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CBlog XXXIV- WWE Releases, Austin and WWE Royal Rumble 2009 Predictions
by Cassidy Haslett on 16 January 2009

Hello readers (if there are any ;) . I have several topics to discuss in this blog (I even made a list). The three in the title are the big ones to talk about for me. So, let’s get started, shall we. The biggest news in the WWE, for fans and employees alike, is the mass releases WWE has done over the last week. Some of these releases are surprising and a select few are straight up shocking.

Here’s my thoughts on each one:

Val Venis – This one was surprising to me. I thought Val was one of those wrestlers that would never be released by WWE, given his tenure and ability. Still, I think it is a smart move to cut the talent you do not need.

D-Lo Brown – Again, I am surprised. D-Lo did not even get an established run at all. Granted, he is not as good as he was in his original run in the WWE, which is odd, because you think he would be better after spending some time in Japan.

Bam Neely – Not really surprising, but I am glad he is gone. A couple of weeks ago, there was a bit on RAW with Goldust with a Santa hat on and he referenced Neely having no personality. I agree with Goldust on this one, even though it was a scripted line, it is based in truth and it should have been a red flag to the viewing public that Neely was on the out. The guy does not have personality or ability, so he’s essentially dead weight and this should have been released.

Kevin Thorn – It’s a shame that he was released, he is a talented wrestler, both in personality and ability. Again, if there is no need to keep him under contract, then don’t. I really thought Fertig was going somewhere as the Mordecai character and I though that again when he was “rebranded” as Kevin Thorn for the new ECW. At least he had a fairly long run in the E.

Tim White – This is one of the releases that I described as “shocking”. When you stop and think about the career of Tim White, it really drives it home. The guy volunteered his services and his friendship to Andre The Giant in the ’80’s, then he became a referee and lasted until 2002, where he was put out of commission with a shoulder injury. He then returned in 2004 just to re-injure the same shoulder. I consider the suicide angle a low point of his career, so I won’t go into detail about that. Anyways, I can not believe that WWE would get rid of such a loyal employee. Then again, they got rid of Earl Hebner at the drop of a hat (a WWE-brand hat, I imagine ;) .

Jim Korderas – I thought Korderas had one of the most secure jobs in the WWE. He’s not held as high as Mike Chioda or Scott Armstrong, but he seemed to excel as a referee.

Mickie Henson – If he was active as a referee, I would have been surprised about it. However, he has been out with injuries for some time and his return was reported as “not expected to return anytime soon). I had a feeling he would either retire or get released after that.

Hade Vansen – After it was reported that he failed to impress WWE Officials and the vignettes stopped airing after the first, I had a feeling he was as good as gone.

Gavin Spears – I imagine a lot of fans did not even realize that Spears was a part of the main roster. Well he was for a few matches. I was not impressed at all.

Ron Simmons – This is the number two most shocking releases WWE made. Simmons is such a historic wrestler in the annals of wrestling. First black man to become World Champion, not to mention his partnership/friendship with JBL. He seemed to be the “go to guy” for new superstars. I just wonder if his alleged trip to rehab might have pushed this release along. DAMN!

Sgt. Slaughter – This is THE most shocking release in my opinion. Slaughter has been in the WWE for at least 30 years. He’s a Hall of Famer and everything. I though he and Vince were tight.

As far as who I think should/could be released:

Hardcore Holly – Most definitely. This guy has been in rehab (allegedly) since June, that’s one reason. Also, he has more injuries that he has championship reigns (maybe if you exclude the Hardcore Title reigns). He about looks mummified when he comes to the ring. Not to mention he is too old for this stuff (to “cleanly” quote Danny Glover).

Ricky Ortiz – Why Ortiz is still around is a mystery to me, as is the reason why he was brought to ECW in the first place. WWE needs to mark him as a “failure”, release him, and move on. This guy is not going anywhere. I will predict that he will participate in the Rumble Match, but get released some time after. He might compete in a pre-WrestleMania battle royal, but he will definitely be gone by June.

Mr. Kennedy – Some of you may read this and think to yourself, “WTF?”, but I believe this one. I think he should be released, but I don’t imagine he will be anytime soon. I am a big fan of Kennedy, but I am getting less of a fan as time goes by. He’s got a good gimmick and works it well, that area is fine. My problems with Kennedy are that he does not “pop” as an in-ring performer and he seems to be very injury-prone. If WWE keeps him out of the ring and on the mic, I could change my tune. I know they are currently doing that, but I think he will return to action soon (Rumble Match, perhaps?). It’s not a basis for release, but it’s a side-note, I hate Kennedy’s goatee and his movie darn-near sucked.

Manu – A disappointment ever since he debuted. He does not have “the look”, he does not have the personality, he does not have the ability. Those three strikes are basis enough for a release. Manu looks like a smaller, less-talented Umaga. He’s embarrassing his father’s legacy (no pun intended), not letting it live on.

Sim Snuka – Call him Deuce and make him worship the ’50’s? FAIL. Call him Sim Snuka to cash in on him being the son of Jimmy Snuka? FAIL. He should have been released when Domino was, it’s that simple.

Candice – Useless and horrible-looking. Get rid of Candice, please!

Jesse – Either rebrand him and put him on RAW as another second-generation star (he is the son of Terry Gordy, in case you are uninformed) or get rid of him. He’s just there as a handler for Festus and, let’s face it, the character of Festus does not need Jesse. Festus needs a manager that looks like a manager. Someone like Ranjin Singh, perhaps.

The Great Khali – This “Punjabi Playboy” character has run its course. Get rid of the big oaf. Doesn’t he have bum knees anyways?

Let’s take a moment to discuss the new ECW Champion (and the first new champion of 2009) Jack Swagger. When I read the spoilers (not intentionally, but when WrestleZone advertised a “major title change” for ECW, that pretty much gave it away), I was kind of surprised that WWE pulled the “ECW Title” trigger on Swagger this soon. I get the feeling that Matt Hardy has reached his pain limit and needs to take some time off to recover from the injuries he is working with. Note that I did not add “allegedly” in that. That is because when I watch Matt, I can tell he is working hurt. If surgery or rest can not fix Matt, I say he needs a limited schedule or something.

I was shocked the other day to read on WWE.com that, out of the blue (no pun intended), Victoria will be retiring following a match against Michelle McCool on tonight’s SmackDown. I do not know if it is an angle or not, but Victoria is one of the better Divas that WWE has got and should really be on RAW. I guess we will see if it plays out as an angle or reality.

Speaking of retirement angles, Tommy Dreamer made the announcement on ECW that his WWE Contract expires on June 6 and that if he does not win the ECW Title before then, he will leave ECW. With this announcement, I see Dreamer taking the title. It will probably happen on the last ECW before June 6 or, possibly, at Judgment Day. If they had said June 7 or 8, then I would see him winning it at One Night Stand (which is on the 7th).

I hope Christian returns. I have made the bold prediction that Christian will debut during the WWE Title Match at the Royal Rumble. I thought that he might return in the Rumble Match, but that would underplay his return.

Speaking of returns, “The Boss” Mr. McMahon returns to RAW this Monday night. Like most fans, I have mixed feelings about this and the potential McMahon feud.

Stephanie McMahon “firing” Chris Jericho on RAW is a move I did not see coming, but I imagine he will be reinstated by Mr. McMahon this Monday, for whatever reason, and will compete in the Rumble Match.

Stone Cold Steve Austin will be inducted in the WWE Hall of Fame. That sentence right there is something that I saw coming, but I still warrant it as a huge announcement. I look forward to everything Austin will be involved in at the Induction Ceremony, and hopefully WrestleMania. I read a report stating that Hulk Hogan has made the decision that, if he and Austin would have a match, Hogan would job for Austin. That really gave me hope to see Hogan Vs. Austin. I hope it happens at this WrestleMania as it would all fit so perfectly. Saturday- Austin gets inducted into the Hall of Fame. Sunday- Austin goes to WrestleMania and competes in a dream match; one of the biggest ‘Mania matches we have seen. Monday- Austin can “close the book” on his wrestling career and leave on a high note. Not to mention that he would do all this in his homestate of Texas. I realize that WrestleMania is only a few months away, but I think the WWE could work out a final match for Austin. It would be worth whatever they have to pay Hogan for his appearance.

Speaking of Hogan, I think Hulk should be brought back, full-time, to the WWE. He is not in good wrestling shape, but he could compete on a limited basis (ala Shawn Michaels). I don’t think Hogan’s CCW will last. I would be surprised to see that show signed to another season. I believe that the best way for Hulk to get away from the personal problems he is enduring would be to enthrall himself in wrestling for the WWE (or TNA, as much as I hate to say it, but he is closer to their HQ. He would not get as much money or exposure though).

Speaking of TV shows, WWE announced a little while ago that, in April, they will bring back the show “Superstars”. I am looking forward to this show’s debut and I hope it is a wrestling show and not a recap show. Of course, airing on a Thursday would kind of rule out a recap show; unless you excluded SmackDown, which would make no sense. I find it interesting that they announced this new show shortly after TNA revealed they will be starting a new show. I also find it interesting that WWE will be airing the show at 8PM (central time) on Thursdays. It’s finally happened- WWE is going head-to-head with TNA in primetime. I have been waiting for TNA to get crushed for some time now. That makes this even more exciting :D .

Now to discuss the happenings on Monday Night RAW. A lot is going on on RAW at the moment. The big angle is the one with JBL and Shawn Michaels. I am eating this angle up. It is very unpredictable and I can even see JBL winning the title at the Rumble so that HBK would challenge him at WrestleMania! The angle has been very enjoyable and I can not wait to see where it goes.

The other big thing on RAW (for me anyways) is the feud between Regal & Punk over the Intercontinental Title. I think this feud is being well-done, even though it is a match-based feud that will, more than likely, be settled on this week’s RAW. I see Punk winning the title this Monday in his hometown of Chicago. I hate Regal as Intercontinental Champion and have for quite some time. I get the feeling that WWE wants the title on Punk and I think Punk could bring some prestige back to the title.

Now for my predictions for the Royal Rumble- Off the top, I am predicting Randy Orton to win the Royal Rumble Match. He seems to be the most likely candidate, as WWE seems to stray away from multi-time winners nowadays (there has not been a multiple winner since Austin won his third Rumble in 2001). With that logic, that eliminates (no pun intended) Triple H, Undertaker, & Rey Mysterio from winning. I think it would be a nice surprise to see Kane or Big Show win, as they have been in so many Rumbles and many of them (namely for Big Show) have seen them the last guy eliminated. For Kane, this will be his eleventh straight Rumble appearance. However, I don’t think Kane is in a place of his career where he will be considered a main event star anymore (unless it’s an Elimination Chamber Match or something). Vladimir Kozlov is my second pick to win the Rumble Match. If Christian enters (and I question whether he will or not; he may appear in the WWE Title Match and win the Rumble in the same night), he will be my number three pick.

A neat idea I thought up would be to have Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase, Manu, & Sim Snuka all in the Royal Rumble Match (Rhodes & DiBiase are already entered) and have Dusty Rhodes, Ted DiBiase (Sr.), Afa, & Jimmy Snuka come in and eliminate their sons. If I did not predict Orton to win the whole thing, I would have loved to see Bob Orton come in and eliminate Randy.

My predictions for the other three matches (let’s face it, they are not as important or as exciting as the Rumble Match itself) are- John Cena retaining against JBL (despite interference from Shawn Michaels, which is almost a guarantee, though they could have him do nothing to screw over his “employer”). Jeff Hardy retaining against Edge (I expect to see a major development in the angle between these two; with the “attack” prior to Survivor Series and the “hit-and-run” accident, I feel that the angle will take a big step and a major piece of it will be revealed. I say Christian will return and reveal that he was responsible for the attack and hit-and-run on Jeff and this will culminate in the two facing off at WrestleMania, or an even better match would put Jeff with Matt and Christian with Edge and have a “flashback” match between The Hardys and Edge & Christian.). In the Women’s Title Match that is forgot about by most, it seems, I see and hope Beth Phoenix retains. She’s the best Women’s Champion since Trish left the company and she actually has the look of a Women’s Champion, to boot. If he was not in the Rumble Match, I could see some cooky interference by Marella, but him being in the Rumble Match would be comedic. Especially if he sets a new record for quickest elimination. I think that we will also see a rematch for the ECW Title at the Royal Rumble between new champion Jack Swagger and former champion Matt Hardy. After Swagger gets the obvious win, I think Matt will either take some time off or wait until after ‘Mania to do so.

That’s it for edition #34 of the CBlog. Make sure to check out my WWE Week in Review, as well as all my other material on Wrestling101.com & TalkWrestlingOnline.com. See you after the Rumble!

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