The Delco Elbow Drop

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WWE Royal Rumble 2014 – “Deal with it!”

If you saw the Royal Rumble from Sunday in Pittsburgh, you might have heard Rumble winner Batista yell “Deal with it!” at no one in particular in the booing, quickly exiting crowd in regards to him winning the Rumble. It might seem like an odd thing for “The Animal” to say, but not when you look at the events of the Rumble as a whole.

Daniel Bryan wrestled the first match of the night against Bray Wyatt. I wasn’t expecting much from the match but what we got was one of the best matches I’ve seen WWE put on in a long time – probably since the Punk/Cena match on Raw where Punk busted out a piledriver. Putting Bryan on first gave the crowd a sliver of hope that maybe, just maybe, he would be a surprise entrant in the Rumble later that night. The fact that the Rumble itself was the main event of the show gave people even more reason to believe.

The show went on. Brock Lesnar tried to murder Big Show with 5 or 6 steel chairs and Randy Orton retained the WWE World Heavyweight Championship thanks to the Wyatt Family distracting John Cena. Oh and The New Age Outlaws, who have had all of four matches before being handed a title shot, defeated Cody Rhodes and Goldust for the tag team championships on the preshow. I guess “deal with it” could apply to that title change too but let’s just move past it for now.

Well, they have new merch to shill so of course they need the belts!

The Rumble itself was actually pretty good. Kane and CM Punk’s feud is intensifying and Roman Reigns is being built into a legitimate star, having eliminated both other Shield members, as well as breaking Kane’s record for eliminations in a single Rumble with 12. Alexander Rusev made his debut by brutalizing the field before being eliminated by four guys (Kofi, Punk, Cody and Rollins) and Sheamus made his return, though he didn’t do much beside eliminating Big E. (In the moment, I saw WWE putting Sheamus at odds with Big E for the IC title to try and elevate the belt but when I saw on Raw that Sheamus is in the Elimination Chamber, I knew that was a pipe dream.)

As the Rumble wore on, you could sense the packed Pittsburgh crowd becoming keenly aware of two things – when would Batista enter and would Daniel Bryan be a participant. Batista entered at 28, which elicited a groan from the crowd. But after Big E came out at 29, the crowd seemed to become energized at the prospect of Daniel Bryan being 30. They were cheering for him and chanting “Yes!” and for a moment, it seemed like D-Bry might actually be #30. But when Rey Mysterio’s music hit, the mood in the arena instantly changed because the fans could see that there were no tricks this year. There would be no moment for Daniel Bryan at the Royal Rumble.

It was just as I feared. You would think that because the WWE had so blatantly told everyone for weeks that Batista was coming back to win the Rumble and then the title that there had to be some swerve. Some trick we didn’t see coming. The fans in Pittsburgh, as well as around the world, have been clamoring for Daniel Bryan and we all hoped against hope that the WWE would finally hear us and let Bryan have his rightful place in the main event. But it wasn’t meant to be.

But you know who was in the Royal Rumble?

Surprisingly, his quads remained intact.

I try to stay away from unleashing the full force of my smarkdom on this blog but I’m about to. The fans want Daniel Bryan. The IWC wants Daniel Bryan. But you know who doesn’t want Daniel Bryan? HHH and Vince McMahon. Somehow, they still don’t believe that Daniel Bryan can draw money. They don’t believe that Daniel Bryan can sell Pay-Per-Views. They don’t believe that Daniel Bryan can ever be the top guy in WWE. How? Hell if I know.

The New Age Outlaws, with all of four tag matches under their belt in 2013 or 2014, win the tag team championships. Kevin Nash appears from nowhere and gets a spot in the Royal Rumble. Batista returns and, with no matches since 2010, wins the Royal Rumble. But Daniel Bryan, who consistently wrestles multiple times a night, is told he can’t compete in a match AND in the Rumble. And CM Punk who enters #1 and survives until the final four, is eliminated by an Authority lackey who wasn’t even in the match. You can say that what happened to D-Bry and Punk at the Rumble is all kayfabe but if you look at the bigger picture, it’s a matter of art imitating life and not the other way around.

For years, we’ve been told through actions and words that Vince McMahon, and therefore HHH and Stephanie, do not believe that average sized guys like Bryan or Punk can legitimately be the top guy in WWE. It’s why they brought The Rock back last year. It’s why Batista is back this year. For some reason, guys of smaller stature or who made their name before coming to WWE are never pushed as hard as guys like The Rock, or Batista or John Cena, who made their names with WWE.

And the craziest part is, Vince and HHH actually believe these part-timers are who we want to see. That even though the crowd has been incredibly hot for Daniel Bryan, Vince and HHH think that we would honestly rather see Batista win the Royal Rumble and go to Wrestlemania than Daniel Bryan. And to give you an idea of how highly guys like Batista think of the WWE Universe, it’s being reported that he flipped off at least one fan to his face in the crowd at the Royal Rumble and following the match, mocked the crowd with “Yes!” chants at the top of the ramp, but substituting his middle finger for his index finger to let everyone know how part-timers, and by extension Vince and HHH, really feel about the crowd.

Because at the end of the day Vince and HHH have the same attitude toward what the fans want as Batista had toward their opinion of his Rumble victory – “Deal with it.”

And this, folks, is why I watch independent wrestling. Give me Pro Wrestling Guerrilla any day over WWE.

For more reading on the backlash from the Royal Rumble, hit these links:

“JR addresses Royal Rumble controversies” 

(New Age Outlaws image from; .gif from r/SquaredCircle)

CM Punk allegedly leaves WWE

Rumors are going around the internet that CM Punk has allegedly left the WWE. As reported by nearly every major wrestling news site (Wrestling Observer, PWInsider, Bleacher Report and more), Punk apparently told Vince McMahon himself on Monday night that he was “going home,” and got on a plane headed for Chicago. Punk has since been removed from all upcoming live event and house show listings.

Other than the above info, not much about the situation is known besides speculation – and it’s possible a good deal of the known info is speculation as well. Being that this is professional wrestling, everything that happens in and around it should be taken with a big grain of salt. CM Punk hasn’t commented on the rumors on Twitter and the WWE hasn’t made a statement either. But the internet certainly seems to think that we won’t see CM Punk in WWE for some time – or if we ever will again.

It has been said that CM Punk has been working injured for months but soldiering on because having Punk on TV is what’s best for business. But with his contract expiring (legitimately) this July, it seems like Punk may be leaving – and much more suddenly than anyone would’ve suspected. Punk himself has mentioned in the past that he is planning on retiring much sooner than most people realize.

But more than just working hurt, some have speculated that Punk’s departure may have more to do with the WWE’s politics of pushing part-time wrestlers further than the guys who work for the company night after night. Punk was a victim of this last year when his title reign, the longest of the modern era, was ended at 434 days at the Royal Rumble so that The Rock could carry the belt into Wrestlemania 29 to face golden boy, John Cena. Anyone who watched the Royal Rumble this year knows how displeased the crowd was with Batista’s victory. And despite being eliminated by Kane in the Rumble, after entering #1 and making it to the final four, Punk was nowhere to be seen on Raw this past Monday. But it's hard to say if Batista winning the Royal Rumble was what sent Punk over the edge or if it even had any influence over his decision.

Losing CM Punk would be terrible for WWE. Having worked his way up from the independent circuit to the biggest stage in the world, Punk has a huge fanbase that may react pretty negatively to the Straight Edge Superstar’s sudden exit from the WWE. He’s as exciting on the mic as he is in the ring and it’s not a stretch to say that many people attend live shows hoping to see CM Punk. Especially now that the Road to Wrestlemania is in full swing, losing CM Punk for whatever reason is going to be a huge detriment to the WWE.

I’m going to end this post with CM Punk’s “Pipebomb” promo from June, 2011. You can draw a lot of parallels between that angle, which led to his historic title run, and the current situation. But you can also say that this promo lays out a lot of the speculated reasons why Punk has left WWE. 

(Photo from


Remember when I said before to take this CM Punk news with a big grain of salt? Well take a look at what the official WWE Shop Twitter feed posted just this morning:

 Hmm...brand new CM Punk merch shilled on the official WWE Shop Twitter feed appears coincidentally on the same day that the internet blows up over CM Punk leaving WWE? Draw your own conclusions but like I said - big grains of salt.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

WWE Royal Rumble – Who’s going to Wrestlemania 30?

The 2014 WWE Royal Rumble is this Sunday in Pittsburgh and the Rumble is usually a great event. The WWE usually uses the unique format to stage big returns as well as surprise entrants (think of Golddust or Bo Dallas in last year’s match). And it’s usually hard to predict just who will come out the victor. But this year feels different. And I don’t want to say it’s because of Batista. But… it’s because of Batista.

This guy?

No, not that guy. This guy.

No, this can't be right. Is that Pitbull?

No, no that’s not Pitbull. That’s what “The Animal” Batista was wearing during his return to WWE last Monday night on Raw. I dunno…skinny jeans and a designer zip-up doesn’t exactly scream “Animal” at me. The crowd seemed to be into Batista’s return, which consisted of once again reminding everyone he’s going to win the WWE World Heavyweight championship. He also did a sorta Batista Bomb to Alberto Del Rio (don't want to split those fancy jeans), a guy who has had issue with Batista’s return for weeks now. I wasn’t that impressed.

I’ll be honest, I pretty much didn’t watch any WWE during most of Batista’s career. I had started tuning out of WWE, in favor of the indies, right around the time that Batista debuted as Reverend D-Von’s assistant, Deacon Batista, and saw pretty much nothing he ever did. I know he held the World Heavyweight and WWE championships several times (thanks, Wikipedia) and that he was in Evolution but that’s about it.

But the reason why Batista in the Rumble feels odd is because it feels like there aren’t going to be any surprises this year. Batista has his eyes on the WWE World Heavyweight championship and winning the Rumble is his ticket to earning a shot at Wrestlemania. And usually I wouldn’t think WWE would be so obvious…but Batista is a returning Superstar and a multiple time champion who also has history with Triple H and Randy Orton. Why would WWE bring him back (and also why would he come back) if it wasn’t to challenge for - and most likely win - the WWE World Heavyweight championship? I don’t want to say it’s exactly like what they did with The Rock last year, but it’s close enough to be annoyed about it.

So far, 20 Superstars have officially been entered in the Royal Rumble – Batista, Alberto Del Rio, Big E Langton, The Miz, R Truth, Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, Cody Rhodes, Golddust, Rey Mysterio, Fandango, CM Punk, Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan, Damien Sandow, and the Usos, Jimmy and Jey – which leaves plenty of opportunity for mystery entrants.

Sure there will be plenty of surprises in the Rumble itself. I’m expecting a number of Superstars to return to active competition (RVD, Chris Jericho, Sheamus) but there will hopefully be some surprises as well. Last year brought us Bo Dallas from NXT, so who’s to say that Alexander Rusev couldn’t be this year’s call up? Or Adrian Neville? Or Sami Zayn? And if you really want to get crazy you could also throw Sting or AJ Styles rumors into the mix.

But winning the Rumble? There’s almost no other legitimate choice besides Batista.

Kane announced on Raw that CM Punk will be entered first in the 2014 Royal Rumble, which sounds pretty bad but there’s been as many winners from #1 (Shawn Michaels and Chris Benoit. Err…I mean Stevie Richards) as there have been from #30 (The Undertaker and John Cena). But, I don’t really see Punk going the distance this year. With Kane breathing down his neck and the entire Shield entered into the match, I don’t think Punk has much of a chance.

ADR is an obvious choice but I just can’t help but see him putting Batista over when the time comes. Big E is definitely a future winner. He has all the right tools to main event in the WWE and just needs time for his fan base to grow. A catchphrase couldn’t hurt either. (Which is weird because he had a catchphrase in NXT but it didn’t seem to make the transition to the main roster.) Any member of the Shield could also win a future Rumble, just not this year. Cody and Kofi are also two guys who would really benefit from winning the Rumble, but it won’t be this year either.

What bothers me the most is that Daniel Bryan isn’t being included in the Royal Rumble. Not just because I’m an indy mark (it’s a lot that) but because he very well could be in it – he just isn’t. WWE seems to be acting like his feud with the Wyatts totally prohibits him from competing in the match. Bryan himself hasn’t even brought it up either – it’s like he’s somehow oblivious to the fact that there’s a match you can win and have a guaranteed shot at the WWE World Heavyweight championship. Because that’s what he cares about, right? Winning the title? I thought that’s why he was “joining” the Family in the first place, because they were going to help him win the title. And even though that angle was hastily ended, it somehow negates his desire to win the title, as long as he gets his hands on Bray? D-Bry went through Harper and Rowan just for ANOTHER match against Bray that night and now WWE is acting like there’s no way he could wrestle Bray AND in the Rumble? I don’t get it and I don’t like it.

Unless Sheamus comes back with a surprise main event push and dominates the field, that pretty much leaves Batista as the lone Superstar left to win the day – unless you truly believe one of the Usos, Fandango or Damien Sandow could win (oh, you). I just don’t see many other possibilities right now.

It’s too bad too because unpredictability is what makes the Rumble so fun. Granted, last year we all pretty much saw the writing on the wall (Cena wins the Rumble, Rock wins the belt to face Cena [once in a lifetime, lulz] at Wrestlemania 29), this year could be different…but it just doesn’t seem like WWE has any tricks up its sleeve. It seems like they’re planning on Brock Lesnar vs. Batista at Wrestlemania 30. Because Brock has said he also has a shot at the title and I can’t see him being told he has to take part in the Elimination Chamber.

Who knows. Maybe Undertaker will come back and win. But that seems about as likely as Sting winning.

(Photos from and

Friday, January 17, 2014

Best of the Tubes - Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi vs. Low Ki; The Colony vs. The Young Bucks; Sara Del Rey vs. Lufisto

Another week, another round up of great wrestling you can find online. I wish I had more time to write another article and not just post a bunch of videos but I bought a PlayStation 4 last weekend and that’s been taking most/all of my free time. But I wrote a review of the action/adventure survival game “Don’t Starve” which you can check out right here.

Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi vs. Low Ki
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship, Wrestle Kingdom VII

Though I don’t follow Japanese wrestling that closely, this match between three of the quickest, hardest-hitting junior heavyweights in the world is a great example of how exciting professional wrestling can be. There is hardly a lull in the action during this match. And yes, Low Ki is dressed like Agent 47 from the “Hitman” video game series. I like this video as well because it comes from a YouTube channel that commentates over matches so you get some info about the match instead of just incomprehensible Japanese.

Prince Devitt is an Irish-born wrestler and one of the most popular wrestlers in Japan. It’s been rumored for a long time that WWE is interested in Devitt but considering his popularity abroad and the fact that he is the leader of the Bullet Club (a heel stable featuring foreign wrestlers like Devitt, “Machine Gun” Karl Anderson and the Young Bucks), I doubt we’ll ever see him stateside.

Low Ki has been around the indy circuit for a long time, as well as working for WWE and TNA for a time. However in October of 2013, he announced that he would be retiring from wrestling due to All Japan Pro Wrestling allegedly not honoring their contractual obligation of medical care following an abdominal injury.

Kota Ibushi is a popular high flyer who made his name in the DDT promotion in Japan, a company known for its comedic hijinks. He recently defeated Prince Devitt at Wrestle Kingdom VIII for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship, despite rampant interference from the Bullet Club. Keep an eye out for an upcoming Kota Ibushi match on Best of the Tubes where he takes on Yoshihiko – a Japanese wrestler in DDT who looks suspiciously like a blow up doll (spoiler alert – it’s because Yoshihiko is a blow up doll).

The Colony vs. The Young Bucks
Chikara “High Noon”
Though Chikara may not exist anymore, great matches like the Colony versus the Young Bucks from High Noon in 2011 will live on forever on the internet. And it’s a good thing too because the Colony and the Young Bucks are two of the most talented tag teams on the independent circuit today. Well, the Colony has been teaming very infrequently since Chikara was shut down last June but the Bucks are only becoming more and more popular, currently holding the Pro Wrestling Guerilla tag team titles as well as the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight tag team titles.

Tag team matches in Chikara are always high-tempo thanks to the company’s use of lucha-libre rules, which states that a wrestler exiting the ring and touching both feet to the floor constitutes a tag. This leads to tons of crazy double team maneuvers and makes sure there is never a break in the action. Also, teams can only challenge for the Chikara Campeonatos de Parejas (tag titles) when they’ve accrued three points/wins and if a team loses, they lose all their acquired points. I believe both the Colony and the Bucks have two points going into this match, making the stakes quite high for both teams.

While Chikara technically doesn’t exist anymore, you can still see many of its popular stars in Wrestling is Fun, Wrestling is Respect and the upcoming NationalPro Wrestling Day.

Sara Del Rey vs. LuFisto
Women’s championship match, Jersey All Pro Wrestling
LuFisto vs. Sara Del Rey by Jokerwilds
The final match this week is a Jersey All Pro Wrestling women’s championship match between the “Queen of Wrestling” Sara Del Rey and the “First Lady of Hardcore” LuFisto. Both ladies are two of the top female wrestlers of the current generation and both employ brutal striking offenses and well-rounded technical abilities on the mat.

I personally think that Sara Del Rey, who has competed all over the world including places like Ring of Honor and Chikara, is the best female wrestler of this or any generation. LuFisto may not be as well-known but she has had an equally impressive career, showing a proficiency for technical wrestling, hard-hitting striking as well as mixing it up in hardcore matches. Even more impressive is that both ladies are known to wrestle and regularly defeat male opponents.

Del Rey, unfortunately, doesn’t wrestle anymore. She took a job with the WWE and is a trainer for the Divas division at the WWE Performance Center is Florida. It makes me sad because I’ll never get to see her wrestle live but it also makes me happy to know that the WWE recognizes her talent and that she will be helping create a better future for the Divas division. LuFisto, a former CZW Ironman Champion and only woman wrestle in the Cage of Death, is still active on the independent circuit and currently wrestles for Shine.

(Image credit – r/SquaredCircle and u/cwmonkey)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

AJ Lee - Greatest Diva('s Champion) Ever

Oh you didn't know? Well now it's official.

AJ Lee is the greatest Diva of this or any era and her reign will continue forever. That is all.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The WWE Network is coming February 24

“Then. Now. Forever.” is the phrase coined by WWE that precedes almost every televised WWE event and now the company is taking another huge step in the “forever” department. At CES on Wednesday, WWE executives announced the creation of the WWE Network – WWE’s long-rumored project to bring its content to a wider audience.

The WWE Network will launch on February 24 and be available through for $9.99 a month. WWE Network touts some huge incentives for fans to subscribe. Every WWE Pay-Per-View will be offered on the network, in full streaming HD, including Wrestlemania 30. Every program the WWE offers, including pre-shows, will also be available through the WWE Network. Original content will be offered on WWE Network as well as access to full PPV events from not only WWE but also WCW and ECW as well. With a promise to continually add new content to its Video on Demand library, the WWE Network is a dream-come-true for many pro wrestling fans.

After sifting through all the information available on the WWE Network website, I discovered that the WWE Network won’t be available through traditional cable or satellite providers but instead work like other streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu (and be available on most devices as well). But the WWE Network is a bit more ambitious than just offering a streaming video service as it will not only offer each WWE PPV live in HD but will also feature live, original scheduled programming as well as access to thousands of hours of streaming content.

Along with access to PPV content from WWE, WCW and ECW, the WWE Network promises unique content such as The Countdown, Wrestlemania Rewind and Legends House. The Countdown will rely on fan interaction to pick “Best of” winners in categories like chants, entrance or finishing move. Wrestlemania Rewind will showcase some of the biggest, most memorable matches in Wrestlemania history by providing insight from the Superstars who made the moments unforgettable. And on Legends House, eight WWE personalities -  Howard Finkel, Pat Patterson, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Hart, Mean Gene, Jim Duggan, Tony Atlas, and Hillbilly Jim - live in a house together and zany shenanigans ensue (I’m assuming). The WWE Network also promises that there will be a live daily studio show, I would guess something similar to SportsCenter but for WWE.

According to PWInsider, the WWE is hoping for a subscriber base of 1-2 million by the end of 2014 and wants a “steady rate” of 2-3 million eventually. Additionally, the potential downside of the Network is a loss of traditional PPV buys and the possibility that some carriers could drop the company moving forward for placing PPVs on the Network. PWI also noted that the Network would allow for parental restrictions so that edgier content (like a majority of ECW) could be block, if desired.

Overall, the creation of the WWE Network is a bold move for the company but one that I think will ultimately pay off. “WWE Network” was the number one trending phrase on Twitter for almost a full day following the announcement and almost every I’ve seen commenting on it is at least intrigued if not fully prepared to subscribe as soon as possible. Offering each PPV alone would be enough for most people to subscribe but offering ECW and WCW content along with brand new programming makes WWE Network one of the most exciting developments for pro wrestling fans in years.

WWE Network will only be available in the United States come February 24 and that the “WWE Network is scheduled to launch in the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong and the Nordics by the end of 2014/early 2015.” Additionally, subscriptions are locked in for the first six months, so forget your plan of signing up, watching Wrestlemania 30 and then cancelling.

(Photo from
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An avid gamer and long-time pro wrestling fan, stay tuned to Grizzly Gaming and the Delco Elbow Drop for game reviews and pro wrestling news.

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