Usually summer is equated with happy thoughts. Kids playing outside and laughing, campfires on the beach, fireworks for 4th of July and even the wonderful summer rains that sometimes falls. But for the WWE this has been one of the roughest summers in recent memory.
Between scandals, injuries and sudden passing’s it may take quite a bit to get over all of it. Could Vince McMahon’s empire be starting to crack? I wouldn’t go that far. There is still no real competition out there (all apologies to Ring of Honor, TNA, Lucha Libre Underground and the new comer Global Force), so Vince still reigns supreme. With the talent down in NXT (quite possibly the smartest thing the WWE ever did), they won’t be looking over their shoulder any time soon.
But that doesn’t mean that things are all great from the Emperor’s chair either. This summer has not been a good one for the WWE.
It started with the sudden passing of the legend the American Dream Dusty Rhodes. He was a larger than life figure who was loved and beloved by everyone in the locker room. In the history of sports entertainment, very few have had the charisma and charm of Rhodes. His legacy, brought forth by his sons Dustin (Goldust) and Cody (StarDust) is strong, and the scores of wrestlers he helped in NXT is a list too long to mention.
All though it is not on even close to the same plain as the passing of a legend, the WWE had to quickly change plans for their PPV Battleground, when Intercontinental Champion Ryback developed a staph infection. It was so bad; they weren’t sure how long he would be out. The good news is, it looks like he will be healed enough to fight at Summer Slam. If not, it may mean back-to-back Intercontinental Champs that had to relinquish the belt due to injury (Ryback won the belt at Elimination Chamber when Daniel Bryan had to vacate due to injury).
Then the REAL black-eye came, when the original Icon, the man who really put wrestling on the map was caught red handed, or should I say red mouthed, making racial slurs.
That’s right, the red and yellow is now red-faced. You see apparently Hulk Hogan made a sex tape, and unbeknownst to him, it was released. So Hogan did what anybody in the public eye would do at that juncture, he sued to stop the release of the tape.
The only problem with that idea is this, when the depositions happened, the tape had to be played in open court. Apparently, Mr. Hogan decided to use some choice words about minorities on the tape. As soon as it was leaked as to what he said, that was it. Vince McMahon did his best David Copperfield impersonation and made everything about Hogan disappear from the WWE.
Hogan was fired from Tough Enough, let go from the WWE, his contract with the WWE was torn up and he was even removed from the Hall of Fame. It is like Hulk Hogan never even existed.
Then the injury bug struck again, but this time the face of the company had his face broken. In a match with Seth Rollins, John Cena had his nose broken so badly that when the match was over, half of it was under his right eye. Now being the pro he is, Cena did finish the match, and actually won, but the cost was horrific. Now his title match with Rollins at Summer Slam could be in jeopardy. He says he will compete, but the doctors may say something else.
Next came the biggest shock of all, the death of Rowdy Roddy Piper. The Hall of Famer passed away at the young age of 61 from what is being called a coronary episode. I mentioned earlier that Hogan was credited with the mass appeal of wrestling. Well there would be no Hulk Hogan if there was no Rowdy Roddy Piper. To be a great hero, you have to have an equally great foil and Piper was that foil.
There was nobody better on the microphone than Piper either. No other person was so hated and so loved at the exact same time. His loss will be one of the toughest to get over.
The final embarrassment happened on Monday Night Raw on August 3rd. With the Divas division split into three factions they all had to have names. Team Bella was easy, then Tamina Snuka, Naomi and NXT Women’s Champ Sasha Banks became BAD (Beautiful and Dangerous), which left just one faction. The team of Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch, since the three were all submission experts, the name The Submission Sorority was used.
That’s where the embarrassment happened, you see once you went on-line to look up the Submission Sorority it took you to a porn site with that exact name. Needless to say they are now known as The Submission Sisters, but still it was just another black-eye for the WWE.
Will the company move past what appears to be a cursed summer? Of course they will. They have had hard times before and come out smelling like a rose on the other side. But the summer of 2015 will always be remembered for all the wrong things.