Who’s The Big Surprise On 2.21.11?
WARNING: Potential spoiler included below.
Welcome to WrestleMania season, traditionally the most exciting period for wrestling fans as WWE builds to its annual crescendo and inducts a few more legendary names into the Hall of Fame that exists within the walls of Vince McMahon’s mind. Even non-WWE fans can find what to get excited about as promotions like TNA, ROH and Dragon Gate USA often schedule big events in or around the host city for WrestleMania to take advantage of all the fans traveling in from various places. Bottom line, it’s fun for the fans.
You know what’s just as much fun? Playing the guessing game! So when WWE decided to air a rather cryptic vignette not once, but twice during Raw on Monday night touting an appearance by a mysterious, cloaked figure on 2.21.11, the internet practically exploded in its pants with theories about who this person could be. Is it the return of an injured superstar? The arrival of someone new? Surely, whoever it is, it must be a big name since this is all happening in the midst of WrestleMania season? Whoever it turns out to be, there are several names that are being bandied about, so I thought it would be fun to list the most obvious (and maybe not so obvious) ones here and their chances of actually showing up on Raw in Fresno.
Some might say all of this speculation became a moot point once the Save Mart Center website decided to post a spoiler touting “THE RETURN OF THE UNDERTAKER” for the 2/21 Raw show. This, they say, is PROOF that the video is referring to an Undertaker return. I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Undertaker won’t be on the show, but who says one has to do with the other? That being said, you have to believe there’s a strong chance that it is a promo for the dead man, getting him back into the mix in time to start a WrestleMania program, but with who? It’s hardly a lock that Taker will even be able to wrestle on the show, and even if he does, all signs have been pointing towards a Smackdown opponent with either Wade Barrett, Ezekiel Jackson or Kane being his most likely adversary. In any event, the cowboy boots and long, black trenchcoat have me thinking the reaper of wayward souls is on his way back from the grave to begin his march to 19-0. Odds: 2-to-1
Easily the favorite amongst fans online. In fact, many have already convinced themselves that an Undertaker vs. Sting dream match is inevitable for this year’s WrestleMania. Forget the fact that Undertaker hasn’t even returned to television yet, or that there has not been a SINGLE confirmation of Sting signing a deal with the company (a company, mind you, that he has never worked for). And before people start throwing a small item in a New York Daily News report in my face that said Sting had signed a one-year deal with WWE, let’s get real. If this news is true, you’ll hear it first on sites like this one, not in the freaking DAILY NEWS. That being said, Sting has reportedly not re-signed with TNA, which has been his home since 2003. At 51-years old, he’s not getting any younger. Kevin Nash recently said Sting would be a fool to not accept a WWE deal if one were offered, and it’s no secret that signing him is one of the goals the company had in mind for 2011. WrestleMania is in Atlanta this year, the former home of WCW where he made a name for himself. Why not sign a short-term contract, get a Mania payday, maybe a Hall of Fame nod and a 3-disc DVD treatment? Odds: 5-to-1
The King of Kings
I never thought I’d say this, but I miss The Game. He’s been out of action since last April, close to a year now, after being “taken out” by Sheamus. Since that time, Triple H has filmed two movies, suffered and rehabbed from a torn biceps, and has taken a more active role in backstage affairs as Vince McMahon’s right-hand man. In recent interviews, he has talked about no longer working a full schedule and being more of a special attraction, but that he fully expects to be part of this year’s WrestleMania card. I was shocked to not see him as a surprise entrant in the Royal Rumble, which begs the obvious question – at what point in the next 30 or so days does he make his triumphant return? You know it’s coming. But could it really be him in that video? I mean, since when does Triple H wear black boots and a trenchcoat? But what if it’s all a red herring just to throw us off? Or better yet, what if he’s trying to reinvent himself? Wouldn’t seem to make much sense for a man who now admits his time as a performer is limited, but stranger things have happened. Anything would beat that awful getup he had at the Mania show in 2006. Odds: 20-to-1
The best in the world at what he does
Ever since Randy Orton punted him in the skull back in October, Chris Jericho has not been seen on WWE television. I suppose, if we kayfabe it, he’s either in a coma or recovering from a pretty serious concussion. In reality, his contract expired and Jericho chose to focus on his music career and a sequel to his successful first book, due out this month. He’s given interviews stating pretty directly that he would not be at WrestleMania and had no imminent plans to return to WWE. Yet in his most recent interview, he says a new deal with WWE is “90% done”, though he still gave no indication that he might be coming back anytime soon. Add to that the fact that Jericho has talked about having to reinvent himself over time in order to freshen up his character. That’s why he started wearing suits on TV at a time when almost nobody else was doing that. Perhaps he feels it’s time for yet another change in wardrobe? Remember, if anyone knows how to spike fan interest through the use of viral videos and such, it’s Jericho. The millennium countdown for his 1999 debut is one of the all-time great wrestling debuts, and he followed it up with the SAVE.US.222 campaign when he last returned to the company in 2007. Odds: 50-to-1
Bubba the Love Sponge’s favorite diva
The former TNA Knockouts champion recently signed a contract with WWE and has yet to make her television debut. She was backstage at the Royal Rumble, but was not used. Rumors have her linked with the Bella Twins as part of their ongoing angle with Gail Kim and Daniel Bryan, potentially reigniting her feud with Kim from their days in the Impact Zone. If so, then 2.21.11 is unlikely to have anything to do with her. However, it would be the single best way to get her over as a big deal to an audience that has never seen a female superstar receive such treatment in advance of their debut. That fact alone makes me even more skeptical that it’s her. Still, she’s a new star under contract that is set to debut any week, so there is at least a chance, however slim it may be. Odds: 100-to-1
The Cornfed Meathead
I have high hopes for Mr. Sheffield. Anyone who has listened to my podcast on this very site (cheap plug) knows that I see him as a potential breakout star and apparently, I’m not alone. A former WWE writer who recently blogged some intimate details about the creative process (and then promptly pulled that blog) revealed that Vince McMahon himself sees Sheffield as a potential #2 babyface at some point, behind only John Cena. The guy was a goofball on the first season of NXT, but during his time in Nexus before he suffered a broken ankle this past August, he showed a certain intensity and aptitude for being a giant ass-kicker that reminded me a bit of Brock Lesnar or Bill Goldberg. The point is, if he can stay healthy, he will be given opportunities because of his size that not many others are afforded. As such, his recovery time was listed at around 6 months and, wouldn’t you know it, it’s right about that time. If they’re going to push him, then this would be one hell of a way to make a splash. I don’t see this happening, but it has to at least be considered given that he’s due back at anytime and WWE recognizes the need to get more young guys over. Odds: 250-to-1
Tyler Black, errr…Seth Rollins
Former ROH World Champion
There once was a pretty damn good wrestler with a great look called Tyler Black. He even held the ROH World Heavyweight Title for a time. Then, he signed a WWE contract and was promptly sent down to Florida Championship Wrestling because, as with everyone else who they send down there, he doesn’t “know how to work” and had to be taught the WWE style. Not only that, but they gave him a new name, too – Seth Rollins. In reality, it could’ve been far worse (*cough*Eli Cottonwood*cough*), but I digress. With the youth movement in WWE in full effect, you have to expect that we will be seeing Mr. Rollins on TV sooner rather than later. If we pick apart the 2.21.11 video, there are noticeable similarities to the early Tyler Black character in ROH, who was part of a dark faction led by Jimmy Jacobs called The Age of the Fall. To take that one step further, ROH even used cryptic messages to hype the arrival of AOTF with the code name “Project 161” (corresponding with the promotion’s 161st show, which is where he debuted). Just an interesting little fact to keep in mind, though I doubt WWE is even aware of this. Odds: 500-to-1
”Macho Man” Randy Savage
Future WWE Hall of Famer
I know what you’re thinking. Solomonster, are you pouring vodka shots through your eyeballs again? No, I actually gave that up, but hear me out on this one. Think back to the last time we saw Randy Savage on TV with a major promotion and you’d have to go all the way back to TNA in 2004. Do you remember what Savage was wearing? That’s right, a long, black trenchcoat and black boots. Add to that, while Savage has been persona-non-grata with Vince McMahon ever since his departure, within the last 18 months, we have seen the release of a Macho Man DVD set, his first action figure in more than a decade, and now his inclusion in the next WWE video game. While Mattel and THQ may have had more to do with those last two things, it appears the door may be creaking open a bit for an eventual return. Plus, let’s be honest, Vinnie Mac needs more big names for the Hall of Fame. Now, fantasy aside, would Vince not only welcome the nearly 60-year old Savage back with open arms, but actually bring him in with vignettes normally reserved for newer, younger stars? Probably not, but then again, 61-year old Jerry Lawler is getting a title shot at their next PPV, so anything’s possible. Odds: 1000-to-1
The Man in Black from Halloween 5 & 6
What a stupid storyline in an otherwise fine movie series
I’m a big horror movie fan and I LOVED the original Halloween films (yes, even the third one). In part five, we were introduced to a mysterious stranger dressed in all black who, at the end of the movie, breaks Michael Myers out of a police station. In part six, we discover this so-called “Man in Black” to be Dr. Wynn, a character from the original Halloween, who is part of a some weird cult hell-bent on stealing Michael’s DNA in an effort to harness his evil powers and introduce them into fetuses during in-vitro fertilization. Cool, eh? Anyway, I really just wanted to find a way to talk about this insanely stupid storyline and given that the “Man in Black” apparently uses the same tailor as the mystery man in the 2.21.11 teaser, I figured why not. Hell, he could very well be a candidate, were it not for the fact that Michael slaughtered him and his entire group in part six. Odds: TNA will turn a profit first
The Greater Power returns!
Has anyone given thought to the idea that perhaps this is all just an elaborate way to re-introduce Mister McMahon to our TV screens? The last we saw of him, he was assaulted and left for dead by Nexus v1.0 (not counting the stupid election skit, which was supposedly a dream anyway). He was also once part of an angle that was dragged out for several weeks with a reveal that included him hiding under a dark cloak before being exposed as the so-called “Greater Power” on Raw in 1999. Swap out that cloak for a trenchcoat and voila, it’s the Attitude Era all over again! Okay, maybe not. Odds: 5000-to-1
Who do YOU think will be the person revealed on 2.21.11? Let your voices be heard in the comments section below!