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MAT TALK: THE STORIES BEHIND THIS WEEK’S HEADLINES

Posted March 8th, 2019 by 1Wrestling News Team

By Don “The Predictor” Murphy (Twitter: @DonThePredictor)

March 8, 2019

Wrestling Legend King Kong Bundy Passes Away at Age 61: Unfortunately, wrestling deaths have become common over the last several years, but there are those that hurt more than others. For me, this is one of those. I was nine years old in late 1985 when I became hooked on professional wrestling. I credit Randy “Macho Man” Savage as the guy that drew me in, but it was Bundy’s feud with Hulk Hogan that exposed me to my first big storyline. I remember BEGGING my parents to let me stay up to watch Saturday Night’s Main Event, where Bundy avalanched Hogan “unconscious,” after a title defense against The Magnificent Muraco. We ended up taping it and without being wise to the typical Hogan formula as of yet, I thought that Bundy had a shot to win the title, since Hogan had been badly “injured.” I remember watching the WrestleMania II steel cage match between Bundy and Hogan at the Nassau Coliseum, and although we watched it on the big screen, the crowd was electric. That was the height of his run, but in my mind, he’s one of the greatest, yet underrated big men of all time. And, I’ll argue that his tag team with John Studd is often overlooked as one of the all-time great big man teams. Finally, I think he gets the distinction of having the biggest fall from grace year-over-year. In 1986, he’s headlining WrestleMania II. In 1987, he’s in a comedy match at WrestleMania III, with Hillbilly Jim and four midget wrestlers. And he even managed to take that and make it entertaining. With his passing, it’s unfortunate that, even if he is inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame someday, we won’t get to hear from the man himself. A five bell salute would only be appropriate.

Predictor Quick Picks – Ring of Honor 17th Anniversary Show: This is shaping up nicely, as the show comes from Sam’s Town Casino next Friday night. There hasn’t been a ton of storyline build for this show, as we head into the last television episode this weekend, but we know that these shows are never short on great wrestling. At a high level, here’s how I see the show shaking out. I see Jay Lethal retaining the ROH World Heavyweight Championship over Matt Taven. The Briscoes will hold onto the ROH Tag Team Titles, over PCO and Brody King. I see Kelly Klein regaining the ROH Women’s Championship over Mayu Iwatani, while Jeff Cobb will retain the ROH Television Championship over Shane Taylor. In singles matches, I see Rush defeating Bandido; Marty Scurll defeating Kenny King; and Silas Young defeating Jonathan Gresham. Finally, I see The Kingdom (TK O’Ryan and Vinny Marseglia) defeating Lifeblood (Mark Haskins and Tracy Williams). All in all, a great night, and we should have a good idea the direction the company is headed, as we move toward the ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard at Madison Square Garden during WrestleMania weekend.

Jim Ross Departs WWE/Rumored to Join All Elite Wrestling: This wasn’t surprising news, nor will the move to AEW, if it happens. Jim Ross is the greatest play-by-play man of all time, and if he still has the desire and motivation to do it, I’m all for it. Honestly though, I’ll be interested to see, if he does join AEW, if he’s the right fit for the product. All signs point to AEW positioning themselves as “fresh,” “new,” and “hip.” I’m not saying that Jim Ross can’t be all of those things, as he was highly revered and respected by the hardcore fan. I’m just wondering how the nostalgic voice that Ross would bring will mix with today’s wrestling product.

Tommaso Ciampa Undergoes Neck Surgery/Set to Relinquish the NXT Championship: This was unfortunate news, as he is the best heel in wrestling today, and his long-form program with Johnny Gargano has been wrestling’s best told story in years. So, we won’t be getting the rumored payoff to the feud in Brooklyn during WrestleMania weekend; however, looking at the bright side, they now have the chance to hit the reset button on what has been a flat move to the main roster. Gargano can move on for a bit, either on Raw, Smackdown, or NXT. And then, just when you start to forget about Ciampa, you can reintroduce him and start the feud all over again – this time on the bigger stage.

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