Welcome to the newest edition of Strange Things In Wrestling This week with Marc Madison. Once again, this column will ask the hard questions, like how do they put the caramel in a Caramilk chocolate bar…or not. Rather, it will allow fans to explore (or even point out) some of the more out there, unusual events in wrestling for a given week. It would be safe to say there are enough highly-detailed accounts of matches and stories out there already. We ask readers to ensure they aren’t operating any heavy machinery while reading this as it could be fairly dangerous, beyond the regular danger that kind of multi-tasking poses, plus it probably isn’t the best choice to not be paying attention to your job. Here, we’ll dive into a few occurrences from the week that stood out since their strange nature is something that should be highlighted.
You can anticipate something outside normal online wrestling culture when it comes to the (generally) bi-weekly edition of this column. We may focus on a tweet from a wrestler, an image, a scenario, a match or even a storyline, and really hope to lighten up your day in the process. This week’s edition includes an announcer that may or may not have sent inappropriate messages to someone, an Indian wrestler chiseled from granite who is a bit confused, and the former owner of Extreme Championship Wrestling sharing with us his appreciation for Korean BBQ…among other things. Once again, we could easily point out something related to the current Alicia Fox and NoamDar on-screen awkwardness, but that seems to speak for itself, and we’re focusing on the strange, not necessarily the pointless. Without further ado, here is Strange Things In Wrestling for the week of February 25th to March 3rd.
Tom Phillips and Private Conversations may not mix well
We have all had rough patches in our life. For some of us they last days, weeks or even months, but one member of the WWE announce team had a moment where his actions weren’t as calculated as he had probably hoped. This past weekend, the details of a private conversation between an unnamed woman and NXT and Smackdown Live announcer Tom Phillips emerged, and they were engaged in a discussion that was anything, but suggestive. Now there isn’t 100% certainty that Philips was actually guilty of engaging in a steamy conversation with someone that wasn’t his fiancée, but one has to wonder if he is guilty since he has suddenly become rather careful with his tweets, protecting them so only confirmed followers have access.
Now of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that he is guilty of doing anything wrong, either. He could just want his privacy. We get the idea. Everything he says isn’t for public consumption. Did he say the things that were reported? Was that in fact his image? It could be someone tying his face to certain texts. If it was him, certain images of him really should be protected as well. We wouldn’t want them taken out of context.
Is it something he is eating? Could it in fact be something he is drinking? We aren’t completely sure, but a physical metamorphosis has taken place for the man known as Jinder Mahal. While he was never someone fans would consider out of shape, they certainly couldn’t think that now. On this past week’s Raw, Corey Graves continued to refer to the man known advocating peace and tranquility as ‘Hardbody’ Mahal. To see what he looks like now. The name is understandable. Mahal’s appears chiseled from granite, and while some credit may go to the people responsible for oiling him up that doesn’t negate the work he has had to put in the gym to complete this change in appearance.
It appears as though along with this new look he is being pushed as part of a tag team with Rusev. However, this new look could be a distraction for Lana…or not. It adds to the already existing examples of random talent put together that don’t necessarily fit. Then again, it could always be worse. Rusev could be aligned with three guys from different nations to create a faction without rhyme or reason, simply because they aren’t from America. Nah, that idea would never work. It’s a good thing the writers didn’t pitch…oh wait.
Paul Heyman gives a tweet beatdown…dare we say..a tweetdown?
Ladies and gentlemen, his name is Paul Heyman, and when someone vents what they are think of him publicly, they need be prepared for the consequences of those actions. In a recent interview, former ECW wrestler CW Anderson spoke out about working under Heyman. He was quite candid that he believed Heyman wasn’t dedicated to ECW towards the end of its run. He also stated that he was underpaid during his time with the promotion. Heyman sat idly until he couldn’t take it anymore, and finally, as he put it, ‘lowered himself’ to address these comments. Public reaction to Heyman’s response has been split between support of Heyman and support of Anderson. Those in the camp of Anderson felt that Heyman wasn’t justified in ‘going at Anderson’ the way that he did, while those in support of Heyman tend to question why Anderson would make these public comments nearly nearly twenty years after ECW closed its doors. The end result was a twitter barrage this past weekend by Heyman, and more attention than CW Anderson could have imagined he’d receive.
Heyman didn’t pull any punches in his response, but for as many answers as Heyman gave to these claims there is one that still one question that remained unanswered during this whole exchange: we don’t know if Heyman enjoyed his Korean BBQ or not. If he did it would have to be a wonderful opportunity for that restaurant to get ton of business.
If you want to read Heyman’s entire rant check it out on his website HeymanHustle.com now.
Heels against heels for a couple of championships
It wasn’t expected, and it couldn’t have been a plan a couple of weeks ago, but when Naomi had to relinquish her WWESmackdown Live Women’s championship, it put the booking of the division booking all over the place. Last week Naomi had to relinquish the title due to injury, and in the process a new champion was crowned. Btu after Alexa Bliss defeated Becky Lynch to recapture the belt, we weren’t quite sure who would be her first challenger.
This past week, in a backstage segment, Bliss was interrupted backstage during her interview segment by none other than Natalya. Since it appears her rivalry with Nikki Bella has come to an end, the question is, who would she run a program with? The answer appears to be Alexa Bliss. This booking is strange, not because Natalya is in contention for the title, but because they are going with a heel versus heel title feud.
That also appeared to be the case for the WWE Championship match since AJ Styles seems to be moving on to face Bray Wyatt. When Shane McMahon came out and restarted the Styles/Luke Harper number one contender match because of a false finish, the belief was that it would lead to Harper picking up the win. While anything could happen between now and Wrestlemania, it’s rather interesting to note that not one, but two different championship matches might feature heels facing heels. Many had speculated that it would be Harper defeating Styles and facing Wyatt for the title. However, a Styles versus Wyatt match may actually bode well for the champion since he would be facing a former champion for the title.
Of course, there is still a month to go until WrestleMania, so there will be twists in the next few weeks.
205 Live Main Event…the main event that wasn’t
One of the things I tend to like about 205 Live is that it’s 45 minutes of fun. It usually has competitive matches and no certainty of whom will go over whom. We know what some of the programs are right now. Tozawa and Kendrick are battling one another, Rich Swann and NoamDar are going to square off with one another, and Jack Gallagher is in the midst of a feud with Neville for the Cruiserweight championship. A general expectation (maybe not deservingly so) is that it’s going to be wall-to-wall action because the show runs less than an hour. However, a concern arises when that hour ends without a main event.
We get it that Raw and Smackdown Live will sometimes conclude with storyline developments and not necessarily have a main event. Two feuding parties will try to get the better of one another, usually in a contract signing. However, when the show is already less than an hour in length, to not have a main event seems a little strange. Gallagher and Neville ended up coming to blows when they faced off at the closing of the show. It is clear that Gallagher is trying to make Neville look like a fool and almost takes him lightly. That could very well be all part of his character. However, if Neville had been in a match and Gallagher somehow became involved, it would have done more to build up their match then verbal sparring between the two.
So ends another edition of strange things in wrestling this week with Marc Madison for March 3rd. That title is certainly a mouthful, but unlike some foods we hoped you enjoyed this meal. See what I did there? I tried to be clever, or funny, or one of the two by once again highlighting the peculiar and the seemingly odd this week, which is one of the reasons we watch wrestling. In other words, if we didn’t get where they were going it probably meant…we didn’t understand it. Much like how a guy can burn down another guy’s house, the burial site of his dead sister, and be cheered. Nah, they wouldn’t try to do something that insulting!
For strange things in wrestling this is Marc Madison saying, if you manage to catch the strange things in wrestling be sure to always make fun of them or at the very least run from them.
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