Real American Wrestleblog

This blog predates Jack Swagger's gimmick shift by a year. I named it after Hulk Hogan's entrance theme.

Archive for April 2012

How Far Can The Miz Fall?

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It wasn’t all that long ago that The Miz was in the prime spots on Monday Night Raw every week proclaiming himself the most must see champion in the history of the WWE and turning the logo on his microphone upside down.  Now, I was never really a fan of The Miz’s work or thought he carried any credibility as a champion, but even people who lived under a rock knew that he had made leaps and bounds in 2010 and was on the rise.  Everything I read on the Miz proclaimed him to be such a dedicated worker and praised him for making appearances all over the place promoting the company.

But just as quickly as his star rose in 2010, it has fallen twice as quickly in 2012.

At Wrestlemania XXVII, he carried the WWE Championship into his match with John Cena and he still walked out the champion, grouping him with Randy Orton as the only two men to beat John Cena in a title match at Wrestlemania.  That’s something that none of the following men could accomplish – Big Show, JBL, Triple H, Shawn Michaels, Edge or Batista.  But then Wrestlemania XXVIII rolls around and Miz nearly misses out on the show altogether and earns a spot on Team Johnny less than a week before the show.

Sure, Miz helped Team Johnny win their match at Wrestlemania XXVIII, but what else has he done this year?  He’s gotten blamed for the Survivor Series buy rates being low back in November.  He’s gotten himself in the doghouse after a botched spot where he dropped R-Truth on his head outside the ring shortly before the Elimination Chamber.  And he’s lost a LOT of matches.

And tonight, on the first Pay Per View after his victory at Wrestlemania, he isn’t even on the card.  He’s in the free preview match on YouTube where he is wrestling Santino Marella for the United States Championship.

If the first three Pay Per Views of the year hadn’t included pretty much everybody on the roster, I don’t know that Miz would have been included on those shows.  He’s gone from being allowed to call himself the most must see champion in the history of the WWE without being called out on it by his opponents expect in the rarest of circumstances to being somebody that nobody really feels bad about not even seeing on Raw every week any more. The Three Stooges have seen significantly more air time on Raw this month than The Miz has.

Despite the fact that he is responsible for John Laurinaitis being the General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown, he isn’t in Johnny’s good graces enough to even be written into the show every week.  And we see that he has fallen completely out of the WWE Championship title hunt and been dropped back into United States title challenger mediocrity.  And truth be told, that’s where I feel he probably belongs.  Back when Miz won Money in the Bank, I was lobbying for him to be the first superstar to cash in his briefcase and fail to win the title.  Miz would have been far more entertaining if he had been made to be the Chicago Cubs of the WWE and constantly have a chip on his shoulder.  But that chip was removed when he won the title and held it for several months.  Taking that chip off his shoulder has essentially neutered The Miz and maybe that’s one of the reasons that he has fallen so far in the past year.

And as far as he’s fallen, he needs to find some form of redemption soon or we could be wishing him the best of luck in his future endeavors before 2012 is through.

Raw Response – 04/23/12

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Start off the night with a surprise appearance by Edge and a great promo from the new Hall of Famer about how Cena getting punked by Brock Lesnar every week is a slap to the face off all of the greats who got into the business and stayed in the business because they love it – guys like Edge, Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker.  Edge’s statement that he’s not asking Cena to beat Lesnar, but he’s telling him to makes me believe that Lesnar will beat Cena on Sunday at Extreme Rules and as a result Cena is going to have to face the wrath of Edge in the near future and something big is going to change this summer for Cena.

Edge telling Cena repeatedly that he needs to “Wake up” echoes the sentiments the fans have been throwing at Cena for the past five years that something needs to change in his character and his attitude.  The general consensus among the adult male fans is that John Cena’s character is stale, that they are tired of seeing him be the same every week, but now that greats like Roddy Piper, Mick Foley and Edge have come out on the air and called him out on his attitude in regards to how the fans feel about him and Kane fought Cena leading up to Wrestlemania over Cena’s inability to “Embrace the hate” make it more plausible to me that we might actually see Cena’s character undergo some changes.  Cena could be about to suffer an Attitude Adjustment of his own.  It is still entirely possible that the only change Cena will undergo is that he will shake off the hangover of losing to Rock at Wrestlemania and Hulk Up to destroy Lesnar at Extreme Rules, like he has done against every other heel that’s come along and dominated him on Raw for weeks only to have Cena “overcome the odds” yet again and if so, I think many would join me in the opinion that for Cena to overcome Brock Lesnar in the same way he has every other opposing heel opponent from The Great Khali in 2007 to Kane earlier this year would be a complete and utter waste of the storyline that they have spun around Cena for the past 4 months.  The time is ripe for a change.  The fans have been thirsting for it.  And a significant change in Cena’s character could launch the WWE into a new direction and lead the WWE out of the doldrums that some would say it has been in for the past few years.

The opening contest of the night held no real surprises as Chris Jericho fought Kofi Kingston, the only man Jericho has beaten one-on-one on television since his return.  So, of courseJerichowas going to beat him again.  However, the two still put on a great match with a solid finish.  Then, after the matchJerichopoints to his beatingKingstonas proof that he will win the WWE Championship at Extreme Rules.  Never mind that he beatKingstona couple of times before Wrestlemania and still ended up tapping out to the Anaconda Vice.  Never mind that this match withKingstonis the only televised matchJerichohas had since Wrestlemania.  In another segment, CM Punk received a liquor basket fromJericho, that he regifted to Josh Matthews.  However, Punk kept one bottle of Jack Daniels, which he promised to hand deliver back toJerichoat Extreme Rules this Sunday in his home town ofChicagoduring their Chicago Street Fight.  Later in the night, Jericho and Alex Riley would spy on CM Punk, who was apparently drinking the Jack Daniels himself, but it felt like there was definitely a possibility that it was a ruse when Jericho went to John Laurinaitis and had the General Manager force CM Punk to undergo a field sobriety test at the risk of being stripped of the title should he fail.  Punk did a masterful job of playacting, but as he was on the verge of surrendering the title toJericho, Punk dropped the ruse and pummelsJerichoand chased him off to the back.  As always, anything can happen in the WWE, but CM Punk still has the edge in my mind and while evidence would suggest thatJerichohas to turn the tables in their rivalry at some point, I’m still predicting that Punk once again retains his title and defeatsJerichoat Extreme Rules.

Lord Tensai would go on in the second match against R-Truth and everybody expected a squash match and that’s exactly what we got.  After Tensai was barely touched in his first few matches and then went on to beat John Cena in an Extreme Rules match last week inEngland, what chance did R-Truth have?  Tensai continues to look dominant, but this time he actually pins his opponent instead of the referee having to stop the match.  I love the use of the green mist, something we haven’t seen in the WWE since Tajiri left the company several years ago and it’s unique to see the mist used in a package with the Claw.  The Claw in and of itself has been retooled by Tensai to include a Slam, which is something I’d never seen done before.  Tensai is bringing a lot of unique combinations into his new character and is much more imposing and intimidating than he ever was as Albert or A-Train.  He also brings about a sense of mystery for an imposing heel character which is something WWE is going to need in the next few years with characters like Kane and the Undertaker inching closer to retirement.

And speaking of Kane, the Big Red Machine is as good now as he ever was.  His masked character has seemed to me like it had a cult following among the fans ever since he was forced to unmask almost ten years ago.  Once again donning the mask has helped breathe new life into a character that had lost a lot of the qualities that made him so imposing during his early feuds with the Undertaker and Stone Cold and his intense and destructive rivalry with Shane McMahon shortly after he lost his mask.  And Kane made it clear tonight that he has distanced himself from things he once cared about by refusing to rescue his “father” Paul Bearer from Randy Orton.  It appears that nothing will stand in the way of Kane’s path of destruction this time around.  However, I believe Orton is going to find some way to overcome the Big Red Machine in their Falls Count Anywhere match at Extreme Rules on Sunday.

I don’t see Big Show holding the Intercontinental title for long.  This is the second straight week that Big Show has teammed with The Great Khali and I can see them becoming a regular tag team like that Big Show has formed with Kane in the past.  It wouldn’t be a lasting union by any means, but Big Show has teammed with other big men in the past to form dominant tag teams in periods when the division has been in a lull, which it is definitely still in.  I see Cody Rhodes winning the Intercontinental Title back from Big Show either at Extreme Rules or in the near future and Big Show moving into regular tag team action along with Khali.  Doing so would allow both big men to compete and remain dominant every week without having to spend too much time moving around in the ring because they would be splitting ring time.  In the meantime, Big Show continues to dominate Cody asDel Rioruns out on Cody during their tag team match against the two giants tonight andRhodesfalls victim to Big Show’s Chokeslam.

A NEW Diva’s Champion was crowned tonight in Nikki Bella, giving both of the Bella Twins one title reign apiece.  They made a point of Beth approaching the record for the longest reign in the short history of the title, which tipped me off that she was probably going to drop the title either tonight or at the Pay Per View on Sunday.  With the title back on one of the Bellas, it opens the door for Kharma to make her return to the Diva’s division and get even with the Bellas for their remarks when she left last summer for her pregnancy, which she tragically miscarried.  It appears that Beth may not see in-ring action in the near future, so we could see Kelly Kelly beat another Bella and get another run with the Diva’s title or somebody like Natalya or Alicia Fox could step back into whatever dim spotlight the Diva’s division has to offer in the current era.

From Smackdown, Sheamus faced off against Mark Henry and we were surprised when Daniel Bryan was announced as the Special Guest Referee.  Bryan attempted multiple times to get Sheamus to attack him, which would have resulted in Sheamus being fired as a result of John Laurinaitis’ declaration that Sheamus was on permanent probation after he purposefully kicked referee Chad Patton a few weeks ago on Smackdown, but Sheamus held his temper in check tonight, but a distraction from Bryan allowed Henry to steamroll Sheamus and pin him and Bryan delivered a quick count. Bryanthen taunted Sheamus and threw his referee shirt at him and once that shirt was off,Bryanwas no longer serving as a referee and Sheamus charged him like an enraged bull, beat him down and threw him back in the ring where Henry was waiting.  Sheamus then kicked his way through Henry, butBryanwas then able to put Sheamus in the Yes Lock, getting in his licks before Extreme Rules, but we don’t yet know if Bryan or Sheamus will get the final edge going into Extreme Rules until after Smackdown this Friday night.  Either way it goes, I’m predicting that Sheamus retains the title at Extreme Rules.  It had been a long time since an individual won the Royal Rumble then went on to Wrestlemania and won the title before Sheamus pulled it off and I see him having a long term reign as champion before finally losing the title, perhaps to the winner of the Smackdown Money in the Bank ladder match sometime in the fall.

Zack Ryder and Santino Marella teammed up to take on the Tag Team Champions, Primo and Epico, and the champions continued to show how weak the division is by losing to another random pairing of singles wrestlers for the second week in a row with Primo falling victim to the Cobra and going down for the three count.  It was forgivable for them to lose to two giants like Big Show and The Great Khali, but if they are going to show any promise as tag team champions, they need to win matches like this against random pairings of mid-card singles talent.  The Usos and Primo and Epico are the only seemingly legitimate tag teams right now in the company and doing jobs to Santino & Ryder isn’t going to help bring any credibility back to the division or to the titles.

In the final match of the night, Brodus Clay and Hornswoggle took on Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger and the match itself was specifically sponsored by Taco Bell and Doritos’ loco tacos.  Apparently each individual match is open for advertising sponsorships now.  It’s good for Brodus to be in the ring with individuals like Swagger and Ziggler, but their match once again ended without a legitimate finish as Vickie Guerrero got into the ring and slapped Brodus in the face, causing a disqualification.  Vickie then got surrounded by Brodus, Hornswoggle and their back-up dancers and tried to joke her way out of it, only to be bitten on the backside by Hornswoggle, providing some laughless comedy.  It feels like a shameless waste of talent for Ziggler to only be on screen for a few minutes and to not even have a legitimate match when he has become such a great performer over the past two years.

And we closed the night with the official contract signing between Brock Lesnar and John Cena for what is obviously the Main Event of Extreme Rules.  After Edge’s confrontation of Cena at the beginning of the night and Lesnar flipping out on Josh Matthews earlier in the night, it was unclear of what would happen in the contract signing, but the intensity was definitely palpable for the last time these two would come face to face before Extreme Rules.  So when Cena’s music hit and Cena didn’t show up, I was looking for him to come through the crowd and attack Brock, but that didn’t happen.  Brock and Laurenaitis start looking around in confusion and then Brock grabs the mic and starts taunting Cena, and I start think Cena’s going to show up with a new look, maybe a new gimmick or something.  Brock then starts talking about making some changes to the match and about how unhappy he is about the way things have been going and suggests Laurenaitis make some business changes before he will sign the contract for the match at Extreme Rules.  Brock then starts talking about how he’s an “enterprise” and no longer a “naive little farm boy” and how the company needs him, but he doesn’t need them.  Brock then tells Laurenaitis that all decisions regarding him and the WWE have to be run by him first and he demands the use of Vince McMahon’s private jet to chauffer him to and from Monday Night Raw every week and I’m wondering where all of this is going and why Cena isn’t out there yet and Brock just keeps talking down about the company and Laurenaitis and how he’s going to do what he wants and how he doesn’t care what any of the people think or say about him.  Laurenaitis agreed to Brock’s terms and Brock signs the contract and now Cena finally shows up, but there is no smile on his face, no words for the camera, no salute.  Cena just goes into the ring without saying a word and he’s got a steel chain in his hand, like the one he used to carry around when he was calling himself the Doctor of Thuganomics, giving us another indication that changes may be in the works for Cena.  Cena stands around and doesn’t sign the contract, so Brock pics up the mic and taunts him some more and tells Cena that he’s scared of Brock.  Cena then signs the contract and throws it at Brock, but the punches don’t start flying.  Brock then tips the table over, but still no punches are thrown.  Brock then leaves without any physical confrontation, which was unexpected.  The intensity was definitely there, but I think the contract segment wore on for too long and didn’t really add anything of value to their match at Extreme Rules.  I guess what we’re supposed to take away from tonight is a feeling that Cena might actually be scared of Brock, but I’m not buying it.  An otherwise very good episode of Raw ended with a big of a letdown in my opinion.

Written by I Am a Real American

April 23, 2012 at 10:19 pm

Posted in 2-out-of-3 Falls, A-Train, Albert, Alberto Del Rio, Alex Riley, Bella Twins, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Brodus Clay, Cena needs to wake up, Chicago Street Fight, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Cody Rhodes, Contract Signing, Daniel Bryan, Diva's Championship, Doctor of Thuganomics, Dolph Ziggler, Edge, Extreme Rules, Falls Count Anywhere, Green Mist, Guest Referee, Hall of Fame, Hornswoggle, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kane, Kane vs. Orton, Kelly Kelly, Kharma, Kofi Kingston, Lesnar vs. Cena, Lord Tensai, Mark Henry, Mick Foley, Monday Night Raw, Nikki Bella, Primo & Epico, Pro Wrestling, Punk vs. Jericho, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw Response, Roddy Piper, Santino Marella, Shane McMahon, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Sheamus vs. Daniel Bryan, Special Referee, Tag Team, Tajiri, The Claw, The Great Khali, Undertaker, Vince McMahon, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Yes Lock, Zack Ryder

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Real American Top Ten: Wrestler Performances in Television and Movies Every Wrestling Fan Should See

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First of all, I’m not recommending any of these TV appearances or Movies because they are cinematic masterpieces.  I am not attempting to say these are award worthy performances.  I’m just saying that as a wrestling fan, I really enjoyed these performances and I think if you’re a wrestling fan, you will as well.  And while it pains me to leave Ready to Rumble off the list, I don’t think any of the WCW guys had all that great of a performance, even though the movie itself is a must own for any fan of professional wrestling.  If Oliver Platt were an actual wrestler, his performance as Jimmy King would certainly be at the top of any list of must see performances for a wrestling fan.

#10 – Family Guy (The Rock) – Just a flat out hilarious bit part in the January 2010 episode “Big Man on Hippocampus.”  In the episode, during a steamy Peter and Lois sex scene, they claim the scene is too steamy for the FCC to allow them to show and instead cut to a simulation of the scene performed by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.  Rock is seen holding a Peter Griffin action figure with a Lois action figure laying on the table and he deadpans perfectly as he slams the Peter doll up and down on top of Lois, looking very much like a little kid playing with his dolls and sliding her very quickly toward the edge of the table and she falls off, leaving Rock holding the Peter figure and looking confused.  Rock then rolls his eyes and looks embarrassed before we cut back to the conclusion of the sex scene.

#9 – Psych (Mickie James) –   From the September 2008 episode “Talk Derby to Me” in which Juliet goes undercover on a women’s roller derby team, of which the captain is Mickie’s character Rita “Lethal Weapon” Westwood.  The police suspect the team of being responsible for a series of burglaries and turns out they are right and when bodies start dropping, things take a turn and put Juliet’s life at risk, but when Shawn comes to the rescue, Juliet ends up saving him with a vicious Clothesline.  It was a very solid episode and it was nice to see Mickie play a bad girl for the first time since her Trish Stratus stalker gimmick.

#8 – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (Roddy Piper) – Piper plays the Da’ Maniac in the 2009 episode “The Gang Wrestles for the Troops”, in which the guys at the bar recruit Piper to participate in a wrestling match to benefit troops returning home as a response to Dee chatting online with a soldier and then hanging out with him upon his return home.  Unfortunately, Piper’s character turns out to be a bit too crazy for them and gets himself arrested, so he doesn’t make an appearance for the match itself.  Piper is still great as always and the match the guys put on is incredibly stupid, but absolutely hilarious.  Even without Piper’s appearance, it would have been a great episode for wrestling fans and with him, it’s a definite must see.

#7 – Spider-Man (Randy Savage) –  Who can ever forget Bonesaw vs. The Amazing Spider-Man?  I sure can’t as Macho Man chases a freaked out Peter Parker around a steel cage in one of Spider-Man’s first ever fights as he looks to use his newfound powers to win a $3,000 prize for the wrestling match to help pay for a sports car.  The fight and Spider-Man’s victory plays a pivotal role in his origin story for the 2002-2007 Spider-Man film trilogy as Spider-Man is stiffed by the promoter and given only $100 despite defeating Bonesaw, leading Spidey to allow a thief to escape with the promoters money and the thief ends up shooting Peter’s father figure, his uncle Ben, leading Peter to take on a greater responsibility as Spider-Man.

#6 – Psych (Stacy Keibler) – From the episode “Thrill Seekers and Hell-Raisers” in February 2010.  Stacy joins Shawn and Gus on a river-rafting trip and it quickly becomes evident that her character is not shy about putting the moves on Shawn and is more than happy to initiate things.  Things quickly become complicated as one of the river-rafting party goes missing an Stacy becomes one of Shawn’s suspects as well as Gus’ new girlfriend Ruby (played by the very attractive Sarah Shahi).  Turns out neither of them is guilty, but here’s to hoping Stacy makes a return to the show at some point.  Also, be sure to check out her appearances on How I Met Your Mother and Chuck.

#5 – The Punisher (Kevin Nash) –  Epic fight scene as Nash shows up dressed in a ridiculous red and white striped t-shirt, looking like an overgrown beach boy with classical music blaring in the background as Nash punches a hole through the door to the Punisher’s apartment and commences delivering punishment of his own.  The Punisher throws everything he can at Nash and Nash classically no-sells pretty much all of it (kind of like in WCW) and levels Punisher with an entire toilet that he uprooted from the floor.  At one point, The Punisher even hurls a grenade at Nash, which Nash nonchalantly bats back at him, forcing Punisher to dive for cover and the explosion puts an end to the classical music, but only temporarily as Nash and Punisher continue to bash each other through walls and with anything they can pick up while the other characters comically fail to notice any of this is going on until Nash and Punisher finally come crashing through their front door.  The fight finally culminates with Nash taking a pot of boiling pasta sauce to the face and being tackled down a flight of stairs to his demise.  Definitely a must see.

#4 – Boy Meets World (Vader) – One of my favorite shows growing up and I still watch the reruns occasionally in the rare instance I can find them on.  Vader appeared in three episodes as pretty much himself as it is revealed Vader is the father of Cory and Shawn’s bully turned friend, Frankie Stechino (played by Ethan Suplee).  In multiple instances, Frankie, Cory and Shawn show up to Vader’s matches to help Vader out and give him advice such as to waste less time before delivering the Vader Bomb.  I don’t recommend this for Vader’s acting chops, but because its a great show with great characters that saw fit to include professional wrestling as a story arc on the show.

#3 – The Longest Yard (Kevin Nash) – Kevin Nash cracks the top five, not once, but twice.  This is an all around good remake of a classic that actually showcases the acting talents of several wrestlers including Stone Cold Steve Austin, Goldberg and The Great Khali, but Nash definitely steals the show with his estrogen-pill popping performance.  He had me damn near rolling in the aisles and busting my gut, I was laughing so hard, especially the scene on the sidelines where Stone Cold tells him to “Stop acting like a damn cheerleader” and Nash responds with “Sportsmanship triumphs” and then makes a sour face at Stone Cold.  He also experiences several other uncharacteristic non-manly moments as a result of the other team replacing his steroids with estrogen, all of which are hilarious.  Nash rarely got a chance to show off his comedic chops and have it be legitimately funny, so enjoy it where you can.

#2 – They Live (Roddy Piper) – One of the all time greatest lines in cinema – “I am here to kick ass and chew bubble gum… And I am all out of bubble gum.” comes from this movie.  Roddy Piper can be seen kicking ass from back in his heyday.  I know Piper hasn’t lost any of his charisma, but he doesn’t really look like much of an ass-kicker these days and watching They Live is a great way to remember him from his prime. For an 80s sci-fi flick starring a wrestler in the lead, you really can’t ask for more than what They Live delivers in my opinion.

#1 – Walking Tall (The Rock) – One of my all-time favorite action flicks and easily my favorite of Rock’s movies.  If you only watch one of Rock’s movies, I highly recommend this one.  For other solid movies before he became way less entertaining in my view, check out The Rundown and The Scorpion King.  Gridiron Gang is a good, touching movie, but it isn’t the type of movie that I think anyone could watch again and again.  Walking Tall, on the other hand, I have seen at least a dozen times and I even coupled it with the work of Marshall McLuhan (a communication theorist) to get an A on a Mass Communication project my freshman year of college.  It’s a great story about taking back a community from corruption and teaching the members of that community to “Walk Tall” once again.  Plus, you have The Rock beating the bejesus out of dozens of bad guys all by himself.  Throw in Johnny Knoxville to add to the comedy and it makes a pretty great flick.  Not the stuff that classics are made of, but it is very entertaining and you can see what The Rock was like before he starting churning out Disney flicks.

Is Attitude Making a Comeback?

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To answer my own question, it certainly appears so for the time being.  Internet wrestling community, keep your fingers crossed.

For the past two weeks, the biggest perceived offender to the wrestling fans who can trace their viewing lineage back to the Attitude Era – John Cena, has had his lip busted open, been low blowed and suffered the F-5 twice.

And low blows have been few and far between since the end of the era of Ruthless Aggression.

And that’s just part of the trends that make attitude appear to be on the rise.

CM Punk and Chris Jericho are getting about as edgy and intense as a storyline rivalry can go with curse words flying, alcoholic beverages making their first appearance in a long time.  Until Jericho started dousing Punk with whiskey and giving him beer baths in the middle of the ring, even Stone Cold Steveweisers hadn’t been flying around with any regularity (maybe 1-2 times a year, if that).

On top of that, referees suddenly find themselves in the line of fire again after Sheamus kicked Chad Patton’s head off on Smackdown two weeks ago.  And that’s a face Brogue Kicking the referee into oblivion.  I can’t remember the last time I saw a face attack a referee on purpose.  Maybe it was Undertaker on Scott Armstrong after the Breaking Point screw job, but I think his anger was more focused on Teddy Long, if I’m remembering correctly.  And even so, Undertaker never really changed for the PG-era anyway, even though pretty much everybody else did.  And Sheamus went through his big apology on Smackdown this past week to continue to set a good example for the child fans, but I for one kind of get the feeling that it hasn’t happened for the last time.

And while it stands out to me, this last bit might not be apparent to everybody, but back in the attitude era, almost everybody was wearing black or darker colors, but then the PG-era has been filled with bright greens, reds, oranges and blues to correspond with whatever shirts John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Kofi Kingston, or any of the other wrestlers that fans 12 and under cheer for.  But then last week on Raw, everything felt more serious because lots of wrestlers were wearing black.  For instance, I had gotten very used to seeing Yoshi Tatsu with his bright red and white face paint and his neon green, blue, red or yellow tights, but when he fought Tensai on Raw last week, he was wearing almost all black tights and the bright face paint was gone.  Even Cena’s last two shirts have been black and dark green.

The table was more or less set last summer for attitude to make a comeback when CM Punk’s rants about bucking the system landed him the hottest storyline of the summer, the WWE Championship and what has to be the hottest selling WWE t-shirt in a long time.  I have yet to see a show since his white “Best in the World” t-shirt went on sale that the arena wasn’t filled with them.  That had to send a message to the powers that be that fans were aching for a change and the return of attitude.  I know the fans that frequent internet wrestling chat rooms and fan sites have been perennially pissed off since the attitude era ended and have been very vocal about it, but I think for the first time we saw just how much the mainstream fans were ready for a new direction.

Only time will tell, but to this wrestling fan 2012 is looking ripe for a resurgence in attitude.

Chris Jericho: Does Lite Brite Cause Impotence?

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Okay, so at the beginning of the year, Chris Jericho made his triumphant return to the WWE.  Everybody was super excited.  We got his usual cryptic vignettes announcing a big return and because he’s done it twice in the past, everybody knew with absolute certainty that it would be Jericho.  Which, that’s still great – everybody was super excited.

Then the trouble started.

Jericho spent weeks without saying anything, parading around the ring like a dufus in what CM Punk so rightly dubbed a “stupid lite brite jacket”, and just wasting air time in general.  Then, everybody gets what they think is a big payoff when on the final Monday Night Raw before the Royal Rumble, he breaks his silence with one simple sentence.

“This Sunday at the Royal Rumble will be the end of the world as you know it.”

Great, so Jericho is going to shock everybody at the Royal Rumble and do something outstanding, right?  Guess again.  Jericho puts up a valiant effort, but in the end is Brogue Kicked out of the Rumble by Sheamus.  And it was a great final two for the Royal Rumble, the best since Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker tore the house down at the 2007 Royal Rumble.  However, Y2J had still not won anything since his return and apart from the Rumble, he had only wrestled a couple of times in tag matches that he walked out on without executing so much as a wrist lock.  That’s the first month of his career since his latest big return with absolutely nothing accomplished.

Move forward on the road to Wrestlemania XXVIII and Jericho finally picks up a victory over Kofi Kingston on Monday Night Raw.  Could he possibly be getting back on track?  Could he possibly be starting to once again back up his claims that he is the best in the world at what he does?  Think again because we move forward to the Elimination Chamber and while Jericho doesn’t get beat, he gets knocked out of the chamber by a kick to the back of the head and can’t return to the match.  He is once again denied any real credibility since his return to the WWE in January.

From there, Jericho would go on to win a ten man Battle Royal and earn the right to challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXVIII.  Great for Jericho, now he’s on the right track, right?  He’s got the ball rolling in the right direction, right?  Wrong.  Aside from yet another stray victory over Kofi Kingston on the last Smackdown before Wrestlemania, Jericho still didn’t win anything on his own.  Jericho did add a lot of heat to his rivalry against Punk with his claims that Punk’s father was a drunk, his sister was a substance abuser and Punk himself was born out of wedlock and thus the legal definition of a bastard.  He certainly showed that he hadn’t lost his ability to get under his opponent’s skin and deliver heated and shocking moments on the microphone.  However, all of that did nothing to reestablish the credibility of his tremendous wrestling prowess.

Then we get to Wrestlemania XXVIII and the stipulation is added that Jericho can win the title if Punk succumbs to his rage and gets disqualified.  Jericho can’t lose, right?  If that’s what you’re thinking, you haven’t been paying very close attention to the theme thus far.  Jericho then goes out and puts on a technical wrestling classic against Punk.  It was full full of great counter wrestling, reversals of fortune and false finishes.  Despite connecting with a Codebreaker and locking in the Walls of Jericho on multiple occasions, CM Punk managed to survive and keep the WWE Championship after forcing Jericho to submit to the Anaconda Vice.

It was no doubt a five-star classic, but yet again  Jericho found himself on the losing end.  The night after Wrestlemania XXVIII on Monday Night Raw, Jericho finally gets the better of Punk, but only after CM Punk was thrashed during his countout loss to Mark Henry.  Jericho took advantage of a weakened Punk and poured alcohol all over him and broke a liquor bottle over his head.  But he still didn’t pin Punk’s shoulders to the mat or those of anybody else that’s currently a top-tier talent in the WWE locker room.  So, what are we left with to draw our conclusions?  Jericho definitely still has the stuff to put on a great show.  He still has the ability to compete on the highest level with anybody in the locker room.  He’s good enough to still be in the Main Event, but the conclusion we’re evidently supposed to draw from Jericho’s performance over the past three months is that he’s apparently just not good enough to win.