Paige Suspended (Again)

The WWE announced that Paige has been suspended for sixty days for her second offense of violating the company’s wellness policy.

After the female superstar’s first suspension, Paige posted an explanation on Instagram:

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In this post from three weeks ago, Paige claims that her suspension was a result of a “procedural issue” due to not taking the required drug test in time. Apparently Paige and Del Rio were on vacation at the time of the surprise drug test and tried to make it back in time, but failed (http://hollywoodlife.com/2016/10/10/wwe-paige-suspended-again-60-days-furious-tweets/). At the time of her first suspension, Paige also stated that she had no intention of leaving the WWE. When Alberto Del Rio was released from the WWE after his suspension (which took effect on the same day as Paige’s first suspension), it was assumed that Paige, Del Rio’s girlfriend, would follow suit.

However, things may have changed with this most recent suspension. Paige is obviously angry about the company’s decision. The WWE Universe has expressed that they believe Paige is being punished because Del Rio has left, the same way that AJ Lee was mistreated after CM Punk left the WWE.

According to Paige’s father, Paige has been suffering from a “long-term neck injury,” for which she has been prescribed pain killers (http://www.wrestlezone.com/news/763221-what-caused-paige-to-violate-the-wwe-wellness-policy-for-a-second-time-paiges-parents-speak-out-on-her-suspension). These drugs are supposedly in violation of the WWE’s wellness policy. He also claims that his daughter has not been getting “proper care and advice” during this injury, assumably from the WWE.

About this second suspension, Paige has tweeted: screen-shot-2016-10-10-at-4-39-58-pm

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This second tweet obviously refers to the fact that some superstars have violated the company’s wellness policy and have not been punished for it, such as Brock Lesnar, who recently failed a drug test.

If Paige gets suspended a third time, her contract with the WWE will be terminated.

Paige is only one of many superstars to face suspension due to a violation of the WWE’s wellness policy. In the last few months, six superstars have been suspended including: Adam Rose, Alberto Del Rio, Eva Marie, Konnor (from the Ascension), Paige (twice), and Roman Reigns. Since the WWE started doing regular drug testing after the drug-related death of Eddie Guerrero in 2006, the WWE has issued over fifty suspensions for violations of the company’s wellness policy. The entire list can be viewed here: http://www.pwpix.net/wwe-wellness-program-violations/

Becky Lynch Injury

Last night, fans learned that Becky Lynch would be unable to compete at No Mercy due to an injury. Rumors swirled about Lynch’s injury all day yesterday. Some sources reported that she would not compete in her scheduled match against Alexa Bliss, other sources claimed that Lynch would compete, but that she would lose the title the same way that Sasha Banks lost to Charlotte in order to have some time off to recover from her injury a few months ago. Mostly, a cloud of confusion circled the situation, and the WWE Universe was not told for sure about Lynch’s status until commentators confirmed at No Mercy that Lynch would not be competing, and that Bliss would face another opponent.

So why all the secrecy? What’s going on with Becky Lynch? According to PWInsider,  “Lynch’s health issue is preventing her from taking bumps…she does not have a physical injury” (http://411mania.com/wrestling/becky-lynch-may-do-backstage-injury-segment-at-no-mercy/). Although some sites reported that Lynch’s injury was neck-related. Apparently, Lynch’s last performance at a live event was a tag team match on October 3rd, additionally, Lynch reportedly did not make an appearance at the WWE house show in Portland, Oregon, on October 8th. Despite this, Lynch’s health issue “isn’t said to be serious” and is “unrelated to anything physical, or in the ring (http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2016/1009/618243/becky-lynch-thanks-fans-for-support-photo/). Rumor has it that Lynch should only be out of the ring for about a month, so she will not have to vacate her title (the rule is that a superstar must relinquish their title after 60 days of not competing).

While Becky Lynch deserves her privacy, fans can’t help but wonder, what is this “injury” that isn’t really an injury? It must be personal, since the WWE is so tight-lipped about it. It is the day after No Mercy, and there still isn’t any kind of update about Lynch’s medical condition. Perhaps more information will be revealed tonight on Monday Night Raw.

Here is the tweet Becky Lynch sent out yesterday. There is a photo attached which shows her in a hospital bed.

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Whatever physical ailment Lynch is suffering from, we all hope she gets better soon so she can get back in the ring. I can’t imagine another female superstar deserving of the Smackdown Women’s Title at this point in time.

Dan Matha NXT Debut

Tonight, Dan Matha attempted to debut on NXT, but he was attacked by Samoa Joe before his match. We don’t know much about Matha so far, but two things stand out: one, he’s ginormous. He stands at six foot seven. The second, is Matha’s body acne, which stole the spotlight. It covers his arms, legs, chest, stomach, and back. I apologize for being critical, but it’s unrealistic not to comment on the subject. The WWE Universe has noticed it, and they are already making comments about it on Twitter, on Youtube, etc. Let’s face it, the WWE is known to be shallow, so it’s surprising that they would allow Matha to debut without requiring some dermatology care. While there are obviously natural causes of body acne, the first thing one thinks is “steroids.”

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In this photo, taken from the promotional video for Matha’s debut, Matha’s body acne is distinct. The entire video can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQmsIVxU0uU. However, it is much more prominent in the live segment.

I hope that Matha is talented enough to be known as more than the guy with all the acne. At that height, he should be very successful in the WWE. It will be entertaining to see him match up against other six- and seven-footers in the future.

Women’s Championship Match as RAW Main Event

The WWE has come a long way in its treatment of its female superstars. Women wrestlers are no longer called Divas, commentators don’t yell “puppies!” whenever a woman walks down the ramp, and their wrestling gear is much less revealing.

The 2016 WWE Draft was majorly significant for the women’s division. The most exciting part of the draft for most people was the integration of the NXT talent. Both Raw and Smackdown acquired female superstars from NXT, including: Nia Jax, Carmella, and Alexa Bliss. That means that half of the NXT acquisitions were women (only six picks came from NXT). It does not get more equal than 50/50.

Charlotte, the WWE Women’s Champion at the time, was chosen in the first round, as Raw’s third overall draft pick. However you feel about Charlotte, this fact is impressive and boundary-breaking. However, I think it says more about the WWE’s changing attitude towards women than about Charlotte herself, although she is very talented. A few months later, Bayley joined the Raw roster. In recent weeks, there have commonly been two women’s matches per episode, even in NXT’s one-hour segment.

Most recently, last night on Monday Night Raw (10/3/2016), Charlotte faced Sasha Banks for the WWE Women’s Championship in the MAIN EVENT. While NXT has had women’s matches as the main event, I’m pretty sure this was a first for the flagship show. While I personally believe that despite her loss Charlotte had a better performance last night, this match was career-changing for both women, and industry-changing for the WWE.

 

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On another note, the Champ needs to do something about that hairline.

 

Meeting Booker T

A week ago, my boyfriend and I met Booker T at the Hartford CT Comic Con! We bought tickets as soon as we found out he was going to be there as a celebrity guest. We also met Ryan Hurst, Emilio Rivera, and Christopher Reed from Sons of Anarchy. Maria Kanellis, former WWE Diva, was supposed to be there as well, but I think she canceled. A booth had her name on it, and then it was taken down about an hour later.

Booker was being interviewed as we waited in line to meet him. We were so nervous that we didn’t know what to say (this was before I started this blog and didn’t think I would be writing about it, or else I would have done some research and preparation!). He was really cool, he shook our hands and asked our names. We took pictures with him and got his autograph (photos below). I touched his Hall of Fame ring, and he hugged me as we left!

I’ve met some other wrestlers as well. My old high school used to host wrestling shows,  called the Wrestlefest, and I went in 2007 and 2009. They’ve stopped hosting Wrestlefest, or else I would go every year. I met Jerry the King Lawler, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Joey Mercury. I took pictures with the King and Mercury, but I have no idea what happened to them (and this was before I owned a camera phone, so I don’t have any way of retrieving them, sadly). Other (former and current) WWE wrestlers performed at these events as well, such as Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, Christian, Samoa Joe, Jimmy Hart, Kevin Nash, and Paul London. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to personally meet them. Still, it’s really cool to know that I was in the same room as them.

I can’t wait to meet more wrestlers and share the photos with you guys!

 

 

David Otunga: Worst WWE Commentator in History

When one searches: “David Otunga WWE Commentator,” the first result that pops up is “Worst WWE Commentator in History.” Actually, it doesn’t say that, but it should. Instead, the headlines read, “David Otunga Temporarily Taking Over Commentary Duties for Jerry Lawler” and “David Otunga Has Found His Calling as a WWE Commentator.” Actually, wrestling rumors.net, I hope you’re right that Otunga’s role as a commentator is temporary. Thank you for giving me hope. As for Otunga finding his “calling” as a commentator (hiddenremote.com), you guys obviously wrote your article before you heard David Otunga commentate. It is amazing how bad Otunga is at commentary, considering that he barely even commentates. Every time he does speak, however, I face palm my forehead, cover my eyes, and will myself to be temporarily deaf.

When I Googled Otunga to see if anyone else noticed his lack of commentary skills, I came across a YouTube video of the Don Tony and Kevin Castle show, which, for the record, I have not heard of until today. The segment I am referring to is called “Why David Otunga’s Commentary is BRUTAL on WWE Smackdown!” and was posted by TVTraX.

Here’s the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EUuufBjN9U

In the show, Don Tony claims Otunga’s commentary sounds like “somebody on a soundboard, and on the soundboard they have 500 phrases of David Otunga…and when somebody does something in the ring, I could press one button, and it would say something and the way it was said, the energy, and the lack of thought behind it…he’s horrendous.”

However, some people believe Otunga is receiving too much criticism for his commentary. The top comment on the video says, “You guys are overdoing it. I literally never remember that he’s even on commentary.” This comment received 28 “likes.”

So what do you think? Is David Otunga really as bad as some people (myself included) seem to think? Should we cut him some slack and hope he improves? For the record, I REALLY do hope he improves, but I’m not sure I’m patient enough to wait for that to happen. Some people are not cut out to commentate, even if they did wrestle. Should WWE replace him and save themselves and Otunga further embarrassment?

 

*I wanted to share clips of Otunga’s commentary to prove my point, but I couldn’t find any and didn’t want to break any copyright laws. I also wanted to watch all of the episodes of Smackdown since the WWE Draft (via Hulu), and list the dumb things Otunga has said, but that would take a really long time and I’m not sure anyone would want to read all of it. If you have the time to go back and listen to Otunga, do it. If anything, when you watch Smackdown Live, pay special attention to Otunga. You’ll see what I mean. You’ll get a good laugh, but you might also be a little frustrated like I am.

*On a side note, have you guys ever noticed the creepy look Otunga gives the camera?

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WWE Commentators’ Scripts

Most of us are aware that WWE matches are scripted. However, I have been wondering recently if WWE Commentators also follow a script, or whether their reactions and comments are genuine and spontaneous.

The moment that brought this question to my mind was a match during Monday Night Raw, on September 26, 2016. In this match, the New Day faced The Club, in a Clash of Champions rematch for the WWE World Tag Team Championships. At the end of the match, there is a moment of confusion. There is blood in the ring. Outside the ring, Luke Gallows’ hands and gloves are drenched in blood, but he does not appear to be in pain. The camera zooms out. You have to squint. Where is the source of the blood? The camera zooms in to the men in the ring, the New Day. Kofi Kingston is bleeding profusely from his forehead. Xavier Woods presses a towel to Kofi’s head. You ask yourself, when did Kofi obtain this cut that caused such a massive amount of bleeding? Was it when he was slammed into the steel steps?

Then you wonder why you have to wonder this at all. Shouldn’t the commentators comment on when the injury was received? But instead, they say nothing about the blood, the bleeding, still going on in the ring. They do not say a word. This appears strange to me. Obviously, they were not prepared for this injury. It was not in the script. But even if it wasn’t supposed to happen, shouldn’t they acknowledge it anyway? It’s a big deal when someone bleeds. It’s an even bigger deal when it’s not supposed to happen.

I did a little research on whether or not WWE Commentators follow a script, and found out that they do. However, some commentators are known to forfeit knowledge of the endings of the matches in order to better commentate and react honestly. One website, deadspin.com even released a WWE Raw script, which contains certain points they must hit during certain matches. The script even includes wrestlers’ speeches and promos. It’s pretty interesting. Here’s the link:

http://deadspin.com/this-is-what-a-wwe-raw-script-looks-like-1570327862

A nine page script of dos and don’ts for WWE Commentators was posted on a website called SEScoops (http://www.sescoops.com/photos-full-nine-page-wwe-raw-announcer-script-leaks-online/). One of the rules is “don’t call blood,” which might answer my question. However, the rules are in place to make the commentators sound natural and honest. The natural response to seeing blood is surprise, even in wrestling. The way the commentators ignore the blood achieves the opposite effect; it makes their response (or lack of one) seem illegitimate.