Mayhem Mania 2020: Round 3

This. Is. Mayhem Mania!

This is the ultimate fantasy booking game. The goal is to create the best WrestleMania card possible – not necessarily to predict what WWE will do. That means we must play by the rules of our current reality. Everyone comes in their current (physical, emotional, psychological, etc.) state. Bottom line, if Vince McMahon can do it, we can do it. (more…)

Mayhem Mania 2020: Round 2

This. Is. Mayhem Mania!

This is the ultimate fantasy booking game. The goal is to create the best WrestleMania card possible – not necessarily to predict what WWE will do. That means we must play by the rules of our current reality. Everyone comes in their current (physical, emotional, psychological, etc.) state. Bottom line, if Vince McMahon can do it, we can do it.

We’re entering Round 2 of Mayhem Mania. So, we can finally say that Mayhem Mania is in full swing, right? Is it too soon? Who cares. I’m debating myself. (more…)

Monday Mayhem Wrestling Wrap Up LIVE: 2/3/19: Baby It’s Cold Outside


Sorg, Mad Mike and Nick Farrah chat about what’s good this week in Eclipse Wrestling, All Elite Wrestling, a Lego Harry Potter update, and lots of WWE Raw including getting heated over Randy Orton, Brock Lesnar, Charlotte Flair, Asuka and more!

 

Mayham Mania 2020: Round 1

This. Is. Mayhem Mania!

This is the ultimate fantasy booking game. The goal is to create the best WrestleMania card possible – not necessarily to predict what WWE will do. That means we must play by the rules of our current reality. Everyone comes in their current (physical, emotional, psychological, etc.) state. Bottom line, if Vince McMahon can do it, we can do it.

It’s Round 1 of Mayhem Mania 2020. We have 8 matches on our card and it’s time to let our players start making some improvements (we hope) to it. Each of them get to make one change. That can be as simple as swapping out one match for another with entirely new personnel. Or, our players can get a little more creative and swap just one person or team out and into the existing matches. They can also add a person or team to an existing match. The only real limit is the imagination of our players. (more…)

What 5 Years Of Mayhem Mania Reveals About Our Changing Pro Wrestling Tastes

Over the past five years, the Wrestling Mayhem Show has celebrated the weeks leading up to WrestleMania with Mayhem Mania. It’s kind of a competitive thought experiment that challenges players to make the best WrestleMania matches possible. WWE’s pool of talent has been historically deep in recent years, and our goal is to demonstrate the full potential of their roster.

The ground rules are simple. Only the talents that WWE can realistically book for the real WrestleMania are eligible. Current injuries, contract statuses and other factors help us decide who can be booked. We start by creating an 8-match card. Over the weeks that follow, players make changes to the card, swapping individuals or event entirely new matches. As the weeks go by, some matches survive long enough to graduate to a permanent supercard, opening up room for new matches.

At its most basic, Mayhem Mania is a popularity contest. The matches created over its first 5 years are like a time capsule, revealing who fans wanted to see in the biggest matches on the biggest show of the year. But, as most of us know, the tastes of pro wrestling fans are fickle. A talent who is hot one year can cool off quickly. The name we’re all fighting to book in Mayhem Mania this year may not be mentioned in the next.

Over the first five years of Mayhem Mania, 220 different names have been used to create a wide variety of matches of varying levels of quality, but no name has been used more often than Finn Balor.

That’s 35 weeks when Balor has been booked in a match in Mayhem Mania. He’s been one of the most consistently used names over the past five years, something that will become even more impressive as we take a closer look at his history compared to other names.

Finn Balor

Although Balor’s usage was down slightly in 2019, a recent heel turn and well-received return to NXT sets the stage for a likely resurgence in 2020. Despite his ups and downs in WWE over the past five years, Balor has remained one of the most consistently popular personalities among fans.

It took a down year for the former holder of the top spot, Brock Lesnar, to open the door for Balor to claim it in 2019.

Brock Lesnar

In the 2019 edition of Mayhem Mania, Brock Lesnar was booked in a match just once. That’s an alarmingly sharp decline for a name that was among the most popular in Mayhem Mania. It will be interesting to see if Lesnar bounces back or remains on the sidelines.

Balor and Lesnar are among an exclusive group of eight individuals who have been booked in a match for at least one week during every year of Mayhem Mania.

  • Bray Wyatt
  • Brock Lesnar
  • Charlotte Flair
  • Daniel Bryan
  • Finn Balor
  • Roman Reigns
  • Sasha Banks
  • Triple H

Bray Wyatt‘s history in Mayhem Mania is probably what you’d expect. He was extremely popular from 2015-2017, but he barely made it into a match in 2018 and 2019.

Bray Wyatt

A lot has changed for Wyatt since the 2019 edition of Mayhem Mania. He’s now “The Fiend”, the WWE Champion, and more popular than ever in the eyes of many fans. A big bounce-back should be expected in 2020.

Among the “Five For Five” group, the most interesting name to me is Daniel Bryan. He spent a sizable portion of the past 5+ years retired from in-ring competition. Yet, somehow he kept finding his way into Mayhem Mania. Did we allow a little too much leeway in allowing our players to book a guy who wasn’t medically cleared by WWE? Maybe. It’s still a testament to Bryan’s enduring popularity and the hope fans always held onto that he would one day resume his in-ring career.

Daniel Bryan

As for the two women in this group, Charlotte Flair leads all female competitors with 23 weeks being booked in a match over the five years of Mayhem Mania.

* “Michelle” refers to Michelle McCool. “Stephanie” refers to Stephanie McMahon

Charlotte’s position on top may not be surprising, but she may not hold it for much longer. Despite being used in the past four years, Asuka has nearly caught her. Also, a closer look at Charlotter’s history shows that her popularity has declined.

Charlotte Flair

As for Sasha Banks, she was very popular during the first two years of Mayhem Mania, but her usage took a dramatic dip in 2019.

Sasha Banks

Now, let’s take a look at a slightly larger group – those who were booked in a match for at least one week during four of the five years of Mayhem Mania. Included in parenthesis is the year they were not booked.

  • AJ Styles (2015)
  • Asuka (2015)
  • Bayley (2015)
  • Bo Dallas (2019)
  • Big E (2018)
  • Braun Strowman (2015)
  • Cesaro (2016)
  • Chris Jericho (2019)
  • Dash Wilder (2015)
  • Dean Ambrose (2018)
  • Eric Young (2015)
  • Harper (2017)
  • Jey Uso (2017)
  • Jimmy Uso (2017)
  • John Cena (2016)
  • Kevin Owens (2019)
  • Kofi Kingson (2018)
  • The Miz (2016)
  • Rowan (2017)
  • Rusev (2019)
  • Samoa Joe (2015)
  • Scott Dawson (2015)
  • Seth Rollins (2016)
  • Tommaso Ciampa (2015)
  • Undertaker (2019)
  • Xavier Woods (2018)

Some of these missed years are easily explained, and most deserve a place (with an asterisk) on the top tier list of those booked in all five years of Mayhem Mania. AJ Styles, Asuka, Eric Young, Samoa Joe and Tommaso Ciampa were not yet full-time competitors in WWE in 2015. Others were under contract with other organizations, meaning they were not eligible to be used. The absence of others in certain years is the result of them being off television due to injury: Cesaro, Dean Ambrose, John Cena and Rowan.

John Cena

Despite each missing a year, AJ Styles (31) and Cesaro (29) are not far behind Balor for the top spot on the list of all-time most booked names in Mayhem Mania. Styles has been a very popular name, but can he sustain that popularity? It’s easy to be doubtful after taking a closer look at his Mayhem Mania history.

AJ Styles

As for the reason why some other names are on the “4 Out Of 5 Years” list instead of the “5 Out Of 5″ list…

Bayley was left out of the first edition of Mayhem Mania in 2015. She was still in NXT at the time, and was in the NXT Women’s Title picture for part of year. She competed in a fatal 4-way match for the championship in February 2015 at NXT TakeOver: Rival, but the best was yet to come. After Mayhem Mania 2015 concluded, “Peak Bayley” arrived with her championship victory at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn in August 2015. You can see the reaction. Bayley was a popular choice in Mayhem Mania in 2016. However, her popularity has eroded since then.

Bayley

Dash and Dawson were teaming regularly in 2015, but they were not yet The Revival. They won the NXT Tag Team Championships for the first time in November of 2015.

Braun Strowman was rarely seen in NXT. His popularity didn’t start to rise until he debuted on WWE’s main roster in August 2015. He’s been a fairly consistent choice in Mayhem Mania ever since.

Braun Strowman

Chris Jericho likely would’ve been booked again in 2019 if he hadn’t signed a contract with All Elite Wrestling. Over the first four years of Mayhem Mania, he was a reliable option for our players.

Kevin Owens returned from injury in time to be eligible for Mayhem Mania in 2019, but he was never booked. In 2018, he was booked only once. Owens was one of the most popular names in Mayhem Mania in 2017 and 2016. So, what changed? Early 2017 marked the end of Owens’ reign as WWE Universal Champion. That appeared to mark the beginning of his slide. Owens seems to be in a much better place in early 2020. Perhaps a comeback is in the cards?

Kevin Owens

Undertaker‘s absence in 2019 after appearing in the first four years of Mayhem Mania is clearly a sign that fans are less interested in seeing him perform in the ring.

Undertaker

Bo Dallas is an interesting case. Inexplicably, he was booked in at least one match during the first four years of Mayhem Mania. But in 2019, his slowing momentum came to a full stop and he was not mentioned once. The high point of his modest success was in 2017, when was booked in a match during three weeks of Mayhem Mania. During that time Dallas was still a member of The Social Outcasts.

Now, we’ll look at some of the one-year absences that are less easily explained.

The Usos not being booked in Mayhem Mania in 2017 is somewhat puzzling. They were newly crowned SmackDown Tag Team Champions in March of 2017. But the titles were not defended at WrestleMania 33 in Orlando, Florida. Instead, The Usos participated in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Just like WWE, the Mayhem Mania players couldn’t find anything interesting to do with The Usos.

Another tag team worth looking at is The New Day. All three members were left out entirely during the 2018 edition of Mayhem Mania. What makes this so unexpected is the fact that The New Day were still riding the wave of a hot feud with The Usos over the SmackDown Tag Team Championships. The two teams were in a three-way match for the titles, with the Bludgeon Brothers as the third wheel, at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans. For some reason, The New Day in early 2018 wasn’t what the Mayhem Mania players were looking for.

In early 2016, The Miz was the WWE Intercontinental Champion, but he wasn’t capturing the imagination of the Mayhem Mania players. Perhaps WWE sensed that as well. After seeing Zack Ryder win the IC Title at WrestleMania 32, The Miz teamed up on-screen with his real-life wife Maryse to reclaim the title the following night on Raw. The addition to The Miz’ act worked. He’s been booked in every year of Mayhem Mania since then.

The Miz

Rusev is a sad case. He was booked in the first four years of Mayhem Mania. His popularity and the “Rusev Day” phenomenon made him one of the hottest names heading into WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans in 2018. But Rusev’s star faded not long after that. In 2019, he wasn’t booked in a single Mayhem Mania match. His Mayhem Mania history is an uneven pattern. Rusev has been a big part of Raw recently. Maybe he’ll bounce back again.

Rusev

Luke Harper‘s absence in 2017 may be the most baffling omission of all. During the months leading up to WrestleMania 33, you could argue he was having the biggest run of his career. He was in the middle of a long-simmering Wyatt Family breakup story line involving Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton. At the 2017 Royal Rumble, Harper turned on both Wyatt and Orton. He followed that up with some memorable in-ring encounters with AJ Styles. Unfortunately, it didn’t resonate with the Mayhem Mania players in 2017. Harper’s name wasn’t used a single time. For all his hard work, something about Harper’s run didn’t click with us or WWE. He found himself in the Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal at WrestleMania 33.

So, we’ve been able to pinpoint a good amount of names that started hot in the early years of Mayhem Mania before fading. Now, let’s try to find some “Ones To Watch”. There’s a group of names that have burst onto the scene and surged in popularity over the recent years of Mayhem Mania.

  • Nikki Cross: 15 weeks booked over the last 3 years
  • Aleister Black: 12 weeks booked over the last 2 years
  • Velveteen Dream: 11 weeks booked over the last 2 years
  • Ricochet: 10 weeks booked over the last 2 years
  • Johnny Gargano:  10 weeks booked over the last 3 years

There’s another group that made a big splash in their Mayhem Mania debuts in 2019.

  • Io Shirai: 7 weeks
  • Zelina Vega: 7 weeks
  • Ali: 6 weeks
  • Rhea Ripley: 6 weeks
  • Lio Rush: 5 weeks
  • Walter: 5 weeks

Io Shirai and Zelina Vega both benefited from being attached to a trios tag team match booked in 2019 that included The IIconics on one side and Asuka and Kairi Sane on the other. To me, their popularity individually is still something that needs to be proven in Mayhem Mania.

On the other hand, Ali and Rhea Ripley made far bigger impressions during Mayhem Mania 2019. Both kept finding their way into matches. Since the 2019 edition of Mayhem Mania, Ripley’s stardom has grown dramatically. She won the NXT Women’s Championship in December 2019. I’m proud to say we were on her bandwagon nearly a year earlier.

As for Ali, his momentum feels like it’s stalled since the early part of 2019, when he was orbiting the WWE Championship picture. We’ll see if the Mayhem Mania players remember him in 2020.

There are many more names we could break down. Producer Missy and Mad Mike deserve a ton of credit for helping to bring all the Mayhem Mania data together and organize it into spreadsheets. It’s really interesting to look at years of data and the trends that emerge. But as I mentioned earlier, this is pro wrestling. No one knows for sure what fans and our Mayhem Mania players will want to see in 2020.

 

Wrestling Mayhem Show 659: Patreon in the Bank

This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling USSlice on BroadwayOccupy Pro Wrestling, and Professor Buzzkill!

Sorg, Mad Mike, and Mainstream Matt are joined by SCORES of Patreon Supporters!  This week we’re talking about: 

  • Charlotte beats Asuka to become Smackdown Women’s Champ, spoiler again!
  • We discuss Lady Frost’s debut a year ago and the chances new talent gets on television
  • Mayhem Mania comes to dramatic conclusions with Patreon in the Bank!

Follow our stable on Twitter: Mad Mike (@MadMike4883), Sorg (@Sorgatron), Matt (@MainstreamMat), and a cast of Mayhem Mania participants!

If you are in Pittsburgh, you’ve got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

**A special shout out to our Manager Level Patreon supporters, Mad Mike (@MadMike4883) and Occupy Pro Wrestling (@Power2TheSmarks)**

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

Check out the Indy Wrestling US Network at www.indywrestling.network.  For a short time, get a 7-day FREE trial to access a growing collection of content.

Thanks to Basick Sickness (@basicksickness) for the awesome intro for the show.

Remember to LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook for updates and video.

 

Mayhem Mania 2019: Round 2

This. is. Mayhem Mania!

Not quite a game. Not really a contest. More like a competitive thought experiment. The object is to create the best WrestleMania card possible – NOT necessarily to predict what WWE will do.

This is not fantasy booking. It’s more like reality booking. Any match created must have at least a chance of happening in this year’s WrestleMania. That means all wrestlers come in their current physical, emotional and contractual state. Anyone selected for a match must have a reasonable chance of being hired by WWE to appear on the real-life WrestleMania card. 

Simply put, you’re Vince McMahon with infinite cash and no self-control.


For those of you who are just joining us, here’s where you can catch up on Mayhem Mania 2019: Opening Round – Round 1

Round 2 of Mayhem Mania 2019 was held during the Wrestling Mayhem Show on Tuesday, February 5. 5 people were invited to each make a single change to our existing card of 8 matches. Here’s how it went down. (more…)

Six Times When Mayhem Mania Got Real

Can you believe we’re about to enjoy the fifth year of Mayhem Mania? Our little competitive thought experiment started out as just an idea. Over the years, it’s grown into a tradition on the Wrestling Mayhem Show. There have been a lot of matches created over the years – some more plausible than others. Among them are a select few that later happened in real life. Here are six of the most notable. To be clear, we’re only looking at matches that graduated to a Mayhem Mania SUPERCARD. (more…)

Wrestling Mayhem Show 641: I’d Rather Be A Rosebud Than A Ho

This week’s episode brought to you by Indy Wrestling USSlice on BroadwayOccupy Pro Wrestling, and Lucha Fiesta!

We’ve got Londyn Ali in studio following WWE Evolution.  She’s sitting down with Sorg and Mad Mike to talk about: WMS 10.30.2018

  • We’re thinking there might be a bit of an Evolution on tonight’s show.
  • WWE Evolution occurred over the weekend. Sorg watched on TV. Londyn Ali is supporting the ladies. And, Mad Mike was there in person!
  • Londyn Ali is sharing some thoughts on WWE Evolution – as a woman in wrestling.
  • Mad Mike is sharing how WWE Evolution was live at the arena.
  • WWE Evolution did really well – as in a lot of show merch was sold out when Mad Mike tried to buy things!
  • We’re learning that there may have been a dark match that we didn’t see on WWE Evolution.
  • We are learning just how far behind Sorg is on his wrestling watching.
  • Londyn Ali is sharing some thoughts on the Mae Young Classic.
  • Becky Lynch v Charlotte Flair at WWE Evolution was an outstanding match – not just an outstanding womens wrestling match – an outstanding match. Period.
  • The remainder of the horsewomen have arrived!
  • Ronda Rousey vs Nikki Bella showed us that there was a decent split of fans for each side.
  • It was great to see the shirts fans wore for WWE Evolution. Everything from Bull Nakano to Jazz.
  • When Producer Missy grabs the mic to say something about WWE Evolution, you know she has opinions!
  • Sorg is sharing some distaste about RAW and Smackdown following WWE Evolution. It seems like WWE has problems with follow through.
  • Halloween has officially come to the show.
  • This week’s Big Question: What has been the best Halloween segment in or around wrestling?
  • Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy got their own Halloween special.
  • Londyn Ali is giving us some knowledge on whose careers began on the ho train.
  • We are trying to explain the Hardy Halloween special to Londyn Ali. She thinks we’re on drugs.
  • NXT had some awesome Halloween costumes!
  • What did YOU learn in wrestling this week?
  • Becky Lynch is our favorite on social media.

Follow our stable on Twitter: Mad Mike (@MadMike4883), and Sorg (@Sorgatron).

If you are in Pittsburgh, you’ve got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

Check out the Indy Wrestling US Network at www.indywrestling.network.  For a short time, get a 7-day FREE trial to access a growing collection of content.

Thanks to Basick Sickness (@basicksickness) for the awesome intro for the show.

Remember to LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook for updates and video.

 

 

Wrestling Mayhem Show 624: You Can’t Always Have A Clean Finish

This week’s episode brought to you by Slice on Broadway, Occupy Pro Wrestling, and Indy Wrestling US!


The Heir Apparent, Chris LeRusso, is back in studio this week – with some Tag Team bling on his shoulder.  He is joined by Sorg, Larry, Mad Mike, and Bobby as they talk this week’s wrestling news:

  • Sorg has been enjoying the Bugs Bunny cartoon that is Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman on RAW.
  • Chris LeRusso is sharing some thoughts on bad finishes – especially when the match is pretty hot (until the end).
  • When you’re doing your job so well that they have to dial it back?
  • Chris LeRusso is comparing a great wrestling match to great sex.
  • Bobby is ruining hypothetical sex on the show.
  • Mad Mike is sharing some thoughts on Bayley having to go to counseling.
  • Did you guys see (all of) Charlotte Flair this week?
  • Thanks to our friend Daniel Tiger for hitting us up with some Mayhem Voicemail! His question – Which feud would you like to see go on forever?
  • We’re learning about that time Joe Dombrowski had a fireball in a back seat of a car.
  • We’re getting some insight into Chris LeRusso’s character development.
  • Ring of Honor WAS going to do a show at MSG.
  • Blackcraft’s Burning Bridges show in Pittsburgh has officially sold out.
  • Joey Janela is getting lost in New York.
  • What did YOU learn in wrestling this week?

Remember that poster we were giving away?  We took our list of Patreon supporters, booted up WWE 2K16, and let the bots settle it out.  Congratulations to Bradley for winning the Skyscraper poster! Want to catch the Patreon bot fight we used to determine the winner? See it here.

Want a chance to win a Blockers poster?  Become our patreon for a chance to win! (Even if it’s for $1.)

Follow our stable on Twitter: Chris LeRusso (@ChrisLeRusso), Bobby F J-Town (@BobbyFJtown), Mad Mike (@MadMike4883), Larry (@MutilatorLarry),  and Sorg (@Sorgatron).

If you are in Pittsburgh, you’ve got to go to Slice on Broadway (@Pgh_Slice) and get their food! (sliceonbroadway.com)

You can support the show at Patreon.com/wrestlingmayhemshow!

Go to wrestlingmayhemshow.com for more entertainment!

Thanks to Basick Sickness (@basicksickness) for the awesome intro for the show.

Remember to LIKE and FOLLOW us on Facebook for updates and video.