This Week in ‘E – Finally…The Rock Has Come Back…Home
by Mark Allen on February 21, 2011

The Rock is back and so is Trish Stratus. What is this, 2001? No, it means it’s WrestleMania season and I couldn’t be happier.

Opening Witty Banter
So did anything happen in WWE this past week? It’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

Let’s take some ‘E…

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 Manager’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 WWE’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 everyone’s all-time greatest list and one of the flagship parts of the hugely successful “Attitude” era and Monday Night Wars in the late ‘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 SmackDown’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 “mark out” moment for yours truly. The Rock is so talented, charismatic and engaging that he elevates an entire WWE program with his appearance, especially in today’s era where so many of WWE’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 WWE’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 show’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 Women’s Championship a record seven times and helped usher in a women’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 Women’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 “tough enough.”

Speaking of Miss USA…

IS MISS USA™ “TOUGH ENOUGH®?”

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – February 17, 2010 USA Network and WWE® announced today that Miss USA™, Rima Fakih will be one of the aspiring contestants on USA Network’s upcoming non-scripted series WWE TOUGH ENOUGH®. 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 WrestleMania® XXVII and immediately following USA’s ratings juggernaut WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW®. It moves to its regularly scheduled slot in primetime, Mondays at 8/7c, starting on April 11.

“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to battle for a title in an entirely different competition,” said Fakih. “Miss USA is an incredible honor that’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.”

The casting announcement follows the recent appointment of WWE Hall of Famer “Stone Cold” Steve Austin® as series host and WWE Legend Booker T™ 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 world’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 company’s previous reality credits include “The Real Housewives of New York City,” “Who Do You Think You Are,” “World’s Strictest Parents.” 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.

DISC ONE:
The Beginning
WrestleMania is Born
New York, Chicago, Los Angeles
Bigger, Better, Badder !
Influencing a Generation
Battle of the Billionaires
Atlantic City Hotspot
O’ Canada
Hulkamania is WrestleMania
Emotionally Charged
Dream Match…Not a Reality
World’s Largest Toga Party
Back on Broadway
Axxess
Hall of Fame
New Generation
Baddest Man on the Planet
Celebrities
To the New Millennium
Seismic Shift
Mr. WrestleMania
The Crowd Effect
Living Out a Dream
The Music of Mania
Citrus Bowl
Preparing for the Moment
Greatest Match Ever?
Undefeated
The Legacy

The First Main Event
Hulk Hogan & Mr. T vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper & Mr. Wonderful Paul Orndorff
WrestleMania, 31st March, 1985

WWE Intercontinental Championship Match
Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage vs. Ricky ‘the Dragon’ Steamboat
WrestleMania III, 29th March, 1987

WWE Championship Match
Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant
WrestleMania III, 29th March, 1987

Retirement Match
The Ultimate Warrior vs. Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage
WrestleMania VII, 24th March, 1991

Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Razor Ramon vs. Shawn Michaels
WrestleMania X, 20th March, 1994

DISC TWO:
WWE Championship Match
Shawn Michaels vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin
WrestleMania XIV, 29th March, 1998

WWE Tag Team Championship – Triangle Ladder Match
The Hardy Boyz vs. The Dudley Boyz vs. Edge / Christian
WrestleMania 2000, 2nd April, 2000

Street Fight
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

Bonus Features:
• Gene Okerlund Interviews Liberace
• Underestimating the crowd at WrestleMania IX
• Bobby Heenan’s Wild Ride
• Rey Mysterio on His WrestleMania Outfits
• John Cena on Making an Entrance
• Edge on Facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania
• Bret Hart on his Return to WrestleMania
• “My Favourite WrestleMania Moment”

It looks like a good set. Plus you can’t go wrong with that match list, no matter how many repeats there are. It’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:

Legends:
Andre the Giant
Bret “Hit Man” Hart
Eddie Guerrero
Hulk Hogan
Jake “The Snake” Roberts
“Macho Man” Randy Savage
“Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Sgt. Slaughter
The Rock
Ultimate Warrior
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat

The last four names will be revealed next week.

Superstars:
John Cena
Triple H
Rey Mysterio
John Morrison
Big Show
Kofi Kingston
Sheamus
Randy Orton
Jack Swagger
Kane
Edge

The last four names to be revealed next week.

Announcers:
Jim Ross
Jerry “The King” Lawler

Downloadable Characters:
“The Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Ted DiBiase
Dusty Rhodes
Cody Rhodes
Hawk
Animal

I’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 “a Broken toe, torn mcl in foot, torn joint capsule & swelling in bone.”

That’s too bad. When is Kong coming? Where is Beth?

Here’s the scoop according to a source: There has been “no communication whatsoever with Sting, also known as Steve Borden.”
“The 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 what’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.”

Please tell me as a fanboy that he shows up tonight on RAW…Please tell me as a fanboy that he shows up tonight on RAW…

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 doesn’t fit into that gimmick and while Morrison badly needs to turn back to heel, he hasn’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 he’s headed back to Florida for the foreseeable future. WWE officials were high on his in-ring work, but felt his look needed work.

Hmmmm…no shit they weren’t happy with his look. He didn’t look like he walked out of the Kenny Dykstra/Lance Cade factory. That’s too bad. His look made him stand out and he has in ring genetics 90% of the roster would kill for. Here’s hoping he’s back soon, maybe with his little brother in tow.

WWE announced this past week that they hired another corporate dude. Here’s the press release:

STAMFORD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– 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 WWE’s Live Events department which includes ticket sales, event marketing and booking.

“Tom has a proven track record not only with WWE but with several professional sports organizations,” said Stephanie McMahon. “His extensive experience in live event promotions and operations will be a tremendous asset to the company.”

Prior to joining WWE, Veit was President of Major League Soccer’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 XFL’s Orlando Rage, Major League Soccer’s Tampa Bay Mutiny, Arena Football League’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 to…WrestleMania XXVII
WWE Championship
John Cena v. The Miz (c)

World Heavyweight Championship
Edge (c) v. Alberto Del Rio

The WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2011
Shawn Michaels

Wrestler of the Week
Week of February 14 – 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 he’s in a class nearly all to himself would be an understatement.

RAW’s On Tonight!
Tonight is the infamous 2.21.11 episode where someone who suspiciously looks like The Undertaker may make his return. Me I’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 we’ve got that to look forward to. Honestly who knows what is going to happen on tonight’s show but surely these next five episodes leading to WrestleMania will certainly be must see TV.

On Last Week’s Episode…
SmackDown results and 10 thoughts

Superstars

NXT

RAW results, 10 thoughts and judicial review

How They Rated
Superstars (2.10.11) – .65

SmackDown! (2.11.11) – 1.79

A.M. RAW (2.13.11) – .31

RAW (2.14.11) – 3.1

This is Boring, What Else is There to Read?
Logan was all over the place this past week with Superstars from April ‘94 and RAW from February ‘96.

Kue looks back at some of The Rock’s finest behind the microphone.

Ziegler looks back the most recent Rock DVD compilation set.

In Case You Didn’t Spend the $50
Widro took the reigns and handled Elimination Chamber results for the Pulse and Tim Evans handled the 10 thoughts. Here’s the quick ‘n’ dirty.

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 “The King” 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 wouldn’t open. Once it did Orton caught him with a RKO and pinned him immediately. The anonymous RAW General Manager’s e-mail went off and allowed Punk to re-enter the match due to his pod’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.

Rasslin’ 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 “Historically Speaking” commentary-style column into his current Monday morning powerhouse known as “This Week in ‘E.” 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.



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Mark Allen

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  • http://pulsewrestling.com Matthew Michaels

    Love the column today as always! Great recap.

  • Sebastian Howard

    ^
    What he said, by the way I’m not really excited for The Rock and Trish Stratus, it’s not like they’re going to be wrestling.

  • Mike Gojira

    They don’t have to wrestle, Sebastian, to make an impact. The Rock especially, as he was never that great of a mat tactician anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/pulseglazer Aaron Glazer

    Being a great mat technician and wrestler aren’t the same thing. Rock was a phenomenal wrestler. All those great matches didn’t happen on their own.

  • Steven Gepp

    90-107? 46%! Almost breaking even! Woo-hoo!

  • Mike Gojira

    @Glazer: you’re right, as he was great at the little things that helped make a match memorable. I was trying to explain to Sebastian that The Rock doesn’t NEED to wrestle in order to make an impact. He sold me mostly on his promos.

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