G5: Royal Rumble, Goldberg, Raw 25, more
Which surprise entrants should be involved in the 30-Woman Royal Rumble? How does Goldberg stack up as a WWE Hall of Famer? And, with WWE Raw celebrating its 25th anniversary this coming week, which moments stick out from the show’s lengthy history?
All that and more in this week’s Gimme Five. To ask a question of your own, tweet to @NZPWI.
1. Eighteen women have been confirmed for the Royal Rumble, which leaves room for plenty surprise entrants. Who would you like to see involved in the historic 30-Woman Match?
Grady Hooker (@GradyHooker):
There are a lot of women who I think would do awesome here. The obvious two would be Trish Stratus and Lita, but I’m thinking more Ivory and Molly Holly. If we bring the era a little newer you also have Eve, Kelly Kelly, Melina, Kaitlyn and WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix—since she already entered the men’s Royal Rumble.
Steve McCleary (@syxseed):
Beth Phoenix would be my top pick, so we can hopefully get a Pin-Up Strong reunion. After that, it’d be great to see Victoria again.
To see Trish or Lita in here would be awesome but any woman from that era would be a great throwback too. Looking to future stars, as a Kiwi, Dakota Kai would be an obvious favourite. And going left-field, maybe Ronda Rousey?
David Dunn (@david_dunn):
I’m hoping for a couple of NXT call-ups — maybe Billie Kay and Peyton Royce? — to fill the remaining spots. Beth Phoenix, who already has Royal Rumble experience, would be great to see too.
Mister J (@misterjcomics):
I think Molly Holly would be my top choice. Easily the best, and most overlooked, women’s champion of the last 20-or-so years. Other than that, it would be great to see Sara Del Rey make an appearance. After all she has done in helping mould, shape, and develop so many of the current crop of female superstars, it would be wonderful to see her go toe-to-toe with a few of them on this special occasion.
2. Goldberg is the first inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018 — your thoughts?
Loved him as a kid. Still do. I own a bunch of his action figures and there was something about him, that x-factor, that grabbed my attention and still hasn’t let go. I enjoyed his little run last year too, even if it ended in losing the big red belt to Brock Lesnar.
Goldberg was a phenomenon. Sure, his character only works in certain situations. But when it’s done right, it’s hard to argue against his place in history.
The vast majority of Goldberg’s career was before I started watching wrestling. However, I did enjoy his last run with the company through WrestleMania last year. He has definitely had a big impact on the wrestling business through the Monday Night Wars era and then again last year.
Goldberg’s autobiography was the first pro-wrestling book I ever read (which, admittedly, has more to do with my library’s selection than any specific desire of mine) so I’ve always quite liked him and his story. He’s one of the first names that comes to mind when you think about WCW at its peak, and the Monday Night War. I’m looking forward to his speech in New Orleans.
I was never a huge fan of Goldberg for his WCW run. Overhyped, and under-performing, for the most part. That being said, I loved his recent return, and fully agree he deserves a place in the Hall of Fame… for the streak, if nothing else.
3. WWE Mixed Match Challenge premiered on WWE Network this past week. Which team are you picking to go all the way in the 12-week tournament?
I think the grand final will involve either Asuka and The Miz, or Braun Strowman and Alexa Bliss taking out the win, but Bobby Roode and Charlotte might give them a run for their money on the other side of the bracket.
Rusev and Lana, obviously! Rusev is the best! Lana number one! (My heart is actually with Becky and Sami—would love to see them take it—but my gut says Miz and Asuka.)
I like the team of Strowman and Bliss. It seems such an odd paring but they’re also dominant in their respective divisions. Hopefully they can channel that into a team environment.
Asuka and The Miz seem like front-runners given Asuka’s undefeated streak. Alexa Bliss and Braun Strowman could be equally dangerous. I quite like the look of Finn Balor and Sasha Banks too. So, no matter what, I guess it’s going to be a Raw side.
Every day is Rusev Day in these parts. And no matter what the internet tries to tell me, Rusev and Lana (not Miz and Maryse, or Triple H and Steph) are the number one couple in WWE. This will see them through in the Mixed Match Challenge.
4. Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks have a date for their All In event — September 1 — but still no location. Where should they stage their 10,000-seat supershow?
Chicago, with CM Punk main eventing. Yes, I went there.
Chicago. One of the best and loudest wrestling cities in the States. Also not much of a drive for a certain straight-edge guy, if he’d like to take part…
Chicago would be my bet. A central state with one of the world’s biggest airports making it highly accessible, not to mention the fact that it is one of the hottest states for wrestling.
Right off the bat, I’ll say a location in California (with its affordable international airfares) could tempt me to go in person — but Chicago is the obvious first choice, right? Pro Wrestling Tees has grown into a worldwide empire out of Chicago. The audiences are always engaged, and it’s close enough for anyone on the East Coast to travel.
Chicago would be great for sure… but if you want the best — and wildest — wrestling fans in the US, you can’t look past Philadelphia. Failing that, is Levin an option? Because it would be great to not have to travel.
5. WWE Raw celebrates its 25th anniversary next week. What stands out most from the longest-running weekly episodic television show in history?
The evolution. Raw has been a main-stay on television sets for 25 years and has gone from a Sunday morning cartoon to an edgy product full of attitude to being geared back towards the children with bright colours, lights, and social media interactions.
My favourite moment is Austin saving Stephanie from being married to The Undertaker, in what was a pivotal change in his character from ass-kicker to anti-hero (with honourable mention to Austin coming back from a bar to save WWF during the Invasion). I guess, to me, Raw is Austin.
The ability to adapt. How many shows last 25 years, let alone 25 years in prime time? Raw’s ability to adapt and change has kept it alive and on top for most of that time.
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock singing a duet of Margaritaville is right at the top of my list. A crowd of more than 10,000 people, that had paid to see pro-wrestling, were on the edge of their seats for a public karaoke session. More recently, Daniel Bryan’s rejection of The Wyatt Family, and the “Occupy Raw” movement prior to WrestleMania XXX will stay with me for a long time.
The thing for me that stands out, is how many provisos WWE has to put into this claim to make it accurate. What I mean is, many shows have run for more years, had more episodes, or whatever. WWE has an advantage over many in that it doesn’t have to have an off-season… but does that still make it the longest?
Shows like Meet the Press have been on the air since the late 40s. But that’s not a drama, you say? Okay, the soap opera Guiding Light has been on since the early 50s. Yeah, but that’s daytime. Okay, Coronation Street has been on since 1960. But that’s the UK. Well, you get the idea. Even in sports, NFL on CBS and Monday Night Football have been on the air for much longer. In primetime drama, so has The Simpsons. Even if we look at wrestling, if you include Georgia Championship Wrestling/WCW/WCW Saturday Night as the same show (since it ran in the same time-slot, on the same channel, with a lot of the same talent) it ran for longer and with more episodes. Places like Portland Wrestling, longer still.
This is to take nothing away from what WWE and Monday Night Raw have achieved. What they have done is a huge milestone. I could just live without the hyperbole and overstatements.