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Archive for the ‘WWE | Pro Wrestling’

Can Dean Ambrose Sustain His Current Style?

December 19, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Professional wrestlers work under incredible conditions and a schedule that is not only time consuming, but also takes away life outside the ring because of travel and guest appearances and training and workouts and just about everything that would be considered normal. That’s why the “job” isn’t for everyone. A strong mentality as well as a strong will are paramount for success.

Sometimes, however, that will and mentality takes a wrestler to the brink. Taking bumps off the ropes or from 10 feet in the air takes a major toll on the body, the mind and the spirit. The roads traveled of wrestlers of the past like Ric Flair, Terry Funk and Jake Roberts are well chronicled. Those greats dealt with demons and pain that still haunt them to this day. Roberts has put his life back together while Flair and Funk still have issues staying away from the ring that made them great.

Now that the WWE has brought back many of the hardcore rules that made superstars of Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer and the Dudley’s, can the same be said for Dean Ambrose as his schedule and amount of abuse he takes in the ring? Will this new “hardcore” legend feel the efforts of pounding after pounding each night? Wrestling the likes of Bray Wyatt has become the norm for Ambrose, who performs with chairs, Kendo sticks and tables and now televisions on a nightly basis, only to see his body battered like raw meat. Will the company that has helped to make him a star be the one that leads to his demise as a cult hero and cause damage to his psyche, his body and his soul in years down the road?

Ric Flair talked openly about his life on the road and how it affected him, allowing him to live the life of a rock star, drink each night, party with hundreds, maybe thousands of women. He talked about wrestling night after night, going 60 minutes per match and bleeding, falling off top ropes and enduring body slam after body slam. Flair’s “punishment” for his decades of performing with a world title in hand has left him a bitter man and a broken man. But in comparison, the schedule Ambrose is running right now, taking abuse with chair shot after chair shot may lead to a shorter shelf life in the WWE.

I make the analogy because the WWE may have already cost one superstar, Daniel Bryan, his career. The toll his body has taken in the past two years has led to surgeries on his neck that have rendered him injured and on the “Disabled List” for the company. While other wrestlers have suffered the same fate of injuries that could have put them out of action for good (Kurt Angle with his neck injury), Ambrose has not had the “big one” – yet.

But based on his current run it could be the defining moment that stops this “Innovator of Abuse” in his tracks. While I would love to see the company bring back the Hardcore Championship so Ambrose, Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt and the like could excel at what they do best, it is also the most hazardous of titles and with some much being made about head and neck injuries of late, it should not be explored.

The WWE fans are not like the fans of old. The 60-minute “Broadway” that defined a wrestler’s endurance kept our attention in the 1970s and 1980s. Wrestlers could pace themselves even through the brutality of enduring punishment meant pain over a longer period of time. Today, shorter matches mean more punishment over smaller pockets and the pain is greater over a longer haul after the fact.

Ambrose isn’t the only wrestler who is feeling this crunch. The same could be said for Wyatt and any host of wrestlers who are extreme as the “Lunatic Fringe” of the WWE. The difference is we see what Ambrose does, which appears to have a more direct effect on him. When he slows down (at some point), will the games he played early in his career lead to a lack of performance late in his career?

At the end of the day, is the abuse really worth it? Only Ambrose and the WWE can answer that.

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Macho Man: The Randy Savage Story WWE DVD Review

December 19, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Anyone that knows me knows I’m a huge Randy Savage fan. He was one of the reasons I ever got interested in wrestling in the first place, and I considered his death such a loss to my life that I had a tattoo done in dedication to him not long after hearing the announcement.
So, yeah…pretty big fan.

Anyway, I was pretty stoked Savage was getting a real DVD treatment, as his last one was pretty lackluster. Don’t get me wrong: it had some great matches on it, but it was just a collection of matches and no more. It also didn’t help that, although he had a few good comments, the team of Matt Striker and Maria Kanellis as hosts absolutely sucked. Overall, it just felt slapped together, and WWE picked two people at random for the “hosting” duties.

This time, it’s completely different. Although there’s still a collection of matches (it wouldn’t be a WWE DVD if there weren’t), this one includes an outstanding 90-minute documentary on the first disc. Save for his embarrassing run in TNA, the DVD covers Savage’s life, from his dad Angelo Poffo setting a Guiness World Record for most sit-ups (6,033 in four hours, in case you were wondering), all the way up until WCW closed and his death about a decade later.

While most of the stories told by Savage’s friends and family (thankfully, the contemporary stories were kept to a minimum, with only Dolph Ziggler, Sheamus and CM Punk weighing in. Considering all three were superfans of Savage, though, their inclusion here is perfectly fine) are pretty common knowledge, thankfully, there’s one man included on here that helps put a lot of long-standing rumors about Savage to rest, that being his brother, Lanny Poffo. Lanny weighs in on every single story told throughout the DVD, and instead of sounding like someone being bitter about rumors and whatnot, he instead addresses each item in a calm, intelligent manner. Even the things he admits are true were still rumors as far as everyone else was concerned.

Two of the biggest points made in the documentary were Savage’s penchants for being paranoid, obsessive about his job, and Miss Elizabeth. Even his mother admits to all of these things, and it’s interesting to hear her and those directly involved give their side of the story. One thing Savage supposedly did a lot was be extremely meticulous about putting together matches. Ricky Steamboat and several others confirm this, with Steamboat saying Savage had a list of 100 or so items for their historic match at Wrestlemania III, all of which he wanted Steamboat to follow to a T in order for the match, in his mind to be perfect. Several other competitors, including DDP, Bret Hart and Ted DiBiase, confirm this, sharing similar experiences they had with the “Macho Man” in their respective matches. Although Lanny denies that Savage kept an eye on Elizabeth 24/7 and was overprotective of her at all times, and I’d like to believe him, the fact that every other personality who worked with Savage in the ring that is featured on this DVD says the exact opposite is hard to ignore.

We also get a long stretch in regards to Savage’s charity work. Apparently, he was extremely charitable in his life, and constantly involved specifically with charities for sick children. He did George Steinbrenner’s annual Christmas event for kids eleven years in a row, and made huge contributions to various charities, including buying a gym and donating it to the kids before showing them how to work out and take care of themselves. It shows a side of Savage that I had never seen before, and it’s nice to see how he had such a hugely positive effect on so many people in this regard.

One thing that really stuck out is how insulted Savage was, according to Lanny, by the ill-fated “Huckster/Nacho Man” skits in the WWF in 1996. It’s not hard to understand why he was bothered by them (they were in pretty poor taste overall), but I had never heard/read anything in the past where Savage once commented on his feelings towards them and Vince McMahon’s involvement with them. And speaking of Vince, with the exception of old footage used in various segments, he is 100% absent from this feature. Now, if you’ve watched any of these documentaries in the past, you know Vince is pretty much guaranteed to appear and weigh in at least once per set, but here he does not. Before he died, I had read Vince and Savage had made amends and buried the hatchet (hence the figure deal with Mattel and agreeing to do the WWE All-Stars game), but Vince not showing up makes me wonder if he still has an axe to grind all these years later. I really hope that’s not the case, especially with Vince recently mentioning on Steve Austin’s podcast that Savage will be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the near future.

Anyway, the DVD winds down at the end, when we get to the story of Savage’s fatal car accident. This is by far the hardest part on the entire set to watch. Everyone who talks about Savage in retrospect breaks down to some degree or another, and I found myself getting pretty choked up hearing everyone’s stories about how much he meant to them. His widow Lynne is absent from the set, but given that she was with him in the car when he died, it’s completely understandable. I think what makes his death even worse is a story Hulk Hogan recalls during this segment. During Savage’s final years, he and Hogan apparently shared the same doctor and, about a month after Savage died, Hogan went to the doctor for a check-up, and was informed that, had Savage come in for an EKG test, he could have been saved. In fact, he was actually supposed to have the test done one day, but was there with his ill mother and was more concerned about her and said he’d come back to have it done on another day. According to this doctor, Savage’s mother had heart issues, and he wanted to check on Savage to see if it was a hereditary thing and, had that happened, they could have found that it was heart problems that would eventually lead to Savage’s death (he had a heart attack while driving), and could have taken care of them, resulting in Savage still being with us. Needless to say, hearing that story was a bitter pill to swallow.

As I said earlier, there are matches on this set as well, and honestly, as good as the documentary is (and it is), the matches here are among my favorite collections, albeit for kind of a strange reason. On many DVDs, the superstar in question’s matches featured are generally ones that everyone knows with a few more rare matches peppered in to fluff it up. Here, nearly all of the matches are rarities that today’s average fan have never seen. Only a couple of PPV matches are included, while the rest are from TV tapings, house shows and live specials that, to the best of my knowledge, have never been featured on VHS or DVD/Blu-Ray in the past. While they’re not all hits, each match is still pretty enjoyable (how bad could they be?), and there are some great ones with guys like Steamboat and Ric Flair as well.

If you were even just a tiny bit of a Savage fan during his life, you owe it to yourself to pick up this DVD as soon as you can. It’s filled with great action, some funny anecdotes and some truly touching stories from a wide variety of people that really need to be heard. And if you’re a younger fan who maybe isn’t too familiar with the “Macho Man”, it’s the perfect time to see what all of the hype was about.

DISC 1

Documentary
– Driven to Perfection
– Bred to Achieve
– Baseball Days
– Transition into Wrestling
– Developing The Macho Man
– Earning a Reputation
– WrestleMania III
– WWE Champion
– Mega Powers
– Randy & Liz
– Spokesperson
– WCW
– Hardships
– Giving Back
– True Love
– May 20, 2011
– Cream of the Crop

DISC 2

Intercontinental Championship Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Superstars * November 22, 1986

Lumberjack Match for the Intercontinental Championship
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Bruno Sammartino
Boston Garden * February 7, 1987

Intercontinental Championship Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat
Maple Leaf Gardens * February 15, 1987

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. “The King” Harley Race
Philadelphia, PA * September 18, 1987

Six-Man Tag Team Steel Cage Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage & Strike Force vs. Honky Tonk Man & The Hart Foundation
Boston Garden * March 5, 1988

WWE Championship Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. “Million Dollar Man” Ted DiBiase
Boston Garden * July 9, 1988

Harlem Street Fight for the WWE Championship
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Bad News Brown
Hamilton, Ontario * January 16, 1989

WWE Championship Match
Hulk Hogan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Madison Square Garden * April 24, 1989

DISC 3

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. “Rowdy” Roddy Piper
Miami, FL * January 22, 1990

WWE Championship Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Shawn Michaels
Munich, Germany * April 14, 1992

WWE Championship Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. The Ultimate Warrior
SummerSlam * August 31, 1992

WWE Championship Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
Prime Time Wrestling * September 14, 1992

WCW Television Championship Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Arn Anderson
WCW Saturday Night * January 28, 1995

Steel Cage Match for the WCW Championship
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Ric Flair
WCW Superbrawl VI * February 11, 1996

Las Vegas Sudden Death Match
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Diamond Dallas Page
WCW Halloween Havoc * October 26, 1997

BLU-RAY EXTRAS

Lumberjack Match for the WWE Championship
Hulk Hogan vs. “Macho Man” Randy Savage
Madison Square Garden * February 17, 1986

Winner is the King of WWE
“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. “Hacksaw” Jim Duggan
Madison Square Garden * October 28, 1989

“Macho Man” Randy Savage & Sting vs. The Blue Bloods (Lord Steven Regal & Earl Robert Eaton)
WCW Saturday Night * September 9, 1995

“Macho Man” Randy Savage vs. Booker T
WCW Nitro * December 15, 1997

Blu-Ray Exclusive Stories
– Ambidextrous?
– Card Shark
– Fearing the Savage
– Getting into the WWE
– Snake Fixed?
– A Safety Net
– Hundred Dollar Bill Guy
– Jerusalem
– Highly Competitive
– No Days Off
– Cowboy Hats
– Part of the Team
– Shifting Gears
– Very Generous
– Thanksgiving Call
– Walking Away
– Michael Schmidt
– Macho Tip

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Randy Macho Man Savage Collector’s Edition Box Set

WWE The Paul Heyman Story

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

TNA Wrestling Make A Big Run At Former WWE Champion

December 18, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

TNA Wrestling are making moves. A couple of days after announcing a new day and time for their TV show, the company is aggressively pursuing the hottest free agent in pro wrestling and he could be coming to Impact in 2015.

Dave Meltzer in the newest Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that TNA are making a hard run at the former Alberto Del Rio, now known as El Patron. According to Meltzer, the company reportedly offered Patron $400,000 a year to come to TNA. Former WWE producer and now head writer over at TNA, John Gaburik is pushing hard to get him in. The deal on the table is for one-year.

Meltzer also reports that Patron has not signed the deal. According to Meltzer, the hold ups are money and exclusivity. TNA would either have to pony up more money or drop their exclusivity clause in order to sign Patron. The negotiations could move in either direction before the end of the year, although that is yet to be determined.

Patron just recently announced a series of dates with Ring of Honor wrestling. Patron also has a big guaranteed money deal on the table from El Rey according to Meltzer. There is a strong demand in pro wrestling for a Latin superstar. That is why the WWE paid so highly to bring Patron over several years ago and give him the big Alberto Del Rio push.

One interesting aspect of this story is that Patron has been getting offers from MMA groups. Bellator reportedly has made Patron a big offer to come fight for their organization. This is much different than CM Punk in that Patron has a strong amateur wrestling pedigree and has fought in MMA before. Patron has reportedly received offers from other companies and is weighing his options.

What is most interesting to me about this story is that TNA has $400,000 to play with. We have heard countless stories about reduced budgets and impending cuts with the Destination America deal. While that may be true, this is certainly an indication of something much different. I am curious as to whether their television partner would be helping with these negotiations because it seems odd that a company rumored to be in financial distress could afford such a high-ticket free agent.

Patron is probably worth the investment. If TNA can use Patron to break through the Latino market and bring more eyes from that fan base to the product, well then he is worth every penny. I am real curious as to whether the WWE tries to make a big play to bring him back. We all know how his last run went down, but money talks. With CM Punk in the headlines signing with the UFC and rumors of Brock Lesnar leaving, the WWE may have to suck it up here and cut off its competition by bringing Patron back. Patron doesn’t sound like a guy with any interest in going back yet again, money talks and it is pro wrestling.

It’s a good time to be Elllllllllllllllllllllllll Patron!

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Dolph Ziggler Says He Wants To Be The Man In The WWE

December 18, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Dolph Ziggler has become something of a people’s WWE champion on social media. Fans on social media want Ziggler to be the man and according to a new interview with the intercontinental champ, they may get that wish.

Ziggler sat down with Michael Cole for an interview on WWE.com. The new champion has never been shy about his desires to be a top guy in the WWE. A number of circumstances have prevented that, yet there seems to be a lot of momentum circling around Ziggler these days. Never one to lack confidence, Ziggler recognizes it and is declaring that he will be the man, some day in the WWE.

I’ll be honest, it almost angers me as much as it did. Not a chance. Dolph Ziggler is me. What I am is everything I stand for is the hardest working man in sports entertainment, someone who has fought for 10 years to be the man because I want to be. Not because I have to, not because it looks cool or I think it would be fun, I have to. I have a chip on my shoulder so big that you wouldn’t believe it. I don’t sleep at night much because I think of tiny mistakes I’ve made. This is on the right track, and I’m going to be the man around here. … I don’t need luck but it’s going to happen, promise.

Ziggler also talked about regaining the intercontinental title from Luke Harper. Unfortunately Ziggler’s last run as I-C champ was filled with almost a dozen losses on television. While skeptics may see the I-C belt as a curse, Ziggler is excited about his new reign as champion.

Winning titles is a huge step in a career for a superstar. Just having been through so much the last couple months, months and years of fighting and scratching and clawing and getting close and saying ‘you’re not quite the guy for the position’ and knowing it was out there. Now, having even more of the WWE Universe behind me every single night, I knew if I could find my way to get through this ladder match, make it one of the best things anyone has ever seen, and come out as the champion, I knew we could make that title, like I said before, what it means to me. It did (steal the show). It did.

So what is next for Ziggler? Where does Ziggy go from here? If it were up to his fans on social media, it would be to a WrestleMania main-event against John Cena. I wouldn’t hold your breath on that one, although Ziggler would love to have that opportunity.

I see this as a stepping stone. This is a first step in the right direction. This is a chance for everyone who has been really close to breaking through that glass ceiling and couldn’t get it done. Let me be the one who busts it open and leads the way through. Let me be the one who says from here on out, you can make it. You can make it with the WWE Universe behind you and everything you do you do to be the best, and I do.

It’s hard not to get excited about where things are heading with Ziggler. It appears that he may be finally getting his due and an opportunity to run with the ball in 2015. Unfortunately we have all been sucked into this before with Ziggler and his start-stop pushes. Let’s hope this one is different.

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE Super SmackDown Results and 800th Episode Recap

December 18, 2014 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

This week’s episode is a special live edition, due to this being the 800th episode.

MATCH 1: FANDANGO (W/ROSA MENDES) VS. ROMAN REIGNS
Fandango has new entrance music, and it’s about as generic as you can get. Both guys have new gear as well. Fandango looks like a CZW referee, but in red. The two lock up, and Reigns backs Fandango into the corner. Fandango hits a punch, and Reigns responds by dropping Fandango with one of his own. Fandango hits a kick to the gut and applies a side headlock. Reigns reverses, then breaks a waistlock before snapping Fandango over by the arm. Reigns works on the arm and shoulder, knocking Fandango into the corner. Reigns tosses him across the ring, hits a corner splash and a short-arm clothesline that sends Fandango to the floor. Reigns pulls him up, and Fandango hits a hotshot before ramming Reigns face-first into the top buckle. He hits a few punches for a pair of 1-counts, then applies a rear chinlock. Reigns breaks the hold by backin into the corner, but Fandango quickly reapplies it, taking Reigns down in the process. After a couple minutes, Reigns gets back to his feet and sends Fandango to the corner. Fandango hits a back elbow and comes off the middle rope, only to get knocked on his ass with a mid-air uppercut. Reigns ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own. He follows up with a corner clothesline, a whip and a tilt-a-whirl powerslam. He loads up the Superman Punch, connects, then nails the spear for 3.

WINNER: ROMAN REIGNS.

Later tonight, Ryback will take on Seth Rollins.

Dean Ambrose heads out to the ring. Bray Wyatt said there was a special place in hell for people like them, and at TLC, they went to that special place. Ambrose loved every single second of it. It feels to get out all of your anger and fly too close to the flame. Regardless of what happened at the end, he lost the match. He noticed fear in Wyatt’s eyes, because for the first time, Wyatt was in the ring with someone who just doesn’t care. For the first time, Wyatt faced someone as twisted as him. Tomorrow night, the fight continues at Tribute to the Troops in a Boot Camp Match.

Wyatt appears on the TitanTron and says Ambrose doesn’t understand that the only reason he’s still breathing is because Wyatt is enjoying the game oh so much. But if Ambrose could only see what he is. If anyone could see the creature that lives behind his eyes, they’d know he is hope, that he is disdain, that he is a slave to his calling. And he can’t stop, even if he wanted to. He can’t stop until the heroes fall and the cities crumble. Hatred fuels him. He is the battlefield, and it can’t end until he watches it all burn.

MATCH 2: THE USOS (JEY & JIMMY) AND ERICK ROWAN VS. WWE TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE MIZ & DAMIEN MIZDOW, AND LUKE HARPER
Miz and Jey start, with Miz immediately bailing to the floor, but not before tagging out to Harper. Harper rams Jey into the corner, and hits him with a chop to the throat before standing on Jey’s face. He sends Jey in for a corner whip, but Jey slides out of the way and comes back with an uppercut. He goes for an arm wringer, but Harper drops him with a right. Miz tags in and stomps Jey down in the corner. Jey comes back with chops, then pounds Miz down on the opposite side. He goes for the running hip attack, but Miz sees it coming and slides to the floor. Jey chases after him, but Harper steps between the two. Now, both teams are facing off at ringside as we go to commercials.

Back from the break, Miz is in control of Jey. Jey blocks a suplex attempt and hits one of his own. Jimmy tags in and nails Miz in the gut. He hits a chop, but Miz comes back with a kick. Jimmy quickly recovers and clotheslines Miz to the floor. Mizdow comes in and clotheslines himself to the floor. Harper apparently tagged in somewhere, and he hits a big boot for 2. He catapults Jimmy under the middle rope, then applies a rear chinlock. Jimmy hits a few punches, but then runs into a dropkick. Miz tags himself in and stomps Jimmy down before hitting a low running boot for 2. Miz hits a few punches before choking Jimmy over the middle rope, then goes for another boot. Jimmy ducks and rolls him up for 2. Back up, Miz drops Jimmy for a clothesline. Mizdow begs for a tag to a huge pop, so Miz tags in Harper. Harper nails an uppercut for 2, then applies the Gator Roll. Meanwhile, Mizdow is rolling around on the floor at ringside. Miz yells at Mizdow for mimicking the wrong guy. Back in the ring, Jimmy goes for a tag, but Harper stops that before hitting a scrapbuster for 2. Miz tags in and, lo and behold, does more stomping. Harper tags himself back in and stomps Jimmy before Mizdow tags himself in. Mizdow goes for the hanging clothesline in the corner, but Miz stops him and tags himself in. Miz knocks Jey off the apron and goes for the clothesline, but Jimmy drops him with one of his own as Mizdow hits the floor at ringside. Rowan tags in and throws Miz to the corner for a series of headbutts. Miz gets bealed across the ring before Rowan hits him with an avalanche and a running shoulderblock. He hits a full-nelson slam for 2 as Mizdow breaks it up. The Usos toss him, then hit Harper with a double superkick, sending him to the floor. Miz receives one as well. They hit a double suicide dive on Harper near the announce desk, leaving Rowan and Miz alone. They yell for Rowan to go up top, which he does, before coming off with a big splash for 3.

WINNERS: ERICK ROWAN AND THE USOS.

We see Naomi warming up for her match tonight, when Jimmy enters the area to encourage her. He apologizes to her for how he’s been acting. She says she appreciates it, but she needs to do this on her own tonight. Jimmy is okay with that, then says they’ll celebrate with the new Divas Champion afterward.

We’re supposed to have Seth Rollins vs. Ryback now, but as Ryback comes out for the match, but is attacked on the stage by Rusev, who then promptly kicks him off the stage. On the floor, Rusev kicks Ryback over an equipment box.

In the ring, Rollins grabs a mic and says that, without the Authority, this place is a mad house. It’s complete chaos and lawlessness. And after everything he’s been through in the last two days, can you believe this? At TLC, he was robbed of one of the biggest wins of his career by Roman Reigns. Finally, last night, after he orchestrated the beatdowns of Chris Jericho and John Cena, he single-handedly beat Cena in a cage. Tonight, he’s out here with severely bruised ribs, but was still ready to compete against Ryback. And now, this? He says this works in his favor because, honestly, after the last two days, nobody deserves a day off more than him. So, let’s take the night off and celebrate.

As he and his security team are leaving, Dolph Ziggler’s music hits. He knows Rollins is good at scamming his way out of things, including last night on RAW as well as tonight with Ryback. But here’s some news: the Authority is out of power, and it’s all because of Sting and himself. He reminds Rollins he put the Authority out of power, as well as beat Rollins. As far as he’s concerned, Rollins is probably contractually-obligated to compete tonight. The fans deserves to see “Mr. Money in the Bank” compete tonight, so how about going one-on-one with Ziggler? Rollins says Ziggler hasn’t done anything lately to deserve a shot in the ring with him. Ziggler mocks him and says if he’s afraid, that’s fine, and all he has to do is say so. He doesn’t blame Rollins for being afraid. Rollins says this is just Ziggler. He’s in a giving mode, so he has two gifts. The first is to Ziggler, as he’s going to accept the challenge. The second gift he will give to himself when he curb stomps Ziggler later tonight. Ziggler says he’s going to get his gear, steal the show and beat Rollins because…that’s what’s best for business.

Another video for the Ascension.

MATCH 3-WWE DIVAS CHAMPIONSHIP: NAOMI VS. NIKKI BELLA (CHAMPION; W/BRIE BELLA)
Miz supposedly secured this match through his agent, as if anyone still cares about this angle. Naomi applies a waistlock and turns it into a sunset flip for 1. Nikki comes back with a clothesline for 2. Naomi gets whipped to the corner, has a kick blocked, but hits one on a second attempt. She hits a pair of knees for 2. Nikki comes back with an Alabama Slam for 2. A snap suplex from Nikki gets another 2. A slingshot suplex gets yet another 2. Nikki applies a rear chinlock, which Naomi breaks with an armdrag. The two simultaneously hair-mare each other, and now both are down. Miz comes down to ringside, cheering Naomi on. In the ring, Naomi ducks a clothesline and hits a trio of dropsh*ts. She connects with a flipping clothesline for 2, then heads to the apron. She connects with a high kick, then hits a hotshot for 2. Naomi lays in some forearms before Nikki hits a facebreaker for 1. Nikki mounts the middle rope and hits a cross-body, but Naomi rolls through for 2. Nikki suckers Naomi into the ropes, sending her to the floor. As Miz encourages Naomi, Jimmy Uso runs down to ringside and sends Miz to the back. Naomi is distracted, which allows Nikki to roll her up in a small package for 3.

WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: NIKKI BELLA.

MATCH 4: KANE VS. ADAM ROSE (W/THE EXOTIC EXPRESS)
The Bunny is wearing a neckbrace as a result of Monday night. Rose rolls around the ring and heads out to check on the Bunny before asking the Rose Buds to psyche him up. He re-enters the ring, hits a kick, and then gets knocked on his ass with a shoulder. He blocks a corner charge, then goes up top, hitting a cross-body. Instead of going for a pin, Rose starts celebrating. He turns around, only to have Kane lay him out with a big boot. Kane hits the chokeslam and gets 3.

WINNER: KANE.

Kane heads up the ramp, then stops. He turns around, stares at the Bunny, and tosses him into the ring by the neckbrace. Kane then hits him with a tombstone to a big “Yes!” chant.

We get a promo from Gold & Stardust. They hate Christmas, and on RAW, they’re going to turn the holiday season upside down. It will be the most unhappy time of the year.

Renee Young is with Seth Rollins and J&J Security. She brings up Rollins admitting he orchestrated the attacks on Jericho and Cena. Rollins says he doesn’t expect her to understand this, but Cena and Cena alone has the power to bring back the Authority. Until Cena does that, Rollins will make sure Cena is unsuccessful at everything he tries, including the World title match at the Royal Rumble. Cena needs to be vulnerable, and if that means he has to work with Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar, so be it. As for Jericho, he thought he could run RAW. No one can replace the Authority. They are coming back, but until they do, Rollins will take great pride in making everyone else’s lives miserable, starting with Dolph Ziggler.

MATCH 5: INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPION DOLPH ZIGGLER VS. SETH ROLLINS (W/J&J SECURITY) (NON-TITLE)
Rollins immediately bails to the floor to consult with his security team. After a moment, he gets back in the ring and goes for an arm wringer. Ziggler counters, then turns the hold into a side headlock. Rollins sends him into the ropes, and Ziggler sends him to the floor with a shoulder. I should point out Rollins is selling an injury, courtesy of athletic tape around the midsection. Anyway, back in the ring, Rollins hits a hip throw. Ziggler gets back to his feet, sends Rollins in for a crisscross, then hits a hiptoss for 1. Rollins tries to bail, but Ziggler pulls him back in for a right hand. Rollins tries to bail again, so Ziggler hits him int he gut. Rollins comes back with a kick and a headbutt before throwing Ziggler into the buckles. Rollins beats Ziggler down with rights, then hits a short-arm clothesline. Rollins drops a knee for 2, then pulls Ziggler to his feet for a back suplex. Ziggler flips out and rolls Rollins up for 2 before hitting a dropkick. Ziggler goes for the Zig-Zag, but Rollins grabs the top rope to block it. Ziggler gets distracted by J&J on the apron, and Rollins sends him to the floor. Outside, Jamie Noble nails Ziggler as we go to commercials.

Back from the break, Ziggler counters a rear chinlock with a sit-out jawbreaker. He goes for a dropkick, which Rollins blocks and turns into a catapult for 2. Rollins grinds his boot into the back of Ziggler’s neck before Joey Mercury hits a cheap shot behind the ref’s back. Rollins hits a few punches, then sends Ziggler in for a hard corner whip. Rollins boots Ziggler in the face until Ziggler comes back with a series of gut shots. He hits a dropkick to the gut, but Rollins recovers enough to hit a clothesline. He tosses Ziggler to the floor, then goes for an axe handle from the apron. Ziggler moves and sends him into the announce desk. Ziggler then shoves Rollins gut-first into the ring steps before rolling back into the ring. Rollins is on the apron, where he hits a hotshot. Rollins heads up top, but Ziggler trips him, sending crashing across the top rope and then into the mat. Ziggler hits a corner splash and and a neckbreaker before the Shot to the Heart gets 2. Ziggler hits yet another dropkick for 2. Rollins comes back with a kneelift. Ziggler goes for the leaping DDT, which Rollins blocks. Ziggler then ducks a kick and hits it on the second try for 2. Ziggler pounds Rollins in the head, and now the two are trading shots. Rollins blocks a superkick and connects with a spin kick to the head for 2. Rollins pulls himself up to his feet on the apron, then heads up top. Ziggler meets him and hits a super facebuster for 2. Ziggler goes for the rocker dropper, but Rollins avoides and goes for a waistlock. Ziggler counters into a roll-up for 2. J&J jump on the apron as a distraction, then drop back down to the floor when Ziggler takes a swing at them. Rollins charges in, and Ziggler backdrops him to the outside, onto J&J Security. Ziggler rolls Rollins back in and hits the rocker dropper for 2. Ziggler goes for the Zig-Zag, but the ref is distracted by Mercuary, which allows Noble to punch Ziggler in the face in the corner. Referee Mike Chioda has finally had enough, and he ejects J&J from ringside. As Rollins is arguing with the ref, Ziggler hits a surprise Zig-Zag for 3.

WINNER: DOLPH ZIGGLER.

J&J hit the ring, but Ziggler quickly avoids both of them and heads up the ramp to celebrate his first one-on-one win against Rollins.

End of show.

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Has WWE NXT Overtaken Raw and SmackDown?

December 17, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE fans are buzzing after NXT’s REvolution event that occurred on Thursday, December 11. The night was filled with some very solid wrestling, top notch entertainment and overall was an impressively strong card.

Of course, the majority of us expected it to be. NXT has been red hot as of late, especially since the advent of the WWE Network. One week after another brings more excitement and more fun to a company that often finds itself struggling to deliver on both. But the question is has NXT overtaken WWE?

I have to say, I never thought I would be asking this question right now. Don’t get me wrong, it has nothing to do with the quality of the NXT product. WWE’s developmental territory has been getting it done and then some for quite a while now.

And it’s not because I didn’t think it could ever reach this point. Each new week seems to always top the previous one and in an environment where virtually all of the talent is striving to improve, it’s inevitable that very thing would happen. Eventually the product would reach the level that it has and we would all be left having this very debate.

So yes, I did think it was entirely possible. But let’s just say I didn’t think WWE would allow it to get this far. I never thought that the company would intentionally hold the NXT talent down, however. We’ve seen that before over the years, more times than any of us care to admit.

I guess what surprises me the most is that the main roster is not better right now. WWE has allowed its developmental brand, the one that features Superstars that are supposedly not ready for prime time, to completely show up its primary locker room. NXT is supposed the be the proving ground, the place where new faces are sent to hone their skills and build their characters in front of a WWE audience that may or may not have any previous knowledge of who they are.

But instead, NXT is now a parade of main event stars. These guys don’t need time to adapt. Building confidence is not necessary, theirs is at an all time high. The NXT roster looks more than ready to be transplanted straight to Monday Night Raw. Like scab players that just want a job, the NXT team would be a welcome change to the major league roster rife with overpaid athletes. Think Necessary Roughness, only these guys are much better actors that Keanu Reeves.

Of course, that is an oversimplification of the whole situation. The fact is that a good number of the NXT stars are not replacement players; they’re ready and they’re ready right now. There’s a lot of great talent in Florida and that talent only really needs a stage to perform on. Once they get it, they kill it. That’s what professionals do.

Kevin Owens debuted on REvolution, in one of the most highly anticipated matches in recent memory. The wrestler formerly known as Kevin Steen did what he does best; he steamrolled his opponent. CJ Parker was Owens’ first victim and he will not be the last. I have to say that I didn’t know how Owens would look on WWE programming or if he would even fit in. And the fact is he didn’t; he stood out. Keep your eyes on Owens, everyone else will be.

Charlotte retained her NXT Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks, who was not even on my radar at all. Well, she is now. For any Diva on the main roster that’s interested in how a match should be run, there can be no better example than this one. Both women turned in very solid performances and that belt could not be in better hands right now. Charlotte is the real deal.

If not for the NXT Championship match, Hideo Itami and Finn Balor versus The Ascension would have been the main event. The reason for that is Balor, who finally brought the paint to TV. Looking more like a Spider-Man symbiote than a pro wrestler, Balor crawled down the ramp and changed NXT forever. This guy was made for WWE and if all goes well, he should make some serious money for them and for himself.

Then there’s the aforementioned main event, Adrian Neville versus Sami Zayn. You know how the word “clinic” is so cliché and so overused? Well, this was a clinic. This was what a professional wrestling match is supposed to be and how it’s supposed to look. Fans loved every minute of it because unlike some of their Raw counterparts, Zayn and Neville were allowed to tell their story in the ring without having to suffer some ridiculous run-in or otherwise weak ending.

The future is now. How’s that for cliché? But in this case, it’s the absolute truth. So now that we’ve established the NXT crew is primed and ready for the big time, the only issue is when will it happen and why is Florida still a developmental territory? Isn’t NXT basically the third WWE brand now? And shouldn’t it be?

Again, how did WWE let this happen? How is the main roster so full of nonsense that the supposed C show is running A+ right now? NXT looks more like what WWE should be, while Raw and even SmackDown have both basically become old hat. NXT is called the future but shouldn’t it be the norm?

Now here’s a bit of news that no one really wants to think about. Just because the NXT program is money right now does not necessarily mean that its talent can get over on Monday nights. Call it an overall unfamiliarity with the product, call it a blasé attitude among the audience, call it what you will. The fact is that the NXT crowd and the typical WWE crowd are not always one and the same.

But maybe it will be. And maybe it needs to happen sooner rather than later. NXT is taking over, if it hasn’t already.

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Seth Rollins Dances With The Devil of the WWE

December 17, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I do not believe what I just saw! For those of you who missed the end of Raw Monday night, Seth Rollins appears to have made a deal with the devil. The hand shake heard around the world – where Brock Lesnar looked on over a beaten John Cena as Rollins and Paul Heyman essentially sealed the fate of “Superman” at the Royal Rumble.

The Devil went down to St. Louis, looking for a soul to steal and he found one in the man considered the “Future of the WWE.”

While it appears to be a brilliant move, given that Triple H and The Authority is no longer around to save Rollins night in and night out and the idea of Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury providing muscle is about as laughable as John Cena and Big Show embracing in the middle of the ring. But the WWE now has a little more intrigue heading into the 2015.

The problem with this new potential power couple is Paul Heyman is a one-client type of guy. The attempts to give Heyman more wrestlers to work with such as Brock Lesnar and CM Punk (there goes that name again) and Lesnar with Swiss Superstar, Cesaro, left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth because the thought of Heyman sharing time with anyone else than the Beast looks like he is cheating on their relationship.

This time, there may be a scenario that works for everyone.

Lesnar’s contract runs out with the company right around the time of WrestleMania. The known secret in the company is Roman Reigns is the odds on favorite to win the Rumble and face Lesnar for the WWE World Title. That allows Lesnar to exit gracefully (and please, let this be the last time we see him) while Reigns and Armageddon begin in the WWE. Could a scenario like this happen?

Lesnar beats Cena at the Rumble. In the process, Reigns immediately comes to the ring and challenges Lesnar. While Lesnar is only a part-time wrestler and the war of words bounce back and forth between Reigns and Heyman, Rollins does Lesnar’s bidding and feuds with Reigns.

When WrestleMania is over, Reigns claims the title from Lesnar, but he is beaten to a pulp. Rollins comes in and wins the title by cashing in his MITB contract – thus setting off a long feud with Reigns where the WWE World Title is traded back and forth? It could happen – or at least I am dreaming of Nirvana.

Now that the Undertaker’s streak is over, the importance of Heyman and his “client” is the focal point of this program. The WWE needs Heyman’s act to help build the other half of the event. Reigns in the main event will more than make up one half.

It remains to be seen if the WWE can figure out how to make Heyman, Lesnar and Rollins all coexist.

There have been many an occasion where the dark side claimed a performer and it worked. Barry Windham joining the Horsemen. Manny Fernandez became a member in Paul Jones’ Army. “Dr. Death” Steve Williams joined he Varsity Club and Shawn Michaels turned on Marty Jannetty. Playing with the devil is a huge part of the “good vs. evil” concept of professional wrestling. While Rollins had already made the turn for home, joining the likes of Heyman means the turn has come full circle.

If anything else, the move Monday night got the wrestling world talking, and more than that – wondering. Those two components make me think this move might lead to huge and better things in the coming year. And once again, Heyman is the man behind it all.

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The Undertaker Will Be At WWE WrestleMania 31

December 16, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Don’t count the dead man out of WrestleMania just yet. A new report indicates that the demise of the Undertaker may have been premature and the WWE Universe may be in line for another dose of darkness at WrestleMania 31.

I have to admit that I am not surprised. I never expected the Undertaker to miss the big event. While I can certainly understand the theories behind his retirement, I just always felt he had some gas left in the tank for a few more matches. A new report says that WWE officials feel the same way and they are moving forward with plans for the big man.

The excitement started last week when photos hit the Internet of WrestleMania 31 advertisements on a WWE tour bus. What struck all of us about those ads were that they featured the Undertaker and nobody else. These weren’t just generic Mania ads, these were specific to 31 which means that someone was told to use Taker to promote the event. At that point fans started to get excited about the Undertaker.

Dave Meltzer has the scoop in his latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. In his most recent report, Meltzer says that there are plans in place for the Undertaker to wrestle on the big California event. However, what may surprise you is what those plans actually are.

The booking plan right now is for Undertaker vs. Wyatt, not Sting or Lesnar, but that is dependent on Undertaker giving them the okay he can wrestle on the show, which he has not done as of yet. But even if he doesn’t wrestle, the idea right now is to use him in some form on the show, since he’s still under contract with a seven figure downside so they want to use him in some form to justify the contract.

The shocker here is that as of everyone on the roster, Bray Wyatt is the leading candidate to get the spot against Taker. I could have bought into this a few months ago but Wyatt has been rather cool since his feud with John Cena. I just don’t sense the momentum right now for such a match, especially after Wyatt fizzled coming off a big match on last year’s Mania card. That said I was surprised last year around this time when Wyatt vs. Cena was rumored for Mania 30 so anything is possible. Although at this time last year, our own Tom Clark wrote a very convincing blog as to why Wyatt vs. Undertaker was the way to go.

The choice is a simple one for me. Brock Lesnar vs. Undertaker 2 is the money match. I wrote a blog less than a month after Mania declaring that a Lesnar vs. Taker Mania rematch could be the biggest WrestleMania match of this generation. I won’t go through it again but in summary you have a full year of Paul Heyman taunting the Undertaker with promos mocking last year’s defeat. Heyman has set this up since the day after Mania and I can’t think of a bigger rallying cry for fans this year than seeing Undertaker get his revenge and shut Heyman up after a year of taunting.

The angle writes itself. I hate fantasy booking blogs but I am going to do it anyway. The WWE has a few ways they can get to Mania with these two. The easy money would be for Taker to make a surprise appearance at the Rumble, win it, and then set up a career vs. championship match. In my opinion that is where the money is and I think it would be huge. Who goes over? I think Undertaker goes over. Now what do you do with Taker as champion? You could have him lose it on RAW either the next night or set up a match a couple of weeks later with Roman Reigns or Dean Ambrose. I hate the idea of turning one of them heel but I think you set the match up as face vs. face with Ambrose or Reigns turning heel and aligning with Heyman to win the title. I think a Heyman and Reigns heel championship combination coming off a win here is serious money. Heyman and Ambrose works too with Reigns set up as the conquering hero to take the title at say SummerSlam. You can go a couple of different ways with Lesnar if he is staying, but I don’t think he gets both the end of the streak and the end of the career.

Fans may be surprised to see Sting out of the running. I think at this point the WWE has committed Sting to a match with Triple H given the Survivor Series angle. I suppose Sting could somehow wind up in the match with Taker and wrestle Hunter at SummerSlam, but it really wouldn’t make much sense at this point. Unfortunately Sting has been boxed into an angle and the Undertaker match doesn’t seem logical.

Keep in mind that Meltzer also noted Taker may not wrestle so this all may be for nothing. Yet I don’t think you can blame anyone for getting excited. WrestleMania without the Undertaker just wouldn’t be the same and it looks like the lights will be out at the big show one more year and that is a very good thing.

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UFC Star Rips CM Punk, Says Signing Is Ridiculous

December 15, 2014 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

He might do great, but why does he get a chance? He’s an amateur. You’re going to put an amateur in there with pros? That makes us all amateurs, so I think it’s ridiculous. As far as I’m concerned, f-ck him, f-ck the whole situation. Anybody who takes that fight is tripping.

Not everyone is excited about CM Punk coming to the UFC. Punk has now become the target of one angry UFC fighter who believes that Punk’s UFC deal is making a complete mockery of the sport and guess what…he’s right.

It didn’t take long for CM Punk to get a taste of his own medicine. Remember, Punk has been outspoken for the last several years of guys walking into the WWE and getting WrestleMania main-events while the rest of the crew are working house shows and putting their time in. Punk is now in a similar situation on the opposite side in the UFC. The biggest difference however is that many in Punk’s new locker room don’t believe he has earned any of it.

UFC veteran Nate Diaz is the first big UFC star to publicly bash the signing. Diaz went off on Punk over the weekend and while he doesn’t wish any warm on Punk, he believes the entire situation is terrible for the UFC fighters and the sport as a whole.

I don’t dig it,” Diaz said. “He has got no fights. I know he’s a big draw. I looked him up. Everyone’s going to buy tickets. It’s going to be great for the venue and the UFC, but at the same time, it downgrades all the fighters.

Whether you are a Punk fan or not, you can’t argue with Diaz. Having a guy fight in the UFC with no fights under his belt or no amateur pedigree makes the entire sport look like a circus. It hurts the credibility of the sport and the fighters. What does it say about the UFC if Punk walks in, without any experience, and wins? It says exactly what Diaz is saying.

If I want to, I can’t go play in the NBA – not even Stefan Struve’s big ass,” Diaz said. “He can’t go play in the NBA if he wants to because he feels like making a change. For a publicity thing? They wouldn’t pay him no money, and they wouldn’t even let him play. It’s ridiculous.”

I don’t think you should just let some millionaire WWE guy just come on over and play a little game, like have fun with his career. I’m over here busting my ass, fighting for 10 years and doing my thing and having a serious job that I have to do for this. And this guy is going to come over and probably get paid more than everyone in the room.

Hey, that kind of sounds familiar doesn’t it. CM Punk’s own words on a similar situation are coming back to haunt him.

I have no personal problems against Dwayne. It’s very frustrating being here and watch a guy come in and get credit for a WrestleMania buyrate when he didn’t do anything on the show. He certainly didn’t do anything entertaining.

This whole situation is making Punk look like a bigger hypocrite by the day. Once again you have to keep in mind, Punk has been the one beating this drum for the last three years in the WWE. This was his fight and unfortunately for him he is the one that opened up the comparisons to his situation and the ones he whined about for the last three years.

I’m sorry, but this guy’s making a joke out of my serious life and getting compensated more for it,” Diaz said. “I don’t mean no harm on him, but I don’t think it’s right.

Nate Diaz isn’t a popular guy but it is hard for any objective fan to disagree with him. This whole situation really is a complete joke.

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Objects Of My Disaffection: WWE Waters Down the Appeal of the Weapon

December 15, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Close to a decade ago on Monday Night Raw, WWE was in the process of hyping the groundbreaking (as in, breaking old ground at a time where doing so permeated the room with daisy-freshness) ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view. On the Raw in question, Chris Benoit raved about his memories in the land of Extreme, and agreed to take on Yoshihiro Tajiri, an ECW icon past Benoit’s seven-month tenure, in an Extreme Rules match.

The problem was plain to an ECW fan: Benoit wasn’t associated with weapons in ECW. His time was measured by breaking Sabu’s neck on a lifter-gone-bad, ragdolling a waifish Al Snow with a Brock Lesnar-like barrage of throwing suplexes, and teaming with Dean Malenko for a six-week reign as Tag Team Champions, overthrowing Sabu and Taz. Very rarely did Benoit alter his character from emotionless mat machine to fit the stereotypical view of the ECW wrestler.

Taz said it best in one of his many identifiers: “I don’t need a weapon; my hands are my weapon.” Taz was more prone to suplexing some poor soul onto his neck than diving off of a ladder.

ECW was about embracing your inner animal to the nth degree, and if it just so happened to involve sadistic use of weapons (Sabu, New Jack, The Sandman), then great. If you were a technician or daredevil that didn’t seek constraint by those fancy-pants sanitized promotions (Benoit, Rey Mysterio, Jerry Lynn), then steal the show with your literal body of work.

Weapons have a place, no doubt, but when they’re applied incorrectly, it cheapens their aura of danger. Weapons for the sake of weapons kills off the appeal quicker than you’d think.

In 2014, ‘extreme’ is passe without innovation or a story to tell. That wasn’t any more evident than during TLC on Sunday night, with no less than five (!) gimmick matches promising carnage and the eradication of a fighter’s will to carry on.

Problem: none of the stories were particularly potent. The lack of a meaningful World Title bout (or *any* World Title match) was bad enough, but TLC was an incredible misfire. Making matters worse, there was the report that the WWE locker room didn’t want to be upstaged by the fantastic NXT Takeover: R Evolution event this past Thursday. It was going to take a major effort to outdo Finn Balor’s transformation, Charlotte and Sasha Banks’ enjoyable bout, the rise of Kevin Owens, and the culmination of Sami Zayn as he finally took down Adrian Neville.

Sadly, what we got out of TLC, I believe, was WWE’s idea of ‘topping’ NXT: weapons for the sake of weapons. Somebody should bring up at the next closed-door meeting the idea that maybe, just maybe, a broken table might be about as fresh as VHS.

The opener was as good as it would get, a high quality ladder match for the Intercontinental Title with Dolph Ziggler capturing the belt before his hometown Cleveland fans, besting Luke Harper. Ziggler is a viable hero, and Harper a capable monster heel. The two lost plenty of unintentional blood and gave it their all. Ziggler’s hot as a performer at the moment, so that buoyed the weightless story (no fault of the performers). Ziggler and Harper’s willingness to sacrifice their bodies held the bout together, and Ziggler’s win felt special.

The next gimmick bout had to follow a screwjob finish, and it was sent out there to die: Big Show vs. Erick Rowan in a “stairs” match, where the metal ring steps are the only legal weapon. Begs the question, if Show bashes Rowan with the steps, but then doesn’t break an armbar on five when Rowan has the ropes, is it really sensible to disqualify him?

Quirks of the rules aside, the match was plenty dreadful. Faint “NXT” chants were heard in the distance, which said it all. The match came to be when he, brace yourself, hit Rowan with the steps on Raw a couple weeks back. They even modified the event name, tacking on “and Stairs” with a soldering iron, for eleven minutes of tedium. It’s hard to fathom anyone purchasing WWE Network solely to see a match with this background.

At the 9 PM hour, John Cena went over on Seth Rollins in a table match to preserve his shot at Brock Lesnar for the Royal Rumble. Admirably, they got the crowd back after Show and Rowan’s debacle, which was trumped only by Johnny Manziel for worst outing in Cleveland on the day. The match, by the standards of the men involved, did drag, and became extra convoluted with a false finish (Rollins went through a table with the referee down), a double-finish (the match resumed after both men went through another table), and the interference of Jamie Noble, Joey Mercury, and Show. Roman Reigns evened the odds and Cena managed to put Rollins through, seen by the referee, to win.

By this point, we’ve seen tables breaking, dives off of ladders, blood, and copious use of metal ring steps. It’s four matches into the show, bear in mind.

The fourth ‘special’ bout was almost as dull as the stairs one, featuring Ryback and Kane in a match where chairs are legal. While it’s somewhat silly (but wholly understandable) that two hulking brutes don’t swing the chairs at the other man’s skull like Miguel Cabrera in the Home Run Derby, there was nothing exciting about the match. Kane is dead as a performer, and Ryback simply isn’t catching on, no matter how much metal he wielded. The smattering of boos he received for six minutes off and on was suddenly drowned by a “FEED ME MORE” chant that started at the highest decibel. Well, comparing him to Goldberg is a bit wrong, but at least they have the heat machine in common.

Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt were tasked with heading off the downward slide with a TLC match, combining chairs, tables, and ladders from the prior bouts (but no stairs, the athletic commission put their foot down). Nevermind that WWE found a way to put two compelling performers, with endless personality, into a feud with as much depth as a steam tray, now they’re tasked with blowing off the PPV with something memorable, using implements that had already been, pun intended, beaten into the ground.

The match wasn’t bad, but there was no impact. Ambrose swings a chair? Ryback did it. Wyatt goes through some tables? So did Rollins. Ambrose off a ladder? Ziggler was there.

Ambrose’s manic antics woke the crowd up in the latter stages, but that was merely the prelude to quite the corny finish: Ambrose blinding himself with a TV monitor that was still plugged in, so that when he tried to yank it in for weapon usage, the sparks from the disconnection temporarily blinded him. Wyatt pinned him with Sister Abigail seconds later.

The lure of the event was destruction through specific weapons. WWE delivered on its promise, but yet it feels as though nothing was accomplished.

For a company that brags that it ‘tells stories’, it sure does lean on props to fill the dead spots. Compared to smaller-fries NXT, those dead spots are becoming more and more frequent.

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