Daniel Bryan retires from professional wrestling #ThankYouDanielBryan

Daniel Bryan, whose real name is Bryan Danielson, has retired from professional wrestling, he announced first via his Twitter account and then on Monday Night Raw, 8 February 2016.

We here at ClutterStuff actually recommended this several months ago. He has spent the better part of two years out with various injuries, some of which were serious. As a relatively recently married man (to WWE Diva Brie Bella), I would love to see Bryan be able to have a family and be healthy enough to enjoy them.

Daniel Bryan wrestled in several independent promotions before coming to the WWE in the first class of NXT. Despite being released after the debut of the Nexus (for being too violent?), he returned to WWE as a solo act. He went on to win the World Heavyweight Championship, the Tag Team Championships (with Kane as Team Hell No), the Intercontinental Championship, and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. His last title reign was cut short by injury when he was forced to relinquish the title shortly after winning it.

Bryan spent the last several years as the most “over” Superstar in WWE in many years. He was much smaller than other wrestlers, but had a charisma and a love for the sport that made him the favorite of many fans.

Thank you, Bryan. You have been a bright spot in professional wrestling for several years. I hope that you love the next phase of your life as much as you have loved wrestling. And I hope that you make the people in the next phase of your life as happy as you have made us wrestling fans.

Rest in Peace, Hot Rod! “Rowdy” Roddy Piper, 1954–2015

On Friday, 31 July 2015, at the age of sixty-one, pro wrestling legend and WWE Hall of Famer “Rowdy” Roddy Piper unexpectedly died of a heart attack in his California home.

Even though he spent a good portion of his career as a heel, he was nearly always a fan favorite due to his overwhelming charisma. No words that I write could ever match the Hot Rod’s own, so here are a few clips from his heyday thirty years ago.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKXpSyjfIik]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGJ1y_Qsa3g]

With Piper’s death so soon after that of his friend Dusty Rhodes, I also thought it might be revealing to hear the two talk of each other:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQkH94t2TyQ]

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E4YtTKAps_k]

Rest in Peace, Hot Rod!

Who’s still around?: the first season of NXT

NXT was originally the replacement show for ECW. Quite a few stars came out of this program, but just how many of them are still on the roster?

Season One

Wade_Barrett_2010_2015

Wade Barrett: The winner of the first season of NXT was also the original leader of the Nexus. Winner of the 2015 King of the Ring tournament, Barrett currently calls himself “King Barrett.”

Daniel_Bryan_2010_2015

Daniel Bryan: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. He was one of the first “rookies” eliminated from NXT, was fired after “going too far” during the debut attack of the Nexus, and has since held every title that WWE has other than the Divas title—including his Wrestlemania XXX defeat of Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton to win the WWE World Heavyweight championship. Sadly, he may be on the verge of retirement after back-to-back neck injuries.

Justin_Gabriel

Justin Gabriel: The South African native spent time on the tag team circuit, first with Heath Slater and later with Tyson Kidd. He won the championship several times with Slater, and challenged with Kidd. No singles victories to speak of, and admitted to being Adam Rose’s Bunny. Left the company in January 2015. Now calls himself “P. J. Black” in Global Force Wrestling.

David Otunga: Has a Harvard law degree and is married to Oscar-winning singer Jennifer Hudson. Rarely seen in action on WWE television, though he hosts the pre-show on the WWE Network.

Skip_Ryback_2010_2015

Skip Sheffield: Now called “Ryback.” You might’ve heard of him. “Feed. Me. More.”

Heath_Slater

Heath Slater: The Millennial version of the Brooklyn Brawler, Slater is at this point nearly a full-time jobber. Rarely wins a match. Looks almost exactly the same now as he did five years ago.

Michael_Tarver

Michael Tarver: Released from his contract on 13 June 2011, the only first-season NXT rookie to not have a significant WWE career.

Darren_Young_2010_2015

Darren Young: Formed the Prime-Time Players with fellow NXT alumni Titus O’Neil. Then made even bigger news by coming out as openly homosexual. To the credit of the WWE, he has not been buried, with the Prime-Time Players currently enjoying a renewed push.

Ring of Honor on Destination America

DestAm_ROH

Destination America, the cable network that currently hosts TNA Impact Wrestling, has announced that it has acquired the TV rights to Ring of Honor Wrestling. The first episode of Ring of Honor on Destination America will air next Wednesday

TNA and Ring of Honor are the only two pro wrestling companies offering any legitimate competition to WWE. The only other company with consistent television coverage is Lucha Underground, on the El Rey Network. None of these companies really challenges WWE in scope, talent, or market share; they are more accurately in competition with each other for a distant no. 2.

This move is extremely interesting. There have been rumors for quite some time now that TNA Wrestling was on the verge of going broke. Lately the rumor mill has reported that Destination America was losing advertisers and was planning on dropping Impact Wrestling. While the first rumor might be true, it would be extremely unusual for a channel that was planning on canceling one wrestling show would go to the lengths to acquire a second show. Ring of Honor is not inherently better or more popular than TNA, though at times it might seem that way.

Ring of Honor will air on Wednesday, 3 June 2015 at 8pm (EDT). This will actually lead into Impact Wrestling at 9pm, currently airing on Fridays. Many commentators have remarked on the possible competition of one show leading into the next.

Pure speculation time: rather than competition, could this be the first sign of a potential partnership—or even merger—between Ring of Honor and TNA? Many of Ring of Honor’s stars are former TNA stars, and vice versa. Wrestlers often move freely between the two companies, in fact. (The two companies actually used to have a talent-sharing agreement.) With the growing threat of Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling, might TNA and Ring of Honor decide to work together to increase their respective influence—and even offer WWE some real competition? In fact, given the reports about TNA’s financial status, could they use a partnership with Ring of Honor to stay afloat?

Though TNA only briefly—and Ring of Honor never—challenged WWE’s crown for supremacy in the wrestling business, many of the top and up-and-coming WWE stars from the past few years had stints in one or both of these two companies: Daniel Bryan (a Ring of Honor champion as Bryan Danielson), CM Punk, Seth Rollins (as Tyler Black), Luke Harper (as Brodie Lee), R-Truth (a TNA champion as Ron “The Truth” Killings), Sami Zayn (as El Generico), Kevin Owens (as Kevin Steen), etc. Samoa Joe, who dominated in both Ring of Honor and TNA, recently debuted in NXT and will likely immediately rise to top of WWE as soon as he joins the main roster. They may not have the dominant market share that WWE enjoys, but they clearly have an eye for talent.

Daniel Bryan retiring?: the future of WWE

On last week’s Monday Night Raw (11 May 2015), Daniel Bryan relinquished the WWE Intercontinental title due to injury. To paraphrase the extent of his current injury, Bryan predicted that he might be out for weeks or months, or he might never wrestle again. This is the second serious injury Bryan has endured in the past year, missing almost all of the latter half of 2014.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ3m9waPHkA]

I don’t have any insider information and I am not a doctor. But I doubt that Bryan wants to repeat the fate of Edge. He is also still fairly young (34 years old today!), with a young wife (31 years old), and he has enough money to start a family and give his children a comfortable life, while actually being around to enjoy it instead of being constantly on the road. Chances are pretty good that Daniel Bryan may decide to retire. As much as I will miss him as a fan, if I were in his shoes, I wouldn’t think twice about it.

Daniel Bryan has held the entire WWE universe under his sway for nearly three years–even inspiring a “takeover” in a great segment on Raw in the spring of 2014. No other wrestler has come close to inspiring the fanaticism of Daniel Bryan’s “Yes Movement.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EQYSuG1GFY]

The question we should be asking ourselves is not whether or not Daniel Bryan will retire. The question is, if he does retire, what will the WWE do? Who will step up and take that top spot?

Brock Lesnar: Though Lesnar publicly announced that he was staying with WWE, he promptly disappeared the night after Wrestlemania XXXI. I’m sure he’ll be back and will be in the main event picture whenever that may be, but I doubt he is being considered part of WWE’s long-term plans.

John Cena: After over a decade on top, it looks like Cena has settled down into the mid-card, which is just fine. It’s time to let some of the others have their chance in the spotlight. I’m sure he hasn’t seen his last Heavyweight title run, but I hope they wait a while.

Randy Orton: Orton has made another face turn. He is one of those guys who is just so good as a heel that fans inevitably start cheering him and a face turn just happens. As long as he stays interesting and relevant, he’ll probably stay in the main event picture.

Seth Rollins: He’s currently wearing the belt around his waist. This bodes well for all of the up-and-coming main-eventers. As long as the champ isn’t Lesnar, Cena, or Orton, everyone else seems to have a chance. Personally I can’t stand Rollins. As a heel, he’s lackluster, in my opinion. We’ve seen the cowardly heel before, but they usually hide behind bigger guys, not a pair of shrimps like J&J Security. He is plenty athletic, though, so if he can shake this current Authority pet gimmick, he could be a bigger, more believable star.

Roman Reigns: This was the guy everyone thought would be taking the reins (pun totally intended) from John Cena. Seems Rollins is that guy. If anything, Reigns is coming in third or fourth on the totem pole. Part of the problem is that Reigns has mediocre promo skills. To me, he just sounds soft sometimes. Reigns needs a history lesson, but not to his more recent family members like the Rock. Almost 25 years ago now, there was a big tough wrestler who barely spoke but dominated in the ring while others did the talking for him. That guy captured the imagination of the fans and became popular with the fans even as a heel. That guy was the Undertaker. Reigns followed that model with the Shield, and I really believe that he could reclaim his original mystique and popularity if he would just shut his mouth.

Dean Ambrose: WWE wanted so much to have him in the mid-card, but—similar to Daniel Bryan—the fans just like him too much. He has the charisma to be a top guy for a long time. He might be the guy that takes that Bryan spot.

Dolph Ziggler: The Show-Off has been around the WWE longer than Daniel Bryan (has everyone blocked their memories of the Spirit Squad yet?). He even had a World championship run a few years ago. He has a lot of popular support, and has the charisma and the athleticism. After selling for everyone all over the mid-card for a few years, he could be due for another good strong run.

Bray Wyatt: Wyatt is the best the WWE has on the mic right now. I would go so far as to say that he is the most complete character in all of professional wrestling. His look, his moves: everything about him reflects his persona. He is extremely popular, even as a heel. Reminds me of mid- to late-90s Undertaker. Yet he rarely shows up in matches. He is a star but doesn’t really have any other stars to fight. Hopefully WWE Creative will figure out what to do with him, and he will have a long career ahead of him.

Neville: The Man that Gravity Forgot has made an immediate impact with his amazing athleticism. Unfortunately, that’s not enough. A true top-level star has to have the full package. As entertaining as he is, he’s still too fresh.

Sami Zayn: He had a great run in NXT and a relatively impressive debut on Raw against John Cena a few weeks ago. That debut unfortunately ended with him needing an MRI. Now it looks like he is back competing in NXT. Better that than what happened to The Ascension. I’m sure he’ll be back in the main roster; he just didn’t make the strong debut that Neville did so he might need a little more time to cook.

Samoa Joe: Joe is awesome. Now that he has made his NXT debut, I only have to wonder just how long he’ll be there before moving into the main roster. How much respect will his experience bring him? Does he really need a long tenure in NXT before he’s ready for prime time? I don’t think so. We’ll just have to wait to see what Mr. McMahon thinks.

And really, that last sentence sums up all of this speculation about the WWE roster: we’ll just have to wait to see what Mr. McMahon thinks.

The best T-shirt designs on ProWrestlingTees.com

Note: I am not in any way connected to or paid by ProWrestlingTees.com (though I am open to any offers). I am just a wrestling fan who wants to support the wrestlers who sacrifice their physical health to entertain us on a nightly or weekly basis.

WWE (and presumably TNA) pay royalties to their wrestlers for sales of T-shirts. But what about all of those independent or retired wrestlers? Many of them have created their own stores at ProWrestlingTees.com (a division of OneHourTees.com), where they sell T-shirts—some of which are completely original designs that are not available elsewhere.

The following designs are my favorites. All are available at ProWrestlingTees.com. I’ll also admit that I am not necessarily familiar with all of these wrestlers, but their T-shirts look cool. The wrestlers that I really like, though, do have an advantage in this list.

Click on the name or picture of each T-shirt for purchasing information. Click the wrestler’s name to visit his store.

 

A. J. Styles, “Japanese Style

Andre the Giant, “Anybody Want A Peanut?

CM Punk, “God Of Thunder

CM Punk, “Good, Bad and the Ugly

CM Punk, “The Pipe Bomb

Kevin Nash, “Blvd Of Broken Dreams

 

Mick Foley, “Cane Dewey

Mick Foley, “King of the Deathmatch

Mick Foley, “One Giant Leap

Road Warriors, “Legion of Zombies

Steve Austin, “What?

Ted Dibiase, “Million Dollar Zombie

Amy Dumas [WWE’s “Lita”], “Faster, Amy! Kill! Kill!

Christopher DanielsFrankie Kazarian, “Breaking Bad Influence

Dustin Rhodes [WWE’s “Goldust”], “Shattered Dreams

Johnny Mundo [WWE’s “John Morrison”], “Starship Pain

 

Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan now with TNA Impact Wrestling!

Here, for your listening pleasure, while you read the rest of this news, the video for “Disarm” by the Smashing Pumpkins from their album Siamese Dream (1994).

Today, 27 April 2015, TNA Wrestling has announced that Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan will serve as Senior Producer, Creative and Talent Development, effective immediately. According to the official announcement, “In this position, Corgan will develop characters and create story lines for TNA’s flagship program IMPACT WRESTLING, broadcast Friday nights at 9/8c on Destination America, as well as other TNA programming.”

Corgan has a history with professional wrestling, previously establishing the Chicago-based wrestling organization Resistance Pro Wrestling which he left in November 2014. With the Smashing Pumpkins, Corgan also wrote the song “G.L.O.W.,” referring to the 1980s cult hit wrestling program, “The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling.”

The announcement quotes Corgan: “Saying I’m humbled and honored by this opportunity to be part of TNA, a world-class wrestling organization, is an understatement and a dream come true. . . . What’s great is the entire TNA organization stands in full support of my music life with the Smashing Pumpkins. In return, I’m fully committed to using my 30 years of entertainment experience, along with my deep-rooted passion for pro wrestling, to take on the thrilling challenge of creatively contributing to IMPACT WRESTLING, finding and developing new talent, and working eye-to-eye with the best-of-the-best. For as cultures currently evolve at great speed, so must pro wrestling meet and supersede such expectations to thrive.”

TNA’s Josh Matthews interviewed Billy Corgan about the appointment. Watch the video of this interview below.