Calling the Spots: Wrestlemania 2016

  Once more, Wrestlemania is upon us! The showcase of the immortals! The granddaddy of them all! The super bowl of wrestling! And it looks kind of, well, ok. The truth is, due to the overwhelming number of high-profile injuries and, in some cases, absolute tone-deafness of the writing staff, Wrestlemania 2016 doesn’t really look to carry on the tradition of the last few ‘Manias. Let’s be real, Wrestlemania XXX, while not sporting some of the best 5-star matches…

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Owens prepares for his WrestleMania moment

In less than a month, a lifetime of dreams become a reality for another Canadian-born professional wrestler. Quebec native Kevin Owens will walk into Dallas, Texas, for World Wrestling Entertainment’s WrestleMania 32. Born Kevin Steen in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to Suzanne and Terry Steen, Owens fell in love with the pomp and pageantry of pro wrestling as a youngster when he and his father watched a VHS tape of WrestleMania 11. “That’s what made me decide that I wanted to be…

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Chinlock’s 2016 Predictions

Justin’s 2016 Predictions: 1) NXT will split into two distinct brands; one using established independent wrestlers (such as Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Hideo Itami, Apollo Crews and Finn Balor) along with “graduated” developmental talent (such as Baron Corbin, Jason Jordan, Chad Gable, etc), and the second for the beginners class of talent not yet ready for a national (or international) spotlight to be shone on them. 2) The WWE Network will have its first price increase, after WrestleMania, increasing…

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Calling the Spots: Fastlane 2016

Whatever illusions WWE creative had about making Fastlane an A-level PPV event, the end result is clearly left wanting. In the past, I’ve remarked how it must be hard for the May PPV (usually Extreme Rules) since it needs to follow Wrestlemania, however I feel that my sympathy may have been misappropriated since everyone seems to be looking right past Fastlane towards Wrestlemania. The main event seems like such a foregone conclusion that watching it in motion may be…

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Against all odds: 10 superstars who made it

If history has taught us anything, it’s that we like the underdog. The world of wrestling is certainly no exception. With the abrupt retirement of World Wrestling Entertainment’s Daniel Bryan this week, due to injuries, the wrestling world, along with its fans, took pause to reflect on the legacy left by a guy who was more or less told he could never make it to the top in a world of muscular giants whose personalities often were as large…

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Daniel Bryan possessed a realness rarely seen

In a world of scripted finishes and even a little kayfabe, Daniel Bryan was as real and genuine as they come. Breaking news of his retirement today is not only a blow to the business and its fans, who have been robbed of countless years of his brilliant in-ring work, but it puts an end to a realness that is rare in professional wrestling. Not the realness that is what those talented men and women do near daily when…

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Rumble experience akin to royalty

Are you ready to rumble? Famous words, to say the least. And words that were proposed to me as I boarded a plane recently bound for Orlando, Fla., where World Wrestling Entertainment was hosting its annual Royal Rumble, one of its marquee events and the one that officially kicks off WrestleMania season. Yes, yes, I thought, I am ready to rumble. I was, after all, part of a small contingent of international media afforded the opportunity to experience the…

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2016 WWE Royal Rumble HITS and MISSES

2016 WWE Royal Rumble HITS: The Royal Rumble Match –  One of the most entertaining Royal Rumble matches in recent memory.  The entire match was used to tell a number of different stories, over-and-above the main 1-against-all Roman Reigns/Authority storyline.  The main roster got their first taste of Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens, we had the long overdue WWE debut of AJ Styles (more on that below), the ongoing (and hilarious) R-Truth joke, not to mention the fact that it was…

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Triple H back on top

ORLANDO, Fla. – Triple H reigns supreme once again. The legendary wrestler-turned-executive did the unthinkable last night in Orlando, winning the Royal Rumble and with it his 14th WWE World Heavyweight Championship. The man known as The Game entered as the 30th and final entrant to the over-the-top battle and outlasted the remaining foes, eliminating the former champ, former Canadian Football League player Roman Reigns as well. Triple H, whose real name is Paul Levesque, secured the win when…

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Back-in-Action Sami Zayn not quite at 100%

ORLANDO – Montreal native Sami Zayn is once again back inside a World Wrestling Entertainment ring, some seven-plus months after what should have been a dream debut quickly became a nightmare. Last May, in his hometown, surrounded by friends and family, Zayn made his WWE Monday Night Raw debut. Rami Sebei, a 31-year-old redhead of Syrian descent, spent more than a decade in the business, wrestling around the world under a mask as El Generico. After dominating in the…

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Bloom, Bailey talk NXT Performance Centre

ORLANDO – Legendary Canadian wrestler Bret (The Hitman) Hart said it best when describing his Hitman wrestling character as “the best there is, the best there was and the best there ever will be.” Hart could have also been describing World Wrestling Entertainment’s NXT Performance Center with those now famous words. Quite frankly, it is. As part of its Royal Rumble weekend, WWE invited international media to tour the world-class, state-of-the-art training facility, where it now trains all of…

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Calling the Spots: Royal Rumble 2016

And once more we embark upon Wrestlemania season. The Rumble marks the beginning of what I like to think of as WWE’s playoff season. After a full year of carefully controlled storylines and character work, the stuff that’s working gets showcased in an effort to make the big show the greatest night in wrestling. And it all starts here. Now, the last few Rumbles have left much to be desired, but that doesn’t mean that the trend needs to…

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Academy of Wrestling Managers

Wrestling Managers. I miss them. And I know a lot of you do too. Wrestling managers were arguably the most entertaining part of pro wrestling. Heenan, Creatchman, Roth, Blassie, Bearer, Dangerously, Fuji, Slick, Cornette, Hart, Dillon, — a rogues gallery of glorious sleaze-bags that make greasy politicians look like pious clergy. My next Chinlock article will be about my lifelong fantasy come true as I became a wrestling manager for a charity wrestling event organized by Chinlock’s Jan Murphy…

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NXT goes global with Takeover in England

Just days ahead of its debut outside of the United States, the man behind World Wrestling Entertainment’s increasingly popular NXT brand speaks passionately about opportunity. Professional wrestling is nothing if not about opportunity. During his now nearly 25-year active wrestling career, the man known the world over as Triple H certainly made the most of his opportunities, capturing more than 20 championships, at one point carrying the company on his broad shoulders as its marquee name and ushering in…

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WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2015 HITS and MISSES

WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2015 HITS: The Lucha Dragons vs. The Usos vs. The New Day – Allow me to admit, I haven’t been as diligent at watching Monday Night RAW or Thursday Night Smackdown as I have been in previous years.  I find a three hour RAW to be a huge undertaking at this stage in my life, and with the company’s chosen creative direction, there just hasn’t been much for me to get excited about.  NXT…

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Calling the Spots: TLC 2015

As we come to the end of 2015, I think we can all agree that this hasn’t been the best year of WWE programming. Between a number of unfortunate injuries across the board and the undeniable mishandling of the Divas Revolution, 2015 certainly will not be remembered fondly by wrestling fans. I open with this because TLC, likely, will be the culmination of these unfortunate circumstances. TLC has, traditionally, been a C-list PPV mostly due to the presence of…

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Fourth time’s a charm for Sheamus

Irish eyes were smiling, indeed, on Sunday night when World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Sheamus cashed in his Money In the Bank contract in the final moments of an entertaining Survivor Series to snatch away the World title from Roman Reigns. The WWE’s so-called Celtic Warrior, ever the opportunist, delivered two huge Brogue Kicks to unseat the newly-minted Reigns, making his first reign as WWE World Heavyweight champion one of the shortest. Sheamus, the Irish-born behemoth known for his brute…

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Paint, Schamberger, paint

  They say good things happen to good people. And in a world in which headlines are dominated by terror attacks, threats and world strife, when good things do happen to good people, it’s worth noting. One such noteworthy person is the incredibly talented Rob Schamberger. Schamberger, a Kansas City-based artist, has taken the professional wrestling world by storm with his beautiful and awe-inspiring paintings that have, in many ways, become as iconic as the men and women he…

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Calling the Spots: Survivor Series 2015

To begin, a word of condolences to Seth Rollins. Cut down mid-run by a freak injury, Rollins was well on his way to being one of the best heel champions of the modern era. Everything was set up for Rollins to finally lose in a big way and establish himself as a top-tier performer going forward. The fact that he lost the title at a house show due to injury is an absolute shame, and all we can do…

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Long way to the top for EC3

At 32 years of age and some 13 years into his career, Michael Hutter is on top of the professional wrestling world. But the road to the top for the man better known as Ethan Carter III has been a long one, one that has shaped the young man into the person he’s become, humbled him beyond his years and tested him every step of the way. In many ways, his still relatively new-found success has been a lifetime…

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