It’s the weekend and there’s a lot going on in the WWE Universe (they pay me to use that phrase – not really) that I feel like it’s a good time to share some opinions on certain topics making the news this week.
Consider this a replacement for the “At A Glance” pieces I did for a few months looking at WWE PPV lineups. They weren’t that fun to write and the views weren’t great, so I figured I might as well drop it. I’ve used the “Canton’s Corner” name in the past. I’ll try to make it a regular post on Saturday or Sunday except on WWE PPV weekends since I’m doing previews and reviews of those. The idea is I’ll tackle a few bigger topics and end it with some quick hits.
What year is that Undertaker graphic from at the top of this post? It’s from WWE.com by the way. It looks like mid to late 2000s. Definitely not the last few years. Let’s get to it.
The Hulk Hogan Story Won’t Go Away Quietly
The name Hulk Hogan will forever be tainted because of what happened this week. It’s the result of the 2006 sex tape that he was not aware of when he had sex with Heather Clem while his former best friend Bubba The Love Sponge was secretly recording it. Bubba was married to Heather too. The website Gawker got a hold of the tape, threatened to release it and Hogan’s dealing with them in court with a lawsuit for $100 million. Apparently there was a discussion there with Hogan saying some nasty things about black people because he thought his daughter Brooke was with a black guy. This document was supposed to be kept private for the case, but it got leaked by somebody.
While I absolutely understand why WWE fired Hogan (which means he’s no longer on Tough Enough), I believe him when he says he was in a dark place in his life at that time. That was when he was going through a divorce, he was drinking a lot and doing stupid stuff. Yes, he never should have said what he said, but his best friend shouldn’t been recording him having sex with his ex-wife either. Hogan cleaned up his life, got remarried and looked to be as happy as ever especially when he came back to WWE last year.
With that said, I don’t blame anybody for hating him or wanting nothing to do with him. It’s not my place to tell somebody want to think or feel about him. I know that what he said is very serious and unforgivable to some people while others can just laugh it off as a crazy old guy saying stupid shit.
Regarding the WWE Survivor Series 2005 moment when Vince McMahon jokingly said “keep it up my ni**a” to John Cena leading to Booker T firing off his catchphrase, WWE issued a statement saying it’s all part of the show. While I agree with them in that regard, it was still stupid for them to do and it wouldn’t be a bad thing if Vince McMahon said something about it. There’s a difference when people do it in a scripted, comedic way then when I guy is caught saying disparaging things about “f**king ni**ers” like Hogan did. It doesn’t make it right, though.
It will seem weird to think of a WWE without Hogan again although it will be like when he worked for WCW and TNA. WWE didn’t mention him much at all when he had stints there (except when WWE mocked him by calling him “The Huckster”) so it will be familiar in that regard.
I’ve never been a huge Hogan fan and have written that many times. However, I also read a lot of comments from people in wrestling that have known him that have defended him. They know him better than us. We know what we’ve seen on television and maybe from meeting him in person. As a guy that’s been in the public eye for over 30 years, he was bound to mess up at some point. A lot of them do. Whether this is bad enough to hate him forever, that’s up to you and your own personal beliefs. I still have some respect for him for what he did in his career to entertain us and put his body on the line because he’s obviously got a lot of injuries since he limps all the time. I definitely lost respect over his comments, though.
You know who deserves to get their ass kicked in all this? Bubba The Love Sponge. What a “best friend” to Hogan that guy is.
Will Hogan ever be back in WWE? Maybe one day although if that never happens then it’s easy to see why. Time heals all wounds and in the wresting business the phrase “never say never” has proven to be true many times.
The Undertaker And Brock Lesnar Bring The Fire
When the news of The Undertaker returning at Battleground broke I wasn’t sure who he would feud with. Then he attacked Brock Lesnar, costing him the WWE Title at Battleground and then the match was made for SummerSlam.
Then Monday night happened with Undertaker doing a promo explaining that he wants revenge on Lesnar and the great Paul Heyman brought the fire in his response. That led to the epic brawl they had that took about 15 minutes of time due to all the wresters that had to come out to break it up.
It was one of the best pull apart brawls that I’ve ever seen that was helped by Lesnar saying “I’m going to kill you” while Undertaker replied with “you’re gonna have to!” Obviously it’s just a figure of speech, but it was also a damn good selling point for their SummerSlam match.
Regarding that SummerSlam match, I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it because their WrestleMania 30 match wasn’t that great. I think The Undertaker’s in better shape today than he was in April 2014 and when the match takes place in four weeks he’ll be even better.
What they should do in that match is make it a Street Fight or No Holds Barred match. Let them brawl outside the ring, into the ring and do some spots where they are breaking tables or using chairs as weapons. The Undertaker’s 50 years old and it’s best to limit his time in the ring by having him brawl with Lesnar. The concern would be that Lesnar is a bit too aggressive and may hurt the old timer. I just think it’s better to do that then have Undertaker take ten or more German Suplexes in a regular match.
As for the booking, I think if Undertaker wins then we’ll see the match again at WrestleMania 32. If Lesnar wins, it’ll probably be a respect thing where they hug after it’s over. I hope it’s a win for Lesnar because we don’t have to see it again after SummerSlam.
The Future Of Kevin Owens Is Still Very Bright
After Kevin Owens tapped out to John Cena’s STF at Battleground, a lot of online fans were furious. It’s easy to see why because guys like Bray Wyatt and Rusev lost feuds to Cena while having a tough time recovering from them. Unlike those two, Owens beat Cena clean by pinfall, so there was a thought that maybe he would win that third match to get the US Title and win the feud. Nope. It didn’t happen.
Now it looks like Owens is going to feud with Cesaro based on Owens attacking him after Seth Rollins beat Cesaro in Smackdown’s main event. This feud is a welcome sight since they are two midcarders that are definitely on the rise and very capable of putting on outstanding matches together.
There were reports about how Owens isn’t considered a main eventer at the level of John Cena or Randy Orton – he’s a level or two below that. That’s really not breaking news because WWE puts those guys on a pedestal. Plus, Owens did main event a live event in Los Angeles on Saturday, so I’d say he’s doing very well for himself no matter how you want to define his position.
Owens has only been on WWE’s main roster for a little over two months. He’s already had three huge matches with WWE’s biggest babyface of the last decade and every match was amazing. The fact that he beat Cena in that first match is a huge point that shouldn’t be forgotten ever. He’s going to be just fine in the long term because he’s too talented to get lost in the shuffle.
WWE needs guys like Owens to succeed because he’s a true heel in a company that doesn’t have enough of them.
Five Quick Hits
1. Three divas matches on WWE TV received 10+ minutes this week. Two were on Raw and one was on Smackdown. I said for this “divas revolution” to work they need to stop talking about change and actually show us that they are serious. Well, now it appears as though it’s getting serious since the women are getting more time to have matches. I think after SummerSlam, the three groups will fade away a bit, which will be better long term.
2. I don’t think it would be a bad thing if SummerSlam was four hours long. There are already seven or eight rumored matches and some other talents could be left off the card. If you want the show to come across like a bigger deal, why not extend it? It would make it feel as important as WrestleMania.
3. I like the Stardust vs. Neville feud and the possibilities of it. I’m not a comic book fan at all. I just like that WWE’s creative team is willing to try something different. Both talents can pull it off if they are given a chance to make the feud seem like a big deal.
4. I bought Daniel Bryan’s new book on Tuesday when it came out. It was a busy week full of a lot of writing, so I haven’t finished it yet. I’ve got about 100 pages to go that I should be able to get through today. I’ll probably do a post about it here on TJR during the week, but really if you’re a fan of wrestling and a fan of his you should get it. I’ve enjoyed it a lot so far for his honesty and just learning more about his journey to get where he is.
5. It was great to read that NXT tag team Enzo Amore and Colin Cassady with Carmella worked the WWE live event last night in Odessa, Texas beating The Ascension. They have a bright future as a team. I hope the crowd loved the pre-match introduction because it’s amazing. Just because they work a live event doesn’t mean they are going to be on the main roster right away. Tyler Breeze has done it for months and he’s still in NXT. Charlotte did it for many months before her call up too. All it means is WWE wants to see them work with the main roster talent to gauge what they can do. I think Enzo and Cass have long term potential as a babyface team. They just have to keep working at it.
Wrap It Up
There’s four weeks to SummerSlam. The pressure’s on for WWE to not only put together seven or eight compelling matches for the show, but also put on consistently good episodes of Raw every week. Last week’s show was really good. I hope it continues next week too.
In a bit of site news, next Monday on August 3rd there will be a post right here on TJRWrestling.net about how we are looking for new writers. I’ll put all the pertinent info in that post, so hold off on the questions. Just start thinking of a sample column in your head. I want this site to grow with more show reviews, regular news update style posts, more retro reviews and just make it a more regular stop for the intelligent wrestling fan. Like I said, just save the questions until then.
See ya Monday or Tuesday morning for Raw. I’m not sure if the Raw Deal will be live this week.
It was good to write Canton’s Corner again. The goal was to go between 1500-2000 words and I eclipsed 2000 by a bit due to the Hogan story, so I hit my goal. I should be able to do this every week except possibly PPV weekends.
Thanks for reading.
John Canton –firstname.lastname@example.org