News in Review – March 2014

It’s the end of the month, so it’s about that time where I look back at the biggest stories in the world of wrestling during March. Hopefully you’re getting to grips with the format by now, but in case you haven’t seen this column before, I use three categories – “Inside The Ring” for what we see from the WWE on TV each week, “Outside The Ring”, for the backstage happenings/rumours in the WWE, and “In The Industry”, for everything else non-WWE related.

This month it very much felt like everything we saw on TV from the WWE was Wrestlemania focused – as you would expect – so there’s not actually that much in that category this time around. And I should probably also say that this was put together before the go-home Raw, since I’m in the UK and that Raw is in April for us Brits. But let’s get right into it!

 

Inside the Ring

 

Wrestlemania Card – we might as well start with this. The biggest show of the year is now just 6 days away, and in the last month we have gone from having two matches confirmed, to 8 matches (including the preshow) confirmed and one of the original two edited. We have seen Triple H vs Daniel Bryan added to the card, with the winner being added to the WWE Title match later in the night, John Cena vs Bray Wyatt, the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal, the Vickie Guerrero Invitational, The Shield vs Kane and the New Age Outlaws, and a fatal four way match for the tag team titles all announced for the now 6-hour spectacular. That’s right. 6 hours. Along with the 4 hour PPV, the preshow this time round is a full two hours long, and will feature the tag title match. I think this is a promising card, with plenty of time for the matches, so it could be the best Wrestlemania we’ve seen in years from a wrestling standpoint.

Shield Turn Face – Just when it looked like the Shield were about to break up, they become united again against their former authority. This is a nice change to keep them fresh, all the while giving us new matches and making the eventual split more natural. Reigns is obviously going face after the hounds of justice’s demise, and it’s much easier to make him sympathetic if he is turned on by his friends than it is if he turns on them. Apparently a key reason for the face turn was the Outlaws’ request to work with the trio before they broke up. Either way, it works – the fans were ready to cheer them anyway.

Hall of Fame Announcements – the class of 2014 more than doubled in size this month. Paul Bearer, Carlos Colon, Razor Ramon and Mr T were all announced. I honestly think they are all good picks. Yes, even Mr T. If you’re going to have a celebrity wing, the celebrity who was in the main event of the first Wrestlemania deserves to be in. The main mystery though is who will induct Bearer? The obvious answer is the Undertaker, but Taker has never appeared at a Hall of Fame ceremony due to the belief it doesn’t fit his character. News also broke that the ceremony itself will be broadcast live, in it’s entirety, in the WWE Network.

Usos Are Champions – and about time too. The Uso twins won their first tag team championships after 4 years in the company, so congrats to them. I expect a long reign, with the duo retaining the titles at Wrestlemania, before eventually dropping them to Harper & Rowan at some point.

 

Outside the Ring

 

WWE Network – ok, so this was launched last month, I know. But it’s newsworthy that it has gone off just about without a hitch. Yes there were some teething problems in the first day or two, but since then I haven’t heard anything negative about the Network. What remains to be seen is how their servers will cope with the demand of Wrestlemania…

Still No Punk – much to the dismay of his millions of fans around the world. There have been some developments – notably the miserable failure of the hijack Raw movement in Chicago, Punk appearing on TV for the first time since January via the Talking Dead, and the shots that WWE are taking at him now on TV. Punk seems to have moved on from the WWE, the WWE seems to have moved on from him, so the fans should too. What we are getting in his absence is still pretty damn good. And if we stop anticipating an impending comeback from him, it will make any eventual comeback all the sweeter.

RVD to return – this appears to be 100% confirmed. The night after Wrestlemania Rob Van Dam will make his return to the WWE, and he will stick around for a few months. This could be the last we see of RVD, so let’s make the most of it. Just don’t be surprised if a heel makes an open challenge (I’m thinking Alberto Del Rio, since he was RVD’s last match, so it makes sense) and then “One of A Kind” hits.

Drake Younger signs developmental deal with WWE – this is absolutely one to look out for. Younger was the reigning All Pro Wrestling champion when he signed, and was number one contender to their Heavyweight Championship. Can we expect big things? Let’s just wait and see.

Original Sin Cara released – the original man behind the gold and blue mask has now left the company. For the last while the man formerly portraying Hunico has donned the mask. If you didn’t notice the change, think back to when you noticed Sin Cara had a tattoo on his shoulder. The original looks like he’s going back to Mexico, though seems to think he has the rights to the Sin Cara name and character. That seems unlikely, as WWE would know him leaving was a possibility, and they are still using Sin Cara.

Linda McMahon to induct the Warrior – this is so random. The Ultimate Warrior will be inducted into the WWE Hall Of Fame by Linda McMahon. I have no idea of the link between these two, but that Linda is appearing at all is strange considering how she distanced herself from the company for her political campaigns.

WWE takeover rumours – yes, there were rumours at one point that the McMahon family could have been bought out, and WWE could have had a new owner. This story never really developed, but out of sheer randomness I decided to put it in here. Let’s just say that, while possible, the concept of the McMahons selling WWE is one that is extremely unlikely to happen.

WWE stock spikes – possibly in related news, WWE’s stock price shot up this month. That could be related to the takeover rumours, but it could equally be down to the success of the Network, or the fact that it is Wrestlemania season, when business is traditionally booming. I believe the stock hit an all-time high, with the WWE being valued at well over $2 billion.

Ronda Rousey expresses interest in WM31 match – this is another story well out of left field. The current UFC Woman’s Bantamweight Champion has said she would be open to wrestling at Wrestlemania 31. They used the legitimacy line to bring Lesnar back a couple of years ago, but Rousey would bring some much needed attention – if nothing else – to the Divas division at the moment.

 

In the Industry

 

Lei’D Tapa leaves TNA – staying with the Divas, Lei’D Tapa has left TNA. In case you’re not aware of her, she was TNA’s Tamina Snuka, only instead of AJ she was paired with Gail Kim. And TNA’s storyline started first. I suppose you could say that Tamina is WWE’s Tapa. They really were very similar storylines.

TNA/Wrestle-1 Partnership – TNA have teamed up with the Japanese Wrestle-1 promotion, and to great effect. Wrestle-1’s Seiya Sanada is the current TNA X Division champion. Is it really helping TNA? Not really. They’re still dwindling. But at least they’re trying new things.

AJ Styles heading to New Japan (NJPW) – meanwhile, former TNA stalwart AJ Styles is heading to Japan, with the New Japan Pro Wrestling promotion. He is said to be a replacement for the outgoing Prince Devitt, who may or may not be WWE-bound, depending on whether you think his comments at an ICW show in Glasgow are part of a work or not.

Angelina Love returns to TNA – one knockout out, one knockout in. Tapa left, but Angelina Love returned – and appears to be reforming the Beautiful People. She was a top contender in the knockout division for years before her previous departure, so this is a big name for TNA to bring in.

Willow debut – it was announced last month, but it happened this month: Willow debuted in TNA. Kind of. It’s really Jeff Hardy under the mask, so you may not count it as a debut. His debut was as part of MVP’s victorious team at Lockdown, but they only won because Bully Ray turned face against Dixie Carter. I do like the Willow character, but it kind of comes across as TNA’s answer to Bray Wyatt – a psycho who has a maniacal laugh. It’s not bad, but as with most of what TNA does, it just doesn’t compare to the big dogs in the yard.

 

That’s all for this month! There were fewer stories this time round as I said before, mainly because most of the focus has been on Wrestlemania.  And with this post out of the way, our attention here at Plebs of Wrestling also turns towards Wrestlemania! Our predictions for the final event in our prediction league will be up at the end of the week, so until then get sharing, commenting, liking and anything else that springs to mind! Our contact details are below. Until next time folks!

 

Email: wrestlingsplebs@hotmail.com

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