SummerSlam Card Taking Shape

We’re now less than two weeks away from SummerSlam and the card for the second-biggest show of the year is taking shape. So far, six matches have been made official, with the Rollins v. Cena match pretty much a lock and three more likely coming our way, according to my predictions. Here is a look at the scheduled bouts:

Brock Lesnar v. The Undertaker

WWE World Heavyweight Championship and United States Championship Match (Unofficial)
John Cena v. Seth Rollins

Luke Harper & Bray Wyatt v. Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose

Intercontinental Championship Triple Threat Match
Big Show v. The Miz v. Ryback

World Tag Team Championship Fatal Fourway Match
Los Matadores v. Lucha Dragons v. The New Day v. The Prime Time Players

Women’s 3-Team Elimination Match
Team Bella v. Team B.A.D. v. Team PCB

Stardust & King Barrett v. Neville & Stephen Amell

Not Announced but Likely to Happen

Randy Orton v. Sheamus

Dolph Ziggler & Lana v. Rusev & Summer Rae

Kevin Owens v. Cesaro

That is a card with 11 matches. Even though it is a four hour show, we may not get all these. The likely candidate to get scratched is a Rusev & Summer Rae v. Dolph Ziggler & Lana mixed tag team match. Lana mentioned on last night’s Raw that Ziggler won’t be back until after SummerSlam, which I thought was to set up a surprise appearance. I also don’t know how long they can stretch this feud out without having some sort of match, so we’ll see if Dolph does indeed return on next week’s go-home episode of Raw.

The Stone Cold Podcast Returns to WWE Network with Guest Paige Next Week

stone cold podcast
WWE announced that the Stone Cold Podcast will return to the WWE Network with a live airing following next Monday’s episode of Raw. Steve Austin’s guest will be Paige.

This probably won’t be as hard-hitting as Austin’s previous interviews with Triple H and Vince McMahon, but it should be interesting nonetheless, especially given the “revolution” that is going on in the WWE Divas division.

SummerSlam Will Indeed be a Four Hour Show

WWE has confirmed the speculation, announcing that this year’s SummerSlam will be a four hour show. The event will now start at 7pm ET on Sunday, August 23rd.

Right now, the card only has one official match, which is the Brock Lesnar – Undertaker rematch. We can expect the card to start filling out on tonight’s Raw, with John Cena v. Seth Rollins for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, Kevin Owens v. Cesaro and a Dolph Ziggler & Lana v. Rusev & Summer Rae mixed tag match as likely additions.

“Macho Man” Randy Savage Enshrined into the Hall of Very Good

HOVG Logo“Macho Man” Randy Savage joins Jim Kaat and Lee Smith as inductees into the 2015 class of the Hall of Very Good. HOVG is a website aimed at starting water cooler talk about who should or shouldn’t be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. It has evolved into something much more, creating its own Hall class last year.

Savage – enshrined into the celebrity wing – is inducted based on his Minor League Baseball career with the Cardinals, Reds and White Sox organizations. From the Hall of Very Good’s press release:

Long before Savage was the “Macho Man”, Randy Poffo was an aspiring young baseball player. From 1971 to 1974, Randy spent time with farm clubs for the St. Louis Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds and Chicago White Sox.

In 1973, Savage followed in the footsteps of his father Angelo Poffo and embarked on a career in pro wrestling that would make him a household name by the mid-1980s.

“When he was playing baseball, he never spoke of wrestling. After his baseball career imploded, he became a Wrestler and never spoke of baseball,” Lanny Poffo said of his famous brother. “He focused on what he was doing with no other distractions except to be the very best!”

Jim Kaat, Lee Smith and “Macho Man” Randy Savage join former inductees Tommy John (2012), Dale Murphy (2013), Steve Blass (2013), Luis Tiant (2014), Tony Oliva 2014) and The San Diego Chicken (2014).

“The Hall of Very Good has a solid class for 2015,” said Out of the Park Baseball creator Markus Heinsohn. “Jim Kaat had a solid career during which he won an amazing 25 games in 1966, and you couldn’t go wrong with Lee Smith stepping out of the bullpen to close out games for you, with 478 saves during his time in the big leagues. Randy ‘Macho Man’ Savage offers a glimpse at what could have been, had his baseball career held more promise.”

Ringside Reads: Hulk Hogan Edition

You have undoubtedly heard by now that Hulk Hogan’s WWE contract has been terminated after audio from his sex tape leaked which included Hogan making very racist comments. Here are some writings from around the wrestling interwebs about the story:

– The original report came from the National Enquirer and describes the leaked audio. In it, Hogan uses the n-word several times in reference to his daughter Brooke’s dating life.

– Before the story was published by the Enquirer, WWE had already issued a statement saying Hogan was no longer with the company and alluded to racism playing a part. The full statement reads, “WWE terminated its contract with Terry Bollea (aka Hulk Hogan). WWE is committed to embracing and celebrating individuals from all backgrounds as demonstrated by the diversity of our employees, performers and fans worldwide.”

Hogan issued his own statement to People Magazine owning up to the comments, which are from several years ago. His statement reads, “Eight years ago I used offensive language during a conversation. It was unacceptable for me to have used that offensive language; there is no excuse for it; and I apologize for having done it. This is not who I am. I believe very strongly that every person in the world is important and should not be treated differently based on race, gender, orientation, religious beliefs or otherwise. I am disappointed with myself that I used language that is offensive and inconsistent with my own beliefs.”

– Obviously WWE does not have a stellar track record when it comes to the portrayal of various cultures on its programming but the company clearly needed to distance itself from Hogan and did so quickly, removing all mentions of him from before issuing a statement. Some have viewed this as WWE hypocritically taking the moral high-ground but what else could the company do in this situation?

– Booker T – forever linked to Hogan thanks to his infamous “We comin’ for you” promo – has weighed in on the situation.

More Names Confirmed for WWE 2K16 Roster

2k16Gamestop in Italy (via has confirmed some additional names for WWE 2K16.

The complete list of confirmed characters so far: “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Triple H, Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan, Finn Balor, Eva Marie, Alexa Bliss, Paige, and Bad News Barrett.

2K has promised 120 playable characters in the game, which has still yet to confirm the likes of Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Randy Orton, Sheamus, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and more that will definitely be a part of the roster. Steve Austin’s role as the cover star – along with the presence of Hogan and Andre the Giant – most likely mean we’re getting a lot of old school guys in the game, which is fine by me.

WWE 2K16 is available October 27th in North America and October 30th in Europe.

WWE Chooses to Ignore Kane’s Injury at the Hands of Brock Lesnar in Undertaker Revenge Storyline

After the Undertaker reappeared during the main event of Battleground to cost Brock Lesnar the WWE World Heavyweight Championship, the reasoning seemed obvious: Taker was seeking revenge on Lesnar for destroying his kayfabe brother Kane’s ankle just six nights earlier on Raw and it reignited his anger over Lesnar ending his WrestleMania streak.

But on this week’s Raw, it became clear that WWE wanted to strip away as much logic as they could from this angle.

The Undertaker opened the show by explaining that he had indeed come for vengeance. However, his brother had nothing to do with it. In fact, Kane wasn’t mentioned at all. Taker came back to avenge his streak, which ended nearly a year-and-a-half ago. Taker could have also sought his vengeance at WrestleMania 31 in Santa Clara, when both he and Lesnar were in the same building. He could have even cost Lesnar the WWE World Heavyweight Championship that night, since he was defending the title against Roman Reigns.

But Undertaker didn’t do that. He waited. And apparently does not care about his brother Kane at all.

Sure, it’s wrestling and the storylines iron themselves out. The multiple pull-apart brawl from last night’s show certainly helped invigorate this feud and make it seem a lot more personal. But there is no reason not to include Kane in this storytelling.

For one, it solidifies Undertaker’s hatred for this man, Brock Lesnar. Without anger over Lesnar cheap-shotting Kane and severely injuring him, Taker comes off like a sore-loser who has been sitting at home for 16 months stewing over a loss. That’s not even bringing up the fact that WWE has conveniently glossed over Taker’s match with Bray Wyatt at WrestleMania 31, which did little to help the Eater of Worlds.

Also, making Kane a big part of this story would do wonders for the Big Red Machine, who could come back as babyface, complete with the mask as so many fans desire.

WWE chose not to go that route, again brushing away whatever previous storytelling it no longer needed. What makes it so much of a head-scratcher is that there isn’t a logical reason. Maybe WWE thinks that Taker seeking vengeance for Kane would make Lesnar seem like too much of a bad guy? Not mentioning it at all, though, makes Taker seem like a whiny heel.

Either way, it’ll all get smoothed over in the weeks leading up to the main event of SummerSlam. And WWE could still add Kane to the mix. But for now, it seems like a wasted opportunity and another example of fly-by-night booking.

Daniel Bryan’s Book, “Yes! My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania,” is Available Now

yesYou may not have known this since WWE did little-to-no promotion during Monday’s episode of Raw, but Daniel Bryan’s new book, Yes! My Improbably Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania, was released today in the United States. You can purchase the hardcover version of the book at Amazon and many other fine retailers. The book is a #1 bestseller in “Japanese Biographies,” according to Amazon, so there’s that.

I have yet to get my hands on a copy but those that have offered reviews have said it’s a great book and Bryan doesn’t hold back when discussing his career and some of the decisions made by WWE management. Here’s the book description:

One of WWE’s most unlikely champions of all time and also one of its most popular, Bryan has proved to the world and to all of WWE that looks can be deceiving. Just ask anyyone who’s ever underestimated him . . . right before he went out and whipped the WWE universe into a frenzy.

This is Bryan’s behind-the-scenes story told for the first time ever by the “YES!” Man himself—from his beginnings as a child wanting to wrestle to his ten years circling the globe on the independent circuit and his remarkable climb to the upper ranks of WWE.

As the biggest week of his life unfolds, Aberdeen, Washington’s bearded son reflects in full detail on his incredible path to the top and gives his take on the events that have shaped him. With his Bryan-ized blend of modesty and surprising candor, Daniel pulls no punches (or martial arts kicks) as he reveals his true thoughts on his evolution as a performer, his various roles in WWE versus the independent years, life on the road, at home, and much more.

And of course, get the untold story surrounding the “YES!” chant that evolved to full-fledged movement, skyrocketing his career. This book chronicles all the hard work, values, influences, unique life choices, and more, leading to his watershed week at WrestleMania 30. You won’t want to miss it. Yes! We’re sure about this.

[Image via Amazon]

Brock Lesnar v. Undertaker Announced as Main Event of SummerSlam

Monday’s episode of Raw opened with the Undertaker cutting a promo discussing his motivation for interfering in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at Battleground, costing Brock Lesnar to the title. While it would make much more sense for Taker to be seeking revenge on Lesnar for destroying Taker’s kayfabe brother Kane’s ankle on last week’s Raw, the Dead Man is actually seeking vengeance for Lesnar ending the streak at WrestleMania over a year and a half ago.

Even though the two were in the same building at WrestleMania 31.

Either way, Triple H announced that the Undertaker will get his rematch against Lesnar at SummerSlam and it will be the main event.

Sorry, Seth Rollins.

Ringside Rewind: HBK, Goldberg & RVD v. Batista, Randy Orton & Kane: Raw, December 2003

Ringside Rewind is an occasional feature where we take a look back at a match or moment from the “good old days.”

On the December 2, 2003 edition of Monday Night Raw we got an interesting six-man tag team match featuring a cross-section of wrestling. One team was comprised of Shawn Michaels, Goldberg and Rob Van Dam. RVD was still on the rise but was perhaps the biggest star to come out of ECW. Goldberg, whose time in WWE was certainly not as exceptional as many expected, was one of the biggest names during WCW’s run on top. And Shawn Michaels was already one of the best to ever come out of WWE and would become one of the best of all time.

The other side featured an up-and-coming Batista and Randy Orton, both of whom were on their way to multiple World Championships. Joining them was Kane, a holdover from the Attitude Era and another of the key players in WWE’s victory over Ted Turner and Eric Bischoff.