The World According to ZAH

Just when you think the world will slow down for a bit, it doesn’t…

Shane McMahon– So Shane McMahon returned to RAW this past Monday night. While the story is obviously “last-second” in nature, I still think it’s believable enough that it could be true…which is kinda the whole point to begin with. The only negative is that the Chairman and CEO of a publicly held company wants to puts the fate of the company in the outcome of a wrestling match. Well…I guess so, right? If it WASN’T a publicly held company, then maybe it’d make a bit more sense. But still…the thought of Shane-o-Mac taking on Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania is pretty insanely intriguing. I don’t know if it’ll happen or not, though…could this all be a set-up for John Cena to return early from injury and face Taker as originally scheduled? To me, that seems more plausible than McMahon vs Undertaker, though it’s being reported that this match was set-up about a month ago when it was decided that Cena couldn’t return from injury in time. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

– Ummmm…please be December 2017 as soon as possible. Thanks!!

Michael ElginMichael Elgin signed a 2-year contract with New Japan last week. As I’ve mentioned previously, while not a huge fan of Elgin I can totally see the potential with him being the new breakout gaijin star in Japan. He could legitimately become the next Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody, or Vader. Yes, I truly believe that he’s got that much potential in NJPW. I could potentially see him “over” enough with New Japan crowds to eventually seriously challenge for the IWGP championship. For whatever reason, he comes across as boring in North America…but he’s tearing it up in Japan.

Triple H vs Reigns 1– In a world where hardcore internet fans seem to be increasingly influencing how casual fans react to superstars, it’s hard to make something that appears to be “real”. Vince did that on Monday night when he dropped an F-bomb during his confrontation with Shane (they edited it out of the live feed, but the crowd reacted). The other thing that happened on Monday was Triple H decimating Roman Reigns‘ face. The entire problem that WWE has been having is trying to make Reigns a sympathetic character when they obviously want him to be the future face of the company. The fans aren’t having any of it and refuse to enjoy this watered-down version of Reigns. They LOVED when he went after Triple H and sent him out on a stretcher. They cheered when he told Stephanie that he was going to send her old man to the hospital. Reigns needs to be a bad-ass, yet WWE continue to try making him John Cena 2.0 and it’s turning the fans against him, even though he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Okay…going back to Triple H’s manhandling of Reigns’ face from Monday night. Here’s the video of the incident for those who haven’t seen it yet:

Unfortunately, the next morning a video came out that appeared to show Byron Saxton handing off something to Reigns off-camera. Reigns then appeared to smear something on his face before he came up with “blood” smeared everywhere. Here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it yet:

The internet fans immediately went off on Reigns and WWE for giving us “fake blood”.

Mind blownThis made me laugh because…and I hate to break it to you…the world of wrestling has been giving us fake blood for decades now. Sure, the majority of wrestlers decided that blading was the way to go but don’t for a second think that fake blood hasn’t been a part of the industry. The other thing that I hate to tell these “fans” is that this is sports entertainment and (ahem) the entire point of the business is to simulate hurting your opponent. The BEST wrestlers are those who don’t actually hurt the guys they’re in the ring with…but you think they did.

Wait…why am I explaining this?? If you don’t understand what actually encompasses wrestling, then why are you a “fan” of it? You THINK you know…but you don’t really know.

Roman ReignsI feel really bad for Roman Reigns. WWE is really trying to push legitimate injuries in this “TMZ World“, yet we all know that Roman’s nose wasn’t actually broken and he didn’t actually require surgery (though it’s been mentioned that he may have had a pre-existing condition that required minor nose surgery). But that’s okay, though…knowing that Herschel didn’t actually die on The Walking Dead doesn’t make me love the show any less. I mean c’mon people…it’s entertainment! If you can’t sit back and pretend you’re watching something real, then you shouldn’t be a fan. Period.

– I saw the new trailer for a straight-to-video movie called I Am Wrath starring John Travolta and Christopher Meloni this past week. It looked a LOT better than your average “revenge” film, except that one thing kept bothering me. I mean, I realize that Travolta’s fallen on hard times (and hard penises, from what I’ve read), but couldn’t they have gotten him a much better wig?? His hair distracted me throughout the entire film. See it for yourself.

Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar– I don’t know about you, but Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania doesn’t do much for me. Will it be an awesome match? No…not at all. You’ll see Ambrose take a massive beating and take some unnecessary bumps, then he’ll get an occasional offensive move in that startles Lesnar for a bit. Ambrose might even win the whole thing in the end, but their build has CLEARLY shown that Ambrose just doesn’t have what it takes to battle Lesnar one-on-one. He’s been decimated at every encounter and hasn’t been able to do anything against Lesnar other than hit a low-blow or use a chair. Now that I think about it, the only way this match might be interesting will be if it’s a NO DQ match with weapons available…because at least that puts Ambrose on an even playing field. Think back to Lesnar’s match with CM Punk for a minute: at least Punk’s offense was believable. I believed that Punk had a shot against Lesnar. I do not feel that way about Ambrose…at all.

WWE Network– I am absolutely STOKED to hear about this new “WWE Global Cruiserweight Series” that Triple H is bringing to the WWE Network this summer. Here is their description:

“For the first time ever, WWE invites cruiserweights from all over the world to compete in the inaugural Global Cruiserweight Series. Thirty-two of the greatest in-ring competitors under 205 lbs. will descend upon Full Sail University in Orlando and collide over 10 weeks to earn the right to call themselves the best cruiserweight in the world.”

I don’t know about you, but this is extremely exciting. Not only because we’ll get to see high-flying moves and such, but because there are a lot of fantastic independent performers out there that are considered too small for WWE, even now with NXT going after a number of smaller indy guys. I’ll have a post dedicated to just who I think would be great for this tournament, but names that immediately come to mind are:

  1. RicochetRicochet (aka Prince Puma on Lucha Underground)
  2. Neville
  3. ACH (from PWG and ROH)
  4. Kalisto
  5. Hideo Itami (if he’s ready to return from injury by then)
  6. Tyler Breeze
  7. Zack Sabre Jr (from PWG)
  8. Finn Bálor
  9. New free agent Kota Ibushi (one of the most exciting wrestlers on the planet)
  10. Sami Zayn

How’s THAT for a starting line-up?? This really could be an entity in and of itself…a separate roster of just cruiserweights under a different WWE name. So then you’d have WWE, NXT, and whatever the cruiserweights would be called. Really…it’s brilliant marketing strategy by Triple H. But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We’ll just have to wait and see where this all leads us in the coming months.

Laura James & Joey Ryan– It’s gone viral, but just in case you haven’t seen Joey Ryan propose to wrestler girlfriend Laura James during their match (and then pin her after she accepted), then here it is for you. I’m a big fan of Ryan and have been following him on his YouTube channel for a couple of years now. It’s great to see something like this because it’s original and fun and brings a smile to my face.

Song of the Week comes from a band I don’t normally listen to. When I first saw this video, I was mesmerized. Then the song began to grow on me. A LOT. Regardless of your tastes in music, I think you owe it to yourself to spend five minutes watching this new video by Chemical Brothers (featuring Beck on vocals).

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Throwback Thursday – Abdullah the Butcher vs Carlos Colon

The Pictorial History of Wrestling - The Good, the Bad and the UglyWhen I was a kid I owned a wrestling book called The Pictorial History of Wrestling: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. This book didn’t specifically feature WWE performers, but rather the most popular international wrestlers from around the world. It was my first introduction to guys like Bruiser Brody and the Road Warriors. There were a ton of guys who were showcased who would eventually go to WWE, but how was I to know at the time that Ric Flair was the “real wrestling champion” if it weren’t for the book?

Colon vs Abdullah 1Two men stood out to me because the book really focused on their bloody feud: Carlos Colon and Abdullah the Butcher. Each wrestler in the book had a one or two-page bio about them, but the photos of Colon and Abdullah really shocked me because of (a) the scars on their heads and (b) the blood in the photos. I mean, how could wrestling NOT be real??

Abdullah the Butcher 1One of Abdullah’s trademarks is the series of divot-like scars on his forehead. As unfathomable as it may be to really put it into perspective, he has these scars due to the excessive use of razor blades during his career. His gimmick was incredible for the time…being the “Sudanese Madman” that didn’t speak a word of English, Abdullah would always have managers in whatever territory he would visit (Gary Hart, Paul Jones, the Grand Wizard, Sir Oliver Humperdink, and Skandor Akbar were some of the more famous ones). He would ALWAYS end up turning his opponents into bloody messes, which he would make all the more frightening to watch because he would use forks in such a realistic way. When I finally saw him wrestle, I wasn’t really thrilled…but I was still in awe due to the fact that his reputation was worldwide.

Carlos Colon 1Colon is seen as the biggest star in the history of Puerto Rican wrestling. It’s pretty hard to discount that fact, as he drew massive crowds throughout the 80’s in all parts of the Caribbean. Hell, he even defeated Ric Flair for the NWA title in 1983 (though the match was never sanctioned or made official by the NWA). In his heyday, though, it was his feud with Abdullah the Butcher that drew in the crowds. Colon has been quoted as saying, “Eighty percent of the blood I’ve shed in the ring I’ve shed because of Abdullah.” Whenever I saw the scars on Colon’s head, I was in shock. But his promo pictures always showed him with a smile on his face, so I always assumed that he was the “good guy”.

So today’s Throwback Thursday is a classic match between Abdullah and Colon. It’s not “classic” in the 5-star sense, but “classic” in the sense that it was the type of match that you normally saw from them. They were hardcore before hardcore was cool.

ZAH Thoughts From A Car – NXT & Where It’s Going

NXTHey gang! The newest podcast is up! As I endlessly drive around, I decide to take some time to discuss NXT, what stars are stepping up, what stars are moving on, and what we can expect over the next couple of months.

Want 30+ years of wrestling experience giving you a realistic take on the wrestling industry? Then this is the podcast for you!

Check it out!!

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#WomanCrushWednesday – Margot Robbie

Today’s Woman Crush Wednesday is…

MARGOT ROBBIE!!Margot Robbie

I have to admit…I only became aware of Margot Robbie when the trailer for Suicide Squad came out last fall. Then I realized that I simply HAD to find out more about this incredibly hot actress.

Turns out she’s Australian, is only 25, and has just begun to see her star shine in movies such as The Wolf of Wall Street, Focus, and now Suicide Squad.

And really…that’s all you need to know for now. Click on the pic below for the full-sized version. Check out Robbie at her social media links:

Official Website

Margot on Twitter

Margot on Instagram

Margot Robbie

RAW Thoughts

We’re on the final road to WrestleMania hot off the heels of last night’s FastLane PPV. I’ve read that we’re to expect the unexpected tonight in Detroit, so I can’t wait to see how WWE begins to set-up their biggest card of the year!

Guess Who WonAmbrose 'injured'We kicked off the festivities with a recap of last night’s main even Triple Threat match, and then a video from “earlier today” when Brock Lesnar attacked Dean Ambrose in the parking lot, thus setting up one of the “meh matchups” for WrestleMania.

Vince McMahon then came out to give the award out for the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy Award. I thought it was going to go to Triple H, but it instead went to Stephanie McMahon.

Ugh.

Just as she was about to read an acceptance speech, OUT CAME SHANE MCMAHON!!!

Vince & ShaneWhat in the living hell??? Talk about a shocker!! Holy shit!! After an extended “Shane-O-Mac” chant, a “Holy Shit” chant, and a “This Is Awesome” chant, we finally got to hear just why Shane was there. He proceeded to tell his dad and family that under Stephanie and Triple H’s reign the ratings have tanked, the stock has fallen, and there has been a plethora of injuries to major superstars.

Shane sent Stephanie packing and then told his dad that he wanted control of Monday Night RAW.

Okay. I’m intrigued.

What in the actual fuck???

Let me think about this for a second…Shane McMahon is back to get control of Monday Night RAW, thus being in control of the entire company. In order to do that, Shane-O-Mac must come back for one more match…against the Undertaker at WrestleMania in a Hell In A Cell match.

Yeah…I think I can handle this. I’m speechless about the whole thing, but I’m down with it (even if it’s just a set-up for John Cena vs Undertaker, which is still a possibility). Wow…talk about unexpected.

Lucha DragonsThe next match was a throw-away six-man tag match with the Lucha Dragons and Neville taking on the WWE World Tag Team Champions, the New Day. The match was entertaining and had a couple of innovative spots. In the end, New Day won…thus shooting down possibilities that the Lucha Dragons are next in line for a WWE tag title shot. In fact, there was a short segment with New Day making fun of the League of Nations, so that inexplicably seems to be the next feud for them…even though they didn’t, in fact, turn babyface last night. I’m actually confused about the whole thing.

Brock Lesnar 1Kicking off Hour #2 is Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. I suppose they felt the need to do whatever they could to make Lesnar a heel going into their match with Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania, but I don’t see anything wrong with a face vs face match. People will cheer Lesnar, anyway. Heyman delivered another insanely awesome promo, telling the world how Lesnar got ripped off and made a few jabs at both Ambrose and Reigns along the way. It was awesome.

Ambrose drives ambulanceThen, driving the ambulance as if he were drunk, Ambrose came “back from the hospital” to challenge Lesnar to a match at WrestleMania. Ambrose crawled towards the ring but couldn’t muster the ability to stand up. Lesnar began to walk away by stepping on his head…but Ambrose grabbed the house mic and challenged him to a match at Mania in a no holds barred street fight. Lesnar laughed and made his way back down to Ambrose and gave him an F5 on the floor.

Lesnar vs AmbroseThe crowd chanted “one more time” as Heyman grabbed the mic and accepted the challenge. As much as the segment was awesome, the idea of a gimmick match between Lesnar and Ambrose at WrestleMania is just “meh” for me. I mean, I’m sure Ambrose will do well and “won’t give up”, but other than a few lucky spots it’ll be Lesnar killing him for 10-15 minutes. As entertaining as that may be, at the end of the day it’s just “meh”.

There was a completely forgettable segment with the Usos destroying the Ascension after being dressed-down by the Dudley Boyz. Yawn. Next?

Styles & JerichoIt was nice seeing Chris Jericho, again, giving the rub to AJ Styles. This time, though, Jericho was back to being full-fledged babyface. Their love-fest was interrupted by the #SocialOutcasts, which led to a forgettable tag team match between “Jeri-Styles” and Curtis Axel & Heath Slater. It showcased the comedy possibilities by the Outcasts and the athletic abilities of Styles, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Wyatt WrestleManiaAfter a couple of backstage skits, we had a rematch (of sorts) from FastLane with Kane, Big Show, and Ryback taking on the Wyatt Family (only this time with Bray Wyatt replacing Braun Strowman). For me, two things stood out during the match: (1) the slow-building tension seeming to develop between Harper and Wyatt and (2) the “Gillberg” chants for Ryback by the awesome Detroit crowd. The big story from this match was that Ryback simply walked out on his partners near the end of the match (though Kane telling him it was time was actually caught on camera). This distracted Kane long enough for Bray to hit Sister Abigail and get the pinfall.

Sasha Banks vs Naomi“The Legit Bo$$” Sasha Banks showed up to take on Naomi. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…being a great wrestler doesn’t mean you can simply do “moves”, which is something Naomi does. I mean, she’s extremely athletic and can do all of the moves it takes to be a good wrestler, but it’s glaringly apparent that she can only do moves. There is a reason why she hasn’t been a top contender or a Divas champion at this point in her career. It’s not because she doesn’t have the ability…it’s because she doesn’t know how to string it all together. Can she ever do that? I dunno…but if she was better at what she does, she’s probably be a champion by now considering the talent she has. 

CharlotteAfter the match was over, Charlotte came out to tell everyone that Sasha Banks will clash with Becky Lynch to determine the # 1 contender to the Divas title that will battle her at WrestleMania. She was dressed in “mom jeans” and a top that looked like it belonged to Nikki Bella. Huh.  Oh well.

My guess is that at the end of the day, we’ll have a Triple Threat match for the title. I guess we’ll find out in just over a month.

We’re told that the second inductee into the Class of ’16 Hall of Fame will be Charles Wright…better known as The Godfather. While not ranked nearly as high, I had Godfather listed in my Top 30 Wrestlers NOT in the Hall of Fame.Godfather in WWE Hall of Fame

SheamusThe main event was Roman Reigns taking on Sheamus (and the League of Nations). I gotta be honest…I didn’t have high hopes for this match when it started. I mean, we’ve been there and done that before. It’s boring as hell at this point. Once Sheamus was about to win via countout, Triple H‘s music hit and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion made his way to the ring for an impromptu battle.

The problem, though, was that the crowd was booing Roman Reigns and cheering Triple H. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point. So even though Triple H did what he could to be a destructive heel onto a sympathetic character, the crowd was chanting a name and it didn’t belong to Reigns.

Triple H vs Reigns 1Triple H then smashed Roman’s head against the announce table repeatedly in rapid succession (much to the crowd’s delight as they chanted “YES” every single time) and ended up smashing Roman’s nose and making his face a bloody mess. He then gave Reigns a Pedigree on the steel steps before mocking him and posing with the WWE title, much to the crowd’s delight.

Triple H vs Reigns 2If WWE was trying to make Reigns a sympathetic character tonight, that mission failed miserably.I know they’ll continue trying, though…but I’m feeling bad for Reigns at this point. He’s doing everything he can given the confines of the gimmick they’re allowing him to have. I can only hope that last night changes Reigns into a killer as we head into Mania…that may be the only Reigns that people will cheer.

The only problem, however, is that the internet is too smart for their own good. Already uploaded onto YouTube is a video of Byron Saxton appearing to give Reigns a blood capsule to smear all over his face. See it for yourself…

Sigh…poor Roman can’t catch a goddamn break.

Not that it matters because (I had to break it to you, kids), but this is sports entertainment and at the end of the day you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO REALLY INJURE YOUR OPPONENT.

Mind blown

Triple HFrom extreme highs at the beginning of the show to extreme lows at the end, this was an up-and-down episode of RAW. Some matches were set-up for WrestleMania, others were hinted at, and others weren’t touched at all. The next few weeks should be very interesting.

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But these are just my opinions. What are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!

WWE FASTLANE Predictions

ZAH Predictions - WWE FastLane 2016

Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio 2/3 falls for United States title (preshow match)

Kalisto vs Alberto Del Rio

I’ve gotta be honest…I’m shocked that this match is on the preshow. I mean, it’s a 2 out of 3 falls title match for chrissakes! Couldn’t they shove the Wyatt match or the divas tag team match or even the Dudleyz vs the Usos on the pre-show? It just seems like a waste for what could be a fantastic match. I really don’t expect Kalisto to win as it makes no sense to have him keep the U.S. title when he’s back tagging with Sin Cara 2.0. So by hook or by crook, Del Rio wins back the U.S. title because I think WWE wants the luchadores to remain a top babyface tag team.

WINNER: Alberto Del Rio

Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks vs. Naomi & Tamina

Lynch & Banks vs Team BAD

There is zero reason to suspect that Lynch and Banks won’t win this match. What I’m hoping, though, is that there is enough tension between the two of them that it extends to them both wanting their rematch for the Divas title against Charlotte at WrestleMania. It doesn’t make sense to have them lose in a relatively meaningless tag match.

WINNERS: Becky Lynch & Sasha Banks

Big Show & Kane & Ryback vs. The Wyatt Family

Big Show, Ryback, & Kane vs Wyatt Family

I don’t even care. The Wyatts will win. Yawn.

WINNERS: The Wyatt Family

Charlotte vs. Brie Bella for Divas title

Charlotte vs BellaI don’t have high expectations for this match, to be honest. No offense to Brie, but being the “better wrestler” out of the Bella Twins isn’t exactly a tremendous honor. Can she milk the popularity of her husband for some cheap pops? Yeah, but it won’t really improve this match-up a lot. Charlotte’s been on fire lately since doing the full heel turn, and my guess is that she’ll sneak a victory with the help of her father to eventually set up a Fatal 4-Way for the title at WrestleMania (along with Banks and Lynch), since the three challengers will all have legitimate reasons for deserving a title match.

WINNER: Charlotte

A.J. Styles vs. Chris Jericho

Styles vs JerichoKudos to Jericho for not only wanting to put Styles over in his first WWE feud, but doing it while acting heel-ish in the process (without actually turning heel). Given enough time, I really expect these two to put on a helluva show…at least if Jericho decides to go out and play (he’s been on-and-off over the past few months). This match should hopefully set-up a number one contender to the Intercontinental championship…at least if my fantasy booking is on fleek.

WINNER: AJ Styles

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler for IC title

Owens vs ZigglerI’ve read from multiple sources that there are “big plans” for Kevin Owens at WrestleMania. I don’t know if that’s actually the case or not, but at the end of the day it makes zero sense for Dolph Ziggler to win the Intercontinental championship. His character is so stale that it would actually hurt the IC belt if he won it. My guess is that Owens not only wins, but the victory propels him to face off against Styles at Mania in a match that stems from the Royal Rumble. The match itself could be epic and I think WWE knows what they’ve got with these two men.

WINNER: Kevin Owens

Cutting Edge segment featuring The New Day

New Day on The Cutting EdgeI can only hope and pray that this segment is used to set-up a tag team contender for New Day to face at WrestleMania. Otherwise, what the hell is the point of all this? (Well…other than to promote the new Edge & Christian show on the WWE Network, that is) And really, since there aren’t any teams in WWE that are close to being over enough to legitimately challenge for the WWE tag team championships, it only makes sense to debut an NXT team. And the ONLY team in NXT that is ready for this opportunity is Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady. Will this happen? I kinda doubt it, but man…do I hope it happens. I’d much rather this than, say, Goldust and R-Truth “officially” declare themselves a tag team.

Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar for the WrestleMania main event match against Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Lesnar vs Reigns vs AmbroseSigh…so many choices yet so little optimism that they will actually take place. Obviously, WWE has been working on Roman Reigns being “the man” for over a year now. It hasn’t worked, but that hasn’t stopped Vince from trying to make it happen and “force” the WWE Universe to love his guy.

Ambrose vs ReignsWhat’s intriguing has been the “Dean Ambrose Experiment” that’s taken place over the past few weeks. From the face-off between Ambrose and Triple H at the Royal Rumble, to the multiple attempts at wanting to take out Brock Lesnar on his own, to him losing the Intercontinental championship without having been pinned or submitted…it appears as though Ambrose might be on the “Daniel Bryan path” where the crowds have forced WWE’s hand. At this point, it’s totally possible that Ambrose (who has been booked to be the underdog that will never quit) somehow wins this match and faces Triple H for his ultimate WrestleMania moment.

I think that regardless of whether Ambrose or Reigns wins, Brock Lesnar will be attacked by Bray Wyatt to set up their WrestleMania match (though it’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility that Lesnar wins, either…leaving Ambrose and Reigns to face each other at Mania).

Paul Heyman & Roman ReignsIn a perfect world, Reigns would lose this match, have Ambrose win at Mania, and then turn heel in en route to becoming the next Paul Heyman Guy while Lesnar took the summer off. This would allow Reigns to rebuild as a heel under Heyman, Ambrose to run as a face with the title, and fresh matches and storylines to take place leading to the eventual return of Seth Rollins at SummerSlam.

Of course, that would leave no real opponent for Reigns at WrestleMania and it would mean Vince has to admit defeat and eat crow…AGAIN. That’s just not going to happen.

WINNER: Roman Reigns

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But am I way off on this? Is it really just as straight-forward as a finish as everybody expects it to be? These are just my predictions, but I’ve love to know YOUR thoughts! Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!