Welcome to the latest edition of Strange Things In Wrestling This Month with Marc Madison. This (intended to be) monthly edition returns, and similar to the bi-weekly (ish) version, it tackles things that happened over the past month, things that may have been missed, forgotten or initially ignored. We want to bring these events to the forefront! We showcase the odd, unique, quirky or possibly bizarre qualities of events in wrestling because that’s what makes them stand out. We’ll dive deep into a handful of different things, stories whose strange nature is something that should be featured.
You can anticipate something outside normal online wrestling culture when it comes to this (generally) monthly edition. We may focus on a tweet from a wrestler, an image, a scenario, a match, or even a storyline. In this month’s edition, we tackle why what was a major pay per view for one company returned as nothing more than a house show, a former WWE superstar showing his frustration towards a wrestling ring, the potential return of the Ace, and a heel turn we didn’t really see coming…sort of. And more! Without further ado, here are Strange Things in Wrestling This Month for November 2017.
WCW’s biggest event relegated to a house show
On Saturday, November 25th, the WWE’s Smackdown Live brand held an event that would have made the late ‘American Dream’ Dusty Rhodes proud. This was the return of World Championship Wrestling most significant annual event, Starrcade. For anyone unaware, Starrcade was to WCW what Wrestlemania is to WWE. It also would have made Big Dust so proud that his son, Dustin ‘Goldust’ Rhodes, on this evening returned to his ‘The Natural’ Dustin Rhodes persona, the character he first used when he became a wrestler. Throughout his career, Dustin has always been committed to whatever his character was, as is evident from the evolution of Goldust. The evening also saw the daughter of one of Dusty Rhodes’ greatest rivals, Charlotte, daughter of Ric Flair, defend her WWE Smackdown Live women’s championship against the former champion Natalya.
The event also featured an appearance by North Carolina’s own Matt and Jeff Hardy, and a defense of the WWE championship by AJ Styles. The event really should have been celebrated, but unfortunately, that wasn’t the case because this special event wasn’t given the attention that it deserved. After having not taken place since WWE’s purchase of WCW, it wasn’t a pay per view or any sort, it was just a house show. Without any rhyme nor reason, WWE decided to leave this once special event un-televised and not streamed on the WWE Network, even though many fans never had the opportunity to witness its original incarnation.
Austin Aries tells off a ring!
One of the most popular wrestlers outside the WWE today is former WWE NXT and Cruiserweight star Austin Aries. The well-traveled Aries is known for his clever comments on commentary, and for handling a banana during a promo. Aries’ time with WWE came to an end, and he was released, not at his own request, but because the companies didn’t have anything for him, storyline wise or any feuds planned for him coming off his longstanding rivalry with then Cruiserweight champion Neville. He is also known for not holding back what he feels or thinks when given the opportunity arises to do so.
During the last weekend of the month, Aries took part in a pair of matches in Melbourne, Australia, one of them as part of a tag team match with Sean Waltman, who competed as X-Pac in WWE. It was a pretty special night for the two men, and they appeared quite happy to be working together as they sported matching Vegenation Y t-shirts. When the match came to an end, Waltman and Aries took turns getting on the microphone and sharing how pleased they were to be working with one another. However, after expressing gratitude for this opportunity to work with Waltman, Aries proceeded to share how upset he was with the ring construction, dropped the microphone and left the ring. Waltman explained what he believed Aries meant to the live crowd, but it was a strange moment to witness for those in attendance.
Curtis Axel, this generation’s…Cowboy Bob Orton?
A third-generation wrestler, Curtis Axel has shown that he is just as talented an in-ring performer as his father and grandfather before him. While at one time he claimed to be better than perfect, Curtis Axel has now shown that he is a man among…Miz? What he has done over the past few months is show that he is willing to be a part of a team, as he has aligned with another third generation wrestler, Bo Dallas, to support The Miz as part of his ensemble cast. The role of The Miztourage has been pretty clear: he and Dallas take bullets for The Miz repeatedly, protecting the former Intercontinental champion from any sure harm that could be coming his way.
Much like any stuntman, Axel isn’t without his battle scars. However, over the course of the last month, one battle scar that has remained with Axel has been the neck brace that he wears week in and week out while standing by the Miz’s side. Even as Axel has been receiving countless beatings, he has begged for mercy due to the neck brace. His sporting the brace is reminiscent of how Cowboy Bob Orton wore a cast over his arm during the 1980s, after suffering a ‘broken’ arm that seemed to last over eight years! We hope Axel’s injury won’t be that long, but stranger things have happened.
Do the fans need to be AWOKEN?
It seems that one of the most interesting and creative characters of the past few years is slated to make its debut in the WWE. BROKEN Matt Hardy was the alter ego of a weakened and drained Matt Hardy during his last run in Impact Wrestling. He would claim that he would not just beat his competition or challengers, he would DELETE them, accompanying the statement with a forceful swipe of his arm that signified removal. Hardy, along with his Brother Nero (Jeff Hardy’s middle name is actually Nero) took on new personas and engaged in battles at their CAPTIVATING compound with the likes of Decay. Fans constantly wondered if the characters would appear in WWE, because of the legal issues over the ownership of this creativity property.
However, after months of speculation and legal battles, it appears as though the BROKEN character has been AWOKEN after Matt’s match against Bray Wyatt. As Wyatt claimed to follow the buzzards, a battered Hardy sat in the corner gesturing while shouting DELETE….DELETE…DELETE. Still, those that didn’t watch Hardy’s work in Impact Wrestling may not be familiar with what this all means, and why they should care. What should have been an exciting moment as Hardy began to lay the groundwork an awakening was met with just a smattering of support. The cameras showed some fans mimicking the DELETE motion, but otherwise, it seemed lost on those in attendance. This seemed like a strange reaction, given how often and loud this chant occurred when the Hardys first reappeared in WWE in April.
Woo woo woo, you turned on me?
For the past couple of years, WWE had the combination of Mojo Rawley and Zack Ryder working together in an effort to give one guy a direction and help him teach the other one how to be a professional wrestler. Some may remember the WWE network program Breaking Through, where it showed how Ryder appeared annoyed with Rawley because he seemed to lack focus or care about what he was doing in the ring. Teaming Ryder with Rawley came from the best of intentions and led to them being drafted to Smackdown Live and being a part of the tag team division.
However, the problem was that just when it appeared things were on the upswing for the team, Ryder suffered a major injury that took him out of action for months, which completely flattened the team’s push and potential to contend for the Smackdown Live tag team championship. Due to the duo’s frustration, seeds were being planted for a split, as Zack Ryder would often walk away from his partner disappointed at yet another disappointing result. On this past week’s edition of Smackdown Live, we once again saw the team of Ryder and Rawley suffer a loss. However, what was peculiar was that the person who had been teased as turning heel, and had more reason than any, was victimized. Rawley turned on Ryder, leaving Long Island Ice Z completely wiped out in the middle of the ring, in a turn that many wouldn’t have seen coming.
So ends this edition of Strange Things In Wrestling This Month with Marc Madison. November is when our American friends gave thanks, ate turkey, enjoyed Black Friday sales and overdosed on football, while we Canadians, who already celebrated Thanksgiving last month, tried to present our best imitation of a Black Friday weekend of sales. They say that the strange things come out at night, especially when they wear spandex or some other form of stretchy pants. And who knew that across the wrestling world, we would see wrestlers having to fight through trash in order to make a statement.
As per usual, we featured some odd and unusual suspects, and social media played a major part in many of the stories. We could have talked about other things that caught our attention, but we didn’t focus on hard-hitting issues in the world of sports entertainment because that’s what everyone else does. We are above that here with our Strange Things in Wrestling series! We hit you with the fun that comes from putting things in a blender and testing the result. Did we miss something or should we have talked about something else in this month’s edition? For Strange Things in Wrestling This Month, this is Marc Madison saying, see you next month…and if it’s strange, there is a pretty good chance we’ll discuss it.
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