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Make The WrestleMania Battle Royal Great Again



Cesaro Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal

When the WWE announced the first-ever edition of the ‘Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal’ at Wrestlemania, fans were ecstatic. We not only got to honour the best big-man in the history of professional wrestling, but at the same time use his name and this slightly innovative concept to elevate stars of the future.

This concept and it’s potential however, didn’t last all that long despite the initial excitement.

What was presented to us is simple, the winner of the match is the last man standing in the ring and he who survives receives the honorary trophy of this larger than life individual to carry forward onto the next WrestleMania. A trophy is generally a symbol of achieving something grand, something larger than life and it should reflect on the talent who accomplish this feat, but it seems like this is where the ball has been dropped.

WWE’s concept here was simple, and something anyone could get on-board with, but their biggest flaw has been failing to maintain the importance and relevancy of such a match. These failures stem from both the concept itself, as well as external storyline factors following the match itself from the respective winners.

I’ve recently been thinking on how this concept is far from the death we think it is, and that with a few minor tweaks & suggestions, the WWE can revive this match and make it something that it once meant to be almost 5 years ago.

Pick A Star And Stick With Them!

WrestleMania Battle Royal Star

It would be cruel to suggest that the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal hasn’t given WWE’s newer talents time in the spotlight, when it fact for the most part have done just that. Guys like Cesaro, Mojo Rawley & Baron Corbin not only all started their careers down in NXT and have successfully won the Battle Royal, but what exactly has followed to maintain that brief burst of momentum during their respective victories?

Cesaro getting his monumental victory lead to a partnership with Paul Heyman that seemed loaded with potential, which ultimately failed due to the obvious lack of chemistry and direction the two had going for them. Baron Corbin won the match on his first night as part of the main roster, but was sent into months of random, obscure booking to follow. Even Mojo Rawley got a surprising victory at last year’s Wrestlemania but has done next to nothing of note almost 365 days removed from the big win.

If WWE are going to pick a future star to have their hand raised during this match; and they should, it not only needs to be someone with that ‘star’ potential, but needs to have a clear direction for their respective career to go in. One of the main reasons nobody cares for this match, is because of the lack of payoff. It’s almost useless for fans to get invested in a star when their directions either take them nowhere from the get-go, or ends up in them slipping right back down to the position on the card they started in.

Bring Out The Part-Timers

WrestleMania Battle Royal Part-Timers

A lot of the modern-day wrestling fanbase has attached a negative stigma to the use of ‘part-timers’ in the wrestling business, claiming they either overstay their welcome or hold a spot that should be used for a current, more relevant star. I personally struggle to disagree with that stance. But by no means does it mean these faces of the past can’t use their names and past to elevate certain circumstances.
With the Battle Royal itself serving as a call-back to one of the (literally) biggest names in the history of the business, bring in some more familiar names would do no harm to the situation. Not only do past names attract nostalgic fans who get to see familiar names from their wrestling pasts but can be a big bonus to the importance of this match. Matches like the Royal Rumble are widely known for their recruitment of some familiar faces, so why not do the same here?

The 2016 edition of the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal featured an appearance from Tatanka, a name that may not be on the level of The Undertaker or Triple H but is certainly one who stands out to a portion of the fanbase. His appearance occurred completely unadvertised, without a care in the world and even managed to stun the announcers at ringside.

Not every legend needs to look as strong as they did in their prime, but I feel using these names, in relevant quantities, could really give this match the life that it so desperately requires.

Keep The Battle Royal Far Away From The Kickoff

WrestleMania Battle Royal Kickoff

The general stance amongst Wrestlemania and its pre-show, is that its great for any name to even be on it since they get to be a part of the biggest show of the year. But do we really see the Pre-Show in the same light of the usually stacked main card?
The answer is simple; no.

Despite the pre-show sometimes featuring a plethora of great talent and matches (Wrestlemania XXX is a great example), the vast majority of wrestling fans wait to drool over the actual 4 to 5-hour spectacle that commences following it. In no way is this meant to diminish the talent on this section of the card, but it’s obvious that most of us contain our excitement for whatever main attractions are on offer later on in the show.

Wrestlemania XXX hosted the inaugural edition of this match, placing it right in the middle of the shows main card, and as a result it felt completely relevant in that moment. We had no celebrity guests or past legends, just an opportunity that was built as it was meant to be perceived, as a part of history. A match like this is all about placement, what other addition follow only add to the concept, but before even contemplating making this match matter again, you need to make sure it’s in a position to matter amongst your audience first.

Raise The Stakes

WrestleMania Battle Royal Stakes

One of the easiest ways of adding importance to any match you place on a card, is providing stakes. Matches without stakes aren’t always meaningless of course, many serve as the progression of an existing storyline or arch, while others serve to close the chapter on an extended storyline. The issue with battle royals is their constant cramming of multiple arch’s and stories into one overly-crowded ring, and as a result we can’t expect one single storyline to always be the focal point of the action.

This is where my idea comes into play; have the winner receive a World Championship Match of his choosing either on the following edition of RAW or Smackdown (potentially based on the brand), potentially even at one of the following Network specials on offer. Providing a shot at the biggest prize in the business on the line is a simple, and easy way of making the audience care about the outcome.
An opportunity like this could be used to give an underdog competitor a shot we would never imagine them getting, or even push your next biggest star right up into the main event picture for the world to see. While the concept may sound like a slight ‘spoof’ on the existing idea of Money in The Bank, it would give the match and the winner itself far more meaning beyond a trophy that is rarely referred to after this match ends every year.

Giving this match the platform of honouring one of the business’ biggest names is a great move, and something I actually applaud the WWE for. But how great would it be to attach something currently relevant to the name of Andre The Giant, the ultimate symbol of ‘passing the torch’ onto the next big item in professional wrestling.

All these ideas are my own personal opinions, but I am almost certain think they could revive a concept that is currently struggling to find its footing on the WrestleMania hype-train. If WWE are going to use a legends name to promote the future of their product, then they should do it right.

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NXT Minus 6: Let’s Make History!

Bradley Jay makes history in this week’s edition of the NXT Minus 6. What kind of history is he making? Well, that’s for you to read and see!



WWE NXT Undisputed Era Breezango

Bradley Jay makes history in this week’s edition of the NXT Minus 6. What kind of history is he making? Well, that’s for you to read and see!

This will be the most historic column in the history of history!

Less than half of Americans know that alcohol is a carcinogen. Big Booze wants to keep it that way.

6. Did you notice how many people want to make history? It’s all anybody talked about this week. I turned it into a drinking game. Every time someone said they wanted to make history, I took a shot. After 10 minutes, I died from alcohol poisoning. So much history.

NXT's Shotzi Blackheart Reveals Ember Moon as Women's Dusty Classic Partner

5. Shotzi Blackheart will make history as the first person with green hair to win a Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic tournament. Kayden Carter & Kacy Catanzaro will become the first tag team in history to win a DRTTC whose collective weight would qualify for 205 Live. Ember Moon will make history as the first person to leave NXT, return and win a tournament that didn’t exist the first time she was there. BTW, the tag team I want to see is Kayden Carter & Ember Moon.  

MSK Revealed After Debut on Tonight's WWE NXT

4. Johnny Gargano and Austin Theory will make history as the first mentor/mentee team to win the DRTTC. KUSHIDA will make history as the first wrestler to win in all caps! MSK will make history as having the most God-awful name of any team to win. Unless it’s a shout out to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, then the name is doo doo on a stick.

Killian Dain | WWE3. Grizzled Young Veterans are sssssooooooon to make history as the first team to lose in the finals and win it the next year. Killian Dain by himself will be the hairiest team ever to win the DRTTC. Bollywood Boyz will make history as the first…I can’t finish that sentence. Those gomers aren’t winning Jack Squat. 

WWE NXT Releases the 2021 Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic Bracket

2. Overall, it was a good start to the tournament. Every match was 3.5 stars. Nothing memorable, nothing horrible. Breezango versus Undisputed Era was the best of the bunch. It would have been better without the horribly overbooked end. I’m not sure the point of it all if Breezango couldn’t use it to pick up a victory.   

Video: Wade Barrett sits down with Tommaso Ciampa and Timothy Thatcher before NXT Fight Pit on WWE NXT - Wrestling Inc.

1. “You look like a man who is questioning if he’s still got it.” It was a filler line, but that’s the story! I’m slightly excited for Tommaso Ciampa versus Timothy Thatcher, primarily because of the Fight Pit. Right now, it’s two tough guys wanting to beat each other up. I want to see Ciampa fighting to prove he’s still got it. I want to see Thatcher fighting to crush the soul of the locker room leader. That’s the story.  

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Cook: Breaking Down The 2021 NFL Divisional Round

Steve Cook breaks down the NFL Divisional Round Playoffs, getting you ready for one of the best football weekends of the year!



NFL Divisional Round Playoffs Aaron Rodgers Green Bay Packers

Steve Cook breaks down the NFL Divisional Round Playoffs, getting you ready for one of the best football weekends of the year!

Many experts say that the Divisional Round is the best weekend of the NFL season, and I agree with them. The Wild Card Weekend gets rid of all the riff-raff, and we’re left with teams that deserve to be there. A bitter pill to swallow for me as a Cincinnati Bengals fan whose team can never win one playoff game when they get there, due to the Bo Jackson Curse. I still have to swallow it because it is what it is. The cream rises to the top, and any team that manages to win one playoff game has earned their position on the stage.

I know everybody out there is wondering who will win these games. Fortunately, I’m here to break it down for you, and let you know what’s going to happen. After all, I did win 3 out of the 3 fantasy leagues I was in this season. Just saying, I know what these folks are capable of statistically. Ask anybody here on The Chairshot. I broke them all down and made them humble at some point during the fantasy season. Laid waste to all these folks, who all are intelligent in their own right. No disrespect to anybody I was up against. Their arms were just too short to box with God.

Saturday, 4:35 PM: LA Rams at Green Bay Packers

You know it’s a stacked weekend of action when this is the curtain-jerker. We got the best defense in the NFL going against Aaron Rodgers, on the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Where there will be 6,000 ticketed fans, along with first responders. Not enough to make a difference like a typical Packers home game.

As good as that Rams defense is, you don’t like them nearly as much when Aaron Donald is off the field. Donald says he’s ready to do, so does Jared Goff, so the Rams are heading into Green Bay with all hands on deck. I went with the Rams at +6.5, largely because they’re looking as healthy as possible heading into this one, and you have to be impressed with what they did in Seattle. That being said, the Packers represent much stiffer competition. And I don’t care if Aaron Rodgers has only won one Super Bowl, I’m still picking his team to win in Green Bay. They don’t have to leave Wisconsin until the Super Bowl, though they might want to leave before then.

Yeah, I know. Kentucky guy talking state smack.

Cook’s Pick: Green Bay Packers

Saturday, 8:15 PM: Baltimore Ravens at Buffalo Bills

Lamar Jackson finally got that monkey off of his back and won a playoff game. I was in a tough spot seeing Lamar compared to Andy Dalton, a perfectly competent Bengals QB that couldn’t win a postseason game. This is the closest line right now, because Vegas and everybody knows this: Once you let Lamar Jackson out of his cage, he’ll pile the bodies to the sky. One of the most fun athletes to watch of my, or anybody else’s, lifetime. I mean, if you don’t like Lamar, what do you like?

I’m a big fan of the Bills’ story, and I’d like for them to go a long way. Josh Allen is a talented SOB and fun to watch. I’m not sure he’s as fun as Lamar Jackson, but then I’ve seen many more Lamar Jackson games. This will be a big game for the future of both men, and might not be the last time we see them face off in the playoffs. I picked Baltimore at +2.5 largely because of my Lamar Jackson fandom, and the fact that the Ravens are just one of those franchises that excel in the playoffs. You always see them making a deep run. Buffalo? Well, they had four pretty deep runs, and you don’t mention any of those in Buffalo if you want to get out alive.

Cook’s Pick: Baltimore Ravens

Sunday, 3:05 PM: Cleveland Browns at Kansas City Chiefs

One of those games that will be closer than it should be for most of the game. Imagine the Browns going into an overly loud Arrowhead Stadium against Patrick Mahomes. It would be ugly. The fact that this stadium won’t be crowded as usual kind of gives Cleveland a chance. The spread is -10. I’d typically take Cleveland on those odds in this environment. Except…man, that offense is pretty awesome and I bet KC wants to put on a show. Pittsburgh couldn’t do it because they’re awful, but Kansas City definitely can.

Browns fans are hoping that the Chiefs overlook them, and the team itself is trying to use Chiefs quotes as bulletin board material, but I just don’t see Kansas City overlooking these guys. The “NOBODY RESPECTS US!” motivational tactic is as old as time and more often than not is based off of nothing. Listen, if you’ve made it to this point of the NFL season, there is somebody out there that respects you. This is the best Browns team since the days of Bernie Kosar. Just don’t ask Cleveland fans of a certain age what happened when they played an AFC West team in the playoffs. Still a touchy subject.

I’m kind of hoping the Browns go away for one simple reason: It’s awkward being a Bengals fan and seeing everybody in love with these guys. Not to be “NOBODY RESPECTS US!” guy, but I sure don’t remember the Bengals getting the same type of good vibes from the people when they were good. What’s up with that?

Cook’s Pick: Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday, 6:40 PM: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

We got Tom Brady & Drew Brees up past their bedtime. Nah, we need to get past the old people jokes, as honestly I’m pretty happy to see a game with two quarterbacks older than me playing in it. Makes me feel not quite as old. They still got skill too, both men were in the top 10 QBR rankings for the 2020 regular season. I’m pretty sure QBR gives Brady & Brees 50 points just based off of being Brady & Brees, but they still had impressive seasons. We’re talking about their buddy Ben Roethlisberger possibly retiring, but nobody’s really talking about either of these guys doing it. Unless they just want to go out on top, which with Brees is definitely a possibility.

The Saints won the first two meetings, and we all know the old saying about teams that meet three times. We also know that it’s dang near impossible to beat a Tom Brady-quarterbacked team in the postseason. Dude’s won more postseason games than some teams have won games over the past twenty years. OK, a little exaggeration, but would you be surprised if it’s true? Betting against Tom Brady in the postseason is like betting against Undertaker at WrestleMania. You just don’t do it.

Unless it’s in New Orleans.

Wrestling Fans

See what I did there? I like the Saints because I like their skill position players better. Alvin Kamara looks good and recovered from the rona. Michael Thomas is back in the mix, which can only be a good thing for the Saints’ passing game. They also have a slightly better defense, and we all know that as much as we talk about the shiny quarterbacks, defense wins championships. Saints in a barn burner to end the weekend on a good note.

Cook’s Pick: New Orleans Saints

Thanks for reading! Fun to do the ol’ sports again, maybe I’ll do more of it in the future…

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