Subscribe

WWE Battleground 2015 Review

July 21, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Battleground 2015 took place at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. It featured three championship matches and a pivotal Divas tag match. It was available via traditional pay-per-view and for free to subscribers on the WWE network. So let us see how things turned out for the superstars involved.

King Barrett vs. R-Truth

The evening festivities kicked off with the pre-show match between King of the Ring winner Wade Barrett and rappin’ superstar R-Truth. The match was sold as the Battle for the Crown match due to R-Truth mocking Barrett by imitating him every chance he got. Barrett represented the heel in this feud and Truth went over as the face. The stale buildup in the RAWs leading up the event caused a lack of true interest in this match. However, the in-ring action was extremely solid and, by the time the crowd had filled in, Barrett and Truth had connected with the audience with a decent match that set a good stage for the rest of the show. A Bull Hammer Elbow from Barrett brought an end to Truth’s antics and hopefully closed out this feud as it did nothing to help either man.

Randy Orton vs. Sheamus

Randy Orton won the first match of the pay-per-view against Sheamus, the Money in the Bank briefcase holder. Although Orton and Sheamus have excellent in-ring chemistry and succeed in putting on a good match every time they perform, the lack of a true story hurt this match. The only idea that any viewer had was that Sheamus is going to become the Authority’s new favorite and Randy Orton was still locked in his quest to destroy them. While any anti-Authority storyline plays well, this one faltered for the lack of a true reason for the feud. Nevertheless, Sheamus and Orton put on a hard hitting brawl that easily ranked as one of the night’s best matches.

The Prime Time Players vs The New Day (Tag Team Championship)

After the Orton-Sheamus bout, the tag team championship match felt like a filler match as the crowd caught their breath. The defending champions (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil – Prime Time Players) defended against (Big E and Kofi Kingston – New Day) while Xavier Woods (New Day) stood at ringside. The match featured high intensity action and plenty of heel antics from the New Day. As the end of the match neared, order broke down as each superstar hit his finisher in succession. When the dust finally settled, the Prime Time Players had retained the Tag Team Championships. As a wrestling match, this was excellent, but it failed to get the crowd involved until the very end. Solid performance from all parties here, but it needed a better story to create more interest.

Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns

The story leading up to this bout was one of the best on this card. Bray Wyatt’s promo skills are second only to Paul Heyman and he did an excellent job of selling the personal side of this match by targeting Reigns’ daughter. His veiled threats sparked Reigns to take rash actions to get his hands on him. Each time Reigns tried, he always caught a mystery man who looked like Wyatt. The bout itself was an excellent brawl that lived up to the quality of the buildup. Failed finishers and near falls kept the crowd on the edge of their seats. At the very end, the same mystery man interfered as Reigns was gaining control and Wyatt was able to hit his Sister Abigail finisher for the win. Afterwards, it was revealed that the mystery man was Luke Harper, a former Wyatt family member. This bout was an excellent kickoff to the Reigns-Wyatt feud. It left fans wanting to see more and you can expect them to clash at Summerslam.

Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs. Brie Bella

On the last RAW before the pay-per-view, Stephanie McMahon announced that three divas had been called up to reinvigorate the divas division. At Battleground, two of them (Charlotte and Sasha Banks) were pitted against Brie Bella in a Triple Threat match. The new divas made an instant impact, delivering a high intensity match that the divas division hasn’t seen since AJ Lee feuded with Paige. The lack of a story was the only detriment to this match as Charlotte picked up the win by pinning Brie Bella.

John Cena vs Kevin Owens (United States Championship)

This was one of the most anticipated matches coming into Battleground. Each man had won one match in the feud and the stakes were high in this one. John Cena’s United States Championship was on the line. Given the utter disrespect that Owens had shown and the personal animosity he had against Cena, who could not afford to lose the third match. The buildup to the match fully expressed this and, when they finally got in the ring at Battleground, they delivered the match of the night. For all of the criticism regarding Cena, he is undoubtedly the best all-around superstar in the WWE today and Owens is fast proving himself to be one of the best superstars as well. After numerous, heart-stopping, near falls, Cena made Owens tap out to his STF. Where this feud goes from here is uncertain. They may have another rematch at Summerslam.

Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

As Paul Heyman hyped this match, you honestly believed that Seth Rollins (current champion) was in for the whooping that he had coming for him since he stole the title from Lesnar at Wrestlemania. For much of the match, it appeared to going that way. Rollins could mount very little offense and Lesnar delivered 13 suplexes to him. The more stubborn and defiant Rollins got, the more angry and sadistic Lesnar got. An F5 put Rollins down and, as the referee counted two, the iconic bell tolled and the arena went dark. When the lights came back on, Rollins was gone and Lesnar stood face to face with the legendary Undertaker, whose undefeated streak at Wrestlemania ended at the hands of Lesnar in 2014. Two chokeslams and two tombstones to Lesnar ended the show. While bringing back the Undertaker to set up a Summerslam showdown with Lesnar is a moneymaking move, it left the Rollins-Lesnar storyline incomplete and it will remain incomplete until after Summerslam. Moreover, it ruined a great match and made Rollins look irrelevant.

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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

WWE Battleground 2015 Results and Recap: Undertaker Returns, Owens Taps

July 19, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

TheThe Undertaker WWE Battleground road to SummerSlam began at WWE Battleground. The prelude to the biggest party of the summer kicked off with one of the most exciting angles in recent memory to set up one of the biggest SummerSlam seasons in recent WWE history.

The Undertaker returned in what was arguably the best angle of 2015. The Undertaker returned to set up a big money rematch with Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. The return of the Dead Man while predicted and reported prior to the show, still came as a bit of a shocker in the way it was done. The heat for it was the best of any angle I can remember on a WWE show in recent memory. Lesnar and Taker are expected to wrestle at SummerSlam.

The return came at the conclusion of the Seth Rollins vs. Brock Lesnar match. Lesnar dominated Rollins for most of the match, sans a brief flurry of offense from Rollins. Lesnar at one point hurdled the barricade in a jump that was much more impressive than it sounds. The finish came when Lesnar dropped Rollins with the F5. The ref began to count, the lights went out, the bells rang, and Undertaker was in the ring. The best part of the entire angle was Undertaker’s facials. His eyes were bulging out of his head the entire time he was in the ring. It was simply awesome! Rollins disappeared and Lesnar looked scared and confused. Taker kicked Lesnar with a low blow and eventually hit a choke slam and laid him out with two tombstones. Again it was the look on Taker’s face that put this thing over the top. The reaction from the fans made this probably the biggest “must see” WWE moment since Lesnar defeated Taker at Mania 30.

I blogged shortly after Mania 30 that a Taker vs. Lesnar Mania rematch would be a blockbuster matchup. Between the shock of the moment and Heyman’s constant taunting of Taker, I think it would have been huge which was I was surprised that Taker came back for a mid-card match with Bray Wyatt. I love the revenge angle and it will be big but I can’t help thinking that they are losing out by not pulling this angle off at the Royal Rumble and setting it up for WrestleMania 32. Regardless, this will be the first non-Mania big match the Undertaker has worked in years and that is something to get excited about.

The timing of it all does seem odd in that the WWE finally pulled the trigger on turning Lesnar babyface. The crowd has booed Heyman at any mention of the streak and the crowd in St. Louis were 100% pro-Taker when he laid out Lesnar. It will be interesting to see where things go post-SummerSlam for Lesnar and Heyman.

The finish leaves the belt on Rollins and leaves the situation between Lesnar and Rollins open. I predict with Cena winning and the ratings woes RAW has experienced this summer (although I’d expect that to end tomorrow night) that Cena will wrestle Rollins at SummerSlam and regain the WWE championship. I don’t know this nor have I seen it reported, it’s just a gut feeling reading the lay of the land and seeing Vince go back to Cena a couple of weeks ago to close out RAW.

In what will go down as one of the most disappointing, yet expected results of the night John Cena defeated Kevin Owens…by tap out. To say that fans on social media are irate would be an understatement. These two had another very good match, probably not as good as their last but very good nonetheless. I do think that having three matches so close together prevented this one from being appreciated as the classic that it was. Cena defeated Owens via tap out when Owens was caught in the STF. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I published a blog shortly after Owens won the first match reminding all of you optimists out there that Cena never loses twice in these situations. At least he’s consistent!

I can’t describe this as anything other than disappointing. Owens had a ton of steam coming out of Extreme Rules but has been marginalized ever since Payback. Owens desperately needed a win here and while he still got himself over with a loss at Payback, this was not the case at Battleground. I am not sure where you go from here. I think Owens and Cena need to be kept a part for a while. Owens will be challenging Finn Balor for the NXT title at NXT’s biggest event in history on SummerSlam weekend. However, it seems like a step backwards for Owens to win the NXT title and I think it’s too soon for Balor to lose.

Bray Wyatt defeated Roman Reigns in a bit of a shocker. The finish saw former Wyatt family member Luke Harper interfere and attack Roman Reigns outside of the ring. Bray then hit a Sister Abigail on the apron, rolled Wyatt back into the ring, and covered Reigns for the win. The match was much better than you probably would have expected. It was very similar to a house show match I saw the two have but with much better timing. At one point the crowd was chanting “This is awesome!” I am not sure if I agree with that, but it was a pretty damned good match nonetheless.

One thing that I’d like to point out is that while Harper was wearing a hooded sweatshirt it was obviously him. Yet the commentators all “had no idea” who it was, not even a guess that it could be a former Wyatt family member. I think the announcers all look like idiots while most casual fans who aren’t necessarily the “experts” can clearly see who the attacker is.

The rumor is that the finish set up the Wyatts vs. Reigns and Sting for SummerSlam. That would certainly make sense coming out of the match. It’s a great spot for Reigns who will likely avoid the booing when he is teaming with Sting. It’s also a great spot for someone like Sting to come in and help get Wyatt and Reigns over.

Full WWE Battleground matches and winners…
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar via DQ to retain the WWE title
John Cena defeated Kevin Owens to retain the U.S. title
Charlotte defeated Sasha Banks and Brie Bella
Bray Wyatt defeated Roman Reigns
Prime Time Players defeated the New Day to retain the WWE tag team titles
Randy Orton defeated Sheamus
King Barrett defeated R-Truth

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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

WWE Battleground 2015 Predictions and Preview

July 15, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE will be following up the explosive Beast in the East special on the Network with Battleground. The main-event features a match fit to headline SummerSlam along with the next chapter in one of the most exciting trilogies in recent WWE history.

On paper, Battleground presents a card fit for SummerSlam. Brock Lesnar gets his long awaited rematch for the WWE world championship against Seth Rollins while John Cena and Kevin Owens attempt to top what some are calling a Match of the Year with another round for the U.S. championship.

Let’s take a look at WWE Battleground’s top matches and pick some winners…

Seth Rollins (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship

Maybe it’s just me and it could be, but I feel that this one is coming too early. The post-Mania angle on RAW was one of the best in ages. Yet Lesnar’s return just seems rushed and illogical considering how things went down immediately after Mania. I guess that is what happens when you rush a match a month early.

As for the match, it should be very good. Lesnar and Rollins appeared to have real good chemistry at the Royal Rumble and let’s be honest. When is the last time Lesnar has had a bad match since returning from exile? I’d expect to see a lot of Rollins flying around and a long visit to Suplex City for the world champion. So who wins?

The finish is a real interesting question. I would be inclined to say that Rollins wins on some kind of screwy finish to set up SummerSlam if not for the terrible RAW ratings as of late. Whether it is Rollins fault or not is debatable but the bottom line is that he is the top guy. How much faith does the company still have in him? Well they had John Cena close out RAW last week for the first time in months so that tells me something. I am going to go out on a limb here and predict a new champion. I don’t think Brock goes through Mania with the title but I do think the company is ready to shake things up in hopes of turning interest around right before the NFL kicks into high gear.

John Cena (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE United States Championship

I said it the second these guys were booked at Extreme Rules. Be careful what you wish for Kevin Owens’ fans because these things never end well for Cena haters. Owens and Cena are now tied up at 1 win a piece, with Owens coming off of his second high-profile loss at Beast in the East to Finn Balor. The monster Owens push while fun, now has Owens looking beatable and the company appears to be putting more stock into John Cena as he once again closed out RAW recently.

These guys have had a pair of great to excellent matches. It hasn’t been much better this year than those two matches. I saw them wrestle at the Philadelphia house show on July 10 and even then, they had a long match with a ton of action. At this point it is almost impossible for these two to have anything less than a great match. I’d expect the same back and forth match we have seen twice with some new twists as I saw in Philly on July 10.

The million dollar question here is who goes over? The finish at the house show saw Owens blatantly hit a low blow on Cena for a DQ loss. I highly doubt that is where this is going at Battleground or at least I hope not. Who needs the win more? Owens needs the win without question but history shows us that Cena doesn’t lose two in a row against new guys. The finish here will say a whole lot about how committed the company truly is to Owens. I think Owens gets the nod here which by my predictions would make two title changes on one show. That is probably not going to happen but I can’t see this one ending any other way.

Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt

The most disappointing post-Mania WWE feud has to be Reigns vs. Wyatt. While the idea of Wyatt messing with Reigns through his child is good, the execution has just been way off. I don’t know if it is a lack of creativity or Reigns’ inability to believe in the storyline but Reigns is just not committed to the part and it’s hurting the feud. It’s obvious to anyone watching TV that Reigns isn’t overly concerned about Wyatt and people just aren’t buying the storyline. It’s not too late to change that but Reigns really needs to connect emotionally to the storyline to get this program where it needs to be.

As for the match, I saw these guys wrestle on the same Philly house show. It was a little disappointing. I just felt that these guys were going at two different speeds. The match was also a lot slower than I would have expected and went quite a bit. I don’t know if one or both were mailing it in because it was a house show or they just aren’t clicking but it certainly wasn’t promising nine days out from Battleground.

Reigns won in Philadelphia with a school boy. I think the result and likely the finish don’t change at Battleground. I see the stage being set for Reigns to challenge for the WWE world title at SummerSlam. A clean win over Bray Wyatt sets that up quite nicely.

Full WWE Battleground 2015 card and matches…
Roman Reigns vs. Bray Wyatt
Seth Rollins (c) vs. Brock Lesnar (with Paul Heyman) for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Ryback (c) vs. Big Show vs. The Miz in a Triple threat match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil) (c) vs. The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston, and/or Xavier Woods) for the WWE Tag Team Championship
John Cena (c) vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE United States Championship

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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

Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar are the WWE’s REAL Power Duo

July 10, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It is not often that a manager can steal the show from the client he represents in the world of professional wrestling. But for the first time in some time, there might be equal footing in the relationship between Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman.

Heyman is a wrestling classic. A man with a gift of gab and an immediate ability to make wrestling fans want to watch his “in-your-face” kind of candor, whether he is loved or hated. He could very well be the greatest manager to walk down an aisle in any promotion at any given time.

For now, he IS the best wrestling has to offer.

Heyman is every bit Bobby Heenan, Gary Hart and Jim Cornette wrapped into one charismatic show. Whether it is the condescending way he talks to the fans and wrestlers, alike, or the ability to get under your skin from your living room, Heyman has redefined the role of a wrestling manager in such a way, that he has become must see television. If it were any other wrestler he was paired with – because it is Brock Lesnar – Heyman would be the bigger part of the equation. But with the power couple back in full view for WWE fans, it only proves Heyman’s importance to the company moving forward and the fact he and The Beast Incarnate are the best combination to come along in some time.

I used to think Paul Ellering and the Road Warriors were a perfect fit. Ellering walking around with a rolled up Wall Street Journal in his hand, speaking the gospel of his two wrecking ball animals in a time when the tag team was well ahead of its time. Jim Cornette was Heyman before Heyman came along. The pain in the ass manager who was flamboyant and carried mama’s tennis racket around with him. He led some great combinations of the Midnight Express to world tag titles. Heenan, Lou Albano and The Grand Wizard also deserve a mention in a short list of great managers. But none of them compare to the chutzpah Heyman displays each week.

And just keeps getting better.

Wrestling has gotten away from the early stylings of managers and valets. Heyman makes it cool again to walk around in a suit and tell the wrestling world how things are and how they will be. Maybe in some ways it is the WWE’s version of a car wreck – the one you are glued to because you cannot wait to see what happens next.

That’s Heyman’s hook. And no one has done it better and I doubt anyone will do it better in the future or for a long time coming. The WWE, in its stagnation of sorts to become more creative, needs Heyman’s delivery and arrogance. He’s the best, and he knows it.

The fact he and Lesnar are now together on stage on live WWE programming for what appears to be the foreseeable future is great for ratings. As long as Lesnar continues to dominate the competition – as he did in The Beast from the East last week – then the WWE will continue to draw bigger numbers. It’s a package deal really. You cannot have one without the other. For everything Lesnar is, which is the biggest and baddest entertainer on the planet, he is not the best with his delivery and his self-promotion is not as affective if not for the vocabulary of Heyman.

Fans of today would not be as taken with Lesnar if not for the effective relationship with his manager. While I have always thought there should be more managers in professional wrestling and a return to valets and other outside influences, Heyman is able to stand alone effectively with no peer available.

How the Lesnar/Seth Rollins feud plays out at both Battleground and at SummerSlam is unknown at this time. But having Heyman in the mix makes it a lot more exciting. I personally am getting tired of the Rollins/Authority shtick. But watching Heyman each week with his client by his side makes the possibility of a title change that much more appealing.

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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

After Kofi: Four More Random WWE Opponents for Brock Lesnar

July 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

First of all, something of a confession: I’ve been a bit out of the pro wrestling loop as of late, so the whole concept of the recent WWE Beast in the East special came as a bit of a surprise, especially when I learned that the Beast in question would be squaring off not against an A-Level player like Cena, Rollins or even Reigns, but against perennial midcarder, Kofi Kingston.

At first it seemed like as baffling a decision as any WWE had made lately; promote Lesnar as the star of the event and then book him in a match which couldn’t have had any more of a forgone conclusion had the former WWE Champion been scheduled to face Michael Cole.

Of course, it wasn’t long before a lightbulb flicked on in your writer’s not-always-on-the-ball mind: This wasn’t about Lesnar versus anybody, this wasn’t about the promise of a marquee match where anything could happen; this was about the pure spectacle of seeing the company’s special attraction doing what he does best; kicking ass, destroying everything in his path and generally f’ing stuff up.

Kofi wasn’t there to give Lesnar a competitive match, he was there to bounce about and get his head kicked in like nothing more than a prop made of flesh and bone and created for the sole purpose of letting Brock showcase what a bad ass he is.

That spot could have just as easily been filled by anybody with some basic pro wrestling training and a pair of tights to hand. So why isn’t it? After Kofi Kingston, here’s five more random opponents for Brock Lesnar that could make a fun match:

Dolph Ziggler
The whole reason this article came to life in the first place, is there anybody better for playing Lesnar’s whipping boy than celebrated bump-machine, Dolph Ziggler? Indeed, though many of us would like to see Lana’s current boyfriend rocking around at the top of the card, it’s a fact worth noting that Ziggler actually works best when he’s on the end of a beating, selling for all he’s worth and somehow looking incredible in the process. If Lesnar vs. Kofi was fun, imagine how much more fun it could be if you substituted the New Day man for the erstwhile Spirit Squad member?

Dean Ambrose
Here’s a match you have to envision being a whole lot of fun, especially if Ambrose is at his wild-eyed and crazy best. This one would be most effective if the former US champion played a role not too dissimilar to the one employed by his buddy Roman Reigns at WrestleMania; another Lesnar victim who laughs like a mad man despite getting splattered around the ring by the Beast Incarnate.

Luke Harper
Here we take the ‘insane man going up against Lesnar’ from a different angle. Sure, Harper may not be able to flop around the ring like Ziggler or Kofi, but if you take the rules away and just let Lesnar demolish him in a no-holds barred eff-him-up big time brawl, Luke vs. Brock could be as wild, as brutal and as enjoyable as anything we’ll see on WWE this year.

Neville
Finally, let’s go back to the kind of wrestler Lesnar could quite easily toss around the ring like the proverbial rag doll. Admittedly, as part of my whole ‘being out of the loop’ thing, I haven’t actually seen much of Neville since he joined the ranks of the main roster, though from what I have seen, I’m well aware of what I’m missing out on. I’m also well aware that he could probably give us one hell of an entertaining outing on his inevitable one-way ride to Suplex City.

Just a few thoughts to go on there, but I’d love to hear your opinions. Drop by the comments below if you agree, disagree or can think of any other random opponents for the Beast.

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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

15 Best WWE Matches of the First Half (Jan 1- July 1) of 2015

July 07, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

At the midway point of 2015, WWE is struggling creatively, but has produced a number of excellent matches, a handful of which vie for honors as 2015’s true match of the year. Here are the fifteen best from both the main roster, as well as the popular NXT developmental center.

15. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE United States, Monday Night Raw, March 30)

Inception of the enjoyable US Open Challenge stuck the landing straight out of the chute, showcasing a side of Ambrose often lost when he’s typecast as comically-unkempt street urchin. Cena and Ambrose set high expectations for a formula that would give aimless performers something to do, and opened the door for some NXT performers to make their big debuts.

14. Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth vs. Stardust vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE Intercontinental/Ladder Match, WrestleMania 31, March 29)

While the prior match served as the creation of a new playbook, this seven-man scramble was in many ways a rehash of the perfected parade of chaos that multi-competitor ladder matches have been for WWE for over a decade. Bryan’s win is now a bittersweet one with his litany of devastating injuries, but as a match, it set the pace for a great WrestleMania.

13. John Cena vs. Neville (WWE United States, Monday Night Raw, May 11)

The US Open Challenge comes with the black cloud of predictability – you know Cena’s somehow going to escape with the title. This time, Neville did win, albeit by disqualification, after Rusev attacked him following his landing of the lights-out Red Arrow. Neville hardly had to slow his roll for Cena, who’s proven with the challenge his compatibility with any worker.

12. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch (NXT Women’s, TakeOver: Rival, February 11)

Banks’ coming-out party was really at R-Evolution in December, when she held her own with a rapidly-improving Charlotte. Despite playing a materialistic minx of a villain, she, next to the amiable Bayley, were the crowd favorites to win the four-way. Banks pinning Charlotte to capture the title demonstrates a hefty show of faith in her own in-ring improvements.

11. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton (WWE World Heavyweight, Payback, May 17)

This one followed the pattern of most WWE fatal four ways, two guys get bumped while the others duke it out until someone breaks a pin, but it hardly felt as such. A dramatic final stretch coupled with some moments of invention earlier on put it above standard fare. The Shield triple-powerbomb, with subsequent scorning of Rollins, is a true calendar highlight.

10. Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (WrestleMania 31, March 29)

One of the main reasons that WrestleMania was so acclaimed stems from the one-two punch that kicked off the show. Following the chaotic ladder match, Orton and Rollins cut a frenetic pace, not even thrown off the rails by the excessive interference of J&J Security – in fact, they enhanced the match. The ending “RKO Outta Nowhere” rates as the move’s pinnacle.

9. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (Non-Title, Monday Night Raw, May 4)

It was one of Cena’s US Open Challenges minus Cena – just send two high-class performers out there and have them put on a helluva bout. Ambrose earned entry into the Payback main event by pinning Rollins here, and the Montreal crowd was hanging on every one of his comeback strikes. Will WWE ever realize that Ambrose is the babyface they direly need?

8. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (NXT Women’s, TakeOver: Unstoppable, May 20)

The recurring trend of NXT quarterly specials: “That may have been the best women’s match in company history!” A year ago, that was Charlotte and Natalya earning that rave, while today, this is the ladies’ outing to beat. A story of determination and grit centered around submission attempts supersedes the putrid main roster schizophrenic booking of the “Divas”.

7. Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville (No. 1 Contender’s, TakeOver: Rival, February 11)

They were given thirteen minutes, so barring one performer tanking it like a lottery-minded NBA team, you knew this would rule. Besides, Balor is incapable of mediocrity when caked in intimidating war paint. The match was a blend of what they do best with ‘corrective’ WWE style, concluding with a Balor Coup de Grace, match of the night on *most* shows.

6. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE World Heavyweight/Ladder Match, Money in the Bank, June 14)

A divisive pick due to the Heaven’s Gate-length of the match (36 minutes!) and the dragged out ending with angsty Ambrose watching a dazed Rollins celebrate for an eternity. Aside from that, it was a tremendously told story of hatred and heart, two wrestlers with something to prove outside of the tiresome “build my legacy” WrestleMania-time narratives.

5. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (NXT Heavyweight, TakeOver: Rival, February 11)

The ending of a classic match should come to define the combatants. This one further galvanized Zayn as the never-quit hero (far more subtly than superhero Cena) while casting Owens as the opportunistic prick that would sooner beat his old friend into a coma than leave the arena without championship gold. There’s simply no villain like Owens in the business today.

4. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens (Money in the Bank, June 14)

Far-too-immediate sequel to a landmark match just about equaled the original’s unpredictable charm, though this ending was much more expected. Cena and Owens once more cut a hellish pace en route to the Cena victory, following the third of three AA’s. Owens’ post-match attack, with obnoxious heckler’s laugh, capped off another masterpiece.

3. Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight, Royal Rumble, January 25)

The saving grace of an uninspired, maddening night in Philadelphia was this triple threat pitting three pros of differing characteristics. All three got their shine, with Lesnar as unkillable monster, and Cena as the valiant brawler, though it was Rollins that shone brightest in defeat. With his performance, his main event ticket was indelibly punched.

2. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens (Elimination Chamber, May 31)

The finish damn near broke social media, which is a testament to the positives of Cena’s inability to lose cleanly: when he *is* defeated, it means the world. Cena and Owens cobbled together an evolutionary version of Sting vs. Vader and turned the new monster into a made man with a concrete victory. The rematch should have been further down the line.

1. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight, WrestleMania 31, March 29)

To say this was a surprise classic is something of an understatement. Lesnar’s matches defy the paint-by-numbers main event style, and what followed was a thumping beatdown of a resilient Reigns, who dramatically turned the tide when Lesnar began gushing blood. The final five minutes, including Rollins’ cash-in, are deservedly etched in ‘Mania lore.

WWE Beast in the East Results and Recap: Balor Wins, Brock Destroys Kofi

July 04, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE started off July 4 with a big bang courtesy of its Beast in the East special. The live broadcast from Japan packed in two hours of some of the best action the WWE Network has seen in months, featuring another show-stealing performance from Kevin Owens.

Finn Balor defeated Kevin Owens to win the WWE NXT championship in the semi- main event of the show. Finn Balor and Kevin Owens tore it up in Tokyo on July 4 with a Match of the Year candidate. The match was action-packed and right up there with the Owens vs. Cena series, maybe better than the Owens vs. Cena match from Extreme Rules. The finish came at 19:25 when Balor pinned Owens after hitting the Coup de Grace. The match ends Owens reign as champion as well as likely ends Owens tenure in NXT.

Michael Cole was fantastic here on commentary (and throughout the night), telling the story of Balor’s journey from cleaning bathrooms in Japan to realizing his dream of becoming WWE champion. Cole was great throughout the show, offering a more “smarter” version of WWE commentary than I have ever heard him produce. Owens was super over here as a heel, Balor as a face, and the place was just electric for the entire match. I’d highly recommend going out of your way to see this one and the entire show for that matter.

The finish opens up all kinds of possibilities for Owens on the main roster. Coming off of two losses, it becomes even more important for Owens to defeat Cena at Battleground for the WWE U.S. title. A loss at Battleground puts Owens 0-3 in his last three big matches, seriously jeopardizing the momentum he has sustained on the main roster. Balor on the other hand is so ready for the main roster it isn’t even funny. I would be shocked not to see Balor on the main roster by the fall. We can all look forward to some killer matches between Balor and Hideo Itami for the NXT title as well.

In what I would call the attraction of the show, Brock Lesnar destroyed Kofi Kingston. Lesnar wrestled his first non-PPV match since 2002. The story behind this is that Lesnar wanted to go to Japan to visit an ailing Masa Saito, who is in bad health. A deal was struck allowing Lesnar to travel to Japan on “business” in exchange for giving WWE a date.

Lesnar beat Kofi in just under three minutes. Kofi barely got any offense with Lesnar literally no-selling a series of kicks. Kofi was the bumping machine you’d expect here and the match was a lot of fun to watch. Lesnar hit several suplexes and finished him off with the F5. Lesnar started to leave the ring after the match and returned to hit Kofi with another suplex and F5. The rest of New Day ran into the ring with each getting an F5 for their troubles.

This was a great win to set up Brock challenging for the belt at Battleground. I did think that Lesnar and Big E. could have done a little more teasing than Brock immediately treating him like he was Xavier Woods’ size. I think Big E and Lesnar could have gotten a little more heat with a standoff, at the same time it isn’t as if they are coming back with a Lesnar vs. Big E match anytime soon. Regardless, it was a nice squash win for Brock and a bonus match in 2015 for Brock so everyone wins.

Overall it was a real fun show. The show moved fast over two hours, yet the big matches all had time. Chris Jericho defeated Neville in a hell of an opener on the show. The main-event was a fairly typical match and probably not worth reviewing if you are going to watch the show on demand. The commentary was also noticeably different and improved, enhancing what was an already excellent show from top to bottom.

Full WWE Beast in the East matches and winners…
Finn Balor defeated Kevin Owens for the WWE NXT title
John Cena and Dolph Ziggler defeated King Barrett and Kane
Brock Lesnar defeated Kofi Kingston
Chris Jericho defeated Neviile
Nikki Bella defeated. Paige and Tamina in a Triple Threat Match

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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

WWE: Building One Beast Up, Tearing One Down

June 25, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE did Roman Reigns a favor when it decided to place him in a program with Bray Wyatt. The idea of taking the company’s would be Superman and pitting him against the master of manipulation at Battleground has all the makings of a great storyline that can only help Reigns ascend further up the company’s food chain. Maybe this will move toward a possible WWE title run down the line.

The idea of taking the seemingly immortal Reigns – Vince McMahon’s new version of John Cena – and showing his vulnerability for his family is brilliant and should get the former Shield member over even more with the fans.

The move also strengthens Wyatt’s grip on being the WWE’s puppet master – only to get the best out of stars who need to be tested mentally and then physically.

Over the years in different territories and promotions, professional wrestling has preyed on the concept of attacking a star’s family in order to see them rise above the conflict only to come out on the other end victorious. It is just another form of connection between the fans and the wrestlers who are more human than given credit. Regardless of whether the storyline is real or not, fans have a tender spot for scripts that involve situations they too can identify with.

Because Reigns has been ascending as of late again on the company’s ladder toward super stardom, this is a ripe time to test his mental wear.

While WWE writers have the right idea with Reigns, they may have very well done Brock Lesnar a disservice by making him look mortal and weak on Monday night’s Raw program. The concept of a man who is bigger and badder than any other wrestler on the WWE roster being manhandled by Seth Rollins is way beyond the scope of realism. And that concept, which started out smart last week when Rollins backpeddled to avoid his nemesis, is what will not only lose the fans’ interest, but may ruin Lesnar’s affinity with the crowds leading up to Battleground.

As Brian Fritz wrote in his column for the Sporting News, “Lesnar is a bonafide star, a true needle-mover in a time when there is fewer and fewer of those. But when his music hits, you feel like you’re seeing someone special.”

Fans only saw someone who was a mere mortal on Monday night because Rollins got the best of him and before that, Lesnar spent the first part of the evening apologizing to the announce team for injuring them and causing havoc.

Wait, isn’t that what he is supposed to do? Isn’t that what the WWE wanted – a larger than life “BEAST” who could come out and make the biggest stars of the company (like John Cena) tap out or worst, get the holy crap beaten out of them? I am sure the company knows what it is doing, but for now, the idea is lost on me and probably thousands of viewers who saw what went down on Monday.

It’s safe to say Fritz did not think the “change” of sorts by Lesnar and the road the company has decide to travel before the pay-per-view is going to get a lot of cheers from the crowds in the arenas if they view Lesnar simply as one just like the others on the roster.

“Brock Lesnar has a larger than life appearance. He is the equivalent of the real-life Incredible Hulk. And what do people what to see Hulk do? Hulk smash,” Fritz added.

The WWE has a little over three weeks to “fix” this issue. By taking away part of what makes the Lesnar character so great, the combination with Paul Heyman is destroyed. And if the WWE wants to throw away a gem in this union, it cannot try to recreate any likeness now or in the future.

Lesnar may not win the WWE World Title at Battleground (winning it would be a sin for the moment), but he had better appear to be the giant “Hulk-like” figure Fritz speaks of or the whole idea of bringing him back is lost and a waste of the fans’ time.

And you can believe that!

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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

WWE Post MITB Thoughts: Brock Lesnar vs. Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt vs. Roman Reigns

June 18, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Is he a diamond or is he a lump of coal? That is the question Seth Rollins has to answer now that the Authority has decided that Brock Lesnar has “suffered” enough during his indefinite suspension and returned to Raw after “Money in the Bank” as the handpicked opponent for Seth Rollins and his WWE World Title.

It was just a matter of time before the known secret would finally be revealed. This time, “Suplex City” came to Cleveland, OH to stare down the man who escaped with his title Sunday night against Dean Ambrose. The beginning of the summer months just ratcheted up a few degrees with the intense look Lesnar had for the man who cost him his title at WrestleMania 31.

Now, fans get to see just how good Rollins is at being the hunted.

The immediate thought I had when Lesnar came out of the back, with Paul Heyman by his side, is that the WWE’s plans to make Lesnar a babyface came to a screeching halt. But wait a minute, there was never a real “turn” for The Beast Incarnate. The fans showed their adulation for the former champion after he was screwed out of his title, but the turn was never complete. Honestly, did we really think the turn would come full circle? This is just another opportunity to pit heel versus heel in today’s WWE.

This would never have happened 10 years ago. Maybe even five.

In a realistic world (I know that is an impossible concept with professional wrestling) the character Lesnar portrays has no equal. And in the world of professional wrestling, the face turn by Lesnar makes no sense. He is bigger, strong and meaner than any other member of the WWE roster. Now, the man who everyone wants to be a combination of the next Edge and CM Punk (Rollins) has to forge his way through a David vs. Goliath type program.

We should all know how this feud will turn out. The Authority’s support of Rollins is wearing thin. This will be the tests of tests for the current company champion.

WYATT VS. REIGNS IS INTRIGUING

The WWE has created a bit of excitement with the concept of Bray Wyatt and Roman Reigns at Battleground. But I am a bit confused at why the WWE continues to put such a valuable commodity like Wyatt in these types of situations.

Reigns has been reinvigorated with the WWE crowds of late, thanks in part to his association with Dean Ambrose. Now the Royal Rumble winner faces off against one of Ambrose’s former nemeses. Wyatt is too good a performer to continually lose. The losses keep mounting as Wyatt’s performances in and out of the ring remain on point and get better and better.

At some point, doesn’t the continual losses start to hurt the WWE superstar?

Wyatt’s greatest ability, much like Raven and Kevin Sullivan before him, is playing mind games with his opponents, only to bring out the best in them.

It was Reigns that Wyatt blames for taking away his opportunity at the Money in the Bank Ladder Match. This is great theater for a feud we may not have seen coming.

There has been talk in the past of Wyatt turning face and becoming an even greater commodity for the WWE and his loyal fans. My question is when will this happen and how much longer can Wyatt lose in pay-per-view events?

At some point, not only will Wyatt have to get over again, but he will also have to win at the same time.

Since the momentum continues to build for Reigns, I cannot see the WWE setting him up for failure right now.

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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

Steve Austin Is NOT Wrestling Brock Lesnar At WWE WrestleMania 32

June 16, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The annual Stone Cold Steve Austin WWE WrestleMania roller coaster hit a high peak last week when Austin and Paul Heymen teased an Austin vs. Brock Lesnar match at Mania. The excitement soon turned to disappointment when news broke that the match is not happening nor is Austin lacing up the boots in Dallas.

Steve Austin broke our hearts when he followed up on this and told fans that the match is dead and he and Heyman were just having a little bit of fun.

We started talking that Monday night, and then about the last five, six minutes, whatever it was, Paul E (Heyman, who is known by guys from the 80s and 90s as Paul E due to his original managing name of Paul E. Dangerously) kinda flipped the script,” said Austin, on the podcast. “And he wanted to ask a few questions. I didn’t know what Paul E was going to ask. And he talked about Brock Lesnar and WrestleMania 32 in Dallas.

And of course, I bit, hook, line and sinker, Stone Cold mode. (I) started cutting a half ass promo. (I) wasn’t trying to, and ended up talking about me whipping Brock’s ass, because as Stone Cold Steve Austin, that’s the only way I can see that match going down.

But here’s the thing. What I did was kinda raised the hopes of people or halfway kinds half-assed booked myself into a match, which was not my intention. So at WrestleMania 32, I don’t believe you are going to be seeing Brock Lesnar and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same ring.

So it wasn’t my intention to book the territory, or to spin a match, or to sell a match. So I just wanted to make that clear to everybody.

And I tell you what, my people that have followed my career from day one, or from whatever and follow to this day have been so good to me, and have been to hell and back with me. So I wasn’t trying to spin anything up, don’t want to sell a match, not trying to book a match. So Brock Lesnar will continue down the road he’s going down. I’m going to continue going down the road I’m going on, which is doing podcasting, hosting the Broken Skull Challenge, (and) I got some other things that are coming up that I can’t talk about right now that are really exciting for me. And I’ll be able to announce those in the future. They’re coming right up.

Dave Meltzer, who knows both Heyman and Austin well, elaborated on this story in the most recent issue of the Wrestling Observer newsletter.

There is a lot to this story but it’s also complicated. Lesnar and Austin have for some time talked about doing a match together. Both Lesnar and Paul Heyman have always believed it would be the biggest possible match they could do. Austin was perceived more of an ass kicker and did more serious promos than Dwayne Johnson, which was their other ultimate big match choice. With Austin, both sides would do promos like it was a fight, while with Johnson, there would have to be an entertainment edge to it because that’s the direction Johnson would go. But the real difference is that Johnson has come back several times, while Austin has not wrestled since 2003, so his coming back would be the biggest match possible. Also, while Lesnar vs. Johnson has been teased several times on the board to happen once, and talked about seriously after that point a second time, they have wrestled in the past. Lesnar vs. Austin has never happened, and the reason it didn’t when booked once could easily be played into storyline.

Meltzer also reported that Vince McMahon was not happy that Heyman and Austin were teasing a match that wasn’t planned.

Essentially the reasons the match is not happening are between Austin and Vince McMahon and I can only speculate about them. McMahon was not happy with the close of the podcast because Austin vs. Lesnar was not in the WrestleMania plans.

Meltzer says the match isn’t happening. Taking Meltzer’s personal relationships with Heyman and Austin into account, I am inclined to give Meltzer the benefit of any doubt here. Meltzer speculated on several reasons why the match isn’t happening, most notably that Austin may not be able to pass a physical and the injury risks involved.

As I said several weeks ago, it is time to put an end to the hopes and dreams of Steve Austin wrestling ever again. I say this as a huge Austin fan and someone that would love to see him back. There have been plenty of opportunities for Austin to come back for a big match and the idea that he’d wait until he was 51 to do it never added up to me.

It still remains a mystery to me why Austin and Heyman would work an angle that had no plans of turning into a match. Was it fair to the millions of fans that got excited on Tuesday morning at the hopes of seeing their hero in the ring one more time? Probably not, but it was sure fun while it lasted.

WWE: Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Amazon.com

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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