G5: Survivor Series, MMA, Sting, more

The WWE Universe is guaranteed a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion at Survivor Series this Monday when Alberto Del Rio, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, and Roman Reigns face off in the final stages of a 16-man tournament. Was this the right way for WWE to go after Seth Rollins’ injury?

MMA has been all over the media in Australia and New Zealand following Sunday’s UFC 193 event in Melbourne, and it seems more and more pro-wrestlers are catching the MMA bug. Is MMA appealing to wrestling fans?

Sting: Into the Light was released in New Zealand last week, chronicling Sting’s journey to WWE. Which moments from The Icon’s career rank among the G5 Panel’s favourites?

Join us as we discuss these, and more, pressing questions in this week’s Gimme Five.

***

1. The tournament to crown a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion is almost at an end, and either Alberto Del Rio, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, or Roman Reigns will claim the title at Survivor Series. Was a 16-man tournament the best way to go? Who is your early pick to be the next WWE champ?

Clint:
I do like a good title tournament if it’s done right. I have fond memories of the world title tournament that Savage won back in 1988. This tournament has been okay, but I think it would have been more interesting to have all the matches held on one night – if 1988’s ‘roided up guys could handle wrestling several times in one night, today’s super-fit athletes definitely can. I’d love to see Ambrose or Owens win, but I think we’re finally going to see Roman Reigns, world champion.

Blake:
I think a tournament like this was really the best way to move forward, especially considering the Survivor Series elimination ideals. In saying that, I do think that Roman Reigns maybe should have gotten a first-round bye considering his number one contender status, but the fact that he’s producing such great matches would have meant we’d all lose out. And as much as I would like WWE to be turned into the Ambrose Asylum, I think the Roman Empire is truly about to begin.

Craig:
This has been a depressing build up with Roman Reigns’ win being telegraphed well before the tournament began in the promo with Triple H (you know, how he’d rather win it the hard way than have it gifted to him). The only thing that can save this dire tournament would be Dean Ambrose turning heel on Reigns and winning. A Sheamus cash-in following a Reigns win would generate more sympathy for Reigns but does anyone want to see Sheamus champion? No. I can actually see Reigns beating Sheamus after he cashes in which would be even more lame.

Grady:
I was interested to see if they would copy the style of Survivor Series 1998 and the Deadly Game tournament, and have the tournament all on the card of the pay-per-view. I would have preferred that nod since we are looking back at The Undertaker’s 25 years. My pick to win this is… well I haven’t decided. Reigns or Ambrose are the obvious options, but Owens is looking strong and Sheamus is always looming. If I was forced to take a pick I would go with Dean Ambrose, but that can change from now until the bell rings.

Mike:
The 16-man tournament was a panic decision because of Seth Rollins’ injury. There just wasn’t that much intrigue in the early rounds to make it a must watch – and most fans would have been able to predict the final four. The next champion has got to be Roman Reigns or Dean Ambrose. This duo have been friends for a long time but I sense the championship belt is going to stretch their friendship beyond breaking point. My heart says Reigns, my head says Ambrose.

Steve:
We all know it’s Reigns, which dampens any interest. If this was an actual plan, rather than the scramble after Rollins’ injury, I’d be really excited about a Deadly Game outcome. The only way to make Reigns work, at this point, is to do what they did with The Rock. Otherwise we’re in for another 10 years of the top face being booed.

Corey:
Being a huge Kevin Owens fan my initial pick was pretty obvious. I’m definitely keen to see Owens be the first man since The Ultimate Warrior to hold both the Intercontinental and WWE World Heavyweight Championships.

 

2. Four title matches have been confirmed for NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 10, the promotion’s biggest event of the year, on January 4. Is this, along with English commentary, enough to convince you to tune in next year?

Clint:
I’d watch even without English commentary. I love NJPW – it’s the best wrestling going around today. Styles vs. Nakamura and Okada vs. Tanahashi are sure to be classics and the tag match will be a pure spotfest. I can’t wait.

Blake:
You had me at Nakamura.

Craig:
No.

Grady:
I will watch highlights, I have never watched a NJPW show live but I am willing to change that if the opportunity arises. There are names on the card that I have been watching and following; AJ Styles, Matt Sydal, Ricochet and The Young Bucks. If there was a NJPW show that I would tune into, this looks like it. But I have a very limited time and only end up with the highlights WWE Raw most of the time.

Mike:
Nope, there’s just too much going on and I don’t have the time for it all. By the time I’ve caught up on WWE, Breaking Ground on WWE Network and then the latest goings on at ICW (Grado! Grado! Grado!) there’s not much room in the schedule for anything else.

Steve:
If I have the time, I’ll give it a shot, sure. I think fans should endeavour to see as many different types of wrestling as possible.

Corey:
I watched this year’s Wrestle Kingdom event live and I’ve watched it again countless times thanks to NJPW World. I’ll definitely be watching next year and the English commentary is an added bonus for sure.

 

3. Mixed Martial Arts has been all over the media following UFC 193, and it seems more pro-wrestlers are trying their hand at MMA than ever before. Does MMA have any appeal to you as a pro-wrestling fan, and will you be following the likes of Bobby Lashley, CM Punk, and Lei’D Tapa in their MMA pursuits?

Clint:
I was once a huge fan of MMA but these days only have a passing interest in it, mainly due to other interests taking up so much of my time. In saying that, I’ll definitely tune in to see how CM Punk goes in UFC.

Blake:
I’m really not an MMA fan; if I wanted to watch people being genuinely hurt, I wouldn’t watch wrestling. However, I do keep somewhat up-to-date with the wrestling/MMA crossovers, but I won’t be buying the events any time soon.

Craig:
Absolutely it has appeal. I’m hanging out to see CM Punk make his debut. If you’re a pro-wrestling fan then by default you would automatically be a Connor McGregor fan. His bout against Jose Aldo in a couple of weeks time will be bigger than Ronda Rousey just for the amount of trash talking he’s done in the lead up to the fight. However, the press it gets will be a direct result of Rousey single-handedly dragging a niche sport into mainstream. TVNZ has done three stories on Rousey this week. Mark Hunt has struggled to get on TVNZ his whole career!

Grady:
I watched the UFC 193 main event and a few other fights live. I find that there is a lot of gaps between fights—that is also one of my gripes with WWE Raw—which makes it hard to focus wholeheartedly on the show. I’m sure as I watch those three former wrestlers will come onto my screen, I might not seek them out, except for CM Punk’s debut because I want to see him get his ass kicked.

Mike:
It appeals, for sure, but I’m not that interested in former wrestlers fighting for real. I love Ronda Rousey – I think she’s done an outstanding job of lifting women’s MMA to a level that just a few years ago seemed impossible. For me, her rematch with Holly Holm will be the biggest thing in MMA for quite some time. Who doesn’t want to see the woman many thought invincible go back up against the woman who knocked her out?

Steve:
I’m a fan of MMA, and it’ll be hard to not pay attention to some of the wrestlers making the transition. I’ll definitely be tuning in for Punk’s debut, that one carries a lot of interest regardless of how it goes.

Corey:
As a wrestling fan at first I was not a huge fan of MMA but after giving it a chance I’m now a pretty big fan. I can’t wait to see CM Punk step foot in the Octagon.

 

4. WWE 2K16 has been available for a few weeks now – are you playing WWE’s latest video game?

Clint:
Nope. Being an old fart, the only video gaming I do these days is the occasional blat on my original Xbox.

Blake:
Rather annoyingly, my disability has left me mostly unable to play PlayStation over the last year or two. So I keep myself happy by watching “Let’s Plays” on YouTube.

Craig:
No.

Grady:
I wish. Are you going to buy it for me? The older systems (PS3 and Xbox 360) are starting to be phased out and are getting the short end of the stick now. I bought WWE 2K15 from a bargain bin last year, I might do the same when this finds its way there. I am primarily a PC gamer as well, so if they follow suit from last year and release it on Steam then they are more likely to get a purchase from me.

Mike:
No, and I have no plans to. I picked up WWE 2K15 and it was a stinker. I lost count how many times lag with button presses meant I was pinned in matches I was dominating. It was a frustrating experience and one I have no desire to repeat – even if the temptation to play as one of Mick Foley’s characters is strong.

Steve:
I am, and I even reviewed it! It’s been pushed to the wayside while I venture into Fallout 4, but overall it’s got some of the best game-play of any wrestling game, but it’s definitely got its issues.

Corey:
I have been playing WWE 2K16 and I must say it is a massive improvement over last year’s offering which sat on my shelf for a year after an hour’s worth of play-time.

 

5. Sting: Into the Light was released in New Zealand last week, chronicling The Icon’s journey to WrestleMania 31. Looking back, what’s your fondest memory of Sting?

Clint:
As a die-hard WCW fan (even during the crappy last few years) I have a lot of great memories of Sting’s career, from his run as a heel in Bill Watt’s UWF, through his run as surfer Sting in NWA/WCW and into the Crow gimmick in WCW and then TNA. I’d have to say my favourite memories are his capturing of the NWA World title from Ric Flair at The Great American Bash 1990 (I first read about it in PWI magazine, then watched the show on video) and the first time he dropped from the rafters and took out the NWO with his baseball bat in 1997 (which had me marking out big time).

Blake:
I never really kept up-to-date with WCW, so I can’t say it’s anything from that. But during TNA, when he had his run as Joker Sting, I thoroughly enjoyed that. For me, it was one of the few saving graces from the Hogan-Bischoff days.

Craig:
Like so many kiwi wrestling fans, I never followed Sting’s career because he was on WCW and it wasn’t televised here. That said, I enjoy watching WWE Network and watching him descend from the rafters during the Monday Night Wars.

Grady:
I am constantly asked questions like this, but Sting’s run with WCW was 1987–2001. I would have been negative-eight-years-old years old at the start and seven at the end. I watched what was on and I was a WWF kid. That being said, I have gone back and watched some of the older shows to get a feel for the guy. I would have to pick this year’s WrestleMania, even though he lost it was still a great match with a bunch of appearances that made it feel special and the actual end of an era.

Mike:
Having not watched a lot of WCW at the time Sting was at his peak (it just wasn’t shown in the UK, at least to my knowledge) I would have to say it was his WWE debut at Survivor Series 2014. That moment when you hear the crows, the music and see the images on the screen made me completely mark out. Part of me had hoped he would never do it—just to be the man that held out against WWE—but seeing him appear was quite something.

Steve:
I can’t remember the specific Nitro, but it was one of the main times Sting dropped from the rafters and obliterated the NWO. Deathdrops all over the place, the crowd going nuts… it was magic. As a teen, that’s all I would wait for every show – a dark hero descending to mete out justice.

Corey:
There are so many great Sting moments that it’s hard to choose just one. How about when he introduced a true legend in this industry? I’m, of course, talking about The Shockmaster.