Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Five Questions With...Zach Gowen

Slightly early this week because of travel to TNA's taping Glasgow, but it's time for #FiveQuestionsWith. This time around we speak to former WWE and TNA wrestler Zach Gowen!

Ring Name(s): Zach Gowen/Tenacious Z
Age: 30
Hometown: Livonia, Michigan, USA.
Height: 6' 1''
Weight: 11 stone 13 lbs
Promotions Competed For: Juggalo Championship Wrestling, AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined, Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling, Independent Wrestling Revolution, All Japan Pro Wrestling, IWA Mid-South, World Wrestling Entertainment, National Wrestling Alliance, Collective League of Adrenaline Strength and Honor, Insane Wrestling Federation, amongst others.

Championships and Accomplishments: MAW Tag Team Champion (with Silas Young), CURRENT CLASH Tag Team Champion (with Greg Iron), 2 Time and CURRENT PRIME Tag Team Champion (with Greg Iron), CAPW Junior Heavyweight Champion, AAW Tag Team Champion (with Krotch), IWR King of the Indies Champion, IWR Tag Team Champion (with Kamikaze), 3XW Heavyweight Champion, XICW Light Heavyweight Champion.

1. How did you get into wrestling and what was it that drew you to the sport?

I used wrestling as a much needed escape from a not so great childhood.  The pain of my dad taking off at 4 years old, the pain of losing my leg to cancer at 8, the pain of never really feeling like I fit in anywhere....all of that disappeared when I got lost in the wonderful world of wrestling.

2. How did your disability effect your approach to wrestling and how do your opponents differ their approach when putting together a match with you for the first time?

A lot of people ask me, "Is it hard to wrestle with only 1 leg?".  Here's the thing:  I've never wrestled with 2 legs so I don't know how much harder it is on 1 leg.  Hell, it might even be easier!  I do know I'm very blessed and a lot of the planets had to align for me to do what I do in terms of my athleticism, balance, body type, etc.  I feel like guys might get nervous wrestling me for the first time simply because it's something brand new for them and out of the ordinary.  It's human nature for fear to develop there.  But that goes away every time within the first minute of a match.  I take great pride in my work and my ability to work with anyone in the industry.

3. During your 2003-04 run in WWE, you worked with some of the biggest names in the Industry over a relatively short period of time, what did that feel like at the time and how do you think that molded you into the performer you are today? 

It was an amazing, surreal experience.  I wasn't equipped mentally or emotionally or spiritually to appreciate and receive that gift at the time.  It's taken a number of years in growth and maturity to truly appreciate what was handed to me.  But I also think that run hindered me in some aspects.  Fans and promoters alike have this perception or idea of what kind of performer I am based off of what I did on TV over 10 years ago as a kid.  I feel like I've grown immensely as a performer and have matured to an appropriate level to handle the responsibility that my story brings to the table.  I'm grateful for all of the opportunities to share that, this interview included.  

4. What are you top three matches of all time and why?

Top Three Matches of All Time??  This may be a weird list because I have certain emotional attachments to them but I think that's where the magic of pro wrestling lives... in it's ability to make you feel a certain way.

i. Ric Flair vs Lex Luger Great American Bash '88.  Flair at his best, Luger at his best, Jim Ross at his best....wish the finish came out a little better but I can't even be mad about it because the rest was so good.

ii.  Rey Mysterio vs Sabu One Night Stand '05 was it?  Sabu and Rey are my wrestling idols so it was a dream match for me.  And I knew how much it meant to Rey.  When they told Rey he was wrestling Sabu, he broke down in tears because he was so happy.  So to see these 2 guys tear it up the way they did brought a huge smile to my face.

iii. Necro Butcher vs Samoa Joe ECW Arena 2005 IWA Mid-South.  That match is just surreal, everything from the action to the atmosphere to the commentary.... that was a moment.  Wrestling is all about creating these moments.  That was special.

5. Where can our readers catch you in action next and will you be making your way "across the pond" anytime soon?

Not sure when this will come out but there's a ton of exciting projects in the very near future.  I have a DVD documenting my story coming out before Wrestlemania, I feel like it's going to be special.  We were talking about moments in wrestling and what kind of emotional, positive impact they can have on an individual. A 16 year old kid afflicted with Cerebral Palsy saw me on TV and was inspired to follow his dreams of becoming a professional wrestler.  10 years later, Gregory Iron is not only one of the best wrestlers in the world but I'm proud to call him my tag team partner.  As "The Handicapped Heroes", we had an amazing 2013 but 2014 looks even better with some of the opportunities lined up in and outside of the ring.  And I have Greg to thank for re-igniting my passion and love of wrestling.  As far as getting to the UK, it would be monumental.  I've never wrestled there.  I think my biggest strength is my ability as a live performer and if you put me in front of an audience that has never seen me live, the possibility of creating some magic is there.  I met Mark Andrews and Pete Dunne over the summer while they were touring in the States.  Incredibly talented guys and it's inspiring to see them put in the work that's necessary if you want to make a career out of this.  I'd love to come across the pond and hook up with those guys again, lots of positive vibes.


www.zachgowen.com (coming real soon)


We'd like to thank Zach Gowen for taking the time to give us this interview, it was a real pleasure to speak to him

Saturday, 25 January 2014

TNA Impact Wrestling's Christopher Daniels Interview

On 23rd January 2014, I had the opportunity to speak to TNA Impact Wrestler, Christopher Daniels, about the Upcoming TNA UK Tour, as well as the recent departures and arrivals in TNA, among things. What follows bellow is about half of that interview in written form, unfortunately my recording equipment broke about twenty minutes into the interview, for which I can only apology to both you, the reader, as well as Christopher Daniels himself.

So grab an appletini and settle down for a chat with one of the most entertaining wrestler on our TV Screen today! 

Across The Pond: Hi, I'm James Marston. How're you?

Christopher Daniels: Hi, I'm Christopher Daniels, I fall down for a living. I'm good, how're you?

ATP: Good, yeah I'm good. Now, our first question, which we ask to every single person that we interview is....How did you get into professional wrestling and what was it that drew you to the sport?

CD: Well, I grew up in North Carolina, where the Mid-Atlantic terrotories were big and I watched guys like Ric Flair, Dusty Rhodes and Magnum T.A and the Road Warriors and I just got into it as a kid and I feel like the guys that...the wrestlers that love wrestling like I do are usually guys that get attached as kids. It's very rare that you grow into pro wrestling, get introduced to it as an adult and have the same feelings, the same love for it, like I did. You know, I grew up watching it, I really enjoyed it and once I graduated college and I was out in the real world, trying to get a job in the acting capacity...there was a period of time when my career wasn't going so well and my wife found a school, so I told her if this acting thing doesn't work out, I could be a pro wrestler HA HA HA! She found a school, she made an appointment for me, I went in and spoke to the gentlemen that owned it, it was Windy City Pro Wrestling, the guys name was Sam Decero, who wrestle as one of the Maxx Brothers in the AWA and I decided to give it a shot. Just to say that I did it, I figured if I failed, if I washed out of the school, I could at least tell my kids one day, hey man, your Dad tried to be a professional wrestler. But I think because I grew up watching it that the physical aspects of wrestling came really easy to me, I went through my training in three months. I started wrestling three months after I started and that's where I started to learn everything, was on the road, that's where you learn about professional wrestling, was wrestling in front of a crowd and you know, against different wrestlers. 

ATP: Now, the big TNA UK tour is coming up, next week, I believe it's Wednesday in Dublin?

CD: Yeah, it's the 29th, I think that's a Wednesday, yeah.

ATP: Then it's onto Glasgow (30th), Manchester (31st), London (1st Feb) and Birmingham (2nd). Is that something that you look forward to? 

CD: Absolutely, we all look forward to it. It's usually some of the best crowds that we wrestle in front of, you know because we only do it once a year. It's become sort of a tradition, and something to look forward to, not just for the UK fans, but the guys. You know, we've had very succesful tours in the past, specifically last year, we had a great experience taping television over there. I think we've increased the amount of television, we're going to be taping over there, also one of the shows is going to be a pay-per-view taping, a One Night Only taping. The first time that we're ever taping television in the Hydro building in Glasgow, Scotland. There's a tonne of stuff happening on this tour, that it's gonna be a great tour for all. 

ATP: I have to say I'm very impressed that you've pronounce Glasgow correctly, we've seen plenty of TNA's roster misprounce that one, it's became a bit of running joke amongst the fans over here.

CD: You know, the Christopher Daniels museum is actually in Glasgow, Scotland, so I have a special affinity to GlasGOW. 

ATP: Would that be your favourite city over here to perform in? Do you have a favourite city?

CD: I really don't. I don't have a special favourite. I mean, last year, we had a great outing in Dublin. I feel like London's always a big deal, especially when we go to the O2. I know Manchester's going to be great this year. I really don't have a specific favourite. I had the oppurtunity not to just wrestle for TNA over there, but for a lot of the independents over there. One of my favourite matches that I ever had was in the Coventry Skydome against AJ Styles (Editors note: International Showdown on 19th March 2005) just after I won my first X-Division title. I've had a very good experience every time I've gone over to the UK and Great Britain specifically.

ATP: I have to say, with some bias, that crowds over here are some of the best in the word. Especially, with you guys only being over here once a year, the crowd seems receptive to what you've got to show, which you don't see all the time over in the US, because they seem to get....I don't want to say lethargic with the product but...

CD: Well, just comfortable with the product. There's a lot more access to the product over here, obviously, so lethargic isn't the right word.....I guess content would be a better word. They're content with it. Th ey're not really hungry for more product. They've got all the product they can handle. I know the UK wrestling scene, back in the day, they had their own product, with World of Sport, things like that and there's not really, apart from independents...I hope I'm not speaking out of turn, apart from independents they don't really have their own national scene anymore. So they've take to WWE and TNA, as their form of wrestling entertainment, that most of the country sees. Especially TNA with their ratings as good as they are, I feel like they've taken to our product rather well and this is our opportunity to get over their an take advantage of their appreciation of our product.

ATP: Certainly, and speaking of the UK Independent scene, former TNA employee AJ Styles is over here on February 28th and March 1st, wrestling for PCW – Preston City Wrestling, so I'd like to talk about the recent departures from TNA. We've seen Hulk Hogan moved on, apparently so, AJ's moved on, it's a possibililty that Sting could be moving on. I was just wondering what you're opinions were on those people moving on, potentially, elsewhere, and whether you could see them back in TNA at some point?

CD: Well, of all those people that you mentioned, I don't think anyone left on terms where they wouldn't come back. It would just depend on whether that's for him and whether that's for the company. I was really surprised that AJ Styles left, but at the same time, I feel like AJ came to a point in his career where he wanted to branch out and see how he could do in his own. So I feel like the next couple of months are going to be very important in his career and I wish him good luck. Whether or not Sting stays with the company depends a lot on what happens tonight on Impact against Magnus. We'll see how that goes, so stay tuned. I don't know when it comes on over there so I can't give you a good advertisement for Impact over there.

ATP: It'll be on Sunday night on Challenge TV.

CD: There you go. It'll be on Challenge, Sunday Night at whatever time, folks. I feel like wrestling as a business, it's sort of fluid, people come and go from companies. I, myself was fired a couple of years ago from TNA, I was re-hired. The company is always trying to take, the best talent that they can and make a cohesive lockeroom out of it. If AJ leaving, if Sting leaving, if Jeff Hardy or Hulk Hogan leaving, if those guys leaving gives opportunities to other people, then so be it. If they get a chance to comeback that's also great, I mean it's just a matter of timing and circumstances in a lot of those instances.

ATP: Of course, I ask our Twitter followers and those on Facebook, and I'm not sure if this is 100% true, but a lot of people have being saying to me, that you're contract is up in April...now you don't have to answer this, but is that true? Will you be re-signing? What's the deal there? 

CD: All I can tell you at this point is that my contract does end in April. Whether or not I resign depends a lot on the company, I have no plans on seeking employment elsewhere. So we'll just have to see when that date comes around, man. A lot could happen between now and then, but at this moment I'm very happy with what I'm doing in TNA. I'm very happy wrestling with Frankie Kazarian as my tag team partner, I feel like we've barely even scraped the surface as far as the potential for Bad Influence as a tag team. I don't have plan to break away or cut this out.

ATP: Personally, I'd hope that you'll be sticking around with TNA. For me, you're one of the most entertaining aspects of the product, you and Frankie as Bad Influence, with blowing smoke up your...whatever.

CD: No, blow smoke, go ahead.

ATP: For me, you take what's given to you and make it entertaining, whether it was originally entertaining or not. Especially, on the One Night Only PPV's, where without naming names, some of the guys seem to phone some of the stuff in, you bring something extra to those shows. As well as the Impact 365 stuff. Do you see all this as an opportunity to build your character? 

CD: In terms of the Impact 365, we just wanted to do stuff that would be entertaining. It would have been very easy for us to take photos, or videos, of us just working out, walking down the street or walking our dogs. I only wanted to post on the 365 site, if I was inspired to do something that was clever, something that was entertaining, something that was going to catch the fans eyes, something that was going to make a fan sit up and take notice. That's how I feel about all social media, Twitter, Facebook. I don't want to just say “Had a hamburger!” That's random, that's mundane nonsense. I want to entertain my fans, the people that follow me, that fans that have supported me and I want to make them happy about the fact that their paying attention to what I'm doing. So, when it comes to the Impact 365, we haven't been posting videos each and every day, but I feel like the videos that we have posted have been quality, they've been the things that a lot of fans have talked about, that a lot of fans have voiced their approval for. That's how we're going to continue to do it. As far as the One Night Only's we looked at those, we look at every opportunity we get on the television, to have people talking about Bad Influence at the end of the night. We understand that Impact is a two hour show every week, these One Night Only are three hour PPV's and in that opportunity you get to see a lot of the roster, we want to make sure that Bad Influence stands head and shoulders above anyone else. At the end of the day, you're talking about what Bad Influence did, whether it's our matches, our promos, 365 videos, whatever, we want people talking about us. We want people checking the channels and making sure that they see us each and every week.

ATP: The American Wolves have recently turned up in TNA. What's your opinion on that signing? Will we be seeing the American Wolves against Bad Influence? And is there any other independent talents you'd like to see turn up in TNA?

CD:  Well, I think it's inevitable that the Wolves and Bad Influence are going to tangle. You've basically described 2/3 of the entire tag team division in TNA, when you say that. I have nothing but respect for Davey Richards, for Eddie Edwards. The year that I spent in Ring of Honor in 2010/11, some of my best matches were with those guys. I look forward to wrestling them in a TNA wrestling ring, I know Frankie feels the same way. Truth be told, and I've said this on Twitter and I'll say this until someone sets me on fire and shuts my mouth, whether or not we have the World titles around our waste, Bad Influence is the best tag team, not only in TNA, but in the wrestling business right now. We want to go out there and prove that to the world, and we'll wrestle Davey and Eddie. I'd extend that invitiation to other tag teams, Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows, the IWGP Tag Team Champions, The Youngbucks, IWGP Junior Tag Team Champions, Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly, the Ring of Honor Tag Team Champions and show the world that we are the best in the world. Davey and Eddie have come to TNA, you're going to see that match sooner rather than later I'm sure. Also, Robbie and Jessie, the current TNA Tag Team Champions, we haven't actually had an opportunity to challenge for those titles since they got the belts. At some point or another, that matters going to be addressed, maybe on the UK tour, who knows?

ATP: Now, you have a theatre degree (ATP's followers may or may not know that I myself am studying for a similar degree!), I was wondering how the time spent on the degree helped you in the wrestling ring?

CD: Well, it definitely made me comfortable to be in front of people, acting on a stage or wrestling in a wrestling ring, you're still basically playing to a crowd. So being a theatre person, being someone who has trod the boards so to speak, it made me very aware of playing to the back row and that's something that I learned wrestling in a wrestling ring, is that you're presenting a story to a large amount of people. Very simply, wrestling is basically theatre in the round. So you have to be aware of everybody, not just people in the back row, people in the back row. So it made me very aware to be big in my presentation, to try and engage the entire audience. Sometime wrestlers pretend that there's four walls around the wrestling ring and concentrate just on the match itself, rather than broadcasting that match to the fans that have come to pay tickets to see these matches! So, sometimes they're concentrating only their moves, I'm more aware of trying to tell my story and have that story understood by the greatest amount of people. Sometimes, whether you're doing live events where there are no cameras, so you're basically playing to those people. Or when you are doing television, the television represents the largest audience, so you play to the camera, I understood that from my theatre background.


Annnnnnnnd, that's where my audio cuts out. I can assure you and I think Mr. Daniels would back me up on this that the rest of our chat was incredibly entertaining, so I can only apologise once again that the equipment failed on me. If you would like a copy of the audio from this interview either e-mail me at acrossthepondwrestling@hotmail.com or get in touch via Twitter @ATPWrestling and I'll send you the file! 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Five Questions With...Attitude Era Wrestling Review's Lewis Ogden

After last week's interview with OSWtv's Billy Strachan, it's time to step back in time with Lewis Ogden of the Attitude Era Wrestling Review!

Name: Lewis Ogden
Age: 20
Hometown: Southport, Sefton, England
Known for: Creator, host and editor of the Attitude Era Wrestling (AEW Review) video podcast

1. When did you first get into wrestling and what drew you to the sport?

 I can remember certain vivid bits of Austin and McMahon in '99, always watching WCW on a Friday night on Channel 5 when I was 6 years old and The Rock as WWF Champion in mid 2000 is probably when I first became really interested. My brother had loads of wrestling mates while he was at school, and a couple of them always used to tape the PPV's and we'd get a copy sometime during the week. Two that stick out were No Way Out 2001, with the epic 3 stages of hell between Austin and HHH, and the Invasion PPV, WCW + ECW vs WWF, that was awesome!!

I've always been a stickler for a match telling a story, as if its real (its real to me dammit!!), and i still to this day take into account when people find out that i watch pro wrestling and they tell me its fake, its one of those situations where i would love to take the same person, stick them in a wrestling ring, and make them do an hour of running the ropes and taking bumps. Then asking them straight after if they still think wrestling is fake. Athletic ability is a major thing i look for from pro wrestlers. Its the reason why Daniel Bryan and CM Punk and The Shield are the best things going right now.

Another stickler for me when it comes to wrestling comes in one word; gimmicks! There's a reason why people like The Rock, Stone Cold, The Undertaker, CM Punk, The Wyatt Family and many more have become so successful, they ENTERTAIN us on a regular basis.

2. Tell us a little about Attitude Era Wrestling Review and how that all came about?

I used to tell my wrestling mates at school that I'd make a wrestling podcast, its just one of those things that was put off and put off for years. Then after discovering OSW Review around November 2012, it gave me the inspiration to get another podcast going to entertain the millions (AND MILLIONS) of fans. So with Silvervision closing down, I made like hell and bought stacks of Tagged Classics and got my analysis head on.

For the first 8 episodes it was just myself on my lonesome, but I truly believe episode 9 has upped the quality of the show for 2 big reasons: a) I got my longtime wrestling freak, and WCW wizard, Hamish to join me on the show and b) we transitioned into a video podcast, as I felt it would process into a better show.
Most inspiration and props go to Jay Hunter of OSW Review. Our show is along a similar basis to OSW but we try to tinker to make it unique in its own way;

I try my hand at taking on classic promos and doing my own impersonation of it (think I knocked it out of the park with The Honky Tonk Man and have 2 from Jake 'The Snake' Roberts on the next couple of shows)
And we have the big rip off of What Bar Is He? with our own segment, that will be officially debut on our next episode, that's along the same line. However with me working in the local Tesco supermarket 30 hours a week, I try to incorporate products that I notice around the store, hence the name What Supermarket Product Is He?

3. If you could transplant one current superstar into the Attitude Era, who would it be and why?

Oooooo thats a tuffy! I suppose what's really lacking from todays WWE is the mid card championships having any depth and story to it, thus losing its importance. If they're had to be anyone to electrify this section of WWE (no pun intended) I'd have to take Val Venis. Everything about him, his ring ability, his mic work, his image and gimmick are all awesome. Plus wouldn't you pay money to see AJ Lee incorporated into a Preachers Wife type of setup?!

4. What are your top three matches of all time and why?

Again another tough one, there's so many that could go into these 3 slots but I'll give it a go:

1. Undertaker vs Shawn Michaels WrestleMania 25

Without a doubt, THE greatest match I've ever seen. The story, the in ring work, the nasty bumps that both Shawn (botched moonsault) and Taker (head first suicide dive) took, the false kick outs, the commentary, the crowd reactions. It just all equalled into a perfect match and solidified these 2 men into wrestling history.

2. Stone Cold vs The Rock Wrestlemania 17

I consider this the best main event in WrestleMania history (that or the triple threat at 'Mania 20 which was great). The No DQ stipulation added to a boiling feuded match, capped off by the promo package with Limp Biscuits My Way incorporated, greatest promo that WWF/E has ever done. Apart from the finish and the nose dive that was the Austin heel run, this was awesome.

3. The Hardy Boyz vs The Dudley Boyz vs Edge and Christian Triangle Ladder Match WrestleMania 2000

One of the greatest ladder matches and the match which propelled these 3 great teams and 3 eventual single careers in Edge, Jeff Hardy and Bully Ray. Considering also that for all these men it was their Mania debut and they hadn't been on that many PPV's at this point, the spots and chorography in this match was completely off the chain. Incorporating tables into it as well gave The Dudleys that extra arsenal to their gimmick, amazing match.

Just missing out in particular are: AJ Styles vs Chris Daniels vs Samoa Joe Unbreakable 2005 (best TNA match of all time), Jeff Hardy vs Rob Van Dam Invasion 2001 (first match that had me on the edge of my seat) and Stone Cold vs Dude Love Over The Edge 1998 (best finish to a match ever)

5. Where can our readers find your work and what have you got coming up?

We're currently in the middle of getting episode 10 sorted, we'll also be starting stuff on YouTube as well (blogs, Q&A's, video diaries, stuff like that) all links to do with AEW Review can be clicked upon below. Massive thanks to James Marston of Across The Pond Wrestling for the opportunity to appear on this great interview platform, much appreciated!

Twitter: @AEWReview
Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/AEWReview?v=timeline&filter=1&__user=1732732940#!/AEWReview?v=feed&__user=1732732940
Video versions of the show: https://vimeo.com/m/user20774086
Audio versions: www.soundcloud.com/aew-review


Thanks to Lewis for giving this interview, go and check out AEW Review NOW!

Next week: Former WWE Wrestler, Zach Gowen!

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

WWE SummerSlam 2013 DVD Review

WWE SummerSlam is out on DVD and Blu-Ray now, available from www.wwedvd.co.uk, priced £12.99 on DVD and £13.99 on Blu-Ray. Broadcast live on Pay-per-View from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, on the show is main evented by John Cena defending his WWE Championship against Daniel Bryan, alongside Brock Lesnar's clash with CM Punk and a World Heavyweight Championship encounter between Alberto Del Rio and Christian, as well as five other bouts. The commentary is provided by John Bradshaw Layfield, Michael Cole and Jerry Lawler.

Content Listing

Ring of Fire Match
Bray Wyatt (with The Wyatt Family) vs. Kane

Singles Match
Cody Rhodes vs. World Heavyweight Championship Money in the Bank Holder Damien Sandow

World Heavyweight Championship Match
Alberto Del Rio (C) vs. Christian 

Women's Match
Brie Bella (with Eva Marie & Nikke Bella) vs. Natalya (with The Funkadactyls)

No Disqualification Match
Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) vs. CM Punk

Mixed Tag Team Match
AJ Lee & Big E Langston vs. Dolph Ziggler & Kaitlyn

WWE Championship Match (Special Referee: Triple H)
Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena (C)

+Special Features+

 United States Championship Match
Dean Ambrose (C) (with The Shield) vs. Rob Van Dam (with Big Show & Mark Henry)
SummerSlam Kick-Off


There's a reason that this PPV was voted ATPW Event of the Year 2013 by our readers, and that's because it's a bloody good PPV! 

There's two very good matches on this card, alongside some solid performances from the rest of the card. The main event pitching WWE Champion John Cena against Daniel Bryan is a masterfully told story of the underdog fighting from underneath, with both men playing their roles to near perfection throughout the contest, with John Cena coming the closest to playing a heel since his One Night Stand 2006 bout with Rob Van Dam. There's plenty of good wrestling and a number of interesting reversals, which allows the story to be placed on top nicely. Special Guest Referee Triple H's involvement is kept to a minimum during the bout, although a twist at the very end of the show will have you asking for more, as The Authority angle begins to take shape. (Yes, I am aware it's spoiled on the cover of the DVD, but I try to keep these DVD's Reviews as spoiler free as I can)

For me however, the match of the night is a thrilling No Disqualification encounter between CM Punk and Brock Lesnar, that was build as "The Best vs. The Beast". This match is brutal, with steel chairs, kendo sticks and the steel steps coming into play, as CM Punk's David tries to topple Lesnar's goliath. This match also features on of the best submission sequences that WWE has ever produced, with realistic selling and strong reversals really pulling you into the action on the screen. The real story behind the bout is Punk's attempt to get out his old friend Paul Heyman, who is at ringside for Lesnar, with Heyman bringing that extra bit of edge to the contest to make this one something quite special. In my opinion, this was the best match in WWE in 2013.

In the World Heavyweight Championship match, Christian and Alberto Del Rio put on a strong bout that unfortunately got overshadowed by the two headline matches. This match however is an absolute pleasure to watch, with strong storytelling as Del Rio works Christian's arm, whilst Captain Charisma sells the injury like his life depended upon it. The bout builds nicely with strong chain wrestling and a number of near falls, with Christian's facial expressions after each near fall showing how much the World Heavyweight Championship means to Captain Charisma. The finish is satisfying and clever working on the themes that had previously been presented in the bout. I've said it before but this match will become a forgotten treasure.

Elsewhere, the first ever Ring of Fire match between Kane and Bray Wyatt is more style than substance, relying on the spectacle of the fire with some daft storytelling. Dolph Ziggler teams with Kaitlyn to take on Big E Langston and Diva's Champion AJ Lee in a half-decent mixed tag team encounter that would signal the end of their feud. Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow's battle is short, but sweet singles encounter that would have benefited from another five minutes and a women's match between Brie Bella and Natalya used to promote Total Divas is better than expected, but still not great. 

The Miz was apparently "The Host of SummerSlam" in an angle that I had almost completely erased from my memory. The Miz pops up in segments throughout the show getting in various irritating scrapes with Fandango and Summer Rae, whilst Maria Menounous turns up as well, leaving me once again asking the question "Who are you?". There's also some backstage action from the ever-popular Ryback, who pours cold soup on some guy, as the Bully Ryback character developed (and was soon forgotten).

Special Features

The sole extra on this DVD is a United States Championship match from the SummerSlam Kick-Off that see's Dean Ambrose defend the title against Rob Van Dam. For some reason the match is joined in progress, which instantly sets things out of kilter, as Big Show and Mark Henry seem to be there for no reason at all. There is some decent action here, but it's nothing spectacular. For what is supposed to be WWE's second biggest PPV, I would have expected some more extra content on this DVD, at least a handful of backstage interviews.


Certainly one of, if not the strongest WWE PPV of 2013, with two match of the year candidates in Cena/Bryan and Lesnar/Punk, as well as shock ending that saw Twitter explode in rage! If your a WWE fan, or even someone who has fallen out of love with the product as of late, buy this DVD to remind yourself that WWE can still produce compelling and exciting action in 2013, and hopefully we'll see more PPV's like this in 2014.

My Top Three Matches on SummerSlam 2013

1. No Disqualification Match: Brock Lesnar vs. CM Punk

2. WWE Championship Match: John Cena vs. Daniel Bryan

3. World Heavyweight Championship Match: Alberto Del Rio vs. Christian

Five Questions With...OSWtv's Billy Strachan

Five Questions With... makes it's triumphant return with the first interview of 2014. As last year we'll be bringing you a great mixture of interviews with everyone from the world of wrestling. Kicking us of in 2014 is OSWtv's Billy Strachan! Enjoy!

Name: Billy Strachan
Age: 23
Hometown: Elgin, Moray, Scotland
Known For: Ask Billy and OSWtv on YouTube

1. When did you first get into wrestling and what was the drew you to the sport?

My friend was a wrestling fan and I went over to his house and The Undertaker vs Kane inferno match was on and I was hooked straight away. After a few nightmares of Kane and Undertaker coming to take my soul (I was 8/9 at the time) I watched more videos at his and then found WWF Heat on Channel 4 and every Sunday I'd sit down in my bedroom and watch Heat, then tape the events like Royal Rumble 2000 on Channel 4. When my folks got On Digital I got to watch Smackdown, Metal, WCW Worldwide and very occasionally RAW is WAR. I loved everything about it the shows, the action, the characters and the storylines.

2. Tell us a little about OSWtv and how that came about?

- OSWtv really started from my original YouTube show Ask Billy where I would answer questions from the Old School Wrestling community from bebo then Facebook (facebook.com/OSWChatV), A couple guys from the page had made a one off show talking about wrestling and I thought it was a great idea. After a 30 minute pilot talking about WWE, TNA and SWE I realised that no-one had a YouTube show specifically talking about Scottish wrestling. I'd been keeping up to date with Scottish wrestling and attending several events over that last year from SWE, Wrestlezone and W3L and just ran with it. The first proper show in June got over 200 views so convinced me that this was something people wanted to see. That in turn made me create the Facebook page (facebook.com/OSWtv) where I would share announcements, results, events, pages and articles about Scottish wrestling.

3. Who do you see as the next breakout star of Scottish Wrestling and is there anyone on the scene who could possibly take the next step to a international promotion? 

I could talk about who should be an international star from Scottish wrestling for hours. The scene is bursting with talent. Especially the women with the likes of Viper, Kay Lee Ray, Bete Noire and Nikki Storm tearing it up in all over the UK. In terms of the guys I'd love to see Jackie Polo on an international stage, he just has 'it' and he'll be going to Japan next year so they will be in for a treat. Breakout stars? I'd say Joe Hendry for sure, if you haven't seen IC Double Me and You on YouTube it is amazing, he oozes charisma. Martyn Stallyon will be a huge star as he's just a delight to watch in the ring. Also Sammii Jayne and Debbie Sharpe in SWE are better and better every time I see them perform.

4. What are your Top Three matches of all time and why?

This is the hardest question you've asked by far. 

Edge vs Mick Foley - WrestleMania 22
The match was violent and brought Edge to the big time. It was Mick Foley's WrestleMania moment also so it made it extra special. With the current PG environment it's almost guaranteed that we'll never see anything this brutal in WWE again.

Bete Noire vs "Crazy" Mary Dobson - ICW Luke...Who's Yer Da?
I do love matches that make me audibly shout OH MY GOD and this did just that. Hardcore, crazy and amazing risks that these two took. It's on YouTube so I would tell everyone to check this out and they would not be disappointed.

Shane McMahon vs Kurt Angle - King of the Ring 2001
For someone who had very little training, Shane McMahon was brilliant in the ring and putting him in there with a technical machine, the perfect wrestler in Kurt Angle this was always going to be great. Nothing about this match disappointed me.

5. Where can our readers find your work and what have you got coming up?

- I'm everywhere are the moment, YouTube at youtube.com/VoiceOfOSW, Twitter @VoiceOfOSW and Facebook at facebook.com/OSWtv. I'll also be popping up on Scottish Wrestling Central doing reviews for shows that I attend. Most exciting of all is I've been given the chance to help promote PBW Rock N Wrestle 2 at The Ironworks, Inverness on March 21st which will have Jay Lethal, Sonjay Dutt, Joe E Legend, Grado and Jack Jester on the show to name just a few stars and will have music preformed by Toby Michael's Rolling Damned so worth grabbing a ticket while you still can!


We'd like to thank Billy for allowing us this interview, now go and check out OSWtv!

Next time: Attitude Era Review's Lewis Ogden.

Monday, 13 January 2014

A look at the ATPW Hall of Fame Nominees!

You can vote for ATPW's 3rd Hall of Famer at this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/KLT3V5V with the results being revealed just before WWE's Royal Rumble PPV on January 26th.

But if you're struggling to make your mind up here's a look at our nominees against some of their greatest opponents

Mae Young

Ric Flair

Vince McMahon

Shawn Michaels

Bret Hart

Jake Roberts

Randy Savage

So, what are you waiting! Go and vote now!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Finally...The WWE Network

First there was this...

Then there was this...

But finally, three years later...there's this!

So the idea has been banded around for quite some time, and it's pretty different from what was originally announced in 2011, however I'm pretty hyped for the WWE Network.

Okay, so it probably won't be heading to the UK until 2015, believed to be due to WWE's contractual negotiations with Sky, and it might be slightly more expensive over here, but what the WWE Network is offering for the price that it is offering it at, is pretty spectacular.

The biggest thing that will catch people's attention is that all 12 WWE PPV's (including Wrestlemania) are included for $9.99 a month (roughly £6 or £7), now I'm not entirely sure how much WWE PPV's come in at in the US, but I'm pretty sure it's three or four times that! So if you're buying every WWE PPV or the majority of WWE PPVs, I don't see why you wouldn't jump at this deal, considering that there's a ton of other content involved as well. 

Old school fans are catered for with the Network boasting EVERY WWE, WCW and ECW PPV in HD, as part of an on-demand service, which again is pretty darn impressive for the price. Yes, most of these can be found in some form on Youtube or Dailymotion, but rarely are they in great quality and will usually have some error somewhere along the line.

Whilst Raw and Smackdown Pre-Shows and Post-Shows don't really appeal to me, I'm sure there will be other who will be licking their chops at the idea of watching four hours of Raw every Monday Night! Personally, that's a little too long to watch one thing for, and whilst I might make an exception for a PPV, I'm not too interesting in doing so every week.

I'm interested to see what original programming WWE will come up with in order to fill their 24/7 idea, we've already seen that Legends House, Countdown (not the one with Carol Vorderman), Wrestlemania Rewind, Monday Night Wars, NXT and Superstars will be shown on the network, but surely they are going to need to come up with a lot more content to keep the service streaming 24/7. It wouldn't make much sense to put old PPVs on, seeing as they will be part of the On Demand service, although old episodes of Raw or Nitro in a chronological order could be an interesting idea. I'd also imagine that we'll see WWE Films airing on the Network at some point down the line, which is another idea that isn't particularly appealing to me. 

It's going to be a really interesting time for WWE as they continue to change their model of business in 2014. On demand and streaming services seem like the way forward at the moment and we'll find out on February 24th exactly how succesful the service is and if it can handle the demand from the consumer. Until then expect Michael Cole to telling us how to use the Network on Raw, Smackdown and pretty much every where he can. 

SWE Uprising Presents Seasons Beatings VI Review - Craig Hermit

The show kicked off with a great reception from fans, eager to see more from this organisation that has been growing in there fanbase from the past year's events.

The first match to kick off the show was a Handicap match seeing Johnny Lions vs Euan G Mackie & Jam O’Malley,   those who were excited to see Lions weren't disappointed by the display as he was in control of the match until Mackie blasted him with the ring hammer to the knee and then a following shot to the head from O’Malley with his cane took out Lions again leaving him defenceless, he was forced to submit as O'Malley executed the leglock.

Nikki Storm vs Debbie Sharp was up next. Storm seemed to channelling her inner Trish Stratus in this match, as the fans were clearly on the side side of Sharp. The fans worked hard to fire Sharp up and encourage her to go that extra mile, but it was Storm who was able to get the win after Debbie's high cross body off the top turnbuckle failed to connect, allowing Storm to hit her with the spinning neckbreaker. A credible match.

Braveheart arrived to the scorn of the fans and announced that every winner from tonight will compete in a soul survivor elimination match in the main event. A great addition to an already good card, the fans loved the idea knowing that the heels where 2-0 up already!

The cheers turned to boos again as Braveheart brought out his new security team, The Trident, the fans looked displeased as this new team looked like a copy of the WWE's The Shield. However, this new team under Bravehearts orders attacked Scotty Riccio, but one thing  to take from this angle was one of the members of the Trident performing an amazing 360 shooting star press on Riccio. A good angle, but more needs to be shown to fans that the Trident aren't just a carbon copy.

Chaz Phoenix vs Joe Hendry was next up, and it was clear that Phoenix was here to show dominance over Hendry, despite Hendry's agility in the ring. Phoenix was all business throughout the match to show why he should be a contender for the Heavyweight title, and a point proven when he made Hendry tap to the Texas Cloverleaf.

The SWE Heavyweight Championship match was next, 
Champion Damian O’Connor defending against Ian Ambrose, O'Connor was clearly the champion of the fans as well, as they rained cheers on him and scorn on Ambrose. Ambrose pulled all the stops to show why he was a threat to the Champion, the climax of the good match came when O'Connor accidentally hit the referee with his Brogue Kick and gave Ambrose the chance to hit him with the title belt, fans were in uproar as they couldn't bare to see there Champion defeated this way, but after a near fall O'Connor rallied to connect the Brogue Kick on Ambrose to get the pin and retain the SWE Heavyweight Championship.

Then it was Jason Costello vs Claymore. Costello did everything he could in this match to get under the skin of Claymore but the fans recognising this, repaid in kind by doing the same to him, and it showed as Claymore was in control of the match until after a nearfall. Claymore saw red, arguing with the referee, Costello got the pinfall by rollup.

Next was the Future Division Championship, (champion)Viper vs Sammii Jayne, a competitive match, with women proved why this division is one to watch for great wrestling. Viper showed the fans why she is their Champion by making Sammie Jay tap with the Boston Crab to retain the SWE Future Division Championship, and they were delighted to see their Champion win.

Martyn Stallyon vs Jackie Polo was next, Polo let the fans listen to his singing before the match, and they weren't impressed, both showed great skills and storytelling in the ring, Stallyon was able to get the pin on Polo after Polo connected with the exposed turnbuckle pad he tried to force Stallyon into, falling victim to the frog splash and the fans overjoyed he got the win.

Next was the Elimination match, based on the results before hand it would be 3 vs 4 Survivor Series rules,  Damian O’Connor, Viper & Martyn Stallyon vs Jam O’Malley, Nikki Storm, Jason Costello & Chaz Pheonix. Some great matches and feuds were made to tease the fans, as Costello and Stallyon started the battle, as the match continued, Phoenix pinned Stallyon then Viper pinned O'Malley and O'Connor beat Costello, the fans erupted as Viper battled Storm and on this occasion Viper got the pin, then Pheonix entered and showed no mercy to Viper, almost ready to tap to Pheonix in the boston crab, O'Connor hit Phoenix with the Brogue Kick for Viper to get the pin, leaving the Heavyweight and Future Champion the sole survivors.

As expected, Mr News appeared to picked his tag team partner, despite the threats from Braveheart, Mr News picked Steve Magners as his partner to face The Syndicate on January 25th at ‘Uprising’ much to the fans celebration that Magners returned

This was a great event, and the fans clearly enjoyed, and based on this night showing that this is one organisation to watch for the future. 

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Still An Animal - What Could WWE do with the Returning Batista?

I'm guessing we've all seen the above video by now, 4 Time WWE World Heavyweight Champion and 2 Time WWE Champion, Batista is returning to WWE on 20th January episode of Raw. This was, of course, only announced after an error led to Batista being advertised for a number of house shows in February, so WWE had no choice to announce it a few weeks ago. But that's not what this piece is going to focus on, this is about speculating about what WWE could potential do with The Animal and whether this run will be successful almost three years after Batista's last wrestling match. 

There are a number of variables that are going to be involved in how this latest run plays out. The biggest one of these is the length of time Batista is going around for. It's been rumoured that this is more than "Road to Wrestlemania" type deal that we've seen The Rock work over the last couple of years, and that Batista is, in fact, here to stay, at least for a while anyway. If that is the case, then WWE has a lot more time to build up his persona again, with a number of interesting match ups possible along the way. BUT which Batista will we see? 

Inevitably, the former Leviathan will receive a face reaction up on his return on 20th January and most likely will be kept face for the Royal Rumble match at least, that would be the logical thing to do anyway. But arguably his most critically acclaimed performances came from his Heel run at the tail end of his first run with the company in 2010, opposite the likes of Rey Mysterio and John Cena. To get the most out of Batista, I imagine we'll see both sides of The Animal in this next run, as the heel Batista is just too good a character to pass on. 

The other variable that will effect Batista's run is his age. Currently at the age of 44, the same age as the semi-retired Triple H, and without having wrestled a match  in three years, will Batista be able to keep himself from getting injured? There's no doubt that Batista is still looks the part, and training for his October 2012 MMA fight with Vince Lucero, as well as demanding move roles in The Man With Iron Fists and Riddick, would have helped to keep the big man psyhically fit, that doesn't always translate to a successful time in the wrestling ring, especially on the schedule that WWE hands out to it's wrestlers. It would seem Batista will be working a number of house shows, and with high profile injuries to both his right tricep and hamstring in both 2006 and 2008 respectively, it would surely be in WWE's interest to have Batista on a reduced schedule for the majority of his run, saving him for money matches at the companies highest profile events.

So, let's look at who at who we could see Batista facing off against over the next couple of years and which matches or programs look the most appealing. Let's start off with some The Animals old enemies.

Randy Orton

These two have a long and storied history with each other, going back to Evolution, the stable that dominated WWE's television product in from 2002. Their first televised one-on-one contest came on 27th September 2004 episode of Raw, in a No Disqualification contest during the build to Orton's Taboo Tuesday bout with Ric Flair. After trading a couple of wins in 2005 on Raw and Smackdown, as well as featuring the opposing end of tag team bouts in 2005 and 2007, this rivalry came into full effect in 2008. 

Begining with some strange WWE booking meaning John Cena got a World Heavyweight Title shot against Chris Jericho at Survivor Series 2008, instead of Batista who was still owed a rematch, Orton quickly dredged up some old history and two led teams in a Traditional Survivor Series match, with Randy Orton and Cody Rhodes coming out as the survivors. The two then faced off in a Singles bout at Armageddon, with Batista getting his win back, however the feud was cut short by Batista's injured hamstring and he was written out of storyline, as Orton moved onto a Wrestlemania XXV encounter with Triple H. 

Upon The Animal's return the feud was reignited with a bizarre six man tag between Orton's faction The Legacy and the team of Batista, Triple H & Shane McMahon at Backlash 2009. The feud continued with Batista gaining Number One Contendership to Orton's WWE Championship, and after Orton intententionally got himself disqualified at Judgment Day, Batista would win the title from Orton inside a Steel Cage at Extreme Rules. Unfortunately, injury struck again for Batista, who would be stripped of the championship, whilst getting injured his arm broken by Orton in storyline. 

The two would never reignite their feud, although a few more singles matches would take place on Raw in 2009 and 2010. Their final battle being a 26th April 2010 WWE Championship Number One Contender's Triple Threat that also involved Sheamus. 

These days Orton is running around as the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, having unified the titles in TLC bout with John Cena at last year's Tables, Ladders and Chairs event, as well as having a strained relationship with, the pairs former Evolution stable mate, Triple H, in the Authority. It would seem logical that Batista will be crossing paths with Orton in some way or another over the coming months, whether this leads to a full blown rivalry, a partnership or simply a few glancing moments on Raw, is still to be seen, although a storyline that plays on Orton's insecurities as The Face of the Company could lead to some entertaining moments. 

Triple H

I spoke a little about Triple H above, and this is another rivalry that finds it's roots in the Evolution stable. From 2003-2004 the two would often team up in tag team action, against duos like Kane & Rob Van Dam, Booker T & Scott Steiner and Chris Benoit & Chris Jericho, but it wasn't until New Year's Revolution 2005 that they would have their first bout on opposite sides, in a Elimination Chamber bout that also featured Benoit. Jericho, Edge and Randy Orton, with the story being that Batista was there to help Triple H gain the World Heavyweight Championship, eliminating Benoit and Jericho along the way, before succumbing to RKO from Orton. 

With Batista winning the 2005 Royal Rumble match, the course was set for a Wrestlemania 21 bout with his old buddy Triple H, in a well crafted storyline that made Batista into a main event player. The rivalry would continue The Animal retaining the title against The Game at both Backlash and Vengeance, the latter inside Hell in a Cell, to bring the feud to a close. The two would be shown to have reconciled their differences in later years, teaming up on a number of occassions, firstly on the 15th Anniversary episode of Raw in 2007, before joining forces in their feud against Randy Orton in 2009. Minus the Royal Rumble matches of 2008 and 2010, the two haven't been on opposing sides in a match since the aforementioned Hell in a Cell match at Vengeance 2005.

Personally, while I think we will see some interaction between Batista and Triple H in the coming months, I'd suspect that a match between the two is unlikely, with neither man having much to gain from facing each other and Triple H only working a handful matches a year, it would be difficult to rekindle the magic that their feud had back in 2005. 

John Cena

Both Batista and Cena were in Ohio Valley Wrestling at the same time, with promotion hosting the pairs first ever encounter (with Cena as The Prototype and Batista as Leviathan) with Cena winning the OVW Heavyweight Championship from Batista on the 23rd February 2002 edition of OVW TV. Apart from 2003 and 2005 Royal Rumbles, the two wouldn't be involved in the same bout until September 2006, when they teamed with Bobby Lashley against King Booker, Finlay & William Regal on Friday Night Smackdown, with the pair continue to team in late 2006 and into early 2007, against King Booker and different partners. In the build up to their respective Wrestlemania 23 title defenses against The Undertaker and Shawn Michaels, the pair would find themselves on opposite sides for the first time since 2002 at No Way Out, with Cena & Michaels picking up the victory, before Batista & Undertaker got a return victory on 26th March edition of Monday Night Raw. 

After Batista won a Fatal Four Way bout that also included Kane and JBL to become Number One Contender to CM Punk's World Heavyweight Championship on Raw in July 2008, the wheels where set in moton for SummerSlam 2008 bout between the pair. In Batista's World Heavyweight Championship rematch with Punk on Raw, Cena ended up hitting Batista thanks to John Bradshaw Layfield's interference, in a typically overbooked finish. The two would end up brawling and having to be pulled apart. With the two pretending that nothing was wrong, they would team on numerous occasions in the build up to their contest, even winning the World Tag Team Championships from Cody Rhodes & Ted DiBiase on Raw, before dropping the belts back the week after. Their SummerSlam bout was one of the strongest on the show, with Batista eventually coming out on top. The bout would prove damaging for both men however, with both ending up having to take time off shortly after. 

The two would team up again on a few occasions in 2008 and 2009 against teams like Legacy, but it was Batista's 2010 heel turn that would lead to a fully fledged feud between the two. Batista would be Mr. McMahon's hand picked opponent for Cena, after Cena had defended his WWE Championship inside the Elimination Chamber at Elimination Chamber 2010, with Batista picking up the WWE Championship in thirty seconds.  In the build up to Wrestlemania 26, the pair would bicker over who was the true "Face of The WWE" (sound familiar?) with Cena winning the WWE Championship back at the Shows of Shows. After the two had failed in attempt at Show-Miz's Unified Tag Team Championship on 5th April episode of Raw, they had two more rematches, first at Extreme Rules in Last Man Standing match, followed by the feud blow-off, a "I Quit" match at the inaugural Over the Limit pay-per-view, both of which saw Batista come up short against the Cenation Leader. With Batista "quitting" the WWE the day after their "I Quit" match, this ended up being The Animals last match for the promotion.

So, if Batista wants to prove himself again in WWE, he's surely going to have to go through the man who defeated him three times in succession, right? Cena is currently attempting to get his WWE World Heavyweight Championship back from Randy Orton, so it's very possible that we'll see at least some interaction between Cena and Batista in the first few weeks of The Animal's return, possibly making up their past differences to team up against The Authority, with a potential rematch later down the line. Whilst a rematch doesn't quite have a Wrestlemania feel about it, it could easily headline a PPV like SummerSlam, or, if Batista is busy promoting his new film, Guardians of the Galaxy over the summer, help an ailing Survivor Series event garner a few extra buys. 

The Undertaker

This rivalry was personal favourite of mine, and began shortly after The Undertaker won the 2007 Royal Rumble match. 'Taker would eventually to challenge for Batista's World Heavyweight Championship, over John Cena's WWE Championship and Bobby Lashley's ECW Championship, and their rivalry began to fall into place. As they were both faces at the time, they spent a lot of their time teaming up in February and March of 2007, against the likes of Rated-RKO and King Booker & Finlay on Friday Night Smackdown, whilst also trading victories with John Cena & Shawn Michaels at No Way Out and then Raw, all the time teasing a competitive rivalry bubbling underneath the surface. Of course, 'Taker came out of their 'Mania bout as World Heavyweight Champion, keeping The Streak intact, in an impressive contest.

The rivalry would continue, with the pair teaming up twice against Finlay & Mr. Kennedy in the build up to a brutal Last Man Standing bout at Backlash, which disapointingly ended in a draw after Batista speared The Deadman off the stage, meaning Undertaker retained his title. After a Steel Cage match on 8th May edition of Friday Night Smackdown also ended in a draw, the rivalry was cut short by an injury to Undertaker, with Edge cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to take the Championship. 

With The Undertaker returning in September, it wasn't long before their paths would cross once again, with Batista defending his World Heavyweight Championship against 'Taker at Cyber Sunday, with "Stone Cold" Steve Austin being voted Special Guest Referee ahead of Mick Foley and JBL with 79% of the vote. This time Batista came out the victor, after a pair of Batista Bombs, to retain his title in another stellar encounter. After teaming up on Smackdown and Raw in October and November against The Great Khali & Mark Henry and Lance Cade & Trevor Murdoch, the Survivor Series would host what looked to be the blow off of their feud, in side Hell in a Cell. Thanks to returning Edge disguised a camera man, Batista picked up the victory in a brutal bout. 

However, their feud would not end quietly, with the pair being involved in Triple Threat encounter with Edge at Armaggeddon that would see The Rated R Superstar take The Animal's World Heavyweight Championship. The duo would cross paths again in 2008 Royal Rumble, as well as inside the Elimination Chamber at No Way Out 2008 with Big Daddy V, Finlay, MVP and The Great Khali also involved. It reignited rivalry was teased as the two had back to back main events on Smackdown in April 2008, with the first ending in a No Contest, before Undertaker retained the World Heavyweight Championship in a No Disqualification bout. 

'Taker was involved in the bout where Batista turned heel at Bragging Rights 2009, a Fatal Fourway that also included CM Punk and Rey Mysterio, and it wasn't long before the heel Batista would set his sights on The Deadman once more. With a new attitude, Batista challenged The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs, and after defeating Kane in a Number One Contender's bout on Smackdown was granted a Chairs Match at the PPV. After initially winning the bout with a low blow, pesky Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long had the bout restarted with Undertaker picking up the victory with a Tombstone Piledriver and retaining the World Heavyweight Championship. This bout was the last between the two, with Batista moving into a feud with John Cena for Wrestlemania 26.

These days The Undertaker works an extremely reduced schedule for WWE, with appearances on Raw and Smackdown in London (I was there!) in April this year being extremely rare, with Taker usually only showing up for the run up to Wrestlemania and only wrestling on The Grandest Stage of Them all. Could Batista be a potential challenger for The Streak over the next few years? I'd say it's doubtful with so many worthy challengers waiting in the wings for a shot at immortality to give Batista another chance would be a wasting the rub that any competitor gets when facing The Demon From Death Valley.

Rey Mysterio

This rivalry stemmed from a real-life friendship, with the pair beginning to team together in August 2005, firstly in Six Man Tag action with Chris Benoit, and then as part of Team Smackdown alongside JBL, Lashley and Randy Orton at Survivor Series 2005. After a victory over JBL & Orlando Jordan on 4th December episode of Smackdown, they earned WWE Tag Team Championship shot against MNM on 13th December and picked up the victory in a solid tag team encounter. This was essentially to give then World Tag Team Champions Big Show & Kane, a big name tandem to go over at Armageddon, as they quickly dropped the belts back to MNM on the 27th December Smackdown, with MNM retaining the belts inside a Steel Cage the week after, because Batista had slept with Melina, yeah, that happened.

After a couple of six man tag team matches on Saturday Night's Main Event and Raw in July and October of 2006 with Bobby Lashley as their partner, the pair had their first one on one bout on Smackdown in August 2008 in the Semi Final of the Championship Competition Tournament, with Mysterio winning by Disqualification and going to defeat Finlay in the final on the same show. After Batista saved Mysterio from an attack from The Great Khali on 7th September, he was somehow added to the bout at Unforgiven for the World Heavyweight Championship, which of course, Batista won in about five minutes to win back the title.

It was a whole year until Batista and Rey Mysterio would be involved with each other again, with both being involved in a Championship Scramble for the vacant World Heavyweight Championship, with Chris Jericho picking up the win, in a bout that also included Kane and JBL at Unforgiven 2008. The team was back in September and December, in multi-man tag bout on Smackdown - All Star Kick Off and Tribute to the Troops, coming out the victors on both shows. 

They were somehow granted a Unified WWE Tag Team Championship bout with Chris Jericho & The Big Show at Hell in a Cell 2009, in a time when WWE was chucking any random team together and breaking up solid teams like Cryme Tyme for no particular reason, with Batista and Mysterio coming out on the losing side. In the build up to Bragging Rights, Batista and Mysterio had their second singles encounter on 13th October episode of Smackdown, with Batista picking up the victory this time round. The week after they teamed up to defeat Kane & Chris Jericho, which would prove to be their final match as a tag team. 

After both coming up short in the Bragging Rights Fatal Four-Way that also involved CM Punk and was won by The Undertaker, Batista turned heel on Mysterio, with a vicious attack on Mysterio, blaming Mysterio for the defeat and claiming that The Master of the 619 had been holding him back. The two would go on to have a number of contests between November 2009 and January 2010, starting off with Batista winning by referee stoppage at Survivor Series. The two would then trade victories on Smackdown, whilst both receiving title shots against The Undertaker at TLC and Royal Rumble, respectively. Mysterio came out with the victory in their final contest inside a Steel Cage on 12th January 2010 edition of Smackdown.

Rey Mysterio has been floating around doing nothing over the last couple of months, an after a short-lived partnership with Big Show, it would seem that WWE once again have nothing for Mysterio. So could a rehash of his programme with Batista prove fruitful for The World's Biggest Little Man, of course it could. I suspect that Mysterio probably doesn't have much left in his tank, and that retirement is probably just around the corner, usually this would lead to a "Farewell Tour" kind of programme as seen by a lot of WWE's top stars over the last few years (including Batista himself) and if that were the case, surely if that were the case then Batista would be high on the list of potential opponents. If both men can stay fit for long enough, I imagine we'll see them either clash or team together over the course of Batista's next run.

Honourable Mentions

Some of Batista's other old rivals are still knocking around WWE, as well. Kane is currently working for The Authority, so if Batista were to get involved in that angle, then the potential for another show down would be high, but with Kane rarely wrestling these days, a bout could be unlikely. Another of Batista's old rivals The Great Khali is currently dancing and prancing in a bizarre programme with Damien Sandow, if Batista needs someone to squash on Raw, Khali could be a good candidate (No, I don't want to see that match!) Mark Henry has been fed to Brock Lesnar over recent weeks, we could potentially see a similar thing happen with Batista, although Henry would need building back up which could take time. Big Show is booked to face Lesnar at Royal Rumble, although I'd imagine Lesnar is going to come out victorious, so whether Show will still be knocking around at the time Batista is free for a programme is debatable. Rob Van Dam is expected to return at some point in the near future and could offer a different kind of opponent for Batista, with the two familiar of each others work, whether they'll both be in the company at the same time will be a key to whether they collide on screen.

Fresh Opponents

Brock Lesnar

Considering that both were involved in WWE around the same time, these two had relatively little interaction with each other. Both came through Ohio Valley Wrestling at the same time, facing off against each other at NWA OVW on 28th July 2001, with Lesnar coming out victorious over the then Leviathan. The two were then on opposite sides of a Six Man Tag with Lesnar teaming with Mark Jindrak & Shelton Benjamin to defeat Batista, Damien and Payne at OVW on 16th October. In February 2002, the two formed a short lived team working a House Show and a dark match before an episode of Jakked, firstly defeating Randy Orton & Shelton Benjamin, before coming out on the losing side against Spike Dudley & Tazz. The pairs only one on one contest for WWE would come on Raw House Show, on 2nd February 2003, with Lesnar once again coming out victorious. 

Lesnar is currently being booked like a beast, after recent victories over Triple H & CM Punk at Extreme Rules and SummerSlam, and with a Royal Rumble encounter with Big Show on the way, could we see Lesnar move on to contest with Batista at Wrestlemania 30? It is becoming increasingly likely that this could be the case, it would give WWE the chance to advertise a "First Time Ever" (sort of) contest which was lacking from last year's 'Mania, whilst also allowing them to use the delectable "The Beast vs. The Animal" tag line. Surely, this collision will be two big an oppurtunity for WWE to pass up on?

Daniel Bryan

Bryan was just coming onto WWE's main roster as Batista was heading out of the door. The pair did however have one encounter on the 3rd May 2010 edition of Raw, with Batista picking up a quick victory in a Beat the Clock Challenge bout. 

Since then however, Bryan's star has sky rocketed, with the former American Dragon proving that he is one of WWE's most over stars in 2013. Unfortunately for Bryan this popularity didn't relate to much success, as after a blistering SummerSlam encounter with John Cena, his subsequent feud with Randy Orton, whilst producing some decent in ring action, was let down by lack lustre direction and Bryan ended up slipping down the card and being placed in a feud with Bray Wyatt and The Wyatt Family. Bryan continues however to prove that he is one of the best proffesional wrestlers today when allowed to show what he can do in lengthy contests on both Raw and Smackdown, and has shown that he can get the most out of even the most technically challenged opponents, Ryback's name springs to mind. So could Bryan do the same for The Animal? It's likely that Bryan could hand Batista some of the best matches of his career, and a programme with Demon from the Deep could help Bryan prove his worth to WWE, but would WWE simply feed Bryan to Batista to keep their star investment looking strong? Quite possibly and the internet will EXPLODE! 

CM Punk

Punk and Batista did have a number of encounters, so this one is kind of cheating, I guess, but Punk was no way near the level that is he is today within the company, so I'm gonna say it anyway! Their first interaction came in 15 Man Tag Team battle royal, as they teamed up as part of Team Raw alongside John Cena, Triple H and Kane, on the losing side to Team Smackdown on Raw - Draft 2008. The first one on one contest between the two came at The Great American Bash in 2008, with Punk defending his World Heavyweight Championship in a poor bout that ended in a Double Disqualification, after Kane attacked both men, the two would have a rematch on Raw the night after which also ended in a No Contest. Both would feature in a Battle Royal on the 31st August edition of Raw, which was won by Kane and also featured JBL.

Punk would then be part of Batista's Survivor Series team to take on Team Randy Orton, alongside Kofi Kingston, Matt Hardy and R-Truth, with Punk being eliminated by Cody Rhodes and Batista being taken out by Orton. The pair would have another singles contest on the 6th October 2010 edition of Smackdown, with Punk coming out victorious via count out, to build to the Bragging Rights Fatal Fourway bout with The Undertaker and Rey Mysterio. Their final encounter would on the 2nd February 2010 edition of Smackdown with Punk once again picking up the victory this time by countout.

So, we've never really seen a definitive winner between The Animal and The Best in the World, with the majority of their previous bouts ending in No Contest or Countout. Punk was also no where near the level that is on today's card, so a contest with Batista could prove fruitful for WWE. A heel Punk going against a face Batista could prove interesting with Punk having plenty of ammo to drop a couple of pipebombs on The Animal, which would make for some entertaining television. Whether the two would be able to click inside the ring could prove difficult, as we've seen Punk have difficulty working with bigger opponents in the past, so maybe this one would be better off a little further down the line once Batista has gotten back into the swing of things.

Roman Reigns

One group that rose to promince after Batista left WWE is The Shield. The Shield have been running through some of the top names in WWE for the last year, with Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns putting on some of the most entertaining matches on WWE television in 2013. It would seem that the group will be coming to an end soon, with tension being teased between the members of the group and jealousy looking to set in over who is the real "star" of the group. Many have said that Reigns is going to end up as the Breakout star of the group, and Reigns even won ATPW One to Watch 2014 (alongside three other awards!). 

It's undeniable that their are similiarities between Reigns and Batista, with both looking physically impressive and being protected by WWE in their roles in dominant factions. If WWE continue to go the way they are with Reigns I would imagine that he will become a major player for the promotion in the later half of 2014, heading into 2015. By this time Batista will be looking to wind down his time with the company, so could we see a programme between Reigns and Batista heading into Wrestlemania 31? If Batista is wanting to give something back to the industry then allowing Reigns to go over in close thought feud could be just the ticket. 

Big E Langston

Similar to Roman Reigns, Big E Langston is expected to have a succesful 2014 and the current Intercontinental Champion is going strong on television at the moment, going over the likes of Dean Ambrose, Fandango and Curtis Axel. Langston was runner up in the ATPW One to Watch 2014 category, and continues to impress with his combination of strength and agility, as well as strong mic work when given the opportunity. (Anyone who watches NXT knows that Langston can cut an entertaining promo) 

There's no doubt that a programme with Batista could do wonders for Langston, in terms of exposure, however I'm sure if Big E is quite ready for such a major spotlight to be put on him. Langston is still relatively young for WWE's main roster at 27 years old, and personally I'd like to see WWE do a nice slow burning push to the top for Big E, and rushing him into a programme with Batista could potentially damage his future, especially if WWE does what WWE does best, panic and have Batista steamroller the upstart.

Honourable Mentions

It looks like Batista will have some interaction with Alberto Del Rio in and around the Royal Rumble, although I'd expect to see Batista simply feed on Del Rio before moving onto to better things. Other Shield members Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins could get involved with The Animal at some point, although it's yet to be seen how WWE will be dealing with either man once The Shield folds. Antonio Cesaro could prove an interesting opponent for The Animal if WWE ever decides to give the former US Champion a well deserved push. Sheamus is another name that was coming to prominence when Batista was heading out the door, and beyond a Triple Threat bout with Randy Orton the two have never met. Depending on how Sheamus is handled upon his return from injury he could have an intriguing programme with The Animal. Looking at the current NXT roster guys like Alexander Rusev or Corey Graves could potentially have solid matches with Batista, but WWE would most likely just have them job to The Animal, which would be a real shame.

In Closing...

I'm probably more optimistic than most about Batista's return, he could potentially do a lot of good for the company, especially with some extra exposure from his film in the Summer, whilst helping a lot of the younger competitors to get over with the audience. I think we'll definitely see some interaction between Batista and The Authority, as well as the ever-present John Cena, before Batista moves in a Wrestlemania programme with Brock Lesnar. The potential of rekindling a partnership with Rey Mysterio is high, in my opinion, with new feuds with Daniel Bryan, CM Punk or Roman Reigns also looking to be on the cards over the next two years. 

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