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March 19 - Mark Madness
April 16 - nWo Era (1996-1997) Fantasy Draft
Brock Lesnar Returns to WWE
The WWE made countless headlines over the past week, but the most recent was the return of Brock Lesnar.
The Next Big Thing hadn't been seen in a WWE ring since the night after SummerSlam, but he made his presence felt on Monday as he hit Vince McMahon with an F-5 before he could fire Paul Heyman. Now that it appears Lesnar is back for the road to WrestleMania, it will be interesting to see how he is utilized.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Will Lesnar Face at WrestleMania?
Fans have eagerly anticipated Lesnar's return for months, so now it's time to determine who he'll face on the grandest stage of them all.
It was always obvious that Lesnar was going to return, especially since his likeness is on the WrestleMania poster, but his potential opponent was unclear. The popular choice appeared to be The Undertaker for quite a while, but I doubt that is the case any longer.
Lesnar targeting McMahon tells me and most wrestling fans that a rematch with Triple H is on the horizon. Lesnar defeated Triple H with a Kimura Lock at SummerSlam, which led to Triple H "retiring" without actually uttering the definitive words.
If anything is going to pull Triple H out of semi-retirement, though, it's Lesnar taking aim at his family. Triple H will be out for revenge and he's likely to get it with a victory at WrestleMania.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
As much as I would rather see unique matchups rather than rematches, I would be fine with Lesnar and Triple H locking horns again.
A lot of people enjoyed their SummerSlam encounter, but there were some negative reactions since their match resembled fighting more than wrestling. I felt like it was unique, though, and there was a certain amount of realism to it. Triple H deserves to get some vindication and I can see that happening at WrestleMania with him beating Lesnar and perhaps Vince getting his hands on Heyman.
My hope is that it takes place within the confines of Hell in a Cell like Triple H's match with The Undertaker last year. As long as there is a stipulation of some kind, it will make the bout feel different from what they did at SummerSlam.
If they use the environment to their advantage and utilize weapons, I have no doubt that their match at WrestleMania can be a Match of the Year candidate. On top of that, the build should be highly entertaining, so I have no complaints.
Rumor Mill: Brock Lesnar to Begin Appearing Regularly (via PWInsider.com)
The Rock Defeats CM Punk for WWE Championship
In a match that was several months in the making, The Rock defeated CM Punk for the WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. The vast majority of fans figured that The Rock would come out on top, but that didn't stop many of them from complaining incessantly.
I realize that some people aren't keen on a "part-time" wrestler holding the WWE Championship, but some of the whining in the aftermath of the match was truly sickening.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Did the WWE Make the Correct Decision?
Had Punk retained his title against The Rock, would it have been unpredictable?
Absolutely, but it also would have been idiotic on the WWE's part from a business perspective. As much as some fans like to believe that the WWE revolves around them, that isn't the case.
There are millions of WWE fans across the world, so the WWE is faced with the tough task of catering to the majority. The fact of the matter is that the majority of the fans actually wanted to see The Rock win the title.
Having Punk win would have been more intriguing, but it wouldn't have impacted ratings in the least. Raw drew more viewers this past week than it has in a very long time and that is simply because The Rock became WWE Champion.
That is something hardcore and casual wrestling fans alike wanted to see. The WWE realized that. I'm a fan of Punk and thoroughly enjoyed his title reign, but he had pretty much run his course.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
I'm a fan of both The Rock and Punk, so I would have been content with either man winning. The only thing I didn't want to see was Vince McMahon stripping Punk of the title due to interference from The Shield, so I was happy when he restarted the match and The Rock ultimately prevailed.
The complaints regarding the match range everywhere from the simple fact that The Rock won the title to the manner in which he did it, as he ended the match with The People's Elbow.
It irks me that people are so up in arms over The Rock ending the match with his finishing move. I realize that The Rock Bottom is viewed as his primary finisher, but he has beaten some of the biggest stars the business has ever seen with The People's Elbow.
The issue is that fans have been tricked into thinking that kicking out of a bunch of finishers makes for a great match. That isn't always the case. I'd rather see a well-wrestled match end with a single finisher. That's why we call them finishing moves, after all.
In the end, the WWE made a move that makes financial sense as The Rock vs. John Cena II can be set up for WrestleMania. I don't blame the powers that be one bit.
Rumor Mill: The Rock vs. John Cena Likely at WrestleMania (via IBTimes.com)
TNA Tours In UK Without Jeff Hardy
TNA decided to branch out this week as it left the Impact Zone in Orlando, Fla., in favor of the United Kingdom. TNA taped four episodes of Impact, but none of them will feature TNA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Hardy.
He was written off television thanks to one weak ball-peen hammer shot from a member of Aces & Eights. TNA fans will have to go an entire month without seeing the company's top star.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Why Not Have Hardy Drop the Belt?
I'm not Hardy fan, but I certainly understand why he is in possession of the world title.
He's TNA's most popular entity and he has established himself as a star in the business. He is to TNA what John Cena is to WWE, except on a much smaller scale, obviously. With that said, Hardy's personal problems are well documented and they prevented him from being able to secure a visa and tour with the rest of the TNA roster in the United Kingdom.
I suppose TNA did the best it could to explain his absence, but everyone knows the real reason. Besides, Kurt Angle was attacked in a far more brutal fashion, but he was back in two weeks.
One shot with a hammer is somehow supposed to keep Hardy out of action for an entire month. The entire thing was handled pretty poorly on TNA's part and I can't help but wonder if it would have been a better idea to put the world title on Christopher Daniels, even if only for a few weeks.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
Hardy supporters will probably argue that it would have been irresponsible to pull his title just because he couldn't go on the tour, but I would have if I was a decision maker for TNA.
It reflects very badly on the company to not bring the World Heavyweight Championship along on a huge tour, and it looks even worse when the titleholder can't be trusted to go overseas. Daniels has worked his tail off for TNA for many years and he absolutely deserves a title run, regardless of how long it lasts.
Daniels is 42 years old, so the odds of him winning a world title in TNA are dwindling. He is consistently the most entertaining person on TNA television, however, and he is one of the few guys who I can actually tolerate. Not only is he great on the mic, but he's excellent in the ring as well.
He would do well with the title for a month. At worst he could have dropped it back to Hardy after the tour, but at best his reign could have been significantly better than Hardy's stale one.
It's time for TNA to start rewarding workers for doing their job well rather than trying to prevent guys from jumping ship to WWE. Until TNA realizes that, it will continue to flounder.
Rumor Mill: TNA Knew About Hardy's Absence for Months (via Wrestling Observer Newsletter)