Sunday, May 13, 2018

Actors who have had multiple super hero roles



Several stars have had multiple roles in super hero movies or television shows. It’s bound to happen with so many different super hero offerings these days. Whether it’s on Netflix, on cable, in the theaters or on another subscription service, there is a lot of super hero content being churned out by Hollywood right now.

That being said, there's a surprising number of actors who have

I'm not the biggest fan when actors are cast as different roles in the same super hero universe. If it's one role in a DC movie and another role in a Marvel movie, that's different. However, I still like to see fresh faces.

So which actors can Hollywood not seem to get enough of? Which actors keep showing up in the super hero genre?

There's actually quite a few. I'm missing a few of the more minor roles, but here are 14 examples of actors who just couldn't stay away from the super hero genre.



Josh Brolin

This is his year. After making cameos in various Marvel movies as Thanos, he finally had a big starring role in Avengers: Infinity War (you might have heard of that by now ... it being a very successful movie and all).

However, later this week, he also stars as Cable in the Deadpool sequel. He's making a lot of money off of Marvel characters in 2018.




Morena Baccarin

Speaking of Deadpool characters, one of his co-stars (Morena Baccarin) is also no stranger to the genre. She has been and is currently starring as Dr. Lee Tompkins on Fox's Gotham.

In 2016, she was the love interest in the original Deadpool. This week, she makes her return in Deadpool 2 -- playing the same character. This time around they might delve a little bit into her own characters' mutant abilities.





Ryan Reynolds

If we're talking Deadpool 2, we can't forget about the man who is actually Deadpool. Despite being the second solo movie, this is actually Reynolds' third time playing the sarcastic character. Remember his time spent playing the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine? That was an underrated movie in my opinion, but I digress.

After that Wolverine movie didn't set the box office on fire with revenue, Reynolds signed on to play The Green Lantern as part of DC's Cinematic Universe. That movie, of course, also didn't see a lot of success at the box office.

Thankfully, Reynolds hit his stride with the more traditional incarnation of Deadpool -- doing the character justice at least once. I assume the second outing will also be entertaining.





Michael B. Jordan

Another movie you just might have heard of this year is The Black Panther. Michael B. Jordan played the multi-faceted Erik Killmonger. The villainous heir to the Black Panther throne drew a little bit of sympathy because he was somewhat a victim of circumstances.

Before he was ruling Wakanda, he played a black Johnny Storm in the disastrous Fantastic Four reboot.

Just like Reynolds, Jordan proved that you can have a bad outing in one super hero movie (in the same Cinematic Universe, no less), only to have a great success story the next time around.

Good thing they keep making those super hero movies, huh? They can turn out to be redemption stories in some actors' careers.





Ben Affleck

Speaking of redemption stories, let's talk about Ben Affleck. Remember when everyone was freaking out about whether or not Ben Affleck would be a good Batman?

Actually a more accurate description of that timeframe would be: remember when people were freaking out, saying Ben Affleck would be an awful Batman?

Affleck seems to have grown into the role of an aging Batman very nicely.

Of course, he was Marvel before he was D.C. He starred in the not-so-acclaimed big screen version of Daredevil. While it wasn't the best super hero movie of all time, it's not anywhere near as some critics made it out to be. Ben Affleck may want to forget his time in the red suit, but it's forever documented in the $5 bin at most Walmart locations.





Elodie Yung

Some people may not realize this, but Daredevil (the Netflix version) isn't the first time Elodie Yung stepped into the role of a super hero character.

This talented actress also starred in G.I. Joe 2: The Rise of Cobra as the character Jinx.

I'm still disappointed that the G.I. Joe franchise didn't take off and have more sequels, so I'm just glad that Elodie ended up being cast as Elektra -- a character she excels in playing.





Brandon Routh

Another super hero movie that gets an unfair amount of flack considering that the final product wasn't actually bad, at all, is Superman Returns. Despite his decent portrayal of the Man of Steel, Routh didn't end up being everyone's favorite Superman. Then again, Christopher Reeve's 4 movies leave some big shoes to fill.

Maybe it was for the best, though. Routh moved on to get a role in DC's Legends of Tomorrow on the CW Network. In that show, he plays Ray Palmer aka The Atom. He's basically Ant-Man, but without the ability to talk to ants.





Chris Evans

If we're talking about stars playing multiple roles, we can't leave Chris Evans out of the conversation. People give Robert Downy Jr a lot of credit for kicking off the Marvel franchise with Iron Man, but Chris Evans is probably Mr. Marvel more than anyone else is.

Whether it be in a cameo or a starring role, he's been in 11 different Marvel movies so far. And there's still an Avengers that's yet-to-be-released. He's, of course, made his name as Captain America.

But before that he was Johnny Storm in the original Fantastic Four and it's sequel. There's no harder working man in the Marvel universe than Chris Evans.





Halle Berry

While super hero movies provided some redemption for Michael B. Jordan and Ryan Reynolds after a couple of flops, it doesn't always work out that way. Take Halle Berry, for instance. She landed the role of Storm in 2000's X-Men, probably because she was the most well known black actress at the time. 

While her acting wasn't exactly impressive in that movie, she went on to star as Storm in 3 other X-Men movies.

In between her stints as the woman who could control the elements, she starred as one of DC's most notable female characters of all time: Catwoman.

Granted, it wasn't the Selena Kyle character that is synonymous with Catwoman, but it was a version of Catwoman, nonetheless. And it was awful. Horrible. That's one super hero role that Berry should've turned down.

She did the catsuit justice, though. I will say that!





Michael Keaton

If you ask people who the best Batman is you're likely to get two different answers. Christian Bale is one of them. The other answer? Michael Keaton.

No offense to Adam West and his campy television version, but Michael Keaton made Batman cool in the late 80's and early 90's. While other super hero movies were pretty much nonexistent in the 1990's, Batman carried that decade, mostly thanks to Keaton's portrayal in the first two of the 4 movies that came out over that 9-year period.

Thanks to doing such a great job, he'll always be remembered as Batman. But he jumped over to Marvel in 2017 and played a villain in Spider-man: Homecoming. He did a great job, too. I wasn't sure how he'd do as The Vulture, but he made me forget that I was looking at 1989's Batman in a fur coat with mechanical wings.





Tom Hardy

Speaking of Batman characters, there's Tom Hardy. He starred in the blockbuster Dark Knight Rises as the villainous and intimidating Bane. After his great job with that role, I was very excited to hear that he was cast as Venom, which comes out later this year.

Before I heard Tom Hardy signed on, I was skeptical of how good the movie would be. But after hearing that Hardy is going to star as Eddie Brock, I knew they'd have my money this October.




Briana Venskus

This is one most people probably wouldn't have thought of at all. She's got recurring roles as Agent Vasquez (in Supergirl) and as Agent Piper (in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.). Her being a bit player in these two television series is probably why she's allowed to star in a DC and a Marvel project at the same time.

I'm not usually a fan of stars being used in multiple roles in the same genre, but I think it's kind of cool that she's able to do that.





Coolio

Who would've thought Coolio would've made a list like this, huh? But he does. He starred in a minor role in 1997's Batman & Robin. He also starred in a minor role in 2003's Daredevil.

Granted, starring in two of the more underwhelming super hero movies of all time probably isn't something to brag about, but he can officially say he was in a DC movie and a Marvel movie.

If that were me, it'd be on my Twitter bio!





Danny Huston

You probably recognize him from 2017's incredibly successful Wonder Woman. That was his most recent work as the villainous Lunderdorff. But he also starred as Stryker in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

Once again, this is one instance where I don't mind seeing the same actor play parts in two different super hero movies.

Huston makes a good villain and he wasn't in the same universe. One DC movie and one Marvel (or X-Men / Fox) movie.





Stephen Amell

Stephen Amell is most known for playing The Arrow in DC's Arrow. He's not going to win any awards for his acting, but he does a decent enough job as that character for a show that airs on the CW.

He went on to give a lackluster performance as Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2: Out of the Shadows. While I didn't necessarily mind him being cast in that role, I was hoping he'd at least change his hair style or wear a wig. Instead, it was like watching The Arrow show up in a Turtles movie.





Adrianne Palicki

One person who did do a good job in both of her super hero roles was Adrianne Palicki. She first starred as Lady Jaye in the G.I. Joe sequel. She wasn't outstanding, but she got the job done as a fierce female fighter.

Where she really shined was as Mockingbird / Bobbi Morse in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ABC was apparently going to give her a spin-off from that series, so they wrote her out of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but then the spin-off was scrapped and she ended up without a job.

It's unfortunate because that was a fun role to see develop.




Related Content:
My most anticipated movies of 2018
My most anticipated movies of 2017
Star Wars: The Last Jedi - reviewed.
Justice League - reviewed.
Transformers: The Last Knight - reviewed.


Monday, January 29, 2018

2018 Royal Rumble - reviewed.

So, what did everyone think of this year's Rumble?

I was curious to see a few things: how the pay-per-view would feel with two Royal Rumble matches on the same night, if Ronda Rousey would show up, who the women's Rumble surprise entrants would be, if they would put the Universal Title on Strowman and if they'd give Roman Reigns another Royal Rumble victory.

Pre-show match: Bobby Roode vs. Mojo Rawley

I came in halfway on this match, so I didn't see much of it.  Seemed like a throw away match to get Roode on the card (surprised he wasn't in the Rumble, itself).  Mojo is as good an initial opponent as any I guess.


Handicap match for the WWE Heavyweight Title: A.J. Styles (champion) vs. Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens

What can you say?  It was a good match.  Styles always delivers.  Sami and Kevin are both good workers themselves.  Great match.  Great athletic showing -- if not a bit of a spot fest.  Good match though.


2 out of 3 falls match for the Smackdown Tag Team Titles: The Usos (champions) vs. Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable

It was nice to see The Usos get a spot on the main card of one of the Big 4 WWE events for a change.  They did well.  I'm glad they extended the reign of the Usos.  I was somewhat expecting a Benjamin / Gable victory due to the recent DUI arrest of Jimmy Uso, but WWE gave them the first two falls, ending the match decisively.

I feel like a Benjamin / Gable feud is coming.  Maybe this will be the catalyst for it.



Men's Rumble

This was a really good match!  Going into the Royal Rumble, I watched some previous years and it made me realize how crappy the past few years have been.  Thankfully WWE delivered this year.

Rusev got a great reception.  I'm glad.  I wasn't the biggest fan of his when he first debuted, but when he got the boots and rejoined Lana and lost some weight, he seemed to improve his ring work as well.  Ever since then, he's grown on me.  I'm a fan now.

Finn Balor as #2 makes sense.  He needs a good showing in his first Rumble match.  I figured he'd be a workhorse throughout the match.

Rhyno was the only ECW original for this Philadelphia Royal Rumble.  I was kind of surprised by that.  It's been a while since I've seen him in a match.  He's definitely lost most of his muscle tone, but he was moving around pretty well.

Baron Corbin just doesn't do it for me.  I'm not entertained by him -- at all.  He works well enough, but his look with the wet, thin, long hair is odd and his personality isn't very over-the-top.  If WWE could tweak him a bit, he'd be much better off.

I was glad to see he got eliminated so early on.  He didn't really lose much credibility because he ended up destroying everyone in the match after he was eliminated.

I haven't seen much of Elias.  Still not sure I understand the gimmick.  It's basically a male, acoustic version of Jillian Hall I guess.

Heath Slater getting knocked down by several Rumble participants had me laughing.  Poor guy.  He's got kids!  Finally, Sheamus shows he has a heart and helps Slater into the ring, only to be eliminated by Slater!

The participation from the members of The New Day was fine.  Xavier and Big E didn't really do much, but Kofi had another memorable moment.  I often wondered why people hadn't hopped on one foot in the past -- or crawled on their knees (with their feet in the air) --  to avoid elimination.  It was nice to see them make a big deal about both feet having to touch the floor.

Apollo Crews had a nice outing, even if it was on the shorter side.  Shinsuke Nakamura was great, as always.  Andrade "Cien" Almas being in the match was awesome!  He's so talented and with Zelina Vega by his side, he's had a good gimmick going.

Jinder Mahal getting eliminated was a good thing.  Cesaro's elimination by the hands (or feet, actually) of Seth Rollins was cool.  Awful tights though.  It looked like a badly designed kite on his tights.

Matt Hardy and Bray Wyatt eliminating each other was fun.  More to come there, for sure.

Cena showed up but promptly got beat up.  That was awesome to see (I'm no Cena fan).

The Hurricane?  I was surprised to see that happen.  Very quick elimination after a showdown with John Cena.  Kind of pointless, but fun, I suppose.

The Miz and his entourage seemed to follow up on his feud with Reigns.  I don't know if that means they'll be feuding into Wrestlemania or if they'll go in another direction with them.  Not a bad elimination though.  And then Reigns threw Rollins over the top rope.

Dolph!  He's back.  He was kind of stumbling over himself, but that's OK.

Goldust still competing as good as he ever has always amazes me.  He's gotten better with age.  I don't know how many years he has left in him, but I'd love to see him make a few more Rumble appearances, giving him the distinction of having the most Rumble appearances ever.

He's a two-time Intercontinental Champion, a pivotal character of the Attitude Era and a well-respected member of the roster, but he hasn't really been given the spotlight he deserves since his time tagging with Booker T.  It's unlikely he'll ever win a championship in WWE again.  At least let him lay claim to having the most Rumble appearances of all time.

Rey Mysterio!!!  Wow.  I thought they were still on bad terms.  I was very happy to see what appeared to be a very in-shape Rey Mysterio flying around that ring.

The showdown between the old guard (Cena, Orton and Mysterio) against the up-and-comers (Balor, Nakamura and Reigns).

Uh oh.  Down to Reigns and Nakamura.  WWE wouldn't repeat their mistake again would they?

Nope.  Nakamura wins it, thankfully.



Raw Tag Team Title Match: Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (champions) vs. Sheamus and Cesaro

It's interesting that WWE seems to be listening to us with Jordan.  His current run is not working well, so they may as well make Jordan a bumbling fool.  I gotta' say, I love Booker's commentary when it comes to Jordan.  The match wasn't bad.  They all tried.  But it didn't work -- mostly due to the placing of the match on the card.

That crowd was understandably spent after the men's Royal Rumble.



Triple threat match for the WWE Title: Brock Lesnar (champion) with Paul Heyman vs. Kane vs. Braun Strowman

This was a bit underwhelming -- at least the parts that involved Kane and Brock Lesnar.  Any part involving Strowman was the best part of the match.  He's a beast.  He's a good worker, too.  He needs to be WWE champion.

Listen to us, WWE!  We want Lesnar vs. Strowman at Wrestlemania!  Make it happen.



Women's Rumble

There were a few sloppy points in this match, but overall it was really good.  Considering they lost two of their competitors (Paige, Alicia Fox) due to injury and two of their women (Charlotte, Alexa Bliss) couldn't compete due to being champions, I was wondering who they'd call in to fill the 30 spots.

While most of the women I blogged about previously weren't used, it was cool to see several familiar faces.

The booking was great.  Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch as #1 and #2 made sense.  Let me just say it out front, too: Sasha Banks carried this match.  She subtly turned heel as the match progressed, she avoided a couple of possible botches due to her ring awareness and she helped control the flow very nicely.

Lita's return was nice (though she was winded by the end of her time in the Rumble).  Molly Holly was on fire!

Lana's little bit of fury there was fun to watch.

I figured Michelle McCool would come out after I saw Molly Holly.  They've mentioned always wanting to work together.  McCool eliminated a lot more people than I was expecting her to.  McCool was a very good athlete when she was in WWE, but she, too, was not ring ready.

That makes sense.  She probably had very little notice for this match.  McCool's spot with Kelly Kelly (the horribly botched headscissors) made me realize why they never tried something like this in the past.

Today's group of women wrestlers are much more talented than a lot of the women who came in after Trish and Lita retired.

Dana Brooke surprisingly eliminated Kairi Sane, proving that anything can happen in WWE.  She, Sonya Deville (eliminated too early in my opinion), Mandy Rose, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan were kind of fillers in the match.  No really standout moments, but they are the newest members of the roster so that makes sense.

I read that Tamina may have been injured prior to the match, but I guess not.  Then again, she wasn't in the Rumble too long, so maybe she toughed it out.

Vicki Guerrero coming back was a little puzzling.  It was a great moment for women's wrestling and women in pro wrestling -- sure.  I get that.  But Vicki seemed like an odd choice.  Maybe it was due to Alicia Fox's injury?  She's still a heat magnet!

Fun interaction with Vicki and Carmella, too.

I wasn't that disappointed in Becky getting eliminated.  She's a gorgeous girl, but I think she's overrated when it comes to ring work.  She's easily the last talented of the 4 horsewomen of WWE.

Natalya's bits were good.  She got to wrestle Trish (who always mentions Natalya as an opponent she wanted to face).  She got a reunion with Beth Phoenix, too.

Beth's booking was great.  Who would face Nia Jax and go toe-to-toe?  I was hoping for Kharma, but Beth Phoenix was a great alternative.  She and Nia got a great reaction!

Nia, by the way, has grown on me because she's not anywhere as green as she once was.  Much like Trish Stratus in her prime, Nia was pushed too fast.  Nia has learned to be more aggressive (while not injuring anyone) and her ring presence is much more suiting to her personality now.  She was just 'the big girl' when she first showed up in NXT and on Raw.  Now she's the monster that WWE has been looking for.

Ember Moon!  I was happy to see Ember give a valiant one-armed effort.  She had a great interaction with Nia and she had a little tease with Asuka, building a future rematch for some time in the future.  Ember did a great job selling the 'injury' from last night.  Can't wait to see her on the main roster.

Naomi's Kofi Kingston-like spot was awesome.  She's the most athletic woman on the roster.  Not necessarily the best wrestler, but absolutely the most athletic woman.

Trish Stratus coming in at number 30 was somewhat surprising.  I was wondering how they'd book that.  One spot left and it goes to either Trish or Ronda Rousey.  I couldn't imagine Trish not competing in the Rumble, but stranger things have happened.

Trish really didn't lose a beat.  She, Jackie and Molly definitely outshone Torrie, Lita, McCool and Kelly when it came to in-ring work.  Trish and Bayley got to trade a few shots.  Sasha confronting Trish was awesome!  It was perfect for her character and the fact that she eliminated Trish (and Bayley) showed that she was in it to win it.

Trish and Mickie got a nice reaction too!  Nice little bit of homage to their classic feud.  I want to see them work another singles match seeing as how Mickie is almost an entirely different worker with so much more confidence than during her time with Trish.

The Bella Twins returning did absolutely nothing for me.  I fully expected them to return and while they didn't botch, they are nowhere near as natural in the ring as Ruby Riot or Sasha Banks.  I'm sure they were excited to be in the ring with Trish and Asuka, but they looked so out of place.  Thank God WWE didn't try to give Nikki the victory!

I've seen a lot of complaints about Rousey's debut overshadowing Asuka's win, but I don't see it that way.  Let's face it: the women would not be main eventing a regular pay per view at this stage in the women's evolution.

Sasha and Charlotte did it, but that was a Hell in a Cell match.  The first 'big 4' event that women main event in WWE was the Royal Rumble.  It literally took all of their star power to grab the main event slot.  And Ronda Rousey.

If it weren't for Rousey's debut, I'd have questioned putting that match on last.  Rousey has the star power, like it or not.  She's what is going to get WWE headlines and WWE paid her a hefty chunk of change, I'm sure, so they better make the most out of her.



Next year: does WWE do two matches again?

I think they have to now.  It seems like it's almost overkill or takes away from the event a bit if we get two of them every year, but I think WWE has to do it.  They started it off this way and have to continue doing the same for image reasons, if nothing else.

So what do they do?

I think you'll see a lot of women debuting from NXT over the next year.

Take a look at their on-air roster: Aliyah, Bianca Belair, Billie Kay, Peyton Royce, Nikki Cross, Ember Moon, Kairi Sane, Lacey Evans, Dakota Kai, Taynara Conti, Shayna Baszler, Vanessa Borne and Zelina Vega.  That's 13 women right there.

Then you have a crapload of women who are at the performance center but aren't on NXT TV or haven't debuted yet: Candice LeRae, Abbey Laith, Kavita Devi, Sage Beckett and Kacy Catanzaro (of American Ninja Warrior fame).  5 more women.

Plus WWE will likely sign Tessa Blanchard this year, especially now that they signed Ricochet (they're dating or engaged I believe).  Another woman.

And they still have some legends they could bring back for spots: Madusa (she had a bum knee this year), Kharma, Eve Torres, Melina, Victoria, Gail Kim, Kaitlyn, A.J. Lee, Ivory, Jazz and Jillian Hall.  11 more women there.

So even though WWE seemed to rush into this first-ever match, they have a year to build up 18 more women, plus Ronda, plus 11 legends who haven't been used yet.

The crowd seemed to be into both matches this year, so that was good.

If I were WWE, I'd have one match open the show and one match closing it.  Maybe even a segment in between or a Hall of Fame announcement --- just to give the crowd a break?

Either way, good event --- mostly due to the 2 Rumble matches.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Who should compete in WWE's 30 man Royal Rumble?

The Rumble is tonight!  Who will return?  Who should return?  Who is unlikely to return?  Here are some options.


Should be involved: Wade Barrett

It's been a while since we've seen Wade in a WWE ring. And with good reason.  WWE wouldn't push the man, despite making Bad News Barrett work.

He should've been WWE's first English-born WWE Champion, but they seemingly had no interest in that.

With WWE appreciating more wrestling-orienteShoudd wrestlers these days, I'm thinking they'd give Barrett a fair shake at actually becoming the WWE Champion.

I know he'd get a big pop if he entered. He probably wouldn't win, but a good, strong showing would position him nicely on upper mid-card level going forward and eventually a spot in the title picture.



Shouldn't be involved: Chris Jericho

I like Chris Jericho as much as the next guy, but his returns aren't surprising anymore, especially since he's made a couple of them at the Rumble or around that time.

Next time he comes back I'd like a different set-up.

No Rumble appearance this time around, please.

If he does have to show up, then at least make it different.  I want a brutal, ruthless heel Chris Jericho.  No posing for the fans.  No showmanship.  Straight focused on eliminations.

Or maybe he does a tease.  He does his grand entrance and acts as though he's going to be a big babyface, but then eliminates a popular wrestler (only to get eliminated himself).  That way there would be a little bit of curiosity built in.  Why did Chris Jericho do that?  Personal feud going into Wrestlemania?  Was it just business?

I'd like a little bit of a storyline if he's coming back.  Otherwise, save it for another time.




Unlikely to be involved: James Elsworth

WWE doesn't need to sign him again (though with Enzo gone, James would be a good replacement in the Cruiserweight division for a bit of comedy). I do feel he should've gotten a better send off than a quiet WWE.com release though.

The man did whatever WWE asked of him (and by that I mean he wore a dog suit with a collar around his neck!) and made possibly Wrestlecrap-worthy angles work.

Give him a spot (a quick one) in the Rumble! Probably won't happen though.

I think he'd be valuable as a manager for someone (he helped get Carmella more over) or as a jobber in the Cruiserweight division, so I'd sign him again if I were in charge.  But chances of that are slim.



Unlikely to be involved: EC3

I wasn't sure if he'd make an appearance, but with him showing up at TakeOver, it seems highly unlikely he'll be going to the main roster right away.

WWE could pull a swerve and have him skip NXT since he was in WWE (and NXT) before.

The Philly fans should know who he is and what he's about, so I'm sure he'd get a fine reaction.

But I don't really know where EC3 fits into any of the title scenes in WWE right now.  It may be best to have him do a couple of months in NXT and debut after Wrestlemania, which is when WWE likes to bring up talent to the main roster.

At least that way he won't get lost in the shuffle.



Unlikely to be involved: Ken Shamrock

I know it's highly unlikely to happen due to Ken's mostly negative comments toward Triple H in the past.  However it would be cool to see Shamrock make his Rumble return.  He has some previous experiences and is often overlooked for his WWE contributions.

Long before Brock Lesnar, Ken Shamrock brought legitimacy to WWE with his MMA experience.

He seemed to have left under not-so-good circumstances.  Or at least his standing with the company has deteriorated since leaving the company.

It'd be nice to have a little more closure on his WWE career.



Likely to appear: Bobby Lashley

I don't know what the contract situation is like, but if Bobby Lashley is making a return to WWE, doing it as a surprise Royal Rumble entrant seems like a logical way to do it.

He's never going to be main event status.  He's just not exciting enough.

But he's a big name, has that MMA background and has a history with WWE.

He'll be mid-card at least.  He can have some decent matches before eventually retiring.

The Rumble seems like a good spot for him to make a return for one last run.



Unlikely to be involved: James Storm

I don't see this one happening.  James Storm is TNA.  He may show up in NXT, but I don't think they'd throw him onto the main roster.  He's in better shape than he was during his first NXT run.

He is older, so I can see why WWE would want to move him right to the main roster, but going into 'Mania?  Giving a spot to a TNA guy?

I don't see it happening.  I know, it happened with A.J. Styles, but he was THE biggest name in TNA history.  James Storm isn't.

I think he'll show up in NXT first or debut on the main roster after Wrestlemania season.



Unlikely to be involved: Tazz

Tazz made his WWE debut at the Royal Rumble many years ago.  It'd be a nice change of pace to see him compete again in the Rumble match.  Granted, he's probably not in anywhere close to the shape required to last a long time, but he doesn't need to be in order for him to make a quick appearance.

If his music hit, the arena would erupt -- especially since it's in Philly!

The nice thing about a Tazz appearance is that it'd be his first WWE appearance in close to a decade.  I don't know what his standing is with WWE management, but it seems like he'd be a good choice.



Likely to appear: RVD

It's been a while since we've seen Rob Van Dam in a WWE ring, but with the Rumble taking place in Philly, it seems like the right opportunity for an appearance, however short-lived it may be. A RVD / Finn Balor stand-off would be pretty impressive to see.

RVD probably doesn't have a 6 month feud in him.  He's gotten a little bit out of shape in the past few years.

I'm sure he could get in condition for another WWE, but I'm not even sure who he'd feud with on the current roster.  We already got A.J. vs. RVD in TNA.

I guess the only match that really interests me is RVD vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.  The rest of the possible matches aren't appealing or have already happened.



Should be involved: The Sandman

I know The Sandman has got to be in his 50's by now, but he's an ECW legend. He hasn't been seen in years. One quick Rumble appearance for the sake of nostalgia would be awesome to see, especially in Philly.

 The Dudleyz have both returned in the Rumble before (and just appeared on Raw). RVD is kind of expected.

I don't think a lot of people would see The Sandman coming though. Obviously WWE wouldn't sign him, but a one-off appearance as a Rumble entrant (even giving him an elimination or two) would be a fun moment.

Has Sandman ever competed in the Royal Rumble?  I feel like he may have once during the restart of ECW back in 2006 or 2007.



Should be involved: Tajiri

Another unexpected ECW alumni.  I don't think most people would expect to see Tajiri.  He was in the Cruiserweight open and, I thought, was supposed to come back for a bit before he got injured.

Tajiri is another who doesn't have to make a lot of eliminations.  A quick return, a showdown with one of the current cruiserweights would be kind of cool.  Or a showdown with another ECW original who is involved in the Rumble.  That'd be pretty cool.

While the Dudleyz are fine, I'm looking for a few of the ECW originals that we don't see that often.





Sunday, January 7, 2018

Who will compete in WWE's 30 woman Royal Rumble?

There are always some surprise entrants in the Royal Rumble, but there are sure to be surprise entrants in the first ever women's Royal Rumble.

If you look at the rosters, you've got 21 women on the roster.


Raw: Alexa Bliss (champion), Alicia Fox, Asuka, Bayley, Dana Brooke, Mandy, Mickie James, Nia Jax, Paige, Sasha Banks, and Sonya DeVille

Smackdown: Charlotte Flair (champion), Becky Lynch, Carmella, Lana, Liv Morgan, Naomi, Natalya, Ruby Riot, Sarah Logan, and Tamina
Inactive (pregnant): Maria, Maryse


Take away 2 of those women (the champions) and you've got 19 women on the active roster. That leaves 11 open spots to fill in the first ever 30 woman Royal Rumble.


So who does WWE use? Outside names not signed to the company? Former wrestlers? NXT standouts? Yes, yes and yes.

Here are some of the women I'd like to see show up, some of the women who are likely to be in the match and some of the women who WWE should not utilize in this match.



Likely to participate: Michelle McCool
Mrs. Undertaker retired to have kids after she ran through most of the competition at the time. However, she has recently mentioned the desire to work with Charlotte.

McCool was always a competitor and probably feels a little bit like she missed out on some good competition now that the WWE roster is filled with actual workers.

She recently mentioned on Lilian Garcia's podcast that her daughters are fans of 'boom boom' (as they call pro wrestling).  I'm sure she'd probably like to compete in front now that they're at an age that they can remember.

Michelle was definitely favored back in her last few years in the WWE.  They pushed her to the moon, making her the first Diva's Champion and then later winning the Women's Title -- making her the first woman in history to ever hold both titles at separate times.

If she wants a spot, it's probably hers.  WWE would probably want to build her legacy a bit too since they'll probably want to induct her into the Hall of Fame down the road.



Unlikely to participate: Kelly Kelly
One night only?  No road schedule for the entire year?  Yeah, I think Kelly Kelly would accept that invitation if offered.

Kelly was at the 2017 Hall of Fame ceremony to see Beth Phoenix inducted, but she's kind of the poster child for everything the women's division and women's evolution is not.

Whether that's her fault or just WWE booking, Kelly Kelly is the stereotypical Diva.

In a time where we've moved beyond that, it would seem like an odd choice to bring her back.

Though she'd probably get a decent pop?  According to some of the wrestling news websites, Kelly was in talks to possibly return when Total Divas first came out and then again a few years ago.



Likely to participate: Eve Torres
WWE loves Eve. She was quite a boring character until she turned heel and was over pushed for most of her career.

 Then, when she finally got to a respectable level in the ring, she retired. 

Still, WWE loves her. 

She's taught several self-defense classes at WWE's Performance Center over the past few years and WWE hasn't been hesitant to feature her in video segments. And why wouldn't they? 

She's the embodiment of female empowerment in real life. It'll just be unfortunate if they end up giving a spot to her when they could find some better former women wrestlers to participate.



Likely to participate: Nikki and Brie Bella
I don't want to see the Bella Twins. I'll be honest.

I was thrilled when Brie went off to make babies and Nikki left to go plan her wedding.

All the best to them in terms of life's happinesses but I have zero interest in seeing them return. 

Nikki Bella already needlessly broke A.J. Lee's record as longest reigning Diva's Champion.

Sure, both women improved over time (I was a defender of theirs in their first WWE run), but they were over pushed and since they're still on television in the form of Total Divas, it's hard to miss them in any way.

Realistically, I'm sure they will, so fine. Take up the spots of two more deserving women.



Should participate: Billie Kay and Peyton Royce
Speaking of more deserving women, these two have been rocking NXT ever since the likes of Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch and Charlotte left.

If WWE's first ever women's Rumble follows the pattern of some of WWE's recent male Rumbles, then they're sure to debut at least on NXT superstar.

Why not the Iconic Duo? They're like a better version of LayCool.

They've pretty much done all they can do in NXT.  They haven't won the NXT Women's Title, but they feuded with Liv Morgan, Aliyah, Ember Moon, Nikki Cross and Asuka.

They may as well debut on the main roster (Smackdown hopefully) and entertain on a bigger level.



Should participate: Shayna Baszler
Shayna Baszler certainly shouldn't debut on the main roster yet, but she'd be a good addition to the match.

With her MMA background and success in the Mae Young Classic, she could add some legitimacy to this first-of-it's-kind event.

She could have an interesting showdown against Sonya DeVille and another MMA fighter further down on this list.

Shayna facing off against Asuka, Natalya, Charlotte and Becky Lynch would be pretty cool to see as well.

Like I said, hopefully this wouldn't be a permanent roster debut, but maybe a one-time kind of thing.



Should participate: Kharma
Given how short Kharma's WWE career was (and how impactful she was to women's wrestling as a whole due to her work in TNA), it'd be nice to give her another distinction: the first and only woman to participate in both a male Royal Rumble and a female Royal Rumble.

She was in attendance for the finals of the Mae Young Classic in Las Vegas last Fall, so hopefully that's an indication this could happen.

If WWE ever does purchase TNA, then Kharma is probably a Hall of Fame candidate at some point in the next 20 years.

Plus, how cool would it be to see Kharma stare down Nia Jax?  Nia can eliminate Kharma, getting a little bit of a rub from her.  I'm sure Kharma would be fine with that.



Should participate: Victoria
Victoria is another woman who isn't as respected as she should be. She played such a great character during her feud with Trish.

 That feud took women's wrestling to a new level. Most fans remember Lita vs. Trish, but their ongoing rivalry wasn't that amazing until they were the main event of Raw.

Victoria's feud with Trish is what really took the women's division to a new level. The physicality of their matches -- particularly their hardcore matches -- was something very new at the time.

She was in the awfully booked Wrestlemania 25 battle royal. It'd be really nice to see her compete in the Royal Rumble and add to her already Hall of Fame-worthy career.

People I'd like to see her interact with: Bayley, Mickie James and Charlotte Flair.



Likely to participate: Bianca Belair
WWE likes this girl. She hasn't been used on NXT television often, but she gets a lot of love on WWE.com's video features and she was impressive in the Mae Young Classic.

 She was booked as an up-and-comer and she sure seems like she is. She's athletic, she's got charisma and she's got a unique look and gimmick with the long, braided hair.

Since she hasn't really been used much on television, she seems like a likely choice to debut on the main roster at the Rumble.

WWE is going to skip the NXT storylines and development with her and shoot her straight onto the main roster --- starting at the Royal Rumble. That's my prediction anyway.

She'll lay low a bit through Wrestlemania season but they'll push her pretty hard after that and into Summerslam. A little New Year's prediction for you.



Unlikely to participate: Melina
I posted a blog some time ago about how Melina should be on WWE's radar --- around the time they signed Mickie James.

Melina got injured in 2017 and spent most of the year rehabbing that injury, however.

I think she's all healed up, so it's possible she'd show up again.

I can just imagine the pop she'd get if her entrance music hit and she entered the ring with her split entrance.

However, I'm not sure WWE will give that to her fans. Melina is one of the women who is often forgotten when it comes to WWE's version of history.

They don't feature her much on any videos or photo galleries on WWE.com.

I'd mark out if she returned, though.


Unlikely to participate: Gail Kim
A big part of me is hoping WWE and Gail Kim pull one over on us and she makes a one-night return to WWE for this historic match. But it's unlikely. I'm realistic about that. Mostly, I just wish Gail Kim would've been in WWE at the right times. She's a perfect candidate for some of WWE's matches these days. Given that she retired because she felt she couldn't compete at 110%, it's highly unlikely she'd ever return the way Mickie James did. Given that she left WWE by going under the ropes in a women's battle royal on Raw, she's probably not too high up on WWE's list of favorite people.

However, they like to surprise fans and we know that there will be a lot of smart fans in Philly. They aren't WWE's casual fans. Since nobody expects her to be involved I almost wouldn't be surprised if she was.



Likely to participate: Lita
I'm torn on this one. On one hand, Lita seems very content with retirement and participating in WWE through Tough Enough and on WWE Network specials.

However, she'd said previously that she'd have liked to have a Team Bestie vs. Bella Twin match.

She'd probably like to have some interaction with some of the 4 Horsewomen. There's also Mickie James, who was Lita's last legitimate match in WWE.

With so many possibilities for some special moments in this first-ever event, I think Lita will put the boots on, maybe for the last time.



Likely to participate: Trish Stratus
Trish is likely to and should participate. She's WWE's golden child. She's the most pushed woman wrestler in the history of WWE's women's division. She was one of the most versatile performers in WWE history.

She certainly was one of the most inspiring female wrestlers of all time as well. There's hardly a female on the current roster who doesn't credit her for inspiring them to wrestle.

I wasn't a fan of Trish returning so often and I wasn't a fan of her taking a spot on the Wrestlemania card when she teamed with John Morrison and Snookie to take on LayCool and Dolph Ziggler (she just wasn't needed in that thrown-together and random match).

But it's been almost 7 years since her last match. It'd be a nice bit of nostalgia to see her compete again and to have various interactions with the likes of Bayley, Mickie James (again), Natalya, and Carmella.



Should participate: Ronda Rousey
WWE and Ronda Rousey have been flirting with the idea of working together for years now. Given that Ronda lost her UFC Title and her rematch, she may as well use her name value and take it to WWE.

It's an athletic endeavor, but scripted, so safer than UFC in a sense.

Ronda would, no doubt, bring a huge sense of legitimacy to this event and WWE's entire women's division.

Given how much WWE has built up Asuka, she'd be an eventual dream match for Ronda.  Actually, I could see WWE giving Asuka the Raw Women's Title before the Rumble and then giving Ronda the Rumble victory -- setting up either Ronda vs. Asuka or Ronda vs. Charlotte at Wrestlemania.

Meanwhile there's Charlotte and the potential for a 4 Horsewoman vs. 4 Horsewoman feud as well.



Likely to participate: Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir
If WWE wants the 4 Horsewomen vs. the 4 Horsewomen to happen, then Wrestlemania would be a good place for it to happen.

The road to Wrestlemania would be a good spot for it to start, too.

I don't like the idea of them taking up two spots in the Rumble, but if Ronda is showing up and the 4 Horsewomen feud is happening, then these two women will probably be at the Rumble in Philly, too.

At least they should be able to take some shots.  They'll probably be eliminated pretty quickly, but not without some interaction with WWE's 4 Horsewomen.



Shouldn't participate: Ember Moon
I love Ember Moon. I'm a huge fan, but I want a slow build with her, especially after seeing the 15 minute documentary currently on WWE.com. She's got some big money matches against Asuka in her future on the main roster. This rivalry could be better than Trish / Lita if they build it properly. They competed in Shimmer. They were signed the same day. They battled twice for the NXT Women's Title.

WWE should take that history to the main roster, but not until Ember has a good year in NXT as the Women's Champion.

Heck, they could even somehow allow Ember to go the main roster undefeated as NXT Women's Champion. If this is a one-off appearance, with a little showdown with Asuka, then fine.

I don't want her to have a permanent main roster spot yet though.

Honestly, with the nostalgia and the all the other women involved, I'd prefer Ember have a stellar Takeover match, sit the Rumble out and debut later on, when she'll have more of the spotlight focused on her.



Unlikely to participate: Beth Phoenix
I'd be fine with Beth Phoenix returning and until this past week I thought she would.

However, given that she's now announced as a commentator for the Mixed Match Challenge thing WWE has going on Facebook, I don't think she'll be competing.

She seems happy being a mother and a Hall of Fame superstar. I think she'll be on commentary during the match instead.

However, the idea of Beth Phoenix squaring off against Nia Jax or Charlotte Flair or Natalya or Trish Stratus or Ronda Rousey does intrigue me, so part of me hopes she'll step between the ropes one last time.



Unlikely to participate: Madusa / Alundra Blayze
Madusa may have been a good bet. I could see WWE giving this Hall of Fame wrestler one last match as more of a proper sendoff than she had before.

She's always wanted to compete against Nattie, Beth Phoenix and Charlotte.

However, given that she just had knee surgery, it's doubtful she'll be able to participate. 

Maybe it's for the best.

She could always show up next year if it's more than just a one-year event.



Unlikely to participate: Emma
How much of a pop would Emma get if she made a WWE return at this match?  Hopefully WWE realized how many fans were upset with their decision to release the immensely talented and absolutely gorgeous Emma last Fall.

Given how they are pushing women's wrestling, I was shocked to see that they released Emma.

Unless she really pissed someone off, there's a chance that she could come back.

WWE needs some numbers to make this Rumble legitimate and they need more than a bunch of retired Divas, a bunch of NXT call-ups (especially since Ruby Riot, Mandy Rose, Sonya DeVille, Sarah Logan and Liv Morgan are all new to the roster) or a few Mae Young Classic competitors.

Emma is a known name.  She's talented.  The WWE Universe knows it.

It'd be a great time to debut a new version of the Emma character if WWE has any interest in bringing her back at all.

I know it's unlikely, but that doesn't stop me from hoping for it.



Shouldn't participate: Nikki Cross
Just like Ember, I want Nikki to debut at another time. She needs to debut with the rest of her SAnitY cohorts.

They'd be a great addition to the Smackdown roster at some point this year. She's not as interesting on her own.  She'd be just another crazy chick without Eric Young, etc.

It'd work, but she's much more interesting because she mixes it up with the guys.

Part of her appeal is her character and a big part of her character is her association with Eric Young and company.



Unlikely to participate: A.J. Lee
The odds of A.J. Lee appearing are pretty much nonexistent.  But how cool would it be?!

In a lot of ways A.J. Lee jumpstarted the women's evolution or Diva's revolution or whatever you choose to call it.

Without A.J. Lee's success in the WWE, there would absolutely be no Paige or Charlotte or Sasha Banks or Bayley. From the moment A.J. (and Naomi and Maxine and Kaitlyn) set foot in a WWE ring in the original version of NXT, they defied the Diva prototype.

A.J. was quirky, Naomi was highly athletic, Maxine was ambitious and Kaitlyn was a comedic, muscular hottie. There weren't any other women like them at the time. A.J., of course, was the most successful of the bunch, becoming the first woman in ages to have her own merchandise. She was a big factor in Daniel Bryan getting so over in such a huge way.

A.J. (and Kaitlyn) had the first ever female contract signing. She was the GM of Raw for a time being. It'd be nice to see her get a little reward for her hard work by giving her a spot in this match. Of course, it'd shock the Hell out of everyone, so I have some hope that WWE would allow it to happen. However, I don't think A.J. has any interest in it.

I'd be very intrigued to see her interact with Sasha, Charlotte, Mickie and others, seeing as how most of the women on the current roster were in NXT or not signed at the time A.J. Lee was around.



Should participate: Kaitlyn
Speaking of previous women under contract, Kaitlyn would be another great choice to make a come back.

Triple H apparently liked Kaitlyn's look, which isn't surprising since he's a fan of bodybuilding. 

Kaitlyn, of course, quit and started a business with her husband.

She's since split from her husband and has trained at least a couple of times in the past year. She has also stayed in touch with Big E and her other pals still in WWE, so she's seemingly on good terms with the company.

Apparently she's come out and spoken about a substance abuse problem, though. Unless that is absolutely under control, I don't see WWE being anxious to bring her back to the hectic life of a WWE superstar.



Unlikely to participate: Eva Marie
Just like Kelly Kelly, Eva Marie is seen as everything that is wrong with the women's division.

If WWE wanted some cheap heat, they could bring her back for a night.  The crowd in Philadelphia would absolutely murder her with their jeers.

WWE could book her for a quick elimination at the hands of Asuka (for a bit of comedy), possibly after eliminating a fan favorite (filling the arena with boo's).

I am thinking it won't happen since she had the wellness violation, but she is still affiliated with The Rock's wife while trying her hand in Hollywood.

I wouldn't be entirely shocked to see WWE bring her back, but it's probably still unlikely.



Shouldn't participate: Ivory
A read a report that there are rumors that Ivory will go into the Hall of Fame this year.  If that's the case, WWE may very well have her enter into the Rumble.

WWE did that with DDP before they inducted him and The Godfather before they inducted him, as well.

While I was a big fan of Ivory back in the day, I don't see a reason for her to take up a spot that could be given to some other ladies.

I'm more than thrilled that she may be inducted into the Hall of Fame (her work with RTC was phenomenal!) but I don't want to see Ivory randomly run out (likely to very little crowd reaction) and be eliminated.

For what purpose?  There are lots of other ladies on this list that should be brought back and given one of those spots first.



Should participate: Jazz
I think it's probably not likely to happen, but if there's ever time and place it could, then the 2018 Royal Rumble in Philadelphia is it.  Philly fans (especially an arena full of smart fans) should give Jazz a decent reaction.

She's an ECW original.  She is a former two-time Women's Champion.  She deserves a closing chapter on her career after WWE foolishly released her (along with Gail Kim and Nidia) in 2004.

Entering the Rumble and competing with some of the new generation of lady wrestlers would be a nice closing chapter for her.



Should participate: Tessa Blanchard
The daughter of Tully Blanchard and step-daughter of Magnum TA seems like an obvious choice for WWE to sign.  I'm  surprised they haven't already.

After an awesome showing in the Mae Young Classic, WWE would be foolish not to sign her.

I imagine this debut as kind of a female version of A.J. Styles' debut in 2016.  Obviously she's nowhere near as well known, but the comparison is there --- being a free agent who debuts at the Royal Rumble.

Fans probably won't expect it since she's not under contract (that we know of), but they'll show her respect due to her work and her lineage.

It'd be a good time to debut Tessa on the main roster if WWE wants her in their division.



Shouldn't participate: Piper Niven
I wouldn't be surprised if Piper Niven was brought in (and signed after) for this event.  If nothing else, they may want to have a showdown with Nia Jax.

That being said, I don't want to see it.  I'd like to see it next year perhaps, but not this year.  Piper shouldn't debut at the Rumble.

She should have a different debut (if she's signed) later on in the year.  Build her up and make her showdown with Nia (next year) mean something.

She's one of the few Mae Young Classic competitors I could see WWE using though.



Shouldn't participate: Rosa Mendes
Should participate: Jillian Hall or Blue Pants
WWE likes to add comedy into their male Royal Rumbles, so hopefully they don't get the bright idea of bringing Rosa Mendes back for a quick elimination.

I hope Rosa stays happily retired and being a mother in California.

If WWE wants to go the comedy route, then maybe bring in Blue Pants or Jillian Hall instead.  Blue Pants would probably still get a decent pop, right?

Meanwhile Jillian Hall would definitely get a reaction.  She was such a memorable character that I think fans in Philadelphia would give her a very good reaction --- probably by booing and covering their ears, but she'd get a good reaction nonetheless.