Anticipation builds for Mania
Just two short weeks out from WrestleMania XXIX and with most of the main matches pretty well set, WWE television this past week focused upon building up some of the secondary matches, inserting stipulations for the Triple H-Brock Lesnar encounter and adding another member to the Class of 2013 Hall of Fame.
Originally, Ryback was set to be part of a six-man tag at Mania with Sheamus and Orton against the Shield, but at Raw, after squashing David Otunga, Ryback was told he was being pulled from that bout in favor of a matchup with Mark Henry at WM.
They have been giving each other the evil eye lately and doing the macho "can you top this" strong man competition stuff.
Kane and Daniel Bryan will be defending the tag team belts at WM against Big E Langston and Dolph Ziggler, who still has his Money in the Bank briefcase. Would not be surprised if Ziggler cashes in that opportunity soon.
C.M. Punk, who has not been working house shows this past week due to a reported arm injury, mocked the Undertaker by tossing the infamous urn he stole and dropping it at one point, much to the dismay of the Dead Man. Clearly, it is an attempt to personalize the match between the two for WM and create a bit more interest as nobody really thinks Punk is going to be ending the streak.
Paul Heyman came out with three questionable-looking security types to confront Triple H for the contract signing of the Mania bout with Brock Lesnar. Heyman yakked and yakked, eventually getting the goat of the Game when he suggested a stipulation for the match could be that the loser gets Stephanie. Hunter lost it and began pummeling Heyman to within an inch of his managerial life and easily handled two security guys who tried to intervene. The third guy decided to hightail it out of there when he calculated his chances after seeing his comrades squashed.
Triple H actually signed the contract on the chest of Heyman and Lesnar be-bopped out with a folding chair. HHH picked up his sledgehammer and Heyman and Lesnar retreated to the ramp where Heyman announced the stipulations for the bout at Mania as being no countouts, no disqualifications and no stoppages. There will be no holds barred and the career of Triple H is on the line. The reaction to this by the live crowd was pretty underwhelming.
Earlier, the resurrection of Dolph Ziggler continued as he won yet another match over Kofi Kingston. There was also a Rock vs. Cena preview. By the way, Rock will be appearing at the Giant Center in Hershey this Tuesday night for the Smackdown taping.
Wade Barrett retained the Intercontinental title in a three-way over Chris Jericho and the Miz. Alberto Del Rio bested Cody Rhodes with the cross-armbreaker, but was attacked by Jack Swagger. Swagger then " broke" the ankle of Del Rio's personal ring announcer, Ricardo Rodriguez, to make their bout at Mania a little more personal.
It was also announced on Raw that Booker T has gotten the call to the hall. Though he isn't officially retired, he is going in this year with what could arguably be called the greatest class ever. Bruno, Backlund, Foley, Stratus and Booker T will be inducted, as well as Donald Trump for the celebrity wing. Each wrestler was a world champion and Sammartino and Backlund were the top two longest reigning champs in company history.
On a sad note, former wrestler and manager Don Gatson, who worked as Don Carson in the wrestling business, passed away recently at the age of 77. Veteran wrestling fans would remember him from his days in California feuding with Fred Blassie, and in Florida where he wrestled and managed. He was also a big star in the Gulf Coast region during his couple of decades on the pro circuit.