Gimme Five: Special Guest Ben Mana

We’re back with an all-new Gimme Five this week, and a very special guest in Ben Mana.

The NZWPW Champion will defend his title against Axl at tonight’s Bringing Down the House event in Petone but joins the NZPWI Gimme Five panel first to discuss the biggest happenings of the week.

Elimination Chamber is behind us and Randy Orton is still WWE World Heavyweight Champion. We bring you our thoughts on the pay-per-view.

Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling have announced an alliance and two co-promoted shows in North America in May. Will this be beneficial for both parties?

Plus, both Hulk Hogan and Undertaker are back on the WWE roster – are we looking forward to seeing these two on the road to WrestleMania XXX?

Read on for this week’s Gimme Five.

1. Elimination Chamber is behind us, finalising Randy Orton as the WWE World Heavyweight Champion heading into WrestleMania XXX. What did you think for the pay-per-view, and has it left you sufficiently excited for WrestleMania?

Ben Mana:
I have to say that was a tino pai pay-per-view, the majority of the matches were solid and the crowd was absolutely on fire for the six man tag match, not to mention the Chamber match totally delivered in my opinion. As for the results: rather predictable. Has this raised the excitement bar for me heading to WrestleMania XXX? Hell, I’d always be excited for Mania! I just hope they do something to spice that main event up, because the “Boo-tista” crowd reaction is sounding pretty ruthless.

Dion:
Elimination Chamber was a really, really solid show! The Chamber match itself was fantastic and The Shield vs. The Wyatts had such a great feel to it. A real credit to both teams. To be honest, I’m slightly flat on this year’s WrestleMania. I’m sure the show will be great, but for the first time in a long time, the card doesn’t interest me too much, which is a shame.

Blake:
For me, the entire concept of the Elimination Chamber has gone stale and so I have found that match to be a bit boring for some years now. However, the match itself was well done and pushed many storylines. The pay-per-view as a whole was actually quite entertaining; filler matches are always to be expected, but the Intercontinental Championship match and the six-man tag match were both absolutely brilliant. I am absolutely excited for WrestleMania.

Stevie:
Dull event, with the exception of the six-man tag match. And that was all down to how those performers have grabbed the ball and ran with it. Amazing hearing a “This is awesome” chant before the match even started. WrestleMania’s currently looking like a bunch of missed opportunities.

David:
Things played out roughly as I’d expected at Elimination Chamber. (Check out the NZPWI Rountable to see how roughly.) The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family and the Elimination Chamber match itself both delivered the goods when it came to in-ring action. I have a hazy idea of where things are going for WrestleMania coming out of this pay-per-view, which has neither added to nor taken away from my excitement for the big event.

2. Ring of Honor announced an alliance with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, and two shows to be held in the North America in May. Will this be the thing to help NJPW crack the US market? Is it a good idea for both companies to be working together?

Ben Mana:
Seeing these two promotions collaborating would make some epic encounters. Me personally, I would be keen to see Bad Luck Fale vs. Kevin Steen, and also Prince Devitt vs. AJ Styles. For that reason alone I would consider it a great idea! As long as both groups work with each other to produce some epic shows this could be a chance for NJPW to get some major recognition in the US indie circuit – maybe further.

Dion:
It is a good idea, but neither will crack the U.S. market. They’ll be solid “underground” promotions at best.

Blake:
This is something TNA once did with AAA in Mexico, and it worked wonderfully for both companies in both countries. The idea of ‘cracking a market’, in my mind, doesn’t really fit here. Many Japanese wrestlers can and have cracked the US market, but unless NJPW plan to hold regular shows in the States, then they will not have a strong holding in the States. Same with Ring of Honor in Japan. However, this will allow many stars to make bigger names for themselves and add prestige to the companies they are in and the championships they hold. This can only be a good thing.

Stevie:
I’m a fan of any promotion cross-pollination. Good for talent and fans.

David:
ROH is a much better partner – both in terms of in-ring style and relevance – for New Japan than the modern-day NWA. Hopefully this relationship stretches beyond the two announced shows for May, and we won’t be subjected to “Big Daddy Yum-Yum” on any more Japanese cards. NJPW has been hoping to crack the US market for a while now, and this is certainly a step in the right direction. Both parties have a lot to gain from this relationship, but there’s even more to be had for fans of both companies.

3. Daniel Bryan challenged Triple H to a match at WrestleMania XXX, asking the COO to give the people what they want. Is this what the WWE Universe wants for Daniel Bryan? Is it what you want?

Ben Mana:
Some in the WWE Universe could see this as a consolation match for Daniel Bryan, but ultimately he has been up against the machine since SummerSlam and until he ends his war with the Authority he will never get a true shot at the title without being screwed over. To me this could be an epic encounter and if the result goes D-Bry’s way he could finally get that monkey off his back and in the future get a decent crack at the title picture.

Dion:
It is not what I want, but it will be a tremendous match, I’m sure. I imagine there is a vast proportion of fans who believe the match is only taking place so Triple H can get a rub from Bryan’s popularity. It still is just mind blowing that Bryan isn’t headlining. Orton vs. Batista is going to be the biggest boo-fest in WrestleMania main event history.

Blake:
This was actually really cleverly done. It was clear that the WWE Universe did not want this for Daniel Bryan, but Bryan was able to get a “Yes!” chant before any dissension could really be heard. Naturally, I would rather have Bryan in the main event along with CM Punk, but this is good in place. This is a storyline that has been half a year in the making; it is a good time to build towards a closing point.

Stevie:
No, it is not. And no, it is not. At this stage maybe they will add the stipulation that he gets added to the main event if he wins. But I can’t believe how poorly they’ve read the crowds over the last eight months.

David:
We’ve been wanting to support Bryan for so long and now we’ve got a chance to do so, just not in the thing we wanted to support him in. The end goal here is still Bryan as WWE World Heavyweight Champion, but he does have to go through Triple H to get there, and that may as well be at WrestleMania.


4. The Undertaker is back and will collide with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. Is Lesnar the best man for the job of challenging Undertaker’s streak?

Ben Mana:
Lesnar is by far my obvious choice to take a crack at the streak, and could be a genuine threat with his history with Taker and his UFC background. Then again, how many genuine threats have there been that have come out as another notch on the tally for the Dead Man? Either way I am pumped to see these two tear the ring and each other apart.

Dion:
He’s definitely a great choice! The streak has really become stuff of legend, so the stakes have to be raised each year. I think the only other potential candidate would have been John Cena, this year.

Blake:
I genuinely think so. It’s been many years since Undertaker genuinely looked like his streak was in doubt, but Brock Lesnar is a bona fide beast. Add to that the fact that Brock has Paul Heyman in his corner, along with no regard for anyone’s well-being, and this looks like there could be a genuine street-killer in the cards for WrestleMania.

Stevie:
Nope, there’s about five other people I wanted to see Brock fight. And the only interesting match left for Taker is Cena.

David:
I would have rather seen Undertaker against Roman Reigns, truth be told. WWE seems pretty keen to push Reigns to the stars at the moment, and considering The Shield were the ones responsible for Undertaker’s almost-year-long absence from WWE, the match was pretty much made. I’m sure Lesnar and Undertaker will deliver when it’s go-time at WrestleMania though.

5. Hulkamania is running wild again in WWE, with Hulk Hogan announced as the special host of WrestleMania XXX. Are you pleased to see Hogan back with WWE, and what did you think of his appearance on Raw?

Ben Mana:
How appropriate for the Hulkster, the main eventer of the first ever WrestleMania, to be the host of the 30th event. I was a bit surprised they announced it on the website and not as a surprise announcement like they did with The Rock. However he is still over with the WWE Universe and had a decent showing on Raw, and I’m sure someone at the top of the WWE ladder would say this is definitely “best for business”. As for me, meh, no complaints!

Dion:
I am pleased. It was almost a Hogan of old promo and I hope we see more of him in some capacity beyond WrestleMania. What I did find interesting though, is even though Hogan has been a regular on TNA programming, his return had a feeling of “where has this guy been?” to it. And that now he’s back in WWE, he’s back in “the business”.

Blake:
I’m relatively indifferent; as much as I love the music, I’ve never been a real Hulkamaniac. Furthermore, despite setting the crowd on fire, it was an ad for the new WWE Network from the very beginning. A C-plus for me purely for nostalgic purposes.

Stevie:
It seems like a good move for WWE to have him involved in this milestone event, but it doesn’t really do anything for me. I like the idea of Hogan much more than having the real thing around.

David:
I’m not complaining, but Hogan really makes no difference to me. I got into wrestling too late to really be sucked in by Hulkamania, and I’m wary of Hogan’s involvement overshadowing things, like The Rock at WrestleMania XXVII.