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Friday, March 30, 2012

Why Rock vs. Cena Is Truly Special


My first real, communal wrestling experience happened 25 years ago yesterday. I was 9 and went with my two brothers, mom, dad, and several friends bought tickets to see WrestleMania III.
I remember the deafening roar of the live crowd when Ricky Steamboat rolled up Randy Savage for the three-count. I remember the lines for the bathroom being so long that men were relieving themselves in sinks. And, most of all, I remember the jubilation that we all felt when we witnessed the “bodyslam heard around the world.”
And we were just watching it on a big screen at the Nassau Coliseum.
A quarter-century later, it’s still widely considered the biggest wrestling event in American history. And that’s because it was headlined by the biggest match in American history—Hulk Hogan vs. Andre the Giant. Over the 24 WrestleManias that followed the event, WWE would try time and time again to recreate the magic feel of that match. On a couple of occasions, they would come close, most notably at WrestleMania VI with Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior, and at WrestleMania X-8 with Hogan vs. The Rock. But no pairing has ever been able to match the monumental clash that took place on March 28, 1987.
In two days, WWE will try once again to put on the biggest match of all time when it presents the long-awaited showdown between The Rock and John Cena. On paper at least, it has many of the ingredients of the truly epic matches that preceded it, including Hulk-Andre.
First, it has a feeling of exclusivity—having never happened before, and with a possibility that it may never happen again.
Second, it’s had a slow build. On top of the 12 months of hype since WWE announced the match, the verbal jabs and resentment between Cena and The Rock goes back several years.
Third, it features two truly huge stars. The Rock is on the shortlist of the biggest wrestling stars in history. And Cena, despite coming along during a relatively down business time for wrestling, has undoubtedly made more of an impact on the sport over the past decade than anyone else.
Fourth, the stakes are incredible. Like Hogan vs. Andre or Hogan vs. Warrior, it’s hard to picture either of the two stars losing the bout. A Cena loss would mean that WWE’s most valuable full-time star was sacrificed at the altar of a visiting, special attraction. A Rock loss, in his hometown of Miami and in his first singles match in eight years, might spark a riot.
And lastly, the stage is right. It’s WrestleMania—the “Showcase Of The Immortals.” With 60,000-plus fans in the building and more than a million watching around the world, just about any match takes on greater significance.
What’s more, The Rock and John Cena have something going for them that many of the epic matches of the past did not: They are both terrific wrestlers, capable of putting on great performances against even lesser-talented opponents. Together, they are capable of something truly great.
Regardless of where Rock-Cena eventually ends up on a list of wrestling’s biggest matches, this much is for certain: Sunday night will be a heck of a fun time to be a wrestling fan. And a wrestling writer, too.
-Al Castle
PWI Senior Writer

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

WrestleMania 28: PWI Staff Predictions



We know, we know … we spend lots of time urging fans to just sit back and enjoy wrestling without overthinking what they’re watching … only to turn around and overthink what we expect  go down at the biggest show of the year on April 1 in Miami.

Call us hypocrites—we can take it—just as long as you call us “correct” when the following predictions come to pass this Sunday night:

THE ROCK vs. JOHN CENA
Mike Bessler (Contributing Writer): John Cena
Harry Burkett (Senior Writer): The Rock
Al Castle (Senior Writer): John Cena
Frank Krewda (Editor): John Cena
Dave Lenker (Senior Writer): The Rock
Dan Murphy (Senior Writer): The Rock
Stu Saks (Publisher): John Cena

TRIPLE-H VS. THE UNDERTAKER
Mike Bessler (Contributing Writer): The Undertaker
Harry Burkett (Senior Writer): The Undertaker
Al Castle (Senior Writer): The Undertaker
Frank Krewda (Editor): The Undertaker
Dave Lenker (Senior Writer): The Undertaker
Dan Murphy (Senior Writer): The Undertaker
Stu Saks (Publisher): The Undertaker

CM PUNK VS. CHRIS JERICHO
Mike Bessler (Contributing Writer): Chris Jericho
Harry Burkett (Senior Writer): CM Punk
Al Castle (Senior Writer): Chris Jericho
Frank Krewda (Editor): CM Punk
Dave Lenker (Senior Writer): Chris Jericho
Dan Murphy (Senior Writer): Chris Jericho
Stu Saks (Publisher): CM Punk

RANDY ORTON vs. KANE
Mike Bessler (Contributing Writer): Kane
Harry Burkett (Senior Writer): Randy Orton
Al Castle (Senior Writer): Randy Orton
Frank Krewda (Editor): Randy Orton
Dave Lenker (Senior Writer): Randy Orton
Dan Murphy (Senior Writer): Randy Orton
Stu Saks (Publisher): Randy Orton

DANIEL BRYAN vs. SHEAMUS
Mike Bessler (Contributing Writer): Sheamus
Harry Burkett (Senior Writer): Sheamus
Al Castle (Senior Writer): Sheamus
Frank Krewda (Editor): Sheamus
Dave Lenker (Senior Writer): Daniel Bryan
Dan Murphy (Senior Writer): Sheamus
Stu Saks (Publisher): Daniel Bryan

CODY RHODES VS. THE BIG SHOW
Mike Bessler (Contributing Writer): The Big Show
Harry Burkett (Senior Writer): Cody Rhodes
Al Castle (Senior Writer): Cody Rhodes
Frank Krewda (Editor): Cody Rhodes
Dave Lenker (Senior Writer): Cody Rhodes
Dan Murphy (Senior Writer): Cody Rhodes
Stu Saks (Publisher): The Big Show

MARIA MENOUNOS & KELLY KELLY vs. EVE & BETH PHOENIX
Mike Bessler (Contributing Writer): Menounos & Kelly
Harry Burkett (Senior Writer): Menounos & Kelly
Al Castle (Senior Writer): Menounos & Kelly
Frank Krewda (Editor): Menounos & Kelly
Dave Lenker (Senior Writer): Menounos & Kelly
Dan Murphy (Senior Writer): Menounos & Kelly
Stu Saks (Publisher): Menounos & Kelly

TEAM JOHNNY vs. TEAM TEDDY
Mike Bessler (Contributing Writer): Team Johnny
Harry Burkett (Senior Writer): Team Johnny
Al Castle (Senior Writer): Team Teddy
Frank Krewda (Editor): Team Johnny
Dave Lenker (Senior Writer): Team Johnny
Dan Murphy (Senior Writer): Team Johnny
Stu Saks (Publisher): Team Teddy

Let us know how our predictions compare to yours!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PWI On Twitter; Website Changes


Hot on the heels of the debut of PWI Digital, Pro Wrestling Illustrated continues its technological evolution with our new PWI Twitter page!  Our Twitter handle is @OfficialPWI. In the first few days since we launched the page, we’ve gained more than 300 followers. In the coming weeks and, we’re hoping to add even more fans and enthusiasts to the fold.

Wrestling aficionados far and wide make good use of the so-called “Twitterverse,” so we figured it was about time to dip our virtual toes into the freewheeling exchange of information that unfolds minute by minute on the Information Superhighway. We’re going to make the most out of this online adventure by tweeting about events and developments from the world of professional wrestling as they unfold. Along the way, we’ll interact with loyal readers and PWI faithful from around the world and we’ll re-tweet the best stuff from the Twitter pages of the industry’s best and brightest. And hey, would you blame us if we threw out a plug or two every so often for some of our stuff? Watch our Twitter page for updates and previews of outstanding content you’ll find in forthcoming issues of Pro Wrestling Illustrated and Inside Wrestling/The Wrestler.

Our Twitter account is manned by a handful of staff and contributors from the PWI bullpen, and we’ll all do the best job possible at monitoring the ebb and flow of action and intrigue within the squared circle and beyond. We’ll also look for ways to integrate our tweets with PWI’s existing online content, including PWI’s official website, as well as our blog and Facebook page. 

A word about the PWI Website: Beginning earlier this week, www.pwi-online.com and www.wrestlinginc.com entered into an agreement by which wrestlinginc.com would provide RSS feeds to our site, enabling our visitors to receive wrestling news from around the globe on an immediate basis. We think you'll enjoy wrestlinginc.com's brand of journalism and we look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.