Sorry for the radio silence guys, it’s been a busy month personally. And it’s coincided with quite a dramatic lack of news in the post-Mania wrestling world. Considering how eagerly everybody was clutching to any scrap of any information at the start of the month, it’s one hell of a drop off.
But that doesn’t mean that nothing happened at all – this was Wrestlemania month after all – so this is your monthly news in review column for the month of April 2014! If you haven’t seen this format before, it’s pretty simple to pick up. I divide the biggest news stories of the month into three categories: Inside The Ring, for things that we see in the WWE on our screens every week; Outside The Ring for the backstage gossip that isn’t really developed on TV; and finally In The Industry for any non-WWE related news stories. Let’s get to it!
Inside The Ring
Wrestlemania XXX – Might as well start with this one. It was packed with memorable moments; from The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Hulk Hogan sharing the ring, to Cesaro lifting Big Show over the top rope with ease, to Daniel Bryan leading a stadium full of people in chanting “YES” after becoming the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion (and of course something else, but I’ll get to that later). Once you get over the shock of THAT other incident, it was actually a pretty good show. The only other thing you could really be disappointed about is the lack of a showcase for The Shield, but they have bigger and better things to worry about. Good matches, big names, surprise returns, unexpected moments… What else could you want from a Wrestemania?
Post-Wrestlemania Raw – this goes hand in hand with the biggest show of the year, and is often the most eagerly anticipated show of the year. It was again quite a memorable show, but for me it lacked a real “Oh My God” moment that the last couple of years had. Even so, you had Paige’s debut and Divas Title win, Cesaro becoming a Heyman guy, and the return of Evolution. And of course, The Shield got to shine in the main event, putting the focus back on them after their match was cut short at Mania.
The Devil’s Favourite Return – Masked Kane is back, and they did a good job of putting over how vicious he can be with three Tombstone Piledriver’s on Bryan. A month ago he was a corporate stooge. Now he’s going to be challenging Daniel Bryan for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Seems like a bit of a jump, but that’s really how credible Kane is.
The Streak Ends – The big one. This year we saw the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania come to an end at the hands of Paul Heyman’s client: Brock Lesnar. There has been so many rumours from this – the referee apparently didn’t know it was happening, it was apparently Vince McMahon’s call to end the streak, and the decision was reportedly made at the last minute. Whatever you believe, one thing that we all know is that the streak is over. We haven’t seen Taker since, and we don’t really know at this point whether or not he’s finished.
Re-Evolution – Evolution rides again! One of the most dominant groups in history with a combined 31 world championships (and that’s without Ric Flair) is back on our screens in 2014. Batista has joined together with Randy Orton and Triple H to continue the feud against The Shield, while Stephanie McMahon and Kane seem to have continued the Authority’s grudge with Daniel Bryan. Evolution face off against The Shield at Extreme Rules, in what I’m predicting to be match of the night.
Outside The Ring
Hall of Fame – We finally saw 6 deserving people and Mr T get inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. It’s always a fun night, and this year you could make the argument that the most memorable part was Mr T rambling on about his momma.
RIP Warrior – Warrior died three days after being inducted into the Hall Of Fame, two days after his first appearance on WWE TV for almost 20 years, and one day after cutting a promo on Raw for the first time in almost 20 years. Thank god all that happened. He made peace with the McMahons and Hogan, and passed away while still in the forefront of our minds. RIP Warrior.
AJ/Punk Engagement – The best couple in the world are engaged. AJ hasn’t been seen on WWE TV since she lost to Paige the night after Mania, and apparently she asked for some time off. Presumably this has something to do with it. There’s still no word on a Punk return, but here’s hoping we see these two again sooner rather than later.
WWE Releases – There’s usually the traditional “spring cleaning” of talent just after Wrestlemania, but in the last two or three years it hasn’t really happened. This year it kind of has. While the likes of JTG and Yoshi Tatsu still have a job (I think, though I haven’t actually checked for a while) Ezekial Jackson has been released. The last ever ECW Champion was never used after picking up an injury a while back, and now won’t get that opportunity. Other releases come from NXT, including the Welshman Mason Ryan, the former NXT Tag Team Champion Oliver Grey and Shaul Guerrero – Eddie and Vickie’s daughter.
Brie Danielson – It must have been a really strange month for Daniel Bryan. He wins the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania after defeating Triple H earlier on the same show, then he gets married to Brie Bella and sets off on their honeymoon, but then his father passes away. He’s still soldiered on through most of it, so all the more credit to him for performing when nobody would have blamed him for taking a week off.
Darren Young injured – One half of the former Prime Time Players picked up an injury in April – and no, it wasn’t more damage to Titus’ credibility. Darren Young underwent surgery on his ACL, and will be out for 4-6 months. I’m sure we’re all eagerly awaiting his return.
Mick Foley rejects Legends contract – Mick Foley is no longer under contract with the WWE. He rejected a legends contract apparently because he wasn’t paid for his appearance in WWE 13, and the offer for WWE 2K14 was insultingly low. He did it to make a stand, hopefully to stop others who need the money more being subject to the same low offer, but you have to question what impact this will really have in the long run, aside from furthering the dispute between WWE officials and the ever outspoken Foley.
NXT Takeover – after the success of the NXT:arRival event, WWE are doing another one. Some matches have been announced, but I believe they are spoilers because 4 weeks of NXT are taped at once, so I won’t list them here. All I’ll say is that the NXT Championship Match is an early dark horse for match of the year because of the talent involved, and a new NXT Woman’s Champion will be crowned, with the show featuring the final of a tournament to find the new champion after Paige was stripped of her title essentially due to being on the main roster. Again, that title match should be really good. High hopes for this as ever, anything NXT produces is generally very good.
In The Industry
Eric Young wins TNA World Title – In what looks like an attempt to capitalise on the success of Daniel Bryan over at WWE, TNA have made Eric Young their World Champion. For those who don’t know who he is, he is of a similar stature to Bryan, has a big beard like Bryan, and has been in TNA since 2004, making him one of the longest serving members of the TNA roster. He has held nearly every title in the company, including the Knockouts (Female) Tag Team Championship. Seriously.
Global Force Wrestling – Jeff Jarrett’s new promotion was officially announced. They have been popping up every now and then, without actually doing anything major yet, but they have announced a partnership with AAA – Mexico’s premier wrestling promotion. The thing is, even though there’s been plenty of speculation about who will make up their roster, they don’t look like putting on any form of wrestling show until October at the earliest. So we have at least another 5 months before actually seeing the company in action folks, but you can bet Jarrett will be doing his best to get as many people interested as possible before it does.
Heyman on the SCSA Podcast – This isn’t a major news event, but it is pure awesomeness. I highly recommend you go and listen to both of the episodes of the Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast featuring Paul Heyman. Two great minds talking about the business, and a fantastic insight into Heyman’s mentality now, as well as back in the mid-2000s when he fell out with the McMahons. An absolute must hear.
Christopher Daniels, Chris Sabin leaves TNA – Several big names have left TNA in recent months. Sting, AJ Styles, and now two more stalwarts of the company in Christopher Daniels (with his former tag team partner Kazarian rumoured to follow in the next month) and their former world champion Chris Sabin. On one hand, all these big names leaving isn’t a good sign for the company, but then again maybe getting the bigger salaries off the bill is just what TNA need.
Kenta heading to WWE? – And now to Japan. Kenta announced his resignation from Pro Wrestling NOAH a couple of days ago, and since he is widely considered one of the best talents in Japan, coupled with the fact he was at the WWE performance centre at the end of January, speculation is rife that he is heading to WWE. He has wrestled in America before for Ring of Honor, where he regularly came across one Bryan Danielson between 2005 and 2006. He has also used a certain Go 2 Sleep manoeuvre as his finisher. I wonder if he would be able to make it big in the WWE? Odds on for me.
So there you have it, the news from April. So much of the month seemed to be focused around Wrestlemania – in the first week of the month everything was focused on Mania, it was like other companies didn’t exist. It felt like a slow news month, but maybe that was just because we were all coming down from the high of Mania for most of it.
Personally, right at this moment, I think the Kenta story is the most interesting – but it is very fresh, with many more potential new developments to come. He could even be heading to GFW. That’s one we’ll have to wait and see for.
As always, please get in touch with any comments, talking points, or even suggestions for what to write, via the means below. We’ be back in a couple of days time with the Extreme Rules predictions, and the start of our new Prediction League!