WWE: GSM's History Behind the Present, Week 1

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistMarch 6, 2012

WWE: GSM's History Behind the Present, Week 1

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    Despite being a wrestling fan for only four years, I've managed to accumulate enough information about the WWE's history to make comparisons to today's product.

    Whether the connection be obvious or something completely minute, my useless knowledge has its times when it's put to good use.

    For those of the fortunate few who do indeed follow me on Twitter, you're more-than-likely familiar with the "fun facts" I tweet about on a consistent basis. After so long, it was inevitable that my interesting tidbits of information made their way over to Bleacher Report for a new column entitled "The History Behind the Present".

    Here, I will review the week in WWE programming with some fun facts you may not have known before, and if you are willing, you are welcome to test your knowledge against mine.

    Of course, nobody's perfect, so if you happen to discover a flaw in my findings, please notify me below in the comment section so I can correct myself.

    Please note that not all of the following facts and "Did You Know?" pieces of information are meant to be major, but instead some coincidental thoughts I had over the course of the week that you may find intriguing.

    If all goes well, I will continue to pursue this column here on Bleacher Report for the foreseeable future.

    That being said, the future of my fun facts lies in your hands.

    Let's begin, shall we? 

Teddy Long Makes History

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    For the past few weeks, SmackDown General Manager Teddy Long and Interim Raw General Manager John Laurinaitis have been at each other's throats over who should take full control of both shows.

    To aid the issue, the WWE Board of Directors have determined that Long and Laurinaitis will switch places next week, with one taking over the other's show for the night.

    In total, Teddy Long has had six years of experience as the general manager of Friday nights, a tenure longer than any other authority figure in WWE history.

    After this Monday, Long will also be the first person in history to have been the General Manager of SmackDown, ECW, and Raw on separate occasions.

William Regal as General Manager

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    Speaking of authority figures, William Regal was assigned the new match coordinator for WWE NXT this past Wednesday by the official host of the show, Matt Striker.

    With his new role, Regal will be able to grant bouts on the show and perform commentary simultaneously.

    However, this isn't the first time Regal has had a taste of power, as he was the reigning general manager of Monday Night Raw this time four years ago.

    Oh, how times have changed drastically.

Leap Day

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    William Regal's new promotion wasn't the only thing memorable about this past Wednesday, as it was also the rare celebration of Leap Day that occurs once every four years.

    It's usually easy to recall what happened on any given day a year ago, but that wouldn't be the case with Leap Day due to the scarce occurrence.

    On the last Leap Day, Undertaker defeated Zack Ryder by submission in the main event of SmackDown in 2008. This means that a wrestling show has aired on Leap Day 2008 (SmackDown), Leap Day 2012 (NXT), and will air on Leap Day 2016 (Raw). 

The Miz Can't Buy a Victory

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    This time last year, The Miz was sitting atop the WWE as the WWE Champion entering WrestleMania 27. One year later, Miz finds himself directionless and winless due to the downfall he's experienced over the past few months.

    As of now, the Awesome One hasn't scored a televised victory since the December 12, 2011 edition of Monday Night Raw, where he teamed with Alberto Del Rio to defeat the tandem of Randy Orton and WWE Champion CM Punk at the Slammy Awards.

    Sadly, he hasn't picked up a win since then, and the outcomes of his weekly matches have become utterly predictable.

    At this rate, keeping Miz off the WrestleMania 28 card comes as no surprise.

The Rock Responds to John Cena

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    When The Rock returned to WWE on the Valentine's Day edition of Raw last year, he said he would never leave again.

    However, as Rocky said this past Monday night, he didn't mean that he would continue to appear on television every single week.

    Despite the John Cena vs. Miz championship match advertised as the main event at WrestleMania 27, a majority of the focus was given to Cena and Rock's ongoing tension.

    After Cena rapped about the People's Champ the week following his comeback, Rock looked to respond only eight days removed from Elimination Chamber, similar to this year.

    Last Monday night, Rock ripped into Cena live on Raw like never before by breaking both the PG and kayfabe barriers. However, in 2011, the Brahma Bull responded to the Cena via satellite, a running gag that the Cenation leader still uses to this day.

Cody Rhodes's Lengthy Reign as Intercontinental Champion

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    Last week on WWE.com, an article was posted proclaiming that Cody Rhodes had hit his milestone 200th day as Intercontinental Champion a few days ago.

    However, they were beaten to the punch, as I discovered something much more interesting while doing research last month.

    With Rhodes now exceeding that monumental mark, he is the longest reigning Intercontinental Champion of the last decade. If he can hold the strap past tomorrow (which is extremely significant considering he won't be defending the title until WrestleMania), he will outlast former Legacy member Randy Orton's lengthy reign as champ in 2003 at 210 days.

    If the second-generation star can hold the title for the next two months, he will surpass The Rock's 265-day reign from 1997.

    One can only hope that Rhodes will be able to successfully defend his belt against Big Show come WrestleMania 28.

Big Show: A Grand Slam Champion?

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    This past Friday night on SmackDown, it was confirmed by General Manager Teddy Long that Big Show will battle Intercontinental Champion Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 28 with the title on the line.

    While it may be the least anticipated bout on the card as of now, it certainly has some major implications.

    As previously stated, Rhodes must prove victorious if he intends to become one of the longest lasting Intercontinental Champions in history. However, if Big Show captures the prestigious championship, he will become a Triple Crown champion as well as Grand Slam champion simultaneously for the first time in his WWE career.

    For those unaware of what this prize entails, it means that specific superstar was able to capture a World Championship, Intercontinental Championship, World Tag Team Championship, and Hardcore or European Championship while a part of WWE.

    Show has been able to conquer each of those titles but one—the Intercontinental Championship.

    If Show comes up short at WrestleMania, there's no reason to feel bad, since he's not alone.

    Other top stars in WWE such as John Cena and Undertaker can't say they've become a Triple Crown or Grand Slam Champion in WWE as a result of winning the IC Title at any point in their illustrious careers. 

The Birth of NXT: Redemption

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    This past Wednesday, NXT: Redemption celebrated its one-year anniversary. Ironically enough, it was also the show's 50th episode.

    I'm still shocked to this day that the program has been running for so long, yet it is still considered a competition.

    At this point, a sixth season seems more like a pipe dream rather than a realistic thought, in contrast to last year.

    Remember a time when NXT's seasons only ran a few months? Neither do I.

The Contracted Johnny Curtis

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    While on the subject of NXT, it was a year ago this past Thursday that Johnny Curtis won the fourth season of the program, with the perks being a guaranteed WWE contract and a shot at the WWE Tag Team Championships with his pro R-Truth.

    Since then, Curtis has achieved... well, nothing. He never received a shot at the Tag Team titles due to Truth's abrupt heel turn in April, and didn't end up debuting on SmackDown until five months later.

    His cryptic vignettes that aired throughout the summer lead to nothing, as he was quickly squashed by Mark Henry under a minute on an episode of SmackDown that August.

    Curtis has since returned home to NXT to portray a creepier character while feuding with Derrick Bateman.

    Talk about going full circle. 

James Roday Hosts Raw

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    Also on Leap Day, WWE.com announced that James Roday will be guest hosting Monday Night Raw next week to promote the newest season of his show Psych.

    Words can't explain how excited I was to learn this, as Psych is easily one my favorite television shows in syndication right now.

    Regardless, this would mark the second time a star from the USA Network's hit show would be hosting the flagship show, as Dule Hill (a.k.a. Gus) took over the reigns of Monday nights in January 2010.

    Roday was also scheduled to co-host with Hill, but couldn't make it due to an impromptu surgery.

    For those of you who haven't seen the show, it's evident that both stars are avid wrestling fans, at one point even watching the 2010 Royal Rumble match during one episode!

    If watching the Rumble event with Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Junkyard Dog plush toys doesn't make you a super fan, I don't know what will. 

Triple H Delivers a Pedigree to a Young Talent... Again

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    In an exclusive video available on WWE.com, Triple H was shown delivering a pedigree to The Miz following his loss to John Cena last week on Raw.

    After watching this clip I couldn't help but feel deja vu, as the same thing happened almost exactly a year prior.

    Only eight days removed from Elimination Chamber in 2011, Triple H made a very significant statement by delivering a ruthless pedigree to another former foe in Sheamus directly through the announcer table.

    It's not too often the Game pulls out a pedigree these days, so I found it ironic.

    Additionally, at the respective times that former WWE champions Miz and Sheamus were battered by HHH, they were and still are on major losing streaks.

    It's also funny to note that both young talents were rumored to face the Cerebral Assassin at WrestleMania that year.

Evan Bourne's Absence

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    On that very same edition of Raw (February 28, 2011), Evan Bourne made his shocking return to WWE and defeated Sheamus in the opening match.

    A year later, he's sitting on the sidelines as he serves his 60-day suspension for violating the Wellness Policy for a second time.

    Sure, Bourne's been with the WWE since 2008, but he's only participated in one Royal Rumble pay-per-view. He missed the events in 2009 and 2010 due to injury, and was unable to return at the most recent one due to his second suspension.

    Even when he did participate in 2010, he entered first and was quickly eliminated by CM Punk.

    At this point, Bourne's chances at attending WrestleMania 28 look extremely slim, but I surely hope he gets his life back on track.

Mark Henry's Losing Ways

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    Similar to The Miz, Mark Henry hasn't experienced much success in his matches recently.

    Six months ago, Henry was a force to be reckoned with, and ultimately became World Heavyweight Champion at Night of Champions in September of 2011.

    He picked up a singles victory since his title defense against Daniel Bryan inside a steel cage three months ago.

    Reports indicate that the World's Strongest Man is on his way out of the company due to the backstage antics played against him in recent months, and I certainly can't blame him.

    If you're going to retire one of the greatest monsters in WWE history, at least do it with some class. 

Natalya's Lack of Wins

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    In a very similar case to both The Miz and Mark Henry, Natalya hasn't won many matches in recent months.

    Since her heel turn in early August, Natalya has not picked up a singles victory, with her last one being against AJ the night she ironically turned.

    Natalya hasn't benefited from her recent flatulence gimmick whatsoever.

    She was a breakout face in late 2010 and was able to capture her first Divas Championship, so maybe reverting back to a fan favorite wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Drew McIntyre Fired for a Second Time

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    Is 2012 the year of abusing underrated talent?

    It must be, since Drew McIntyre has also yet to win a televised matchup since late 2011, even with that victory taking place on WWE Superstars.

    On the most recent edition of SmackDown, McIntyre was unable to defeat Justin Gabriel, getting "fired" by General Manager Teddy Long in the process. This wouldn't mark the first time the Scottish Superstar was terminated by Long, as the same scenario occurred in May 2010.

    Look at the bright side: at least McIntyre can now join his wife Tiffany in the unemployment line.

    Oh wait, scratch that, they recently divorced. Awkward moment.

Kane Targets Randy Orton

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    Also featured on this week's edition of SmackDown was the main event of World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan against the returning Randy Orton. However, before a clear winner could be decided, Kane made a surprising appearance and began to pummel Orton before delivering a chokeslam to the Viper.

    While some may find this ambush to be a bit random, I don't, since the history between the two couldn't be any more evident.

    Besides the fact that Orton stole Kelly Kelly's heart in late 2008 and forced Kane to grow jealous of him, the two sadistic Superstars had a handful of matches together last summer.

    In Kane's last match before he was removed from television, Orton defeated the Big Red Monster in a vicious No Holds Barred match on SmackDown, leaving him vulnerable to an attack from Mark Henry.

    Kane may have been looking for revenge, thus triggering the feud we saw come to fruition a few nights ago.


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    As noted before, none of the preceding observations were meant to be anything major of note, but rather some fun facts that might entertain you. Feel free to check the piece over for accuracy and I'll be sure to make changes wherever needed.

    With my useless wrestling knowledge and motivation to continue to learn, I hope I've been able to enlighten you to some of the smaller things you may not come across while watching the weekly programming.

    The history behind the present is truly something behold, as it will only guide us toward the future.

    If you enjoyed the inaugural edition of "GSM's History Behind Present", I'd very much appreciate a comment below indicating so if you'd like to see future editions. All criticism and overall feedback is welcome.

    GSM out.

    Visit my website at Next Era Wrestling as well as my WrestleRant and Spoilers podcasts for more of my thoughts and writings, along with WWE/TNA news, rumors, reviews and more.

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