WWE News: Reviews, Analysis and Rumors for Week of Jan. 13
With the 20th anniversary episode of RAW taking place and the Royal Rumble approaching as well, there was no doubt that this was going to be a busy and important week in the WWE. That was the case both inside and outside the ring, as there is plenty worth talking about.
Perhaps the biggest announcement came late last week when Mick Foley was named the first member of the 2013 WWE Hall of Fame class. It wasn't officially announced on WWE programming until this week's edition of Raw and there is even more news on the Foley front, as he appears to have picked a certain Hardcore Legend to induct him.
In addition to that, one of the WWE's top Divas quit the company this week, leaving an already thin division in dire straits. Also, information came to light with regard to why two former stars weren't present on Raw. One of those superstars could soon be announced as part of the WWE Hall of Fame, although he won't be going in alone.
Read about all of that and much more as I break down the latest news and rumors emanating from the WWE for the week beginning on Jan. 13.
Mick Foley Named First WWE Hall of Fame Inductee for 2013
With WrestleMania season essentially upon us, the WWE is starting to assemble its 2013 Hall of Fame class. Since the induction ceremony is going to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York, many fans were hopeful that Mick Foley would be one of the inductees.
Their prayers were answered as word leaked late last week that Foley would be a member of the 2013 class and it has since been confirmed by the WWE.
Foley was a guest on the 20th anniversary episode of Raw, where he was nearly dismantled by The Shield. However, Ryback, Randy Orton and Sheamus made the save.
Foley later interacted with The Rock backstage and the fans got to see a quasi Rock 'n' Sock Connection reunion as they exchanged some catchphrases. All of that was great, but the important part is that Foley is finally getting the recognition he so richly deserves.
Whether you were entertained by Foley when he was an active competitor or not, there is no denying that he earned the right to be mentioned among the all-time greats in the WWE. Foley was never the most physically gifted superstar on the roster, but he more than made up for it through hard work and dedication. He was more than willing to put his body on the line and was part of some of the most memorable matches and moments during the Attitude Era.
While most wrestlers struggle to get one gimmick over with the crowd, Foley managed to do it with three, as he wrestled under the guise of Mankind, Cactus Jack and Dude Love at various points throughout his WWE career.
Also, since the WrestleMania festivities are taking place in the New York/New Jersey area, it's only fair that Foley gets inducted this year. The Long Island native would often hitchhike to MSG in order to watch WWE shows and he was ultimately able to live his dream by becoming a WWE superstar.
Not only did he do that, but he also became one of the all-time greats.
Eve Torres Quits WWE
Rumors surfaced quite some time ago that Eve was considering leaving the WWE due to her impending marriage to jiu-jitsu expert Rener Gracie.
Those rumors came to fruition this week as Eve dropped the Divas Championship to Kaitlyn and then quit the WWE during a backstage interview with Matt Striker. This is obviously something that has been in the works for a while, but the WWE passed it off as a sudden occurrence.
Eve had held the title for several months and developed into the WWE's top Diva, but now the company will have to scramble in order to either push Divas who are already on the roster or bring new ones in from NXT or other promotions.
It isn't as if the Divas division was exactly burgeoning with Eve leading the way, but she became a solid in-ring worker and had one of the best characters among the Divas. That won't be easy to replace, and the Divas scene is definitely in a state of flux.
Although I'm not a huge follower of Diva wrestling, it obviously has a place within the WWE and is something that should be offered to the fans. With that said, the WWE's Divas division has taken hit after hit over the past year and has truly been depleted of talent.
In addition to Eve, The Bella Twins, Kelly Kelly and Beth Phoenix have departed, meaning the WWE has lost five key Divas in fairly close proximity.
Now the WWE is left with a barren cupboard aside from a small handful of women.
Kaitlyn certainly has a lot of potential thanks to her looks, personality and power, but she can't do it alone. I have to believe that A.J. will now be utilized more often as a wrestler rather than simply a valet.
The two best pure wrestlers on the Divas roster are Natalya and Tamina Snuka, so they'll likely see an increase in usage as well. Aside from them, the WWE has a couple all-around divas in Layla and Alicia Fox who can be used when needed.
That doesn't leave the creative team a lot of options, so perhaps Paige will soon be called up from NXT or some outside female wrestlers will be brought in. It just goes to show that Eve made a ton of progress during her WWE tenure and she'll certainly be missed.
Why Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels Weren't on Raw
Prior to the 20th anniversary episode of Raw, several wrestling news sites were reporting that some big-name WWE legends were expected to appear on the show. Among the names mentioned were "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Shawn Michaels.
The fans did get to see legends such as Mick Foley, Ric Flair and The Rock, but neither Austin nor Michaels were anywhere to be found. It turns out that they had prior engagements and were never actually options to appear on the show at all.
According to WrestlingInc.com, both Austin and Michaels were at SHOT Show, which is a firearms and hunting trade show held in Las Vegas every year. Both men explained on Twitter that they had already committed to SHOT Show and were unfortunately unable to appear on Raw.
The most interesting part about it is that they were both advertised for SHOT Show ahead of time, but many wrestling sites continued to tout a potential appearance on Raw.
There are two different schools of thought when it comes to Austin and Michaels not appearing on Raw.
The rational one features fans who understand that Austin and Michaels are no longer wrestlers, so they have other ventures to tend to. There was nothing they could do about it and there was nothing the WWE could do, either.
The irrational school of thought features fans who feel like Austin and Michaels owe them something and should have blown off their prior engagements.
The fact of the matter is that Austin and Michaels have already given a ton to the WWE and its fans and they have the right to come and go as they please. There have also been complaints about the WWE not booking them months ahead of time, but it seems to me like fans are making a bigger deal of the 20th anniversary show than the WWE ever did.
It was hyped slightly more than a normal Raw but nowhere near what the WWE did for Raw 1,000. The fans thought Raw would be more than it was due to the reports of dirt sheets and wrestling news sites, but they were ultimately duped, which is unfortunate.
D-Generation X Rumored to Be Inducted into WWE Hall of Fame
Now that Mick Foley has already been announced as a WWE Hall of Fame inductee, rumors are running rampant with regards to who could be next.
There have been a lot of names tossed around, but one that seems to be gaining some traction is the entire D-Generation X stable.
With the Four Horsemen getting inducted last year, famous wrestling groups being placed in the Hall of Fame as an entire unit could be a new trend, so I can certainly see it happening.
According to WrestlingNewsWorld.com, DX is a strong candidate, but The Kliq, Bob Backlund, Kamala and Bruno Sammartino are also possibilities. Since there are usually at least five inductees and sometimes as many as seven, all of them could potentially get in. Of course, probably only one of DX or The Kliq would be inducted since they have so many overlapping members.
Seeing as D-Generation X is probably the greatest stable in WWE history, it only makes sense for the group to get inducted at some point.
Shawn Michaels is already in the Hall of Fame, Triple H is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, The New Age Outlaws are a Hall of Fame-caliber tag team and Sean Waltman had a big enough impact to make it as well. All five members are Hall of Famers individually, and they most certainly are as a group as well. As a huge fan of DX and everyone who was involved in it, I sincerely hope they get the nod this year.
With that said, some are concerned that DX would steal the spotlight from Mick Foley, and I do understand that sentiment. Foley deserves to be a headliner, but it's the WWE's job to incorporate as much star power as it can.
Foley is beloved, but he is seen so often on WWE programming that the novelty has worn off for some. DX's presence would boost the notoriety of the class and make it perhaps one of the best ever.
The other inductees are anyone's guess, but I would say that Backlund has a great shot due to the fact that he's on great terms with the company, was the second-longest reigning WWE champion of all time and performed primarily at Madison Square Garden, which is where the ceremony will take place.
TNA Drops Longstanding Lawsuit Against WWE
Back in May of 2012, TNA filed a lawsuit against the WWE in correlation with former employee Brian Wittenstein. The employee worked for TNA, but TNA claimed that he provided the WWE with vital information and trade secrets. TNA believed that the WWE used this information to sign TNA talent away from them. This prompted the WWE to place a freeze on hiring any talent that had worked for TNA during Wittenstein's tenure.
It appears as though the WWE can now hire freely, as the lawsuit has officially been dropped, according to WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
The WWE and TNA apparently settled outside of court and TNA decided to dismiss the case at a recent hearing. It's tough to say how or if this will affect the WWE's hiring practices, but it seems like the company now has more freedom and flexibility to do what it wants.
This seemed like a lame-duck lawsuit from the start, and with TNA dismissing the suit, that was proven to be true this week.
It seemed petty on TNA's part to pursue something like this, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was done out of jealousy. The WWE doesn't even consider TNA to be anything resembling a threat, so TNA was essentially flattering itself by believing that that the WWE would actively seek out a former TNA employee for information. It just doesn't seem believable, and I'm glad that both companies are now moving on.
Perhaps the main person affected by all of this is Ric Flair. The Nature Boy has made a couple appearances for the WWE, but he isn't under a contract of any kind to my knowledge. The lifting of the lawsuit and the hiring freeze means that the WWE is now free to hire Flair to a legends contract or a full-time deal if it so chooses. Flair can still be valuable to the WWE in an authoritative or managerial role, so I'm excited to see how the WWE utilizes him.