On November 18, 2012, at the annual Survivor Series PPV, C.M. Punk defended his WWE Championship in a triple threat match against John Cena and Ryback. Just when it looked as if Punk was about to taste defeat, out came three men dressed in black. They delivered a triple power bomb to Ryback through the announcers table, thus allowing Punk to score the pinfall inside the ring on a prone Cena. The group consisting of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns would become collectively known as the Shield.
One year later, The Shield has become the omnipresent force of WWE. They were often involved in the top angles and best matches every week on television and worked with virtually every major star in the company. In many ways they have been the backbone of the company this year.
But no discussion of their importance to the product can begin without stating the obvious—The Shield is WWE’s way of acknowledging they learned from the mistake they made with Nexus.
Three years ago The Nexus took WWE by storm. Few may remember because they were buried so horribly, but their debut angle on June 7, 2010 was among the most heated, spectacular moments in the history of Monday Night Raw. However, their momentum quickly fizzled and the group soon became a mere footnote in WWE history.
There is a difference in how the company views the long-term potential of The Shield when compared to Nexus. Management had little confidence that any member of Nexus would become a major star once they disbanded. With the exception of Ryback (who is on a decline) that prophecy was pretty accurate. On the contrary, many of the higher ups believe all three Shield members have the potential to make it as big time players.
Another reason I believe they have been so successful is because each individual brings a distinct element to the mix. Ambrose is the leader and one of the more psychologically sound wrestlers you will find today. Some have even compared him to a young Terry Funk. In the world of professional wrestling you can’t ask for a better compliment than that. Rollins is the daredevil and most versatile worker of the three, while Reigns is the quiet powerhouse. Together they make a unique package.
Their first few weeks on the main roster consisted of them coming to Punk’s aid whenever it seemed like his championship reign was in jeopardy. They soon transitioned into a feud with Daniel Bryan, Kane and Ryback, eventually making their in-ring debut against the trio at last December’s TLC PPV. The Shield emerged victorious in what turned out to be one of the best matches of 2012.
Despite Ambrose and Rollins having years of experience on the independent circuit, and Reigns being a product of the WWE developmental system, all three came off as seasoned main eventers. I’m convinced that match changed a lot of people’s perceptions of the group.
Even though they had a tremendous initial outing, I thought they would have a few hot weeks before disbanding and going their separate paths. But as time progressed their push only got stronger. Contrary to how WWE uses most of its young talent, it appeared that The Shield was getting a fair shot at playing with the big boys.
The Shield began 2013 running through the best that WWE had to offer. They defeated the team of Cena, Sheamus and Ryback at the Elimination Chamber PPV and beat Sheamus, Big Show and Randy Orton at WrestleMania. Two weeks later they overcame the team of Bryan, Kane and Undertaker in a hot six-man tag on Raw. It was Undertaker’s first match on Raw in nearly three years. That same week on Smackdown we saw Undertaker vs. Ambrose in the main event. What a long way they had come in such a short time span.
Working with a legend such as Undertaker was a big feather in their cap. Undertaker only makes a limited amount of appearances per year and for him to request a tag and singles match against members of The Shield was a sign of the respect he has for them. They even laid Undertaker out with their patented triple power bomb. Undertaker’s last appearance on WWE television saw him decimated by the group.
As summer rolled around, The Shield began setting their sights on championship glory. All three members captured their first taste of gold at the Extreme Rules PPV, with Ambrose winning the U.S. championship and Rollins and Reigns capturing the Tag Team titles. This period was also notable for being the start of Daniel Bryan’s rise toward true main event superstardom. Bryan was involved in some tremendous matches against The Shield in various combinations. The two that stood out most to me was a May 20 tag match on Raw where he partnered with Kane and Kofi Kingston and a match against Rollins on June 10. There is an old saying of how every great hero needs a great villain. Bryan and The Shield complemented each other perfectly in that regard.
Rollins and Reigns held the belts for five months until losing to Goldust and Cody Rhodes on the Oct. 21 in a great match. Ambrose is still the U.S. champion.
Their stock rose even further as they took on the role of Triple H’s enforcers in The Authority, where they are responsible for putting the boots to anyone that crosses his path. They continue to be featured at the top of the cards, even participating in last night’s main event on Smackdown.
Currently, WWE is in the beginning stages of grooming Reigns to be a main event singles star. He’s been given a lot of time to shine in recent performances and wound up as the sole survivor for his team at last Sunday’s Survivor Series PPV. Before that happens, I‘m sure we will see the long awaited Shield vs. Wyatt Family program.
For bringing tag team wrestling back to the forefront and being an integral part of the company for the entire year, The Shield have cemented their legacy as one of the best stables to ever grace WWE.
He calls himself the “Best in the World” and a strong argument can be made in his defense. For the third year in a row C.M. Punk has continued to establish himself as one of the most consistently great and reliable main eventers in WWE.
Punk began 2013 in the midst of an historic run as WWE Champion, and was en route to participating in a dream match against Rock at the Royal Rumble. Similar to the Rock vs. John Cena encounter from the previous year, Punk vs. Rock was a match most fans thought they’d never see. It was a clash pitting the most charismatic star of the past against the most respected wrestler of the present generation.
Though Rock emerged victorious, Punk had nothing to be ashamed of. His championship reign clocked in at a whopping 434 consecutive days, making him the longest reigning WWE Champion of the last 25 years. His reign brought a level of credibility back to the championship that was sorely lacking.
By the time WrestleMania 29 rolled around it was heavily speculated that Rock vs. Cena would again headline with Punk vs. Undertaker as one of key undercard matches.
The February 25 edition of Monday Night Raw featured Punk vs. Cena in a #1 contenders match for a shot against Rock. While there was little question of what the outcome would be, few expected the two to turn in a match-of-the-year caliber performance. Cena pinned Punk in 26:31 of an absolute classic.
As fate would have it, a shot of irony was injected into the Punk-Undertaker rivalry when Paul Bearer, Undertaker’s longtime manager, suddenly passed away. While WWE is often criticized for exploiting the deaths of past talent, this was a rare opportunity where it could’ve played into their advantage. The storyline revolved around Punk stealing Undertaker’s urn (the same one often held by Bearer in the 90s). What should’ve been a relatively simple build was turned into a near creative fiasco, featuring such hokey moments as Punk dribbling the urn like a basketball and spreading the ashes onto his body on the go-home show. It was among the worst builds to a major WrestleMania match in recent memory
In spite of the lukewarm build, their match stole the show at WrestleMania 29. Undertaker extended his WrestleMania record to 21-0 while Punk etched his name into history by going toe to toe with the Deadman on the biggest stage possible.
Punk took a sabbatical for the next several weeks and did not return until the Payback PPV, where he defeated Chris Jericho in a stellar bout. Immediately after, the wheels were put into motion for another match fans thought they’d never see: Punk vs. Brock Lesnar.
Their program was triggered by the breakup of Punk and manager Paul Heyman. From late 2012-mid 2013, the Punk and Heyman pairing was a throwback to the Nick Bockwinkel/Bobby Heenan duo of the 1970s-80s
Punk’s hatred of Heyman was the main catalyst and whenever it seemed like he was close to getting his hands on him, Lesnar would always show up to thwart his plans. After a series of back and forth attacks (resulting in some excellent promos and angles), the two were set to meet at SummerSlam.
To say it was a great match would be an understatement. In an ultimate show of respect from the locker room, both guys were greeted to a standing ovation as they made their way through the curtain afterwards.
Despite Lesnar being one of the stiffest wrestlers in the business, Punk matched him blow for blow. While the latter Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena match that took place that same day was an incredible wrestling match, Punk vs. Lesnar resembled more of an all-out war. Many consider it to be the best or second best match Lesnar has been in since his return to WWE.
Punk’s only real lowlight of the year was his program with Ryback. The less I say about it the better.
As 2013 comes to a close, Punk continues to remain one of the most consistently popular and respected superstars in all of professional wrestling. A large part of that is because Punk is one of the few guys over the last decade in wrestling who literally came from the bottom and made it to the top on his own terms. A guy with his look and style was never supposed to make it as a main event star in WWE. Not only did he make it, but he’s maintained his spot and is clearly the #2 guy in the company next to Cena. Not a bad spot to be in at all.
Though he was largely out of the title picture for the majority of 2013, his matches against Rock, Undertaker, Cena, Jericho and Lesnar would have to rank right near the top on any list of the best WWE matches held this year. It’s a testament to his ability as a performer that he was able to produce such fantastic matches with five very different wrestlers.
Currently, Punk and Bryan are embroiled in a hot feud against the Wyatt Family. While some would consider it as a diversion until WrestleMania season, it has the potential to be one of the best things WWE has done all year. It certainly hasn’t disappointed yet.
I’m certain that Punk will have WWE gold around his waist in the near future, not that it matters. Punk has crossed over into that rare breed of wrestler who doesn’t really need the championship to remain relevant. After all, he already made history during his last reign. Anything else would just be icing on the cake.
Despite not having a televised ceremony or a fancy building to hold it in, Dave Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter Hall of Fame is the most credible one in the industry, as the inductees aren’t chosen by one man’s whims, but are elected by a combination of over 200 active and retired wrestlers, historians and reporters. Gaining induction into the Hall of Fame is one of the most prestigious honors that can be bestowed upon a wrestler. The main criteria are in-ring ability, drawing power and historical significance, though voters are left to judge for themselves which of these are the most important.
For someone to be voted into the Hall of Fame, he or she must get 60% of the votes from their respective region. Regions are split into North America (modern and historical), Mexico, Japan, Europe and a combined Australia/New Zealand/Puerto Rico/Hawaii region. Major wrestlers and wrestling personalities (managers, announcers, promoters and bookers) become eligible when they have either turned 35 and had at least ten years since the start of their career, or passed the 15 year mark of their career.
To give an idea of how difficult it is make it, Sting, one of the biggest stars of the 90s, and Jesse Ventura, a household name who was governor of Minnesota, are still not in. The thing about the 60% threshold is that while there are undoubtedly deserving candidates who may struggle making it, or even never make it, it’s virtually impossible for someone who isn’t deserving to not be voted in.
The annual Hall of Fame issue is something I look forward to every year as a fan of professional wrestling history.
The results came out last Wednesday and surprisingly in his first year on the ballot Takashi Matsunaga was elected after receiving 74% of the vote. He joins a select group of first-ballot inductees that include: Steve Austin (2000), Kenta Kobashi (2002), Kurt Angle (2004), Kazushi Sakuraba (2004), Rock (2007) and John Cena (2012).
Matsunaga was the most successful promoter of women’s pro wrestling as part of the family that ran the All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling promotion during its big runs from the mid-70s into the mid-90s. During the 80s and early 90s, All Japan Women had some of the fastest paced, most action packed matches with some of the hottest crowds in wrestling history.
Also elected this year was Dr. Wagner Sr., one of Mexico’s biggest stars and best tag team performers of the 60s and 70s; Atlantis, a consistent headliner and great performer for over 30 years in CMLL; Kensuke Sasaki, one of the biggest stars of the 90s heyday of New Japan Pro Wrestling and current NJPW ace Hiroshi Tanahashi. Henri DeGlane, the biggest wrestling star in the history of France, was added as an overlooked historical figure from the pre-1950s era.
Tanahashi’s induction is noteworthy because he is the key figure responsible for NJPW’s business turnaround of the last few years. They went from being a struggling promotion not all that long ago to reclaiming their status as the #2 wrestling company in the world behind WWE. Not only is Tanahashi the biggest active star in the Japanese wrestling industry, but he’s arguably (more like inarguably) the best all-around wrestler on the planet today. When it comes to the traditional metrics of what constitutes a Hall of Fame caliber wrestler, Tanahashi more than lives up to the standard.
How did other modern major candidates fare? Carlos Colon, the biggest star in the history of Puerto Rico came just one vote shy at 59% and the Rock & Roll Express, the most influential babyface tag team of the last three decades finished with 55%. Current WWE star and former UFC champion Brock Lesnar garnered 47% of the vote. My gut tells me that each of these acts have a strong chance of making the cut next year. Added to the ballot next year will be Junkyard Dog, Minoru Suzuki, Akira Taue, Jun Akiyama and C.M. Punk. It will be most interesting to see how Punk fares since he has been WWE’s second biggest star next to Cena for the last few years. He’s also been one of the best overall workers in the business for most of the last decade. Even if they don’t go in right away I feel both Punk and Lesnar will go in at some point.
Well, I hope you all have enjoyed my look at this year’s Hall of Fame class. What do you all think? Drop a line in the comments section and let the discussion begin!
For further reading on the 2013 Hall of Fame balloting, I’ve provided links to the following articles:
We Talk Wrestling Blog’s Picks for the 2013 Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame
Rasslin’ Riot’s Wrestling Observer Hall of Fame Picks for 2013
A look at Mark Madden’s 2013 Hall of Fame ballot
A complete listing of HOF inductees dating back to its inception in 1996
I recently went into my local K-Mart intent on purchasing the latest WWE DVD release, Triple H: Thy Kingdom Come. After hearing of its universal acclaim, I was ready to see what all the fuss was about. Unfortunately, they did not have it in stock (though they surprisingly had the new Legends of Mid-South and Bill Goldberg sets). After much contemplation, I decided to purchase The Best of WCW Monday Nitro Vol. 2. Boy did I make the right decision. I’ve never breezed through an entire WWE 3-disc set with such ease.
In a year of strong WWE DVD releases, this overlooked gem has to rank among the best. For seven hours (and longer on the Blu-Ray version) it feels as if you’re being transported back in time to a period when professional wrestling, and WCW in specific, transcended the confines of the business to become a cultural phenomenon. It captures the very essence of what made Nitro must-see television.
The biggest strength of Vol. 2 is host Diamond Dallas Page, who is excellent in this role. DDP is a former 3x WCW world champion and one of the biggest stars in the promotion’s history. He’s the most credible authority to accurately tell the real history, both good and bad, of Nitro. He is incredibly open about the influence WCW had on wrestling of its era. The footage presented validates his claim.
It’s clearly evident that that DDP is not reading his lines from a typical WWE-approved script. He refers to the sport as professional wrestling, not sports entertainment, and even talks about how the guys that truly succeed in wrestling are the ones that start out as fans. Contrary to how WCW is portrayed in most of WWE’s revisionist history, it seems that the goal of Vol. 2 is to prove just how much WCW did right.
He puts to rest many of the misconceptions that linger to this day about WCW’s legacy. He expectedly gives praise, and deservedly so, to the revolutionary NWO storyline and cruiserweight division, but also offers a glimpse into how WCW was ahead of the curve on many aspects that became staples of professional wrestling scene in the late 90s . Features of the Nitro Girls, the annual spring breakout shows from Panama City, and Nitro parties illustrate just how much WCW mastered the art of appealing to the coveted older male demographic. He also debunks the notion that WCW never cultivated its homegrown talent.
DDP dishes out tantalizing heaps of backstage information. Stories about what Madusa told him backstage prior to her tossing the WWE women’s title in a trash can; Rey Mysterio being voted ahead of him for Rookie of the Year in the 1992 Wrestling Observer Newsletter awards (even mentioning WON editor Dave Meltzer); and Stacy Kiebler’s reaction to meeting Bill Goldberg are all fascinating. Perhaps the highlight of the entire collection is the poignant tribute he pays to Randy “Macho Man” Savage. You can see how much respect DDP has for Savage, who helped elevate him to superstar status during their excellent 1997 feud. This segment alone is worth going out of your way to see.
Truly, no one could have done a better job of navigating viewers through Nitro’s history as he did.
At its peak, Nitro regularly sold out 20,000 seat venues in a matter of minutes. DDP even recounts a story of taking a picture of the Mets Center in Minneapolis, MN after Nitro had just set the record for the fastest sellout in the history of the facility. That catch is that the arena happened to be in the hometown of music icon Prince, whose attendance record was also shattered. Particularly notable is a 1998 DDP vs. Chris Jericho match at the Georgia Dome. While the match itself is rather basic, seeing such a large crowd for a TV taping is an indicator of just how hot of a commodity WCW was at the time. They would pack out the arena a few months later for the historic broadcast where Goldberg defeated Hulk Hogan to become world champion.
Other standout bouts include a heated cage match between Vampiro and Sting; a sensational six-man lucha tag match featuring Rey Mysterio, Juventud Guerrera, and the late Hector Garza; a collection of matches from the formative stages of Booker T’s singles career; and a fun cruiserweight match pitting Shane Helms vs. Shannon Moore. It’s a shame those two were just starting to make a name for themselves as WCW closed shop. Goldberg’s debut match vs. Hugh Morris and a Booker T vs. Scott Steiner world title match from the final episode of Nitro are both noteworthy additions from an historical perspective.
WWE is notorious for repeating matches on their DVDs. For instance, the same 2007 Shawn Michaels vs. Edge match from Raw is included on Heartbreak and Triumph: The Shawn Michaels Story, The Best of Raw 15th Anniversary, Edge: A Decade of Decadence and You Think You Know Me? The Story of Edge collections. To the best of my knowledge, the majority of these matches have never been made available on any prior release.
On most WWE DVD releases, we’re accustomed to seeing matches begin with both guys already in the ring with the screen fading to black immediately following the conclusion. However, we’re treated to full entrances for every match, commercial jumps, post-match replays and interviews. Vol. 2 flows very smoothly, making you feel as though you’re watching an actual episodic show instead of a random collection of matches. And DDP is right there to put every moment into its proper context.
After watching WWE dominate professional wrestling over the last 11 years, it’s refreshing to be reminded of a time when there was legitimate competition. When it was firing on all cylinders WCW Monday Nitro was a textbook example of how to do a weekly wrestling show the right way.
Welcome to my review of the Degrassi summer season finale, “Young Forever.” This episode is entirely dedicated to the memory of Adam Torres.
The quality of storytelling and acting is flawless. It is truly a master class in how every teen-oriented drama should tackle the issue of death as every emotion on display was done in a very respectable and realistic manner. I will go as far to say this episode is better than “Bittersweet Symphony,” which was my favorite episode of the current era of Degrassi. By current, I’m referring to anything since season 8.
The major storyline, and the majority of the episode, finds Drew Torres struggling to come to grips with his brother’s death. Other key stories involve Becky hosting a bonfire as a means for everyone to properly celebrate Adam’s memory, and the revelation that Clare’s cancer is in remission.
Every cast member contributes greatly to the overall tone of the episode. With that being said, the following moments stand tall above the rest:
Clare and Eli
Every scene involving these two is of great significance, especially when you consider their closeness to Adam. Eli even credits a party Adam threw (season 10 episode “Halo”) as what ignited the spark in his relationship with Clare. Their story has an added sense of believeability as Clare experiences intense guilt at the news of her cancer remission. She questions why God allowed her to survive her ordeal while Adam does not. Clare and Eli carried a large portion of the summer season and I can only hope they continue to do so when things resume this fall.
Multiple scenes of the bonfire are done to maximum effect, particularly:
The arrival- Becky initially worries no one will show up since she assumes all of Drew’s friends hate her. Just as she is about to take things down, she is surprised to see people coming out in droves. As everyone arrives, Dave comments, “this is what Adam would have wanted.” This opening scene also allows several characters a chance to catch up. It is the first interaction (Connor & Dave, Alli & Dallas, Imogen & Jenna) many of these characters have had with each other since the previous season concluded. Seeing Dave and Bianca is quite refreshing and one can only hope they will have a recurring role for the remainder of the season.
Drew’s acceptance- Drew wanders the street—still in his funeral attire—in a grief-stricken state. He uses his phone to check Adam’s Facerange (Degrassi’s version of Facebook) account. The volume of farewell wishes he sees posted on Adam’s wall is overwhleming. He proceeds to watch a video of Adam being interviewed about his future goals. The video ends when Adam brings Becky on-screen to share in a playful moment. Seeing his brother so happy with his life, especially after the initial flack he caught for being a transgender, brings a smile to Drew’s face. This moment seamlessly flows into the ending of a memorial video montage being viewed at the bonfire. Words cannot adequately describe how incredible the entire scenario is. It also gives the viewer a genuine sense of the warm, caring individual Adam was.
Dallas stepping up to the plate- Drew and Dallas share a powerful embrace upon his arrival to the bonfire. With Adam’s departure, perhaps we will see Dallas step in to become a brotherly figure in Drew’s life.
Goodbyes & apologies- Drew gives a heartfelt goodbye to Adam, finally beginning his own personal journey of closure, as well as an apology to Becky for treating her badly. In an earlier scene following the funeral services, Drew lashes out at Becky, blaming her for Adam’s accident. She was the one Adam was en route to visiting (while texting her) when he lost control of his vehicle. When Drew asks how to move on, she replies, “we have to make his death mean something.”
Symbolic ending- The final scene shows everyone gathered in a circle looking to the heavens as a hot air balloon is released into the atmosphere.
Episode MVP: Luke Bylick as Drew Torres
Luke Bylick undoubtedly steals the show. He really displays a range of ability and, through his performance, humanizes Drew in a manner I never saw in the previous three seasons. His work in this episode—and at the conclusion of last week’s “Honey”—easily ranks among the best of anyone on Degrassi, past or present.
Even though Adam’s death is entirely fictional, the situation surrounding his death is a very real problem. Texting while driving is a leading cause of auto accidents and fatalities. I believe there is nothing so important that you must risk putting your life and the lives of others in jeopardy. It is my hope that these last two episodes of Degrassi will help heighten the overall awareness of this senseless epidemic.
“Young Forever” should be remembered as an all-time classic episode paying tribute to one of the more noteworthy characters in Degrassi history. Highly recommended.
When Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase at SummerSlam last Sunday, two important things transpired—he captured his seventh WWE Championship (tenth world title overall) and realigned himself with original mentor, and longtime rival, HHH. His victory came at the expense of Daniel Bryan, who had defeated John Cena moments earlier for that very championship.
Best heel in the business
Cashing in the briefcase on Bryan would’ve been good enough on its own, but the way everything played out—with HHH’s involvement—made all the difference. It was a stroke of pure creative genius.
With his victory, Orton firmly reestablished himself as the premier heel (bad guy) in all of wrestling.
Alberto Del Rio is a natural heel, but lacks the ruthlessness needed to one of the greats. While Bully Ray is entertaining and an excellent promo, his act seems more comical than serious. Not to take anything away from his body of work in TNA, but I’ve never viewed him as a suitable top heel of a major national promotion. Truthfully, Brock Lesnar is incredible; and while he is perhaps the single most vicious heel around, his schedule is far too infrequent. It’s tough for him to make a lasting impression when he only competes in a handful of matches per year.
With an in-ring style perfectly suited for his new role, along with HHH and the McMahons as corporate backup, Orton has all the tools necessary to be the quintessential heel.
Establishing a legacy
Since debuting on WWE television in 2002, Orton has been a significant player in the company. You’d have to think real hard to remember a period where he wasn’t booked as an upper echelon guy. On the rare occasions where the booking of his character wasn’t at its best, it was often a matter of time before he’d be right back near the top.
Though his work inside the ring may not match the explosiveness of Daniel Bryan or the overall versatility of New Japan’s Hiroshi Tanahashi, Orton has been among the elite workers in the business for a very long time. Having grown up with wrestling in his blood (both his father and grandfather wrestled), Orton possessed a strong sense of ring psychology from day one. If you pay close attention to his matches you will notice his uncanny ability to pull the audience into the story. This level of mastery can only occur when a performer has a complete understanding of their character. Whether he was taking out the industry’s most respected veterans as the “Legend Killer,” or striking any unsuspecting superstar as the “Apex Predator,” he usually does the right thing at precisely the right moment.
While his family ties opened the door for him in WWE, much of his early success came as a result of working with top guys.
From 2003-2004, he teamed alongside HHH, Ric Flair, and Batista as a member of Evolution. It was during this period that he got a firsthand taste of the main event spotlight. Before he had been on the main roster for a full two years he had already engaged in memorable clashes against the likes of Shawn Michaels, Chris Jericho, Flair, Mick Foley, Edge, and Chris Benoit. It’s impossible to not improve by leaps and bounds when working with such a high level of talent. From 2004-2009, he found himself embroiled in an on again, off again feud with HHH.
In his book, “The 50 Greatest Professional Wrestlers of All Time: The Definitive Shoot,” author and former wrestling announcer Larry Matysik ranks Orton in the #50 spot, making him the youngest entrant on the list. One must also remember that the list is populated with such legends as Steve Austin, Ric Flair, and Dwayne “Rock” Johnson. That is some heavy competition. While there is valid reason to debate Orton’s placement, his credentials paint a compelling portrait. When you take into consideration his championship runs, in-ring ability and longevity at the top, he certainly stands out as one of the more important wrestlers of the current era.
Coming full circle
It was nine years ago at SummerSlam that Orton won his first World Heavyweight Championship. At the time many felt he reached the top too soon. Despite some rough bumps along the way, he eventually matured into the role of the major star he was destined to become.
During the closing segment on Raw this past Monday, HHH constantly made reference to Orton as the new face of the company. While much of that was said for storyline purposes, I couldn’t help but think that he is entering into a new phase of an already storied career.