by Jimmy Dylan
Let me start off by introducing myself. My name is Jimmy Dylan and I am a pro wrestling referee. I work on the independent scene in the Northeast region of the United States. I am the Senior Official for the Philadelphia-based American Championship Pro Wrestling (ACPW), and I’ve worked for several other companies in the region. What I hope to bring to 1wrestling.com is an intriguing and opinionative POV on all-things wrestling…from the “referee’s position” (amateur wrestlers will get that). I plan to cover whatever’s on my mind from the mainstream of pro wrestling, as well as shed light on the indy feds and stars that I work with. With that being said, let’s jump into the pilot edition of The Referee’s Position!!!!
It’s been 7 days, and the aftershocks of The Rock’s long-awaited return to WWE are still being felt. Speculation and rumors of what will happen next are still running rampant all over cyberspace. From your favorite dirtsheet, to your choice social networking site, all the way to wwe.com itself! The Rock has definately been all the buzz this week. And why not? He is after all, the Most Electrifying Man in All of Entertainment! The People’s Champ..The Great One…and now…your Host of WrestleMania 27. Suddenly the “Grandaddy of ‘em All” looks grand again. I’m excited about WWE’s showcase event, which before last Monday had me contemplating a night at the Philadelphia Orchestra on April 3. For a rugged kid from North Philly like me, believe me that’s bad!
Rewind 1 week. I learned via WWE’s Facebook page that Vince McMahon would be making a surprise appearance later that night to kick off Raw…with the sole purpose being to announce this year’s host for WrestleMania. My first thought was, “here we go again”. After an unbelievable overkill on the Raw Guest Host concept, I wasn’t thrilled about the idea at all, yet I found myself chomping at the bit last Monday night. Chalk it up to the wrestling fan in me, I guess. So then came the speculations I mentined earlier. I heard and saw everything from Justin Whatshisname to Bob Barker. Great! That’s just what this business needs is another Hollywood celeb that doesn’t belong, coming in and making us consider gauging our own eyes out! The grandest stage has no place for clueless celebrities that don’t even deserve to serve as filler on a pro wrestling show!
So Monday night arrives with speculations at the fever pitch and rapidly rising. Knowing how TV works, I was looking at the target times for the big announcement. Either the opener or entering the 10 o’clock hour. By the time the damn Khali Kiss Cam went on I was thoroughly confused. Here we were in the filler segment and still no host. I dont read much of the news sites because I absolutely loath spoilers, so I had no idea what was going on. I figured if it was anybody big or better yet, anybody that the REAL wrestling world gave a damn about, they would’ve been revealed by now. Disappointment started to mount, as that’s what the fans have become accustomed to all to often in recent years…or even months for that matter . So as time went on I braced myself for the iminent let-down.
Now 11:00 was fast-approaching and still nothing. Then…as we led into the final commercial…what’s this? A long, black limo? This is something we don’t see every week anymore, so it must be someone big! Could Vince have finally delivered? The door opens and it’s…it’s…A WOMAN?! But who? The WWE Universe erupted online. A wide range of emotions and rumors changed just like that. Some were mad as hell that it wasn’t any of the males they speculated. Some were elated at the thought of a Stephanie or Linda McMahon return, although I don’t know how much sense that would’ve made. Names like Trish Stratus, Lita, and even Sarah Palin were thrown around. Somehow, Justin Bieber was still in the running! One thing was for sure, we would only have to wait another 90 seconds or so. Raw went back on the air just before the 11 o’clock hour and Justin Roberts introduced the host for WrestleMania XXVII. Suddenly, there was a gradual blackout in the arena. This alone let us know it was big. Then the TitanTron lit up in a bright light. Although, I didn’t catch it at first, it was electricity shooting through the Tron. The power had went out…and now the electricity was back (in WWE). Another brief blackout as the world collectively sat on the edge of their seats in great anticipation. Then…it happened! “IF YA SMELLLLLLLL…..” blasted throughout the PA system. The lights returned on cue to catch something we haven’t seen in far too long….a true crowd pop! It was like a breath of fresh air had been blown into the life of professional wrestling. He wasn’t the annonymous Raw GM, but he’s still The Rock, and he was still back! After 7 long years. (nice limo swerve by WWE btw) It didn’t take long for the People’s Champ to woe his millions and millions with his imfamous catchphrases. He rocked the crowd and proved his true star power when he had them eating out of the palm of his hand and hanging on every word.
That arena has probably never been louder than when Dwayne announced that he was back, and was never going away. If there’s a pop that rivals it, it’s the one heard moments before when The Rock made his grand return. It was good to see the first 3rd generation WWE Superstar talk to his fans out of character and speak from the heart. So many had been waiting so long to hear those words. Now let’s see if he keeps his word. Will he return full-time? Let’s hope because this is exactly what the business needs right now. A spike in everything from ticket sales to PPV buyrates. And we need it to be more than a spike. We need it to last. A high cycle that supercedes the Road to WrestleMania long after the dust settles at Georgia Dome! The Rock generates that kind of interest, as shown Monday night. The first Superstar to lay claim to being the youngest WWE Champion in history raised the stick and in a flash it was 1998 again! The censors got 1 BEEP in and then were probably told to back off. Thank God for that.
The Rock took us back to the severely-missed Attitude era with a clasic promo that only he could deliver. I had goosebumps! The world got everything they needed and more. All the hype behind John Cena’s challenges from a couple years ago were answered. The Rock completely owned the leader of the Cenation and seemingly converted the majority present back to his millions strong. We now have something to look forward to at WrestleMania. An all-but-guaranteed explosion between two of the biggest Superstars in the history of the business is imminent. And they are both still in their prime. A true dream match may be on the horizon. We know history will be made, dreams will come true, and hopefully I will get to see one of my childhood favorites absolutely destroy Cena…one that I haven’t ever really cared for, especially since the rap/poser gimmick was abandoned for the corporate poster boy we’ve been accustomed to since Raw drafted him. A classic WrestleMania confrontation may make this dream a reality! The Backlash of ‘Mania will be epic! Michael Cole attempted to deliver the GM’s first interjection of the night, only to be rudely and abruptly cut off, disrespected, and owned by the 7-time WWE Champion. The Rock slammed Cena and Cole in 5 minutes! I didn’t want to wake up…lol.
Things are definately heating up and getting interesting as we cruise closer to ‘Mania. A possible Attitude “flashback” has me tweaked. With Stone Cold back in the fold with Tough Enough, who knows exactly what this flashback is gonna show us. I for one can’t wait. This road we travel every winter wasn’t looking too promising after the biggest Royal Rumble event ever, but things are looking up for the fans. I’ve always said this is the best time of year to be a wrestling fan. This year may be no different. As we move foward let’s hope for one thing. Let’s hope the Chairman was standing right there behind the curtain during the last segment. I’m sure he was. Watching the monitor and not only seeing what was happening in the ring, but hearing that crowd and feeling that raw emotion pouring out from just about all of them! Because we all know WWE HQs saw the ratings the next day for the last segment alone. The WWE Universe and fans of every type…even casual…united at once and spoke LOUDLY. As if they haven’t been for quite some time now throughout the IWC and live events themselves. Let’s hope the Attitude flashback will turn into more than its current intension. If Mr. McMahon truely listens to the fans, than now is the time to have his ears turned all the way up! Give the fans what they want and make wrestling must-see TV again. Death to the PG rating! If you’re gonna give us the New Superstar Initiative (V.2) in 2011, then make these bucks mean something with solid creative. I will get into these issues and more in future editions of the column. I’ll leave you with that as we continue on this ever-winding road. This is my view, from The Referee’s Position!
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