Jimmy Van's Thoughts: Snuka, Angle, WWE Returns, Riddle, WrestleMania, Lawler, Cornette, More

Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka passed away this week at the age of 73. It’s too bad his legacy has that asterisk attached to it due to the Nancy Argentino situation, as he was one of the most unique talents ever in the business. I had the opportunity to meet him once in the late 90’s backstage at an independent show and he was a very mellow, kind, laid back guy at that point in his life. I know that some weren’t happy that WWE gave Snuka a full video tribute due to the Argentino case, but as I said on the weekly podcast, he’s a member of the WWE “family” along with the likes of Pat Patterson, Arnold Skaaland, Gorilla Monsoon and Fred Blassie so of course he was going to get the video package. It would have taken a manslaughter conviction to prevent that.

Kurt Angle is going into the WWE Hall of Fame. Very well deserved. The guy was a natural with pro wrestling, picking it up and getting to an elite level faster than anyone probably ever in the business. It’s too bad that Vince McMahon steered clear of him all these years since Kurt could have returned to WWE and continued tearing it up. But I suspect we’ll see him at least once in a WWE ring before it’s all said and done as he’s now been sober for several years and is still in ring shape.

Our own Matt Riddle won the Progress Atlas Title in the UK this past week. All we need now is for Elias Theodourou to win a UFC Title, and for Shane Helms to return to the ring with TNA and grab one of their belts, and we’re well on our way to the Fightful Four Horsemen!

Jim Cornette called the Omega vs. Okada match “45 minutes of my life I’ll never get back.” Can you say “out of touch” and “really, really, really angry”? I wonder if he considers Brock’s German suplexes to be revolutionary.

Great opening segment to Raw this week with Roman Reigns, Jeri-KO, Braun Strowman, Seth Rollins, Sami Zayn and Brock Lesnar all mixing it up in a Royal Rumble tease. I mentioned on the podcast last week that I’d like to see Brock vs. Braun down the line and they teased it on Raw with a brief staredown. If Braun can get another year of seasoning first, what an interesting match-up that would be.

Jerry Lawler returned to WWE television on SmackDown this past week and they actually had him break out his gear from the early 90’s including his tights, his cape and no shirt. I guess for a guy collecting social security he doesn’t look too bad, and I bet he can still throw a standing dropkick which is nuts when you think about it. He’ll be calling the Rumble and I’m all for it, I’m a long-time fan of The King.

With football season wrapping up, Wrestlemania season is now in full swing. The Rumble is looking to be pretty stacked so it’ll be interesting to see how the television ratings are and whether they’ll continue to trend down from recent years (aside from SmackDown due to going live on Tuesdays).

Mickie James returned to WWE and putting her on the SmackDown brand makes perfect sense since that brand is pretty light on female talent compared to Raw. She’s a little older but still looks great and is still a pretty good hand in the ring.

Goldberg is slated to wrestle a match at Fastlane, which is Raw’s pre-Wrestlemania PPV. Only thing that makes sense is for him to tease dissension at the Rumble with someone not named Brock Lesnar, leading to a singles match at Fastlane where Brock will undoubtedly show up and get heat on him. Maybe Jericho or Owens since they’ve been doing a little tease of things to come lately.

Speaking of Jericho, it looks like he’ll remain in WWE after Mania. He’s having a hell of a run with his latest character (ie the scarves, the vests, the list) and is apparently loving it.

Shawn Michaels says that he’s not looking to end his retirement however if he was to have one more match, he thinks it’d be with Samoa Joe of all people. What an interesting contrast of styles that would be, although the muscle buster just might kill ol’ HBK who is now north of 50.

It’s amazing how quickly The New Day went from being the hottest act in WWE and very successful tag team champions, to now a comedy act that goes through the same tired routine every week, most recently with Titus O’Neill. WWE clearly doesn’t know what to do with them and as much as I’ve enjoyed watching them, maybe it’s time for a split or a heel turn? I’m sure their merch sales are good enough that WWE will just allow them to continue toiling in useless segments every Monday night for the immediate future.

“Your mother’s a goof!” – a supposed quote from Bill Goldberg to Chris Jericho backstage at the end of their infamous skirmish a few years ago, according to Gregory Shane “Hurricane” Helms. Pretty good; that one is right up there with, “I know you are, but what am I?”

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