BY: RODPEDERSEN.COM STAFF
Welcome to the doldrums of the off-season. We are still a few weeks away from the CFL draft and six weeks from the beginning of training camp. It feels like a kid waiting for Christmas ... like we've been waiting forever.
There have been a few nuggets pop out of the CFL world: Jon Ryan giving a couple CFL free agent camps - including the Roughriders - a try, the CFL international draft order was announced, and CBA talks finally getting going in earnest and a few others.
The one that stuck out the most that will have an impact on the CFL is the dissolving of the AAF with just a few weeks remaining in it’s inaugural season.
We here at Out Of The Tunnel hoped it would be successful because having more football jobs out there is a good thing. The CFL would have had competition for players and football staff and that makes a league better because they have to compete for those players and coaches. It is also good for the players because that means better salaries.
This is a bit of a blow for the CFLPA as negotiations with the CFL begin because that was going to be a bargaining chip toward potentially increasing salaries and starting some sort of insurance/workers compensation package.
The AAF did some things right like their promotional campaign, TV contracts, early ratings and even the quality on the field was better than many thought it would be.
What they did wrong is the biggest mistake, they didn’t raise enough money up front. The AAF was only able to scrap together around $14-million in startup money and that is nowhere near enough to start a company that employs over 750 people in eight different cities.
Carolina Hurricanes owner Tom Dundon looked like a knight in shining armour halfway through the season with a $250-million injection of cash. But he only did it to purchase their app technology and after he had that it was enough for him. He dissolved the league.
Next up is WWE owner Vince McMahon’s second attempt at the XFL next spring. He has a template, the dollars and also the knowledge of past mistakes. Will it be successful? It’s a longshot but who knows.
Time to have a little off-season fun and, since it was Wrestlemania weekend, here’s our guide on what current WWE wrestler would best represent a CFL team.
Saskatchewan Roughriders – Daniel Bryan
He was too small to be champion, but with a groundswell of support, the fans put him over. Bryan was then a three-time heavyweight champ but had to retire because of neck problems. He has returned and is the champ again, but as a heel. Fans still aren’t sure whether to love him or hate him but whatever Daniel Bryan does, fans have something to say about him.
Edmonton Eskimos – Charlotte Flair
She entered the WWE relying on the past efforts of her legendary father Ric Flair, much like how the Eskimos always harken back to the ‘good old days when we dominated the league’. She is starting to make her way as a superstar herself winning a couple of titles, but now with a heel turn she is looking for another title.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Kofi Kingston
A long-time talent in the WWE. He has had some success as a tag team and intercontinental title holder, but never ever in the big match and has never won the heavyweight title. Kingston has finally put it all together and is getting a big title push. He will face Daniel Bryan for the WWE Heavyweight belt Sunday night.
B.C. Lions – Matt Hardy
Matt Hardy was a superstar as a part of the Hardy Boys with his brother Jeff. Matt also got a big singles push before running into a lot of problems in and out of the ring. He then had to go to the wrestling independents to remake himself. This is where a complete character overhaul happened, and he became Broken Matt Hardy. Because of the overhaul, Hardy was able to make a triumphant return to the WWE.
Calgary Stampeders – Brock Lesnar
The champ. He takes long breaks from professional wrestling and everyone writes him off. Then from out of nowhere gets a big push and becomes the champ…again. Also, does anyone really like Brock Lesnar?
Ottawa Redblacks – Finn Bálor
One of the new generation of smaller high-flying WWE talents who had to make his way early in his career in other companies. Once he got into the WWE, no one could hold him back as he won the NXT title and was the inaugural WWE Universal champion as well. Also, his alter ego Demon King is decked out in black, red and white.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats – A.J. Styles
The long-time fan favourite made his name wrestling in almost every promotion and independent circuit outside of the WWE. His high-flying modern offensive style got him over the top with fans and he finally cracked the WWE. He has used his offence to become a two-time WWE champion.
Toronto Argonauts – The Big Show
The biggest wrestler in the company. His size, personality and his past accomplishments hang like a shadow over almost every other wrestler. The thing is, he is old and his body is starting to break down. He does find a few spots to make an impact and does climb back into the spotlight, but they are starting to become few and far between.
Montreal Alouettes – Kurt Angle
Angle is one of the most decorated wrestlers in WWE history. He is a former Olympic gold medallist and has won every WWE championship belt. This is Angle’s final run as an in-ring performer as he is having his retirement match this weekend at Wrestlemania. After this is over its time to step away and let someone else take his spot.