LaBar: Bullet Club to WWE, Undertaker's last match
I opened the mail bag for questions from fans on Twitter to give my thoughts on some of the hot topics in wrestling.
@MikeBeanX: What will Kevin Owens' role be at WrestleMania?
Kevin Owens will be going into WrestleMania as the Intercontinental Champion, and I have no doubt he's going to make a serious run to steal the show. Obviously, he'll be contending with a star-powered, gimmick-heavy trio of main event matches with higher stakes in the storyline. Those matches, based on having guys like Undertaker and Brock Lesnar, and the Hell in a Cell match, are going to have high expectations by all. This being the first WrestleMania capping off a great rookie year on RAW for Owens, I'd put my money on him being the “undercard” match of the night that goes all out.
As for the opponent he steals the show with, I think it's very possible we see Sami Zayn. These two had an emotionally charged rivalry on NXT television that left room to be continued. WWE lost time with Zayn after he suffered a shoulder injury when he made his first appearance on RAW last spring against John Cena. What better way to pick back up after lost time than rekindling a rivalry that fueled NXT success and present it on the bigger stage of WrestleMania?
In my mind, Zayn is the closest performer on the roster who can resemble the attributes and rally fans similar to Daniel Bryan. We saw Zayn return to WWE television at Royal Rumble where he and Owens got a piece of each other. I think this Saturday on the WWE Network special could be the right time to get the spark going again and have three weeks of television to build up to their WrestleMania match.
@holtz_william: How did blading originate? Is one old timer credited for this technique?
I've never heard of one specific person being credited as the first one who did it. I always felt the reason was that, for a lot of years, it wasn't something the public was ever aware of. It was one of the many tricks inside professional wrestling that was protected. Therefore, between protection of the secret, and the fact blood sometimes came into a match unplanned by a wrestler getting busted open the hard way, it's hard to pinpoint one moment as the origin.
The 1950s seems to be the period when blood and the potential of blading is commonly first remembered in North American professional wrestling. That's also the same time when television started coming into every home in America. I don't know if the “secret” of blading dates to earlier carnival times, but it became more memorable and documented as media platforms increased. I do know Abdullah “The Butcher” and “Classy” Freddie Blassie are two famous names who debuted in the 1950s and were well known for their use of blood.
@MeTheEvilGenius: Thought I heard this year was ‘Taker's last. True or still going to keep rolling to Mania 33?
People can read a lot of things on message boards or however they come across information, but when it comes to The Undertaker's career, very few people will know the truth about what's going on. Those people are all inside WWE and high up in management, meaning it's very unlikely information about his career conclusion will be leaked to the Internet before the company makes it public on television programming.
The Undertaker has a special bond with Vince McMahon and WWE. Assuming he is able to make that call ahead of time and not have to call it quits after a match suddenly due to injury, I think a big deal will be made of it — or at least strongly suggested on WWE programming that he's having his final match. Whether the match is labeled as his last or a stipulation of lose and retire is pinned to a match, that seems logical.
He's had a remarkable career, so for fans to know that career is concluding, then that's a huge must-see event that's got grand financial potential for all involved.
@mafurman437: How would you book the debut of Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson if it was in NXT? Same question for WWE?
If Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson make their highly anticipated debuts with the NXT brand, then obviously you can't do anything beyond it involving Finn Balor. However, I feel less and less each day that they will debut in NXT, but will be used for RAW and SmackDown. If this is the case, it could play perfectly into the possibility of power changing hands after WrestleMania.
If Shane McMahon wins at WrestleMania, he gets control of RAW. During his return, he spoke about wanting to save WWE and talked about Stephanie running the company into the ground. Shane taking responsibility for the arrival of the gang-like feel Gallows and Anderson have from the Bullet Club in Japan would be an immediate attention getter. It also would be a tone setter to make the change in power feel like it means something. The night after WrestleMania has become famous for debuts and big moments. This, of course, is all based on the scenario of Shane gaining power.
Even if a debut on RAW is what happens for Gallows and Anderson — and not with NXT — it still seems inevitable they will be involved with their former Bullet Club member in Finn Balor, who is marketing the Balor Club. If Balor loses the NXT title two nights before WrestleMania against Samoa Joe at the NXT special, I would especially keep my eyes peeled for possibilities of Monday Night RAW the night after WrestleMania.