern wrestling’s shift toward breaking kayfabe may kill some of the mystery, but what it gives us instead is a different and arguably more human experience. 

I wish Bryan and his family the absolute best during their very sad time.  




9 Stages of Giddiness

I had planned on writing a long and worthy review of Wrestlemania, but as this past week has been quite the whirlwind, I decided just to run through all the WWE stuff making me happy at moment. Let’s just have a chat.  

That hug

The chances of John Cena not winning the WWE title at Wrestlemania were slim. Really slim. The promo videos charting his hidden emotional collapse could have been a swerve, but they’re rarely that sneaky when it comes to Cena. His turmoil is over, the Rock’s job is done, time for a new story. Mmmm. New stories.  At stupid o’clock in the morning after having too little sleep and too much junk food I was loopy enough to find even the cat nuzzling my hand an emotional experience. But that little chat and the hug Cena and Rock shared at the end of the show genuinely moved me. Considering all their history, it felt poignant. It’s so easy to be in love with wrestling when the sun is about to come up and you haven’t really slept yet. I know it was a predictable outcome, but everyone secretly loves those practically post-coital, crowd whipping winner speeches John Cena gives the night after regaining a title.


Ziggler! Finally! 

The problem with Raw being live at 2am is that unless you avoid the internet until you have an opportunity to watch it, you’re going to find out what happens. It’s so rarely worth the abstinence that Raw spoilers have just become a British way of life. It only becomes a problem when gargantuan, memorable moments take place. Case and point:  Ziggler’s cash-in. Andrew and I both ruined that for ourselves when we simultaneously opened Instagram and Facebook and held pictures of Ziggler wearing the belt up to each other. D’oh!

Spoilers aside we watched Raw later that evening and blimey, that cash-in was bloody great. The reward for being disappointed every time Dolph didn’t appear at the top of the ramp with that battered briefcase and a referee in hand (including at Wrestlemania) was that explosive moment. It made my tummy flip. It made me squeak. We have long been devoted to Dolph Ziggler around here and having paid his dues both in-ring and on the mic, he’s finally got a major title for more than a few seconds. We’re thrilled!


The Shield 

There aren’t enough words to express how much I completely adore The Shield. This is why the blog post I keep trying to write about them is still in ever-changing draft form. Every time that radio crackle permeates whichever arena they happen to be in, my shoulders involuntarily rise to my ears. I am smitten, and not just in that lustful, early CM Punk sort of way. You’ll know what I mean if you’ve been visiting this blog for the past four years.

They’re so perfectly balanced I almost can’t stand it. A few weeks ago while watching The Shield on Smackdown, I turned to Andrew and suggested that I write a blog post on how threesomes work. Once the terror/intrigue had passed and we ascertained that what I actually meant was ‘trios’, I set about trying to put it into coherent words. As soon as I figure out how to make ‘I love them so much it aches’ sound less juvenile, it’ll be posted.



Wrestlemania looked beautiful. 29 may not have been full of surprises or curveballs. Even I as a Triple H fan have to admit his match with Lesnar was way below par. As an event, though, Wrestlemania looked gorgeous. I’m a sucker for New York City at the best of times, but that setting, the stage, the colours, the fireworks…. For the first time in ages I felt envious of people experiencing the spectacle live and not necessarily the matches. As always, a slightly predictable Wrestlemania is STILL WRESTLEMANIA, GUYS. If you said you were glad you didn’t buy it when all you did was read a results page, you mugged yourself.




The ludicrous gymkhana that was the old NXT holds a special place in our hearts. It was ridiculous, but we watched several series of it religiously. I will always feel a nostalgic flutter when I hear those first few bars of Wild and Young. The new NXT is a whole different animal. Ditching the middle ground between developmental and TV, then really investing in the way new talent is presented is the best thing WWE have done in a long time. NXT now feels like an exciting indie promotion, with stories, characters that aren’t charicatures and potentially huge rewards for working hard. Also, William Regal and Kassius Ohno kicking the nonsense out of each other. What more encouragement could you possibly need?


I don’t know about you…

This video, mainly for Punk’s interpretation of the chorus. I would pay an awful lot of money to have CM Punk softly read me the lyrics of an entire Taylor Swift album. I think it might help me sleep better at night.


HHH and Stephanie on Twitter

If you read the long piece I wrote for the Fair to Flair Quarterly a long time ago, you’ll remember that Stephanie and Hunter’s fictional and real relationships were the penny dropping moment in my understanding wrestling journey. It’s the reason I find them so fascinating, both individually and as a couple. When they both joined Twitter I was beside myself. When Stephanie joined, Andrew texted me immediately to tell me. I’m far too old to be fangirling over anyone, yet weeks on I’m still trying to think of something I can tweet to Stephanie that doesn’t suggest I’m 15 years my junior. To say that I’m in a constant state of marking out is putting it mildly.



I have so much to say about ole Johnny. Soon.


Our long weekend

You know sometimes when life has been busy and you just need to kick back, order junk food, be irresponsible with your sleep pattern (and your bank account) and do something fun? That’s what we did over Wrestlemania weekend. If you’re interested in all the delicious rubbish we ate and what we look like in our pyjamas, there’s a short post about that here. It was a brilliant four days.


Approx 3am.



A Song for Whoever: Rock Edition

We thought it might be time we resurrected A Song For Whoever, where we write a blurb on a wrestling biz happening from that week and dedicate a song to the person the story’s about. It was one of our favourite regular features, so we thought it deserved another airing. Enjoy!


During Wrestlemania 28, I had a bit of a moment. It wasn’t the tender embrace exchanged between the three veterans marking the End of an Era. It wasn’t even Edge’s speech on being ushered into the Hall of Fame; mainly because I haven’t had the courage to let his carefully chosen and heartfelt words ruin my mascara yet. It was The Rock’s entrance.

It’s no secret that I often struggle to justify being a fan of professional wrestling. I regularly use these pages to work through my tortured thought process. But the fact remains, I never walk away. The well worn line I trot out every time someone asks me how I got into wrestling is ‘I came for Shawn Michaels, but I stayed for The Rock.’ I came to find out why my younger brother was shouting ‘Sweet Chin Music’ at me, and I stayed because I developed a swift and monumental crush on The Rock.

As a teenage girl, it was that gorgeous creature peacocking about in silk shirts, suggestively raising his eyebrow at me (just me), and who always knew exactly what to say that kept me from reaching for the remote. Basic, yes. But biology often is. It was a while before I really understood what wrestling was about. It was ages before I had a grip on long and complicated stories and the infinite joy of a well crafted, old fashioned grappling match.  The Rock was like that person who holds your hand while you tentatively wade into a freezing cold swimming pool. “Come on in! The water’s lovely!” It wasn’t. Not at first. I just stared at him long enough for the water to feel warm enough to dunk my head under.

Announcing the Rock/Cena match a year in advance was probably a mistake. If there’s one thing you should never do, it’s give wrestling fans time to ponder a story. They should know by now that we’ll club the life out of anything that isn’t a moving target. But I enjoyed those last few weeks leading up to Wrestlemania more than I cared to admit publicly. I didn’t get angry about the banality of kung pao chicken. I got that Rock was setting Cena up to look like the hero before eventually coming out on top. I wasn’t prepared to write the match off as a shambles before it happened, just because it was the most mainstream thing taking place on the planet that day. I was looking forward to it. There. I said it.

What I wasn’t expecting was to feel emotional. Yes, it was 3:21am and I had consumed enough MSG laced cheese puffs that I may have been in a slightly vulnerable state. But once the wonderfully awful and awfully wonderful musical introductions had passed, I was floored by a practical freight train of sentimentality. It suddenly struck me that without that one man sending Miami into a frenzy on my telly, I wouldn’t be sat here over a decade later, still staying up all night for wrestling, still not put off by the ridicule of people who just don’t get it.

I realised that, without him, I’d be bereft of the countless happy and stupidly exciting hours of fun wrestling has given me. There are immeasurably important people I’d never have met. There are parts of the world I’d never have seen. I may even be on an entirely different career path. It might all sound rather dramatic, and at 4am it felt even more profound, but it’s no less true. When Rock went on to win, a double air punch and a YEAAAAAAAAAAH didn’t quite seem to mark what felt like coming full circle.

It didn’t even end there. Finally watching his victory speech on Raw this morning, I might as well have skipped back in time. Alone, in my pyjamas, with a big mug of tea, when Rock invited the audience to jump into his sentence with “…and millions” three times with gradually ascending volume, I absolutely played along out loud. I can pretend to be cool and grown-up and aloof, but had he hugged me instead of the blonde girl with the sign asking for a hug, I’d have had the same dumbstruck expression. And then I’d have burst into tears.

So thanks, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson. Thanks for making my adolescent loins burn. Thank you for holding my attention while delivering all those promos so brilliantly some 14 years ago. I still smell what you’re cooking, you big superstar you.

Wrestlemania Predictions: Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is!

Every year we consider how we might do something slightly different for our Wrestlemania predictions. Like we always say, Wrestlemania either brings stories to an end or starts new ones, so it can be a tricky thing to predict.

There was the infamous cupcake method for a couple of years, and then last year we invited our friends and family to select our winners for us, based purely on aesthetics. If you’re ever getting comfortable with the fact that you’re a wrestling fan, try putting pictures of oily men in Speedos under the noses of your work colleagues and observe the looks they shoot you from across the office. Can you say… ‘outcast’?

Anyway, life is busy at this moment in time and the big hoopla we had planned didn’t come off, so we’ve taken a different route. We’re not sure how they can get away with giving genuine odds on something where the outcome has already been decided, but Paddy Power are taking bets on Wrestlemania matches.

Rae has a bona fide gambling addiction and Andrew’s always proclaiming that his predictions are good enough to make him money, so we jumped at the chance of losing our hard earned cash to scoundrel bookies. Our bets are below. One thing we’ve learnt is that the possibility of a cash prize doesn’t half influence how we predict. As if there’s any chance Beth and Eve are going to win! But hey, it’s Wrestlemania, anything could happen.

Rae’s Bets

 Andrew’s Bets

Before we go, in all the running around we’ve been doing lately we completely forgot to celebrate our third blog birthday this week. It’s amazing to us that a blog Rae started by herself and didn’t expect to last more than a few weeks is still around three years on. We may have to take breaks from time to time when other things have to take priority, but we really do appreciate that you take the time to visit us and share your thoughts; either here, on Twitter, on Tumblr or on Facebook. Thanks, everyone. We’d give you a hug but, you know, eww, wrestling fans. See you on the other side!

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions: Sidekick Andrew

Regardless of the rather baffling (and much less important than certain internet critics might have you believe) decision to drop the word “wrestling” from any description of the WWE, tonight is WRESTLEMANIA – undoubtedly the biggest event in the pro-wrestling calendar. An evening (or stupidly early morning for some of us) of celebrity endorsement, epic showdowns between legends and fast paced action between some of the exciting new stars of this ancient artform.

Ahh wrestling… wikipedia describes “Professional Wrestling” as “a mode of spectacle, combining athletics and theatrical performance.” With a history dating back over 15,000 years, wrestling can be found in the ancient cave drawings of France. All of which leaves me with a slight dilemma: how best to convey the excitement and thrills of Wrestlemania? The grappling acumen harking back to Babylonian and Egyptian reliefs? The roar of the approximately 75,000 fans in attendance? The blood, sweat and tears shed by these men and women for the briefest moment of reward, a reward which (if were honest) isn’t that important? Quite frankly, I can only think of one possible way to correctly pay the respect due to this most masculine of endeavours – PIE CHARTS!

As Boss Lady Ray explained yesterday, we’re not the best at predicting the results of these things – so we pulled in some people who should, in theory, know even less that us. Our families…

First up, Cole vs Lawler. Now, my family were relatively split on this one with Lawler just edging it despite Alice deciding that “the one on the left […] looks stronger” (although there’s always a chance she might have mixed up her left and right.) Very happy with their choices here. Let’s face it, nobody want’s Cole to win tonight, and logic dicates that he probably won’t. However, I should point out that I’m not basing this on Rebecca’s slightly strange reasoning that Lawler should win “cos he looks cheesy!” or her fiance Kris’ logic that “his comments are amazing” being that Lawler is just ahead of Booker T in the “Wrestlegasm Commentators we’d like to see relegated to regional news somewhere in Alaska”

Next up, Edge vs Del Rio, and almost a clean sweep for Del Rio, with only one person voting for Edge. Del Rio’s reasons ranged from the quite logical fact that “he has a very muscley body” and is “bigger built” to the slightly more worrying “the one with the nice panties..Del Rio?” Not sure anyone has described Alberto Del Rio, a man descended from Mexican aristocracy, as having “nice panties” before mother, but you might want to check out Ray’s old Crotch Watch posts.

Also nice to see that we’re a family that doesn’t forgive and forget easily, with Kris’ insistence that Del Rio should win “because of what Edge did to Christian” – admittedly Edge & Christian are BFFs again, but we’ll always know what you did that summer…

You might have noticed by now that these matches are probably not in the order they’ll be broadcast, but that’s how we do it on the Fylde coast baby! As such, here’s Miz vs Cena. Cena was the overwhelming favourite here, with only my mother voting for the current champion on the grounds that he is “named after (my sister) Alice” (For those of you grasping with the logic here, I’m assuming Miz being short for miserable is a slight on the cheery disposition of my teenage sister, but I couldn’t possibly say.

As for Cena… well, the fact that he looked “like a wrestler” and “angry,” as well as being “simply […] amazing” were all perfectly valid reasons that I struggled to argue against.

Celebrity random team time, and the only unanimous decision of both sets of predictions. It would appear that everyone I’m related to is a massive fan of the Jersey Shore for some reason. Admittedly Kris did vote for Team Morrison because Rebecca would “kill him” if he went with the other team, but Alice and Rebecca both seem to be fans. Alice in particular seemed quite taken with Morrison, and the fact that “he has Snooki as one of his bitches which just proves he is awesome”

Obviously I can’t be seen to support this kind of language, but after the Trish/Snooki/LayCool segment on Raw this week, it would appear that “bitch” is relatively acceptable.

Strangely, I expected the girls in my family to vote for Cody because he’s easy on the eye. Turns out nobody mentioned his looks, they instead were frightened of Mysterio. That’s right, the children’s favourite Mysterio, the merchandising machine, the shortest wrestler on the roster – my family were scared of him because he wears a mask.

Having said that, Mysterio did win this one. Kris rightly pointed out his speed, whereas Alice said that “he looks more serious” – presumably a reference to his Joker get-up from Wrestlemania 25…

See? I can do outdated jokes as well

Unfortunately for my predictions, Orton won this one with only Alice focusing on Punk’s “muscly legs” and the advantage that they might give him. As for Orton, the reasons once again ranged from the suprisingly knowledgable (“his old man was a brilliant wrestler”) to the purely aesthetic (“he has a nice tan” and “he looks evil”.)

On a personal note, while I’ve tried not to give my own predictions this year, I really *really* hope Punk wins this one. My fondness for his muscly legs notwithstanding, Punk is miles ahead of Orton in popularity here in the Bunker and the idea of Orton crowing about his victory in… incredibly… slow… phrasing… with… unnecessarily… long… pauses… between… each… word… yawn

Last but not least, Undertaker vs HHH – a match that I wasn’t looking forward to until this week’s Raw and Undertaker’s John Marston impression. [BOSS LADY RAY’S EDIT: SWOOOON. For John Marston. Not ‘Taker. Eww. Forget I mentioned it.]


So, this battle of the giants pitting the Undertaker’s unrivalled Wrestlemania streak of victories against HHH’s legacy as one the most successful wrestler’s in WWE history – how would the results come in for this one?

“Undertaker: my reason is it’s the Undertaker and HHH has a big nose… and that big nose muppet retired Mankind. Bastard, I hate you HHH”

“Undertaker because he has no eyes!”

“HHH as the other one won’t be able to see what he’s doing.”

Now obviously Undertaker has got the regulation number of eyes (that’s two in case you’re from some of the more remote areas of the United States and unsure) but I thought that it was interesting that his supposed lack of ocular equipment could be seen as both a detriment and an advantage. Still, I never claimed to be from a family blessed with an abundance of logic or common sense – hence the reason I like wrestling enough to write about it on here every week I suppose. Also, HHH is even less forgiven than Edge was earlier – so it’s probably best not to cross us…

Assuming you can count, you might have noticed that there are a couple of matches missing. That’s because, despite my usual love of procrastination I decided to ask my family to predict last week – something which would have worked well had the WWE not decided to add a couple of matches afterwards. So… how to predict these last two matches? I could use my knowledge of the storylines so far and wrestling logic to make an educated guess as to who the winners might be, orrrrrr….

In case you don’t know, www.googlefight.com is a site which allows you to compare the search results for two terms and come up with a “winner.” So let’s see what Google has to say…

There we go, that was pretty decisive wasn’t it? Now, roll on bloody midnight.

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions: Guest predictions by Adam off of the internet

[em]Sidekick Andrew: By now you have hopefully seen Boss Lady Ray’s predictions, helped along by her friends and family, and mine should be up tomorrow. However, sometimes two just isn’t enough – you need that extra third element to spice things up a bit. Think of how much tastier a ham, cheese and pickle sandwich than one without dead pig involved… or how much more enjoyable the CHIKARA King of Trios tournament is than the old Tag World Grand Prix. Anyway, in order to balance things out for this special occasion we thought we’d add some knowledge and decorum into the blog in the form of our favourite guest blogger Adam (who wrote a great piece on his memories of attending Wrestlemania here)[/em]

Done in the order I think the card is playing out

Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus – Sheamus has gotten the last few pins on Bryan, most notably three weeks ago to win the title and then again at the go home Raw in a tag match. Logic would dictate that Bryan should get the win here, since he has no heat going into this match and he’s a babyface at Wrestlemania. However, I don’t see that happening. Bryan will put up a good fight, and if they give this match some time I could see there being numerous near falls, but ultimately, Sheamus gets the clean win here. I don’t think this is bad thing. Sheamus is a superstar so he should have a title. Taking the title off him so soon only devalues everyone around. If this were a match with Sheamus challenging, everyone would pick him to win. I think this is just WWE throwing us a swerve because we think that Bryan should get some heat back. He will get heat back though. It’ll be a strong match and Bryan can move onto a feud with someone else.

The Corre vs Big Show/Kane/Santino/Kozlov– This match will be more comedy than anything else. Since it’s had minimal build I don’t think too much analysis is required. All that should be known is that The Corre have been getting some heat lately, winning titles and such. Since it’s Wrestlemania let’s just say that Santino gets the pin on Heath Slater and everyone does the trumpet.

Dolph Ziggler & LayCool vs John Morrison, Trish Stratus, & Snooki – Hands down the easiest match on the card to call. Snooki gets the pin on Layla after Vickie Guerrero botchs some interference and Trish Stratus nails Layla with a Chick Kick, all the while Dolph is taken out by a Starship Pain. Although many view this match as a garbage match or a cool down for the fans, I disagree. 5/6’s of this match can work their butts off. As such, I don’t think having two of these in a row is a bad idea. Also, this match goes on this early so that the media involved can get their pictures and stories about Snooki uploaded on their blogs before 9 PM.

CM Punk vs Randy Orton – This will be the first hour main event and honestly one of the harder matches to call. Since this is the first match in the feud, logically you have the heel win it. That way, you can gimmick up future matches and draw some money. Of course, that was the case last year with Punk/Mysterio and Rey went over in the first match. It also lead more matches. And although Orton may have gotten some heat by taking out all of the new Nexus, Punk seemed to disassociate himself from that on the last Raw (seriously, is that stable done now? I know Husky Harris is working under a mask and new name.) Also, Punk seems to have gotten the most heat by a) costing Orton at Elimination Chamber, b) the whole bus thing, and c) leaving Orton laying during the opening segment of the go home Raw. Although I wouldn’t book it this way, Orton nails an RKO out of nowhere and wins clean.

Cody Rhodes vs Rey Mysterio – While I just above said that faces win at Mania and Rey has been in this position before, I think Cody Rhodes needs to win this match. His character is just beginning to take off and a loss here could kill any heat he has. He’ll win with a knee guard to the face and his feet on the ropes. As long as they give this match time, it could be a real classic. The build has been that good.

Edge vs Alberto Del Rio – This is the second hardest match on the card for me, because there are so many booking possibilities to come out of it. Del Rio has been white hot except for the last few weeks where he’s been doing some jobs to Christian. The addition of Christian to the feud has many buzzing about what will happen. I think Del Rio wins the title due to something Christian does. Most likely he tried to stop Brodus Clay from interfering and inadvertently hits Edge, leading to some kind of Del Rio rollup or whatever. There will then be a rematch on Smackdown where Christian will overtly interfere, claiming discrimination over his victories of Del Rio leading up to Mania, and not having a slot on the card. With any luck this will propel Christian into the main event. Still, to salvage the Del Rio character (since he’s been jobbed so much lately) he has to win the title at Mania, if just to appease the oh-so-lucrative Mexican market.

Michael Cole vs Jerry Lawler – For some crazy reason this is the most well booked match on the card. Although it has some crazy heat to it, there’s no way this will be a technically good match. So this is the cool down for the fans. Also, the second easiest match on the card to call as everyone wants Jerry Lawler to win. And Lawler will win because he has gotten no heat for almost a year on Cole. Very simply put, Swagger pisses off Austin, Austin stuns him, Cole runs away, all the Divas led by Eve throw Cole back in the ring, piledriver, fist drop, pin, Divas surround Lawler.

Undertaker vs Triple H – Kudos to WWE for even making the outcome of this match a question. Although I didn’t like the early booking of this feud, the go-home Raw with Shawn Michaels’s promo additions have made this the must see match of Wrestlemania. They’ve subtly changed the Undertaker into a cocky being who just assumes he will win at Mania. They’ve also somehow made Triple H the underdog in the match. We also know about Triple H’s legendary ego and he is now an executive for WWE. So the stage is set for the streak to end.

Except it won’t. Undertaker wins after kicking out of a Pedigree and hitting a second Tombstone. The Triple H of today is a different man than the one of eight years ago. He knows that there is no way the locker room would respect him if he ended the streak. And he is a big proponent of keeping the streak. Watch The True Story of Wrestlemania. He says so himself. And I think both men know that if the streak were to end, it would be for someone who could use the win, not a made man like Triple H.

John Cena vs The Miz – Also, kudos to WWE for actually making this match debatable too. I wasn’t sure if this would go on last or not, but I can’t help but think that Undertaker isn’t 100% and the match won’t be too hard to follow. Plus, with the Rock involved and back, this should go on last. Now, Wrestlemania really never ends with the heel standing triumphant, so I can guarantee that the last shot of the show will not be Miz with the title. But the Rock’s addition makes this hard to pick. After last week’s Raw, there is no chance that Cena and Rock make up to screw the Miz. The Rock will be the last thing we see when the PPV goes off the air. Under any other circumstance I’m picking John Cena, but for some reason I’m going with my gut and saying that The Miz will find a way to retain the title. The best idea to me is that there is a ref bump, Alex Riley goes to hit Cena with the title, Cena blocks it, hits Miz with the title and gets the pin. Rock comes out, orders a restart. Cena is so incensed with the Rock that Miz hits him with the SCF, but Cena kicks out. Riley gets involved again, but Rock hits him. Cena gets mad that Rock is in his business again, goes after Rock, Rock hits a Rock Bottom and Miz gets the pin.

How’s that for drama with the Rock being on Raw the next night?

Wrestlemania 27 Predictions: Boss Lady Ray

We spent a lot of time pondering how to predict this year’s Wrestlemania. There were many factors to consider. First of all, Wrestlemania is rather unpredictable in its nature. They like to mix things up and throw a few curve balls.  Secondly, for the last two years I’ve predicted via the Cupcake Method. This failed dramatically. You just cannot trust baked goods to predict wrestling. On top of all this, let’s face it, we’re both pretty terrible at predicting. Andrew may be beating me 4-1 this year, but each time he’s only beaten me by a small margin. We were curious to know how people who have no or very little wrestling knowledge would predict Wrestlemania. Just as the Sidekick did last year, we enlisted outside help. We presented the matches to family and friends, asking them to pick a winner and tell us why. There were some interesting and hilarious answers. Here I present my Wrestlemania winners, as predicted by Team Ray.

It’s funny what people take from first impressions, isn’t it? Kane & Co took this one by a landslide. In fact, only one person though The Corre would win and that was because they looked less mean than their opponents. Bless. The general consensus was that the faces appeared to be tougher, making them the obvious choices. According to my dad “They will win because they’re the biggest MFs that walk this earth.” Santino’s Cobra-Hand was also popular. My mother chose them because there were less beards in Team Kane. I should point out that my mum had been swigging Bacardi and Diet Coke for an hour or so before writing her predictions. I had to ask her to explain her handwriting on three separate occasions.

Another landslide victory here and it was in favour of Jerry Lawler. (Thank God!) I’d fall out of my armchair if Cole took this one. Reasons for selecting Lawler included the fact that he looked the most stupid, the most cheesy and gay. Does being gay (which we know he definitely isn’t) give one an advantage over Michael Cole? My brother suggested that Lawler would win because “Cole is carrying some extra timber”. More than Lawler? Really? Jerry does still wrestle frequently down in Memphis, so I suppose I’ll give him that one. Someone also chose Jerry because he’s wearing a watch. It is time to beat Cole into a pulp, Jerry. Make it happen. Please.

Aaaaand landslide again. This time the masses chose Edge. Boo! Actually, I don’t mind who wins this one. Either way I’ll be happy but I so desperately wanted to see Alberto get his title. Sadly, the only person who selected him was from Spain. I mentioned afterwards that Del Rio is Mexican, not Spanish. I then refused to let him change his selection as I wanted Del Rio to have at least one vote. Reasons for Edge’s popularity suggested that Del Rio’s lack of clothing and props made him seem less ready for a fight. It was also suggested that Edge has the edge because his name is Edge. Nice. My favourite reason for falling in favour of our current HeavyWeight Champ is that he appears to be carrying a shield. It’s not a shield, Iris, it’s his title belt. But I concur that in that picture it does look very shieldy. I quite like the idea of Edge strutting around in a centurion outfit.

When was the last time we saw his legs. Does he even have legs?

Ah-ha! The first one where there seems to be some debate. Overall people seemed to be selecting Cody because they found him to be a bit of a babe (these people included my mother!) or they selected him because they felt uneasy about the fact that Rey’s face is covered. It was a collective “Does he have something to hide?” vibe? My brother selected Rey Mysterio because the last time he saw Cody he was in Legacy and playing third fiddle to Randy and Ted. He hasn’t been privy to Cody’s rebirth as the Dashing Cody Rhodes. On explaining this development this morning he seemed pleased that he’d ditched his previous gimmick of walking out from behind the curtain backwards.

Again there was some debate here and there was great distress over the lack of pupils in Undertaker’s eyes. Fair comment. A lack of eyeballs is quite upsetting. I fear this is what may have pushed people to vote in favour of Trips, which means my people think The Streak will be broken. Ooh! Controversial! Actually, I think I would probably agree. If anyone’s going to break it, it’ll be someone like HHH. But then, I said that the last two years running with HBK, so what do I know? One of my favourite things about this exercise is that you unearth people who usually try to hide a fondness for wrestling. This was one of my favourite declarations of secret love for the Undertaker.

Underlining = love

We’ll quickly skip past the one where my mum chose Taker because he looks like Jerry Seinfeld. She doesn’t even like Seinfeld. Let this be a lesson in knowing when to stop drinking white rum, children.

This was another close one, but it eventually tipped Sheamus’s way. Reasons given were his rebellion against the mandate stating that all wrestlers must be spray-tanned up to the eyeballs, the ginger hair and his inherent Irishness. Although I think my brother is confusing his Celts and thinking of Drew McIntyre:

My Bacardi loaded mother plumped for Daniel Bryan because he looks like a young Ryan O’Neal. It seems there were actually some moments of surprising clarity during this swish:

She may have a point

These predictions weren’t quite as divided. The majority seemed to choose Orton. Boo! BOO! and BOO! The logic behind this choice included the fact that Orton has less tattoos (clearly someone who’s never seen his back) and the fact that he seems like he would be faster. FALSE! And by the way, Punk is NOT a crappy, dated name for an athlete. I also enjoyed your (?) against the word ‘athlete’. Grrrr. As is clear, I’m very unhappy with my people for this selection and I’d be quite happy to lose this match. I’d like to thank Kate for noting the tiny pants and equally sized stars on both their crotches. You see? It’s not just my infatuation. Even someone who never watches wrestling felt the need to comment on Punk’s ‘area’. (Don’t ask. I’m still not bringing that feature back. Nope. Never.)

Getting back to the predictions, my brother decided that neither CM Punk nor Orton would win. I initially thought he was suggesting there would be some kind of shenanigans where both were DQ’d. Not so. On further investigation I found he was implying that they’re actually the same person, so neither can win. Personally, I think Punk is perfect without the added Randyness, but we’ve put them together anyway to test the theory:

I think I still prefer them apart.

Cena’s the big favourite here and largely because the majority thought he was in better shape. They’ve gone for bulk and height over speed. The wearing of jeans was also a deciding factor. I think he should ditch the jeans myself, but apparently they’re a hit with the masses. This prediction should set the cat amongst the pigeons with the kiddie-winks:



Aaaaaand finally with almost all the votes, John Morrison, Trish Stratus and Snooki are predicted to take this match. They’re probably right. It’s rare we see the celeb losing at ‘Mania. Reasons for selecting Team Morrison seemed to vary depending on gender. The ladies were rather smitten with Morrison’s Mills & Boon good looks and the gentlemen were more interested in the potential puppy action. Yes. The word ‘puppies’ was used. I have to say, Morrison does look very handsome in that picture. If only he could string a promo together.

I’ll end on my absolute favourite comment of this experiment, which stated that “Ziggler and his girls will win because he has the face of a brute donkey.” I’m told it’s a Spanish phrase, but it made me LOL on a rubbish day in the office. The Sidekick was very put out on hearing this description of his man-crush. I’m sure Vickie would feel the same.

In which we (briefly) discuss the generous nature of CHIKARA

As you’ve no doubt noticed, it’s Wrestlemania Week! The Grandest Stage of Them All! The Showcase of The Immortals! The Grandaddy of Them All! We’re as excited as the next couple of wrestling fans, hoarding our goodies for late-night snacking and buying out annual “Wrestlemania pyjamas.” But amongst the glitz and glamour of Art Exhibitions, Press Conferences, Pro-Celebrity Golf Tournaments and lavish Hall of Fame Ceremonies, it’s easy to forget about the little guys…

We feel your pain bro

However, amazing as Zack Ryder and his Beyond The Mat references are, that’s not what today’s post is about. Nope, today I want to show you some great wrestling matches from Wrestlegasm favourites CHIKARA. Ordinarily this would be, at the very least, legally questionable; but being the incredibly generous souls that they are, CHIKARA have amended their weekly podcast format to include a full match each week, for FREE! However, I accept that a lot of you won’t be subscribed to their YouTube channel so you might not realise just what you’re missing out on. Therefore, in our ongoing quest to introduce more and more people to CHIKARA, I’m going to post a few selections here and let you make up your own minds.

If you like any of these matches (and I sincerely hope you do) then I hope you’ll consider buying a couple of DVDs next time you have some spare cash. I promise you won’t regret it. You can either get them directly through CHIKARA or via Smart Mark Video (Smart Mark have regular sales where you can usually save the cost of postage to the UK which is always a bonus)

To start with, my favourite CHIKARA match ever, and possibly one of my favourite wrestling matches ever. I’ve shilled this match like crazy over the last couple of years, but this is the first time the full match has been available for free. Kota Ibushi vs El Generico vs Jigsaw vs Nick Jackson from the King of Trios tournament 2009 (available here) Do me a favour though, for the last few minutes, remember to breathe.

Next up, a singles match between two former Young Lions Cup champions, Chuck Taylor vs Fire Ant from Vanity & Violence in 2008 (available here) CHIKARA specialise in multi-person matches, but they throw out some fun singles matches, and a big fan of Chuck Taylor (and Ray loves the Ants) so I can recommend this one.

Back to Trios action, with The BDK vs Perros del Mal from King of Trios 2010 (available here) The BDK are the main heel faction in CHIKARA at the moment (think The Nexus or NWO for reference points) and Perros del Mal are a team of luchadors from Mexico. Quite frankly, if you don’t find the idea of a 6’7″ Norse God of War squaring up against a 3’7″ butterfly thing then CHIKARA might not be for you…

Actually, the same could be said about two Mexican anthropomorphic ice creams wrestling a team of time-displaced sportsmen (an olde-time baseball player and a funky Seventies basketball star) but that’s what the next match entails: Los Ice Creams vs The Throwbacks from Cibernetico Increible (available here)

Last, but I promise you, definitely not least, CHIKARA is one of the few (non-female only) promotions to treat women wrestlers well. In fact, it was an inter-gender match from CHIKARA that inspired this great post by Boss Lady Ray. Anyway, from the Double Header with the Dragon Gate promotion, Amazing Kong and Raisha Saeed vs Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze from Chikarasaurus Rex: King of Show (available here)