test.jpgJust over a month since his ECW World Title match against Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble, ECW superstar Test has been released by the WWE.

In truth, the writing has been on the wall for this as only two weeks ago Andrew “Test” Martin was suspended for violating the wellness policy, which we all knew when he debuted last year because the guy is huge. It was obvious he was taking the pills to anyone who was watching.

Never the greatest worker, Test was pushed several times throughout his two spells with the WWE but never seemed to be able to get over after his 1999 angle with Stephanie McMahon which led to their famous wedding episode of Raw. The WWE really dropped the ball late that year when they had Vince McMahon feud with Triple H, rather than Steph’s husband to be Test, who HHH had stolen Stephanie from.

A decent big guy, who had some nice moves up his sleeve now and again but in truth he was always a poor man’s Kevin Nash (in Nash’s prime of course). His street fight match against Shane McMahon at Summerslam 1999 being Test’s highlight.

CAREER & TITLE HISTORIES

WWF/E (1998 – 2004)

WWF Intercontinental Champion (1 time) –

WWF Tag Team Champion (1 time) – with Booker T

WCW World Tag Team Champion (1 time) – with Booker T  (wwe’s version of wcw)

WWF Hardcore Champion (2 times)

WWF European Champion (1 time)

WWE (2006-2007)

Wrestled as a top heel in WWE’s new version of ECW on the Sci-Fi network, where he briefly teamed with Mike Knox and won himself title matches in the Elimination Chamber and a one-on-one match with Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble.

Matt’s verdict of the chances of him going to TNA…. I can see it actually. He could do a job for them if pushed correctly, especially if they team him with Christian Cage even?? I’d pick him up, but you have to think if TNA wanted him, they would have signed him in 2005 or early 2006 when he was a free agent.

source – gerweck.net

wwe_ecw_tl.jpgWhat can we expect from tonight’s episode of ECW then….

The main event has already been announced and as Vince McMahon is suppose to be making Lashley’s life “A LIVING HEEEELLLL” it’s going to be Hardcore Holly vs. Bobby Lashley in a Steel Cage for the ECW World Title.

Vince McMahon will be making his presence felt throughout the show as indicated on Raw.

I would expect a CM Punk match somewhere, to try and push him as a viable winner for the MITB match. Also I would expect the New Breed vs. The ECW Originals feud to continue in at least one match, or one big angle.

jerrylawler.jpgAs expected then, Jerry “The King” Lawler was announced on Raw as the next pick for the WWE Hall of Fame after Dusty Rhodes and Curt Henning.

Lawler, a legendary wrestler and commentator, is one of the true legends of the sport and he apparently has held more world championships than any other wrestler in the history of professional wrestling. 111 for those counting!

My first memory of Lawler was at the end of the 1993 King of the Ring. Straight after my favourite wrestler Bret Hart seemingly overcame all odds to defeat the “rested” Bam Bam Bigelow in the final (he got a bye in the semi-final, after Tatanka/Luger went to a draw), he attacked the Hitman and I hated the guy for years afterwards. Lawler’s feud with Hart was awarded the feud of the 1993 in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

Me hating the guy, was mainly due to his ability of playing such an awesome heel. There weren’t many performers in the mid 90’s who were able to generate the amount of heat that Lawler could, no matter who he was up against or what part of the country they were touring.

He is probably best known, certainly outside of the wrestling world for his feud with comedian Andy Kaufman which was later revealed to be a total work… more than 10 years after it all took place.

You all know the story probably from the Jim Carrey movie Man on the Moon which Lawler starred in, playing himself. The incident on a 1982 episode of the David Letterman show which led to an on-air fight between the two has truly become a legendary moment in wrestling.

Over the last ten years, Lawler has been used as the main colour commentator in the WWE. I fondly remember him being so pro “heel” in the 90’s and early 00’s that he would get J.R. so enraged that their back and forth banter was fascinating. He has calmed down a bit over the last 5 years or so and is now more of a “face” commentator but he still manages to get over the heels when he can.

Who can forget Lawler’s feud with ECW back in 1997 which led to his famous match against Tommy Dreamer at Hardcore Heaven 97… a match that truly made you wonder if what you were watching was actually real.

In more recent years, I’ve hunted out older matches of Lawler and I’ve watched with amazement at his matches with Curt Henning, Nick Bockwinkel, Ric Flair and Jimmy Valiant…..it’s great to see him be inducted this year.

Lawler is of course the cousin of The Honky Tonk Man and is the father of Brian Lawler who wrestled in the WWE for a good number of years as Too Sexy Brian Christopher and later Grandmaster Sexay who himself was a terribly under-utilized worker and certainly had the talent to go further than the WWE pushed him.

CAREER AND TITLE HISTORIES

Lawler wrestled for various promotions and companies in the Memphis area in the 1970’s to the mid 1980’s including his legendary feud with Andy Kaufman, which truly transcended the sport of professional wrestling.

AWA (1987-1988) 

AWA World Champion (1 time)
AWA World Tag Team Champion (2 times) with Bill Dundee

WWF (1993 – 2001)

Took part in the 1993 Wrestling Observer Feud of the Year against Bret Hart

Took part in a legendary feud with ECW in 1997

Was the lead colour commentator for most of his tenure in WWF, developing a great chemistry with Jim Ross.

He quit in 2001, when his wife Stacy Carter who wrestled as The Cat was released as the backstage guys said she was “difficult to work with”.

WWF/E (Nov 2001-present day)

Lawler returned to take up his positioning on the annoucer table after Paul Heyman and the Alliance were defeated at Survivor Series 2001.

He is still the colour man on Monday nights and is undoubtedly the best in the business these days…. and IMO….. the best of all time.

4258492.jpgCould we be set for the first ever WWE Title match at Mania between two tag team champions?

Well the WWE still have just over a month left to get the titles off Cena and HBK but ya gotta believe that they won’t get a better chance than last night when they successfully defended their belts against Rated RKO.

Last night opened with John Cena and Shawn Michaels coming out to the ring expecting to defend their titles but Rated RKO had other plans. Edge and Randy Orton came up on the titan tron and told Cena to watch his back because HBK has a history of turning on his opponents (and HBK was in the position for the superkick which just made this even sweeter!).

They showed one really awesome video package of the famous “barber shop” incident with Marty Jannetty, his turning on Kevin Nash, X-Pac, Hulk Hogan and EVEN the superkick to Booker T in the short nWo angle that WENT NOWEHRE.

I truly never thought the WWE would show that again!!!

Last night was a great show, probably the best of the year.

MATCHES

Jeff Hardy def. Shelton Benjamin in a “Money in the Bank Qualifying Match” – 3 stars

Although it was obvious who was going over in this match, I loved the video packages they showed before the match with both guys past history of ladder matches at Mania. Also, the announcement of who both guys were when they were already in the ring ready to square off, added a great “big match” feel, which carried over throughout the bout.

Shelton’s spot where he fell off the ropes could have been real nasty but thankfully it wasn’t. Jeff did really well to cover it up by going for the pinfall on Benjamin straight away.

Solid match…. but how much did it suck that Vince came straight up on the Titantron as the match ended and buried Jeff after his big win and put over Umaga? Way to get your mid card guys over Vince!

Super Crazy and Johnny Nitro ended in a no-contest

Nitro assaults Crazy before the bell and gives him a stiff looking wheel barrel face buster on the outside.

Nice spot and it was effective in getting over Nitro’s disappointment over the MITB match last week and showing him totally pissed with the world… but couldn’t they have chosen a jobber or someone not being pushed like Crazy to bury??? Maybe Hacksaw?

Melina def. Maria to retain the WWE Women’s Title – 1 star

Why does the WWE continue to put Maria into matches when she clearly can’t wrestle? What is the logic exactly?

The big question to me is why haven’t they gone out and replaced Trish Stratus and Lita who both left Raw last year, and were a part of only a handful of the females who could actually wrestle. Victoria, Mickie James and Melina are the only women RAW have now, it’s nowhere near enough.

If they don’t have females down in their developmental, then why not hire some? Forget all these crappy Diva Search contestants and hire some good female workers. I’m sure they are out there if you look hard enough.

At least Maria tried I guess which is more than Candice and Torrie most of the time.

Crappy match and we learned that next week Mickie will be using her title re-match clause… but of course she hasn’t got a chance because it’s going to be Ashley vs. Melina at Mania.

Carlito def. Kenny Dykstra – 3 stars

Loved Carlito’s new ring shorts.

So we didn’t get the Carlito/Flair turn on last night’s show, but you just know it’s coming.

I’m loving this angle so far, Carlito vs. Flair could be a great Mania match focused around respect and could really be one of the show stealers if both men are on their game and  given plenty of time to tell their story.

Carlito is far more effective as a heel and if they eventually put him over in this program with Flair, he might finally start to climb up the ladder. The only thing that might change the WWE’s mind, is Carlito is getting really strong reactions with Flair as his mentor at the moment…. but logic says it will make his turn all that sweeter.

Good match with Carlito going over with the back cracker.

Shawn Michaels and John Cena def. Rated RKO to retain their WWE Tag Team Titles – 3 and a half stars

Really fun main event and I was surprised they didn’t go for the Super kick on last night’s show but a slow burner is fine with me.

Personally, I would have given the titles to Edge and Orton as Cena and HBK’s match at Mania isn’t about the Tag Titles, it’s about the WWE Title and the tag belts shouldn’t take the focus away from that.

I believe the only time tag team champions should face off against each other in a match is when they are a firmly established team and having problems or have been put together to face off against each other when they don’t want too.

The Eddie Guerrero/Rey Mysterio program of two years ago was the perfect way to do this type of match, I just don’t see Cena and HBK being friends or tag partners so what purpose does them having the belts serve the main event?

ANGLES

Mick Foley’s got a new book out ya know… can’t wait to read it. It’s a shame they haven’t capitalized on this and given Foley a program for Mania… an ECW World Title match against Rob Van Dam could have drawn huge numbers, if they had the foresight of given RVD the title a few weeks back.

Some problems were teased between Nitro and Melina, with him yelling at her. I liked it… Nitro could be a huge player if pushed correctly.

Donald Trump obviously picked Bobby Lashley (he got the name right!) for his battle of the billionaires match, in what was again a pre-taped announcement from Trump. Crowd seemed to enjoy the choice and the confrontation with Vince’s choice Umaga with all the security guys crowded around actually made me care about the match far more than the potential of seeing Vince or Trump bald at Mania.

How shocked were all you guys when it was The Great Khali coming out to attempt to break the Master Lock challenge? Obviously, the guy was to big for Masters to put it on, so “no-one has broken the master lock” will still be the official line from him in the future. Kane came out to continue their feud that no-one cares about and further setup their match at Wrestlemania.

Jerry Lawler was announced to be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame, which is THROUGHOULY DESERVED. He is a true legend in this business. Great video package too.

By the way, as red blooded male…. how fucking hot was Maria and Lillian Garcia tonight? They should be forced to wear those outfits for every god damn show!

Final Rating – A

Best Raw of the year so far from where I’m sitting. All the angles came off brillaintly, the majority of the matches were great and each had their own story to tell, and the main event program of Cena and HBK progressed in the right direction once again. Only thing stopping it getting the full rating (A+) was the Melina vs. Maria stopping it being a cross the board show of full matches.

photo credit – wwe.com

thnew_raw_logo_top.jpgWhat can we look forward to from tonight’s show then as we get closer and closer to Wrestlemania?

We already know that Donald Trump’s pick for the Battle of the Billionaires match is going to be Bobby Lashley after Trump spilled the beans last week on some radio show. Apparently he called the guy “Lindsey”, which I can guarantee you Vince McMahon won’t let him make the same mistake on Raw tonight.

Jeff Hardy vs. Shelton Benjamin was announced today in a “Money in the Bank” qualifing match which if given time, could be a great match. I would fully expect Jeff to go over tonight, which is a bit of a shame because Shelton has been amazing in the two previous MITB ladder matches.

Dave Melzter has been reporting that their could be 8 participants in this year’s Wrestlemania match, which makes sense with the amount of under-card they have that wouldn’t get a match otherwise. My guesses are… Kennedy, Matt Hardy, Jeff Hardy, Chris Benoit and Randy Orton get the nod.

We already know the main event is going to be Edge and HBK vs. Cena and Orton with the Tag Titles on the line. I can see a title change here and likely a superkick from HBK on Cena…. or maybe Cena won’t wait and he will strike the first blow? Should be very interesting, but I’m nearly certain Edge and Orton are going over.

Should be a fun show, with the two announced matches having the potential to be really great. I’m going to take a wild stab and say we will have Nitro vs. Carlito tonight with Nitro going over and Carlito turning on Flair (could be next week though).

source – gerweck.net

42zg.jpgAccording to The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Jim Ross and Jerry “The King” Lawler will be inducted into this year’s WWE Hall of Fame. 

In my opinion they are both more than deserving as they have been the best announcers in this business for a decade now, if not of all time. There’s little doubt that the success of Raw on Monday nights have been greatly helped by their fantastic chemistry, charisma and love for the sport of professional wrestling.

Of course, if you go beyond their WWE announcing duties, Jim Ross was a great commentator for both NWA and WCW whilst Jerry Lawler was a legendary wrestler for decades. I will have much more on this when WWE make it official.

More HALL OF FAME TIDBITS….

Legendary wrestler and promoter Larry Henning will be inducting his late son Curt (Mr. Perfect) into this year’s HOF, which is a fitting tribute.

The Wild Samoans (Afa and Sika) have agreed to be inducted, which sounds right as WWE inducted the tag team of The Blackjacks last year, so one team a year seems likely. Again, more on this if/when it’s confirmed.

Probably the greatest wrestler that ever lived, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair is expected to be the leading wrestler for next year’s Hall of Fame. My understanding is that the only reason he hasn’t been inducted as of yet is because the company and the wrestler don’t want to be inducted whilst he is still an active part of the roster.

source – gerweck.net

200px-robvandam.jpgpunkecw_08152006cm807.jpgTwo workers who are among the most popular guys the WWE has on it’s roster and who potentially could lead the company into the next decade (and beyond in Punk’s case) are according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter…. in the WWE Dog House, which would explain their lack of a push in 2007.

On Punk’s case, Wrestlingheadlines.com has more…

After learning that he was booked to lose on a house show card, the report says, Punk reportedly asked the road agent if the reports of him being in WWE’s doghouse were true. The agent denied the idea that there was heat on Punk, but then told colleagues about the conversation, which exacerbated their ill-feelings of the wrestler.

As far as RVD goes, Meltzer is reporting that road agent John Laurinaitis has it in for the ECW superstar and has continually buried him within the company.

Of course, RVD’s contract expires in the summer which leaves him in a horrible situation at the moment. Does he sign a new contract for the WWE, and continue to drift aimlessly in the mid card of ECW and job out to wrestlers like ELIJAH BURKE!!! but pick up a guaranteed pay check for the next couple of years or does he go to TNA and likely be pushed as one of the top guys on the roster before settling down to being “Just another face”.

Remember, Kurt Angle went to the company as being one of the greatest wrestlers of the last 10 years but so far hasn’t been utilised the greatest and has soon become “just another face” in TNA, with tv ratings, ppv buyrates and the product of the wrestling not changing at all.

If Angle can’t make a difference to TNA, who says RVD can????

As far as Punk goes, the best thing he can do is to stay quiet and just focus on his wrestling. If he can get the crowd behind him like he has this year then maybe he can force the WWE to actually do something with him and give him a much deserved push.

source – gerweck.net, wrestlingheadlines.com