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March 25: WWE Superstar Kofi Kingston
Triple H Adds Stipulation to WrestleMania XXX
The build toward Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H began on Raw a couple weeks ago when Bryan forced WWE's COO to accept the match with his occupy Raw segment. Triple H also agreed to a stipulation that will place Bryan in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match should he win. The Game took that to another level on the most recent edition of Raw by placing himself in the world title match in the event that he wins.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is This a Necessary Wrinkle?
There have been plenty of complaints about the build toward a Bryan vs. Triple H match thus far. Although their feud was the hottest thing going during the summer and early fall, it was admittedly put on the back burner for quite some time. Whether or not CM Punk's departure had anything to do with the angle's rebirth is up for debate, but the fact of the matter is that Bryan vs. Triple H is a logical and entertaining feud. Things were taken to an entirely different level on Raw as Triple H looked stronger and more conniving than ever before as a WWE authority figure.
In addition to potentially placing himself in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship contest at WrestleMania, Triple H was able to add a ton of heat to his feud with Bryan. After feigning respect for the leader of the Yes Movement, Triple H had Bryan handcuffed and proceeded to beat him mercilessly. Triple H dunked Bryan's head in water and even appeared to hit Bryan in the head with a steel chair thanks to some handy camera work. Triple H has been criticized for remaining on the fence far too often rather than going full heel, but he put those complaints to rest on Monday.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
It is inevitable that there are going to be some negative reactions whenever Triple H is involved in a major storyline. There is a misconception that he is only worried about putting himself over, and his possible involvement in the WWE World Heavyweight Championship scene has added fuel to that fire. With that said, the added stipulation makes a ton of sense because it creates some doubt regarding who might win the Bryan vs. Triple H match. Bryan has to be considered the favorite, but there is reason to believe that he may not come out on top due to Triple H's added motivation.
Also, the stipulation creates the possibility of a wacky finish that could allow both Bryan and Triple H to enter the title match and make it a Fatal 4-Way. Perhaps there could be a double pin or Randy Orton and Batista could potentially interfere and cause a no-contest. Whatever the case, a world of possibilities has been opened up due to this added wrinkle. No matter what ultimately happens, it's safe to assume that it will benefit Bryan moving forward, and that is the most important thing of all.
Details Behind Triple H's Raw Promo (WrestlingInc.com via F4WOnline)
Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena Heats Up
The WWE Universe was skeptical to say the least when Bray Wyatt vs. John Cena was initially announced for WrestleMania XXX. While it's refreshing to see Cena in a different spot on the WrestleMania card for once, the belief is that he might "bury" Wyatt in some way and permanently damage his credibility. After the promo work done by both men on Raw, though, this angle has taken an intriguing turn.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Is This an Exciting Feud?
Wyatt vs. Cena was made official on the March 10 edition of Raw, but it wasn't until March 17 that it really picked up steam. Cena's nonchalant demeanor rubbed many fans the wrong way as he cracked jokes and compared Wyatt to Jimmy Buffett. This is despite the fact that Wyatt, Luke Harper and Erick Rowan cost Cena the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on two occasions. Rather than being furious, Cena was jovial.
Cena's character did a 180-degree turn this past week, though, as his promo focused on being afraid of Wyatt. Cena admitted that he was afraid of the fact that Wyatt was trying to influence the fans and tarnish his legacy. The promo may have been flawed to a certain degree, but it was refreshing to see Cena take a serious approach. Also, Wyatt's promo was less cryptic and more straightforward than ever before. He was able to maintain the integrity of his character without speaking in code, and that proved to be very effective.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
This feud has a ton of potential, but it isn't without the faults. The most obvious issue is the ever-present threat of Cena potentially beating Wyatt. It's plain to see that Wyatt is the one who needs to win on the big stage, but WWE has a penchant for using Cena to kill the momentum of others. Logical booking would suggest that Wyatt will go over by hook or by crook at WrestleMania XXX, however, there is always an element of doubt when Cena is involved.
Also, the overarching theme of the feud seems to be that Cena is guarding against the ruination of his legacy. The fundamental flaw there is that Cena could lose 10 WrestleMania matches in a row, and it still wouldn't change the fact that he is one of the most decorated Superstars in WWE history. Simply put, losing to Wyatt won't hurt Cena in the least. Even though this isn't a perfect storyline by any means, the prospect of Cena putting over a younger star at WrestleMania is intriguing to say the least.
Potential WrestleMania Plans for Wyatt Family (WrestlingInc.com via Wrestling Observer Newsletter)
Breaking Down 2014 Mark Madness Tournament
For the third consecutive year, Ring Rust Radio held the Mark Madness tournament to determine the No. 1 guy in professional wrestling. Like college basketball's NCAA tournament, the field consisted of 64 wrestlers and the seeding reflected what they accomplished over the past year. WWE, TNA and ROH wrestlers were eligible to be included, and the Ring Rust Radio panel voted on each individual matchup.
Question on Everybody's Mind: Who Came Out on Top?
Determining the top professional wrestler is no easy task, and that was proven during the Mark Madness decision-making process. Simply making the bracket was difficult enough, but picking the winners was even tougher. The top contenders heading into the tournament were No. 1 seeds John Cena, Daniel Bryan, CM Punk and Randy Orton. While chalk prevailed for three of them, one was shockingly eliminated early in the tourney.
Much to the surprise of nobody, Cena and Bryan cruised to the Final Four. Love him or hate him, Cena had another strong year and he continues to be WWE's top money maker. Bryan has closed the gap considerably in that regard and his popularity has skyrocketed, so moving him into the Final Four was a no-brainer as well. Things got a bit more complicated after that. Even though Punk decided to walk away from WWE, it was determined that he had enough great matches and solid angles to reach the semifinals. Unfortunately, Orton wasn't so lucky.
Ring Rust Radio's Take
It was blatantly obvious that Orton was the weakest among all No. 1 seeds in the tournament, and he ultimately paid the price. Orton has been WWE's top champion essentially since SummerSlam with the exception of the period of time that saw the title held in abeyance. At the same time, he has been booked poorly and his character development has been lacking. Orton was able to make it to the round of 32, but he was shockingly upended by No. 9 seed and ROH World champion Adam Cole. In fact, Cole was the story of the bracket aside from the eventual winner.
After beating No. 8 seed and TNA World Heavyweight champion Magnus in a minor upset, Cole took out Orton, Goldust and Kurt Angle to reach the Final Four in Cinderella fashion. Unfortunately for Cole, his run ended there as he was defeated by CM Punk. On the other side of the bracket, Bryan took out Cena by a 2-1 score to set up a Bryan vs. Punk final. The decision was unanimous in the end, and the Yes Movement won out with Bryan defeating Punk and becoming the Mark Madness champion.
Mark Madness Bracket
Get your own printable bracket here.
RRR Season 4 Fantasy WWE Standings
1. Mike Chiari: 267.5
2. Brandon Galvin: 140
3. Donald Wood: 40
4. Michael Cahill: -5
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