The Rock is back and so is Trish Stratus. What is this, 2001? No, it means itâ€™s WrestleMania season and I couldnâ€™t be happier.
Opening Witty Banter
So did anything happen in WWE this past week? Itâ€™s officially WrestleMania season now that all the big news is coming out. Just when you think WrestleMania looks flat, the company goes ahead and decides to bring back The Rock and Trish Stratus in one week just to once again show how is the big dog. Now tonight the big 2.21.11 teaser will be revealed and add more
Letâ€™s take some â€˜Eâ€¦
The News of the Week
The Rock will be the guest host for WWE WrestleMania XXVII, which will be held on Sunday, April 3, live from the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The announcement was made tonight on WWE Monday Night RAW.
The Rock made his entrance in the arena in Anaheim, California, tonight after a long delay and arena blackout. This was his first appearance live inside a WWE ring since August 23, 2004. That night WWE Monday Night RAW was also live from Anaheim, California, where he hosted a Diva Search pie eating contest and then helped Rhyno and Tajiri fight off Jonathan Coachman and La Resistance.
During his interview he claimed he is back in WWE, and then proceeded to mock WWE Champion The Miz and John Cena, which drew him plenty of cheers from long-time, hardcore wrestling fans. During the interview the mysterious RAW General Managerâ€™s laptop went off, indicating an e-mail, but as Michael Cole went to read the e-mail, The Rock told him to sit down and shut up essentially.
Throughout the entire interview, The Rock had the entire crowd eating out of the palm of his hand and definitely toed the line of WWEâ€™s current TV-PG mantra. Realizing the magnitude of the segment, USA Network allowed RAW to overrun until 10:20 PM CST.
The Rock competed for WWE from 1994 until 2004, and along the way became a seven-time WWE Champion, two-time WCW World Champion, two-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, five-time WWE Tag Team Champion, among numerous other accomplishments. He also considered an easy top ten wrestler in virtually everyoneâ€™s all-time greatest list and one of the flagship parts of the hugely successful â€œAttitudeâ€ era and Monday Night Wars in the late â€˜90s.
Since leaving in 2004 he has a few random appearances throughout the years, namely hyping The Battle of the Billionaires match for WrestleMania 23, hype SmackDownâ€™s tenth anniversary show and inducting his father, Rocky Johnson and grandfather, Peter Maivia, into the WWE Hall of Fame the night before WrestleMania XXIV in 2008.
He has then gone on to become a very succsssful movie star, starring in well over a dozen films, including The Scorpion King, Gridiron Gang, The Game Plan, The Tooth Fairy and many others.
As a lifelong pro wrestling fan, this appearance was truly a highlight and â€œmark outâ€ moment for yours truly. The Rock is so talented, charismatic and engaging that he elevates an entire WWE program with his appearance, especially in todayâ€™s era where so many of WWEâ€™s top stars are so young and inexperienced. WWE always steps up their game come WrestleMania time and this appearance will surely go down as a memorable moment on The Road to WrestleMania.
Trish Stratus will be a trainer on WWEâ€™s upcoming Tough Enough revival. The announcement was made tonight during the Elimination Chamber pay per view by fellow Tough Enough trainer Booker T.
After Booker made the announcement Stratus made an appearance live in the arena and gave an interview hyping her return. Later in the evening she ran into the ring and saved Kelly Kelly from an attack by Michelle McCool and Layla El.
Stratus will join Booker T as an announced trainer for Tough Enough, and Stone Cold Steve Austin, who will serve as the showâ€™s host, will join them.
Tough Enough returns on Monday, April 4, the night after WrestleMania XXVII. The show will air on the USA Network immediately after WWE Monday Night RAW for a ten week run.
Stratus is a certified WWE legend and second only to the Fabulous Moolah in terms of female wrestling prestige in WWE canon. After joining WWE in 2000 with no wrestling experience, she turned herself into a world-class wrestler, winning the WWE Womenâ€™s Championship a record seven times and helped usher in a womenâ€™s wrestling renaissance in the company during the middle part of the last decade. Her last match as a full time wrestler in September 2006 at Unforgiven in her hometown of Toronto, Ontario, where she beat Lita to win her seventh and final Womenâ€™s Championship.
It is evident that WWE and the USA Network are serious about Tough Enough as they are certainly bringing out the proverbial big guns in regards to trainers and hosts for the show. The cast has not been revealed in regards to competitors other than the announcement that Miss USA Rima Fakih will be one of the twelve people competing for the chance to be â€œtough enough.â€
Speaking of Miss USAâ€¦
IS MISS USAâ„¢ â€œTOUGH ENOUGHÂ®?â€
NEW YORK, NEW YORK â€“ February 17, 2010 USA Network and WWEÂ® announced today that Miss USAâ„¢, Rima Fakih will be one of the aspiring contestants on USA Networkâ€™s upcoming non-scripted series WWE TOUGH ENOUGHÂ®. Fakih will be squaring off against a tough group of challengers vying for an once-in-a-lifetime shot to become a WWE Superstar or Diva. The series will premiere Monday, April 4 at 11/10c, the day after WrestleManiaÂ® XXVII and immediately following USAâ€™s ratings juggernaut WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAWÂ®. It moves to its regularly scheduled slot in primetime, Mondays at 8/7c, starting on April 11.
â€œI am thrilled to have the opportunity to battle for a title in an entirely different competition,â€ said Fakih. â€œMiss USA is an incredible honor thatâ€™s provided invaluable experience which will undoubtedly help me as I push my performance and athletic skills to the limit. I look forward to learning if I have the mettle to make it in WWE.â€
The casting announcement follows the recent appointment of WWE Hall of Famer â€œStone Coldâ€ Steve AustinÂ® as series host and WWE Legend Booker Tâ„¢ as a trainer. WWE TOUGH ENOUGH contestants will be a diverse group of men and women who will live, train, eat and sleep under one roof in a house in Southern California.
Each week the contestants will battle it out in a series of unique challenges designed to test for such characteristics as showmanship, creativity, athleticism and desire, just to name a few. Viewers will witness the trials and tribulations of what it takes to be one of the best in the worldâ€™s greatest sports entertainment organization. The grand prizewinner will be awarded a contract with WWE.
Shed Media US, noted for its strong characters and memorable casting in the non-scripted arena, will produce WWE TOUGH ENOUGH. The companyâ€™s previous reality credits include â€œThe Real Housewives of New York City,â€ â€œWho Do You Think You Are,â€ â€œWorldâ€™s Strictest Parents.â€ Producing for Shed Media US are Nick Emmerson, Alex Demyanenko and Eric Van Wagenen.
USA Network is the #1 network in all of basic cable and is seen in over 102 million U.S. homes. A division of NBC Universal, USA is the cable television leader in original series and home to the best in blockbuster theatrical films, acquired television series and entertainment events. The award-winning USA website is located at www.usanetwork.com. Characters Welcome.
I think the kids call this stunt casting, but once again I have to say it is evident that WWE and USA are serious about Tough Enough and trying to make it a ratings winner.
WWE will release The True Story of WrestleMania on DVD on Mar h 15, conveniently right before WrestleMania XXVII. Here is the set list.
WrestleMania is Born
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles
Bigger, Better, Badder !
Influencing a Generation
Battle of the Billionaires
Atlantic City Hotspot
Hulkamania is WrestleMania
Dream Matchâ€¦Not a Reality
Worldâ€™s Largest Toga Party
Back on Broadway
Hall of Fame
Baddest Man on the Planet
To the New Millennium
The Crowd Effect
Living Out a Dream
The Music of Mania
Preparing for the Moment
Greatest Match Ever?
The First Main Event
Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. â€œRowdyâ€ Roddy Piper & Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff
WrestleMania, 31st March, 1985
WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy â€˜Macho Manâ€™ Savage vs. Ricky â€˜the Dragonâ€™ Steamboat
WrestleMania III, 29th March, 1987
WWE Championship Match
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
WrestleMania III, 29th March, 1987
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy â€˜Macho Manâ€™ Savage
WrestleMania VII, 24th March, 1991
Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels
WrestleMania X, 20th March, 1994
WWE Championship Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
WrestleMania XIV, 29th March, 1998
WWE Tag Team Championship â€“ Triangle Ladder Match
The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge / Christian
WrestleMania 2000, 2nd April, 2000
Shane McMahon vs. Vince McMahon
WrestleMania X-Seven, 1st April, 2001
Icon vs. Icon
The Rock vs. Hollywood Hulk Hogan
WrestleMania X-8, 17th March, 2002
WWE Championship Match
Kurt Angle vs. Brock Lesnar
WrestleMania XIX, 30th March, 2003
WWE Championship Match
John Cena vs. Triple H
WrestleMania 22, 2nd April, 2006
Blu-ray Exclusive Content
Money in the Bank Ladder Match
CM Punk vs. Shelton Benjamin vs. Chris Jericho vs. Carlito vs. MVP vs. Mr. Kennedy vs. John Morrison
WrestleMania XXIV, 30th March, 2008
The Undertaker vs. Shawn Michaels
WrestleMania XXV, 5th April, 2009
WWE Championship Match
Batista vs. John Cena
WrestleMania XXVI, 28th March, 2010
â€¢ Gene Okerlund Interviews Liberace
â€¢ Underestimating the crowd at WrestleMania IX
â€¢ Bobby Heenanâ€™s Wild Ride
â€¢ Rey Mysterio on His WrestleMania Outfits
â€¢ John Cena on Making an Entrance
â€¢ Edge on Facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania
â€¢ Bret Hart on his Return to WrestleMania
â€¢ â€œMy Favourite WrestleMania Momentâ€
It looks like a good set. Plus you canâ€™t go wrong with that match list, no matter how many repeats there are. Itâ€™s only really missing Austin-Hart and Austin-Rock 2.
Thanks to IGN they have now released a total of 22 of the 30 characters for the upcoming WWE All-Stars game, plus the names of six downloadable characters. They include:
Andre the Giant
Bret â€œHit Manâ€ Hart
Jake â€œThe Snakeâ€ Roberts
â€œMacho Manâ€ Randy Savage
â€œRowdyâ€ Roddy Piper
Ricky â€œThe Dragonâ€ Steamboat
The last four names will be revealed next week.
The last four names to be revealed next week.
Jerry â€œThe Kingâ€ Lawler
â€œThe Million Dollar Manâ€ Ted DiBiase
Iâ€™m not a gamer at all but it sounds like a fun game I guess.
Michelle McCool, who was wearing a cast and limping at the SmackDown tapings, tweeted she suffered â€œa Broken toe, torn mcl in foot, torn joint capsule & swelling in bone.â€
Thatâ€™s too bad. When is Kong coming? Where is Beth?
Hereâ€™s the scoop according to a source: There has been â€œno communication whatsoever with Sting, also known as Steve Borden.â€
â€œThe writing team thought this was like a gift from God himself and the writing team is under the impression there was a conversation with Vince, Stephanie, HHH, and maybe (WWE Talent Executive) John Laurinaitis. No one knows whatâ€™s really going on, or even if this was a Vince or HHH call, but everyone is under the impression there is absolutely no communication between WWE and Sting.â€
Please tell me as a fanboy that he shows up tonight on RAWâ€¦Please tell me as a fanboy that he shows up tonight on RAWâ€¦
Vince McMahon was reportedly deciding between four men to lead The New Nexus and receive that big push that came with it. Along with Punk, who McMahon obviously chose, were Randy Orton, Sheamus, and John Morrison. McMahon is high on the current group and officials have wanted to remove Wade Barrett as leader since the summer.
Punk was a good choice. Sheamus doesnâ€™t fit into that gimmick and while Morrison badly needs to turn back to heel, he hasnâ€™t proven himself as someone who can lead a bunch of rookie heels.
Speaking of the Nexus, not surprisingly Husky Harris was sent back to FCW after to the punt to his head a few weeks back. His bio has been put back on the FCW site and it seems heâ€™s headed back to Florida for the foreseeable future. WWE officials were high on his in-ring work, but felt his look needed work.
Hmmmmâ€¦no shit they werenâ€™t happy with his look. He didnâ€™t look like he walked out of the Kenny Dykstra/Lance Cade factory. Thatâ€™s too bad. His look made him stand out and he has in ring genetics 90% of the roster would kill for. Hereâ€™s hoping heâ€™s back soon, maybe with his little brother in tow.
WWE announced this past week that they hired another corporate dude. Hereâ€™s the press release:
STAMFORD, Conn.â€“(BUSINESS WIRE)â€“ WWE announced today that Thomas Veit has been named Senior Vice President of Live Events. Veit will report to Stephanie McMahon, WWE Executive Vice President, Creative Development and Operations. In his new role, Veit will oversee WWEâ€™s Live Events department which includes ticket sales, event marketing and booking.
â€œTom has a proven track record not only with WWE but with several professional sports organizations,â€ said Stephanie McMahon. â€œHis extensive experience in live event promotions and operations will be a tremendous asset to the company.â€
Prior to joining WWE, Veit was President of Major League Soccerâ€™s Philadelphia Union and PPL Park As President, he directed the creation, development, and operation of all business activities for the launch of the stadium and team.
Veit was the Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs at the University of South Florida prior to Keystone Sports & Entertainment. He has also held positions with the XFLâ€™s Orlando Rage, Major League Soccerâ€™s Tampa Bay Mutiny, Arena Football Leagueâ€™s Tampa Bay Storm, Pace Entertainment and Clear Channel Communications.
Veit holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and International Affairs from the University of South Florida.
Good luck to that guy.
The Road toâ€¦WrestleMania XXVII
John Cena v. The Miz (c)
World Heavyweight Championship
Edge (c) v. Alberto Del Rio
The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2011
Wrestler of the Week
Week of February 14 â€“ 20: The Rock
Do I really need to explain this one? He walked out center ring last week on Monday Night RAW and once again grabbed the wrestling world by the balls. For 20 minutes he held the wrestling world in the palm of his hand and reminded me once again why I am a pro wrestling fan. To say heâ€™s in a class nearly all to himself would be an understatement.
RAWâ€™s On Tonight!
Tonight is the infamous 2.21.11 episode where someone who suspiciously looks like The Undertaker may make his return. Me Iâ€™m personally still holding hope as a fan that Sting shows up, or maybe even Awesome Kong. Plus with The Elimination Chamber in the books there are no more pit stops left on the road to WrestleMania, which means the company should be at top of its game for the next five weeks. The Miz is still WWE Champion and unsurprisingly John Cena is the number one contender, so weâ€™ve got that to look forward to. Honestly who knows what is going to happen on tonightâ€™s show but surely these next five episodes leading to WrestleMania will certainly be must see TV.
How They Rated
Superstars (2.10.11) â€“ .65
SmackDown! (2.11.11) â€“ 1.79
A.M. RAW (2.13.11) â€“ .31
RAW (2.14.11) â€“ 3.1
In the dark match that happened live before the pay per view went on the air, WWE United States Champion Daniel Bryan beat Ted DiBiase.
In the opening match, Alberto Del Rio made WWE Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston tap out to a rolling cross armbreaker. The Intercontinental Championship was not on the line during the match.
In an Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship, Edge retained his Championship by last defeating Rey Mysterio. Also included in the match were Kane, Wade Barrett, Drew McIntyre and The Big Show. Edge and Mysterio started the match. Barrett entered third, Kane fourth, McIntyre fifth and Big Show sixth.
Order of elimination:
Big Show pinned Barrett after a knockout punch.
Kane pinned Big Show after a chokeslam.
Kane pinned Big Show.
Edge pinned Kane after a spear.
Edge pinned Mysterio after catching him with a mid-air spear.
Post-match Alberto Del Rio hit the ring and attacked Edge. Christian then made his return and attacked Del Rio. He dropped Del Rio with a Killswitch and then Edge hit him with a spear.
In the ring, Booker T announces Trish Stratus as a trainer for the upcoming return of Tough Enough.
The Corre (Justin Gabriel & Heath Slater) beat Santino Marella & Vladimir Kozlov to win the WWE Tag Team Championships. Gabriel pinned Kozlov after hitting the 450 Splash. The Corre were accompanied by Ezekiel Jackson while Tamina accompanied Marella and Kozlov.
Vickie Guerrero then came out to the ring to beg SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long to rehire her boyfriend Dolph Ziggler. Long did not rehire Ziggler but did rehire Kelly Kelly. Kelly then came to the ring and attacked Vickie. Michelle McCool and Layla then ran out to attack Kelly and save Vickie. Trish Stratus then came back out and attacked both members of LayCool.
WWE Champion The Miz pinned Jerry â€œThe Kingâ€ Lawler after a Skull Crushing Finale to retain the Championship.
In the main event Elimination Chamber match, John Cena last defeated CM Punk to become number one contender for the WWE Championship. Also included in the match were John Morrison, R-Truth, Randy Orton and King Sheamus. Morrison and Sheamus started the match. Orton entered third. Punk was originally the fourth entrant but his pod wouldnâ€™t open. Once it did Orton caught him with a RKO and pinned him immediately. The anonymous RAW General Managerâ€™s e-mail went off and allowed Punk to re-enter the match due to his podâ€™s malfunction. John Cena then entered, followed by R-Truth and then Punk once again.
Order of elimination:
Sheamus pinned R-Truth after a Brogue Kick.
Punk pinned Orton after a GTS.
Morrison pinned Sheamus after diving off the top of the domed cage onto Shamus.
Punk pinned Morrison after a GTS.
Cena pinned Punk after an Attitude Adjustment.
Rasslinâ€™ Roundtable Results for Elimination Chamber
Kelly got together a small group to predict the future in regards to Elimination Chamber. And clearly it was a predictable show as everyone did quite well.
Here are the results:
Rhett Davis: 5-0 (11-6)
Matthew Michaels: 5-0 (239-210)
Kelly Floyd: 4-1 (20-15)
Steven Gepp: 4-1 (90-107)
Mark has been a columnist for Pulse Wrestling for over three years now, evolving from his original â€œHistorically Speakingâ€ commentary-style column into his current Monday morning powerhouse known as â€œThis Week in â€˜E.â€ He also contributes to other ventures, outside of IP, most notably as the National Pro Wrestling Examiner for Examiner.com and a contributor for The Wrestling Press. Follow me on Twitter here.