Hello fellow grappling fans and welcome to ringside as we get ready to run the ropes on another week of wrestling roundup, let’s get right on it!
RIP Matt Anoa’i
First up former WWE World Tag Team Champion Matthew Tapaunuu “Matt” Anoa’i formerly Rosey from the WWE passed away earlier this week on Monday at the age of 47 from congestive heart failure. Anoa’i is best remembered for being one half of Three Minute Warning, a pair of enforcers for Eric Bischoff when was first Raw General Manager then as Rosey the Super Hero In Training with The Hurricane AKA Gregory Shane Helms. They held the World Tag Team Championship for a brief spell in 2005. We here at Don’t Hate the Geek send our best wishes and condolences to the Anoa’i family, which includes Matt’s brother, Roman Reigns.
Mauro Ranallo and WWE Bullying
The biggest story going on I believe in all of wrestling is of course Mauro Ranallo and his departure from WWE due to incessant backstage bullying/hazing, particularly from former SmackDown Live broadcast partner, John Bradshaw Layfield (JBL). JBL has been long reported as a bully backstage, often loving to engage in a rib or two, but Ranallo, who has been long documented as suffering from depression and bipolar disorder began to feel very uncomfortable.
More info has come out recently as to the actions that made Ranallo leave the company. Dave Meltzer recently reported when starting out, Jerry Lawyer would call him M.R., thinking it was like how he talked to J.R. Jim Ross, but M.R. it seems stood for “mental retard”, a playground term from Vince McMahon and Lawyer’s school days. Another factor was his commentating style. He was at first told to just go and do his thing and it was noticeable when he first started on WWE how he sounded more like a sports announcer rather than the usual commentator you’d hear on WWE TV today and Vince didn’t like it. He was told to sound a little more like Michael Cole and that Ranallo’s style was why Tom Phillips was added to the SmackDown announce team.
Ranallo was treated as being different backstage which does so and more or less confirm to fans and what past wrestlers have said of the backstage environment of WWE as it just wasn’t JBL doing all the hazing/ribs. Its been long held that Vince McMahon himself and Kevin Dunn have let this attitude go and sort of lax backstage for a very longtime and it didn’t help when Justin Roberts’ book, Best Seat in the House came out and seemed to imply a story where JBL stole his passport while on an overseas tour. Oh and all the other numerous former WWE employees that specifically cite JBL as their reason for leaving the company.
This story is gaining more traction and sooner rather than later, WWE will to need address the situation seeing as its only getting bigger and that they are still running the Be A Star anti-bullying campaign that is one of their P.R. cornerstones.
Right now Ranallo is back commentating boxing and MMA event and is still contracted to the WWE until August.
Don’t Hinder Jinder
Speaking of SmackDown, in a huge shock, Jinder Mahal has been made the number one contender to the WWE Championship for Backlash next month as he’ll face Randy Orton for the title since it seems the House of Horrors match with Bray Wyatt at Payback is non-title.
The win came as a MAJOR shock given Jinder’s position in the company both when he was let go and came back. A big rumored reason is for WWE making a major push in the Indian market and using Mahal, who is of Indian descent via Canada, is really their only chance of making such a push. Plus, they are wanting to make a new stable out of him along with the Singh Brothers, who you will remember as The Bollywood Boyz from the Cruiserweight Classic Tournament last year. Interesting, but response has been very mixed as to those crying out how WWE doesn’t wanna give a rub to the more workhorse performers and wanting shocks for the sake of shocks to those surprised and intrigued by the decision to give Mahal the push. We’ll just have to see where this goes.
Ready for a Rumble
Over the exhausting weekend of wrestling that was WrestleMania, it was a shock announcement that Drew Galloway was returning to WWE to their NXT developmental brand under his original WWE name, Drew McIntyre. Galloway has been finishing up commitments across the indie circuit, most recently this past Sunday at Insane Championship Wrestling’s Barramania 3 in a Barbed Wire Rope Match in where he was victorious against Jack Jester.
But he is still the WhatCulture Pro Wrestling Champion and their GM Adam Blampied has announced that the main event of their upcoming iPPV on April 29, No Regrets will feature a 30 man rumble match for the WCPW Championship and Galloway/McIntyre himself announced on Twitter he’ll enter #1 to prove his worth as their champion.
— Drew McIntyre (@DMcIntyreWWE) April 21, 2017
Best Recent Matches
Now for recent amazing wrestling matches, yeah there is nothing I can highlight other than Kazuchika Okada vs. Katsuyori Shibata for Okada’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship from New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Sakura Genesis 2017. As one might expect a match between these two is absolutely brutal, hard hitting, and just an absolute masterpiece. This is a match that is a rival for Okada’s main event of Wrestle Kingdom 11 against Kenny Omega.
Though the match is at times hard to watch given how stiff both these men can really be and how we still don’t know how Shibata has recovered from the severe injuries suffered during the match. Regardless right now, take a look at the best bits and do seek out the match for yourself, its one of the best matches this year.
That’s been Running the Ropes, what were your personal wrestling highlights of the week? Let us know in the comments below!