Thursday, September 19, 2013

WWE Battleground 2013: Bryan/Orton Stipulation in the Works?

Written by Travis Taylor

On October 6, 2013, Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton will meet in their third matchup for the WWE Championship at the WWE pay-per-view Battleground. But with their feud in full swing, does the WWE have a match stipulation in mind?

Photo by
If the idea is to milk this feud, and Bryan's popularity, then a new rumored stipulation for the Bryan/Orton title bout is the only way for this thing to go.

According to, the WWE is toying around with the idea of having Bryan and Orton wrestle in an Iron Man match. The article reads:

Stipulations are expected to be added to Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton and Rob Van Dam vs. Alberto Del Rio at WWE's Battleground pay-per-view. There's talk of Bryan vs. Orton being an Iron Man match. That would allow WWE to do another indecisive finish, leading to Hell In a Cell where there could be a definitive winner once and for all.
For those unfamiliar with an Iron Man match, the rules are simple. The match has a time limit, usually one hour, but a half hour is not unheard of. The winner of the bout is the wrestler who scores the most wins by the end of the time limit. Those wins can by pinfall, submission, count out or disqualification. 

In the entire history of the WWE only seven Iron Man matches have taken place. Nine wrestlers have competed in those seven matches, including Triple H (2), Kurt Angle (3), Chris Benoit (2) and, yes, Orton. In 2009 Orton faced John Cena in a spectacular bout.

The idea of the WWE using an Iron Man stipulation in this bout is exciting. The match itself is something to behold. Too many of today's bouts last less than 10 minutes. If one stretches to 20 minutes it reaches epic proportions.

Going one hour doing anything physical is an awesome feat. The reason there's only seven of these matches is because there aren't many wrestlers who can last that long without getting winded and manage to keep the audience glued. 

At WrestleMania XII in 1996, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels set the bar extremely high in the very first WWE Iron Match, for the WWE Championship. After one hour of action, neither man had scored a victory. In what is still considered a controversial move, Gorilla Monsoon ordered that match to go into sudden death. 

Michaels would go on to win the bout and the WWE Championship. 

In that bout the two men were able to make an incredible connection with the audience. Not only did their feud have a wonderful, well-understood backstory, but also both men knew how to pace the bout and draw out the drama.

The WWE never would have placed the bout on the Grandest Stage of Them All if there had been any doubt Hart and Michaels could pull it off.

There should be no fear giving Bryan and Orton an Iron Man match as well. Orton has proved he could pull off the stamina and storytelling needed when he faced Cena at Bragging Rights in 2009. When he was on the independent circuit, it wasn't unusual to see Bryan go an hour or more.

If the WWE does go this route, it is a smart move. The feud with Bryan and Orton, and Bryan and The McMahon's really, has been an exciting one. Just watch the crown reactions to Bryan and Triple H. See how wild the crowd went this past Monday and when the locker room emptied and rushed to Bryan's aid.

The WWE doesn't want to drop the ball on this one. If the feud can be stretched for one more pay-per-view—and it shouldn't go any further than that—the Iron Man match is a great move. Like said, the Iron Man match can end with no clear winner and both men can come out looking great.

Imagine after 60 minutes of action the score is tied. Both men have battered each other senseless and scored multiple victories over each other. With time running out, Bryan and Orton score win over win against each other. In the final seconds, Bryan locks in the Yes Lock. Orton hold out and taps a mere second after time expires.

The match is over, both men look strong and there is still no new WWE champion. The only choice is to send these two men into Hell in a Cell and finally give that pay-per-view a match and feud worthy of the monstrous cage.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Kerry Von Erich and the Tragedy of the Von Erich Brothers

Post by Travis Taylor

Former pro wrestling superstar Kerry Von Erich stood in the wings of the Sportatorium in Dallas, Texas, watching the night's matches unfold. It was February 12, 1993, and the man formerly known as the Texas Tornadao in the WWF (now WWE) found himself out of the national spotlight and back on the indie circuit with the Global Wrestling Federation.

Kerry Von Erich
As a member of the famous Von Erich clan of wrestlers, Kerry had achieved the greatest fame of all his brothers by signing and competing in the then World Wrestling Federation. From 1990 to 1992, he appeared on TV and at pay-per-views, even competing in Wrestlemania VII.

But just as quickly as his star began to rise, he run ended. The WWF /WWE regulated him to a jobber—the wrestler who goes out week after week and loses to bigger-named stars. He asked for and was granted his release in 1992.

He returned to Dallas, Texas and the GWF, quickly winning and then losing the USWF Texas Heavyweight Championship. Nothing seemed to be going right for him.

On the evening of February 12, he entered the ring for a tag team match, teaming with 'Gentleman' Chris Adams against Johnny Martel and Black Bart. The match was uneventful and Von Erich found himself having a hard time focusing.

There was too much on his mind from his personal life. Drug charges, a marriage falling apart, his career flailing. The match ended in the predetermined disqualification of Von Erich and Adams.

After the match Von Erich fled back to his father's ranch in Denton. Back in 1986 he had lost a foot during a motorcycle accident and had become addicted to pain killers. On February 17, he was indicted on drug charges for a forged prescription and was facing jail time.

The next day, on February 18, 1993, Kerry Von Erich committed suicide by shooting himself in the chest with a magnum revolver.

He was the fifth of six children to die before the age of 35:

  • First-born son Jack Jr. died in 1960 at the age of 6, when he was accidentally electrocuted. 
  • David Von Erich was a rising star in pro wrestling. He overdosed on drugs while on tour in Japan, on February 10, 1984. 
  • Mike Von Erich had no real interest in being a wrestler, but was forced into the ring nonetheless by the family patriarch, Fritz Von Erich. While on tour in Israel, he suffered a shoulder injury and developed Toxic Shock Syndrome after his surgery. Never able to regain full strength, he retired from wrestling and committed suicide by overdosing on tranquilizers on April 12, 1987. 
  • Chris Von Erich was the youngest, smallest and least athletic of the Von Erich brothers, but he had the most desire to become a pro wrestler. Despite years of trying, his career never took off. Severe depression set in and on September 12, 1991, he committed suicide with a gunshot wound to the chest.

The Von Erich wrestling clan. From left: Kerry, Fritz,
Kevin, Chris (front), Mike, and David.
Source: Wikipedia
After Kerry Von Erich's death in 1993, only second-oldest son Kevin Von Erich remained. He retired from the ring in 1993 and moved to Hawaii.

Fritz Von Erich lived into his late 60's until September 10, 1997, when he finally succumbed to lung cancer that had spread to his brain.

Friday, September 6, 2013

WWE: How the Daniel Bryan-Triple H Feud May Shape Survivor Series

Post by Travis Taylor

Daniel Bryan’s recent feud with Triple H and his beatings by a slew of his henchmen may be an early sign of how this year’s Survivor Series is taking shape.

Daniel Bryan on Raw. Photo by
The conflict between Bryan and the WWE’s COO has clicked. With fans in place over who to cheer and who to jeer, the WWE may have ratings gold on this one.

The WWE has handled the career of Bryan perfectly. After his loss of the world title to Sheamus in 18 seconds at WrestleMania 28, he could have been sent packing down the proverbial ladder.

Instead, a funny set of skits brought him together with Kane. They formed a tag team that got over and held the WWE Tag Team titles for more than eight months. 

This run with Kane in Team Hell No, and the aftermath where he sought to prove he wasn’t the weak link, helped to surge his popularity with the fans. The guy can wrestle, and he proved that in matches with Randy Orton and The Shield. Throw in a perfectly timed Total Divas reality television and Bryan was the Everyman who stood toe-to-toe with anyone in the ring.

Setting him up to take the title from John Cena was a juicy reward, albeit a short-lived one.

The WWE wisely reached back into the heart of the Attitude Era and brought back the central storyline: that of Steve Austin and his feud with Vince McMahon. That storyline saw McMahon do everything in his power to hold back Stone Cold and keep him away from the WWE title.

In an interview with, Austin even acknowledged the similarities. He said: “It’s a complete parallel, and obviously a decade removed with two cats in these different roles…but it’s a complete parallel with what went on between myself and Vince.” 

The revival of the legendary feud has gone over successfully. Look no further than this past week’s SmackDown. (See video. Click here if you can't view the video on your device.) Bryan ran in to save The Miz from a beating by Orton and The Shield. The crowd went nuts in a way that hasn’t been seen since Austin’s heyday.

Since Triple H has taken more a command behind the scenes of the WWE, title reigns have increased in length. It’s unlikely the WWE will pull the belt off Orton at Night of Champions.
Instead, this feud with Bryan, Orton and Triple H may stretch longer, even past Survivor Series. It’s easy to see the sides already taking shape for two teams to compete.

At first glance it may seem like Bryan is going at it alone, but others have been victimized. Big Show has been forced to fight Bryan and standby and watch his fellow superstars get destroyed. The Miz and Dolph Ziggler have been handed strong beatings by members of The Shield.

WWE COO Triple H. Photo by
With noting that Triple H will wrestle two more times by WrestleMania XXX, the pieces begin to fall into place. 

One side, the new Corporation. This team would be made of Triple H, Orton, The Shield and Ryback. Then there is Team Bryan. Along with Bryan himself, the team could be filled out with Miz, Show, Ziggler and perhaps even Mark Henry. This way, everyone involved in the match has some involvement or feud going.

The battle lines have already been drawn. Just listen to the crowd to hear that the theme of hating one’s boss and battling against the machine is still a popular one. The use of teams at Survivor Series isn't done like it used to, but this one falls into place perfectly.

Austin was better when he was chasing the title. The WWE will drag out Bryan reclaiming the belt to at least the TLC pay-per-view. That way they can give the fans a Christmas gift and set up a new WWE for the New Year.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The Televised Death of Owen Hart

Post by Travis Taylor

May 23, 1999. The crowd at World Wrestling Entertainment's pay-per-view "Over the Edge" was a rabid frenzy of dogs. The audience of 18,350 had already been treated to a night of incredible matches and death-defying stunts. 

The best part? The night was still young.

Owen Hart stood in the rafters of the Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, high above the ring where he was getting set to wrestle. He was quickly changing from his street clothes into his wrestling gear: a blue outfit and mask, along with a blue cape. 
Owen Hart. Photo by

He was nervous and afraid of heights. But he also knew that what he was about to do would be spectacular. The writers for the show had come up with a special entrance for Hart. 

Performing as his alter-ego, The Blue Blazer, Hart was to be lowered from the rafters to the ring, 78 feet below. He had practiced the stunt earlier in the day with Bobby Talbert, a rigger from Orlando, and Talbert's assistant. Everything had gone great.

Hart eased himself off the rafter he was on and hung suspended in the air, holding on to the railing with his hands. The pretaped backstage skit began to roll on the giant Titan Tron screen and Hart began his decent. 

He had only gone a few feet when he reached to fix his cape. Without warning his safety harness released. 

Hart fell.

The at-home audience was watching the backstage skit and never saw the fall. But those in attendance gasped in horror as Hart tumbled from the rafters at 50 miles per hour. At roughly 73 feet per second, his fall took just over one second. His head smacked the padded, but unmoving, top of one of the ring posts. His chest and left arm struck a turnbuckle. His body flipped back and landed on the mat in a broken heap.

The television cameras stayed on the crowd as paramedics worked on the still breathing Hart. WWE commentator Jim Ross calmly told the viewing audience that what was happening was real and not part of any storyline. Moments later Hart was loaded onto a stretcher, taken up the ramp, and transported to nearby Truman Medical Center.

He was pronounced dead on arrival.

He had shattered his left arm, severed an aorta which filled his lungs full of blood, and crushed several internal organs.

All of it on live television.

Hart's widow, Martha, sued the WWE for the wrongful death of her husband. She eventually won the suit and was awarded $18 million in damages. The money was used to start the Owen Hart Foundation, to help families of sick children deal with the sometimes-extreme financial hardship of hospital stays.

Full details of the trial and the reasons for the fall have never been released. However, much speculation is on the harness itself. 

On the wrestling site, Carlton Doerner wrote that the harness had a quick release strap that simply needed a slight tug in order to open. WWE management apparently liked the idea because they didn't want Hart to struggle with the release in the middle of the ring.

According to, Hart's harness did not have any of the required safety backups in place. It only needed six pounds of pressure to release and Hart weighed 225 pounds.

There is no official video of the event and no footage of Hart's fall is known to exist. It was simply too quick and no one expected it. However, several websites have photos of Hart walking the rafters just before his entrance.

Here is what the television audience saw that night. (Click here if you can't view the video on your device.)

Hart was born on May 7, 1965 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. His father was Stu Hart, a legend in the wrestling business and Hart's transition to the sport was only natural. He debuted on May 30, 1986, and began wrestling with promotions across the world. 

In the fall of 1988, he joined his brother Bret Hart in the WWE and found great success.
In the late 1990s, the WWE, then known as the WWF, began to promote its product as the "Attitude Era." The new style featured high-risk stunts, outrageous entrances and interviews, and a slide to a more adult content. Injuries became more frequent in an attempt to keep raising the bar. Wrestlers such as "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson came to prominence during this time.

After Hart's death, the tone of wrestling began to change. There was a noticeable shift back to a more family-friendly type of program. The stunts were pulled back and an entrance from the rafters was never again attempted. 

It was as if the WWE had taken Hart's catchphrase straight to heart: Enough is enough and it's time for a change.