Edge’s Retirement Big Loss for WWE

It’s official. WWE’s 14 year veteran, “The Rated R Superstar,” Edge, has left the building.

For months, various wrestling news sources had been gossiping about the 11-time World Champion’s future in the WWE. Most of them speculated that he would retire in 2012. But, on April 11, 2011, during WWE’s Monday Night Raw, 37-year-old Edge (Adam Copeland) shocked the WWE Universe when he walked (reluctantly) out to the ring to announce his forced retirement.

Die hard “Edge Heads” remember all to well the broken neck that nearly put him on the shelf in 2003. It was then that he had his first neck fusion surgery, a surgery that would keep him out of action for nearly a year. But Edge was not going  to stay down.

The by-product of Edge’s determination was no doubt due to his long-term love affair with the WWE. As a boy, Edge dreamed of becoming a WWE Superstar, and was voted “most likely to become WWE Champion” in high school. At home as a fan in the Toronto Skydome, Edge watched his hero, Hulk Hogan, battle it out with the Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI. This epic event sealed the deal for him.

Edge’s resiliency comes from an additional place- where neck issues aren’t a foreign concept. According to WWE.com contributor, Ryan Murphy, Edge would injure his neck on several occasions as a kid, “doing everything from jumping off his kitchen table to falling face first down a hill.”

During his illustrious WWE career, Edge competed in a combined 19, record -breaking ladder, and tables, ladders and chairs matches (TLC.) For those of you who may be unfamiliar, TLC matches are one of the most brutal matches the WWE has concocted. Edge, along with former tag team partner Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley Boyz, were innovators of the TLC. But, they weren’t just innovators, this tag team trio were arguably the greatest in the WWE’s now dead tag team division; take a look in the WWE’s history book, you’ll find Edge & Christian, the Hardy Boyz and the Dudley’s secured themselves a prestigious spot.

Ironically, Edge had talked about the toll 19 ladder matches had taken on his body before Wrestlemania 27. The Raw following Wrestlemania 27, Edge delivered his emotionally charged retirement speech. Here is some of what he had to say:

A lot of people think that the WWE doesn’t hurt, that what we do is somewhat smoke and mirrors- and I wish that were true.  But anybody in that locker room, anybody that has ever stepped foot in here, anybody that’s ever laced up a pair of boots, they know that’s not the case. Eight years ago, I broke my neck. I had spinal fusion surgery…because of that surgery, I knew that I was wrestling on borrowed time from that point on… The last little while, I’ve been in a lot of pain- I’ve been losing feeling in my arms. So, I passed a strength test and all of those things and I made it through Wrestlemania- but, the WWE wanted me to go get more tests, and thankfully I did. But, the MRI tests showed that I have to retire. Trust me it’s not my choice, the doctors have told me that I got no choice- and thankfully they found out, because I’m not going to end up in a wheelchair now.

Note: To see the rest of Edge’s retirement speech, go here.

As Mike Mooneyham, from the Post and Courier said, “It’s more than a little fortuitous that doctors detected the problem before Edge’s next big scheduled bout — a ladder match with Alberto Del Rio at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view.”

Edge also talked about not wanting a day to come where he wouldn’t be able to get back up in a match. Had he continued to wrestle, this may have been the outcome. Some of you may remember Darren Drozdov (A.K.A. Puke, Droz) from the WWE’s Attitude Era in the late 90’s. Droz became a quadriplegic due to a neck injury which he sustained during a match with D’Lo Brown in 1999.

With the fates seemingly on his side, Edge took his final bow at the following Smackdown, where he relinquished his championship belt to an arena filled with “Thank You Edge” and “Thank You Mom” chants.

But, how does the WWE replace one of the top superstars of the decade, a man who has amassed an astonishing 3o championship titles? With a roster that’s already depleted, it makes you wonder what their next move is going to be.

There is one other man on the roster who has the ability to be a great champion- Edge’s long time friend, Christian.

Here’s hoping he takes the belt at the Extreme Rules PPV, where he’ll face off against the man who will be throwing Edge a “farewell party” tonight on Smackdown.

Annabella’s Epiphanies Resurrected From the Dead

Yes, it’s true. Annabella’s Epiphanies has been resurrected- for now.

Before I get to the goods, thanks is in order- to all of you who have supported me and my blog, Annabella’s Epiphanies, a big thank you. I would not be where I am today had it not been for this blog and all who have followed my work. Some of you may be wondering where I’ve been, others know. This is, for the most part, for those who followed until I disappeared, and for those who continue to find my blog on search engines world-wide.

When I started this blog, the technical aspect of my writing was hideous to say the least. (Trust me, I’ve looked back.) Perhaps it was because I started this blog as an experiment.

On the other hand, the content seemed to strike a chord with an insane amount of people. In short, Annabella’s Epiphanies circumstantially became a platform for my writing career.

A few months into Annabella’s Epiphanies and a lot of research later, I got an opportunity to write an opinion editorial (op-ed)  for the Daily News Journal. That op-ed morphed into a year-long gig. A few more op-ed’s and I was off to the sports section, where I became a regular guest NFL columnist. (Thank you, Greg Pogue.)

During this time, I was doing triple duty dabbling in some side projects; to be specific, I was volunteer blogging for a cause near and dear to my heart. I also spent a short time with a “start-up” NFL website. (Which turned out to be an epic fail and shall remain nameless.) Nonetheless, I was able to maintain some kind of consistency with Annabella’s Epiphanies.

February 2010 changed all that.

Almost simultaneously, I received two semi-permanent job offers. The first was from a man who had found me through my various articles and blogs floating around the internet. His company, iTrip, was looking for a person to write three blogs a week pertaining to the vacation rental industry. I knew nothing of vacation rentals and very little about travel, so I was quite enthralled that he was asking me to be the face of their blog. I learned quickly and soon picked up the title of  social media marketer as well. (I should add that the pay was not bad either, but I didn’t like that I was made to look like a ghost writer over half of the time.)

The Murfreesboro Post, a local, independent newspaper came next. With a human interest piece under my belt and pro football still in season, the editor decided to throw me back on the NFL wagon. (Good choice. No, really, the editor said so herself.)

All Things Must Come to an End

Sometimes things happen that are out of our control, as was the case with iTrip. I had to resign due to an unexpected obstacle, but I’m not one to believe in coincidence. Even before the aforementioned obstacle, I was beginning to feel weary. I wanted to get back to writing about my true passions-  football, sports entertainment, (WWE and TNA) entertainment, op-ed’s, and of course, my personal memoir. Now, that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I will be blogging on Annabella’s Epiphanies as often as possible, if even only to update you all on my freelance writing adventures.

Again, thank you all so much for making writing worth doing.

See you soon!

Former Titans QB Steve McNair Laid to Rest Today-Just One More Perspective



McNair-Donn Jones-APLast week’s tragic death of former Titans quarterback Steve McNair, and the disturbing circumstances surrounding the case really put things into perspective.

For several years now, there has been a growing trend; an infamous trend that has seen the deaths of many posh superstars whose advantageous lifestyles have seemingly destroyed them. There was WWE superstar Eddie Guerrero, who died in 2005. Then, two years later, the murder/suicide involving yet another WWE superstar, Chris Benoit. A few months prior to Benoit’s death, ( not so surprisingly) Anna Nicole Smith was found dead, and one year after her death came the highly unexpected deaths of actors Brad Renfro and Heath Ledger.

Now, in the year 2009, and in about two months time, we have seen the deaths of actor David Carradine, Ed McMahon, actress Farrah Fawcett, infomercial icon Billy Mays, (the last three being the only three to die of natural causes) and “The King of Pop,” Michael Jackson. McNair’s name being added to this dreadful list hit a little too close to home.

I’ll be the first to admit, I am a huge Steve McNair fan, so much so, that when he was traded to the Baltimore Ravens in 2006 I became a part-time Ravens fan. The derision shown to me by fellow Titans fans was to be expected, after all the Baltimore Ravens were a long time rival.

Cat calling or not, I was unwavering in my decision to follow the Ravens, because it was Steve “Air” McNair whom I was truly a fan of, even after he began taking media and fan criticism for his susceptibility to bodily injury. Of the many quarterbacks in the league, both past and present, I can’t readily recall another quarterback who took as much punishment on the field as McNair did during his 13 years in the NFL; not to mention the number of injuries he played through to lead the Titans  on to victory. Outside of football however, he seemed to struggle with ambivalence.

McNair’s affinity for the Nashville and Middle Tennessee communities has been well documented through his extensive charity work, his eagerness to interact with fans, and his notably popular football camp for kids. It’s clear to me and to those who were closest to him that he had good intentions and a good heart, but it’s important to remember that celebrities are human beings too. It is too often that we forget this, and in doing so we unintentionally put these celebrities up on Mt. Olympus alongside all the other mythological Gods. When we do this, we lose sight of human nature, which is plagued by mistakes and lessons to be learned. McNair certainly made plenty of mistakes in his personal life, namely the DUI charges and the rumors that have circulated for years about his being unfaithful to his wife.

These allegations don’t make him a bad person, but rather a person who repeatedly made bad judgment calls. There is an old adage, “When you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned.” Knowing what we know now, that Ms. Kazemi murdered McNair and then took her own life only adds more questions, dousing an already fulgent flame with an insidious amount of gasoline. Perhaps what makes this particular situation so difficult, is that deep down we know that there are consequences for our actions.

By no means did McNair’s misleading behavior give Ms. Kazemi the right to take a life, no one should be able or willing to make that judgement call, but as a grown man, McNair was responsible for his own actions. He was a married man dating a 20-year-old woman, Sahel Kazemi, who just two days prior had been arrested for her own DUI as McNair sat next to her in the passenger seat. He then made the decision to bail her out. Had he not made these decisions, maybe he would still be alive, but we can’t dwell on what could have been. The only thing we can do is hope to move on eventually, while learning the hardest of  life’s lessons and keeping the fondest of memories in mind.

Number 9 will be sorely missed, and most assuredly, never forgotten. McNair-Donn Jones-AP-2

The WWE’s Farcically Obvious Prediction Cycle

Courtesy of Google images

Courtesy of Google images

This is by no means meant to deface the heart of the sports entertainment industry, I myself am a big fan of the WWE. What it is meant to do, is to provide a fan based, insider’s view of the often comical prediction cycle that runs rampant among WWE storylines.

For example, this past week on Smackdown, CM Punk faced Edge for the second week in a row, in a non-title match up that would see Punk cash in his money in the bank contract for the championship if he were able to put his signature move, the “go to sleep,” on Edge successfully. The problem with this scenario however, is that Edge got counted out, disqualifying himself and making it impossible for Punk to obtain the championship.

As if that weren’t enough, Umaga appeared from behind Punk, slamming him viciously onto the mat. Then Umaga finished Punk off with his signature move, the “Samoan spike.” It was about this time that J.R. uttered the words, “coming out of nowhere,” and Todd Grisham followed with, “Punk never saw Umaga coming!”

Really? Just one week prior, the same exact thing happened. Umaga, for no apparent reason, “appeared out of nowhere” at the end of Edge and Punk’s non-title match and barbarously slammed Punk onto the canvas, eliminating the possibility of him cashing in for the championship. How could anyone believe that we wouldn’t see the same results this past week? Kudos to both the performers and the commentators for their ability to act surprised.

How about the “I challenge any superstar in the locker room” routine? That never gets old. Anytime an up and coming superstar (generally a heel) or a “B-list” superstar “call out” an opponent to challenge, it’s always the most dominant superstar who answers. (When I say dominant, I mean physically monstrous in size and height.) 

This past week’s Smackdown also showcased new superstar Dolph Ziggler, as he aimed to make his mark among the WWE elite. Ziggler got The Great Kahli knocking down his door. Kahli answers a lot of these calls, he happily responded to “The” Brian Kendrick’s “call out” not so long ago also. In the weeks leading up to Wrestlemania 25, Jamie Noble thought it would be wise to call out a few superstars. One of his opponents wound up being “The Big Red Machine,” Kane. Not surprisingly, he lasted only a few seconds in the ring with each of his adversaries.

There can only be two logical explanations for the challenge routine. One is to give a boost to a potentially successful superstar’s career, and the other is saved for cutting promo’s for a PPV to come, usually Wrestlemania. This was the case with the Jamie Noble storyline-but, logic doesn’t really belong in this equation now does it? It wouldn’t be called sports entertainment if it did.

Funny thing is, I probably wouldn’t change a thing-well, not many things.

The WWE Creative Team Rises from the Dead


Until very recently the storylines in the WWE had become vacuous and stale. An ex wrestler, and new found buddy of mine brought up a pretty valid point. It seems that during the time the WWE’s ratings were dropping like fried insects from an outdoor bug zapper, Vince McMahon was trying to re-focus his attention on the “realism” of wrestling. This could have been a disastrous move. The WWE is a worldwide phenomena, but not because of the wrestling alone, not any longer.

It’s no secret that the WWE’s success comes from the malevolent rivalries and the often outre storylines; afterall, it is called sports entertainment. To try and go backwards, when wrestling was just wrestling is not plausible. Those times have long since died, and the outing of this type of wrestling as being fake is indelible. This is not to say that the grappling techniques, or the in ring action is fake, but rather the scripting of the storylines and the win/loss scenarios. Real fans of wrestling know all to well the strain that is put on these performers bodies on a weekly basis, it is no easy task to maintain the physical attributes neccessary to withstand the kind of punishment they take. One has to admire the Ric Flair’s, Hulk Hogan’s, Shawn Michael’s, and Undertaker’s in this business, all of whom have wrestled off and on for over two decades.

So, is it really that much of a shock that the near non existant storylines, and the mostly short lived, hollow rivalries didn’t fly among the WWE Universe?  

To the Rescue!

 In recent months, the creative team has saved face by producing several new storylines. The Orton vs. Mcmahons’ feud was a brilliant move, bringing back shades of the popular “attitude era” of the nineties and early 21st century. Even more impressive is the teams idea to pull a switch by turining the Mcmahons’ role face, and the antagonist (in this case, Randy Orton and Legacy) as the heel. It’s the Stone Cold storyline all over again, with a few variations. The Edge, Vickie Guerrero, and Big Show storyline also shows signs of the “attitude era.” Who could ever forget the Kane and Tori storyline, or the Kane, Lita, and Edge storyline, which then turned into the Matt Hardy, Edge, and Lita storyline? Better yet, who could forget the Trish Stratus and Vince McMahon storyline? Thats classic entertainment.

One of the storylines that hasn’t seemed to be as effective as others in the past, is the Hardy brothers betrayal storyline. It’s been done again and again. We saw it with Bret and Owen Hart and Edge and Christian, (who aren’t really brothers by the way) among many more. The Hardy Boyz are arguably the most popular brother tag team the WWE has ever seen, which is why I believe it isn’t working so well. However, I do think it could be the right call for a short term period. It will finally give Matt Hardy an opportunity to create a separate identity, away from his fan popular brother Jeff.

 Overall, I’d say it’s a job well done. Kudos to you WWE creative team, we look forward to more entertainment!