Podcasts

MFX145 – Seth Rollins is…The Estate Agent.

It’s that time once again – MFX is back to bring you the kind of loosely based around pro wrestling podcast that will tickle your funny bone until you squirt.  Join your heroes Duckman and Sir Ian Trumps as they traverse the week in pro wrestling, pop culture and everything in between.  On the show this week…

What’s this, an MFX podcast?  But we only got to hear the last one 6 weeks ago!  Well you’re in luck folks because a gap in their busy playboy lifestyles means the lads are back with an MFX show so packed full of pro wrestling and pod culture chat that it should come with a government health warning!

The lads discuss Duckman’s birthday – which is today!  They then get stuck into an indepth preview of WrestleMania.  They talk all the matches, the feuds and plenty more – including giving Seth Rollins an even more boring nickname than he already has, plus Sami Zayn gets a new gig working for a psychotic John Cena.  Ah, it’s good to have MFX back.  Plus there’s time for an update on the new IMPACT wrestling and some chat about what the future could hold for that permanently sinking ship.

So sit back, relax and get your ear holes primed for some seriously entertaining MFX goodness.  The pro wrestling podcast that’s so good, you don’t even need to like pro wrestling to enjoy it!

As always thanks for listening and be sure to get involved with the show through all the usual channels.

Follow MFX on social media:

http://twitter.com/MFXPodcast

http://twitter.com/MFXDuckman

http://twitter.com/SirIanTrumps

https://www.facebook.com/MarksforXcellence/

And check us out on The Misfits Podcast Network:

http://www.themisfitsnetwork.com/

Podcasts

MFX137 – WrestleMania 32 Alternative Audio Show

Join your heroes Duckman and Sir Ian Trumps as they traverse the week in pro wrestling, pop culture and everything in between.  On the show this week…

Well it’s finally here.  After many, many confusing and disappointing miles, we’ve made it to the end of the road…it’s WRESTLEMANIA, baby!!!!  The biggest show in WWE history for gate receipts and number of tickets sold has had us on a rocky road, but with the showcase of the immortals finally here, it’s time to sit back, sync up your version of WrestleMania 32 with our audio and experience WrestleMania 32 as we do – LIVE!

This’ll be our longest show ever, with WrestleMania 32 clocking in at over 4 hours long!  Will Roman Reigns’ skeleton be shaken from his body due to the booing of 85,000 fans?  Just how tanned will HHH be?  And just how ridiculous will his entrance end up being?  Will Shane McMahon jump off something high and will The Rock cut a movie promoting promo of epic proportions?  Join us as we answer these questions and more!  It’s time for WrestleMania 32, please forgive the lads for any mark out moments, there’s bound to be a few!  Hopefully…

As always thanks for listening and be sure to get involved with the show through all the usual channels.

Follow MFX on social media:

http://twitter.com/MFXPodcast
http://twitter.com/MFXDuckman
http://twitter.com/SirIanTrumps
https://www.facebook.com/MarksforXcellence/

And check us out at our new home, The Misfits Podcast Network:

http://www.themisfitsnetwork.com/

Podcasts

MFX136 – Hulk Hogan vs. The Gobbledy Gawker

The lads have been off air for a month, but they’re back with a Hogan filled riot of a show and some big news about the new home of MFX!

Join your heroes Duckman and Sir Ian Trumps as they traverse the week in pro wrestling, pop culture and everything in between.  On the show this week…

The lads hit the ground running with chat about Cuba Gooding Jnr, John Travolta, scientology and more!  Plus they announce their new home – The Misfits Podcast Network!!  The perfect place for MFX to ply their trade!

There’s tons on the Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker trial, we learn about the difference between Terry Bollea and Hulk Hogan (turns out it’s about 7 inches) and so much more from the trial of the century!

The lads preview WrestleMania 32 in their own inimitable fashion – tons of laughs and plenty of scorn for Dolph Ziggler’s stand-up comedy career.  Every match on the biggest show of the year is dissected in a MFX style!

MFX Alternative Audio link is here: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x2iazr_hulk-hogan-vs-the-ultimate-warrior_sport and you should watch this match as it’s one of Hulk Hogan’s true classics!  You get a count down from 5 after the intro music to get the video ready and listen along to our commentary!

The show, as always, is wrapped up with the Try Hard Ruler of the Week.  Three tragic stories, only one winner!

A fun show from start to finish, with plenty of laughs and loads of Hulk Hogan related shenanigans – what’s not to love?

Be sure to get involved with the show through all the usual channels.  Remember to check out our new home on the Misfits Network and follow them on social media!

Thanks for listening.

Podcasts

MFX135 – Row-Man and Dingy Fight The Monster (Fastlane Commentary Show)

It’s that time of the month again – WWE have a PPV and Duckman and Sir Ian watch the show and comment in real time.  It’s Fastlane, the last PPV before WrestleMania, so expect a few rubbish matches, a twenty-minute RAW segment that goes on far too long and plenty of giggles as Duckman and Sir Ian bring their own brand of commentary to a WWE show.

There’s an appearance and song by Rybitch and Jeff Nero Hardy – inspired by the booking leading up to Fastlane, it’s called Re-Imagine and it’s amazing.

Then Sir Ian arrives to save Duckman and they get on with watching Fastlane and marking out at so much fun stuff.  You haven’t enjoyed a WWE PPV until you’ve listened to it with MFX commentary.  So sync up your video of Fastlane and let Duckman and Sir Ian improve a WWE PPV by 500%

Thanks for listening and be sure to get involved with the show through all the usual channels.

Podcasts

MFX132 – A Right Royal Rumble

Surprise!  MFX is back with the first show of 2016 and we’re doing something different to kick off our new year.  It’s time for Duckman and Sir Ian Trumps to guide you through the wonder that is WWE’s Royal Rumble PPV event!  The road to WrestleMania starts here and Duckman and Sir Ian are driving the fun bus all the way to Dallas.

We’re breaking ground (yep, another WWE pun) here as Duckman and Sir Ian watch the Royal Rumble and record their thoughts as the show goes on.  It’s fun, it’s insightful, it’s silly and it’s MFX talking wrestling as only we can.

So sit back, fire up the Royal Rumble, sync it up with our commentary and get ready to experience the Royal Rumble in a whole new way!

We’re looking for your feedback on this show, cause if you like it, it’s something we’ll do again in the future.

As always, thanks for listening and let’s get our Royal Rumble on!

Podcasts

MFX117 – Justin Luger, Hidden Atari (The WrestleMania Report)

O.M.G!  How awesome was WrestleMania 31?!  Answer: very!  That’s right folks, MFX is back with a review of WrestleMania 31 and all hell is breaking loose.  With Duckman on holiday, without his usual set up, Sir Ian steps into the host chair and Duckman and Marc Abrigo guest star on Trumps for Xcellence.

Listen as Sir Ian attempts to host a podcast in his own inimitable fashion, which basically involves insulting everyone on the show and butchering a wrestler’s name so spectacularly, the lads spend the rest of the show ripping on him for it!  Marc give his in person report from the WWE Hall of Fame, NXT and of course, WrestleMania 31.  Hear stories of annoying wrestling fans, sign etiquette, Abrigo protecting kayfabe and so much more.

The lads do a full review of WrestleMania 31 as only MFX can – with tales of Sean Waltman living in a cardboard box, Larry Zbyszko being a hall of fame stalker, Hulk Hogan trying to steal the spotlight from Bitch Sting, double brother wanking over Ronda Rousey, and tales of Alex Smiley’s crazy pants emporium.

Plus the lads review the follow night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, with its crazy chants, awesome Brock Lesnar angle, Michael Cole’s lonely shoe, Bryon Saxton putting the world to sleep and nerdy wrestler names.

This is the review of WrestleMania you’ve been waiting for.  So stop reading this rubbish and get listening!

MFX Ramblings, Under The Spotlight

Under the Spotlight – WrestleMania XXXI: Part One

The dust has finally settled from a stellar WrestleMania weekend, and whether or not you were excited about the event to begin with, WWE delivered a showcase that exceeded all expectations.

It’s strange to think, last week I was trying my hardest to write some predictions for the 31st instalment of the Show of Shows, and it just felt so unnatural. The build-up was so lacklustre that it felt like I had to work harder to get myself excited about each match, than WWE creative did actually building towards the event.

I will admit, however, that in the final days before ‘Mania, the expertly designed promo vignettes for each bout actually did a great job of creating some last-minute hype, but up until then it was just the name “WrestleMania” that kept me intrigued.

But needless to say, I loved WrestleMania 31 to the point where I can say it was one of the best I’ve seen in years. My two favourites are 20 and 28, my first to watch live as a kid and my first to attend respectively, but apart from those, this could easily be up there with my all-time favourites.

And before we move forward and look towards Extreme Rules and even as far as SummerSlam and next year’s WrestleMania, it’s time to look back at the spectacle that came out of Levi’s Stadium last Sunday night.

Now, the last thing you need is for me to do match-by-match analyses of the show, because it would honestly just be me saying “that was bloody awesome, next” to each one. Instead, let’s discuss some of the biggest moments, highest talking points and the questionable decisions that came out of it, as well as how to go forward from them.

Big Show wins the André the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

There was a lot more disappointment from this result than I ever would have imagined. To be quite honest, I can’t think of anybody more deserving to win a Battle Royal dedicated to the memory of André than Big Show.

Granted, I think having Cesaro bodyslam Show over the top rope last year was genius, and Cesaro was long overdue a bit of spotlight in WWE. The way they almost repeated that finish this year was great too, because once again, Cesaro’s unparalleled strength was put on display. He looked amazing yet again, and that was even after he’d retained the Tag-Team Championship in an extremely fun, exciting opening contest with a brilliant finish.

I won’t lie, I was rooting for Cesaro, Hideo Itami and by the end, Damien Mizdow to pull off the victory, but did Big Show deserve it? Damn right he did. The only good WrestleMania moment he had to himself was winning the Intercontinental Championship in 2012, and after a brilliant career like he’s had, I think it only makes sense for him to have at least one match he can look back at as an example of where his size actually proved an advantage to him.

Big Show has been compared to André the Giant his whole career. Hell, I wrote a list of my dream matches for SLTD Wrestling for Christmas in 2013, and I had Big Show/André in my top five. It just makes sense, and I know it’s easy to look at a man as big as Paul Wight and say “that guy’s like André the Giant” but I feel like he’s prided himself on it his whole career, and not only that, but he’s tried to amass a legacy just as impressive.

There are many people who see Big Show, and this goes for Kane too, and think his day in the sun should’ve ended several years ago, and that may blind people into thinking the man doesn’t deserve big things anymore because he’s overstaying his welcome, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Especially in Kane’s case, a lot of people think that the corporate stuff they do these days is ruining the legacy they’ve created for themselves over the years.

I think it shows that they can adapt, that they know what it takes to stay around for so long in a business that thrives on new faces being introduced every year. And no, Big Show isn’t going to be on our television screens for much longer, whether that means a couple of months or a few years, but I think he’s good enough at what he does, that if he feels that he can still work every week, he should be allowed to do that.

Besides, I think he proved during the Battle Royal just how physically fit he really is, because he was knocked off the apron by Big E, and he had to rely on his upper body strength to pull himself back up. That’s a lot of man to pull up! Now, he didn’t exactly skin the cat, but it was impressive nonetheless, and it’s small feats of strength and moments like that that show me he’s not quite ready to hang the boots up just yet.

My only critique is that the Battle Royal was on the pre-show, but I still got to see it live (not for €9.99 though, bloody currency conversion), so I suppose that’s only a small thing. I wouldn’t mind the André Battle Royal being an annual thing, because it means that some of the rivalries, as we saw with Miz and Mizdow, can have their moments on the grand stage of WrestleMania. It also gets some of the lower card stars like Zack Ryder and Heath Slater on the card somehow, which is great.

It is also a nice way of introducing an NXT star or two to the crowd in a small way, as we saw with Hideo Itami, who had a lot of supporters, especially after eliminating Bo Dallas with a huge kick to the face. It was also cool to see that rather than have someone like Ryback take Itami out, and then get eliminated himself, they had to have the 400-pound giant do it, and he ended up winning the thing in the end. Hopefully when Itami makes his official debut, we can see him go one-on-one with the Big Show, because that would be a David vs. Goliath situation if I ever saw one.

Anyway, nobody should criticise WWE for giving Big Show this victory, because I cannot stress enough just how much he deserves it. Out of everyone in that match, young or old, face or heel, this man winning made the most sense. If he wins it two years in a row, then you can talk, but for now be happy for the man.

Sting plays the game, and loses

Let’s be honest here; after an entrance like that, how can you possibly lose? I don’t care if Triple H used his relationship with Arnold Schwarzenegger to make that Terminator-inspired arrival a possibility, if WWE paid a fortune or if Hollywood paid for the publicity for the new film, I thought it was amazing.

Triple H has become known for his unbelievably powerful, emphatic entrances on the Grandest Stage of them all, and I don’t know if he’ll ever top what they accomplished this year. That was damn cool. The Terminator series is probably my favourite action movie franchise, and Arnie’s “it’s time to play the game” was just freaking awesome. Definitely screamed “WrestleMania” to me.

Back on the wrasslin’ side of things, I think there were a lot of mixed feelings going into this match to begin with. Some people expected it to be slow and boring due to it being Sting’s first ever match in a WWE ring, not to mention his age, other people thought that the atmosphere of WrestleMania would bring the best out of Sting and make his debut one to remember.

I for one, did not expect the nostalgia-fest that we witnessed when D-Generation X squared off against the New World Order. That was an extremely pleasant surprise, and only served to make it, what many seem to believe, the match of the night.

It wasn’t my favourite match last Sunday, but that’s only because I thought the rest of the line-up was so entertaining to witness. Without the blast from the past, and that amazing Sweet Chin Music from Mr. WrestleMania, Shawn Michaels, I’m not sure it would’ve been nearly as enjoyable. Still though, amazing stuff.
One of the most questionable decisions that came from Sunday’s event was the decision to have Triple H go over, and at first, I was confused too, but in hindsight I think it was the right decision.

It may have seemed weird to hype Sting up to the point where you treat his WWE arrival like the second coming of the Messiah (or in this case, the first), and then turn around and have him lose his debut match, on a grand stage like WrestleMania, no less.

But this was a unique case in which WWE, and Sting himself, had no idea if this would be a once-off match to say farewell to a legend who never had his day in the sun, or just the beginning. Which means this match had to be treated as a one-time thing.

If you’re looking at this match as the kingpin of WCW taking on the arguable kingpin of WWE, over a decade after WCW lost the Monday Night War, then there’s no way that Sting could’ve left that building with his arm raised.
If you think that’s a crappy way of looking at it, and I sincerely do (or I did, at least), since Sting blatantly stated that he was not going into this match to represent WCW, then you’re looking at one icon versus another. Two equals, two men who were, at different points, at the very top of the ladder in their respective companies.

You still can’t have Triple H lose here, because he’s the one who sticks around. Triple H is the one who walks around Monday Night Raw with his head held high and a grin on his face, because the Authority have once again proved their dominance. And they can throw that in the faces of the John Cenas, the Rocks and the Daniel Bryans of the world.

Sting wins the match, he goes home, and what? Treating this as a once-off means that Triple H had way more to lose in this match. And going back to my previous statement, if Sting had been right about this being a one-on-one match, then yes, he probably should’ve won.

But the second Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall walked out to trade blows with Road Dogg, Billy Gunn and X-Pac, it became about WWE versus WCW again. It wasn’t just about the NWO and DX, because if it was, Shawn Michaels could’ve easily come out wearing black and white too.

Now obviously HBK’s role in DX was about a million times more impactful than his introduction to the NWO in 2002, but the fact remains that he was once a member of the legendary faction. This was obviously about WCW and the WWE again, and in this day and age, you just can’t have WCW win that battle.

Triple H is allowed to have this win, in my opinion. Seeing Sting in the WWE has been amazing, and I think there’s too much potential for them to let him go now, when a legendary final match against The Undertaker would be money in their pocket the second they announce it.

But as we saw on the WWE Network after this week’s Raw, there is no guarantee that Sting will ever face off against The Undertaker. It looks like he wants it to happen, based on his reaction to the chants of the crowd, and there have been several rumours going around that Sting and ‘Taker were fairly close this past weekend, but I don’t think anything is set in stone just yet. Meaning this win belonged to Triple H.

Bryan and Cena win gold

As far as obvious results go, John Cena’s clash with Rusev last weekend takes the cake. If you thought for one second that they would let an undefeated, anti-American powerhouse like Rusev leave WrestleMania with his streak intact, over John Cena, no less, then you need to get your head checked.

But the predictable finish didn’t hurt this match too much. Sure, out of everything on the card, I was probably least interested in this one, but that’s not the point. The biggest question was how Cena could topple the Bulgarian Brute in a believable fashion, so that Rusev could continue to dominate the rest of the roster until his next big adversary came along.

What I did like about the finish to this match was that Cena didn’t win clean. He had what I would call a babyface’s equivalent of a dirty finish, using Lana against Rusev to get the victory. It leaves the question; what would the result be if Lana wasn’t at ringside?

Well, it would’ve been the exact same, but thankfully that doesn’t need to be proven to us. At least not until the latter half of 2015 when Cena buries Rusev in a 30-second match to hype a main event against his newest opponent. I’m looking at you, Bray Wyatt…

Anyway, Cena winning the United States Championship is great in a number of ways. For all of you Cena haters out there, it keeps him away from Ric Flair’s record for at least another couple of months, but it also brings some much-desired prestige to a title that severely lacks it.

As we saw on Monday Night Raw, the reign has already started giving us spectacular matches, with Dean Ambrose’s valiant effort to win back the title. What a brilliant way to give that title some relevance, huh?

I also sense a shift in personality for John Cena too. Maybe it was just that raucous Raw crowd, but Cena seemed a little more attitudinal than usual during his pre-match promo this week. I’m not saying a heel turn is imminent, because I won’t believe that will ever happen until I see it with my own eyes, but after Cena picked up the win, I would not have been too shocked to see him turn on Ambrose. Whatever it was, I liked it.

And speaking of new champions, Daniel Bryan picked up his first Intercontinental Championship in a brutal Ladder Match, meaning he’s officially won every title there is to win on the main roster, excluding the Divas Championship. Obviously.

Again, this is much-needed in order to make a legendary title like the IC Title relevant again, and I can see we’re going to be getting some brilliant matches out of it. For example, I reckon a Fatal Four-Way will be in order at Extreme Rules, with Bad News Barrett, Dolph Ziggler and Sheamus, who has constructed this incredible new heel persona for himself.

I can’t wait to see where Sheamus takes this new-found hatred for human life. For now though, I’ll be happy to see him, Bryan, Barrett and Ziggler deliver what will undoubtedly be some superb matches over the course of the next few weeks.

There are a lot of people that think this is all leading up to Daniel Bryan taking on John Cena soon to unify the mid-card titles, but I think that’s an awful idea. Unless they decide to shorten Raw and have less content each week, which I can’t see happening, that would be counter-productive.

I would absolutely not be opposed to Cena and Bryan squaring off again somewhere down the line, but to unify the titles? No thanks.

No matter where these championship reigns lead, I do think the right men won at WrestleMania, and hope that Cena and Bryan can make the titles important again. That way, whoever ends up winning the belts next will benefit from it the way they should.

Rollins exchanges cash for gold

I don’t know if there’s a person out there that thinks Seth Rollins was undeserving of this monumental victory. Maybe Roman Reigns’ family, who’ve supposedly been so angered by their relative’s loss that they wanted to “go to war” with the WWE over it. Give me a break.

We, as fans, wanted to go to war with the WWE at the Royal Rumble this year (and last) because Daniel Bryan didn’t win the big one. Did we get over it? Yes. Was WrestleMania amazing in spite of it? You’re damn right it was. For such a tough, legendary family, it looks like some of its members need to buck up.

Anyway, I love how last year, well before The Shield imploded following its collision with Evolution, the vast majority of fans thought that Seth Rollins would be the afterthought once the dominant trio went their separate ways.

Dean Ambrose was always considered a wizard on the microphone, Roman Reigns had that sought-after look that Vince McMahon has always loved, and while Rollins had the ability, many people reckoned that he would be the one to fall behind when the other two reached success.

But despite being the only former member of The Shield not to be scheduled for a championship match at WrestleMania this year, he was the only one to walk out with championship gold, and in the main event, no less.

Seth Rollins solidified himself late last year as arguably the biggest heel in the WWE, and quite possibly the future face of the company, and last Sunday he proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

It’s actually phenomenal to think, when I went to Miami for WrestleMania 28 three years ago, the very first match I saw that weekend was Rollins squaring off against Ambrose at Axxess. I knew that was an IWC-dream match, and I loved every minute of it, but never did I think that just three years later, the winner of that match would walk out of WrestleMania with the WWE’s crown jewel. It’s spectacular.

With the news of Brock Lesnar’s new WWE contract breaking early last week, a lot of people (most of whom I think were originally expecting Reigns to win) were left guessing as to who would walk out with the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Surely WWE wouldn’t allow Lesnar to keep the title when he’s done barely anything with it since SummerSlam, but surely they also wouldn’t let Reigns win the title when the vast majority of fans in Levi’s Stadium would lose their shit if he did.

In the end, no matter how many people wanted Lesnar or Reigns to win, WWE gave us the best result we could’ve possibly gotten. Whether or not you are a Seth Rollins fan, and I have no idea why you wouldn’t be, him leaving as Champion leaves us with endless possibilities for at least a few months.

I think we all figured that, no matter who left ‘Mania with the title, the next Pay-Per-View event or two would be headlined by Reigns/Rollins, because all signs seemed to be pointing in that direction. The only hint of a one-on-one rivalry they had was when Ambrose had to shoot a movie last year, but that got cut short when Roman got injured.

Lesnar re-signing or going back to UFC would’ve sparked the same result either way from a summer standpoint, he wasn’t going to be wrestling full-time anyway. But now it looks like these Pay-Per-Views will be headlined by Seth Rollins putting his title on the line against Roman Reigns.

Now whether or not Reigns defeats Rollins for that title is a story for a different day. But for now, we fans can rejoice in that the Architect of the Shield has now become the face of the WWE, after creating history at WrestleMania as the only man to ever cash in Money in the Bank on the Grandest Stage of them all, and winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship to put the cherry on top.

Thanks for making it this far, guys. In the next part, I’ll be talking about The Undertaker’s return against Bray Wyatt, the potential for The Rock to clash with Triple H in the future and some of the new Superstars we were introduced to from NXT this week, Neville and Kalisto, as well as why I don’t think any NXT Divas should be brought up just yet.

If you enjoyed this blog, please feel free to leave a comment below, and if you’d like to talk to me directly, you can follow me on Twitter @AdamOB_UTS, or you can click on my name at the top of this webpage to take you right there.

Also, be sure to support all of the other MFX Ramblers here by having a look at the extensive range of blogs on the site. And as usual, don’t neglect the two head honchos, Sir Ian and Duckman, and make sure to check out their latest podcast where they will review WrestleMania themselves. I just know you’ll love it.

Auf Wiedersehen!

Layin' The Quackdown, MFX Ramblings

Brock Re-Signs – WM31 Just Got Interesting.

Just when we thought he was out, they (Vince McMahon and his cheque book) pulled him back in.  Finally all the speculation, conjecture and panic is over.  Finally Brock Lesnar has committed his future to WWE and closed the cage door on his MMA career.

With only a few days until Brock defends the WWE World Heavyweight Title against Roman Reigns in the main event of WrestleMania 31, the announcement that Brock had signed a deal, “too good to refuse” with WWE has made headlines around the world.

From the reports I’ve heard and read, Brock is locked down with WWE for a multi-year deal, working part time dates (probably less than 35 a year) for huge full time money (anywhere between $3-$5 million a year).  The deal will also give him all the same perks he had last time round – no house show appearances, the use of WWE’s private jet to fly him to and from events and very few public or media appearances.

Brock made the announcement on ESPN Sports Centre on Tuesday night, after signing the deal on Monday following RAW.  As all the news coverage has shown since the news broke, Brock Lesnar is a mainstream sports star; the kind of guy who when he makes a decision about his future, the world wants to know about it.

Also, a quick note to anyone surprised that ESPN broke this story and that Rolling Stone broke a story about a recent Hall of Fame induction, like WWE missed a trick in announcing these things themselves.  Dudes…seriously?  Do you really think WWE didn’t set these stories up?  Come on now, you think WWE didn’t use mainstream outlets to get this news out there and in turn make themselves seem more mainstream and popular?  Jesus, you guys really need to learn about how the media works…

Anyway, back to Brock.  As you all know he had two choices: stay with WWE and see out his career there, or make a return to the UFC and try his hand one final time at climbing back to the top of the Heavyweight division – something he did during his hugely successful 2008-2011 Championship winning run with the world’s premier fighting organisation.

Looking back on it, the decision was really a no brainer.  At nearly 39 years old, with a long and gruelling athletic career behind him, and a serious illness that nearly cost him his life, the chances of Brock going back to UFC after a near four year absence and being able to once again become Heavyweight Champion were pretty damn slim; even for an athletic freak of nature like Brock Lesnar.

While Dana White would have moved heaven and earth to bring Brock back to UFC (Brock was the driving force behind UFC’s most successful years on PPV and brought millions of new fans to the sport), it appears Brock came to the realisation that his time in MMA was done.

He would certainly have made more money fighting in UFC, but MMA is a sport that waits for no man.  You have to be young, hungry and ready to commit your life and soul to the sport.  As Brock said himself; he trained for a return to MMA for two and half months and physically felt capable of competing, but mentally something was missing.

As anyone who follows MMA will know, being mentally committed to the sport is one of the most important keys to success.  Of course physical strength and skill are important, but if you aren’t mentally able to deal with the relentless and intense training, the brutal weight cuts, and the actual act of fighting another highly skilled and motivated man, in a cage in front of tens of thousands of people, you’re going to be in trouble.

It appears from what Brock said that he realised this and after a number of sleepless nights and a lot of back and forth with his family and close advisors, he made the decision to stay with WWE.  From the outside looking in, this is the right decision for Brock at this stage in his career.

It’s certainly the best decision for fans of Brock Lesnar the pro-wrestler.  Of which I’m one, unashamedly so.  I think he’s one of the most dynamic, legitimate, dangerous, interesting and scary individuals to grace either professional wrestling or Mixed Martial Arts.

When he left WWE, I was one of the guys who followed Brock to the UFC, although I had been a casual UFC fan for a year or two prior to Brock joining the promotion.  When Brock signed I was all-in and quickly became a huge fan of MMA and its history.  I bought DVDs, watched shows, read articles and generally immersed myself in that world as much as I could – very similar to what I’ve done with pro-wrestling for most of my life.

When Brock left UFC, I remained a die-hard fan of the UFC and MMA in general.  Since his return I’ve struggled to get back into WWE’s product.  Brock was one of the reasons I had to tune into WWE programming and given how infrequently he appeared, I found myself watching less and less.

I haven’t actually watched a full episode of RAW since last September.  I keep up with results via Wrestling Observer and if Brock is on, or they report on a good segment or match, I’ll check it out.  I still watch all the PPVs, but I just can’t sit down for three hours every Monday and be ‘sports entertained’ anymore.

When Brock is around though things are different.  I’m able to forget the silliness of the majority of WWE’s characters and matches.  I’m able to ignore how lacklustre the pushes are and how inane and counterproductive the booking is.  I can even look past the utterly horrible commentary…actually, no, no I can’t do that.  Even Brock Lesnar isn’t that entertaining!

I like Brock because he’s different, he seems like a real fighter and not a guy pretending.  There is a threat to the man that no one else on the roster possesses.  There is an unpredictability and danger that surrounds him.  And of course there’s Paul Heyman – the single greatest hype man in the history of pro-wrestling.  Some may argue there are others that should hold that title, but to me, no one comes close to Heyman on the mic.

His ability to present Brock as an unstoppable monster, to build storylines, to put over Brock’s opponents and to make me want to see the match he’s hyping, is second to none in my eyes.  Paul Heyman has been such a huge part of what has made Brock’s appearances on RAW special, that whatever Vince is paying him, should be doubled immediately.

When Brock Lesnar wrestles, his matches are different from anyone else on the roster – they’re a fight, a brutal, beautiful fight.  There’s realism to Brock’s matches that you just don’t see in WWE these days.

He doesn’t follow the usual WWE main event style.  There’s a sense of danger that things could get out of control at any moment – as long as those working with him work to his strengths.  If they don’t, then Brock quickly just become a big guy doing a choreographed match and not a real fighter who is working within the confines of a pro-wrestling match (ahem, looking at you HHH).

His match with John Cena at Summerslam and the three way with Cena and Seth Rollins at the Royal Rumble are hands down two of my favourite WWE matches of the last 5 years.  They were booked and presented in a way that allowed Brock to work at his best – as an unstoppable monster, but also one that can take bumps and add real drama to his matches (that’s more true for the Rumble match than his utter destruction of Cena at Summerslam).

Ok, I’m not saying everything about Brock’s latest WWE run has been perfect.  He lost matches to John Cena and HHH that he never should have.  He ended The Undertaker’s streak – which makes sense from a logic point of view, but it still hurts the mark in me who wanted to see The Streak remain unbroken forever.  His feud with Roman Reigns has been lukewarm at best.  Still, even with those negatives surrounding his run, I’m still utterly ecstatic that Brock has re-signed with WWE for the next few years.

One the major problems certain fans had with Brock as WWE Champion, was how infrequently he appeared on the shows.  How he only defended the Title on big shows.  How he was rarely on RAW.  I never had a problem with any of this.

I felt this was something WWE should do with their top stars more often.  The less you see a top guy, the more special they are.  If they’re a top guy, you should pay to see them wrestle – that’s why they’re a top guy and a draw.  The Champion shouldn’t be on the show every week and he shouldn’t defend the Title on TV – that’s what the IC and US Titles should be for.

The constant appearances and repetitive matches of little no consequence that the rest of the WWE roster churn through on a weekly basis does little to nothing to make them seem special.  They’re just dudes, on a show, having the same matches against each other, and then doing it all again on a show at the end of the month.  It’s an endless cycle of same.

Maybe it’s because I’m older and remember the days of slow build feuds and the use of jobbers, but the constant cycle of the same guys, having the same matches, really dilutes the product for me.  I think it does more harm than good in getting guys over and making them seem like stars.

Having special attractions like Brock Lesnar, who only shows up when the lights are at their brightest and the big money is on the line, is something so unique and special in today’s WWE, that it automatically makes Brock seem like a big deal.

Today’s wrestling fans are super demanding and need instant gratification.  They’ve been conditioned to be that way because of how WWE present their show.  When something is presented in a different way, there’s usually always a vocal kick back against it, at least for a while.  What’s been so fun to watch is those same fans who cried and moaned about Brock’s lack of appearances, or the lack of WWE Title defences on every PPV, are now totally invested in Brock as the WWE Champion and they look forward to his matches in a way they don’t for anyone else on the roster.

Less is more really is the key to Brock and it’s why I don’t expect him to appear on many more shows than he did in the last year, because as soon as he does, he just becomes another part of the show and with the way Brock has been built and protected, the last thing he should become is ‘just another guy.’

So what does Brock re-signing with WWE mean for his match with Reigns at WrestleMania?  Well, there’s a number of different ways this could go.  Brock re-signing is actually the best thing that could have happened to WWE and this match, because we now have uncertainty and unpredictability about the outcome of the WrestleMania main event.  That’s some of the key elements you need to get people to buy the PPV or the Network to tune in a see what’s going to happen.

There’s no doubt Brock will be a super babyface to the hardcore smarky WrestleMania crowd.  They are going to boo Reigns out of the building, for sure.  That reaction will be even stronger now they all know Brock’s not leaving.

Whereas some may have booed Brock because he was leaving, now he’s ‘shown his loyalty’ to WWE, the hardcore fans are going to love him even more.  Plus he’s the guy who’ll be beating the hell out of Roman Reigns, and anyone who does that is going to be a hero in the eyes of the majority of that crowd.

The big question now is do WWE stick to their original plan of having Reigns beat Brock for the WWE Title and continue on as the top babyface (who is booed by half the crowd on a regular basis), or do they change tact?  Do they now keep the Title on Brock?  Does Paul Heyman turn on Brock and help Reigns win?  What about Seth Rollins and his MITB contract?

Personally I’d go with the Heyman turn.  Brock and Heyman’s dynamic has been fantastic, but all good things must come to an end.  Plus Reigns need the heat Heyman can generate a lot more than Brock does at this time in their respective careers.

In the eyes of the fans Reigns is lacking in credibility as a top guy – putting him with Paul Heyman gives him instant credibility.  The fans think Reigns is smug and undeserving and he can’t cut a good promo.  Put him with Heyman and he can play up the smugness and has the best talker in the company there to cut his promos for him.

Then you have Brock as the ass kicking warrior, out for revenge and his WWE Title – instant babyface.  He doesn’t need to talk a lot, his actions speak louder than any words.  Plus I think a lot of fans don’t give Brock enough credit for his promo work.  Sure, on a live mic he’s not the strongest, but in those UFC style sit-down interviews, there’s few better in that environment.  Plus they can record a few of those and use them to keep Brock fresh in people’s minds on a more regular basis than they have in the past.

When Brock isn’t around, you’ve got Heyman to brag about what Reigns did to the unstoppable beast.  You’ve got him to remind the fans how Reigns is the WWE Champion when all of them thought he couldn’t do it.  Plus you have guys like Cena, Ziggler, Bryan and others who can work with Reigns in the build up to the rematch with Brock, which would be at Summerslam.

I’m not saying it’s a perfect idea.  Hell, they could keep the Title on Brock, then have Rollins cash-in on him and he takes the Title and is then chased by Reigns.  Or Brock keeps the Title and the TV and house shows are headlined by Cena with the US Title and someone like Bryan or Ziggler with the IC.  Then Reigns can be built back up by taking out someone like Wyatt – or even battling The Authority and getting a big win over HHH at some point.

Like I said, tons of different options, loads of different ideas and a plethora of ways this whole thing could play out at WrestleMania and in the following months.  What was once a foregone conclusion for a WrestleMania main event is now the most intriguing and interesting match on the card.  What a difference Brock Lesnar makes.

As for the rest of the WrestleMania 31 card?  Well, it’s not the most inspiring I’ve seen in my twenty five years of watching WrestleMania.  Then again I do find myself saying that most years.  It’s not a bad card, just with such lacklustre build up and the lack of The Streak being on the line, it feels a little flat.

That tug of war over the belt between Brock and Reigns didn’t exactly get me all fired up to see them battle.  What a lame final image for the main event of a WrestleMania – two dudes acting like kids in the playground fighting over their favourite toy!

Anyway, as for the show itself.  Sting and HHH should be a fun spectacle.  It’ll be great to see Sting at WrestleMania and the crowd should eat this up with both hands and ask for more.

Cena and Rusev should be a solid match, I really enjoyed their last encounter.

Taker and Wyatt is really interesting, just to see if Taker can still go at this level.  It’s a great chance for Wyatt to get some heat and interest back in his character; which has certainly died off since they split The Wyatt Family up for reasons no one has been able to explain to me.

Rollins and Orton feels pointless because Randy already killed him to death on RAW two weeks ago, so why bother having the match?  I get the feeling this year will be a big one for Rollins, but I can see him losing here and the crowd not being best pleased.

The IC Title ladder match will be a great spectacle and I’m expecting a crowd pleasing win for either Ambrose, Bryan or Ziggler – with my money on Bryan.

The Andre Battle Royal is what it is – a collection of heatless mid card losers, fighting over the chance to be this year’s Cesaro: the man who Vince forgot.  I expect an appearance by Sheamus in this one and he’ll probably win it.  Either him or Ryback.  Simply for comedic effect.  God love The Big Guy, he’s such a nerd.

But for me WrestleMania isn’t really about the build-up, or the matches, or the spectacle.  It’s about the fact that every year I travel across the country and spend a few days with my brother.  We load up on beers, snacks and smark, sit down to mark out to everything good and bad that makes WrestleMania what it is.  This annual tradition is something we both look forward to and now with the added addition of my four year old nephew Eoin – it should be even more fun.

I hope everyone reading this at least has fun watching WrestleMania and that in the weeks and months that follow WWE, Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman give us something worth the massive contract Brock has no doubt been signed too!

As always, thanks for reading and be sure to check out MFX116 – where Sir Ian Trumps, Marc Abrigo and myself preview WM31, as well as dish out the usual MFX hilarity for a few hours.  It’s a really fun show and if you’ve never listened to the MFX Podcast before, this will be the perfect starting point.

Until next time…

Peace

Duckman

Podcasts

MFX116 – We Brought Back Abrigo

Greetings and salutations MFX Galaxy – we’re back!!  That’s right folks, MFX is back to take another NSFW look at this weird and wonderful world we live in.  On the show this week…

Duckman and Sir Ian Trumps are joined by their cheap Asian labour worker Marc Abrigo, who brings his usual brand of metrosexual hilarity and loud family members to the show!  Duckman reports back on his trip to England for a family wedding and the horror of British trains and stupid people.  Sir Ian goes clubbing again and dispenses advice about selling cigarettes and the correct way to talk to women.

Marc is going to WrestleMania 31 this weekend, so the lads preview and predict the show as only MFX can.  This is without a doubt, the greatest and most bizarre preview of WrestleMania 31 you’ll hear on any podcast this week!  Plus Sir Ian and Duckman duke it out to try and get Marc to take their sign to WrestleMania.  It gets intense.

Also your emails answered, weird news stories are discussed and another Try Hard Ruler of the Week Award is nominated by the MFX Galaxy.

We laughed so much during this show we all had to take a trip to the Emergency Room.  This podcast is so God damn funny it should come with a major health warning.

As always, thanks for listening.  Be sure to check out the new blogs on the MFX site, get in touch with the show through all the usual channels and enjoy WrestleMania!

MFX Ramblings, Under The Spotlight

Under the Spotlight – The Undertaker vs. Bray Wyatt

It’s been almost half a year since I wrote one of these things, and almost just as long since I watched a full episode of Monday Night Raw, so excuse me if I’m a bit rusty. That’s not to say that I was ever the Shakespeare of meaningless wrestling blogs, but you get the point regardless.

Much like many of my former SLTD Wrestling brethren, some of whom will grace the MFX Galaxy with their journalistic expertise in the near future, I have taken a brief hiatus from the world of wrestling in order to allow myself to breathe. Needless to say, it’s been fantastic, and man alive, did I become way more productive.

But like a lamb to the slaughter I have decided to re-immerse myself in the ever-lasting frustrations and stress of being a life-long WWE fan. And thus I bring to you the rebirth, if you will, of ‘Under the Spotlight’. A concept I created mid-2013 as an excuse to step back from show-by-show wrestling reviews so I could spew some nonsense about whatever the hell I wanted, as long as it was related to the industry in some shape or form.

If you’re new to my blogs, and let’s face it, you probably are since nobody read the old ones anyway, let me give you a little bit of a backstory. My name is Adam, I’m from Dublin, Ireland but I’m currently spending my weekdays living up in Louth, studying Computing in Games Development (so you may see one or two gaming blogs/reviews from me in the future). But most importantly to the significance of this piece, I’ve been a wrestling fan since I was six years old, and spent just over two years writing my opinions on current happenings in the WWE for a lovely bunch over at SLTD Wrestling.

And like many of my fellow fans, no matter how pissed off I may become with the WWE, they’ve always been my go-to promotion to watch, often acting as a source of escape and happiness. And cutting straight to the point here, one of my favourite parts of the year has always been the January-April stretch, because that means WrestleMania is fast-approaching.

Naturally, this year is a little bit different because rather than following the product (unless you count NXT), the information I gather about current affairs within the company comes from recaps, reviews and rumour sites. I know, I’m one of those people now. *shudders*

But since Fast Lane has come and gone, and WrestleMania is a  measly four weeks away, I figured it was time to get back into the swing of things, and more importantly write about the process since I’ve nothing better to do with my time. What’s that about assignments?

There are a lot of relatively big matches scheduled to take place at the 31st annual Showcase of the Immortals, including Sting’s first ever match in a WWE ring against Triple H, Roman Reigns taking on Brock Lesnar in what I can’t imagine will be a clean fight, and John Cena’s rematch against Rusev.

But the match that I’m most excited about is The Undertaker’s inevitable clash with the ‘Eater of Worlds’, Bray Wyatt.

Like me, I’m sure a lot of you still find it hard to believe that The Undertaker’s unprecedented undefeated streak at WrestleMania came to a definitive halt last year. Being brutally honest, and I do tend to look on the bright side whenever WWE screws up, I think they made the wrong decision when they pulled the trigger on the Streak.

Considering how things are going with Brock Lesnar right now, and his sorry excuse for a title reign, it seems to me like twenty-one years of success were thrown down the drain on a gamble that Lesnar would actually do something with it. Instead, the only one around to gain anything from Undertaker’s loss last year is Paul Heyman, with the whole “My client, Brock Lesnar conquered The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at WrestleMania” shtick.

And if you delve even deeper into it, you  could summarise the whole charade by saying that the legendary streak ended so that Roman Reigns could potentially gain from it, and become, as many are saying, “the next John Cena”. That’s all fine and dandy, but when that very man, even with The Rock by his side, is booed out of the arena after winning the Royal Rumble match, you have to question that decision. Oh yeah, great success. *winks*

And now there’s a bunch of controversy surrounding Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar after this week’s Raw, because apparently Bork got upset about something and when Bork is angry, Bork smash. At least that’s how I imagine it went down, because I don’t really care enough to find out the true story.

People can deny it until the cows come home, but in my estimation, the grand scheme that was Brock Lesnar’s 2014-15 stretch has been a flop. Sure, there were some great matches, namely the triple threat at Royal Rumble, but Lesnar holding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has diminished any prestige that title has had up to this point. The bloody Intercontinental Title means more these days and up until a week or two ago, that meant fuck all too.

But I digress, and like I said, the match that really has my interest is Bray Wyatt/Undertaker. When people think about The Undertaker, one of the first things that come to mind is the Streak. Especially in the last number of years, considering WrestleMania has been the only time to see the Deadman compete.

But if you strip that away, all you’re doing is removing twenty-two matches, some of which actually sucked, from a legendary career that would still be just as celebrated and memorable without them. The Undertaker is a phenomenal gimmick, and an even better wrestler, and the streak may polish off his legacy, but like I said, the man has put enough work into every other aspect of his career that he shouldn’t be remembered solely for his WrestleMania record.

And that’s why I can’t wait to see him take on Bray Wyatt. I was hoping that if this match ever did happen on the Grandest Stage of them all, the streak would still be intact, but I feel like these circumstances make the bout even more intriguing. It’s not about records, or whether Wyatt has the potential to carry the weight of breaking the streak on his shoulders. It’s about two mysterious, incredible men squaring off to see who is better.

Sure, the build-up is going to be full of mind games, especially from Wyatt’s part if they do go down the route of not bringing ‘Taker back until ‘Mania itself (some will argue this ruins the hype, but it worked in 2004, right?), but when they stand on opposite sides of the ring at WrestleMania 31, all the weeks of trash talk and open challenges will mean nothing.

Bray Wyatt, win or lose, is going to be taken to his very limit in what will undoubtedly be an unforgettable match. It may be Undertaker’s last bout, maybe he wants to pass the torch, or maybe he’s going to show us he can still go and set up the dream that is Sting/Taker for WrestleMania 32, I don’t know. But when ‘Taker gets in the zone, especially in the last seven or eight years, you know you’re about to witness a classic.

Speaking from experience, there is nothing like seeing The Undertaker in his element at WrestleMania. I had the privilege of being in attendance when he went 20-0 against Triple H inside Hell in a Cell, and the atmosphere that night honestly still gives me Goosebumps almost three years later. And while the lucky men and women in the arena on the 29th of March will be the first to see Undertaker compete with a ‘Mania loss under his belt, I guarantee, and I sort of hope this is what they’re going for, that he’s going to prove that the Streak was nothing more than a number.

Twenty-one straight victories at WrestleMania didn’t make Undertaker the Deadman, or the Phenom. It just backed it up. And despite his age, some “leaked” photos (Michelle McCool posted them, so they weren’t really leaked at all) of ‘Taker hitting the weights make it seem like the dude is in top form. Don’t get me wrong, the man’s healthiest days are behind him, but I have no doubt in my mind that he is absolutely capable of putting on one of his world-renowned WrestleMania classics.

And Bray Wyatt is just the same. That guy is a visionary on the microphone, and for a man of his size, his athleticism is awe-inspiring. If he isn’t holding championship gold by this time next year there’s something seriously wrong with WWE (take a shot every time somebody says that and you won’t make it to WrestleMania).

Bray Wyatt and The Undertaker are going to put on one hell of a show in California, that’s for damn sure. And I’d bet that when it’s all said and done, no matter who wins, we’re going to be calling it the match of the night. It has a lot of competition, but if Undertaker’s WrestleMania bouts have taught us anything, it’s when to really pay attention to our television screens. When the Deadman arrives on the scene, you’re always about to witness something amazing.

Thanks for reading my first article here as part of the MFX Rambling crew, I really appreciate it. I’d also urge you to go read all of the other blogs on display here, there are some pretty interesting ones and I see a lot of potential in my fellow bloggers.

I’ve barely watched Anime in my life and somehow I’ve found myself reading two different blogs on the topic, so you know they’re good. There are also some retro gaming blogs and even one on the serious topic of depression, which I found to be a very eye-opening read. So take a look!

Also, try not to neglect Duckman and Sir Ian, and listen to the latest edition of the MFX Podcast. The guys are hilarious, so get your fill. They can cover anything from wrestling to Eastenders. Seriously, go listen.

And lastly, if you want to get in touch with me, you can follow me on Twitter @AdamOB_UTS. I’d appreciate any feedback on this blog, so if you can, drop me a cheeky tweet to let me know how much I suck, or you know, don’t suck. Whatever floats your boat.

See you next time!