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Lesnar notified of potential doping violation

Source: ESPN.com

The United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has informed Brock Lesnar of a potential doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition drug test administered June 28.

Lesnar, 39, returned to the Octagon for the first time since December 2011 to defeat Mark Hunt via decision. The pro wrestling star remains under contract with WWE and declined to say whether he would fight in a UFC match again.

Lesnar told The Associated Press in a statement, “we will get to the bottom of this.”

The UFC announced Lesnar’s potential violation on Friday. In a statement, the UFC said it was not informed of the potential violation until Thursday which explains why Lesnar was able to compete at UFC 200 on July 9 in Las Vegas.

“The UFC organization was notified today that [USADA] has informed Brock Lesnar of a potential anti-doping violation stemming from an out-of-competition sample collection on June 28,” the statement said. “USADA received the testing results from the June 28 sample collection from the [World Anti-Doping Agency]-accredited UCLA Olympic Analytical Laboratory on the evening of July 14.”

Under the UFC’s anti-doping program, which is administered by USADA and went into effect in July 2015, results management and adjudication of the case falls to USADA, as well as the Nevada State Athletic Commission, due to the fact Lesnar’s fight took place in Las Vegas.

The NSAC is already involved in another case regarding UFC 200. Former light heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who was removed from UFC 200 three days prior to the event due to a potential violation, is also facing discipline from the NSAC.

Lesnar (6-3) announced his retirement from mixed martial arts in 2015, but ultimately decided to return to the UFC for a “one-off,” to which WWE agreed.

Lesnar has not before tested positive for banned substances in his UFC career. It is also unknown at this time what the potential doping violation is for a banned substance or a banned methodology.

The AP also obtained copies of three letters from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency to Lesnar, informing the fighter that he had passed tests on three samples submitted over a nine-day period in mid-June, mere days before the sample with the potential violation was collected.

It is standard procedure for USADA to not immediately divulge the cause of the potential doping violation.

Under the UFC’s program, any retired athlete who wishes to return to competition must first be subjected to a four-month testing window.

The UFC is able to grant exemptions to that requirement, however. Due to the unique circumstances of Lesnar’s return and his contract situation with the WWE, the UFC decided to waive that four-month window for the first time.

Despite receiving an exemption for the four-month requirement, Lesnar did submit eight tests to USADA, according to the agency’s website.

Hunt, 42, referenced that exemption numerous times leading up to the fight. In an interview with MMA Fighting on Friday, Hunt said he has asked UFC officials for half of Lesnar’s $2.5 million guaranteed purse or to be released from his contract effective immediately.

“The cheaters get a slap on the wrist and walk off,” Hunt told MMA Fighting. “What penalty or deterrent is there to make them think twice? Nothing. And the [Nevada Athletic Commission], why should these [expletive] get anything? They are not the ones who had to fight with Lesnar or lose [to him]. I lost.”

Hunt told MMA Fighting that he has yet to hear from UFC.

When asked about the topic of performance-enhancing drugs during a pre-fight international conference call, Lesnar responded, “I’m a white boy and I’m jacked. Deal with it.”

Source: ESPN.com

Originally posted here –

Lesnar notified of potential doping violation

cost synthroid accumulating. More precision in deciding the cause of metabolic acidosis

Update on Cameron’s Acting Career, WWE Pulls DVD from 2016 Calendar, SmackDown Top, WWE CWC Tickets

– Below are the top 10 moments from last night’s WWE RAW in Grand Rapids:

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– WWE has nixed the “OMG! ECW’s Top 50 Craziest Moments” DVD and Blu-ray from the 2016 calendar, according to WrestlingDVDNetwork.com. It may be released in the future but it was scheduled for this November and is being replaced another title that will be announced soon. The ECW set had been in the works since last fall and was set to feature new interviews with Taz, Tommy Dreamer and Joel Gertner, among others.

– WWE just released a limited number of extra seats for the next Cruiserweight Classic tapings on August 26th, seen below:

We just released a limited number of tix for the next #CWC on August 26. Head to https://t.co/ZfJSlZK0UF to get them before they are gone!

— WWE CWC (@WWE_CWC) July 15, 2016

– Cameron is staying busy with her post-WWE acting career. She tweeted the following this week:

Giving special thanks to my talent agents who have been holding it down #blessed ????????

— Ariane Andrew (@ArianeAndrew) July 15, 2016

Today is long but wouldn’t change it for the world! 2 auditions back to back, acting class for 4 hours and now off to a business meeting!

— Ariane Andrew (@ArianeAndrew) July 15, 2016

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More

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Update on Cameron's Acting Career, WWE Pulls DVD from 2016 Calendar, SmackDown Top, WWE CWC Tickets

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Spoiler: Another Title Change at Thursday's TNA Impact Wrestling Tapings

James Storm defeated Eli Drake at Thursday’s TNA Impact Wrestling tapings to become the new King of the Mountain Champion. The match should air on the August 4th Impact episode.

This is Storm’s first reign with the KOTM Title. It looks like his first defense will come against Bobby Lashley, who issued a title vs. title challenge that was accepted by Storm. No word yet on when that match will take place.

We have full spoilers from last night’s show at this link.

HHH Low-Balling WWE Stars on Money?, Big News on a WWE Team Splitting Up, WWE Star Speaking Out Against the Company Soon?, WHY Roman Reigns Failed a WWE Wellness Test, Big Backstage WWE Draft Updates, New Members of The Club, WWE Star Gets Heat for Sloppy Work, , Interesting Dean Ambrose News, Possible AJ Styles Title Plans, Major Tag Team Division Changes Coming?, WWE Ribbing Top Stars on TV, Vince McMahon Wants Famous Star, Title Plans for John Cena, Major WWE Plans for Kevin Owens and Big Cass, Must See New Lana & AJ Lee & Maryse, Lots of New GIFs & Exclusives, More


Spoiler: Another Title Change at Thursday's TNA Impact Wrestling Tapings

Eric Bischoff Talks His New WWE DVD, How He Would Book Roman Reigns and Pro Wrestling's Future

Eric Bischoff was special guest on episode 125 of The Ross Report on which he discussed a number of topics including his new WWE DVD, Eric Bischoff: Sports Entertainment’s Most Controversial Figure, how he would book Roman Reigns, and the future of professional wrestling.

On His New WWE DVD:

“I was tentative at first because, as we all know, history is written by the victors and WWE has their own point of view about history, as they should. And we’ve all heard it. We’ve all seen it. But I was a little reluctant to just kind of completely open up and particularly bringing in my personal life to the extent that I did and my family and not having any control at all over anything, just hoping for the best and hoping that it would be a well balanced and thoughtful documentary and it was more than I could have hoped for. I think the WWE and the entire team that worked on the project really made an effort to produce something that was a little different than what the audience has seen before, at least when it comes to my career, so I texted Vince [McMahon] after I saw it, the final cut, and told him that I was both very proud and very grateful that they produced it because it’s something that’ll live, it’ll be around long after I am.”

On Booking Roman Reigns:

“I’d like to think that what I would do is I would watch the reaction, much like I used to do when I’d sit up in the stands, behind the curtain, kind of find the cheapest seat in the house and just try to feel like a fan is, I would sit back and I would try to watch it and then I would react to it, but I would react to it in a very seamless way that felt organic and natural as possible and I would let the story and character go where the story and character needed to go based on the kind of social interaction that I was seeing even if it was not the direction I wanted to go in in the first place. You have to adjust. At some point, you’ve got to go, ‘okay, I wanted to go left, but I kind of need to go right,’ but I’d do it slowly and gradually and make it feel organic.”

On The Future of Professional Wrestling:

“When we reach that point where all that ‘highspotitis’ as I like to call it, has kind of come and gone, because that’s what’s en vogue right now. Everybody wants to see that crazy crap. It doesn’t matter if there’s a story. It doesn’t matter if it makes sense. They just want to see Cirque du Soleil. That’ll run its course and it always comes back to story. So here’s where I think the future is bright: when it comes back to story, and it will, and when we’ve adjusted to the fact that our big time characters don’t need to be 6’6″ [and] 350 lbs., you’re going to find a lot more talent that can deliver because they won’t be doing six hurricanranas in a row and taking 15 dropkicks to the skull and getting up and doing a backflip. I mean, they won’t be doing that anymore because that will have run its course. Look, everything comes back to story. Shakespeare is still Shakespeare because story rules. It’ll come back to that.”

Click here to listen to the podcast.

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Eric Bischoff Talks His New WWE DVD, How He Would Book Roman Reigns and Pro Wrestling's Future

WATCH: GGG v Brook press day

Last Updated: 15/07/16 2:43pm

Kell Brook and Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin's first press conference

Kell Brook and Gennady 'GGG' Golovkin's first press conference

Kell Brook and Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin’s first press conference

Two undefeated world champions went face-to-face for the first time in New York. Watch the Gennady Golovkin v Kell Brook press conference.

Much has been made of IBF world welterweight champion Brook accepting the challenge of leaping up two divisions to face middleweight king Golovkin, who holds the WBA Super, WBC and IBF belts.

The pair boast flawless records with Brook 36-0-KO25 and Golovkin 35-0-KO32 – combining for a staggering 71 victories and 57 stoppages.

At The O2 on September 10, Brook has the big fight he’s always wanted even if many feel it’s literally too big. Can he avoid those heavy hands for long enough to register himself and upset the Kazakh? The world can’t wait to find out.

So with the fight less than two months away, the two met in New York for their opening press conference. Did the insults fly or was there an instant mutual respect?

Find out by watching the first Golovkin v Brook press conference. Just click the video.

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WATCH: GGG v Brook press day

Who next for Eubank Jr?

Last Updated: 15/07/16 12:53pm

Chris Eubank Jr will want a major fight before the end of 2016

Chris Eubank Jr will want a major fight before the end of 2016

Chris Eubank Jr will want a major fight before the end of 2016

Chris Eubank Jr is the odd-one-out after Kell Brook signed to face Gennady Golovkin… so who will he fight next?

Danny Jacobs (31-1 KO28)

Eubank Jr (23-1 KO18) has been recognised as the WBA’s interim champion but did not progress to meeting the organisation’s ‘regular’ title-holder Jacobs (Golovkin is the ‘Super’ champion).

Danny Jacobs (left) punches Peter Quillin during their WBA middleweight championship bout

Danny Jacobs (left) punches Peter Quillin during their WBA middleweight championship bout

Danny Jacobs (left) punches Peter Quillin during their WBA middleweight championship bout

The critics will insist Eubank Jr bailed on his opportunity when, after beating Gary O’Sullivan to earn a fight with Jacobs, he instead opted to pursue the British title route. He has been successful in every outing since but allowing the Jacobs chance to pass must now be viewed as an error of judgement.

But it can be rectified. In need of a major occasion, don’t bet against Eubank Jr reigniting this fire. Jacobs, the 29-year-old New Yorker who also has a single loss on his record, is on the verge of agreeing a world title defence against Sergio Mora – a rematch, after the champion won the first bout in the second round. The American’s stand-out performance was stopping Peter Quillin in December but he lacks a major name on his record, so could view Eubank Jr as a stepping stone to advancing his own career.

Billy Joe Saunders (23-0 KO12)

Would this be a risky move, after Saunders won their first fight to hand Eubank Jr his only defeat to date? It would undoubtedly represent a gutsy manoeuvre for the Eubank camp, who might value flexing their muscles after missing out on Golovkin.

Billy Joe Saunders (right) won a majority decision over Eubank Jr

Billy Joe Saunders (right) won a majority decision over Eubank Jr

Billy Joe Saunders (right) won a majority decision over Eubank Jr

The undefeated Saunders, since outpointing Eubank Jr in November 2014, has increased his stock further by becoming WBO middleweight champion. He is likely to defend the belt on the Liam Smith-Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez undercard and Eubank Jr won’t be an option for that date, but may come into the equation immediately afterwards.

By that time, Saunders may still be a world champion who has defended his title and maintained a perfect record – a daunting but attractive king to dethrone for his perennial rival Eubank Jr.

Curtis Stevens (28-5 KO21)

The American has already raised a hand to provide Eubank Jr with the opportunity to fight on Brook and Golovkin’s undercard.

“I heard Chris Eubank Jr needs an opponent,” Stevens tweeted on Friday morning. Whether the Brighton middleweight would be willing to hang around on the undercard is another matter entirely, but accepting Stevens’ challenge could open the door to Stateside opportunities.

Curtis Stevens (left) unsuccessfully contested the world title against Gennady Golovkin

Curtis Stevens (left) unsuccessfully contested the world title against Gennady Golovkin

Curtis Stevens (left) unsuccessfully contested the world title against Gennady Golovkin

Since taking an eight-round shellacking from Golovkin three years ago, Stevens briefly rebounded until a points loss to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam foreshadowed 19 months on the sidelines, before stopping? Patrick Teixeira in May.

The New Yorker has never left his homeland for a fight but, having also shared a ring with Andre Dirrell, might represent an experienced and durable foe for Eubank Jr to take out some frustrations on. And imagine if he could do a better job on Stevens than Golovkin managed…

The winner of Golovkin v Brook

The blockbuster appeal of Eubank Jr acting as the main support to September 10’s Sky Sports Box Office headliner would sprinkle stardust over the whole event.

Kell Brook (right) and Golovkin pose in New York

Kell Brook (right) and Golovkin pose in New York

Kell Brook (right) and Golovkin pose in New York

Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has already insisted that Eubank Jr’s “big future” could involve fighting Golovkin or Brook by the end of 2016, which would be a remarkable story of redemption after the initial opportunity was lost at the negotiating table.

Should he fancy resuming talks, and should promoters soften their stance on Eubank Sr’s involvement, it may benefit everyone to allow boxing’s most outspoken father-and-son duo to take part in the same fight week and vent their anger directly towards Golovkin and Brook.

James DeGale (23-1 KO14)

Challenging a world champion in a weight above your own seems to be flavour of the month, and few all-British bouts whet the appetite as much as the prospect of Eubank Jr against IBF super-middleweight champion DeGale.

There is already some needle. Ever the antagonist, Eubank Jr claimed he enjoyed the lion’s share of success during a 2012 sparring session – a brazen claim which DeGale dismissed as “the stupidest thing ever”.

James DeGale (right) exchanges punches with Rogelio Medina

James DeGale (right) exchanges punches with Rogelio Medina

James DeGale (right) exchanges punches with Rogelio Medina

Stepping up 8lbs is no mean feat – yes, Brook is moving up 13lbs but the danger intensifies as the weight of punches gets heavier. The opportunity for Eubank Jr is obvious but don’t disregard what this prospective bout could do for DeGale’s career.

Facing a loud-mouth middleweight who would be undersized and less experienced, it may afford the world champion his most high-profile fight to date. Three consecutive outings in Massachusetts, Quebec and Washington might tempt DeGale to end his North American adventure and return to London where he may fill a stadium against Eubank Jr, who could replicate his father’s achievement of winning a world title at 168lbs.

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Who next for Eubank Jr?

Stiverne: Wilder avoiding me

Last Updated: 15/07/16 6:43am

Bermane Stiverne (right) cited health issues for losing to Deontay Wilder

Bermane Stiverne (right) cited health issues for losing to Deontay Wilder

Bermane Stiverne (right) cited health issues for losing to Deontay Wilder

Bermane Stiverne has criticised Deontay Wilder’s decision not to offer him a rematch.

Wilder won the WBC heavyweight title with a unanimous decision against Stiverne in January 2015 and will put the belt on the line against Chris Arreola on Saturday, live on Sky Sports 3 from 9pm.

Stiverne, the first man to take Wilder the distance, had previously earned the title after twice beating Arreola so believes he should have been picked as the next challenger.

He knows he dodged a bullet when he fought me and now he’s got the title, he’ll just run with it.

Bermane Stiverne

“We all know Deontay doesn’t want it, he isn’t interested,” Stiverne told Sky Sports.

“He knows he dodged a bullet when he fought me and now he’s got the title, he’ll just run with it.

“It’s disappointing to see a champion like Wilder taking these opponents. I’ll make my decision about what’s going to happen once Arreola weighs in. It all depends on the number on his scales.”

Stiverne (right) owns two wins over Wilder's next opponent Chris Arreola

Stiverne (right) owns two wins over Wilder's next opponent Chris Arreola

Stiverne (right) owns two wins over Wilder’s next opponent Chris Arreola

Haiti-born Stiverne cited severe dehydration, which later hospitalised him, for the performance against Wilder which led to him losing his world title.

Now fully recovered, the 37-year-old told Sky Sports he has started preparation to possibly fight Anthony Joshua before the end of the year because he rates the IBF champion above Wilder.

A look back at Wilder’s brutal first round knockout win over Siarhei Liakhovic back in 2013

A look back at Wilder’s brutal first round knockout win over Siarhei Liakhovic back in 2013

A look back at Wilder’s brutal first round knockout win over Siarhei Liakhovic back in 2013

“The Wilder fight – I didn’t lose because his skills were better than me,” Stiverne said. “I lost the fight because of my health, that’s the only reason. It was like having a gun loaded but you can’t pull the trigger.

“Deontay is not going to fight any real fighters that will be a threat to him. This is the different between Wilder and Joshua – I think Joshua would take the risk, Deontay would not. That’s two different men we’re talking about.”

Watch Deontay Wilder’s latest defence of the WBC heavyweight championship against Chris Arreola on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports 3 from 9pm.

Stiverne: I’m in camp for Joshua

American expecting call for November at The O2

Originally posted here:

Stiverne: Wilder avoiding me

WWE And Topps Launch Mobile Trading Card App

For Immediate Release

July 14, 2016

New York and Stamford, Conn.? – The Topps Company, Inc. and WWE? (NYSE: WWE)? today announced the launch of? Topps® WWE SLAMSM, WWE’s first digital trading card app.Topps® WWE SLAMSM? will bring WWE Superstars to life with exclusive digital cards that can be collected and traded with fans worldwide.? The app, which debuted today, is now available to download for free on iOS and Android devices through the Apple App Store? and Google Play.

“WWE has been an incredible partner with Topps for many years, and we are thrilled to be able to offer WWE fans worldwide a new way to collect their favorite WWE Superstars from today and the past,” said Jeremy Strauser, Vice President and General Manager of Topps Digital. “WWE has been at the forefront of pop culture and entertainment for many years and we are excited to add? WWE SLAM? to the Topps apps portfolio.”

? “We are pleased to once again partner with Topps and offer our fans a new way to connect with their favorite WWE Superstars digitally,” said Casey Collins, WWE Executive Vice President, Consumer Products. “Topps WWE SLAM? provides us with another opportunity to innovate and engage a global fan base that continuously consumes content across all platforms.”

Topps® WWE SLAMSM? will feature thousands of digital trading cards of some of the world’s favorite past and present WWE Superstars including John Cena, The Rock, Undertaker, Ric Flair, Seth Rollins, Sasha Banks and Charlotte.? New digital cards will be released daily in? Topps® WWE SLAMSM? with highlights from the extensive Topps cards library and all-new designs and collections exclusive to the app.? Additionally, collectors will have a chance to collect a variety of unique cards featuring WWE Superstar memorabilia and autographs.? To celebrate the launch of the app, fans who sign up to try WWE Slam will receive 10 free packs of digital cards to help build their collection. To learn more, visithttp://www.topps.com/topps-apps/.


About Topps

Founded in 1938, The Topps Company, Inc. is the preeminent creator and brand marketer of physical and digital sports cards, entertainment cards and collectibles, and distinctive confectionery products. Topps’ leading sports and entertainment products include Major League Baseball, National Football League, Major League Soccer, UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Bundesliga, Indian Premier League, Star Wars, WWE, UFC, Wacky Packages, Garbage Pail Kids, Mars Attacks and other trading cards, sticker album collections and collectibles. Topps’ app portfolio, including Topps BUNT®, Topps NFL HUDDLE®, TOPPS KICK®? and Topps®? Star WarsSM: Card Trader,? has been a hit with millions of fans around the world.? Topps’ confectionery brands include Ring Pop®, Push Pop®, Baby Bottle Pop®, Juicy Drop®? Pop, Crunchkins™? and Bazooka®? bubble gum.? Topps was acquired by? Michael Eisner’s? Tornante Company and Madison Dearborn Partners in October 2007.? For additional information, visit? Topps.com? and? Candymania.com.?

About WWE

WWE, a publicly traded company (NYSE: WWE), is an integrated media organization and recognized leader in global entertainment. The company consists of a portfolio of businesses that create and deliver original content 52 weeks a year to a global audience. WWE is committed to family friendly entertainment on its television programming, pay-per-view, digital media and publishing platforms. WWE programming reaches more than 650 million homes worldwide in 25 languages. WWE Network, the first-ever 24/7 over-the-top premium network that includes all live pay-per-views, scheduled programming and a massive video-on-demand library, is currently available in more than 180 countries. The company is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with offices in New York, Los Angeles, London, Mexico City, Mumbai, Shanghai, Singapore, Dubai, Munich and Tokyo.


Additional information on WWE (NYSE: WWE) can be found at? wwe.com? and? corporate.wwe.com. For information on our global activities, go to? http://www.wwe.com/worldwide/

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WWE And Topps Launch Mobile Trading Card App

Doctor's Orders: The Top 100 WWE Stars Of The Post-Attitude Era (#61-#65) – Stone Cold! Stone Cold…?

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Posted in: Doctor’s Orders
Doctor’s Orders: The Top 100 WWE Stars Of The Post-Attitude Era (#61-#65) – Stone Cold! Stone Cold…?
By The Doc
Jul 10, 2016 – 2:26:14 PM

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About a year ago, a frequent collaborator on “The Doc Says” podcast – David Fenichel – suggested to me a column series that would begin to turn our historical attention toward that which came after the vaunted Attitude Era. With an eye on something fresh, he suggested that we identify the most accomplished wrestlers of the “post-Attitude Era” – from present day back to the night after WrestleMania X-8 as we have defined it. So, welcome to a labor of pro wrestling love roughly one year in the making.

We ranked our top 100 wrestlers based on a point system that involved headlining matches for WrestleMania, Summerslam, Survivor Series, The Royal Rumble, and all other PPVs, combined with a points formula based on titles won and length of reigns. While it was more difficult to ascertain the status of certain members of the WWE – namely tag teams, divas and legends w/ short tenures during this era, we believe that this is as unbiased of a countdown as you are going to find. Chad and I did a tremendous amount of work putting this together for you, so we hope that you enjoy the ride.

70. The Bella Twins
69. Hardcore Holly
68. Luke Harper
67. Paul London and Brian Kendrick
66. AJ Lee
65. Big E
64. William Regal
63. Finlay
62. “Stone Cold” Steve Austin
61. Lita

Doc: The Bellas are another female act that I just don’t know how to rank. Yes, Nikki is the longest reigning Divas Champion ever. Yes, Brie headlined a Summerslam. Yes, the sisters have been the stars of an underrated WWE Universe-expanding venture with reality TV. However, their association with the return of the women’s match to potty break status is well documented among the internet circle. Is that fair? To an extent. The bottom line is that, unlike the women of NXT or the Trish-Lita-Victoria (etc) group from a decade ago, the Bellas and the other women in their camp never did anything to stimulate interest in women’s wrestling, either from fans or the people in charge of booking them on TV. All we can do as historians is evaluate what we see and what we largely saw from the Bellas was forgettable. They’re here because of Total Divas.

Dave: Chad let his internet fandom get the best of him regarding the Bellas. He glossed over their incredible accomplishments as if they were nothing. Nikki being the longest reigning Divas champion is an enormous accomplishment. That alone should get The Bella ranked amongst the best females of this era. Additionally, Brie Bella was involved in the best hyped female match ever. Stephanie McMahon was one of the biggest focal points of Summerslam 2014. It is the ONLY Divas’ match to ever occupy a headlining spot on a Big 4 Pay Per View. These are accomplishments that cannot be ignored. The Bellas are crossover mainstream stars because of Total Divas. I argue that they are the most recognizable current wrestlers not named John Cena. Their overall impact cannot be taken lightly. I think we probably undersold them here, and they should be ranked higher on our countdown.

What do Hardcore Holly and the Bella Twins have in common? They both stuck around long enough that the more talented people consistently pushed ahead of them moved on, giving them opportunities to shine during fairly inconsequential periods of their divisions in the WWE hierarchy, consequently inflating their place in history. Truth be told, I don’t mind Holly any less than I mind the Bellas, but make no mistake that he was a lengthy Tag Team Title reign with Cody Rhodes subtracted and a broken neck suffered at the hands of someone not named Brock Lesnar away from being left off this list entirely. His marginal skills, like Nikki and Brie’s, probably don’t justify as high a position in a historical rankings discussion, but when you statistically analyze anything, there are going to be outliers. With the personality of a guard dog and only marginal wrestling talent, Holly is one of the biggest outliers on our list.

While it is a lot more fun to argue with Chad, I’m going to have to agree with him here. Unlike the Bella Twins, Hardcore Holly was a complete waste of space. He couldn’t wrestle, couldn’t talk, had the charisma of a dead moose, and was an absolute garbage fire behind the scenes. Chad correctly pointed out that his accomplishments were the type to score well in our criteria, making him an outlier on the countdown. I think that while all that is correct, it’s his longevity that allowed him such a prominent ranking here. Truth be told, Bob Holly might be one of the biggest overachievers in the era. He’s a guy who lacked talent in any of the areas that generally determine success and parlayed that into headlining a Royal Rumble and carving out a 10 plus year career. There is something admirable about that.

Luke Harper is interesting case to me. He is one of the most underrated talents in the WWE. He’s an absolute monster and can bring it in the ring. His look may limit his long term success, but he is one of my personal favorites. Just like Erick Rowan, he earns his place on the countdown for being a member of the Wyatt Family. He gets a higher ranking due to his noteworthy Intercontinental Title run. I really enjoyed his ladder match against Dolph Ziggler, and I consider that to be one of the better matches of that gimmick in recent memory. Unlike surefire superstars like Kevin Owens, it will be interesting to revisit Luke Harper’s career in ten years to see if he ever breaks out of his current role as a background player. The talent is there, but I’m not sure the pieces will fall together for him.

Interesting that Dave should bring up the idea of revisiting Harper’s career in ten years, as that’s the closing statement to just about every conversation about Harper’s long-term prospects that I have had. I agree with my colleague; Harper is a personal favorite. He blew me away in the classic series between The Wyatt Family and The S.H.I.E.L.D. two years ago and, with each opportunity he’s had to shine since, he has maintained the sterling reputation he has among fans and peers alike. Harper is what the modern “big man” should be. The world of pro wrestling has shrunk; calling it “the land of giants” is silly to me in 2016. The longest reigning World Champion of the last 25 years looked like the short order cook at Waffle House and the biggest star of the Reality Era made Chris Jericho look huge. Harper is the ideal kind of talent to lead the redefinition of the larger wrestler.

Paul London and Brian Kendrick are the next in the growing list of talents on our list who I have a hard time placing in proper historical context. Their biggest claim to fame? They hold the distinction as the 2nd longest reigning champions in the lineage of the current Tag Team Titles. I wish not to beat a dead horse, but the knock against that accomplishment is that the period in which that accomplishment was achieved was not exactly a sterling period in the division’s history. Considering that said reign was mostly responsible for their ranking, though, I think it’s fair to reassert the primary argument against them. It’s what makes these discussions interesting to me, at day’s end. All that talk aside, I was a big fan of their tandem because I knew what I’d get from them – a 3-star tag team match and maybe an occasional classic (see the 4-team Ladder match at Armageddon ’06).

I enjoyed London and Kendrick as a tag team, but was surprised at the teams they ended up ahead of in our rankings. Truth be told, having the 2nd longest WWE tag title reign of the measurable period held a tremendous amount of weight in our scoring criteria. Chad is correct. London and Kendrick did thrive in an era where tag team wrestling was not at its peak. However, I am confident that they would have been successful in the current era as well. They were both fantastic workers, had great team chemistry, and were over with the fans. It should also be noted that they had individual success, including cruiserweight titles reigns, competing for a world title on Pay Per View, and arguably the most memorable Royal Rumble elimination ever. While not world beaters by any stretch of the imagination, they most certainly earned their spot on our countdown.

It is without question that AJ Lee is one of the top ranking Divas’ of this era. While Nikki Bella may have the longest reign as Diva’s champion, you will be hard pressed to find anyone that doesn’t think AJ Lee had the best title reign. Not only was her title reign lengthy, but it was filled with excellent matches and important title defenses. More importantly, AJ had the best character of any Diva during this time period. She played the crazy persona to a T that allowed her to participate in main-event storylines involving Daniel Bryan, CM Punk, and Kane. She was a great wrestler, a phenomenal valet, and an entertaining General Manager. A big part of me wishes that AJ had not retired along with CM Punk, as she would be thriving in the current landscape of physically dominant female wrestlers.

Though I do share Dave’s overall opinion of AJ Lee, I do not share his sentiments that her title reign was vastly superior to any other from this or late last decade. It started off promising with the best women’s match to that point since Trish’s retirement match; three months later, she cut the Pipette Bomb to separate herself from the Total Divas, but it never went anywhere. Her defenses were mostly inconsequential. However, when she came back for her twilight run, she helped establish a higher standard for main roster women’s matches with Paige. For both her standout character and for her role in establishing the kind of culture for females in WWE that morphed into the Diva’s Revolution, she should be applauded. Someone asked me months ago, “Is AJ a Hall of Famer?” In my view, she absolutely deserves to get that nod some day.

Big E is an intriguing long-term prospect. I said last summer on “The Doc Says” that I think he could become one of the Top 5 most important players in WWE someday. There’s a certain amount of luck involved in pro wrestling success, but E has the charisma and the unique look to make it very high up the figurative ladder. The New Day has been a God-send for him, as the role of the generic babyface mid-card champion didn’t suit him (though he did grow as an in-ring performer from that experience, in my opinion). Having Kofi and Xavier to play off of has shown us a very entertaining side of him. They’ve also added the longest WWE Tag Team Championship (Smackdown lineage) reign in history to his resume to compliment a multi-month run as the Intercontinental Champion. Watch out for Big E in the next few years…

There is nothing that I enjoy more about the current product than Big E telling whatever city they are in not to be sour. Big E has everything it takes to be a huge superstar. He’s massive with a unique look. He’s physically impressive in the ring. He’s wildly entertaining on the microphone. Lastly, he provides the WWE with an opportunity to reach a segment of their audience that they speak to far too little. An African American champion in this day and age can bring a lot of new fans to the table. Big E’s spot on this countdown was well earned. He had a solid run as Intercontinental Champion, and is in the middle of an extremely impressive tag team title run as part of The New Day. Big E is another guy that could easily skyrocket up this list a few years from now.

You will be hard pressed to find a guy in the locker room more respected than William Regal. His place on this countdown is without question, with runs as Intercontinental and Tag Team champion to his credit. Regal was so damn good on so many levels. First, he had a knack for taking absolutely terrible storylines and turning them into comedic gold. Second, you won’t find anyone more accomplished or respected for his in-ring work. He has thrived in the role of mentor, and is the one guy that people like Daniel Bryan cite as their biggest influence in the industry. As great as William Regal’s in-ring accomplishments were, it will be his off the screen role as a teacher that will be his lasting legacy. As long as there are men like William Regal around, NXT, and the future of the WWE, are in good hands.

William Regal carved an interesting niche for himself in the post-Attitude Era as a utility wrestler who could be used on each of the three brands in whatever role was needed of him. He could be blessed with “The Power of the Punch” and be successful; he could form an anti-American tag team and be successful; he could mentor a mentally handicapped character and successfully relate to the audience just how much that young man had grown to mean to him; he could successfully engage the top stars of the era in the ring and on the microphone; he could provide stylistically unique (and brilliant) matches with great success that nobody else could perform; he could act as a member of a fictitious king’s court successfully; he could successfully portray an authority figure; he could be a successful top heel. There’s nothing Regal couldn’t do; and that is his legacy.

Finlay started actively wrestling for WWE in late 2005 after spending the previous several years as one of their trainers. As a trainer, he was largely responsible for the renaissance of the women’s division led by Trish Stratus, Lita, Mickie James, and others, who credit him for teaching them how to be pro wrestlers. When he returned to the ring, he excelled in a variety of roles, becoming a model for character consistency all the while; heel, babyface, upper-tier star or mid-card role player, he was true to his persona. Short of winning the World Title, there wasn’t much that he didn’t do during his five year run. He headlined a few PPVs, he was consistently featured on major events, he won the United States Championship, he competed in all the major multi-man gimmick matches (Money in the Bank, Elimination Chamber, Royal Rumble). He’s an underrated success story of the last 15 years.

The WWE needs a guy like Finlay during every era. He’s a good but not great wrestler. He can talk but doesn’t have fantastic mic skills. His look is nothing special. He isn’t particularly charismatic. Nonetheless, Finlay was the guy that the WWE could elevate up and down the card at a moment’s notice whenever they needed a credible opponent for a star they wanted to spotlight. He could work as a heel or face, and while his feuds and matches might not be the blockbusters that people look back on with fond memories, you always knew that he was going to make the person he worked with come out better than before their feud. As odd as this may sound, I view Finlay as the 2005-2010 version of The Big Show of the early 2000s. His flexibility made him an unbelievable asset to the WWE.

The task of how to rank the biggest star of the Attitude Era on a countdown that measured the post-Attitude Era was not an easy one. If we took our 100 wrestlers and ranked them based on the entirety of their career, there is little doubt that Austin would be in the top 3 of this list. Unfortunately for him, his run was coming to an end right as the time period for our countdown begins. Austin continued to headline for the first several months of the era we measured, including a very underrated match against The Rock at WrestleMania 19. It’s too bad that the WWE didn’t know that this would turn out to be his swan song and give him a better sendoff. Despite his comparatively low ranking on the countdown, Austin is without a doubt one of, if not the greatest wrestler of all time.

I’ve been historically more critical of Stone Cold Steve Austin than the vast majority. He’s unquestionably one of the greatest ever, but the fact that he caught lightning in a bottle for a few years and then fizzled out in 2002 seems to get largely glossed over. As usual, I bring that up not to demean the man, but to be fair about his career. The fact of the matter is that Austin’s career post-Attitude is quite easy to contextualize. Sans for the swan song against The Rock at WrestleMania 19, the Rattlesnake’s most famous contribution post-2001 was deciding to “take his ball and go home.” He fell so quickly from the top that he was going to job to Brock Lesnar on Raw. Austin was all but done; the lightning had all been poured out of the bottle. That said, the last match of his career was amazing.

Lita and her greatest rival, Trish Stratus, are the easiest females to historically rank. The Extreme Diva was massively over from almost the word go. As the women’s division achieved greater focus around the period that our Countdown’s timeframe began, she started her competition with Stratus for the #1 spot. I’d say she was ahead of Trish when she went down with a neck injury during an accident ironically not in the ring, but at a TV shoot for the popular Jessica Alba-featured show, Dark Angel. Upon her return, she reconnected quickly with the fans and, when Stratus turned heel and began antagonizing her, Lita’s popularity skyrocketed. Those were the most intense women’s matches I’ve ever seen, their main-event on Raw for the Women’s Championship being the highlight for me (though Trish’s retirement match when the face-heel dynamic was reversed was incredible in its own right). Lita is a well-deserving Hall of Famer.

I consider this the part of the countdown where we reach our major players. Everyone left played a significant role in the era. Lita is the third highest ranked female on our list for good reason. She brought a high flying style to the women’s division that hadn’t been seen before. Her alternative punk rock personality was a huge hit with the WWE audience at the time. Chad is correct – prior to her neck injury she was the #1 female over Trish. Although she has several titles to her record, her crowning achievement in my eyes is being one half of the first diva’s match to main-event Raw. I don’t want to wrap this up without mentioning her tremendous main-event run as Edge’s valet during the mid to late 2000s. She was a huge reason that Edge skyrocketed to the main-event. Lita had a truly remarkable career.

QUESTION OF THE DAY: Should Steve Austin rank higher or lower on the post-Attitude Era’s historical hierarchy?

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Doctor's Orders: The Top 100 WWE Stars Of The Post-Attitude Era (#61-#65) – Stone Cold! Stone Cold…?

My Two Centsss – Like it or not, There WON'T be a Shield Triple Threat at Battleground

Posted in: My Two Centsss
My Two Centsss – Like it or not, There WON’T be a Shield Triple Threat at Battleground
By Super Chrisss
Jul 10, 2016 – 2:21:06 PM

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Tom Jenner rocks!

This morning, as I’ve been doing every Wednesday morning whenever I have the day off work/school, I sat back and listened to my good buddy The Doc’s weekly podcast on LOPRadio. Anyone who has ever had the pleasure of listening to an old episode of “The Doc and Super Chrisss Show” knows that Chad and I don’t always see eye-to-eye on the world of pro wrestling. Today, however, there was no conflict: I 100% echo his sentiments that this month’s Battleground Pay-Per-View is NOT the time nor the place to book a triple threat match between WWE Champion Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. This is not only a SummerSlam-caliber main-event, but also one worthy of ending a WrestleMania. To have the very first encounter between the three former Hounds of Justice take place at a filler PPV between Money in the Bank and SummerSlam seems a bit odd, doesn’t it?

That’s why – as you may have guessed just by clicking on this column’s title – I’m boldly predicting that Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns will NOT take place at Battleground.

“But hold on, Super C, the match has already been booked and WWE had the chance to remove Roman from the match following his suspension but they didn’t.” Yeah, I know that. But I also know that WWE is no stranger to altering or modifying a scheduled PPV match, especially at the Battleground PPV. If I may take a second to channel my inner Tito, here’s what I predicted about the very first Ambrose vs. Rollins match, set to take place at Battleground 2014:

”Has there been a more compelling feud in months than Ambrose vs. Rollins? Not to take anything away from the rest of the card (which has been booked surprisingly well considering it’s, well, the midcard), but ever since The Shield imploded last month, Ambrose and Rollins have been tearing the house down without having any actual matches. You see, WWE does know how to book a feud without giving away the match on free TV a half-dozen times before and after a PPV – they just refuse to do it. I’m aware I’ve already said this multiple times throughout the column, but for Christ’s Sake, I cannot believe they’re not saving Ambrose vs. Rollins for SummerSlam. Then again, maybe they are.

Hear me out. Monday on Raw, Ambrose was unable to compete in the main-event because of the gang-attack from The Authority’s henchmen at the start of the show. *SMACKDOWN SPOILER* Rollins comes out on this week’s SmackDown and says he can’t compete because he suffered an injury during Raw’s main-event. *END SPOILER* What if, come Battleground on Sunday, while The Lunatic Fringe is waiting for his back-stabbing brother to face him in the ring, Mr. Money in the Bank says he’s unable to compete because of the injury, which leads to: A) Ambrose being beat down by Kane, Orton, and Rollins, therefore unable to compete, or B) Rollins/Triple H selects a new opponent for Ambrose (maybe a returning Mark Henry?) Either scenario would prolong the feud until at least SummerSlam without giving away Ambrose vs. Rollins just yet. Sure, the live crowd wouldn’t be very happy, but remember – card subject to change!

Winner: N/A (match doesn’t happen).”

Many people thought I was insane for thinking that WWE would spend weeks promoting a major match between Ambrose and Rollins only to pull out at the very last second. Yet, that’s exactly what happened. Two years ago, the Battleground card was stacked with plenty of fresh/dream match-ups, so they could afford holding off on an actual match between the former Shield guys. This year’s card, although yet to be finalized, looks promising enough with The New Day vs. Wyatt Family, The Club vs. Cena, Enzo & Cass and probably Sasha vs. Charlotte, among others. Would anyone be really disappointed if WWE took Reigns out of the championship match at the very last-minute and we just got a one-on-one between Ambrose and Rollins? I doubt it.

Another recurring theme with Battleground is their poorly-booked main-events. The very first edition in 2013 saw The Big Show run-down and KO punch both Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, resulting in an unannounced, presumed double-DQ. One year later, in 2014, John Cena won a very boring and predictable Fatal-4-Way match to retain his WWE Championship. Last year, The Undertaker interrupted the ending of Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (their first one-on-one match, by the way) to set up the main-event of the following month’s SummerSlam. As you can see, the Battleground PPV is no stranger to controversy.

In my opinion, taking Reigns out of the Battleground main-event and delaying The Shield triple threat is what’s best for business. Reigns doesn’t even deserve to be in the match, quite frankly. He’s an idiot who decided to take something illegal when the company was counting on him to carry to the company on his shoulders. With a brand split on the horizon, he couldn’t have chosen a worse time to fail a Wellness Test, except maybe WrestleMania time. He let down a company who supported him relentlessly, even though he was getting booed out of nearly every arena he stepped into since The Royal Rumble. Even though TV ratings and tours he headlined wee doing abysmal numbers, WWE stuck with him through the thick of it. And his way of thanking them was to take something he shouldn’t have. Way to go, champ.

There’s the optimist in me who’s hoping that the decision to put the belt on Dean Ambrose, start pushing Sasha Banks again, and even (maybe?) giving Zack Ryder more TV time are all signs that WWE is finally starting to listen to their audience again. They tried pushing who THEY wanted to push and it blew up in their faces. Instead, people who the fans genuinely like are starting to receive TV time and opportunities. While the creative department still sucks, at least the cast members are more interesting and worth engaging in.

Getting back to Reigns, why SHOULD he be gifted a main-event championship match on PPV his very first night back? He undoubtedly screwed up a lot of creative plans for the next few weeks and many script re-writes have been necessary. Furthermore, Ambrose had to pull double-duty last week and the week before to fill-in for the shows that Reigns was booked for. While WWE is partly at fault for not building up more names worthy of headlining separate live events, 2016 has been a terrible year for injuries, and even Cena doesn’t seem to work house shows anymore. When Reigns was pulled from his live events, WWE didn’t have Cena, Orton or Bray Wyatt to replace him with. Reigns screwed up big-time and he doesn’t deserve to receive that Battleground paycheque.

Reigns-bashing aside, it’s the perfect excuse for WWE to prolong The Shield triple threat. They may be advertising Ambrose vs. Rollins vs. Reigns at Battleground – even having Rollins bury Reigns on the mic – but I smell a rat. Don’t be surprised if Reigns doesn’t show up at Battleground or is jumped backstage by his SummerSlam opponent, later revealed to be Brock Lesnar? I’m not sure how they’ll go about it, but I’m feeling confident that we’re getting Ambrose vs. Rollins one-on-one at Battleground, and I’m perfectly okay with that. Also, before you label me as insane, keep in mind that was I one of the only people who successfully predicted a Zack Ryder Intercontinental Title win at WrestleMania.

Just to be clear, I’m as excited for a Shield triple threat as the next guy. I simply don’t think Battleground is the right time. The WWE Universe will still be buzzing from the draft which takes place on the final SmackDown BEFORE Battleground. Also, Reigns not being around for the build-up makes it feel a bit empty. I’d rather they take the 2014 and tease the fans into thinking they’re getting a Shield triple threat later this month, only to pull the rug out on them at the very last second. Will it suck for everyone in attendance? Sure, but like I said – Ambrose vs. Rollins isn’t a bad consolation prize at all.

Save The Shield triple threat for where it belongs – SummerSlam or WrestleMania!


YOUR Two Centsss: Would you be disappointed if Ambrose vs. Reigns vs. Rollins doesn’t take place at Battleground?

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My Two Centsss – Like it or not, There WON'T be a Shield Triple Threat at Battleground