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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!

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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.

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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.

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Will Steve Austin Face Brock Lesnar at WWE Wrestlemania 32?

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

In 2015, with so many new stars dominating the scene of professional wrestling, there’s one guy that we sometimes forget about that changed the landscape of the business.

That guy is Steve Austin.

In my opinion, Austin left the business at the right time. He didn’t stick around too long like most guys where his skills might diminish, and be a true embarrassment. He left when he was still in his prime and to this day, still looks like he could go in the ring.

Maybe it’s just the bald head? I think not.

Austin had some fans thinking about one more run when on Monday he did a WWE Network sit down interview with Paul Heyman. During the video podcast, Heyman had one question for Austin.

“What would you think about getting in the ring with Brock Lesnar?” Heyman asked.

“I’d have to think about it,” Austin remarked.

This is not the first time an Austin return has piqued the interest of not just the WWE Universe, but all wrestling fans. For years, there had been talk of a Hulk Hogan-Austin match at Wrestlemania, but those plans never came to fruition.

Getting in the ring with Brock Lesnar makes more sense. A match with Hogan most certainly would be disappointing, due to Hulk’s injuries and inability to move around the ring like he used to. Lesnar is absolutely fantastic right now. Fans want to see him each time he gets in that ring, and is as good as anybody in this business right now.

Not speaking as a journalist but as a wrestling fan, I would definitely love to see this happen. Even though I have WWE Network, and have the advantage of getting Wrestlemania at a discounted price, I would pay $50-60 to see Wrestlemania 32, especially if Austin squares off against Lesnar.

But something in my mind tells me it’s not going to happen.

For one thing, I think Austin has moved on from wrestling. I think he enjoys doing his podcast, his shows on CMT and doing the occasional movie, but I also think if Austin was going to get in the ring, he would have already done it. He had many chances to take on CM Punk, but that never happened either.

Another question remains, “Is Austin healthy enough for one last run in WWE?” No one knows that for certain except for Austin, his wife, doctor and maybe Vince McMahon. Austin certainly looks great for his age, and doesn’t look weathered like other veterans do that hold on too long. But the neck injury he suffered against Owen Hart in 1997, and other health issues are major questions.

It does seem like the perfect scenario. Wrestlemania 32 is being held in Austin’s home state of Texas, at AT&T Stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys. You know the event is going to draw a huge crowd, but just think if Austin’s involved. They might put over 100,000 people in that stadium.

Also, if Austin faces Lesnar on the world’s biggest stage, another question comes to mind.

Who goes over?

The easy solution would be for Austin to beat Lesnar and have the crowd go home happy. But if Austin were to do the honors for Brock, it might cement Lesnar as one of pro wrestling’s true greats.

If Austin came back for a feud with Brock, how would he be able to get his persona over in the PG era? Certainly, he cannot cuss, and do the profanity he did during the Attitude Era. He would have to be way clever, and kind of have to re-invent himself in some way.

Austin still trains and works out every day. Ring rust is one thing he would have to work on. But I guess if Ricky Steamboat can come back after 15 years away, and look good in matches against Chris Jericho, Austin can do the same.

The WWE is probably hoping every day that Austin can come back around ‘Mania and do this. With Daniel Bryan out of commission, John Cena settling into his role as a U.S. Champion, and guys like Rollins, Ambrose and Reigns learning how to become those main event type of talents, WWE needs a big money match like this.

I’m sure by next year, there will be a couple of big feuds already established for this big show, but an Austin-Lesnar match is what’s going to get casual fans to buy this pay per view. If they marketed it right, and kept it going for a few months leading up to Wrestlemania, it could be one of the biggest ‘Manias ever.

Would you pay to see an Austin-Lesnar match at Wrestlemania? Do you think “Stone Cold” Steve Austin still has some fire left?

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Brock Lesnar Returning To The WWE In June

June 02, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Most fans pegged the return of the beast incarnate to be around SummerSlam. Those predictions would be wrong as new reports indicate that the former UFC champion is heading back to the WWE sooner than anticipated.

New reports surfaced a week ago which confirmed three upcoming WWE appearances for the former world champion. Brock is scheduled to end his hiatus on June 22 as he is booked to appear that night on RAW. Lesnar is also scheduled on July 6’s RAW. The angle will set up his next scheduled match which will take place much earlier than SummerSlam at Battleground on July 19.

That’s not all. Lesnar is also booked on his first house show match since returning to the company in 2012. In a very odd booking, Lesnar will wrestle Kofi Kingston on a July 4 house show in Tokyo Japan at Sumo Hall. According to records this is Lesnar’s first non-PPV match since 2004.

Dave Meltzer has the latest on Lesnar’s new schedule on a recent edition of the F4Wonline.com podcast. Meltzer confirmed that the creative plans to hold Rollins vs. Lesnar off until SummerSlam have indeed changed. Meltzer speculated that recently disappointing RAW ratings have influenced the decision. Meltzer didn’t get into specifics other than that the plans have definitely changed.

But what about that strange Japan booking? Meltzer reported that Lesnar asked the office to get booked in Japan so he can see his sick friend Masa Saito. Meltzer reported that Lesnar asked for the booking in order to cover his travel expenses. Meltzer doesn’t believe that the booking will count against Lesnar’s limited dates in 2015 with the company.

So what can we make of this? Is Lesnar getting the belt back at Battleground? I don’t think so. One prediction would be Roman Reigns winning Money in the Bank, Dean Ambrose beating Seth Rollins for the title at MITB, Reigns cashes in that night, and faces Brock at SummerSlam. The easy prediction would be some kind of a Triple Threat Match at SummerSlam with Reigns, Lesnar, and Rollins. Although I do wonder how long Rollins will survive as champion with the current ratings pattern.

One thing is for sure and that is RAW definitely needs some Brock Lesnar. The shows have been rather hit and miss lately with much more missing than hitting. He’ll breathe some new life back into the struggling show and freshen up the cards a bit. I’m glad he’s back and even happier his return has been expedited.

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Very Early WWE WrestleMania 32 Predictions

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

Now that the WrestleMania 31 dust has settled it is time for the WWE to get cracking on WrestleMania 32. I thought it would be fun to take a look at the giant event a year ahead of time and try and predict a card for the 2015 Texas event.

In taking a look back at my WrestleMania 29, 30 predictions, and 31 picks a year out, I actually hit a few of them on the head for 29, missed every single prediction I made for 30, but hit on Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar last April. In other words there is no exact science for this stuff and with the way that the WWE changes booking frequently, it is impossible to get a handle on it although the future can be clear in some years.

Predicting WrestleMania one year out is almost as difficult as filling out your March Madness brackets at any time of the year. Take a look at this year’s WrestleMania 31 lineup a year ago and you can see exactly how much these things change. Daniel Bryan was in the main-event, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns were in a tag team match on the bottom of the card, The Undertaker was practically done, Rusev wasn’t on the card, and Sting wasn’t even in the company. That is how much things can change over a year.

So with this all said, let’s take a look at some of the probable WrestleMania 32 matches one year before this great spectacle invades Texas. Keep in mind that these are all just predictions and should not be taken as fact or cited as a source in any kind of report.

Ronda Rousey and The Rock vs. Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. It is clear coming out of 31 that the plan is to get Ronda Rousey in the ring next year in Texas. All reports are that Rousey has not made any kind of a deal to do so, but that Rousey is highly interested in more WWE work. The WWE haven’t invested this much time into Rousey for a one and done angle at 31.

There are reports that the WWE want a Stephanie vs. Rousey singles match. I couldn’t think of a worse idea. There is no way the UFC allows this unless the match ends in 30 seconds and that isn’t happening. Now I could see a deal where Rousey gets 5 minutes with Steph if Rock wins. Steph runs for a few minutes and Rousey finally gets her and taps her out. I think  that is a bigger possibility than Steph vs. Rousey. I just don’t see it.

I think that Rock vs. Hunter has been clear since they cut that promo on each other at SmackDown 15 (which is why I am so surprised that so many people are that shocked at the match). They made challenges back and forth and went out of their way to point out that they needed a big stadium to make the match happen. Yet it really makes no sense for Rock to come back to wrestle a singles match with Hunter. I am sure the match would be very good but I don’t anticipate a lot of interest in this without the women involved. Maybe they corner Rock and Hunter, but it just seems like a waste of everyone’s time otherwise.

Backup Plan – Rock vs. Brock Lesnar. Rock talked about being interested in a match with Brock just a week or so ago. The match makes much more sense than Rock and Hunter and appeals to a more mainstream, casual audience than Rock vs. Hunter. Brock is now a babyface so that dynamic is a little off although Brock could easily turn heel in November or December to set this up. This is a match that could break records and bring more people to Mania than any other. Why they would let this one slip away is beyond me. Quite honestly I think they should have Rousey in Rock’s corner vs. Brock with Heyman in the corner but it seems Ronda is destined for Steph if she is coming to Texas.

Brock Lesnar vs. Rusev. I think that the WWE has some money in this one. Sure Rusev already lost but he could get hot again and go on another streak. At some point he is going to turn but it won’t before Mania 32. I think these guys present a natural rivalry and a match that people would care about. I love the idea of Brock representing America and having a physical match with Rusev at Mania.

Backup plan – Brock Lesnar vs. Bray Wyatt. Again we have another new match here that could be intriguing. Wyatt has been set up for big matches the last few years at Mania. It is conceivable that he is WWE champion come Mania 32 and Brock is challenging for the belt. I like the dynamic here and I think they could have a real fun match.

Roman Reigns vs. John Cena for the WWE championship. Yes I predict that come WrestleMania 32 that Cena could have the gold back around his waist. Sorry Cena haters. I think it is clear that Reigns needs to be a heel because he is simply dead as a babyface. I think it is also clear that the company is still behind him. What better way to get him to the title than by having him end the reign of Cena in Texas? I think it’s a big match and I think it could be better than you think.

Sting vs. The Undertaker. It has to happen! Sting proved he can still go and Undertaker proved he is far from done. I don’t think it would be great but I think these two could have a fun match at Mania 32. The WWE needs to promote unique matches next year to fill such a big stadium. Sure the mystique is lost a bit with Sting losing to Hunter at Mania but if they promote this as the final match for both guys or loser retires, I think this could be big.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins. This feud must continue! Nothing was settled in their Hell in a Cell match. I think that the WWE should not only keep these guys apart for a while but they should flip them going into Mania. Rollins has a ton of potential as a face and Ambrose would make a great heel. These guys could easily steal the show and I love the dynamic of a rematch on such a big show with both guys flipping sides.

Where Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton fit in next year is anyone’s guess. There are a lot of guys in NXT that are ready to come up and should be a part of WrestleMania 32. Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn are bound to be on the show whether it be a tag team match or in singles match. I could see these guys getting Orton and Bryan in some form, preferably a Balor vs. Bryan match.

Hey, a guy can dream can’t he?

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Brock Lesnar Goes Ballistic, Ziggler vs.Bryan and Other WWE Thoughts

April 01, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

It finally happened. Someone finally stopped the WWE in its tracks.

In what can only be described as the best thing to happen to the WWE since the Mr. McMahon character was created, Brock Lesnar took it upon himself to inflict punishment on the company in the only way he knows how – he destroyed those who got in his way.

Lesnar, who was “screwed” out of the WWE World Title at WrestleMania 31 by Seth Rollins (and subsequently the Authority), took out the WWE announce team and a camera man with F-5’s as a message to the new champion and the company.

It was the best thing that could happen the night after one of the best WrestleMania events in some time. The move also solidified Rollins as public enemy No. 1 and the baddest heel on the planet since Mark Henry’s Hall of Pain when he was the World Heavyweight Champion.

Remaining true to his contract and the storyline, Lesnar was “suspended” by Stephanie McMahon for his actions and fined. The only thing greater would have been if “The Beast” went all Randy Orton on McMahon, which would have delighted the crowd even more.

According to the WWE website, the injuries suffered by announcer Michael Cole as a result of an F-5 may have caused a cervical fracture.

The weekend’s events, including Monday night’s Raw show capped off what has to be a rebirth of the WWE moving forward. And to think it only took four months into 2015 to make that happen. Now, it will be interesting how the company uses the momentum of these events to make things more entertaining as the move to SummerSlam begins.

I for one am now an excited wrestling fan again. Hopefully, the euphoria will not wear off.

Ziggler and Bryan – The Way it was Meant to Be

I have been preaching this for a while. Give the mid card performers like Dolph Ziggler and Daniel Bryan the stage and let them work their magic.

The two stars – and former world champions – were at it again on Raw. As I re-watched the match from Monday night, the show put on by these two was a clinic in what wrestling should be and how performers are supposed to show off. It made me think of the greats from a decade again and beyond like Shawn Michaels, Randy Savage and Arn Anderson. Matches like those don’t get much better and this was a show that could have been a headliner at any pay-per-view event.

I suspect Wade Barrett will get his title rematch for the Intercontinental Title at Extreme Rules, but it will not only be against Bryant but also Ziggler in a Triple Threat event.

Happy April Fool’s Day, Randy Orton

Today is Randy Orton’s birthday (he turns 35, but seems like he has been in the WWE forever). I was curious which past performer or current superstar would celebrate his birth today. Orton wins the prize. I did not talk about Orton’s performance at WrestleMania in his match against Seth Rollins in my last blog. He and Rollins put on another clinic for the fans.

I wonder what happens to Orton in the shuffle of new champions and his place in the company. Both John Cena and Bryan have moved to the mid card. Rollins has been elevated to the top of the food chain and Dolph Ziggler is still ascending again. Wade Barrett will get a title rematch and Lesnar will undoubtedly get his rematch with Rollins at a later date.

Where does this put Orton, who has certainly become the enigma of the company at this point in his career?

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Results: Seth Rollins Cashes In, Ronda Rousey Appears

March 29, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins WrestleMania 31Expectations for WrestleMania 31 may have been low, yet the show will go down as one of the most exciting in recent years. This year’s event was packed with surprises ranging from surprise appearances and a new WWE world champion that wasn’t even scheduled in the match.

Seth Rollins cashed in his Money in the Bank briefcase to become the new WWE world champion. Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns fought a grueling match for about fifteen minutes. A bloody Brock and beaten Reigns were down when Rollins cashed in to make it a Triple Threat Match. Rollins came in and curb stomped Brock but wound up getting Rollins up for the F5. Reigns speared Brock as he held Rollins. Rollins popped up, hit a curb stomp on Reigns and pinned Reigns to win the title.

The booking was excellent and while many predicted Rollins would cash in, nobody predicted it would go down in this fashion. Quite honestly I never knew you could cash in the briefcase during the match. I think it was the right move at the right time. Putting Reigns over would have been a mistake. He was booed more than any other babyface tonight including John Cena. The crowd just isn’t buying him right now. It was also time to take the title off of Lesnar. I don’t know what would marketable match would be next for him if he steamrolled another opponent. Now the WWE can go with Rollins vs. Reigns through August and Rollins vs. Lesnar at SummerSlam for the title.

But that may not be the biggest surprise of the event. The biggest surprise was getting UFC Ronda Rousey in the ring for what appears to be the start of her pro wrestling career. Rousey got physical with both Stephanie McMahon and Triple H to set up what looks like to be a mixed-tag team match with Rousey and the Rock vs. Hunter and Stephanie. Rock came out as a surprise and interrupted a promo with the Authority. Stephanie slapped him and challenged him to hit a woman. He went to ringside and got a woman who “would hit a woman.” Steph told Ronda to get out of her ring, Ronda wound up putting an arm bar on Steph and stood tall with Rock. Rousey was great and the fans absolutely loved her. They were chanting her name before she even got into the ring.

It does appear that Rock and Rousey will tag up against Hunter and Stephanie next year at WrestleMania 32. The WWE were looking for something big for AT&T Stadium and the dream team of Rousey and Rock may do it. They are already generating a ton of mainstream media buzz. I have to hand it to the WWE. They have wanted Rousey for a while now and they pulled off quite a coup to get her. UFC president Dana White has been adamant against fighters doing pro wrestling for years, including prohibiting Brock wrestling Undertaker when Brock was UFC champion. Obviously he has acquiesced and my bet is that the compromise will be WWE promoting CM Punk’s UFC debut. I have no idea whether that is the case or not, but Dana had to get something big in return for Rousey wrestling on WrestleMania.

Triple H defeated Sting in a pretty fun match. It wasn’t the best match on the card and really hurt following what I thought was a fantastic Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins match. But Sting looked great, the fans ate it up, and we got some fun surprises here. The New Age Outlaws and X-Pac came out to help Triple H and were countered by the n.W.o. group of Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, and Scott Hall. The match ended with Shawn Michaels coming out of nowhere to hit Sting with Sweet Chin Music. Triple H eventually got the pin after using the broken top of a sledgehammer. Everyone hugged after the match signifying the official end of the Monday Night War.

John Cena beat Rusev to win the US title. I am stunned by the decision here. I have no problem with Cena but I think Rusev should have remained unbeaten until he lost to the WWE champion. I think the WWE could have had something with Rusev against either Brock or the WWE champion and while those could still do business, it’s not the same. Rusev ran into Lana inadvertently at the end of the match. Lana was selling her ankle and Rusev yelled at her and walked out.

Undertaker beat Bray Wyatt. I’d say that Undertaker looked a lot better than last year. He moved much better and it was fun seeing him back in the ring. That said, the match was pretty mundane. That could be that I had already watched four hours of wrestling up to that point and just got out of what seemed like an hour-long segment with Rock and Rousey vs. the Authority. I should note that Undertaker was shown in the commercial promoting WrestleMania 32.

Other notes: Daniel Bryan won gold again at WrestleMania. Bryan won the intercontinental title in the Ladder Match. This was a real fun match and probably one of the better Mania openers. This was a pretty crazy match but it was Bryan and Dolph Ziggler who stole it in my opinion. Randy Orton pinned Seth Rollins in what I’d dare say was one of the best Mania matches on the card. I loved the match and it obviously sets up Orton challenging Rollins at some point coming off of the clean pin.

Overall I would call this one of the best Mania cards top to bottom in some time. The show had a ton of surprise and the pace was fast throughout the night. Five hours of wrestling is a lot of wrestling in one sitting but it really didn’t catch up until the Wyatt vs. Taker match at around 10 PM. I’d highly recommend checking out the show if you haven’t already. For a show with low expectations, this one could go down top to bottom as one of the all-time best in Mania history.

Full WWE WrestleMania 31 results and winners…
Seth Rollins defeated Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns in a Triple Threat Match to win the  WWE World Heavyweight Title
John Cena defeated Rusev to win the WWE United States Title
Daniel Bryan defeated Dolph Ziggler, R-Truth, Dean Ambrose, Luke Harper, Stardust, and Bad News Barrett in a Ladder Match to win the WWE Intercontinental Title
Triple H defeated Sting
AJ Lee and Paige defeated The Bella Twins
Randy Orton defeated Seth Rollins
The Undertaker defeated Bray Wyatt
The Big Show won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Cesaro and Tyson Kidd  defeated The Usos, Los Matadores, and Big E and Kofi Kingston in a Fatal 4 Way to retain the WWE Tag Team Titles

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Predictions and Preview

March 27, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WrestleMania 31 is finally here and the big event will go down this Sunday March 29. The WWE card is arguably the most shallow in years, yet there are a few matches to get excited about. Topping last year’s event will be a heavy feat yet the lineup has the potential to certainly exceed expectations.

The beauty of this year’s WrestleMania show for WWE management is that expectations are probably lower than they have been in years. There is no real dream match or scenario to get excited about nor is there a compelling storyline that has fans waiting for a conclusion. Yet the roster is solid and in terms of excitement, I have a feeling most will come away from Sunday night feeling that they got their $9.99 worth.

Let’s take a look at how the main card shapes up, breakdown some matches, and make some predictions for the biggest WWE event of 2015.

Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE world championship – We all think we know how this one is going to play out yet it could go in a few different directions. Now that Brock Lesnar has re-signed with the WWE, a world of booking options have opened up. The WWE dodged a real bullet by avoiding a lame duck WWE champion situation at Mania.

I think the match itself could be better than people expect. A lot of it comes down to what it follows. If it is following Sting vs. Triple H and Hunter and Sting deliver a fantastic ending, this match could be D.O.A. If there is a buffer between the main-event and the other big matches, I think fans will be more receptive to it. The match placement is critical to this one like no other on the show.

Roman Reigns is expected to win the title here. The win over the Undertaker last year was used to put Brock in a spot to give Roman the ultimate win here. Yet I don’t think anyone will argue that Reigns is not over and could be set up to be a dismal failure as WWE champion. There are also the rumored heel turn scenarios out there which I think are stronger now that Brock is staying.That said, I think the WWE wants to keep Brock heel looking ahead to a potential Rock vs. Brock match next year. I think WWE take the unpredictable route here which is Brock retaining in a hard fought match. I think the Reigns heel turn is coming but it isn’t going down at Mania. I think the idea here is that Reigns is elevated just by going toe-to-toe with Brock in a hard fought war. Brock retaining is a bit anti-climactic, however I think the idea of Brock going over is that they can buy some time with Reigns and shoot that angle later…even the following night on RAW.

Triple H vs. Sting – Don’t be mistaken. This is the real main-event. For better or worse, this match has far more interest going into Mania than any other match on the show. Even I wasn’t interested in this match back at the Survivor Series, yet I have been drawn in over the last few weeks. Sting’s promos have sealed it for me over the last two weeks. Plus no matter what this looks like on paper, Triple H has delivered excellent matches on the last five WrestleMania shows. I can’t imagine him taking a match with Sting if he wasn’t confident he could pull it off.

I would not be surprised to see some kind of interference from a big ex-WCW star. Maybe it’s Ric Flair or maybe it’s Bill Goldberg, but I think WCW is playing into the match on Sunday. This is a tough one because Sting really should win his first match in a WWE ring. However, Sting’s future is dependent on his performance in the ring so there is no guarantee he wrestles ever again past Sunday. For that I think Triple H goes over, although for all of Hunter’s critics he is 2-3 in his last five Mania matches. My gut tells me that Hunter gets the win here but I think this match turns into the show-stealer.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the U.S. championship – I never would have predicted that this feud would be so hot. This feud is so hot that Cena has actually been cheered in recent weeks. These guys have great chemistry together and Rusev has been booked solid for a year leading up to this match. Quite honestly you couldn’t ask for better booking on paper sans the goofy “Russian” lawyer last week on RAW.

Does Cena go over Rusev? That is the real question here. We all thought that Bray Wyatt was beating Cena last year and were stunned when Cena pulled off the upset. I think the money in Rusev is challenging for the WWE world title as the undefeated U.S. champion. That would mean that Rusev beats Cena here and beats him again at Extreme Rules. Cena did put Lesnar over three times but that is Brock Lesnar and he did beat Lesnar once at Extreme Rules 2012. If Roman Reigns is leaving Mania with the belt a championship program with the undefeated Rusev makes the most sense. For that reason I predict that Rusev pulls off the upset here and beats Cena clean at Mania.

Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker – I never like the idea of keeping an opponent off of television but I have to admit that keeping the Undertaker off of TV has worked in this one. It has created a ton of intrigue and speculation that you wouldn’t have if he was on TV even just once. I haven’t been a big Bray fan but the promos here have been better but the storyline is just kind of odd to me. The idea that Undertaker would return to answer Bray’s challenges and yet completely ignore the taunting and mockery of Paul Heyman for an entire year makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

I think the match will be fine. I don’t think it will be great but I don’t think it will be bad either. The Undertaker is reportedly in much better shape than people think and he looks ready to go. It’s important that he can still go here as there are a ton of reports that they want him for something much bigger next year at 32. for that reason I think Undertaker wins although I think it may be better for business for Bray to win. I think setting up Bray with a win as Reigns’ first challenger is the better path but I can’t see Taker dropping two in a row at Mania.

Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Luke Harper vs. R-Truth vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Stardust vs. Dean Ambrose in a Ladder Match for the intercontinental title – Get ready for a wild match here! I am going to keep this one short because we all know what to expect in this one. I would be shocked to see anything less than a great match. I’d expect Bryan and Ziggler to steal the show, although Ambrose certainly has the talent to make his mark as well. Bryan losing to Ziggler twice certainly leads me to think he is winning the match. It makes sense as the WWE can placate his fans by giving him a title, albeit a low-level belt. Regardless, we’ll get a great match, a Yes chant, and a belt around Bryan’s waist. Everyone wins!

Full WWE WrestleMania 31 card and matches…
Brock Lesnar (c) with Paul Heyman vs. Roman Reigns for the WWE World Heavyweight Title Match:
Rusev (c) vs. John Cena for the WWE United States Title Match
Dolph Ziggler vs. R-Truth vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper vs. Stardust vs. Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett (c) in a Ladder Match for the WWE Intercontinental Title
Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal
Sting vs. Triple H
AJ Lee and Paige vs. The Bella Twins
Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton
Bray Wyatt vs. The Undertaker
The Usos vs. Los Matadores vs. Big E and Kofi Kingston vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd in a Fatal 4 Way for the WWE Tag Team Titles

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Roman’s Reign versus The Brock Backlash

March 26, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

If Roman wins, we riot. Have you seen that sign yet? Don’t worry, you will. WrestleMania is right around the corner and you can be sure that sign will be somewhere among the massive crowd in attendance. Well, unless WWE takes it away. They will probably take it away.

The backlash against Roman Reigns has never been bigger, the hate toward him never more intense. And it’s not just because he’s still the one believed to go over on Brock Lesnar at Mania. Now the vitriol leveled against Roman has been amplified due to Lesnar’s recent resigning with WWE.

That’s right folks; The Beast has chosen his cage. Walking away from a possible UFC return and apparently unwilling to give the NFL the old college try once again, Brock Lesnar has decided to call Vince McMahon’s company home. And truth be told, that’s a good thing.

WWE is in desperate need of big time stars. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at who the top guys are. First there’s John Cena, the eternal Boy Scout and superhero come to life. Then there’s Brock, the monster that eats boy scouts and has superhero heads mounted on his wall. And that’s about it.

Everyone else is a distant number two. I like Daniel Bryan; he’s a star in every sense of the word. But WWE put the kibosh on his forward movement the moment he came back from injury. Randy Orton is still around but his WrestleMania opponent Seth Rollins is closer to the WWE World Championship than he is. I like Seth too, by the way. He’s a future top guy in the making but he’s not been made yet.

John and Brock are it; there is no one else on that level. So when the time came to make a play for The Beast, you can better believe the McMahon family jumped all over it. Can you blame them? He’s one half of their main event scene.

Don’t misunderstand; I’m not saying no one else is contributing. Bryan, Rollins and Orton do what they do every week and they get praised for it. We also can’t forget about Dolph Ziggler, Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose; these three guys give just as much as the previous three. Put all six on the same program on the same night and there is no doubt fans can see who’s putting in the work to entertain them.

But John and Brock are it. WWE knows this and they only have themselves to blame. Instead of creating top moneymaking stars, the company has created a whole bunch of mid-card stars. In other words, the menu is all appetizers and only two main courses.

It’s not a problem in the short term. Then again, nothing ever is. It’s the long term that WWE has to be concerned about, that’s what matters the most. It’s not today that’s the issue, its tomorrow. It’s the same mantra that’s kept them afloat all these years, the one that pushed them past WCW back in the day. And yes, it’s never really been a problem. But it is now.

The fact is if you don’t hate Roman Reigns, you probably know someone who does. But why is that? What did Roman do that was so bad, that will not allow haters to seem him as something other than a future top guy? The answer is nothing. Roman did nothing wrong.

WWE set out to create a new moneymaker, a solid number three behind John and Brock. Never mind it already had one with Daniel Bryan. Kibosh, remember? We’re talking about now and now was supposed to be Roman’s time. The Reignman was supposed to reign over WWE in a new era, moving the company forward past both Lesnar and Cena.

But now Lesnar is staying. And that means Roman may not reign over anything. Common sense says that Roman should be given more time, he’s been unfairly criticized and it’s not his fault he’s in a tough situation. But common sense and pro wrestling do not often break bread together and WWE has been known to change plans at the zero hour.

Is that what we’re looking at for WrestleMania? Will WWE pull the plug on Roman in favor of Lesnar? The truth is right now there’s just no way to know. Roman does deserve the benefit of the doubt; he does deserve the chance to prove what he can do on the main event stage. Lesnar’s presence should not be an excuse to prevent Reigns from moving ahead to the championship. Is he behind the eight ball? Yes. Will it take some work to get him where he needs to be in terms of respect and credibility? Absolutely. Should he be punished and held back because Brock is in the mix? No way.

Fans should be on Roman’s side. Had it not been for Ambrose’s rise last year and Daniel’s mishandling since returning, they may very well be. But they’re not and they may never be. WWE has some major repair work ahead of them and it will be interesting to see how they go about doing it.

And let’s be honest. Fans are a fickle bunch. They love Brock right now but give it time. Maybe the sign should read “If Roman wins we riot provided we don’t get sick of Brock at some point.” It’s a bit wordy but perhaps more on point.

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