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WWE Payback 2015 Results: Rollins Retains, Rusev Quits

May 17, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins WWE Payback 2015WWE Payback was a one-match show. Fortunately for the WWE that one match was one of the best in awhile. The show will be remembered for a thrilling main-event which featured a brief reunion of the Shield. Unfortunately the rest of the show was an event that should and will be forgotten.

There isn’t a whole lot that I could say about the main-event other than that it was about as fun a match as you will see on a WWE special event. The Fatal 4-Way was a roller coaster ride of thrills and excitement that ended with a predictable winner, capping off a highly predictable night.

Seth Rollins pinned Randy Orton to retain the WWE world title in a Fatal 4-Way match. This match was just non-stop action from the second the bell rang. This was far and away one of the most exciting WWE main-events I have seen in a long time. Reigns and Ambrose double-teamed Rollins at one point which got a big reaction from the crowd. Reigns set up for the Superman Punch but was pulled out of the ring by Kane. Kane also beat down Ambrose and threw him back in the ring. J&J and Kane also triple teamed Orton. Rollins and Ambrose in together quite a bit early on with Seth on the attack. Kane came into the ring and choke slammed Ambrose as soon as Ambrose started to get the advantage. Reigns and Ambrose teamed up several times throughout the match, including Reigns saving Ambrose from Orton. At one point Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose teamed up on Orton and nailed a triple power bomb reuniting the Shield. Ambrose and Reigns immediately turned on Rollins. Ambrose and Reigns power bombed Kane onto Rollins on a table at ringside…twice going through the table the second time around. Ambrose and Reigns finally went at it with Reigns hitting a Superman Punch for a two-count. The crowd really loved the play between Ambrose and Reigns. Rollins broke up a cover by Reigns after Reigns hit a spear on Ambrose. Orton hit RKOs on J&J Security, then dropped Rollins with a DDT. Orton hit an RKO on Kane. Rollins caught Orton on the rebound with a Pedigree for the pin. Hunter came out after the match to congratulate Rollins as the show went off of the air.

This was a great match but I think that a big opportunity was missed here. With the Elimination Chamber being a mere two weeks away, I thought the WWE could have used that timeline to hotshot Dean Ambrose into a top babyface role. With Daniel Bryan out, a spot is open and Ambrose is the perfect guy for that role. I think that the WWE could have given Ambrose an upset win, a quick two-week title reign, and the credibility he would need in that new spot. The company decided to play it safe instead keeping the belt on Rollins and missing yet another opportunity to elevate a new star.

John Cena defeated Rusev in one of the tamest I-Quit matches I think I have ever seen. If you expected violence like I did when this match was announced, well then you were mistaken. Rusev dominated the first half of the match with Cena dominating the second half of what was close to a 30-minute match. This was a weird finish as Rusev had Cena passed out in the Accolade. When Cena couldn’t answer the ref, Rusev released the hold assuming he won. The referee told Rusev that Cena had to say “I Quit” to lose. So Rusev tried to wake Cena up and charged him with ropes in his hands, Cena ducked, hit a drop-toe hold, and got the STF. Cena wrapped the ropes around Rusev’s eyes and Rusev started saying something in “Bulgarian” to the ref. Lana told the referee that Rusev quit, essentially quitting for him to give Cena the win.

The finish was about as predictable as you can get. Most expected Lana to quit for Rusev. My problem with this is that Rusev was in nothing career threatening here. To quit from an STF with ropes barely wrapped around his eyes made very little sense. This wasn’t a situation like Magnum-Tully where Magnum was about to take Tully’s eye out with the wood. It was just a big disappointment to me and the majority of folks I heard from on Twitter. Rusev threw Lana out of the dressing room in a segment following the match.

Where does this go from here? Well the Cena vs. Rusev feud is over. Rusev and Lana are heading for a split with Lana expected to get a major push as a babyface. Rusev is in trouble here as he has now three matches in a row to Cena and will continue without Lana. I just don’t understand why the WWE kept Rusev hot for a year only to have him lose three in a row to Cena. That just doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

The biggest shocker at Payback was the announcement of the return of the Stone Cold Steve Austin podcast. There have been numerous rumors about heat between the WWE and Austin ever since Chris Jericho started doing podcasts on the network. This will certainly put those rumors to rest. Austin will be returning on June 1 for a live podcast with Paul Heyman. Austin had Heyman on his podcast last year and it was fantastic. Unfortunately it seemed like they covered everything and I am not sure what there is left to talk about. Regardless, it will be great to see Austin back on the Network. In my opinion, Austin asks more provocative questions than Chris Jericho. It should also be noted that the Springboard Stunner disappeared from Cena’s repertoire at Payback.

Full WWE Payback 2015 results and winners…
Seth Rollins defeated Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, & Randy Orton in a Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
John Cena defeated Rusev (with Lana) in an “I Quit” match to retain the the WWE United States Championship
Neville defeated King Barrett via Count Out
Sheamus defeated Dolph Ziggler
The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (c) (with Xavier Woods) defeated Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (with Natalya) in a 2-out-of-3 falls tag team match to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
Bray Wyatt defeated Ryback
Naomi and Tamina defeated The Bella Twins (Brie Bella and Nikki Bella)
The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) defeated The Mega Powers (Curtis Axel and Macho Mandow)
R-Truth defeated Stardust

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WWE Payback 2015 Predictions and Preview

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

WWE Payback is right around the corner and quite honestly there isn’t a whole lot to get excited about. The event is essentially a two-match show yet history confirms that events which typically have low expectations going in are generally the ones that surprise you.

It almost seems as if the whole idea for Payback may be unnecessary at this point in time. The main-event while intriguing on paper, would have greatly benefitted from a few more weeks of scripting. The addition of the Elimination Chamber event makes this event fairly non-essential. So what is there to get excited about?

I try to focus on the main matches when writing previews for special events. Generally those preview blogs consist of 4-5 matches. Unfortunately I struggled to find more than two matches to focus on at Payback. The tradeoff of putting four upper mid-card-upper card stars in the main-event is a diluted under card. Needless to say the headliners have a lot of pressure on their shoulders to blow this show out of the water.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton vs. Roman Reigns in a Fatal Four-Way for the WWE world championship

Here we go again. Another WWE championship situation where the fate of Seth Rollins rests in Kane’s hands. I feel like I have just seen this act? Oh wait, I did! This time the odds are stacked against the world champion even more than at Extreme Rules. Rollins is outnumbered as he faces Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Randy Orton in a Fatal Four-Way match for the WWE championship.

As predictable as this match is I think it will be highly entertaining. Rarely is there a dull moment in these kinds of multiple person matches. All of these guys have had great chemistry together in the past which leads me to think that this match should be no exception. The finish can go a couple of different ways yet I think it is safe to say that somehow or another Kane is involved.

As predictable as this is I do think there is a slight chance of a title change here. The quick turnaround in a few weeks at Elimination Chamber lends itself to a surprise title change. Putting Elimination Chamber on the calendar is a way to take advantage of the free WWE Network subscribers. It would not shock me at all to see a quickie title change here with the belt going back to Rollins at the end of the month. Quite honestly I am almost ready to bet that is the way they go here. But what do you do? You don’t want Reigns’ first title reign to be a fluke yet he’s the most obvious guy. I think Dean Ambrose actually walks away with the title on Sunday night only to flip it back to Rollins at the big Chamber event.

John Cena vs. Rusev in an I-Quit match for the U.S. title

I think it is fair to say that this will likely be the last match in this feud. While I am never a fan of four matches in a row, I really enjoyed this feud so I have little problem with a fourth match here. This is the match that I thought we were going to get at Extreme Rules. I have no reason to think that this will be anything less than an exciting match. I have already blogged at great length about what I think should happen so let’s talk about what I think will happen.

Lana is the key here. All signs point to Lana turning on Rusev and this would be the place to do it. The idea here is to make Lana a babyface so I think Lana winds up throwing in the towel for Rusev. I think Lana throws in a towel or waves a flag against Rusev’s wishes. Rusev is angry after the match, yells at Lana, and is met with a slap to the face either then or the following night on RAW. I can’t see Cena saying “I-Quit” but maybe, just maybe this Lana/Rusev story is a swerve. I don’t think so but again with another big show in a week, anything can happen.

Full WWE Payback 2015 card and matches…
Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Randy Orton in a Fatal 4-Way match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship; If Rollins fails to retain the Championship, Kane will be fired from being Director of Operations
John Cena vs. Rusev (with Lana) in an “I Quit” match for the WWE United States Championship
King Barrett vs. Neville
Dolph Ziggler vs. Sheamus
The New Day (Big E and Kofi Kingston) (c) (with Xavier Woods) vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (with Natalya)     2-out-of-3 falls tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Ryback vs. Bray Wyatt
Naomi and Tamina vs. The Bella Twins (Brie Bella and Nikki Bella)
The Meta Powers (Curtis Axel and Macho Mandow) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)

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Who will be the next WWE Intercontinental Champion?

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

With the tragic news that Daniel Bryan will have to surrender a championship for the second time in the space of the year, it opens up new opportunities for other stars to have a run with the prestigious championship. After the announcement that the title would be up for grabs inside the returning Elimination Chamber, now seems as good of a time as any to take a look at the contenders and see what holding the title would do for them.

Neville

For me, Neville is the obvious choice for the next champion. The Geordie has made a stellar start to his main roster career, with great wins over the likes of Sheamus and Bad News Barrett, and some even better performances against John Cena, Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins. His impact is arguably the biggest of any NXT superstar who has made the jump to Raw and SmackDown, and winning the IC Title inside the Chamber would cap off what has been an exceptional few months for Neville.

Sheamus

Since his return the night after WrestleMania, Sheamus has looked absolutely merciless, and he has recaptured the aggression that made him a great heel throughout 2010 and early 2011. His new look may be questionable, to say the least, but his new attitude is a breath of fresh air in a product that is currently lacking in its number of good heel characters. A win inside the Chamber for the big Irishman could lead to a potentially exciting rivalry with Neville, as well as putting an end to his current feud with Ziggler.

Dolph Ziggler

Speaking of the Zig-Man, his 2015 has been a real mixed bag. The closing months of 2014 were a huge success for Ziggler, with him putting in some of the best performances of his career to date. However, WWE has failed to follow up on the momentum that saw him named Rolling Stone’s WWE Wrestler of the Year, and he has found himself shuffled back into the mid-card where he has been for so long now. Personally, I don’t think giving Dolph the title back will really do anything for him. He had three reigns as champion in 2014, and it’s about time that he was moved up the card, not necessarily to the main event, but perhaps a more meaningful rivalry that will really allow him to shine.

Bad News Barrett

The same can be said for BNB. Coming off of probably the most lackluster IC Title run of his five reigns, he managed to win the King of the Ring tournament, and in the process becoming the second Englishman to do so. That win hasn’t done much to elevate his career, which has pretty much been in stagnation for a while now. Giving him back the title for a sixth time would be meaningless, and much like Ziggler, a push towards the very top is necessary within the next few months.

Dean Ambrose

It’s pretty much common knowledge that Ambrose is in the world title match at Payback for Rollins to get a clean pinfall victory. There are rumors that he’s in for a main event push in the coming months, but if that doesn’t come to fruition, giving him a run with the IC Title is certainly an option. He held the US Title for nearly a year, but he defended it on rare occasions, and the matches were good, yet forgettable at the same time. Whilst I can’t see Ambrose holding the belt anytime soon, it’s certainly a possibility.

As for the potential 6th contender in the Chamber, there are a plethora of names in the fray. WWE could hand the spot to an NXT talent, something that would be welcomed by myself, but it’s likely to be given to a mid-carder just to make up the numbers, like R-Truth or Stardust. For now, we can only speculate. Whoever is chosen, the IC Title taking centrre stage at this pay-per-view will certainly help raise its prestige further.

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Dean Ambrose Could be In Trouble

May 14, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

First they announced Rollins vs. Orton. No one seemed to care. Then they announced Rollins vs. Orton vs. Reigns. Still couldn’t care less. Then they announced Rollins vs. Orton vs. Reigns vs. Ambrose. Suddenly there is some excitement and talk. Ambrose is once again in the limelight. And this time, let’s hope the light won’t flicker.

There were a lot of chances with Ambrose; not to put him in the title picture, but to build him steadily. But WWE chose not to. Probably they were worried that it might dilute the fan base they were building for Reigns. But now that that base is not only diluted but has become as dull as ditchwater, WWE is reviewing the Ambrose option. That means two things can happen.

1) the WWE would try to shove Ambrose down our throats in a bid to move the needle and kill the goose that can yada yada or 2) feeling that ‘he’s not ready just yet’ they would try to humble him as only the HHH regime can do.

In either case, Ambrose is in trouble.

To me Ambrose is the last exciting thing left in WWE. (Lesnar is a part-timer and Ryback is about to be fed to Wyatt) There is a genuine edge about him. He can wrestle and he put together the best match of the night. But the trouble with all that is Ambrose is alone. There is no else in the current roster that can bring the same kind of excitement and color to wrestling. From faces to heels, they are all one-dimensional (including Bray Wyatt whose promos have gone from terrific to soporific. I make tea when he talks). Besides, there’s a little bit of character tweak Ambrose requires before he can chase the championship.

So here’s hoping that WWE would chose a different route for Ambrose; which is to deny the fans Ambrose – but in a calculated manner. Just like they denied the fans Daniel Bryan till putting Daniel Bryan became the only sensible decision, WWE should deny the fans Ambrose & Title till they can’t take it anymore.

One of the things with television ratings is that the reaction of the live audience can affect it. The television viewer looks to the live crowd for cues. It’s a subconscious thing. And right now the live crowd is just dead.

When I look at WWE, I see a pattern. It started with the wild days of Hulkamania. Then it went to the sedate though technically strong days of Bret Hart. Then it reversed to the explosive days of Steve Austin only to switch back to the sedate though merch-moving days of John Cena. See what I mean? It had always see-sawed. So the next crest has to be something that is anything but sedate. Might I suggest ‘Unhinged’?
Ambrose can lead that. Maybe he’s not a great talker. But then I guess it’s time WWE focused on some good over-the-top action and moments. Moments are what we are badly missing these days. And more than great matches, its moments that make a star.

Ambrose’s early run in with Rollins had produced quite a few moments. But they were short lived as WWE used Ambrose give Wyatt a leg-up. That really didn’t go anywhere and won’t. Wyatt is just not scary, threatening or credible enough. But you know who is? Reigns! The way ahead for Reigns is to get frustrated and turn heel. I would be surprised if that doesn’t happen soon. Of course that throws a spanner in the works called Rollins. But then, is Rollins working as a heel? Back in the 90s, he would have been vying for the Intercontinental Championship as a face at this stage of his career.

Anyway, back to Ambrose. The key of course is some smart booking. Allow Ambrose to slowly build his fan base. Allow Ambrose to develop his mic skills. Allow Ambrose to tone down a bit for fans to identify with so much so that by the time the title is around his waist, WWE would not be thinking of taking it off him.

So here’s hoping that at Payback, Ambrose would come close to winning the title, but just won’t. But at the same time here’s hoping that Ambrose won’t in the process take the fall (Orton can do that). Going forward, here’s hoping that Ambrose won’t win the MITB and that Wyatt does. That done, here’s hoping that fans would be kept thirsting for Ambrose till Wrestlemania 32. Then here’s hoping that Wrestlemania 32 would be between Ambrose & Lesnar. And finally, here’s hoping that Wrestlemania 32 will usher in a new era. WWE Unhinged!

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WWE Payback: One Champion, One Title, One Opponent

May 12, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Four wrestlers. Three “faces”. Two stooges for security. One WWE World Champion. This isn’t how it used to be in the world of professional wrestling, but it’s the way the world turns in Vince McMahon’s circus. Welcome to the “We don’t know who we want to face the world champion, so let’s throw four guys in a ring and see what happens.”

That is what we have to look forward to at WWE Payback this coming weekend.

In layman’s terms, it means the WWE doesn’t have a clue what to do with Brock Lesnar being “suspended indefinitely” and John Cena making the United States Championship the most prized strap the company can offer. Oh my, how the tables have turned. When Randy Orton and Seth Rollins gave us arguably one of the best WrestleMania matches in the past decade, I thought a program with the superstars would be worth another pay-per-view or two. Then, the unthinkable happened – well not unthinkable since many of us wrestling fans thought about it – and Rollins cashed in on the title with this Money-in-the-Bank contract.

Hmm. Great idea at the time, not so great right now.

There is enough star power in the ring between Rollins, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns to put 12 matches together. All four will get in a ring, beat the hell out of each other and hopefully give the fans what they paid money to see. And then Rollins will walk out (maybe slither out) of the ring with the title in hand. The idea that someone other than the current champion leaving with the company title should be erased from your minds now – That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

The title picture is certainly not what it used to be. One champion, one title, one opponent. There was no wavering on who Hulk Hogan faced for the title. There was only one opponent for Verne Gagne. Bruno Sammartino handled his rivalries one at a time.

Ric Flair was a little different in that he traveled from town to town as the NWA Champion, faced the promotion’s top star and then moved to another region. It kind of makes me wish the WWE would work a title run much like the Great American Bash used to be back in the days of Dusty Rhodes and his fertile mind. He created huge productions for wrestling fans.

During an event like that, Ric Flair would travel with the NWA and face top talent night after night. The series also gave talent that would not ordinarily be in singles competition or in a title match time to shine.

I loved seeing Flair face both Road Warriors and Ricky Morton. He would face Dusty Rhodes and Barry Windham and some lesser known talents like Bobby Fulton or maybe Bobby Eaton. Those were the days when the title was more important than the person who wore the strap. Today, it is the opposite in every day.

Again, that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

How would a Rollins or Cena or Orton handle facing multiple challengers nightly and in different towns? Could they stay on point? The WWE works so hard on promoting programs and rivalries and then changes them up to give the fans more to get excited about. Frankly, it is really stale, no matter how good the Fatal Four-Way match could be at Payback.

The WWE must come out of this event on Sunday with one opponent for Rollins moving forward. The fans want to see head-to-head competition. There may be plenty of excitement from an Ambrose-Rollins confrontation that it warrants another feud between the two as the company moves toward Summer Slam. But the fans won’t know if the WWE cannot make a decision to have one title, one champion and one hellacious feud going forward.

That’s how this is supposed to work.

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WWE: Giving Dean Ambrose A Chance and Remembering Owen Hart

May 07, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Did the WWE throw Dean Ambrose a bone by putting him in the fix for the WWE World Title at the Payback pay-per-view or does the company have some inkling of a program between the Lunatic Fringe and the current champion, Seth Rollins?

Here’s hoping this leads to a rekindling of the feud between the former Shield members that took the roof off of the company last year when the two faced each other in the ring. The WWE needs a 5-star worthy feud to whet the appetite of the fans since Vince McMahon is still trying to push Roman Reigns down our throats as a serious contender for the strap.

The addition of Ambrose to the mix leads me to believe there won’t be a title run for Reigns anytime soon and in my opinion, that’s just fine.

The one thing Ambrose and Rollins do as a package better than most rivalries is they tell a story. They have chemistry in the ring, which aside from a handful of competitors in the past, that is rare. Looking at the current state of the upcoming PPV, the idea of putting Ambrose in the ring with Randy Orton and Reigns against the champion stacks the deck for Rollins, but it will also showcase how good the two are in the ring. Reigns and Orton are robotic in their movements. Orton has worked on it in the past five years but because of his size and his character, there are still some deficiencies.

When I think of chemistry in the ring, I think of Rock/Austin or HBK/Owen Hart or the best of the best in Ricky Steamboat and Ric Flair. Those matches and feuds will never be replaced. John Cena and CM Punk had that, but the company took their rivalry away in putting both competitors in other spots during their tenure together. Both Ambrose and Rollins are young enough that if the WWE lets them grow together, it is a feud that could have some legs and become a staple of the next few years.

The worst thing the WWE could do is build Ambrose up to be a potential rival for the title and then have him work one PPV with Rollins, only to turn back to Orton and Reigns as the only two performers the company thinks the fans want to see in the ring with the current champ.

REMEMBERING OWEN HART

Today would have been Owen Hart’s 49th birthday. The late great member of the Hart Family lost his life in 1999 and frankly, the world of wrestling in the WWE has never been the same.

Hart could have been the face of the company, surpassing the work of his brother Bret and becoming one of the greatest of all time. His work in the ring was pristine, his character on point. We only have the chance to think of what could have been, and realize too many of our favorites left the business too early. A WWE with Hart, Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero would have looked a lot different than the programming we see today. It also may have given us pause to see more champions and Cena’s title reigns may have been shorter.

Randy Orton may not have carried the strap as many times and there may have been more technical wrestling featured than the high-flying antics we see today.

I did not appreciate his work until after his death. After seeing him in matches with Bret and as a tag team specialist, he really could have been the best this company had to offer.

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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?

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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WWE Best of Raw and Smackdown 2014 DVD Review

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

So, I’ve reviewed several of these over the last couple of years, and let’s be honest: these sets are more or less a quick cash grab. They are a collection of Raw and Smackdown matches that range anywhere from terrible to good, and that’s pretty much it. There are a few talking head segments interspliced into the DVD between matches and segments from people involved in them, but beyond that, there’s little else here.

Now, that’s not to say that the DVD set can’t be enjoyed. Some of the segments are decent, some matches feature alternate commentary from the competitors, and there are a handful of matches and segments on here that are very enjoyable. Stuff like a 6-man Elimination Chamber qualifier, Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, the Usos winning the tag team titles from the New-Age Outlaws, a Shield handicap match and a triple threat for the IC title between Dolph Ziggler, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (a dark horse candidate for WWE match of the year 2014, in my opinion), are all here, as well as several others. As for good in-ring segments, you’ve got the “Occupy RAW” piece, The army of Wyatt Family children surrounding the ring and the “last stand” between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho.

The rest of the DVD? While there are some other good matches on here, there’s a TON of what basically feels like filler, including Dean Ambrose losing the US title in a battle royal, a Bo Dallas/Sin Cara match that no one probably even remembers, the mud pool “match” between Vickie Guerrero and Stephanie McMahon, Batista attempting (and failing) to bash the WWE Universe, and others.

Fortunately, the good matches outweigh the bad stuff overall, but it’s still somewhat of a mixed bag. Chances are, you’ve seen most everything on this DVD if you already watch RAW and Smackdown every week. There might be one or two things new to you overall, but nothing that you will likely need to go out of your way to see.

The set overall is not a “must-buy” by any means, but if you can find it at a good price or get it as a gift, there’s definitely some enjoyment to be found (seriously, watch the IC triple threat). If you’re a collector and/or always get these installments, you likely have your mind made up and already know what you’re in for. Like I said, it’s not bad by any means; it’s just nothing spectacular and, as I said before, just feels like the quick cash-grab it’s obviously intended to be.

DISC 1

An Epic Year

Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
The Shield vs. John Cena, Sheamus & Daniel Bryan
RAW * January 27, 2014

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
RAW * February 3, 2014

#1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Mark Henry
SmackDown * February 14, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Zeb Colter)

John Cena vs. Cesaro
RAW * February 17, 2014

The Next Guy

The Deadman vs. The Beast

Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker’s WrestleMania XXX Contract Signing
RAW * February 24, 2014

Batista Goes “Hollywood”

Batista Bashes the WWE Universe
SmackDown * February 28, 2014

Batista vs. Dolph Ziggler
SmackDown * February 28, 2014

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos
RAW * March 3, 2014

The Usos’ Moment

Undertaker Chokeslams Brock Lesnar – WWE RAW Contract Signing

DISC 2

The Yes Movement vs. The Authority

Daniel Bryan “Occupies” RAW
RAW * March 10, 2014

John Cena vs. Luke Harper
RAW * March 24, 2014

Sending a Message

WWE Divas Championship Match
AJ Lee vs. Paige
RAW * April 7, 2014

Turning the Paige

The Band is Back Together

Handicap Match
The Shield vs. Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, Bad News Barrett, Jack Swagger, Fandango, Titus O’Neil, 3MB, and RybAxel
RAW * April 14, 2014

The Wyatt Family & Children Surround the Ring
RAW * April 28, 2014

Following the Buzzards

Cracking The Shield

20-Man Battle Royal for the United States Championship
RAW * May 5, 2014

John Cena & The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family
SmackDown * May 9, 2014

BO-lievers

Bo Dallas vs. Sin Cara
SmackDown * May 23, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Bo Dallas)

Seth Rollins Turns on The Shield
RAW * June 2, 2014

Daniel Bryan Occupies WWE RAW – Yes Movement

DISC 3

Why Seth, Why?

Seth Rollins Explains His Side
SmackDown * June 6, 2014

There’s Always a Plan B

Gold & Stardust vs. RybAxel
RAW * June 16, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Stardust)

Vickie’s Last Laugh

Mud Pool Match with Vickie Guerrero’s Career on the Line
Vickie Guerrero vs. Stephanie McMahon
RAW * June 23, 2014

Brie Bella & Stephanie McMahon’s SummerSlam Contract Signing
RAW * August 4, 2014

Stephanie Will Pay

The Authority Introduces Brock Lesnar as WWE World Heavyweight Champion
RAW * August 18, 2014

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * August 18, 2014

Jericho and Wyatt’s Last Stand

Steel Cage Match
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
RAW * September 8, 2014

The Rock Interrupts Rusev and Lana
RAW * October 6, 2014

15-Man Tag Team Match
Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny
SmackDown * October 10, 2014

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * November 3, 2014

Triple Threat Elimination Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd
SmackDown * November 14, 2014

John Cena, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins, Kane & Luke Harper
RAW * December 1, 2014

Looking Back at 2014

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

WWE: Best of Raw and Smackdown 2014

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WWE Destruction of the Shield DVD Review

March 11, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I was worried about this DVD initially, if for no other reason than the Shield just plain weren’t around that long. Were they an amazing, dominant faction that produced some great moments and matches? Absolutely. However, their run was limited thanks to a split in early 2014 that left most fans scratching their heads (especially when it happened a night after their huge clean sweep of Evolution in a 6-man tag team elimination match at Payback). Despite this, however, The Destruction of the Shield is overall a really fun DVD that covers a lot of ground.

Being that these three guys haven’t been in WWE long, you’d hope the the DVD would start with some discussion of each man’s work prior to their debut in 2012 at Survivor Series…and that’s exactly what we get. With the exception of Roman Reigns, who went straight to developmental (more on him in a minute), both Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose have their independent careers covered here, leading to each of their signings with WWE’s then-developmental system, FCW. Although these pieces are somewhat limited, CZW, ROH and DGUSA/Evolve were all still cool enough to loan WWE some footage in order to cover the respective careers of these two athletes. What’s even cooler is commentary from guys both men worked with that are in WWE today, including Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Sami Zayn (El Generico) and a surprise appearance from referee Drake Wuertz, better known as long-time CZW mainstay Drake Younger. All parties praise the efforts of both Rollins and Ambrose on the indy circuit, with the general consensus being that both men would eventually make it to WWE (on a side note, Rollins mentions that he nearly didn’t sign with WWE because John Laurinaitis was horrible about returning calls, and instead nearly signed with TNA, or as he puts it, “some other company).

Now, as I said, Reigns never really worked the indy circuit, and instead went straight to FCW. However, that’s not to say he had an easy ride. Yes, he’s a member of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family, but if anything, he comes off as feeling even more pressured to be successful in wrestling as a result, which is completely understandable. Aside from this, Reigns was a star football player in high school (on a team with his cousins, the Usos, no less), became an even better player in college, and nearly made it big in the pros before being cut from his practice squad. From that point, Reigns decided to go into the family business, as he felt he had a better shot at providing a stable life for his daughter, a move that was obviously a smart gamble.

In addition to these stories, numerous WWE personnel discuss the careers of all three men, including Joey Mercury, who was apparently very instrumental in getting all three contracts, as well as legends like Mick Foley and William Regal, who have both worked extensively with Ambrose in the past. Even Ambrose’s attempted feud with Foley is covered, and I didn’t realize the reason the legs were cut off before it had the chance to really grow was Foley was more or less told by doctors he could never wrestle again, contrary to the popular rumor that WWE simply didn’t like the angle.

From the signings, each wrestler spending time in FCW/NXT is discussed, including the frustrations of both Ambrose and Rollins waiting longer than originally expected to get called up (in Rollins’ case, most notably attitude problems and serious issues with WWE agent Terry Taylor), up until the idea was created to put the three together and make them something a modern-day Horsemen group. At this point, most fans should be familiar what happens next: the Shield entered the WWE and caused complete destruction for a year and a half, until their break-up at the aforementioned RAW the night after Payback. This part of the DVD is less interesting, if for no other reason than it’s pretty common knowledge. And, surprisingly, despite all of this taking place on WWE, this section is really glossed over, with only a handful of matches being mentioned and a small blurb about their championship runs.

All of this leads up to the break-up and ends with the Ambrose/Rollins and Reigns/Orton matches at Summerslam. Both matches are looked at in detail, including preparations each man went into to physically get ready (all three are major workout junkies, and it shows), capped off with what ended up being two show-stealing matches at the second biggest card of the year.

That’s all on disc 1, which is also where the matches start. And the match list for this set is really extensive. Although no indy footage for Rollins and Ambrose was obtained, we still get some exclusive matches featuring both them and Reigns from both FCW and NXT, most of which the average fan has never seen. One of note is a triple threat match between the three, back when Reigns was still wrestling as Leakee Lee. Also included are an awesome match between Ambrose and one of his heroes, William Regal, as well Rollins becoming the first NXT Champion in a match with former WWE scrub, Jinder Mahal.

Aside from this, the rest are WWE matches you’ve probably seen, but that’s not really a bad thing. The Shield have been involved in some awesome matches, of the singles, tag and 6-man varieties, with a little bit of each thrown in for good measure. The Payback 6-man is here, as well as the awesome one vs. the Wyatt Family from last year’s Elimination Chamber. Also included are Ambrose’s US title win over Kofi Kingston and Reigns/Rollins beating Team Hell No! for the tag titles, both of which took place at Extreme Rules 2013. Both Summerslam matches mentioned above are included in their entirety, as well as Rollins’ MITB case win last year. All in all, 18 matches are included, and all of them are pretty enjoyable in their own ways.

While the documentary could have been a little bit better (mainly in the detail department, with less glossing over), the set overall is a really solid collection, with the match listing definitely being the selling point. If you’re a fan of all three guys or just one or two, you’ll want to pick this set up if you have the chance.

Documentary
*Who is the Shield?
*Game Changer
*Seth Rollins’ Journey Begins
*Dean Ambrose’s Journey Begins
*Roman Reigns’ Journey Begins
*Brothers in Arms
*The Ambrose-Rollins FCW Rivalry
*The Face of NXT
*Clashing Egos
*The Quick Study
*Failure to Launch
*Assembling the Shield
*Immediate Impact
*Bringing the Sword
*The First WrestleMania
*Extreme Success
*Lone Survivor
*Royal Record
*State of Evolution
*Shield Disassembled
*Buying In
*Lunatic Fringe Unleashed
*One Versus All
*Rollins Training for Summerslam
*Ambrose Training for Summerslam
*Good Friends, Better Enemies
*Reigns Training for Summerslam
*A Most Intriguing Matchup
*Arrival in Los Angeles
*Summerslam
*The Future is Now

Matches

Dean Ambrose on Seth Rollins FCW Rivalry

15-Minute Time Limit for the FCW 15 Championship
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
FCW * August 14, 2011

Seth Rollins on Dean Ambrose FCW Rivalry

30-Minute Time Limit for the FCW 15 Championship
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
FCW * September 18, 2011

Roman Reigns on FCW Triple Threat Match

Triple Threat Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Leakee
FCW * February 5, 2012

WWE Shield DVD Full Match Listing

DISC 2

Dean Ambrose on William Regal FCW Rivalry

Dean Ambrose vs. William Regal
FCW * July 1, 2012

Seth Rollins on NXT Championship

Gold Rush Tournament Finals for the NXT Championship
Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal
NXT * August 29, 2012

Roman Reigns on NXT Debut

Roman Reigns vs. CJ Parker
NXT * October 31, 2012

Seth Rollins on Shield In-Ring Debut

6-Man Tag Team TLC Match
The Shield vs. Ryback & Team Hell No
TLC * December 16, 2012

Dean Ambrose on United States Championship

United States Championship Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston
Extreme Rules * May 19, 2013

Roman Reigns on WWE Tag Team Championship

Tornado Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs. Team Hell No
Extreme Rules * May 19, 2013

Roman Reigns on Facing the Usos

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. The Usos
Money In the Bank * July 14, 2013

Roman Reigns on Survivor Series 2013

Classic Survivor Series Elimination Match
The Shield & The Real Americans vs. The Usos, Rhodes Brothers & Rey Mysterio
Survivor Series * November 24, 2013

WWE Shield DVD Full Match Listing

DISC 3

Dean Ambrose on Wyatt Family Rivalry

6-Man Tag Team Match
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan)
Elimination Chamber * February 23, 2014

Seth Rollins on Evolution Rivalry

No Holds Barred 6-Man Elimination Tag Team Match
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) vs. Evolution (Triple H, Randy Orton & Batista)
Payback * June 1, 2014

Seth Rollins on Money in the Bank 2014

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger
Money in the Bank * June 29, 2014

Dean Ambrose on SummerSlam

Lumberjack Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
SummerSlam * August 17, 2014

Roman Reigns on SummerSlam

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
SummerSlam * August 17, 2014

Seth Rollins on Falls Count Anywhere Match with Dean Ambrose

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * August 18, 2014

Roman Reigns on Seth Rollins Rivalry

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * September 15, 2014

Deleted Scenes
*The Dean Ambrose – William Regal Rivalry
*Leakee

WWE Shield DVD Full Match Listing

BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES

Roman Reigns on FCW Triple Threat Match

20-Minute Time Limit for the FCW 15 Championship
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
FCW * August 28, 2011

Dean Ambrose on Facing The Undertaker

The Undertaker vs. Dean Ambrose
SmackDown * April 26, 2013

Seth Rollins on Facing Orton and Bryan

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton & Daniel Bryan
Payback * June 16, 2013

Roman Reigns on Royal Rumble

30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Royal Rumble * January 26, 2014

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield (Blu-ray)

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WWE Fastlane Predictions and Preview

February 19, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE will be launching the inaugural Fastlane this Sunday night. The prelude to WrestleMania will see a highly anticipated match up, an early WrestleMania 31 contest, and the first-ever advertised WWE special event appearance from the man called Sting.

Fastlane will replace the annual Elimination Chamber event. Unlike the Chamber show, Fastlane will be devoid of gimmick matches and strictly serve as an appetizer to the big March event. While I wouldn’t call it a strong show, I would see it is one of the more intriguing shows in recent memory. Let’s break down the top matches and events and make some predictions.

Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan in a Winner meets Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 Match – This is without question the most intriguing match of the year thus far. Reigns and Bryan is not a match I would have expected to see pre-Mania. Sure, I could see these guys headlining SummerSlam or Survivor Series but I didn’t expect it this soon. Thanks to some rowdy fans in Philadelphia and some post-Rumble adjustments, we are getting this one several months early.

I have written a lot on this match, two full blogs to be exact. However, things continue to change and the landscape has evolved since both blogs. Originally the plans were for a Reigns vs. Brock match at Mania. New rumors indicated that those plans changed and Bryan would now be inserted into a Triple Threat Match. At this point I don’t think there is a predictable way to go here.

This reminds me a lot of the Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels match at King of the Ring 1997. The match made no sense, it featured two babyfaces, and one was obviously the company guy against a guy who was on the descent. At the same it made no sense for either guy to put the other one over. The match ended with a double DQ and no winner. I would be surprised if we don’t see the same result repeat itself in this match.

Roman Reigns has a ton of pressure on him here. If Reigns is expected to be the guy that delivers main-event singles matches, it all starts here. He’s been given everything he needs to succeed here. If you can’t have a good or even great match with Bryan than his promos are the least of his problem. I have no doubt that Bryan will do everything he can to get a great match out of Reigns. Anything less than a pretty good match could really hurt Reigns’ chances of going over at Mania.

I am going to predict a non-finish here. I don’t think either one of these guys are getting pinned. I do think that Bryan is not nearly as over as he was last year and that could cause the brass to re-think their Triple Threat plan. Yet unless I hear different I think both guys come out untainted. I expect this one to end with some interference from the Authority and a big groan from the audience.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the US Title – WWE fans are getting this one early. These guys were penciled in for WrestleMania which makes this booking a bit odd. However, it wouldn’t be the first time we saw a WrestleMania match. I like the match, like it a lot. I love most of what they’ve done with Rusev and the fact they held him apart for Cena for a year was just brilliant.

I wouldn’t expect a great match, although I do think they have it in them to produce one. I see a safe match with both guys saving the full effort for Mania. Putting Cena over here makes no sense at all, although after the Royal Rumble booking I don’t have a lot of confidence in logical WWE booking. I do love the idea of Cena as U.S. champion, I just don’t want to see it prior to Mania. I look for Rusev to go over here. I would suspect that a ref-stoppage finish that involves Cena’s eye, either Rusev spiking it or threatening. Anything but a big win hurts interest in seeing Cena seek revenge at Mania.

Triple H and Sting Confrontation – Like you, I have always wanted to see Sting in the WWE. However, I have to admit that Sting vs. Triple H was not a dream match on my list. Regardless, we are getting it one way or the other so why complain. I expect the usual RAW confrontation you’d expect from both, but I do think Sting gets laid out this time around. I think you need to lay him out in order to create a demand for a match.

Dean Ambrose vs. Bad News Barrett for the WWE Intercontinental Title – I like this match. I also think that Dean Ambrose is the biggest waste of talent I have seen in the WWE in quite some time. I love the potential of this match. I think you have two guys here who are very talented and looking to steal the show. I don’t expect Ambrose to win the title and quite frankly that may be a good thing for him. At the same time I certainly don’t want to see him lose clean which is what I think happens here.

Full WWE Fastlane card and matches…
Roman Reigns vs. Daniel Bryan – Number One Contender Match
John Cena vs. Rusev – United States Championship Match
Paige vs. Nikki Bella – WWE Divas Championship
Bad News Barrett vs. Dean Ambrose – WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Uso’s vs. Cesaro and Tyson Kidd – WWE Tag Team Championship
Triple H and Sting meet face to face
Goldust vs. Stardust

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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