Sunday, August 31, 2014

Time For Shayna Baszler To Trade UFC Octagon For WWE Ring?

Is it time for Shayna Baszler to make her way to the WWE after getting TKOed in her fight with Bethe Correia. This was Baszler’s long awaited UFC debut after having fights cancelled on a couple occasions. Baszler was on the Ultimate Fighter on "Team Rousey" and lost to the eventual winner of the show Julianna Pena. That was the bad news for Baszler, but the good news was the friendship she formed with Ronda Rousey and joining up with her to train together. Baszler brought her love and passion for the WWE to Ronda Rousey’s house and this led to Ronda becoming a bigger fan of WWE and creating the four horsewomen.

Josh Barnett who has both fought in MMA and in a pro wrestling ring has trained Baszler for years. Baszler has been in videos with Ronda Rousey with the two working a pro wrestling match. Recently the WWE had the four horsewomen at Summerslam and rolled out the red carpet for the UFC’s Women’s Bantamweight Champion and her fellow four horsewomen Baszler included. Baszler herself talked about that experience being something she will never forget and said something to effect that a 10-year-old version of her would have thought the current her was pretty cool.

In addition, Baszler has had some training sessions with Natalya from the WWE which rumours are one might be featured on Total Divas this upcoming season. It seems all of the WWE have been fans of Ronda and the Horsewomen and while the WWE has no chance at getting Rousey in their ring anytime soon. Baszler on the other hand likely could have a credible match in a WWE ring tomorrow if need be. You can argue that she has done as much as she can in MMA and is never going to be any real threat at a title.

She took a wicked beating the second round of her fight last night, after most feeling, she won the first round. It makes some sense for her to take a shot at the WWE now and see what she can do their while that option is still open to her one would have to assume. She knows wrestling inside and out and is a historian of the product. She has shown she has tons of charisma being along side Rousey.

You already have her first feud written for you being the Queen of Spades why not set up a battle with the Queen of Harts in Natalya. That would have the makings of a women’s wrestling match the likes of which we have never seen potentially.

Will see if Baszler decided to stick with UFC and MMA but for my money, her next match should take place in a ring not an octagon. She is a firecracker and could easily be in position to be a challenger for someone for the Diva’s title or even work against Stephanie at Wrestlemania 31. Is all of this crazy dreaming talk? Perhaps, but Baszler would be wise to consider the option given the way her last two fights have come out.In addition while she still has the ability to have some interest from the WWE. Even if it as pawn in a slightly larger plan to get Ronda to be a part of the company down the road. Baszler realistically would be the easiest to transition straight to wrestling as she already is somewhat trained in it.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Condo On The Moon Podcast #26

I am flying solo today with no Walder or guests just me and you for little over 30 minutes of what is on my wrestling brain on a Friday. So tune in and have a listen as I talk about William Regal and his new role on NXT, Nikki Bella's performance on Raw in addition some thoughts on ROH and TNA. Randy Savage or at least my impression of him gets a few cameo appearances too.

Back to a more traditional show next week hopefully. If you want to send well wishes to Chris Walder you can do so @Waldersports and use the #PrayforWaldersTeeth or don't. In any case look forward to having him back along side me next week for another episode of the show as we keep the streak alive this week.Hope people understand and still enjoy a much shorter episode than we normally produce.

If you have any issues accessing the podcast got direct to our hosts at Podomatic just Click Here.

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Does Smackdown Even Matter Anymore?

Smackdown is making the move to Thursday night in October, which probably is a good thing, but day of the week is not the major issue with Smackdown. Honestly no matter what day of the week you put it on there needs to be more compelling television and it really is not. When you have already endured 3 hours of Monday Night Raw it makes investing two more hours in Smackdown quite the commitment for the average fan. Add in the fact that Smackdown is a taped show and many sites (Not This One) offer fans spoilers for Smackdown that is taped on Tuesday. Which is a problem that is faced to greater extent by both TNA and Ring of Honor that tape weeks of shows at a time. They face those challenges of spoilers to an even greater extent. The odd time spoilers can be helpful if they offer insight to a great match or angle. However most times they give people the option to seek out the information and decide to skip the show. That is why at least for this site, we have made the decision not to use them to allow you the chance to not have your viewing experience impacted on by us.

The WWE somewhere around 2010 or 11 ended the brand split that they had done in since splitting the brands somewhere around a year or two after WWE bought out WCW in effect ending the promotion and the competition. So the WWE roster became whole again with all of the talent in theory able to perform on Raw or Smackdown. Therefore, the uniqueness of the shows was lost to some extent. Even though it has been well documented that even during the brand split Smackdown was treated as the “B” brand in the WWE.

That had its downside and upside depending on how you looked at it. The major downside was the top people rarely if ever ended up on Smackdown. If a person got hot enough, they would find his way to Raw eventually. The upside was because Smackdown was more or less an after thought in comparison to Raw. It allowed things to happen that likely never would have flown on Raw. One example of that was C.M Punk’s Straight Edge Society. A highly edgy angle was the brainchild of Punk himself. Prior to that, there was the famed “Smackdown 6,” and the brilliant booking and mind of Paul Heyman writing the show. As discussed in the Heyman DVD as far as Heyman was concerned he was competing with Raw and looking to beat it on weekly basis. Something that was the same was the influence of Kevin Dunn in terms of the production of the show. This is something various people had tried to change with no success. They wanted to do this to give Smackdown its own unique look and feel to it. This is something that clearly would have been interesting to see and made the show stand out as something unique. 

On a complete side note when Paul Levesque and Stephanie McMahon truly take over, it is expected one of the first moves they will make is replacing Dunn. That will be an interesting time for WWE as Dunn has been the head of production of WWE television for pretty much the entire history of Raw first going to air followed by Smackdown years later.

The point to all of this is there is truly nothing unique about the Smackdown show to any degree. It does tend to be the more wrestling based show and always has been for the most part. The problem being many of the matches we see on Smackdown will tend make their way to Raw the following week. They rarely want to do angles on Smackdown and any that they do happen to do will be highlighted on Raw to catch the audience of the true flagship program up with what they missed on Smackdown. There is no real punishment to fans for not watching Smackdown at all.

We also now have a brand in NXT that has become what Smackdown use to be to some extent. In the past Smackdown was a proving ground for talent to build up their skills in the ring and on the microphone to a lesser extent. John Cena is perhaps the best example of this it is hard to imagine that the centerpiece that now currently is the face of the company for well over a decade started on what was classed as the “B” show. However, that is what happened and we watched Cena go from being a babyface at first, to transition into his heel rapper persona, only to be so good to become a babyface using that same character. Quickly he would be shifted over to the main show but the foundation that made John Cena what he is today was built on Smackdown. There were other examples of guys that built their career on that show like Edge, Kurt Angle and a list that could go on quite long.  The talent that is learning, growing, and developing their characters are doing that on NXT in Florida now.

The goal needs to be or at least should be is to give some compelling reason to make Smackdown must see television. It is not and has not been for sometime currently.  As we have laid out here that is far from the easiest thing to do because of the evolution of the WWE product in a number of ways. Some might say that Smackdown’s time has come and gone. However, it is not as if the WWE is going to bring an end to Smackdown because it makes money.

I use a pro sports analogy to explain it further to drive this point home. Many older fans of professional sports will say that expansion has watered down the game and there are too many teams. So are professional sports leagues contracting or ever have contracted a franchise in their history? The answer is of course no and in fact a league like the NHL that currently has franchises that are struggling finically are talking about expansion. You see here is that evil thing about all sports and pro wrestling as well it is at the end of the day more about greed and business over the quality of the product you are producing. Quantity that creates cash will always trump the quality of the product that is being produced.

I hate to write things without offering solutions but in terms for this one, I really do not have the answers for this it. In my mind, less is more and the need for Smackdown has really gone away. The reason it was created was a high demand for wrestling content at the absolute peak of its popularity. It was also at a time when Raw was only two hours and there was no NXT let alone a show called Main Event. The WWE is never going to subscribe to the less is more philosophy anymore than the NBA, NHL, NFL or MLB is unless they were forced to do so. Look at what happened to WCW when they created Thunder it became a poor quality show that nobody watched. Only reason it survived was the company that owned WCW also owned the network it was broadcast on.

Ironic that the show named based on one of the most famous names to ever be in wrestling in The Rock has become some what of an after thought which is something it’s namesake never was to this day. If you can’t get enough wrestling in your life it is another two hours to enjoy it, but in the grand scheme of things it is not offering anything that is compelling to people that are casual fans or gives reason for new or former fans of the product to get invested into it. If I wanted to get someone to be invested in wrestling today and could not use a Raw broadcast or a pay per view, I would show them an episode of NXT that has a bunch of hungry people trying to make their way to the bright lights of Raw and the main roster. No one ever has the dream of main eventing Smackdown do they? Of course they don’t, the same way every professional wrestlers ultimate dream is to be on a Wrestlemania or main eventing one, the same is true with television. Raw is the major leagues and everything else is secondary.

FYI there is a chance we may not have our weekly Podcast this week do to some circumstances beyond our control. If there is no Podcast tonight will have one for you next Friday as we normally do. 

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Hangin on the Moon #9

Time once again to kick it on Google Hangout with all of you with my partner in crime Josh Lopez. Today we are going talk some ROH. Along with WWE and if Josh wants to talk TNA will talk that too. Even some PWG talk with it being BOLA Weekend. We start at 7:30 PM est live so join us and take part in the action.

If you missed it live join us next week and take part in the show. You can always send us your questions #AskMachoMoon on Twitter.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Brock Lesnar Directly Or Indirectly Could Lead WWE To Change They Need

The build to Night of Champions and the re-match to John Cena and Brock Lesnar will be interesting to say the least. Lesnar says he is going to end John Cena in the match that is great wrestling hype for sure. However, news that John Cena from his own lips that his shoulder has been injured and he has been battling through it makes this take on a different meaning. News since that Cena may in fact have neck issues as well makes you wonder a few things. First on my list would be, if people were aware of this, who exactly came up with the brilliant idea of Cena taking 16 German Suplexs in the match? Is this further injury, because of that match would be another question to be asked. You can also wonder if these are in fact, legit injures or just brilliant selling that Cena physically might not be fit for this match. This would create some concern and vulnerability for the former 15-time champion heading into this re-match.

Working with Brock Lesnar is never the easiest thing to do physically in a legit sense. Brock is a monster in a real sense and does not have a history of being the safest worker for not only his opposition but also himself at times. Just minutes into one of his matches with Triple H it was said that Lesnar had rang his bell and might have suffered a concussion. If memory serves me this was at their match at Wrestlemania 29. In any case booking a less than 100% Cena in a match with Brock Lesnar with shoulder and neck issues assuming they are legit injuries is just tempting fate.

This is the best argument for why the WWE booking Cena stronger than everyone else has never been a great idea. When Cena in effect makes opposition look weak and takes away from them while building him up it does them no favors. The latest example the beating he put on Bray Wyatt to restore Cena after the royal ass whipping he took at Summerslam. Bray might be in some hot water, as it seems his feud with Jericho may in fact not go to a third match and more and more people are starting to question his ability to have good matches and get himself over beyond his promos and entrance.

We had a glimpse of the WWE without John Cena when he was forced to walk away for what was at the time expected to be 6 months after losing to Daniel Bryan at Summerslam. After which the company seemed unwilling to legitimize him as the top guy in Cena’s absence. Cena would make one of his miraculous recoveries and be back in about 2 and half months from injury. He would win the World Championship and have a unification match with Randy Orton to close out 2013. Bryan it appears may have avoided a second surgery and could be on the road to a return sooner than it was originally feared. WWE might need him if Cena is taken out of the game after this re-match with Brock Lesnar.

It is going to be interesting if we end up with Brock as champion and Cena potentially out with an injury coming out of Night of Champions. Many already wonder how the WWE will adjust without having a Champion on T.V all the time and not at all on house shows. Now add losing the face of the company in John Cena to that, it could be a one-two punch that would not be best for business at all.

Dean Ambrose who many would argue is the most "over" superstar is off doing a movie but should be back if not for Night of Champions soon after. Even though in storyline, Dean is portrayed as being out indefinitely. Roman Reigns is still trying to deal with the weight of expectations about him being deemed the next one to replace Cena. He is not ready to handle that at this point in the view of majority of wrestling journalists and fans as well. Seth Rollins has the Money in the Bank briefcase but as long as Brock is champion it makes the concept of him cashing in and winning seem highly unlikely.

There is a theory John Cena would beat Lesnar, but be so beaten down that Rollins would cash in on him and win the championship.  I find that hard to believe, it would take away the whole idea of Brock being the man that ended Undertaker’s streak and someone by beating him getting something out of that. This is what most feel is something they want for Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31. If Reigns is not ready to be champion, I have a hard time making the case for Seth Rollins to be. No question as far as an in-ring worker is concerned he is ready. That said his performance in promos still leaves a great deal to be desired. I can’t see this idea having any merit. However, WWE has done stupider things its history.

There is never a good time to have injuries let alone to the guy you have built the company around for last 12 years more or less.  You add in the WWE still struggling to get this WWE Network to a place where it can be profitable it becomes an even bigger issue.

No one should be crying tears for the folks at WWE though as they have made choices that have put themselves in this position. How many times have we said over the past several years that various guys were on a path to be main event level stars only to have the WWE’s booking take it all away? Cesaro is an example of a guy that was positioned to make that step up the ladder coming out of Wrestlemania only to have him taken back down the ladder. He is just one of many examples you could point too.

There has been a lot of talk in recent months of internal struggle between Paul Lévesque and Vince McMahon over creative. At some point Vince is going to have to trust in the future that Paul Levesque as created for this company. If he fails to do so and longer he continues to rely on the old guard the more difficult the transition will be to a new era for the company beyond John Cena and the stars left from the past like Randy Orton, Big Show and Kane.

It is vital and trick to make this transition at the same time this company is trying to redefine how it does business for the next generation at the very same time. Making the transition from the pay-per-view era to this bold new Network era that may be an idea that is a little ahead of it’s time. Regardless, the WWE can’t turn back now and must stay committed to this bold new business model. While at the same time, have faith in the investment they have made in their developmental system with the performance center and their partnership with Full Sail University.  This is the first steps in seeing the investment in the NXT brand coming to the main stage. Not showing faith in that system and the talent it is creating would be a massive mistake and one this company can’t afford to make.

There is a lot at stake and regardless of what the plan is on paper the signs in reality are starting to show that John Cena does not have many days left on top on the WWE Mountain. At least not in the current position, he holds now as the main attraction and face of the company.   Be it the company’s choice, Cena’s, or both the idea of not having him transition to a heel character is also limiting his longevity to being a draw for the product even if they fail to see that. The WWE is a company that can come up with ideas like the WWE Network that are truly revolutionary despite the lack of success they have had no one debates it is the future for content. While at the same time, they seem to cling to nostalgia and end up being stuck in the past in terms of creative. It is time for the WWE roster to represent that same forward thinking that their business model truly is. Even if it might take a hit of the start as the WWE Network has, it is worth it for the long term and overall growth and future of the product.

Cena’s time is no longer now it is time for change in fact that change is long overdue. This is not to say that anyone should want to wish ill will to Cena and his heath and well-being.  If he were to take the time and heal up it might be the best thing forever one including him and his own longevity at the end of the day.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

Happy Birthday Vince McMahon: Where Is WWE Heading Without Him?

Vince McMahon is 69 today and still by all accounts firmly has a grip on control of his company World Wrestling Entertainment. Many feel this will be the case until the day he dies and it seems morbid to talk about but what will be the WWE’s future with out him in the company by choice or by death. There have been many reports of him and his son-in-law Paul Lévesque clashing on various talents and the direction of where to take storylines and pushing of talents. This is all speculation based on the rumour mill, but it would explain some of the strange things we have seen with wrestlers being pushed one week and jobbed out the next. There has not been a lot of continuity in terms that with certain talents. Cesaro is one name that leaps to mind.

Seems the biggest obstacle the two have is their views on Roman Reigns as the next face of the company. Vince is not sold on the idea where Triple H is all in on it and has used his own in-ring persona to help that along. The Shield is likely the centerpiece of a WWE Creative with Paul Levesque having the final call. They are the first three guys he stuck his neck out for and brought up from when he took over developmental. Triple H often refers to the people coming out of NXT as his kids. He really gets that invested in these talents and The Shield is like his first-born Triplets.

WWE Magazine released the cover of its final edition and many would say fittingly it had the three members of the former group known as the Shield on the cover. Asking the question of who would be first to grab the WWE World Heavyweight Championship? Ambrose predicted at the end of a documentary done on the group that the future of the WWE runs through them as the collective threesome that was and in some ways will always be The Shield.

You can argue that Vince as great as he has been has somewhat lost his “Midas Touch” for understanding what fans want. At least in terms of his core audience, that was a fact C.M Punk made pretty publicly as part of an angle with him leaving the company. This ironically is something that he has done in real life some three years later.  Funny that is seemed the main advocate to keeping Punk appeared to be Vince McMahon. It seems an odd pairing in so many ways, but Punk I guess was the one guy that would push Vince’s buttons and give him a fight. Something that Vince is said to love and thrive on is the idea of conflict and competition. This likely explains why some of the best work from Vince McMahon came with his back up against the wall in the Monday Night Wars.

Some might say the WWE is in its weakest position since that time in some regards. The WWE Network was a massive undertaking and risk for the company. Something that is clearly floundering and still is to a great degree. Turning the price of their network into a punch line for wrestling fans might not have been “Best for Business” when all is said and done. Still the company despite big losses this year has responded with job cuts and is keeping the suits and ties on Wall Street happy to a degree. There ability to keep their customers happy is another issue and one that seems to be a real hit and miss affair from week to week. Heck, sometimes even on a day-to-day basis with this company. They did have a widely successful Summerslam, which they needed badly. Now the question is will they commit to this vision and see it through to Wrestlemania 31. All indications are they will at least for now. Keep in mind the plan last year got totally derailed at the Royal Rumble.

What the ultimate difference will be with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in charge not just on television but in reality remains to be seen. Vince has clearly taken steps backwards allowing Paul and Stephanie to be front and center for major events these days. This is something that started it would appear with the launch of the Performance Center. This has been a project that is Paul’s vision and from conception to completion.  His work in the building of that and the creating of the brand NXT has larger been Paul working primarily on his own. You can see the difference in the NXT product as compared to the Raw product. It might also explain why the bumpy transition for a great many NXT talent to the main roster with Vince being added to the mix and him not being high on some of the characters that Triple H is. Some notable ones that come to mind are Paige and Bo Dallas. \

Therefore, if you want to know what the WWE will be like when Vince is dead good idea is to watch NXT. Where as C.M Punk referenced him in his famous promo the “dufus son-in-law” runs things. As for his idiotic daughter Stephanie there is little question she has stepped into the evil shoes of her father on camera. In terms of behind the scenes, she really has become the face of the company in the corporate sense. Her title is something to the effect of brand ambassador. A role that she is equally as good at even though it may come off as very sappy and disingenuous to wrestling fans.

It was confirmed over the weekend that Smackdown would be making to move to Thursdays, as Vince McMahon does not fear the NFL as TNA likely does and should. Heck Vince was the crazy guy that started the XFL...remember that? Actually Vince would rather you forgot as well as the failed WBF the World Body Building Federation. He lost his company’s name to a bunch of animal loving hippies in the World Wildlife Fund.  The point is Vince despite how he tries to come off has not always hit home runs with everything. In terms of the stuff involving just the wrestling aspects Vince has been very successful and basically has created his empire as the one true giant national promotion left standing.

He is a very interesting character from all accounts of anyone that has had dealings with him. Some of the things that seem to be commonly agreed on about Vince are that the WWE is in fact his life he really does not have hobbies or anything aside from working out. He also is awake to all hours of the night and is available to people almost literally on a 24-hour basis. They say you have to be a little crazy to be a genius and Vince McMahon fits that description. There is no Vince McMahon story that I would hear that I would not at lest consider it to be true given the nature of Vince.

If there is one thing, above all else about Vince McMahon that we have learned it is that he is willing to work with anyone if it means making a profit at the end of the day. Some people that have had the most bitter of break-ups with Vince have eventually always been welcomed back with open arms when it made sense for business. Some that comes to mind that truly shocked the world was the appearance of Eric Bischoff in the WWE. This being the man that tried to put Vince out of business with Ted Turner’s money. The one that we likely never saw happening was Bret Hart returning after he was screwed in Montreal and punched out McMahon in the aftermath. Nevertheless, he came back as well to do business with Vince some dozen years later. Will C.M Punk be the one that does not and stays away? Vince McMahon has taught us to believe in never say never when it comes to the WWE.

A legacy that Triple H has started to continue by bringing back a legend in Bruno Sammartino to the fold to be inducted to the WWE Hall of Fame and this past year the Ultimate Warrior. Some of Vince has clearly rubbed of on Paul and the amount of respect both Paul and Stephanie have for him is likely higher than anyone else has on earth.

One thing that will be a major change when the day comes that Vince McMahon no longer in charge will be with WWE production.  Kevin Dunn is loved by some by hated by many more and has been Vince McMahon’s chief butt kisser for years. He is said to be out once Vince turns over the reigns completely to Stephanie and Paul. That might be the most interesting change the WWE has seen in a long time the day it happens. Dunn has been in charge of Raw and Smackdown from basically the start.

It seems as if we are talking about the demise of Vince in this piece but let us face it this is a guy that beat the U.S government and brags about it. He in storyline invented his own religion and challenged God and Shawn Michaels. Slowing down let alone death are not likely words in his vocabulary despite having his own death that never was followed up on in storyline. The Limo that blew up but I am sure Vince would have ended up returning from the dead as only he and the Undertaker can.

In any case, love him or hate him he is the guy that built this business to what it is today so I wish him a Happy Birthday and many more. He has created a world that I have followed since my childhood, which is something that he has done for millions like me around the globe.

So God Damn It!!! Happy Birthday Vince McMahon!!!!

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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ric Flair To Kick-Off Raw with John Cena

It would appear that the 16 time and 15 time Champions are going to kick-off Monday Night Raw together. Ric Flair has always been a Cena buddy even behind the scenes and it looks like he will be out there with him as Cena makes his first public comments since getting totally beaten down. Here is the tweet from Flair announcing this news:

Ric Flair has been used in a number of segments with no real defined role on the show. You have to wonder how long they can keep this up. Triple H has always been a huge supporter of Flair and it is not like he is going to tell him to go away.

Update 12:45 PM 08/23/14

Add Shawn Michaels to the party for Raw this Monday

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