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Thread: WWE: Endeavor to Greatness

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    WWE: Endeavor to Greatness

    NOV 17, 2008 @ 12:24 PM | 70,157 VIEWS

    WWE Sale Officially Closes for $3.6 Billion, McMahon's Retain Passive Minority Interest

    On Wednesday, the WWE was officially acquired for $3.4 billion in a deal lead by Endeavor Agency. Vince McMahon (centre left), daughter Stephanie (far left) and son Shane (centre right) will each retain a passive minority interest in the organization.

    It’s official: World Wrestling Entertainment is now under new ownership.

    In what many are calling the single biggest acquisition in the history of sports and/or entertainment, the WWE has been purchased by the Endeavor Talent Agency, a California based talent agency, for a staggering $3.4 billion. A spokesperson for ETA confirmed the deal and closing price on Wednesday afternoon.

    In a press release announcing the deal, ETA confirmed that it had brought in private equity firms KKR and Silver Lake Partners as strategic investors, and that MSD Capital, L.P. and MSD Partners, L.P. (owned by billionaire Michael Dell) would provide preferred equity financing.

    Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell will sit on the WWE’s board of directors as CEO and Chairman, respectively. Whilst Vince McMahon may have sold his family business, the McMahon family will still retain a strong presence within the company, with the now former CEO and Chairman Vince and his children Shane and Stephanie retaining 5% apiece of WWE shares.

    No announcement has been made regarding who will take over the day to day running the WWE’s product, but the expectation is that either Shane or Stephanie McMahon will be appointed said role in the coming days. Their father Vince, on the other hand, reportedly has plans to venture into Hollywood. This next step for Vince McMahon doesn’t come as too big of a shock to many as over the years Vince has attempted to distance himself and his company from the image of a “professional wrestling” promotion, instead coining the phrase “sports entertainment” to describe his product. Vince has always had a major interest in the entertainment business, evident from the very first WrestleMania, which resembled an entertainment extravaganza much more than a wrestling show.

    The news totally came out of left field as their had been no news or rumors to suggest Vince had been contemplating selling his family business. The WWE has been in the McMahon family as far back as 1952 when Vince’s grandfather, Jess McMahon, founded the company alongside fellow professional wrestling promoter Toots Mondt as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation Ltd. Many believed Vince would never sell the WWE and would always opt to keep it a family run business, eventually moving it onto his children when he decided to step down a retire. When Vince decided to take his company public in 1999 the entire foundation of the family run business began to change and a decade later the WWE is now regarded an entertainment juggernaut and a million dollar corporation, far from the humble beginnings of grandfather Jess’ wrestling promotion. The environment the WWE finds itself in today is far different to what it may have over a decade ago and facilitates a huge corporate sale much more than ever before.

    With the companies annual “Survivor Series” pay per view offering this coming Sunday, the next few days will no doubt be some of the most frenetic in the companies storied history with no end of structural changes set to take place.


    Last edited by OBEY; 04-18-2017 at 10:57 AM.

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness



    A FAMILY DIVIDED; WHO IS THE ONE TRUE HEIR?
    BY WRESTLING OBSERVER STAFF | @WONF4W | NOV 20, 2008 11:33 AM




    When the news broke out that the WWE had been purchased by an outside company and would no longer be under the ownership of Vince McMahon and his family, fans and industry insiders alike began discussing what this would mean for the long-term future of the WWE. What would become of Vince loyalists like Kevin Dunn, Pat Patterson? Would we see a complete 360 degree turn in the way their on screen product is presented? Would this new ownership see fit to change up the pay per view model which has worked so well for the WWE over the past few decades? Will the WWE Network project still be followed through on, or would that remain a pipe dream of wrestling fans worldwide?

    Whilst all of these questions are important ones for fans to ask and it’s understandable that the WWE’s loyal fanbase would want to know the answer’s to them, perhaps the most important question of all is one that has raged on for years - on message boards, Twitter, podcasts, dirtsheets, even amongst the boys in the back; Shane or Stephanie?

    There was always only ever going to be one true heir to Vince McMahon’s throne, and even with the elder McMahon now out of the picture it’s almost a guarantee that one of his two children would be put in position as the head of the company heading forward, but which one would it be? The Endeavor Talent Agency isn’t made up of wrestling people; they didn’t purchase the WWE because of their lifelong wrestling fandom. ETA saw the WWE as a huge investment opportunity and so they struck while the iron was hot, striking up a multi-billion dollar deal to purchase the company. When you spend billions of dollars on anything, specifically an asset within an industry you aren’t the slightest bit familiar with, you’re going to ensure that you have the right people in place to turn that multi-billion dollar investment into profit. Vince McMahon built the WWE into one of the biggest juggernauts in both the sports and the entertainment business, and he done it all by himself. But from the very early days of Vince’s expansion of the WWE, both Shane and Stephanie had been present, shadowing their father and paying close attention to every single little detail of what he did. As they got older they were integrated into different parts of the WWE’s business, both on screen and corporately; their entire livelihood had become dedicated to proving they were the sibling worthy of taking over from their father when his time was up.

    Of course, with two people as highly driven as both Shane and Stephanie were, with a passion for the WWE literally unmatched by anybody else in the world (their father not withstanding), ETA need look no further than the kin of the WWE’s mastermind for the person to lead their latest acquisition into the future and make the WWE more profitable than it has veer been before; but who would it be?

    Despite coming from the same mold and having studied the same man for their entire being, both Shane and Stephanie couldn’t possibly be more different when it comes to their vision for what professional wrestling should be.

    If your looking for as close to a Vinny Mac clone as you can get, then look no further than Stephanie. Over the years many have claimed Stephanie to be much more a mirror image of her father than Shane, which has been the primary reason behind her being given such prominent creative roles backstage. Her creative style is very similar to her fathers and whilst she may not be the most wildly creative person in the world, she knows what works and is very consistent in her work; Stephanie is very much a traditionalist in terms of her aesthetic.

    Whilst Stephanie could be described as somebody who play it safe, sticking to what has worked in the past and adapting it to the times, Shane McMahon can only be described as the polar opposite. Shane McMahon is regarded by many to be a huge risk taker; not only in the ring, but on the business side of things too. Shane is more adventurous than his sister and prone to big ideas. By all accounts he played a huge part in his father taking notice of ECW in the late 90’s and adapting the WWE’s product into its “Attitude” branding. He has also been pushing heavily in recent years to adapt an MMA influenced style into the WWE’s product, and has been pushing for the WWE to expand its brand globally with international territories around the world. Perhaps the best way to sum the two siblings up is with comparison to their father from different generation’s; if Stephanie is modern day Vince, perhaps post 2001, then Shane is 1985 Vince up until the end of the Attitude Era when business started to change.

    The company has remained very tight lipped on the backstage going ons since the purchase was announced earlier this week, but there have been no end of rumors surrounding the situation, primarily the tension which is said to have arisen between the two siblings. One things for sure, when everything’s all said and done the McMahon families pockets will still be lined like never before, but their family very may well have been torn to shreds.
    Last edited by OBEY; 04-18-2017 at 10:56 AM.

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness



    HUGE WWE STRUCTURAL CHANGES ANNOUNCED; SHANE AND STEPHANIE TO MAINTAIN EQUAL POWER
    BY WRESTLING OBSERVER STAFF | @WONF4W | NOV 23, 2008 10:05 AM




    For days (or what at this point seems like months) the discussions have raged over what would become of the WWE in the wake of it’s astronomical sale, and up until this point we have been given no answers; well that all changed today, and in a huge way.

    Earlier on today, as the WWE prepares itself for it’s annual Survivor Series pay per view, the chances of anything official being announced seemed slim to none, what with the WWE’s hectic schedule ahead of the big event. Thankfully, we couldn’t have been more wrong, and this morning the WWE released an official press release regarding the future of the company’s structure and whom would be named president of the WWE. Would it be Shane or Stephanie? Well, in fact, it will be both of them. But not quite how you’d imagine. CEO Ari Emmanuel and Chairman Patrick Whitesell have come to the decision to split the WWE in two; quite literally. Whilst the WWE has technically been split into two different entities since the introduction of the brand extension in 2002, what Emmanuel and Whitesell have planned is a much more literal separation of the two brands. Over the past few years the distinction between Raw and SmackDown has become a lot less prominent and the brand extension has become a lot less prominent, what with co-branded pay per views, wrestlers appearing on other brands freely, yearly drafts, etc. Beginning after WrestleMania XXV in April, Raw and SmackDown will be regarded as two distinctly different companies; one headed up by Shane McMahon, the other Stephanie. This isn’t a case of the two siblings being made on screen general managers or anything of that kind, but an actual legitimate separation of the two brands, with the WWE serving as the governing body.

    Whilst this may confuse many, it’s really not as baffling as it initially seems. As would be explained in the press release, both Raw and SmackDown will, of course, remain under the WWE banner, but they will have completely different personnel, as chosen by their respective presidents Shane and Stephanie, entirely unique rosters, single branded pay per views; nothing, outside of the big two pay per views, will be shared. Yes, you heard that right, the big two. One of the biggest revelations from the press release is that following WrestleMania XXV, the only two pay per views which will be co-branded will be the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania. Both SummerSlam and Survivor Series will become single branded pay per views, exclusive to either Raw or SmackDown, and will become the “granddaddy of them all” for their specific brand (outside of ‘Mania, of course). There will be no yearly draft; each wrestler will be signed exclusively to Raw or SmackDown and the only way any brand swapping can occur is when a wrestler’s contract expires on their specific brand, allowing them the opportunity to discuss a deal with the opposing brand if they see fit, or if Shane and Stephanie come to terms on a deal between themselves.

    After tonight’s Survivor Series pay per view the brand extension will temporarily come to an end. This is being done to allow Shane and Stephanie the time to discuss between themselves who they want for their respective brands and to give them the time to build up characters and storylines for their brands, as well as end withstanding ones before the huge premiere’s of the “new” Raw and SmackDown following ‘Mania. On screen this brand new separation will be addressed, however rather than going the usual route of having a draft to split the two rosters, the Shane versus Stephanie drama will play out as a storyline, with each sibling signing different talent exclusively to their brand as the week’s go by, adding to the drama of the situation with Shane and Stephanie lobbying to talent to get them to sign to their brand, contract negotiations, live announcements (think Hulk Hogan’s WCW signing being announced on a banner across the bottom of the screen during a match in ’94), etc. Supposedly wrestlers contracts will play quite a big role in this new era (albeit kayfabe), with wrestlers contracts being included in their profiles on WWE.com, likely to add to the drama of expiring contracts, negotiations and the potential for a wrestler to jump ship to the opposing brand.

    All in all, these are some pretty huge changes to the structure of the WWE and could change the face of the business forever. Is it for the better or for the worse? Should they perhaps have gone with Shane and Stephanie running the company together as a cohesive unit? Or would that only have resulted in backstage fireworks? One thing we can guarantee is that this should hugely benefit the WWE’s product as the sense of competition will be rife like never before as the siblings battle it out on a weekly basis, quite literally, for brand supremacy.

    ____________________________________________________


    So yeah, I decided to go back to this project. I had so many big ideas for this thing but the thought of lugging it out until after WrestleMania XXV, when all my real plans got started, was way too daunting a task. So I’ve decided that rather than write every show up until ‘Mania I’m simply going to recap the “Road to WrestleMania” beginning after Survivor Series. Beginning any project in the lead up to ‘Mania is never the best idea in my opinion anyway, as your only giving yourself 3 months to build up to your biggest show of the year. My next post will be the road to ‘Mania recap, which will probably be written in a similar style to my yearly recaps from my Monday night wars project, highlighting the key feuds, character developments and debuting wrestlers in the build up to ‘Mania. After that I’ll post ‘Mania (haven’t quite decided yet whether I’ll write that out in full or just recap it) and from there the project will officially get started with the post-‘Mania Raw.
    Last edited by OBEY; 04-18-2017 at 07:46 PM.

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    Good luck mate I'll be reading.

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    I don't think I've ever been more excited for a BTB, best of luck OBEY! Can't wait to see what you cook up for us!

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    Hyped as hell. You might be my favorite writer on here, so I can't wait
    "Fuck The Revival" (Bullet Club 2:Sweet)




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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA XXV
    PART ONE




    The final quarter of 2008 was in many respects the quarter of Jeff Hardy; the first quarter of 2009 was the beginning of the year of Jeff Hardy, or so it would be if he could keep his demons at bay. It goes without saying that Jeff Hardy was undoubtedly the most over wrestler in the company throughout pretty much the entirety of 2008. Since his return in 2006 fans had been clamouring for him to get that mega push they had been demanding even since before he left the company in ’03. I think it’s pretty fair to assume that if Hardy had been able to keep himself on the straight and narrow all those years ago, his career trajectory would have looked completely different. He had the fan base; in fact, he had that in droves. He had the in-ring skill; too, even if a lot of what made him so popular was his inability to see fear and willingness to perform whatever spot would produce a bigger “holy shit” moment than the last. He was an enigma, very much the same way the Ultimate Warrior was in the ‘80’s, and the fans were firmly behind him like nobody else on the roster.

    So, when he failed to capture the WWE Championship in the triple threat match between himself, champion Triple H, and Vladimir Kozlov at Survivor Series, it pretty much goes without saying that the fans were deflated. Having been chasing the title since Unforgivien in September, Hardy had failed on multiple occasions to win the WWE’s holy grail, and by Survivor Series it seemed as though his story of redemption was ready to come to a conclusion with him finally winning the title which had alluded him his entire career; the title he had no right winning, in the eyes of corporate WWE. But it wasn’t to be. The fans were left deflated, and it seemed as though the Jeff Hardy project was all but done, as the following month at Armageddon he was thrust into a match with Vladimir Kozlov, Kozlov having targeted Hardy for being responsible for him not obtaining the WWE Championship at Survivor Series (Hardy was the man who took the fall in the match, and thus Kozlov held him accountable). The fans weren’t about to sit back and take this smack in the face from WWE management; not this time. For all the times the fans had gotten firmly behind somebody in the past, only for the WWE brass to determine them not good enough for the top prize, it was time to take action.

    The fans began a revolution of their own. Adorned in neon face paint, the fans would chant Hardy’s name throughout main event matches, letting it be known that the man they were paying to see wasn’t either of the two in the ring the WWE wanted them to cheer for. For as much as the WWE tried to avoid this “Hardy Revolution” and continue to force feed us whom they deemed worthy of holding a top spot, on the January 5, 2009 episode of Raw the revolution became too vocal for the WWE to ignore any further. During Triple H’s entrance, a supposed babyface, the Raleigh, North Carolina crowd was almost entirely made up of neon faced “creatures of the night”. As the lights dimmed down for “The Game’s” entrance, the neon faces in the crowd drowned out the image of the WWE Champion making his way to the ring; all you could see on your television set was a sea of neon. Chants of “Hardy” drowned out the sound of Motorhead; the revolution had become too hostile for the WWE to ignore any further.

    So what did the WWE do in retaliation? Well, they had Jeff Hardy lose his Royal Rumble qualification match, of course. The boo’s reached fever pitch, but little did the fans know the WWE had taken notice of their antics the previous week in North Carolina, and change was at hand.

    The Royal Rumble came and as the klaxon sounded for the unlucky number 13 entrant, nobody appeared. Backstage Randy Orton was found unconscious, no doubt at the hands of his former associates Cody Rhodes and Manu. As medics and WWE agents gathered around Orton a sense of disarray began to arise. The fans waited in anticipation, but the “Hardy” chants soon began to build up. Suddenly the all too familiar theme music of Jeff Hardy began blaring out of the sound system and the arena absolutely exploded.

    Jeff faired well in the Rumble, getting a few eliminations under his belt along the way, and avoiding quite a few near eliminations of his own. It all came down to the final four of Jeff Hardy, Matt Hardy, Chris Jericho, and Cody Rhodes. Matt and Jeff worked together initially but it would be to no avail, as a sly Cody Rhodes would sneak in from behind to toss Matt out of the ring. Just when it looked like it was finally Cody’s time to shine Randy Orton’s theme music hit the arena, leaving the young, inexperienced Rhodes staring up at the top of the stage like a deer in the headlights. Jeff took full advantage of this distraction, tossing Rhodes from the ring and bringing it down to just himself and Chris Jericho. The two fought valiantly and, following Jeff, quite naively for somebody of his experience, going for a Swanton Bomb, Jericho would shoot up to his feet, shoving Jeff off of the top rope and out of the ring. The Hardy revolution had come to nothing, yet again. Or had it? Jeff somehow managed to hold onto the ropes and land on the ring apron as he fell. As Jericho celebrated, believing he had won the match, Jeff climbed back into the ring and grabbed Jericho, sending him flying over the top rope to officially win the 2009 Royal Rumble – the year of Hardy had begun.

    As January turned into February Vladimir Kozlov decided to take it upon himself to target Jeff Hardy yet again, except this time he wasn’t alone. Joined by the recently returned Albert/A-Train, the two formed an alliance with Santino Marella serving as their manager. Kozlov began wrestling under the name Vladimir the Conqueror whilst Albert/A-Train would go by Baldo the Destroyer, with Santino rechristening himself Santino the Wise. Vladimir and Baldo would target Jeff several weeks in a row and despite the valiant efforts of Hardy to fight them off, they would prove to be too much for him. Soon, however, Hardy would find himself a compatriot in the form of WWE Champion and his WrestleMania opponent Triple H. Together they would manage to fend off the two behemoths, but “The Game” had ulterior motives. When Hardy was least expecting it Triple H struck, taking down the “Charismatic Enigma” and beating him to a bloody pulp.

    Triple H would reveal as the weeks went by that he had grown sick and tired of Jeff Hardy and his little “neon army”. It was during Triple H’s entrance weeks ago that they made their biggest impact, forcing WWE management to take notice, and Triple H resented the fact that they would support a nobody the likes of Jeff Hardy over him. Triple H had a personal vendetta against Jeff Hardy; he wanted him gone once and for all. The feud would get more and more heated leading up to ‘Mania as Triple H began targeting those closest to Jeff, specifically his brother Matt who “The Game” would beat senseless in the locker room area with a sledgehammer during a Jeff Hardy match. Triple H called Jeff selfish for allowing those closest to him to suffer for his own selfish dream of becoming WWE Champion; a dream he would never achieve. Triple H had begun to drive Jeff Hardy to the edge but Hardy remained focused; he knew what his goal was and at WrestleMania he would achieve it. He had spent his entire life fighting every single obstacle thrown at him and this was just another roadblock on his road to greatness.


    ________________________________________________________________






    Growing up as a teenager in the 90’s, CM Punk didn’t exactly have the easiest of rides. A huge fan of professional wrestling and punk rock, a young Phil Brooks wasn’t the most popular kid in high school. As if being a professional wrestling and punk rock fan didn’t make him enough of an outcast, CM Punk didn’t drink or take drugs; two vices a lot of his breed of “misfit” relied on to get through their often troubled lives. Simply put, Punk wasn’t exactly what you’d describe as a people person; in fact he pretty much hated people. During his teenage years Punk would go so far as to pretty much exile himself from his family as he saw nothing of himself in any of them and had a distinct dislike for the majority of them specifically his father whom had struggled with alcoholism since Punk was young. Moving out of his family home Punk moved in with one of his closest friends and her family; they pretty much adopted the future “Straight Edge Messiah” and supported him the best they could in his pursuit to becoming a professional wrestler.

    Whilst CM Punk struggled with being a teenager throughout the 90’s, Shawn Michaels was on top of the world as the poster boy of the WWE. Travelling around the world, hitting some sweet chin music on sorry souls nationwide (not strictly just inside a wrestling ring, either), Shawn Michaels was the embodiment of success within the professional wrestling industry and was a guy CM Punk looked up to perhaps more so than anybody else on the WWE roster at the time. In the land of the giants, Shawn Michaels had somehow forced his way to the very top of an industry which at one time looked down on people of his stature as cannon fodder to the likes of the hulking Hulk Hogan and the behemoth Andre the Giant – the true superstars of the sport. Michaels lad looked adversity in the face and superkicked it right in the jaw. But everything wasn’t quite as it seemed for Michaels as despite being one of the most beloved characters on screen, behind the scenes he was pretty much hated by everybody he came into contact with bar his close knit clique of travelling buddies.

    By the time Michaels was forced to retire due to a back injury his body was an absolute wreck, not only due to years of abuse in the ring but also as a result of years of substance abuse too. A near death experience relating to drug and alcohol abuse would force Michaels to make a change in his life which he did, finding god in the process and becoming a born again Christian. Michaels would make his illustrious return to professional wrestling in 2002, having been told he’d never wrestle again, and would go on to have a run debatably even more successful than his initial run atop in the 90’s.

    Since debuting in the WWE CM Punk had forged together quite a formidable start to his career, becoming a Tag Team Champion, ECW Champion, Mr. Money in the Bank and World Heavyweight Champion all in under three years. As Survivor Series came to a close CM Punk was the reigning World Tag Team Champion alongside real life best friend Kofi Kingston. This reign wouldn’t last for too much longer, however, as on the episode of Raw immediately following Survivor Series the duo would lose their titles to the Miz and John Morrison. This was but a mere road bumb in the career trajectories of both CM Punk and Kofi Kingston, however, as it would allow the both of them to now focus on their singles careers.

    With the recent announcement that the WWE would be split into two entirely separate entities following WrestleMania, Shane and Stephanie McMahon laid down the gauntlet for every superstar on the active roster to impress them and prove their worth in the build up to the huge separation, and one such way was with a tournament to determine a number one contender to the World Heavyweight Championship which they set up in the build up to Armageddon. Shawn Michaels and CM Punk would both be made participants of said tournament and for the first time in his career Punk was within touching distance of a dream showdown against one of his all time idols and a guy who proved to him that he could achieve whatever he wanted in professional wrestling, despite his lack of size, if he wanted it bad enough.

    In the opening round of the tournament CM Punk would come out victorious against John Morrison, whilst Shawn Michaels would square off against Punks former tag team partner Kofi Kingston in a victorious effort. The following week Punk would have a chance encounter with Michaels backstage whilst making his way to the ring for his semi-final match against Batista with Michaels wishing him luck and telling Punk that he hoped to meet him in the final. The stage was set – Michaels had already won his semi-final match, all Punk had to do now was win his. Unfortunately for Punk “The Animal” would prove to be too much for him and after a devastating Batista Bomb it was all over for Punk; his dream would have to wait for another day.

    Michaels would come out of his encounter with Batista at Armageddon victorious, earning himself a match with John Cena at the Royal Rumble for the World Heavyweight Championship. In the weeks following Armageddon and leading up to the Royal Rumble Punk and Michaels began to grow quite close, often wrestling in tag matches together and hanging out backstage. Michaels was set in his goal of becoming World Heavyweight Champion at the Royal Rumble and CM Punk had his sights set on winning the Rumble match, setting up his dream match for WrestleMania. That dream would soon begin to sour, however, as in the Royal Rumble match Punk would come up short yet again. Shawn Michaels, on the other hand, would prove more successful in his goal, successfully defeating John Cena to begin his fifth reign as a world champion.

    When CM Punk got into a conflict with The Miz and John Morrison on the Raw following the Royal Rumble, his idol and the new World Heavyweight Champion Shawn Michaels would come to his aid, setting up a tag team title match for later on in the night; Punk may have missed out on a dream match with Michaels at ‘Mania, but at least now he could have the consolation prize of becoming a champion alongside him – it wasn’t quite what he had originally dreamed of, but it was something, right?

    As the match came to a conclusion it looked as though Punk and Michaels were about to become champions, with Michaels setting up some Sweet Chin Music on the Miz. CM Punk would interject, however, insisting that Michaels allow him to deliver a Sweet Chin Music of his own – Michaels kindly obliged. Punk began tuning the band in the corner and as the Miz got back up to his feet Punk looked as though he was about to lay one half of the tag team champions out. From out of nowhere Punk changed his direction, however, laying Michaels out with HBK’s own move instead, to the shock of everybody in attendance. The crowd began reigning down on Punk with boos as he stood there, cold and stoic, watching over as a stunned Miz quickly made the cover for the victory.

    The following week CM Punk would come out to the ring to explain his actions of the previous week, and he had a lot he wanted to get off of his chest. Punk began to delve into his past, speaking about his up brining in Chicago and how he had always idolised Shawn Michaels as a youngster. Michaels was the epitome of everything he aspired to be – on screen that was; behind the scenes was a completely different story. Punk spoke of a story from when he first entered the WWE and wrestled a try out match in front of Triple H and Shawn Michaels. Punk claimed that whilst he tried his hardest in the ring to impress two of the industries greats and try to break through into the WWE, Michaels and Triple H simply snickered at him and bemoaned that he didn’t have what it took to make it in the ‘E, and that he looked like a drug riddled hobo. Quite the contradiction, Punk claimed, considering the fact Michaels had all the odds stacked against him in a similar fashion to Punk in the early days of his career – and due to the fact Michaels had in fact had his own debilitating battle with drug and alcohol abuse years ago.

    Punk claimed that he once aspired to be just like Michaels and his ultimate dream was to headline WrestleMania against the “Heart Break Kid” and achieve his boyhood dream much like he had witnessed Michaels do way back in ’96. But that all changed as soon as he met his “hero” – his new dream was to end the pathetic excuse for a human being Shawn Michaels had become.

    As the weeks went by Punk would denounce his former idol on multiple occasions, talking about how he ruined his legacy through drug abuse and speaking of his “straight edge” beliefs and why they make him far superior to Michaels. Punk would dig incredibly deep and get extremely personal on many an occasion, bringing up Michaels faith and denouncing god, claiming himself to be the deity Michaels should truly be following. Punk would play up on this in the weeks which followed (his beard had even grown to a point where he actually resembled a tattooed Jesus), holding “straight edge sermons” and forming the “First Church of Punk” with his disciples Luke Gallows (the former Festus) and Paul Burchill, both of whom are explained as being former drug addicts (which was one of the primary reasons behind Gallows mental state as Festus).

    Michaels would find himself dejected by the words of Punk, almost finding it impossible to fight against him as he knew so much of what he was saying was the truth. Where he drew the line, however, was with Punk comparing himself to Jesus. Despite the words of Punk and numerous beat downs at the hands of the First Church of Punk, Michaels would repeatedly deny Punk’s challenges for a match at ‘Mania. Realising he wasn’t getting anywhere with his current tactics, Punk realised he had to take it to a whole different level – even more personal than before.

    As Michaels wrestled on Raw the titan tron would suddenly flash on, showing CM Punk and his disciples outside Michaels home. Punk would attempt to open the door but, realising it was locked, he ordered Gallows to break the window. The smashing of glass attracted Michaels’ wife to the room who began screaming hysterically upon seeing Punk, Gallows and Burchill climbing through her window. She immediately gathered together hers and Michael’s kids and locked themselves away in her bedroom. Punk began walking through the hallway, musing over moments throughout Michaels career when he may have walked through that very same hallway; moments like after he screwed Bret, for example. Shawn Michaels watched from inside the ring, frozen, helpless to protect his family from the maniacal CM Punk.

    Punk pleaded with Michaels’ wife to open the door as he “only wanted to make an example of her” and didn’t want to scare the kids. When she refused to answer he ordered Burchill and Gallows to break the door down, revealing a terrified family quivering in the corner of the room. CM Punk approached them, kneeling down to speak specially to Michaels’ children. He told them that their father was a bad man who had done a lot of bad things to good people throughout his life and that he was “like Jesus” because he had come to save them from his sins. Punk grabbed Michaels wife by her hair and dragged her, kicking and screaming, towards the door before turning his focus to the camera and addressing Shawn Michaels in the ring, proclaiming to Michaels that he had done this to his wife himself – he had forced his hand. Finally Michaels snapped, screaming out at Punk that he had his match at ‘Mania, but begged and pleaded for him not to hurt his family. As an emotional Michaels watched from inside the ring, helpless to do anything, Punk thanked Michaels for accepted his request but told Michaels that he’s a man who believes in finishing what you start, before crushing Michael’s wife’s jaw with a devastating Go to Sleep. Michaels crumbled to the floor, tears flowing from his eyes in rage as Punk stood in the doorway of Michaels’ own bedroom, his arms extended out like Jesus with his two disciples behind him smiling. The rage was flowing through his veins as Michaels stared up at the titan tron, his bloodshot eyes all but vowing revenge on Punk for his evil deeds. Punk had finally broke the unbreakable Shawn Michaels.
    Last edited by OBEY; 04-23-2017 at 06:41 PM.

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA XXV
    PART TWO



    When looking back over John Cena’s six year WWE career since his impactful debut against Kurt Angle on SmackDown in 2002, it’s quite astounding really to consider what he has achieved. Calling Cena a four time world champion (three time WWE, one time World Heavyweight) doesn’t quite do him any justice when you consider the length of each of those reigns. It brings into question the argument of whether the amount of reigns you have under your belt makes you a bigger star, or whether it is actually in fact the length of said reigns which is more important. Cena’s first reign as champion stretched almost an entire year, whilst his third and most recent reign as WWE Champion lasted thirteen whole months, only to be broken due to an unfortunate injury. On top of that Cena was also the winner of the 2008 Royal Rumble match and has headlined multiple WrestleMania’s. For a career which has only spanned six years, it really is the stuff dreams are made of. As polarising a figure as he is, nobody on the current WWE roster has the mainstream appeal of John Cena and as the company’s poster boy, he really does personify success within sports-entertainment.

    For all of Cena’s accolades and accomplishments, however, there is one milestone which he has yet to conquer. More prestigious than any championship in the eyes of many. A reign which has lasted sixteen entire years. The Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak is the undisputed top prize in professional wrestling today – the man who manages to break it would surely be granted immortality. When “The Phenom” first began laying bodies to rest at WrestleMania, John Cena was a mere child approaching his teenage years at the tender age of thirteen. A young Cena watched on in awe on his television set in West Newbury, Massachusetts, as the Undertaker crushed “Superfly” Jimmy Snuka in the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena at WrestleMania VII, beginning the greatest streak the world has ever known. For everything John Cena had accomplished in his career, he had yet to try his hand at slaying the “Dead Man”.

    Having been forced to vacate his WWE Championship in October 2007 due to an unfortunate torn pectoral muscle, the expectation was that Cena would miss seven months to a year off. Cena decided that he didn’t like the idea of sitting around on his ass at home, however, and made a miraculously quick recovery – four months to be exact – returning as a surprise entrant in the 2008 Royal Rumble match, which he would then of course end up winning. Despite his miraculous recovery and heroic triumph in the Rumble match, Cena wouldn’t manage to capture the WWE Championship he had been forced to relinquish months earlier when he challenged Randy Orton for the title (in a match also involving Triple H) at WrestleMania XXIV. He would challenge for the WWE Championship on several more occasions throughout the year and, just like at WrestleMania, he would fail in his pursuit to regain the prize he so unfairly had to vacate the previous year.

    Tragedy would strike again for Cena, almost an entire year after his injury in 2008 which forced him to vacate his title, when he went down with a herniated disc in his neck prior to challenging for the World Heavyweight Championship at Unforgiven in September. 2008 really had proven to be the undoing of John Cena; it seemed as though the once unbeatable champion had lost his edge. Or had he? Once again Cena would make a quick recovery, returning two months later to challenge Chris Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship in his hometown of West Newbury, Massachusetts. As would be expected, wrestling in front of his home crowd really lit a fire under Cena’s ass and brought the best out of him. Cena would manage to dethrone Jericho, putting perhaps the worst year of his career so far behind him to raise the World Heavyweight Championship up high in front of his friends and family in his hometown – the hometown hero had been crowned.

    As the turn of the new year came, John Cena spoke of everything he had accomplished in his career. He spoke of how he sat at home as a child dreaming of becoming WWE Champion (check), winning the Royal Rumble (check) and headlining WrestleMania (check). He’d achieved everything he’d ever set out to achieve within the wrestling industry, except one thing. One illustrious streak still eludes him, and he won’t rest until he becomes known as the man who conquered the Undertaker’s WrestleMania undefeated streak. You see, there have been many WWE Champions in the past, multiple Royal Rumble winners and he certainly wasn’t the first nor will he be the last man to headline a WrestleMania – the Undertakers WrestleMania streak, however, can only be broken once. The Undertaker “accepted” John Cena’s challenge, making it known that he would compete in the Royal Rumble and were he to win, he would go on to challenge Cena for the World Heavyweight Championship at ’Mania. The stage was set; all Cena and The Undertaker had to do now was win their respective matches at the Royal Rumble.

    Cena was up first, defending his World Heavyweight Championship against Shawn Michaels in what many considered the final chapter in their trilogy (after their WrestleMania 23 match and classic a few weeks later on Raw). Unfortunately for Cena it wouldn’t be three in a row as this time around Michaels managed to lay “The Champ” out for the three count to become the new World Heavyweight Champion. Cena was distraught; his dream of defending the World Heavyweight Championship against the Undertaker at WrestleMania and ending the streak had come to an abrupt end. Cena had to end the streak, though. It was the only thing left for him in his career which he had yet to accomplish, and it was the only thing he could ever do which he would be able to say he was the ONLY person to do. So, he was going to make it happen. At any cost.

    The Undertaker entered the Royal Rumble match at number 27 and absolutely slaughtered everybody in his path. ‘Taker looked as good as ever and if anybody was going to win from that lucky number 27 spot, it was going to be him. Unfortunately for the Undertaker, John Cena hadn’t penned him in to challenge Shawn Michaels at ‘Mania for the World Heavyweight Championship; that wasn’t the plan. With the Undertaker looking set to eliminate Cody Rhodes from the match, John Cena came through the crowd and into the ring, laying the Undertaker out with an FU before rolling outside the ring. A shocked Undertaker got up to his feet and locked eyes with Cena, staring daggers through the former world champion. The distraction allowed Cody Rhodes and Manu to take advantage, tossing “The Phenom” out of the ring and out of the match - John Cena had just cost the Undertaker a shot at headlining WrestleMania.

    John Cena wanted nothing more than to end the streak and was willing to do whatever it took to assure his match with the Undertaker at WrestleMania would go ahead. The Undertaker, on the other hand, had a new focus of his own; send John Cena to his early grave. The Undertaker accepted Cena’s challenge at WrestleMania but not before warning him that he was digging his own grave – at WrestleMania XXV, John Cena would Rest. In. Peace.


    ________________________________________________________________





    Nepotism in professional wrestling is perhaps more rife than in any other industry across the world. If your father won the 1988 SuperBowl or scored the World Cup winning goal for Brazil in 1970, you better pray to your lucky stars that you develop the same talent as your father, otherwise your career really is going anywhere fast. In professional wrestling, however, if your dad is considered a legend amongst his peers, chances are you will be granted opportunities others have had to scratch and claw their entire lives not to even get a sniff of, simply because of the family you come from. And if your fathers a promoter of a top territory? Well then, Erik Watts, you’re getting pushed to the top. Well, maybe not the best example. Or maybe he is. Although you may be presented with way more opportunities if you happen to come from a family with a rich wrestling heritage, there’s no guarantee your going to have the tools to keep yourself in those top positions. Not every Nth generation wrestler possesses the same technical prowess which made their fathers such huge successes in the industry. For every Bret Hart there’s a David Flair. For every Dean Malenko there’s a Brian Christopher. For every Randy Orton there’s a Barry Orton.

    As the WWE approached the end of the decade, more and more second and third generation wrestlers began popping up. The offspring of 80’s and 90’s greats such as Ted DiBiase, Dusty Rhodes, Davey Boy Smith, Jim Neidhart, Afa the Wild Samoan, Curt Hennig; the list goes on. Unlike many of the second and third generation stars of the past, all of these youngsters seemed to possess at least something to set them apart from the pack. They certainly all had potential in their own rights, it was just about tapping into that potential. Perhaps the pick of the bunch was a young Cody Rhodes who made his debut just over a year prior in July 2007.

    Cody Rhodes was first seen on WWE television during a backstage confrontation between his father and the “Legend Killer” Randy Orton, himself a third generation wrestler. The confrontation saw Orton disrespect the great “American Dream” and eventually led to the young Cody making his debut against Orton in defence of his father’s honour, albeit in a losing effort. The torment would continue, however, as Orton would take his disrespect a disgusting step further when he punted Dusty in the head, knocking him old cold. Cody Rhodes, inexperienced and naïve, was powerless to do anything and so Orton’s deed went unpunished – but Rhodes would never forget.

    Flash forward over a year and Orton crossed paths with Rhodes yet again in the Autumn. This time around Rhodes had fellow next generation superstars Ted DiBiase Jr. and Manu as acquaintances but Orton was unimpressed. Orton would constantly insult the trio, believing that they weren’t using their superior DNA to their advantage the way he had done since debuting back in 2002. Orton got so frustrated with the trio that he attacked Ted DiBiase, putting him out of action indefinitely with a punt to the head. Orton extended an offer out to Rhodes and Manu for them to join forces with him, an offer they were initially hesitant to accept. As Survivor Series came around Cody Rhodes and Randy Orton would be placed on the same time and as luck would have it the two of them would end up being the sole survivors; Rhodes was finally proving his worth to Orton.

    The following night on Raw Orton told Rhodes and Manu that he wanted an answer from them by the end of the night and during his match with Batista that’s just what he got. Rhodes and Manu interfered, beating Batista down mercilessly as “The Viper” joined in. The threesome beat “The Animal” to a bloody pulp before Orton put him away with a gruesome punt to the head. A new dynasty had been born – or had it? Having taken out Batista, Rhodes and Manu turned to face Orton, smirks spread across their faces as Orton came to the stark realisation that he wasn’t in the company of foes. They struck, taking Orton down and beating him senseless. With the memory of Orton’s assault on his father the previous year still fresh in his mind, Cody Rhodes snapped and grabbed a chair from outside the ring, obliterating Orton’s ankle with it. Cody wanted to end Orton’s career, and it looked as though that’s exactly what he may have done.

    As the weeks went by Cody adopted an entirely new cocky, self-entitled attitude, as well somewhat of a superiority complex; he believed that because of his blood he was better than everybody else on the roster, including Randy Orton who’s father he claimed never actually achieved anything in the industry and was nothing more than Hulk Hogan’s glorified punching bag. Together with Manu the duo ran a mock of the WWE roster, beating up lower card guys for fun as Orton sat on the sidelines injured.

    Ted DiBiase would eventually make his return to the WWE at the beginning of 2009 on the first Raw of the year. Although he initially confronted Manu and Cody about siding with Orton, albeit briefly, after he took him out last year, he soon changed his tune and sided with the duo. Not long after DiBiase had decided to take his place alongside Rhodes and Manu Orton would make his return from Rhodes and Manu’s attack at the end of November. Standing atop of the stage sizing up his three enemies in the ring, the now babyface Orton had to pick his spot right; especially seeing as Ted DiBiase had a chair in hand. Well, as luck would have it, this would actually work in Orton’s favour as DiBiase proved to have been deceiving everybody all along when he took a swing at Manu’s head with the steel chair like he was batting for the yankees, sending the big Samoan crashing to the mat. Cody Rhodes, wide eyed, stared at DiBiase in utter shock as Randy Orton slowly approached the ring with the biggest of smirks on his face. Rhodes tried to reason with DiBiase before turning around and making a break for it. Unfortunately for Rhodes, however, rather than making a bee-line for the ropes, he ran straight into the comforting arms of Orton for a crushing RKO.

    In the build up to the Royal Rumble a battle of the next generation wrestlers developed as Cody Rhodes and Manu battled Orton and DiBiase. All four men would enter the Royal Rumble match, or so they should have, anyway. When Orton was set to make his entrance at number 13 he would instead be found unconscious backstage. With Orton absent Rhodes and Manu would team up on DiBiase, eliminating him from the match thanks to the numbers game. Orton, knowing full well who his attackers were, however, would cause the distraction as the match wound to a close with his theme music blaring out of the sound system, which led to a distracted Cody Rhodes getting eliminated. Orton would race down to the ring following Rhodes elimination to attack the “Grandson of a Plumber”, however Cody would manage to slip himself out of Orton’s clutches to escape through the crowd; he had evaded Orton for now, but he couldn’t run for ever, as he would soon find out.

    In the weeks building up to the Royal Rumble Rhodes and Manu had attacked Rey Mysterio, targeting him down to their claims that he was a “fraud” and that he wasn’t actually a legit second generation wrestler due to adopting his ringname from his uncle and not his father. Following the Royal Rumble Mysterio wanted nothing more than to get his hands on Cody Rhodes, even offering to put his Intercontinental Championship on the line to get it. Unforunately for Rey he would fall to the numbers like so many before him and thanks to assistance from Manu Cody managed to gain his first singles title in the WWE.

    Ted DiBiase Jr. would earn himself a shot at Cody’s Intercontinental title at No Way Out and Orton, with the intent of ensuring Manu would be too incapacitated to have any sort of an impact on DiBiase’s title shot, challenged him to a match to take place prior to Rhodes and DiBiase’s at No Way Out. Orton would finally take care of Manu in their match, ensuring he would not be a factor in DiBiase’s title shot against Rhodes. Unfortunately for DiBiase Rhodes was still more than capable of using dirty tactics on his own behalf, as he demonstrated when he took off his boot while the referee was down to pull out a pair of brass knuckles which he then used to lay DiBiase out and, in the process, retain his Intercontinental title.

    Where DiBiase may have failed Orton was confident he could succeed and so the challenge was made for a match at WrestleMania; unfortunately for Orton, however, Rhodes had no interest in defending his title against him. Rhodes would quickly find out that being Intercontinental Champion didn’t give him the power to make and deny matches, especially at the “Showcase of the Immortals”, and so Shane McMahon announced that were Orton to defeat Manu in a rematch from their No Way Out contest on Raw he would earn himself a shot at Cody’s title for WrestleMania. Despite constant attempts from Rhodes to interfere, DiBiase would prove to be the foil to such plans this time around and Orton would successfully slay Manu once again, earning himself a title shot against Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania. For all the dodging and diving Cody had been doing since the turn of the year, he was finally going to have to look “The Viper” straight in it’s eyes at WrerstleMania.


    ________________________________________________________________





    Perhaps since the inception of the art, women’s wrestling has taken a backseat to it’s male equivalent. Professional wrestling is a male dominated world like none other. With heritage dating as far back as 1956, you’d imagine the Women’s Championship would be considered amongst the most prestigious titles in the WWE. Well, you would be wrong. And not because it shouldn’t be, because it very well should. For the WWE, however, being a female wrestler is much more about how you look; essentially, will the male fans be drawling at the sight of you in skimpy outfits, rolling around the ring in what often resembles a catfight moreso than an actual wrestling contest nine times out of ten? You have a great technical game? That’s great, but I didn’t feel any movement in my pants when you walked into the room, so you don’t really have much of a future in the WWE, unfortunately (I’m pretty sure that’s a direct quote from Kevin Dunn).

    Although this wasn’t as evident throughout the mid 00’s when the Women’s title was thrown around between names such as Trish Stratus, Lita, and Mickie James. For an entire three years, in fact, these were the only three women to win the title. And it wasn’t because each woman had a lengthy title reign to help add prestige to the title (well, Trish did hold the title for over a year), it was mainly down to the fact that the women’s roster was so thin and void of talent that there was nobody else credible enough to stick the title on. Torrie Wilson, Jackie Gayda, Ashley Massaro? No thanks. It has become even more evident in recent years that the WWE have been trying to phase out women’s “wrestlers” with the introduction of the Divas Championship. It looked as though the women of the WWE were in for perhaps the worst spell in the history of women’s wrestling. As chance would have it, however, when Vince McMahon sold the WWE in November 2008 Kevin Dunn, Executive Vice President, Television Production and Vince’s right hand man, went out the door with him. The women of the WWE had struck gold.

    Kevin Dunn was considered by many to be the man spearheading the transition from “women” to “diva’s” in the WWE and was supposedly responsible for a lot of the T&A heavy content such as the historic bra and panties match. It was well known that neither Shane nor Stephanie were too fond of Dunn, specifically Stephanie, and so when Vince left he knew his days in the WWE were numbered – where he held much influence over Vince he didn’t have such a hold over either of his children.

    The women’s roster at the time was actually the healthiest it had been in a long time, but the women with all the talent were the ones being fed to the likes of Candice Michelle, Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins as canon fodder. That was soon about to change.

    Having successfully defended her Women’s title against Candice Michelle at No Mercy, Beth Phoenix would go on to lead her team of Raw women to defeat SnackDown’s team at Survivor Series. As the brand extension came to an end immediately following Survivor Series, Beth Phoenix set out to assert her dominance over the women of the WWE as the alpha female of the company. With two women’s title’s now eligible to be defended across both Raw and SmackDown with the brand extension over, the only way Phoenix could assert her dominance was by taking down her opposing champion – in this case Diva’s Champion Michelle McCool. At Armageddon, despite the valiant efforts of Michelle, Beth would come out victorious, unifying the titles in the process and taking her position as the alpha female of the WWE. No thanks to Santino Marella, that is. Phoenix’s onscreen boyfriend almost cost her the match when he got involved, attempting to cause a distraction but, in all his goofy glory, backfired, almost costing Beth the match.

    The following night on Raw Beth would take Santino out during an inter gender tag team match the two were involved in, making it clear that she didn’t want Santino around her anymore making her look like an imbecile by association; this was a new age for Beth Phoenix and she was going to rule her kingdom by herself. Well, not quite.

    As the other women on the roster began ganging up against Beth, she realised she needed a little help. Having humiliated Victoria and Natalya by beating the both of them in a handicap match, due to a miscommunication between the two, Beth agree to put her Women’s title on the line against Victoria at the Royal Rumble. She had one condition, however – were Victoria to lose, she would be forced to retire. In the weeks leading up to the Rumble Beth tried to get into the mind of Natalya, telling her of how Victoria was holding her back and speaking of the amount of raw potential Natalya possessed. Beth’s mind games seemed to have paid off and at the Royal Rumble Natalya turned on Victoria to align with Phoenix, thus forcing Victoria into retirement in the process.

    As the weeks went by following the Rumble Beth Phoenix won match after match thanks to the assistance of Natalya. With the help of her new “lackey” she managed to keep the rest of the women’s division at bay. Because that’s exactly what Natalya was to Beth Phoenix – nothing more than a lackey. Several of Natalya’s former friends would try to help her see sense, telling her that so long as she remained by Beth’s side she would never get a shot at the Women’s title. Beth had been selling Natalya dreams and Natalya had been lapping them all up. Beth targeted Mickie James for trying to get in the ear of Natalya and defeated her to successfully defend her title at No Way Out, but when Beth grabbed her title off of Natalya following the match and shoved her out the way to celebrate by herself, it became as clear as day to Natalya that she was being used. Nobody was about to use a Hart.

    Natalya confronted Beth the following night on Raw and having told Beth that she was no longer going to be accompanying her to the ring, and that she would instead be focusing on forging her own singles career, she went to leave the ring. But Beth wasn’t about to have her “lackey” just leave her high and dry like that – not for one second. Beth snapped, attacking Natalya as she attempted to leave the ring, ensuring that the “Queen of Harts” knows that turning your back on the “Glamazon” doesn’t come without retribution.

    Beth, thinking she had disposed of yet another female superstar, went about her business as usual again the following week, slaughtering Alicia Fox. She wasn’t about to get off that easily this time around, however; she had messed with the wrong woman. Natalya would make the save when Beth was beating on Alicia mercilessly, taking the women’s champion down to the ground with authority. As Natalya locked the Sharpshooter in Beth realised that she wasn’t just messing with another woman – she was messing with a Hart. “The Glamazon” screamed out in pain and the stage was all but set for WrestleMania – Beth Phoenix had met her match.
    Last edited by OBEY; 04-23-2017 at 06:43 PM.

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA XXV
    PART THREE




    Since it’s inception at WrestleMania 21, the Money in the Bank ladder match has become a staple of WrestleMania as much so as the winner of the Royal Rumble challenging for the world title in the main event, or even the Undertaker’s undefeated streak. It was one of the most eagerly anticipated matches on the card and for good reason. Not much beats a ladder match for suspense in professional wrestling, and add to that the fact that six to eight men are battling it out for a prize which essentially guarantees them a world title, you’ve got yourself one of the hottest contests of the year. A guaranteed world title shot anywhere, anytime between the night you win it and the following years WrestleMania, it’s as prestigious a prize as they come. The first Money in the Bank winner, Edge, went on to cash his briefcase in at the beginning of the following year, more or less stealing his first world title from John Cena after he had just competed in a grueling Elimination Chamber match. Except he really didn’t steal anything at all, as the stipulation states anytime, anywhere. If he’d have wanted to cash it in whilst Cena slept on his tour bus, as long as he had an official present and it was officially sanctioned, then he could have done so.

    After Edge successfully cashed his briefcase in every single winner following him done the exact same thing to become a world champion. Rob Van Dam in 2006, Edge again the following year (technically Mr. Kennedy won the briefcase, but he lost it in a match to Edge who subsequently cashed it in, so it still counts as a successful cash in), and CM Punk last year. It has become one of the most sought after prizes in professional wrestling and this year the stakes have been raised even higher as for the first time ever there will be eight wrestlers competing for the briefcase.

    First up we have Montel Vontavious Porter, a man who had one of the most up and down years you could possibly imagine in 2008. It’s the end of the year were going to focus on, however, which saw him embroiled in a very embarrassing losing streak. Beginning in August, for whatever reason, MVP seemed to lose his “It” factor, so to speak. Night after night he turned up and was left staring at the lights. As his losses mounted up clauses in his contract triggered which resulted in him losing his incentive bonus, as well as losing his inflatable, NFL like entrance tunnel. MVP was slowly transitioning from a sports superstar to a mere professional wrestler. It began eating away at him but no matter how hard he tried, he just couldn’t buy himself a win (literally, he actually attempted to pay off an official prior to one of his matches).

    When the sale of the WWE was announced and it became public knowledge that the WWE would be separating into two entirely different entities following WrestleMania XXV, MVP realised that it was now or never for his career; he faced the bleak prospect of his contract not being picked up by either Shane or Stephanie. Whilst this was happening another man was facing a dilemma of his own. Michael Cole had been informed that come the turn of the new year, he was to be slowly fazed out of his position as Raw play-by-play, to be replaced with the ECW commentary team of Todd Grisham and Matt Striker – a duo who had been absolutely tearing it up over on the “extreme” brand prior to it’s closure. They represented a new, young, ambitious sound the WWE were looking to transition into. Understandably Michael Cole was distraught, but his emotions soon turned to anger; furious, unbridled, vengeful anger. Having been ousted from the announce table Michael Cole was told to go home and sit out the remainder of his contract. Unbeknownst to the WWE, he had no intention of doing that.

    On the first Raw of the new year MVP would come out to the stage to announce that he had hired himself a new agent to help get his career back on track and obtain the opportunities for him he knows he’s more than deserved of having. That man would turn out to be Michael Cole. But not the smiling, Vince-screaming-in-his-ear, corporate clone Michael Cole we had all known and come to (not really) love. This was a much more disgruntled Michael Cole – a much angrier man. Michael Cole actually seemed the perfect fit for MVP as his agent, too, as what he had in Michael Cole was a man who knew the ins and outs of the WWE’s corporate world, as well as an encyclopedic knowledge on every single wrestler; their ring nuances, signature moves, when they tend to hit what, their weaknesses – you name it. This is a man who had dedicated his career to studying the men and women of the WWE; he was a more deadly weapon than anybody could possibly imagine.

    As it would just so happen, in his first much with Michael Cole as his agent MVP would break his five month long losing streak when he defeated Matt Hardy for the United States Championship – a new, much brighter day was certainly on the horizon for MVP. At the end of 2008 MVP had began to grow quite close to R-Truth who himself had seen his career hit somewhat of a rut recently. Having turned on Kofi Kingston, whom he had been quite buddy-buddy with previously, R-Truth let the world know that he was sick of being seen as nothing more than a joke – a “dancing, singing monkey” as he put it. R-Truth dropped his “slave name” and demanded he be addressed as Ron Killings. MVP saw another disgruntled wrestler, somebody whom he had grown quite close to himself, and decided to bring him on board with Michael Cole. As chance would have it Ron Killings, too, would begin picking up victories and his career, like MVP’s, looked to be on the upswing thanks in large part to the influence of Michael Cole.

    Another disgruntled employee was Shad Gaspard whom had recently separated from JTG. He, like R-Tru…sorry, Ron Killings, had grown sick and tired of being forced to act like a “juvenile delinquent” just because of the colour of his skin and because the fans lapped up his and JTG’s fake gangster routine. Shad turned on JTG, all but breaking his former partner in half, before going out on his own. Realizing he could definitely do with somebody the size of Shad with him rather than against him, MVP offered Shad the opportunity to serve as his bodyguard, a roll which he claimed would pay better money than he’s ever seen in his life. Shad, without much other focus in his career at that point, and seeing what Michael Cole had done for the careers of MVP and Killings already, decided to accept the offer. MVP was slowly building together an entourage and, with his contract incentives back, lavish three piece suits, vast array of diamond jewelry back, and the United States Championship around his waist, as well as his NFL entrance tunnel, MVP was looking as much a sporting superstar as ever before.

    Before long Michael Cole would even bring in a “legal aid” for MVP in the form of Harvard Law graduate David Otunga. As MVP’s status began to grow again so did his wealth and it wasn’t long before he set his eyes on a beautiful, yet not the brightest, young woman in the form of Maria Kanellis. MVP began showering Maria with gifts and affection and, before long, the ditzy brunette fell head over heels for him. Although she tried to play off that she was so naïve and didn’t understand what MVP was doing, she knew full well – at least that’s what the other women on the roster were saying. She loved the attention and she loved the money even more; the thought of being the power couple of the WWE also wasn’t too bad a prospect for her. Not that she let you know, however; as far as we all knew, she was the same old ditzy, loveable Maria we’ve all known for years.

    Kofi Kingston would begin taking exception to the lavish lifestyle MVP was once again beginning to live, given that just a few months prior he had been at the lowest point of his entire career. Kofi felt that this should have humbled him, but in fact it actually made him worse than ever before. He realised that MVP was attempting to build up his own entourage, too, as he knew he couldn’t get the job done all by himself and with a gang of his closest allies following him around everywhere he went, he couldn’t lose. He’d also look like a million bucks, too, which wasn’t a bad thing either for the sporting superstar.

    Kofi believed in doing things for yourself and having seen his former best friend CM Punk turn on Shawn Michaels, and what Punk had done to his former icon, he now believed in that more so than ever. Kofi singled out Ron Killings for selling out on the fans to “kiss MVP’s ass”. He took exception to the fact Killings complained about becoming a joke, yet decided to latch on to MVP as soon as he noticed he was beginning to build up a little steam alongside Michael Cole. Kofi claimed that, as much as he disliked MVP, he couldn’t deny the fact that he was a phenomenal athlete. Ron Killings, on the other hand, was not. He was in a better position now than he had any right to be due to him latching onto MVP’s entourage.

    Kofi had been on a pretty impressive run of his own in recent weeks and he was building up a fan following very reminiscent of Rob Van Dam in 2001. He left crowds across the country in awe with some of the moves he performed on a nightly basis and since dropping his fake Jamaican accent, his new raw, tell it how he sees it attitude has got fans even more behind him. Kofi would be competing in his first Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXV, as would Ron Killings. For MVP it would be his second, but this time he had Ron Killings alongside him. Needless to say, Kofi Kingston will have a bullseye painted right in the centre of his forehead, but with the support of the crowd behind him, could that be just enough to push Kofi to victory?

    Whilst MVP would be competing in his second Money in the Bank ladder match and third WrestleMania overall, one man would be competing in not just his first Money in the Bank, not just his first WrestleMania, but his first ever pay per view match. Tyson Kidd made his WWE debut towards the tail end of 2008, impressing from the onset with some pretty decisive victories on both SmackDown and Raw. Having been hyped up as the final ever graduate of the famed Hart Dungeon, a torture chamber which had produced wrestling greats such as of course Bret and Owen Hart, Chris Jericho, Davey Boy Smith, Brian Pillman, Lance Storm, Edge, Christian – the list goes on – the pressure was on the rookie from day one. But boy, did he make an impact.

    Despite his small stature Tyson Kidd proved to be an absolute master at the art of technical wrestling, his submission holds quickly becoming some of the most revered moves in the company. His Sharphooter was executed to excellent in the same way Bret Hart used to pull off his version of the submission lock. But it was his innovated Dungeon Lock which devastated whichever opponent suffered the unfortunate fate of being locked in the move. In the three months since his debut the move has still yet to be broken and everybody that has been locked into the move has fallen prey to its devastation.

    Having gotten off to such a stellar start to his WWE career, a fellow former Hart Dungeon graduate began taking exception to what he referred to as Tysons exploitation of his time training under the Hart’s; that man, of course, was none other than Chris Jericho. Chris Jericho confronted Tyson, letting him know in no uncertain terms that he had grown sick and tired of the commentators telling us of how he was the final ever graduate of the famed dungeon, and how the Hart family considered him one of their own. Jericho claimed that he is the greatest wrestler to have ever come out of the dungeon; in fact, he’s far surpassed anything he was taught by the Hart’s during his time there. It was very much a case of Chris Jericho feeling as though Tyson had not paid his dues and didn’t deserve all the praise he was getting, but when it all came down to it Tyson Kidd very much mirrored an early Y2J.

    Having both trained in the Hart Dungeon, they both got their careers started wrestling across Canada. Having built somewhat of a reputation in their home nation they both then travelled to Japan to further develop their skills in a country where professional wrestling is considered a legitimate sport, and where some of the toughest wrestlers on the planet reside. After making an impact in the Orient the next stop for the two Canadians was the United States where they trained further in development leagues (ECW was very much where guys such as Jericho, Benoit, Malenko and others developed themselves further when returning from Japan) before hitting the big time of WCW (in Jericho’s case) and the WWE. On top of this the two of them were both considered small by industry standards and so faced an uphill struggle from the get go to prove themselves capable of hanging with the big boys. Jericho’s early career was basically a mirror image of Tyson Kidd’s.

    Despite this Jericho didn’t like Kidd and promised to show him who the true master of the dungeon was. Having both qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match, Tyson Kidd proclaimed that an eight man ladder match wouldn’t determine who the true “Master of the Dungeon”, as Jericho put it, was, and so challenged “The Savior of the WWE” to a match on Raw the week before WrestleMania. Jericho accepted Tysons challenge, a decision he would quickly live to regret. Tyson would match Jericho more evenly than the veteran could possibly have ever imagined; it was evident Jericho had clearly underestimated the young Kidd. Jericho realised he had truly screwed up when Tyson locked him in his revered Dungeon Lock; Jericho was in no mans land and was about to submit to the “rookie”. Being the conniving mastermind Jericho is he grabbed the referee and raked his eyes whilst he was asking him if he wanted to submit, forcing the referee to call for the disqualification and saving face for Jericho. Jericho would escape with at least an ounce of his pride still in check, but Tyson Kidd had Jericho’s number and there would be no escape at WrestleMania.

    Whilst Jeff Hardy’s meteoric rise to the top had become perhaps the story of early 2009, his brother Matt wasn’t quite as fortunate. You see there was a time when many believed Matt Hardy would be the Hardy Boy to breakout and become a true superstar in the WWE. He had everything Jeff Hardy had and more, however as the years went by Matt Hardy began to slowly slip into obscurity whilst Jeff’s popularity shot towards the moon. Eventually Matt would be ousted from the company when his girlfriend decided to have an affair with fellow wrestler Edge; despite Matt having done absolutely nothing wrong, other than getting cheated on, he was let go from his contract.

    When Matt made his return in 2005 a few months after his release he was hotter than ever. The fans wanted nothing more than to see Edge get his comeuppance and for Matt to get revenge on his former friend and “slut” of a girlfriend for what they had both done to him. Despite a hot start to his return things quickly sizzled out and before he knew it Matt was slowly slipping back into irrelevance. Matt would begin another renaissance of sorts at the tail end of 2008 when he joined the ECW brand and became ECW Champion. Unfortunately for Matt he wouldn’t even get the honor of holding the distinction of being the final ever ECW Champion as on the final ever broadcast of ECW on SyFy, Jack Swagger usurped him for the title.

    Regardless of his final shortcoming as part of the ECW brand, Matt Hardy vowed that 2009 would be his year and that he would finally fulfill his potential by becoming the WWE Champion. Whilst his brother Jeff had become the hottest thing going in the WWE Matt slowly began building up some steam him self, a lot of it second hand steam from his brother’s recent rise. Matt won the United States Championship almost immediately upon the dissolution of ECW, but his reign didn’t last long as he would lose it only a couple of weeks later to MVP. At the Royal Rumble Matt came the closest he’s ever been to reaching his full potential when he made it down to the final four in the Rumble match. Unfortunately for Matt his luck would soon run out when he was thrown out of the match by Cody Rhodes; at least he got to see his brother win it though, right?

    Another man whom had built up a lot of steam towards the tail end of 2008 was The Brian Kendrick. Having been drafted from Raw to SmackDown as part of the 2008 supplemental draft, The Brian Kendrick made his return with a whole new look and a whole new attitude. Gone was the happy-go-lucky, loveable partner of Paul London. In his place was an arrogant narcissist accompanied by an absolute mountain of a man in the form of his new bodyguard Ezekiel. Kendrick believed himself now to be the greatest thing since sliced bread (and no, not just his former finishing move). He would achieve his greatest success in the fall of ’08 when he qualified for the WWE Championship Scramble match at Unforgiven, although he would be unsuccessful in his pursuit of the title.

    As the weeks went by Kendrick continued to make an impression until he just, well, vanished. Nobody knew why and nobody knew where he had gone, but for whatever reason The Brian Kendrick was no longer on our television screens.

    Two months went by without any sighting of Kendrick until, without any prior warning, he suddenly returned to our screens. Once again Kendrick was sporting an entirely new look. With his hair grown out even further and looking more ratty than before, Kendrick had now grown a beard. Gone was his new flashy ring attire and in its place was a long, white gown; something that would look much more in place amongst a group of hippies than in a professional wrestling locker room. Kendrick was sat in a corner backstage with the behemoth Ezekiel standing over him. Speaking in a hushed tone, Kendrick spoke about how he had seen the light and been set free. He told of how he was exiled from the WWE and that there was “a conspiracy, man” far greater than we could ever imagine going on. He was finally obtaining the success he always knew he was capable of but it didn’t work in line with the plans of the “higher power”, and so he was thrown out. He claimed that he had now seen the truth and he had returned to lead the blind. Ezekiel had heard the truth and seen the light; he was a believer and was the first child of the “Children of Kendrick”. No longer was Kendrick coming off as a narcissist; now he sounded more like some sort of hippie cult leader.

    Kendrick wanted to expand the reach of his word and to do that he had to recruit more wrestlers. First off was Jimmy Wang Yang, a man he claimed the “higher power” was holding down by convincing him that he was a cowboy. Wang Yang initially had no interest in joining Kendrick but following a brutal beat down at the hands of Ezekiel and Kendrick, he joined him, rechristened by Kendrick as Ying. Although Kendrick came off as a peaceful hippy backstage, there was always a more sinister tone to his words. His true brutality came out when he entered the ring and transformed into a full-blown psychopath. Having recruited Ying Kendrick next turned his attentions to JTG whose career had crashed hard since the breakup of Cryme Tyme. After initially denying Kendrick’s advances JTG would also join the group following a beat down from Ezekiel, Ying, and Kendrick. JTG was rechristened Jeremiah. As well as rechristening his new recruits Kendrick had them completely change their image, having them brush their hair out like his and adorning them in hippy like brown ponchos and cotton pants.

    The Children of Kendrick was slowly beginning to grow but he needed more followers and he had the perfect person in mind for his next “child” – Matt Hardy. In the lead up to WrestleMania Matt had become the target of Triple H. Triple H was set to defend his WWE Championship against Matt’s brother Jeff at WrestleMania and he wanted to get into the head of Jeff before ‘Mania, to weaken him psychologically. Having been beaten to a bloody pulp by “The Game” with a sledgehammer in the locker room, Matt was left on the sidelines for a couple of weeks while he healed his injuries. When he returned Brian Kendrick offered him a place amongst his children. He spoke of how Matt had been outcast by the WWE just like he had himself; he had been a victim of the “higher power” and the conspiracy surrounding the company. He had been forced to witness his brother obtain that very same success that should have been his and was even forced to suffer at the hands of his brothers success. He was a man without family and Kendrick claimed that Matt needed him more than he could possibly ever imagine. Matt, however, turned down Kendrick’s advances.

    Like with JTG and Jimmy Wang Yang before him, Kendrick decided that all it would take to change Matt’s mind was the most almighty of beatings. Still bruised and stitched up from his beating at the hands of Triple H, Matt Hardy saw himself fall victim to yet another brutal beating from the Children of Kendrick. Matt was left an absolute bloodied mess but, unlike the now rechristened Ying and Jeremiah, Matt’s convictions were stronger. Matt maintained that he still had no intentions of joining Kendrick’s group, claiming him to be poisoning the minds of the weak-minded men who had decided to follow him. Having both qualified for the Money in the Bank ladder match Matt told Kendrick that he would get his revenge on him at WrestleMania and he let it be known that when he won the briefcase, he would prove that there’s no breaking Matt Hardy.

    Rounding off the participants in this years Money in the Bank ladder match is none other than third generation wrestler Ted DiBiase Jr. There isn’t much more to cover in regards to Ted, as much of his build towards ‘Mania has been covered in the Intercontinental Championship match preview. One thing worth noting, though, is that Ted DiBiase is a changed man and he is a rarity amongst second and third generation wrestlers in that he doesn’t want to be given opportunities due to his surname; his legacy shouldn’t be defined by his fathers. Despite his father the “Million Dollar Man” being perhaps the wealthiest man to ever step foot in a WWE ring, Ted refuses to accept handouts from his father. He wants to make it on his own accord and he wants to be remembered as a man who gave it his everything and relied on absolutely nobody.

    That mentality has certainly paid off so far for DiBiase as he is considered to be one of the fastest rising stars in the WWE today with a boat load of potential. Having worked alongside Randy Orton against Cody Rhodes and Manu, Ted came within touching distance of becoming Intercontinental Champion at No Way Out before Cody cheated his way to retaining his title. Having won the World Tag Team titles in his debut match for the company less than a year prior, DiBiase has already built himself up as strong a fan following as even the likes of Rey Mysterio or Randy Orton since breaking away from Rhodes and Manu and, with such an impressive start to his career and the fans firmly behind him, many believe DiBiase to be amongst the favorites to win this years match. Time is certainly on Ted’s side and he has the potential to achieve what his father never could – becoming a world champion. Ted doesn’t want to live off of his father’s legacy, he wants to surpass it.
    Last edited by OBEY; 04-23-2017 at 06:44 PM.

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    THE ROAD TO WRESTLEMANIA XXV
    PART FOUR



    Tag team wrestling has become somewhat of a lost art form in recent years. Gone were the glory days of the Rock n’ Roll Express, the Fabulous Freebirds, the Midnight Express, and the Road Warriors. As recent as 2001 we witnessed somewhat of a tag team wrestling renaissance with Edge and Christian, the Dudley Boyz and the Hardy Boyz tearing it up with the innovative TLC match; many even believe these years to have been the golden age of tag team wrestling, even above the aforementioned teams of the 80’s and 90’s.

    As the new millennium moved along tag team wrestling’s importance seemed to slowly decrease and before you knew it, it had become an afterthought of the overall WWE product. Simply taking a look at the past four WrestleMania’s is all you need to do to see just how far tag team wrestling has fallen, as only one of those four ‘Mania’s had a tag team title match on the card, and even then it was a match involving two make shift teams who won’t be remembered by anybody at all ten years, or even five years, from now. Perhaps the catalyst for the dip in quality and importance put on the tag team division was the fact that both brands, Raw and SmackDown, had their own set of tag team titles. With such a thin pool of tag teams on your roster as a whole, to then separate those teams across two separate brands will only serve to further water down each division, making those make shift tag teams even more essential.

    When the sale of the WWE was finalized and the announcement was made that the brand split would briefly be abolished before making a return following WrestleMania, it provided a glimmer of hope for tag teams across the WWE. With the brand split temporarily over the company were able to consolidate what little teams they had into one roster and, with just the sole roster, there was no longer any need for two tag team titles. Shane and Stephanie made the announcement following Survivor Series that at Armageddon a unification match would take place to combine the WWE and World Tag Team titles into one. Prior to Armageddon the World Tag Team titles changed hands when the Miz and Morrison defeated CM Punk and Kofi Kingston on Raw, and so at Armageddon it would be the World Tag Team champions Miz and Morrison taking on the WWE Tag Team champions Carlito and Primo. The Miz and John Morrison would come out victorious; successfully unifying the tag team titles to create one set of undisputed tag titles.

    The Miz and Morrison, coincidentally, actually only came together as a result of WWE creative having nothing for either man in the first place. Unlike the majority of other makeshift tag teams over the years, however, the two of them clicked almost instantly and quickly became one of the most exciting tag teams in the company. The definition of narcissism, The Miz was the self-proclaimed “Chick Magnet” and Morrison referred to himself as the “Shaman of Sexy”. The duo began to develop into a bunch of Hollywood A-Listers (of course, this was in the minds of themselves and nobody else) and with the introduction of their “Dirt Sheet” web series they took their gimmick a step further, mocking other members of the WWE roster on a weekly basis, much like the trashiest, sleaziest of celebrity gossip culture magazines. Everything considered, the Miz and John Morrison were exactly what the tag team division needed.

    Having spent the beginning of their reign tormenting Jesse and Festus, they soon turned their attention to Christian who had been advertised to return in the lead up to the beginning of 2009. They took particular enjoyment in trashing Christian on the Dirt Sheet, talking about how he never achieved anything in comparison to his “brother” Edge and how he was nothing more than an “Edge Lite”. Tongue in cheek references were made to where Christian had been in recent years, pondering the thought that perhaps he had been out “chasing some T n’ A” hoping to be just like his sleazebag best friend Edge.

    When Christian made his return on the first Raw of the new year, he was greeted by his welcoming party of Miz and Morrison who sarcastically welcomed him back to the WWE. They mocked Christian, saying that they almost didn’t realise he was gone, mistaking him for one of Edge’s former lackeys the “Edge Heads” Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins. Christian hit back with some barbs of his own, realizing now why the WWE had come running to him to return as they had two reality show rejects as their tag team champions. As tensions between Christian and the duo built up, The Miz and Morrison decided to welcome Christian back with a customary beatdown. Although Christian tried his best to fight back, the two on one situation proved too much for him and it looked as though Christian was already regretting his decision to return. That was until, to the shock of Miz, Morison, everybody watching in the arena and on their television sets at home – and even to Christian himself – an all too familiar theme song hit the sound system and a blast from Christian’s past came out to make the save – it’s Edge!

    Edge and Christian cleared the ring together as the fans went absolute insane at the image of E&C once again reunited in a WWE ring. Edge hadn’t been seen in the WWE since being chokeslammed off of a ladder, through the ring canvas by the Undertaker at SummerSlam, so it came as even more of a shock to the fans that Edge was returning by the side of Christian as a smiling babyface; but they loved it. In the weeks following Edge’s return he and Christian treated the fans to some good old-fashioned E&C goofiness; the kind we hadn’t seen from Edge since before his heel turn in 2004. Christian proved to be the cure for the “bitter, raving lunatic” Edge had become in recent years; and it was a huge breath of fresh air. The return of grammy! (who still didn’t seem to care much for Christian) The five second pose! Theme song covers on the kazoo! Man, it all just totally reeked of awesomeness!

    The feud pretty quickly developed into a contest of who could make fun of their opponent better than the other. It wasn’t strictly down to juvenile insults (referring to the Miz and Morrison as The Peacock and the Sharman of Sucksville is a personal favourite), however; the two teams got physical on several occasions. No matter how much Edge and Christian tried to goad Miz and Morrison into a title match, however, their advances were constantly denied. In fact, even when E&C were scheduled in number one contendership matches, Miz and Morrison would interject, ensuring that the awesome duo never got a shot at their titles. Finally, however, following No Way Out (at which Edge defeated John Morrison and Christian defeated the Miz) they were granted a match with the champions on Raw which if they won, they would earn a tag team title shot come WrestleMania. Despite the best efforts of Miz and Morrison and the most dastardly of tactics they could conjure up, Edge and Christian would come out victorious and the stage was set for WrestleMania.

    The Miz and John Morrison faced the biggest test of their careers today and Edge and Christian were faced with the opportunity of equaling the Dudley’s record of eight tag team title reigns; but only one team could come out victorious to lead a brand new era of tag team wrestling in the WWE.


    ________________________________________________________________





    Professional wrestling and amateur wrestling are two completely different, polar opposite worlds. Unlike other sports such as football or basketball where the different between amateur and professional is usually nothing more than the pay grade, in wrestling the two are entirely different entities altogether. In fact, amateur wrestling bares more of a similarity to Mixed Martial Arts than it does professional wrestling, with a lot of fighters transitioning from amateur wrestling to MMA as opposed to professional wrestling. So why, then, is Kurt Angle, a former amateur wrestler and Olympic gold medalist (which he won with a broken freakin’ neck, damnit) revered as one of the greatest professional wrestler’s of all time. Well, the answer is quite simple.

    Kurt Angle has it all; he has the look, he has the charisma, and he has the technical prowess, which helped him adapt seamlessly to professional wrestling. It’s why somebody like Sylvester Terkay, whom actually wrestled Kurt Angle during his amateur days in an NCAA tournament, wasn’t able to make the successful transition from amateur wrestler to WWE superstar the same way Angle had. He didn’t possess the tools other than a standout amateur career. Scott Steiner and Brock Lesnar are two of the other more successful amateur wrestlers to go pro, but the buck pretty much stops with them.

    In more recent years, amateur wrestlers making it big in the WWE has become much more of a rarity, as evident by Sylvester Terkay. It is not, however, altogether unheard of. Case in point; the 2009 WWE roster hosts three former amateur wrestlers gone pro in the form of Shelton Benjamin, Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler. These three certainly possessed all the tools Kurt Angle did, so why weren’t they setting the WWE alight as the top superstars of the company?

    For years fans had been calling for the WWE to pull the trigger on a huge main event push for Shelton Benjamin but, for whatever reason, it never happened. Jack Swagger had gotten off to a pretty decent start over on the ECW brand, making easy work of Tommy Dreamer before going on to become the final ever ECW Champion in history. Dolph Ziggler began life as a cheerleader on Raw with the Spirit Squad but was soon dispatched back down to development and, since returning, hasn’t really done much other than letting people know backstage on Raw that his name, as absurd as it sounds, is Dolph Ziggler.

    With the coming together of the WWE’s three rosters following Survivor Series, Benjamin, Swagger and Ziggler began to grow disgruntled over their positions in the company. Benjamin believed he wasn’t getting the opportunities he deserved, Swagger believed he should be given more respect as the final ECW Champion and Dolph Ziggler just wanted a match; he’d had enough of introducing himself to people who clearly didn’t give a damn backstage. Before long the three disgruntled wrestlers realised they all had something in common – an amateur background – and this, as far as they were concerned, made them better than the entire WWE roster. If they weren’t going to be given the opportunities they felt they so rightly deserved then they would take them; together.

    It all began during a match between Kane and Shelton Benjamin on Raw. During the contest Kane gained the upper hand over his opponent and just when it looked like he was about to put him away with a chokeslam Jack Swagger and Dolph Ziggler hit the ring. The two superstars jumped Kane, beating him to the mat and were soon joined by Shelton Benjamin in their assault. The trio absolutely decimated the “Big Red Machine” like nobody had ever done before. They left a seven-foot monster a broken mess in the ring; needless to say, they had made an impact.

    As the weeks went by the trio, whom referred to themselves as “The Trifecta”, completely changed up their look, now wrestling in amateur wrestling singlets. They would cut promos each week talking up their backgrounds in amateur wrestling and why this made them the elite superstars of the WWE, oftentimes talking down on veterans of the business who were given opportunities they had never been given despite not possessing half the technical prowess the three of them did. They even completely re-adapted their movesets, using primarily mat based moves and submissions more heavily associated with amateur wrestling. Having put Kane on the shelf they begun targeting other veterans of the business, taking out Finlay, Hardcore Holly, Goldust and even Mark Henry, who’s arm they all but disconnected from his shoulder with Shelton Benjamin’s newly adopted kimura lock, forcing the “Silverback” to miss WrestleMania.

    In the build up to the Royal Rumble they targeted their biggest prey yet; the Big Show. During a qualification match for the Royal Rumble between Jack Swagger and the giant, the trio got involved, breaking the mammoth superstar down to size. Shelton would lock in his devastating kimura lock whilst Ziggler, on the other side of the giant, locked in a crossface, all the while Jack Swagger was trying to snap his ankle with an ankle lock. The Big Show was ruled unable to compete at the Royal Rumble; the Trifecta had officially become the most deadly trio in the WWE.

    Following the Royal Rumble, having disposed of so many superstars, they turned their attention to Rey Mysterio, who had recently lost his Intercontinental title to Cody Rhodes. Mysterio would confront Benjamin backstage, telling him of how disgusted he was at what him and his friends had been doing to the veterans of the company over the past couple of months. Benjamin, of course, wasn’t about to let Mysterio’s insolence slide. During Mysterio’s rematch with Cody the Trifecta hit the ring; it was “The Master of the 619’s” time to suffer.

    The trio beat the diminutive Mysterio senseless. Just as it looked as though Benjamin was about to put another wrestler on the injured list by locking in his kimura lock flames shot from the ring; Kane was back! “The Big Red Machine” stormed the ring, taking out men left right and center. Eventually, though, with Mysterio still floored, the numbers grew to be too much even for Kane. With the Trifecta once again gaining control of the situation, they looked set to take Kane out once again; this time for good. Just as they looked set to put Kane and Mysterio out of their misery they were met with yet another shocking return, this one even bigger than the last; the Big Show! As the Big Show hit the ring he managed to hold the trio off for long enough until Kane and Mysterio got back up to their feet. Together, the unlikely team of the Big Show, Kane and Rey Mysterio took control of the Trifecta and cleaned house. The Trifecta retreated up the ramp with their tails between their legs for the first time since joining forces together. The announcement was made after the confrontation; at WrestleMania XXV, it would be the Trifecta taking on the trio of the Big Show, Kane and Rey Mysterio.
    Last edited by OBEY; 04-23-2017 at 06:46 PM.

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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness



    RAW AND SMACKDOWN ROSTERS FINALIZED
    BY WRESTLING OBSERVER STAFF | @WONF4W | APR 4, 2009 14:14 AM




    After four whole, long months since the news broke of the sale of the WWE from the McMahon family to the Endeavor Talent Agency, and the brand extension was brought to an immediate, albeit brief, end, we have finally reached WrestleMania weekend. As was announced when the brand split was initially brought to an end following Survivor Series, it was only to be a temporary separation as following ‘Mania the two brands of the WWE, Raw and SmackDown, will once again be separated. This time around, however, the separation will be emphasized a lot more than previously with both Shane and Stephanie being given Raw and SmackDown, respectively, to run as entirely separate entities. The general consensus is that the two will be run essentially as two separate companies under the same governing body. Nothing will be shared other than WrestleMania and the Royal Rumble (even SummerSlam and Survivor Series will become brand exclusive pay per views); the two brands will even battle it out for talent, as there will be no yearly draft like before.


    In the months building up to the re-separation Shane and Stephanie had been courting talent on WWE TV, with announcements being made regarding wrestlers signing to brands each week. Now, as we reach WrestleMania weekend, the courtship has come to an end and WWE.com posted the official rosters of Raw or SmackDown, which will lead the WWE into this brand new era in their history. The tag team titles will be exclusive to Raw whilst the women's will be exclusive to SmackDown, as his been reflected in both rosters. The rosters are as follows:


    RAW

    Baldo The Destroyer
    Batista
    Carlito
    Caylen Croft
    Chavo Guerrero
    Christian
    CM Punk
    Cody Rhodes
    Curt Hawkins
    DH Smith
    DJ Gabriel
    Dolph Ziggler
    Edge
    Finlay
    Jack Swagger
    Joe Hennig
    John Morrison
    Kane
    Kofi Kingston
    Low Ki
    Manu
    Maryse
    Mike Knox
    Paul Burchill
    Primo
    Randy Orton
    Rey Mysterio
    Rosa Mendes
    Santino The Wise
    Scotty Goldman
    Shawn Michaels
    Shelton Benjamin
    The Miz
    The Undertaker
    Tiffany
    Tito
    Tommy Dreamer
    Trent Baretta
    Vladimir The Conqueror
    William Regal
    Zack Ryder

    Commentary Team: Jim Ross and Matt Striker



    SMACKDOWN
    Alicia Fox
    Beth Phoenix
    Big Show
    Brie Bella
    Candice Michelle
    Chris Jericho
    David Otunga
    Evan Bourne
    Eve Torres
    Ezekiel
    Gail Kim
    Gavin Spears
    Goldust
    Hardcore Holly
    Hurricane Helms
    Jeff Hardy
    Jeremiah
    Jesse
    Jillian Hall
    John Cena
    Katie Lea
    Kelly Kelly
    Kung Fu Naki
    Layla El
    Maria Kanellis
    Mark Henry
    Matt Hardy
    Melina
    Michael Cole
    Michelle McCool
    Mickie James
    Montel Vontavious Porter
    Mr. Kennedy
    Natalya
    Nikki Bella
    Ricky Ortiz
    Ron Killings
    Ryan Braddock
    Shad Gaspard
    Ted DiBiase Jr.
    The Brian Kendrick
    Triple H
    Tyson Kidd
    Umaga
    Ying

    Commentary Team: Todd Grisham and Jerry Lawler
    Last edited by OBEY; 04-23-2017 at 07:48 AM.

  13. #13
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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness


    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Live on Pay Per View | April 5, 2009 | Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas
    Official Theme Song: “World Tour” by Wale
    “Kinda Like a Big Deal” by Clipse
    “Devil on My Shoulder” by Billy Talent
    “Break” by Three Days Grace
    _________________________________________________________________________________________________


    _________________________________________________________________________________________________


    _________________________________________________________________________________________________


    _________________________________________________________________________________________________


    _________________________________________________________________________________________________


    _________________________________________________________________________________________________


    _________________________________________________________________________________________________


    _________________________________________________________________________________________________





    WRESTLEMANIA XXV PREDICTION CONTEST

    (Each correctly guessed winner is worth two points, each correctly guessed method is worth one point, each correctly guessed match order is worth one point, each bonus question guessed correctly is worth one point).


    WWE CHAMPIONSHIP

    Triple H (C) versus Jeff Hardy

    Winner:
    Match order (1-8):


    WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    Shawn Michaels (C) versus CM Punk

    Winner:
    Match order (1-8):


    THE STREAK
    The Undertaker versus John Cena

    Winner:
    Match order (1-8):


    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    Cody Rhodes (C) versus Randy Orton

    Winner:
    Match order (1-8):


    WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
    Beth Phoenix (C) versus Natalya

    Winner:
    Match order (1-8):


    MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
    The Brian Kendrick versus Ron Killings versus Chris Jericho versus MVP versus Kofi Kingston versus Ted DiBiase versus Tyson Kidd versus Matt Hardy

    Winner:
    Match order (1-8):


    WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
    Miz and Morrison (C) versus Edge and Christian

    Winner:
    Match order (1-8):


    SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
    The Trifecta versus Rey Mysterio, Kane and the Big Show

    Winner:
    Match order (1-8):


    BONUS QUESTIONS
    Which match will go on for the longest amount of time:
    Which match will go on for the shortest amount of time:
    Will there be any celebrity guest appearances:
    Will the MITB briefcase be cashed in on the night:
    Will anybody go through a ladder in the MITB ladder match:
    How many finishers will be hit in the main event match:

  14. #14
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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
    Triple H (C) versus Jeff Hardy

    Winner: Jeff Hardy
    Match order (1-8): 8


    WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    Shawn Michaels (C) versus CM Punk

    Winner: Shawn Michaels
    Match order (1-8): 6


    THE STREAK
    The Undertaker versus John Cena

    Winner: John Cena
    Match order (1-8): 7


    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    Cody Rhodes (C) versus Randy Orton

    Winner: Randy Orton
    Match order (1-8): 3


    WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
    Beth Phoenix (C) versus Natalya

    Winner: Beth Phoenix
    Match order (1-8): 4


    MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
    The Brian Kendrick versus Ron Killings versus Chris Jericho versus MVP versus Kofi Kingston versus Ted DiBiase versus Tyson Kidd versus Matt Hardy

    Winner: MVP
    Match order (1-8): 1


    WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
    Miz and Morrison (C) versus Edge and Christian

    Winner: Miz and Morrison
    Match order (1-8): 2


    SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
    The Trifecta versus Rey Mysterio, Kane and the Big Show

    Winner: The Trifecta
    Match order (1-8): 5


    BONUS QUESTIONS
    Which match will go on for the longest amount of time: Cena-Taker
    Which match will go on for the shortest amount of time: Rhodes-Orton
    Will there be any celebrity guest appearances: Sure, it's WrestleMania!
    Will the MITB briefcase be cashed in on the night: No
    Will anybody go through a ladder in the MITB ladder match: Yes. Ted DiBiase Jr.
    How many finishers will be hit in the main event match: 4

    WWE 2015: Generation NXT | Now Playing in Be The Booker | #WC4Horsemen





  15. #15
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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
    Triple H (C) versus Jeff Hardy

    Winner: Jeff Hardy
    Match order (1-8): 8

    It's Hardy's time. The feel good end to the show needs to be Hardy standing tall.

    WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    Shawn Michaels (C) versus CM Punk

    Winner: Shawn Michaels
    Match order (1-8): 6

    After what Punk did I can't back against revenge.

    THE STREAK
    The Undertaker versus John Cena

    Winner: The Undertaker
    Match order (1-8): 7

    The Streak lives. I'd prefer this to be a starting point for a sinister Cena run.

    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    Cody Rhodes (C) versus Randy Orton

    Winner: Randy Orton
    Match order (1-8): 4

    Could of went either way but Mania is a night of feel good moments.

    WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
    Beth Phoenix (C) versus Natalya

    Winner: Beth Phoenix
    Match order (1-8): 2

    Again could have gone either way but I think some champs need to retain.

    MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
    The Brian Kendrick versus Ron Killings versus Chris Jericho versus MVP versus Kofi Kingston versus Ted DiBiase versus Tyson Kidd versus Matt Hardy

    Winner: Ted Dibiase
    Match order (1-8): 1

    Seems to be on the biggest push without having something to fall into unlike the others. Hardy/Kendrick, Kidd/Jericho and Kingston/MVP have their own storylines. Ted seems to be the odd man out.

    WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
    Miz and Morrison (C) versus Edge and Christian

    Winner: Edge & Christian
    Match order (1-8): 5

    Because it would totally wreak of awesomeness!!!

    SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
    The Trifecta versus Rey Mysterio, Kane and the Big Show

    Winner: The Trifecta
    Match order (1-8): 3

    New group takes the win to help propel themselves further.

    BONUS QUESTIONS
    Which match will go on for the longest amount of time: Michaels - Punk
    Which match will go on for the shortest amount of time: Womens
    Will there be any celebrity guest appearances: Yes
    Will the MITB briefcase be cashed in on the night: No
    Will anybody go through a ladder in the MITB ladder match: Yes
    How many finishers will be hit in the main event match: 3


    Good luck mate, should be quite the show.

  16. #16
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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
    Triple H (C) versus Jeff Hardy

    Winner: Jeff Hardy
    Match order (1-8): 6


    WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    Shawn Michaels (C) versus CM Punk

    Winner: Shawn Michaels
    Match order (1-8): 7


    THE STREAK
    The Undertaker versus John Cena

    Winner: John Cena
    Match order (1-8): 8


    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    Cody Rhodes (C) versus Randy Orton

    Winner: Cody Rhodes
    Match order (1-8): 4


    WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
    Beth Phoenix (C) versus Natalya

    Winner: Natalya
    Match order (1-8): 5


    MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
    The Brian Kendrick versus Ron Killings versus Chris Jericho versus MVP versus Kofi Kingston versus Ted DiBiase versus Tyson Kidd versus Matt Hardy

    Winner: Ted DiBiase (something makes me want to say TBK though)
    Match order (1-8): 3


    WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
    Miz and Morrison (C) versusEdge and Christian

    Winner: E&C
    Match order (1-8): 1


    SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
    The Trifecta versus Rey Mysterio, Kane and the Big Show

    Winner: The Trifecta
    Match order (1-8): 2



    BONUS QUESTIONS
    Which match will go on for the longest amount of time: HBK/Punk
    Which match will go on for the shortest amount of time: Six-man tag
    Will there be any celebrity guest appearances: Yes
    Will the MITB briefcase be cashed in on the night: No
    Will anybody go through a ladder in the MITB ladder match: Yes
    How many finishers will be hit in the main event match: 3
    Last edited by Kid Vid; 04-23-2017 at 05:36 PM.

  17. #17
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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness


    WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
    Triple H (C) versus Jeff Hardy

    Winner: Jeff Hardy
    Match order (1-8): 8


    WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    Shawn Michaels (C) versus CM Punk

    Winner: CM Punk
    Match order (1-8): 7


    THE STREAK
    The Undertaker versus John Cena

    Winner: The Undertaker
    Match order (1-8): 5


    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    Cody Rhodes (C) versus Randy Orton

    Winner: Cody Rhodes
    Match order (1-8): 2


    WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
    Beth Phoenix (C) versus Natalya

    Winner: Beth Phoenix
    Match order (1-8): 6


    MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
    The Brian Kendrick versus Ron Killings versus Chris Jericho versus MVP versus Kofi Kingston versus Ted DiBiase versus Tyson Kidd versus Matt Hardy

    Winner: MVP
    Match order (1-8): 1


    WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
    Miz and Morrison (C) versus Edge and Christian

    Winner: Miz and Morrison
    Match order (1-8): 3


    SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
    The Trifecta versus Rey Mysterio, Kane and the Big Show

    Winner: Trifecta
    Match order (1-8): 4


    BONUS QUESTIONS
    Which match will go on for the longest amount of time: Cena/Undertaker
    Which match will go on for the shortest amount of time: Trifecta vs Rey/Kane/Show
    Will there be any celebrity guest appearances: Yes
    Will the MITB briefcase be cashed in on the night: No
    Will anybody go through a ladder in the MITB ladder match: Yes
    How many finishers will be hit in the main event match: Three

    Really enjoyed these read ups, OBEY. Wrestlemania should be a corker.




  18. #18
    The Franchise.
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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    WWE CHAMPIONSHIP
    Triple H (C) versus Jeff Hardy

    Winner: Triple H
    Match order (1-8): 7


    WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    Shawn Michaels (C) versus CM Punk

    Winner: Shawn Michaels
    Match order (1-8): 6


    THE STREAK
    The Undertaker versus John Cena

    Winner: John Cena
    Match order (1-8): 8


    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    Cody Rhodes (C) versus Randy Orton

    Winner: Randy Orton
    Match order (1-8): 1


    WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
    Beth Phoenix (C) versus Natalya

    Winner: Beth Phoenix
    Match order (1-8): 5


    MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
    The Brian Kendrick versus Ron Killings versus Chris Jericho versus MVP versus Kofi Kingston versus Ted DiBiase versus Tyson Kidd versus Matt Hardy

    Winner: Chris Jericho
    Match order (1-8): 4


    WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
    Miz and Morrison (C) versus Edge and Christian

    Winner: E&C
    Match order (1-8): 3


    SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
    The Trifecta versus Rey Mysterio, Kane and the Big Show

    Winner: The Trifecta
    Match order (1-8): 2



    BONUS QUESTIONS
    Which match will go on for the longest amount of time: Cena/Taker
    Which match will go on for the shortest amount of time: Six-man
    Will there be any celebrity guest appearances: Yes
    Will the MITB briefcase be cashed in on the night: No
    Will anybody go through a ladder in the MITB ladder match: Yes,
    How many finishers will be hit in the main event match: 5

    This is looking A-MAZING OBEY btw. Love what you've done so far. Interesting start. Loving the GFX

  19. #19
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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    WWE CHAMPIONSHIP

    Triple H (C) versus Jeff Hardy

    Winner: Jeff Hardy
    Match order (1-8): 8


    WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    Shawn Michaels (C) versus CM Punk

    Winner: CM Punk
    Match order (1-8): 7


    THE STREAK
    The Undertaker versus John Cena

    Winner: The Undertaker
    Match order (1-8): 6


    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    Cody Rhodes (C) versus Randy Orton

    Winner: Randy Orton
    Match order (1-8): 3


    WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
    Beth Phoenix (C) versus Natalya

    Winner: Beth Phoenix
    Match order (1-8): 4


    MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
    The Brian Kendrick versus Ron Killings versus Chris Jericho versus MVP versus Kofi Kingston versus Ted DiBiase versus Tyson Kidd versus Matt Hardy

    Winner: MVP
    Match order (1-8): 1


    WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
    Miz and Morrison (C) versus Edge and Christian

    Winner: Miz & Morrison
    Match order (1-8): 5


    SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
    The Trifecta versus Rey Mysterio, Kane and the Big Show

    Winner: The Trifecta
    Match order (1-8): 2


    BONUS QUESTIONS
    Which match will go on for the longest amount of time: Michaels v. Punk
    Which match will go on for the shortest amount of time: Trifecta v. Mysterio/Kane/Show
    Will there be any celebrity guest appearances: Yes
    Will the MITB briefcase be cashed in on the night: No
    Will anybody go through a ladder in the MITB ladder match: Yes, Matt Hardy.
    How many finishers will be hit in the main event match: 5

  20. #20
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    Re: WWE 2009: Endeavor to Greatness

    WRESTLEMANIA XXV PREDICTION CONTEST



    WWE CHAMPIONSHIP

    Triple H (C) versus Jeff Hardy
    All of these write ups were fantastic. It's clear that this card wasn't just cobbled together for a starting off point. The level of attention to detail has been superb. In particular with the write up for this Triple H/Hardy match was the description of Hardy's 'creatures' essentially hijacking Triple H's entrance. While I can see an argument for wanting to crown Hardy as champion further down the line once you're doing the weekly shows, it feels like it's meant to be, and there's no better place to kick off a new era than in the main event of WrestleMania.
    Winner: JEFF HARDY
    Match order (1-8): 8


    WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
    Shawn Michaels (C) versus CM Punk
    The depiction of Punk here was tremendous, and for that Straight Edge Jesus type character, there's no better foil than Shawn Michaels. It's a fresh angle, one that WWE never capitalized on and one that few have attempted in BTB (there's part of me that was disappointed to see these two paired when I read this - for purely selfish reasons that may hopefully become clear down the road) yet an angle that seems so natural to book. Despite the attack at Michaels home, I don't see Punk getting his comeuppance here. In fact, I see Punk defeating HBK in his home state to "finish what he started" as he brilliantly put it before giving Rebecca that GTS after already getting what he wanted.
    Winner: CM PUNK
    Match order (1-8): 6


    THE STREAK
    The Undertaker versus John Cena
    Given that Cena screwed Taker out of the Rumble once he failed to hold up his end of the bargain by losing the title, I think the seeds have been planted for a long awaited Cena heel turn. I think The Streak stays in tact here, and Cena fully turns heel in the aftermath.
    Winner: THE UNDERTAKER
    Match order (1-8): 7


    INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP
    Cody Rhodes (C) versus Randy Orton
    I really like the build up for this one. Much better than what WWE did in real life, and made more sense to me too, rather than have Cody become Ortons lackey. My gut says Cody could be in for a long, long reign as I.C Champ, and I'm also predicting he is assisted by another 2nd or 3rd Generation superstar besides Manu, in order to get one over on Orton to keep the title.
    Winner: CODY RHODES
    Match order (1-8): 1


    WWE WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
    Beth Phoenix (C) versus Natalya
    Nice to see the cream rising to the top of the Womens division. Whilst Natalya is a worthy challenger, Beth should be holding the belt for a long time. She's most worthy, and is a credible champion to build the division around.
    Winner: BETH PHOENIX
    Match order (1-8): 4


    MONEY IN THE BANK LADDER MATCH
    The Brian Kendrick versus Ron Killings versus Chris Jericho versus MVP versus Kofi Kingston versus Ted DiBiase versus Tyson Kidd versus Matt Hardy
    My favourite of all these match previews. "Children of Kendrick" is an awesome stable name, and I love the idea of Kendrick as a hippy cult leader, plus, it gives Ying & Jeremiah some direction. The same can be said for the stable being put together by Michael Cole, giving Killings and Shad some meaning. Cole as a heel manager is a great idea. His WWE heel run could've been so much better had he not still been the lead announcer of the damn show, so I'm excited to see you use him in this manner. Really loved how you put over his effectiveness, having studied everyone on the roster during his years as a commentator - just minor details like that give him credibility in his role. Kidd and Jericho will probably cancel each other out, and I envisage DiBiase being screwed over by Rhodes or Samu, whilst it appears the seeds are being planted for Matt Hardy to once again be close - but not quite grab the brass ring (whilst Jeff enjoys success) - so it leaves MVP and Kofi. And given the upswing MVP has had under Cole, it makes all the sense in the world for MVP to leave WrestleMania with the briefcase (and his title ... and his bonus ... and the girl.). Whether I'm right or wrong, it's the development of MVP and Cole that I'm most looking forward to in this thread.
    Winner: MVP
    Match order (1-8): 3


    WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
    Miz and Morrison (C) versus Edge and Christian
    Pretty cool to see Edge and Christian tagging together again, and your explanation for Edges change of attitude was nicely done, and made plenty of sense too. Torn between picking the feel-good WrestleMania moment, or putting over the new kids on the block and cementing them as the best team in the WWE now, but with my other predictions leaning more toward heel wins, I'll go for the E&C reunion striking gold, if only for a brief period - but it will TOTALLY reek of awesomeness.
    Winner: EDGE & CHRISTIAN
    Match order (1-8): 5


    SIX MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
    The Trifecta versus Rey Mysterio, Kane and the Big Show
    A lot of stables being formed in this time period, and although The Trifecta haven't been as intriguing as the Children of Kendrick, or as impactful as the First Church of Punk, they'll no doubt kick on and have a larger role after WrestleMania. Plus, they're a solid unit, Rey, Kane & Show are not - they're just three guys with a common enemy; one they'll be losing to here.
    Winner: TRIFECTA
    Match order (1-8): 2


    BONUS QUESTIONS
    Which match will go on for the longest amount of time: MICHAELS/PUNK
    Which match will go on for the shortest amount of time: 6 MAN TAG
    Will there be any celebrity guest appearances: YES
    Will the MITB briefcase be cashed in on the night: NO (though the question itself leads me to wonder...)
    Will anybody go through a ladder in the MITB ladder match: YES
    How many finishers will be hit in the main event match: ​THREE

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