To say that this is the biggest WWE SummerSlam in recent memory would not be an understatement. The 2015 event brings SummerSlam back to prominence as arguably the number two special event of the year. A rare appearance by the Undertaker in a rematch over a year in the making has many in and out of the wrestling world ecstatic for this year’s event.
The biggest party of the summer comes to New York this Sunday night. The WWE has stepped up the event with hopes of bringing it back to its 1990s prominence. The company is pulling out its big gun, booking Undertaker on his first non-WrestleMania special event in years and a title for title match between the WWE world and U.S. champions.
Let’s take a look at the top matches…
The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar
Like some, I believe that the WWE didn’t time this one right. Don’t get me wrong. It’s hot, red hot right now. However, I think that it could have even been bigger if it were put on a WrestleMania show. Either put it on 31 or save it for 32. Nonetheless, we’re getting it and fans are juiced up for the big rematch.
It’s hard to deny the intensity in the match. Thus far, these two have blown the roof off of several buildings with their confrontations and fights. They have certainly been more action-packed than their infamous bout at WrestleMania 30 which saw Lesnar end the streak. Hopefully the energy continues into the match.
SO let’s talk about the match. I think that these guys have set a real high standard of expectation here. They cannot go out there and have a match like they had at Mania. They need to tell a different story. This match needs to be a fight. I know people are expecting 20 or 30 minutes here but I think anything more than an 8-10 minute fight will kill the mystique. I think you can come back for the rubber match with a different story, but this match needs to be fast, intense, and full of action.
I don’t think that you bring back the Undertaker to have him lose. I’d be shocked if Taker lost at SummerSlam. I think he wins and I have no problem with Brock losing his first match in a while to Undertaker. I also think he goes over clean here, although they could insert Kane into the finish which would take all of the air out of the balloon.
John Cena vs. Seth Rollins U.S. Title vs. WWE world Title
Did you know that John Cena has been in the WWE world title match for in every SummerSlam since SummerSlam 2011? I just thought I’d through that out there. I believe that this match is coming together due to the low ratings RAW has suffered in recent months leading to SummerSlam. Like Seth Rollins or not, he has not been a draw as WWE world champ and the CEO is taking the only action he knows, bring back Cena!
Before we criticize the WWE for putting Cena back in the title picture, I think we need to give him credit where it’s due. Cena has had an excellent year in the ring thus far, putting together a string of excellent matches between bouts with Lesnar and Rollins, some Rusev matches, and of course the series with Owens. Cena has even outshined Rollins on occasion in the ring. While you may be sick of Cena, it is only fair to point out how solid he has been in the ring for a while now.
I have no reason to think that this match won’t be very good. They will certainly have time, especially with a four hour show. I’d expect nothing less than a 30-minute competitive match between these guys. But who is going over?
Seth Rollins asking for the statue threw a curveball into my original theory. As a matter of a fact, I think it gave the finish away. Rollins wins and Cena destroys his statue the next night on RAW. That seems the most predictable here. However, my original pick had Cena winning and Sheamus cashing in to win the WWE world belt. This would leave Cena as U.S. champion. Until Rollins asked for the statue, I was 100% sure of Sheamus leaving New York with the title. Now I am not so sure. I don’t think either guy is leaving with both belts so I’ll stick with my original pick of Cena over with Sheamus cashing in but I am not nearly as convinced.
Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. the Wyatt family
One thing I can almost guarantee you is that this match will be good. These guys always had great matches in six-man tags so I have no reason to think they can’t pull it off down two. I was almost sure that Dean Ambrose was turning on Reigns here until RAW this past Monday. I am starting to think that Lana and Rusev are reuniting, thus Lana on Dolph being the turn of the night. Maybe this one drags on and we finally see Sting in the mix by Hell in a Cell? I think that the Wyatts are winning to keep the feud going.
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev
I liked this feud a lot more on paper than what I have seen in the ring. I still think this one has a lot of potential but the chemistry is just not there between Dolph and Lana. One thing struck me on Monday and that was that I don’t believe Lana has made any physical contact with Rusev. I could be wrong, but I don’t even remember a slap. I think that this experiment into splitting them up has gone terribly wrong and the company just can’t figure out what to do with either one of them. Neither one of them are over nearly to the degree they were with each other. I think they reunite at SummerSlam and Ziggler takes another fall at SummerSlam.
Full WWE SummerSlam 2015 card and matches…
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
John Cena (U.S. Champion) vs. Seth Rollins (World Champion) …Winner Take All singles match for both the WWE United States Championship and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Ryback (c) vs. Big Show vs. The Miz in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Wyatt Family vs. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) (c) vs. Los Matadores (Fernando & Diego w/ El Torito) vs. The Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) vs. The New Day (a 2/3 combination of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) in aFatal 4-Way tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
The Arrows (Stephen Amell and Neville) vs. The Cosmic Kings (Stardust & King Barrett)
Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro
Team Bella (The Bella Twins and Alicia Fox) vs. Team B.A.D. (Naomi, Sasha Banks and Tamina) vs. PCB (Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch) in a Three-Team Elimination match
Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana) vs. Rusev (w/ Summer Rae)
Lana’s boyfriend is back and Rusev is now in trouble.
OK, I have been wanting to use that line for a while. I never thought I could use a song by The Angels in a wrestling blog, but history has been made. The wrestling world can sleep a little better now that we know Dolph Ziggler is back in the WWE and the inevitable confrontation between he and Rusev is finally going to happen.
Somehow, I wish it wasn’t. If there was a match that looks good on paper, but will probably look bad in the ring – given both Lana and Summer Rae figure to be involved somehow, this is it. Frankly, both WWE stars deserve better. Rusev has fallen from a former United States Champion to wrestling in essentially a mixed tag match against one of the best performers in the business today, who also happens to be involved in a love tryst that has less chemistry than AJ Lee and CM Punk on screen.
Sorry, I had to throw that one in there.
Now that Ziggler has made his triumphant return to action (after an injury at the hands of Rusev and a crutch to the throat), is this the fate bestowed upon him from now on? Will Ziggler, who works harder than one on the WWE roster, other than maybe Daniel Bryan when he is in action, be the fall guy who has to work sad programs to remain relevant on television?
Gosh, I hope not. What a waste of talent if that is the case.
Ziggler was battling Daniel Bryan to claim the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania in one of the better ladder matches we have seen in some time. Like I said, no one works harder and no one sells for his opponent better than the former World Title holder. You would think with the lack of faces on the roster the company would make a push for him to get some crack at a title or a better program. After all, isn’t Ryback holding the Intercontinental Title right now?
In wrestling, beating your opponent is not as important as your opponent selling for you. It’s a lost art form that Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat, Ricky Morton and Ric Flair all made famous. CM Punk was great at selling for The Miz, Alberto Del Rio, and John Cena. But looking at the current WWE roster, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose get it. Others, not so much.
NO CLEAR WINNER
I suspect there will be a lot of interference in the WWE World Title match featuring Seth Rollins and John Cena, which will lead to a rematch at Night of Champions. Now that John Cena has put it out there that he intends to tie Ric Flair’s 16 world title reigns and took jabs at Triple H while doing it, you can expect the COO of the WWE to be involved in this match one way or another.
This is also a match which could go long – similar to the 30-minute ballet Cena had with Cesaro earlier this month. This is also a match where there is no clean winner and controversy will erupt. Gosh, when is the last time that has happened in a title match (note the sarcasm)?
There will be no resolution on Sunday night. Rollins way win the battle, but in the end, Cena will win the war.
HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE AIN’T MY BROTHER
In what I think could be the surprise of the night, look for there to be some kind of drama in the tag match between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. The Wyatt Family.
Could there be a rift between Reigns and Ambrose? Will the members of Happy Days have a falling out?
Reigns has essentially been Ambrose’s sidekick for the better part of the past month, so it only seems fair to reason that he will turn on his “brother” in crime.
This won’t result in Reigns joining the Wyatt’s, which makes no sense at all, but it does mean that the wrestler who has been the biggest disappointment on the WWE roster this year will turn heel, get major heat from the fans, and finally realize his potential as a future world champion.
If Seth Rollins is going to be the lead heel of the WWE for the foreseeable future, he will eventually need to file for divorce with The Authority and forge his own identity with the company that helped make him a household name.
This isn’t a foreign concept in the wrestling business as many superstars have been able to sustain their careers, even become bigger stars while marketing themselves as lead dogs, not just ones who follow or hover around the pack.
Ric Flair was famous for this. As a singles competitor in the Mid-Atlantic region, Flair was still able to win titles and feud with the likes of Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, Jack Brisco and Ricky Steamboat.
The Four Horsemen were a major part of Flair’s appeal, mostly because the three other wrestlers within the stable – whether it was Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Barry Windham, Lex Lugar or any other addition to the famed group – held titles alongside the greatest world champion of all time.
Flair knew when to ally himself with his running mates and knew when to stand on his own two feet and take on the best of the best in the NWA or WCW and even in the WWF/E when he was champion or a member of Evolution.
Rollins may never be a Flair or a Steamboat, but he has the look of the hated villain whose in-ring promotion is getting better by the day. And now with his ability to stand on his own and win matches, it means he can bring in money for the WWE much like John Cena or Shawn Michaels or even Flair did back in his prime.
The recent events involving John Cena and the broken nose seen worldwide has made the current WWE World Champion even more dependable. And with SummerSlam less than two weeks away, the company is in the process of safeguarding Rollins against the possibility of not facing the current United States Champion due to his facial injury.
Whether it is Cena or Randy Orton, who became the No. 1 contender for the company strap after beating both Cesaro and Kevin Owens on Raw, the world title match should be a highlight of the night. Rollins can certainly carry his own weight against either former WWE champion.
A STORM IS BREWING
Another solid move by the WWE is the Brock Lesnar/Undertaker match that could mean the loser retires from the WWE.
According to sources, a stipulation that the loser of the match (Undertaker) must retire could be added to the match, only heightening its appeal with the crowd. It also means that much like the World Title Match, this is a main event that could go longer than anticipated.
I am not all that thrilled about that kind of match, but it adds interest and could mean Undertaker beats his long-time nemesis. My thoughts have always been that the final chapter in the Undertaker’s career should end with a feud with Kane. There is too much history and heat when these two lock it up in the ring for this not to happen.
If there is one common denominator to the Undertaker and his career in the WWF/E, it has been his connection to Kane, Paul Bearer and the urn. There has to be closure for the Dead Man to drift off into wrestling’s underworld.
For now, we have to be pacified by the anticipation of two heavyweights beating the hell out of each other in New York on August 23.
A SHOW STOPPER
Am I the only one who is excited to see both Cesaro and Kevin Owens in the ring? Am I the only one who thinks this could be a match that steals the show in New York? After watching the two in the ring, especially in the Triple Threat Match on Monday night with Randy Orton, I am convinced both wrestlers should receive a huge push once the second most important pay-per-view in the WWE concludes.
Feuds have a way of evolving and taking over events, changing course and direction and shocking us all. Whether it has been Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio or even Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, the fans have witnessed greatness and have begged for more. This is the kind of match that could lead to a mention for “Match of the Year” and a feud that may run for another pay-per-view or two, fade away, and is revisited in the future.
While the Dolph Ziggler WWE contract rumors were fun while they lasted, the former WWE champion has put them to rest.. Rumors of Dolphs demise were premature. Ziggler has re-signed with the WWE and will be hanging around the mid-card for years to come.
Dolph Ziggler is a rallying cry of what some would call “hardcore fans” on social media. Dolph’s fans have been demanding better things for Ziggy and a bigger push. They got it a couple of years ago but an injury derailed Ziggler’s push and while he has flirted with the top, he has yet to ascend to that spot on the card which is why rumors of Dolph leaving have fans excited about his future.
“Regarding any rumors going around about Ziggler, his contract and leaving, this is the situation. Ziggler’s contract does expire in a few months and there are those close to him that have said he is at least considering what decision to make regarding his future that wouldn’t include WWE. I’ve got no idea what he’s going to do, past the idea he has talked with people about his options away from the promotion.”
Meltzer also broke down the economics of Dolph leaving and estimates that he could make up to $400,000 a year off of a mix of independent wrestling gigs, and possible Mexican and Japanese opportunities. Meltzer pointed out that a big difference in those economics are travel expenses which are currently unpaid in the WWE. Ziggler would have had all of his trans covered and could make a nice living doing what he wants and more importantly on his terms.
Those rumors and speculation can be put to rest. Dolph re-signed with the WWE last week. Mike Johnson over at PWInsider.com was the first to break the story. Ziggler had some fun with it on Twitter but in speaking with the Boston Herald over the weekend, confirmed the story and explained why he is opting to stick with the WWE as opposed to hitting the independents.
”I mean, it feels like I started here, I should end my career in the WWE,” he said. “I feel like they like having me around and I love working here, so it would be really hard to walk away.”
Ziggler has been a WWE wrestler for over ten years. Ziggler joined the company in 2004, starting in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Ziggler got a big push fast as WWE world champion in 2009 and had a final reign as champion in 2011. Ziggler is arguably a top three worker in the WWE and there is no telling what he could do without limitations. Ziggler’s last taste of a push came at the Survivor Series when he was the lone survivor for Team Cena and sent the Authority packing. For whatever reason, Ziggler hasn’t seen much of the top since.
I think Ziggler’s best play to get a bigger push was to leave and come back in a couple of years like Chris Jericho did the first time. At the same time, you can’t blame the guy at all for opting for financial security and his desire to continue performing on the biggest pro wrestling stage in the world. I also think it’s time to stop complaining about Ziggy’s push. It obviously isn’t bothering him and he is laughing all of the way to the bank.
“I’m thinking about it right now. I had a request for an upcoming contract that would end a few months from now, maybe two or three months from now, and they requested back what they would like, I countered another offer and we’re waiting to finalize some things.
I love WWE and I can’t picture myself wrestling somewhere else but it’s also becoming now where that Wednesday and Thursday, I can’t just do that and get some outside live events for comedy and different movie and television options, which would only be to promote myself as a WWE Superstar, to make myself a bigger star so I can advance more in WWE. So if I can’t find that happy medium, I might have to go away for a little bit”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The WWE’s chance to remake Damien Sandow has just begun.
After a heartfelt testimonial by the newest face in the company, the once proclaimed “Intellectual Savior of the Masses” could be exactly what the WWE needs as a fan favorite that isn’t the over-the-top sensation of Dolph Ziggler or the rugged heavyweight like Roman Reigns. Being in the middle of the pack will actually help Sandow’s career. If the WWE bills him correctly.
Since WrestleMania, the WWE has traveled down several roads with some good programming.
John Cena versus Rusev has been as good as advertised.
The dissension in The Authority is just the right blend of calm and chaos.
Randy Orton’s involvement in the World Title picture has been successful.
The King of the Ring Tournament has come at the right time.
Neville himself is worth the price of admission to a WWE live event.
Dolph Ziggler is the company MVP and does not get the recognition he deserves.
Now comes the hard part of maintaining momentum with key role players such as Sandow, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt and Ryback. The WWE has started this year, albeit five months in, on a great pace. Now comes the hard part of maintaining the speed without losing the focus. All too often, that has been the issue with management and the creative team.
Daniel Bryan News
Actually, there is no real news about Bryan. Since he was removed from the card at Extreme Rules, there has been very little say about the reigning Intercontinental Title holder. If Bryan remains out of action, does this mean the Intercontinental Title will be back up for grabs at Payback and if so, who will the contenders be?
I would love to see another show like the one at WrestleMania. It was just too sweet!
Lana’s Big Push
This one’s for all of us blond lovers. Lana is about to get a serious push to be the face of the WWE’s Diva’s Division.
That’s great news for her fans (most of them male) and some bad news for Rusev. All of this may come to a head at Payback, I would think. It seems the WWE has realized the potential of the heart-stopping blond and have planned the divorce of the big Russian and his beautiful sidekick. Only problem is we all know Lana is the lead of this twosome. How the company plans to promote Rusev following the split is anyone’s guess.
I hope a loss to John Cena in an “I Quit” match and a planned breakup will not stop the momentum of the WWE’s truest heel right now.
According to a story on Inquisitr.com http://www.inquisitr.com/2054835/wwe-news-wwe-pushing-lana-to-become-female-face-of-wwe-set-to-drop-russian-gimmick-soon/ that first appeared on The Wrestling Observer, “The WWE is planning to split Rusev and Lana and push Lana into a position where she can be the face of the WWE Diva Division. The split with Rusev will reveal that Lana is, in fact, American and not Russian. From here of course WWE will turn Lana into a babyface.”
I wonder how that plays into the company’s plans since Naomi and almost all of the current Divas on the roster appear to have gone rogue.
Happy Birthday to The Rock
A huge shout out to The Rock as he celebrates his birthday, tomorrow. Dwayne Johnson will be the big 42 years old.
He has had seventeen championship reigns in WWE, including ten as a world champion, winning the WWF/E Championship eight times and the WCW/World Championship twice. He won the WWF Intercontinental Championship twice and the WWF Tag Team Championship five times. He is the sixth WWF/E Triple Crown Champion, and won the 2000 Royal Rumble.
And most of all, he showed he can still “Bring It” when he and Ronda Rousey got in the ring at WrestleMania 31 to confront Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
Will we see The Great One back in the ring soon? I sure hope so.
WWE kicked off the post-WrestleMania season with Extreme Rules. Seth Rollins barely escaped with the WWE title, John Cena and Rusev took their heated rivalry to yet another level with a Russian Chain match, and Roman Reigns stood tall over the Big Show on a show that exceeded most expectations going in.
Seth Rollins retained the WWE title over Randy Orton in a cage match. Good match here but really hurt following the madness of Show and Reigns. This match was wrestled like an old school style cage match as it started out very slow and grueling. I’ll give them credit as the crowd stuck with it, even with the slow start. J&J Security appeared at one point to try and pull Rollins down. Orton pulled him back into the cage and super-plexed him off of the top. The story at the end was Orton seemingly had a chance to leave the cage but he preferred to pin Rollins instead. Orton stalled around for a bit and hit a Pedigree for a two-count. The fans were going nuts for Orton with “Yes!” chants. Orton then set Rollins up for a punt. Rollins ducked and hit an enizguiri. Rollins yelled at Kane to open the door which he did. Orton pulled Rollins back in and hit a back breaker. Orton tried to walk out and Kane shut the door on him. Rollins wound up dropkicking the door and knocking Kane out. Orton and Rollins wrestled at the door. Kane slammed the door on the heads of both guys with the announcers questioning who the target was. Kane took his jacket off and went after Rollins. J&J got in his face and were chokeslammed. Kane teased chokeslamming Rollins and wound up chokeslamming Orton instead. Rollins went for the door and was dragged back in by Kane. Kane chokeslammed Rollins. Kane draped Rollins over Orton. Orton kicked out. Orton hit an RKO on Kane. Rollins then hit an RKO on Orton and crawled through the door to escape the cage and retain the title. The announcers argued whether the RKO was banned for both, seemingly setting up the story for a rematch at Payback.
It would appear that the direction they are going in will be Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns and Orton at Payback. I thought it was odd that they played a Payback commercial in the beginning of the show which promoted Reigns seeking revenge on Rollins. Regardless, Rollins is clicking as a champion. The crowd hates him yet seemed highly interested in his match from start to finish. I think the stuff with Kane is fine (the crowd absolutely loved it) but it’s a little distracting at this point with everything else going on. Overall I think Rollins did a great job headlining his first WWE PPV/Special Event as WWE champion. The booking of Rollins as a heel WWE champion has been nothing short of excellent thus far.
John Cena defeated Rusev in a Chain Match. Whether it was better than WrestleMania or not is a matter of opinion. I thought it was pretty good but maybe not quite at the level of Mania. The fans were into it and rarely will you see a WWE crowd going crazy for John Cena after a victory. This was your typical Russian Chain Match that saw each guy trying to hit all four corners. The end came when both guys hit three corner subsequently. Cena wound up getting Rusev into an A.A. allowing him enough time to touch the fourth corner and win the match. The big story of the match was Rusev sending Lana back to the locker room. They had a vignette after the match which saw Rusev yell at Lana and send her into the Authority’s office.
John Cena and Rusev will wrestle at Payback in an I-Quit Match. Most expected that to be the stipulation at Extreme Rules whereas the chain match came as a surprise. I’ll be honest. I can’t think of many Cena post-WrestleMania feuds I wasn’t burnt out on after one or two matches. I have no problem with a fourth match here. All of their matches have been different, none boring which is more than I could say about Cena’s post-Mania feud with Bray Wyatt last year. I’d hate to see Cena go 3-0 on Rusev at this point but I have no problem with this. It should be pretty damned good, especially if it is the final match in the feud.
Roman Reigns defeated the Big Show in a Last Man Standing match. The big spot in the match was Reigns getting up after being chokeslammed over the top rope through two tables. I’d say that the match was way better than anyone probably expected. It started off slow but really picked up towards the end. Show was on the attack for most of the match with Reigns looking to use tables throughout the match. The story of the match was Reigns getting constantly knocked down and getting back up…the same story you saw at WrestleMania. Show cleared out the announcer’s table and set up the ringside stairs next to it. Show wound up going through a table after missing a charge. Reigns speared Show when they got up. Reigns speared Show through the barricade at ringside next. Show tried to chokeslam Reigns on a table. Reigns speared Show while Show was standing through the announcer’s table. Show beat the count. Reigns then buried Show under the announcer’s table and stood on top of it to get the 10-count and the win.
This was not the way I would have liked to see Reigns bounce back after WrestleMania. He struggled just as much if not more with Show than he did with Lesnar. Perception is reality and he continues to be marginalized with this Big Show feud. I would have liked to have seen Reigns more dominant against Show or someone of that caliber. Michael Cole said that “Reigns has arrived tonight” after the match. Lawler repeated the stupid line. You can tell us that as much as you want but all people saw was a guy struggling more with Big Show than he did with Brock Lesnar. The idea that he arrived after beating a guy who has probably lost 75% of his matches on a B-show is laughable.
Reigns will get another shot at the headline spot in a few weeks. He’ll be in the main-event at Payback either against Seth Rollins or a Triple Threat Match with Randy Orton. I don’t think the match tonight hurt him in any way, yet I don’t know if it helped. We’ll see. To his credit the crowd was going crazy for him after the match.
A couple of random notes to wrap this up. The announcing may have been among the worst calls in all of WWE PPV history. The tag team championship match exceeded any of my expectations. Daniel Bryan didn’t wrestle and the word is that his injuries may be worse than what is being reported. The Chicago crowd was into everything all night and one of the best that the WWE has had sans post-Mania RAW shows in a while. The WWE will also be bringing back the King of the Ring tournament to the network.
Full WWE Extreme Rules 2015 results and winners… Seth Rollins defeated Randy Orton in a Steel Cage Match
Roman Reigns defeated the Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match John Cena defeated Rusev in a Russian Chain Match
Nikki Bella defeated Cameron Dean Ambrose defeated Luke Harper in a Chicago Street Fight
New Day defeated Tyson Kidd and Cesaro to win the WWE tag team championship
Dolph Ziggler defeated Sheamus in a Kiss My Arse Match
Neville defeated Bad News Barrett
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?
Is there any reason to not to believe Daniel Bryan and Dolph Ziggler will steal the show at WrestleMania XXXI?
There are nine days until the event, which is just enough time for the WWE to continue to build the Intercontinental Title Ladder Match as best as it can – which so far has been one of the highlights of the WM pregame. But if you ask me, the idea of a Bryan-Ziggler feud is about as exciting as it can get in the WWE right now, and in creating such a rivalry, it will help re-establish the title once thought to be the stepping stone to becoming the WWF-WWE champion.
Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Steve Austin and Triple H were all title holders before moving on to the golden nugget of the promotion. Ziggler and Bryan have both held the brass ring before, which makes the potential for a solid program moving toward the summer months. I spoke of title unification of the IC Title and the United States Title at SummerSlam between John Cena and Bryan before, but adding Ziggler to the mix, with his ability to take over a match and deliver nightly makes this an even more captivating possibility.
Are you listening, WWE creative? This is the kind of match the fans want to see. This kind of rivalry conjures memories of Michaels and Hart, Ricky Steamboat and Randy Savage and Savage and The Ultimate Warrior. In other words, make it so.
For everything Bryan and Ziggler are, they do not have rivals like their predecessors did. Austin had The Rock. Michaels had Hart. Sting had Ric Flair. Savage had Hulk Hogan. That might be the missing link to the decline in ratings, creativity and lack of attention from its fan base. Somewhere along the way, the company has gotten away from its core – the fact that feuds and rivalries mean something in this business.
The basic premise of professional wrestling was established on the idea of a face and a heel and interchangeable parts – meaning characters who could move in and out of those roles. While there was a given that Hulk Hogan was always the main face of the WWF, there were other “role” players who filled in, like Warrior, Savage and Roddy Piper. The next generation had its share as well, with Michaels, Hart, Rock and Austin, however those lines were skewed based on the idea that cheering the heel was a “cool” thing to do.
Now, with a company that promotes the 10-minute match and does not revert back to sensibilities of older fans, it loses steam. A great 30-minute “wrestling match” is just as valuable to its viewership, but ladder matches and other hardcore events lead the way. If this is the case, then Bryan and Ziggler are the ideal paring to face each other in a feud, which I hope leads to a confrontation with Cena with the IC and US Title as part of the program.
The WWE has the talent in the mid card, with Stardust, R-Truth, Dean Ambrose and others (yes add the current IC champion, Wade Barrett to that list) to give the fans the matches they want. The company must use this match as a springboard for the next few months, creating more opportunities for potentially great feuds. Ambrose and Stardust could be one. We have yet to see if that could work. What I am trying to get at here is the WWE started to put all of its eggs in the heavyweight basket, trying to prove it could only find success if the bigger, stronger wrestler led the way. While Vince McMahon is doing his best to accomplish that with Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns, he cannot succeed like he wants to and now, by switching gears a bit, he has created more drama.
And if anyone loves drama, it’s McMahon.
The WWE World Title match may give the company its desired champion, but it still will not appease the fans. Ziggler, Bryan and the mid card does just that.
And to steal a phrase that is picking up some steam with the show of shows less than two weeks away – You Can Believe That.
Originally posted April 1, 2012 – It was the old WWE guard that ruled WrestleMania 28. The Rock returned and finally settled his score with John Cena after a year, but it was Triple H and The Undertaker that stole the show and pulled off one of the most dramatic WrestleMania matches in WWE history.
The Rock pinned John Cena in a match that was made by the awesome crowd reaction in Miami. The crowd was about 75/25 in favor of The Rock. The atmosphere alone will certainly make this one a classic. The two opened up trading headlock combinations to a lot of Cena booing. The Rock went for a Sharpshooter early that was countered by Cena rolling out of the ring.
Back in the ring Cena wore The Rock down with a few shoulder tackles and then a clothesline. A “wicked clothesline” according to Michael Cole. Cena then applied an awkward looking bear hug to The Rock. The Rock punched out of it but wound up hitting the floor.
Cena dropped The Rock on the announcer’s table. The Rock was holding his ribs. Cena kicked the ribs and rolled The Rock back inside the ring for a two-count. Cena hit a belly-to-belly suplex on The Rock for another two-count. The Rock powered out but Cena went back to the bear hug. Yes, another bear hug. 1981 called and they want their rest-hold back. The Rock finally hit a DDT to break Cena’s momentum, yet he continued selling the ribs.
The Rock finally hit his usual set of moves and went for The People’s Elbow but was cut off by an STF attempt by Cena. Cena wound up regaining control and dropping a Five Knuckle Shuffle. The Rock slipped out of an A.A. and the two double downed on a clothesline.
Both guys got back up and traded punches. I should point out that Cena was in control for most of the early going here in the match, almost making this look like a squash match. Cena had an answer for everything while The Rock struggled. The fans stayed with it though which kept it strong.
The Rock hit a Rock Bottom out of nowhere for a close fall. Cena recovered again. I don’t even know why they bothered booking the match if they weren’t going to give The Rock much. It really came off like a big squash at this point.
The Rock tackled Cena and applied a Sharpshooter in the middle of the ring. Cena broke the hold on the ropes. Rock went back to the hold. Cena broke the hold again on the ropes. The People’s Champ went to the floor and dropped some elbows and punches on Cena. The Rock sent Cena into the steel stairs. Cena then flipped into the ring and caught The Rock in the middle with an STF.
Once The Rock got out of the STF he hit a Samoan Drop on Cena. Both guys were down. On their feet, both guys traded punches and kicks. The Rock hit a Spine Buster on Cena. It was People’s Elbow time! Cena rolled up The Rock for a near fall. Cena dropped The Rock and hit a slingshot into the turnbuckle, followed by a near fall. The Rock blocked what looked like a Superplex attempt by Cena. The Rock then hit a cross body block off the top, Cena rolled through, hit the A.A. and got a near fall. The crowd went absolutely nuts for this sequence!
Cena then went for a People’s Elbow. The Rock caught him with a Rock Bottom and dropped him for the three-count and the win! The place went nuts for the unexpected finish.
Obviously they are setting up a rematch here. I have to be honest, I have very little interest in seeing that. This was a fun match for the atmosphere alone but the match itself was a bit disappointing to me. To be fair, it is possible that they are saving their best for the rematch.
The Undertaker went 20-0 defeating Triple H in one of the most dramatic WrestleMania matches you will ever see. I can’t rave about this match enough. A bald Undertaker and Triple H started off the match with The Undertaker dropping Triple H with several right hands. They had a nice back and forth in the open in your typical pro wrestling brawl. The explanation about The Undertaker’s bald head was that he cut his hair off until Triple H accepted a rematch.
Triple H was the first to hit the cage as the Dead Man threw him to the fence while both were on the floor. The Undertaker pushed Shawn Michaels out of the way early as Michaels tried to check on Triple H. Triple H took the brunt of the punishment early on. The Undertaker also went “old school” and walked the ropes early as well.
Triple H finally got the upper hand using steel steps that The Undertaker brought into the ring. The Undertaker reversed a Pedigree attempt on the steps. I want to note how great the crowd was during this match. The audience was super hot and popping for everything they did. Hunter regained the upper hand after dropping The Undertaker with a Spine Buster on the steps. The Undertaker then grabbed Triple H in a triangle choke or “Hell’s Gate” as the WWE calls it which Hunter broke by slamming him.
Triple H then proceeded to absolutely brutalize The Undertaker with several chair shots to the back. Michaels told Hunter to cover him but he didn’t. Hunter then shoved Michaels aside and continued pounding The Undertaker with chair shots, telling Michaels to end it or he would. The Undertaker told Michaels not to stop the match as Hunter yelled “stay down!” Triple H finally went for a cover with no avail.
The story here was Hunter continually asking Shawn to end the match or he would. Triple H then brought the sledgehammer into the match and told Shawn he was ending it one way or the other. The Undertaker kicked out of a sledgehammer shot to a big ovation. Michaels finally grabbed the sledgehammer out of Hunter’s hands.
The Undertaker wound up choking Shawn Michaels with the “Hell’s Gate” when HBK went to check on him. The Undertaker did this to stop Michaels from stopping the match. Michaels was out at this point. Now Hunter was caught in the triangle choke but the match had no referee at this point. Hunter grabbed the sledgehammer and dropped it. Hunter was choked out at this point but Michaels was still out cold as well.
New referee Charles Robinson ran out to get into the match and take over. The Undertaker then choke slammed Triple H for a near fall. These guys had great drama going at this point. The Undertaker then choke slammed Robinson. The Undertaker pulled Hunter up for a Tombstone, Michaels nailed Taker with Sweet Chin Music, Triple H Pedigreed him, and Undertaker kicked out in a classic WrestleMania moment.
Triple H then tossed Michaels outside of the ring. The Undertaker nailed Hunter with several shots and dropped him for Snake Eyes and a big boot. The Undertaker Tombstoned Hunter for a near fall in another classic moment. The match was at a level above last year’s at this point and I loved last year’s match.
After a back and forth Triple H nailed a Pedigree for another close three count. They had 60,000+ on their feet. The Undertaker had a chair and Hunter had his sledgehammer at this point. The Undertaker then proceeded to brutalize and pay back a Hunter with chair shots. The chair shots were so hard it bent the chair up. Triple H kicked out once again.
Triple H gave Taker a crotch chop sign and was then immediately dropped by the Dead Man. The Undertaker went for the Tombstone, dropped Hunter, and got the three-count for his 20th WrestleMania win in an absolute classic. I didn’t think they could do it but they topped last year’s match and more. Great match!
Both guys were laid out due to exhaustion as the cage went up. Michaels looked down at both men. Triple H was out cold and The Undertaker could barely get to his feet. Michaels pulled Undertaker up and the two hugged. There was a fireworks celebration that followed to celebrate 20-0. The Undertaker staggered around a bit after the fireworks. He and Michaels pulled up Triple H and walked him to the back.
CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE championship. John Laurinaitis told CM Punk in the back before the match that he would change the WWE championship if Punk lost his temper and got disqualified. Jericho spent the early portion of the match trying to lure Punk into getting himself disqualified. Eventually the two wound up breaking into a pretty good match. The highlight of the match was Jericho suplexing Punk over the top from the ring to the floor.
The match was really hurt by following the Hell in a Cell match. It was a good match but the crowd really took awhile to get into the match. In all fairness the crowd seemed to be pretty into it towards the end. Punk won the match with the Anaconda Vice in the center of the ring. Jericho tapped out.
Daniel Bryan vs. Sheamus for the WWE world heavyweight title opened the show. I loved the choice of going with Bryan vs. Sheamus, great way to set the pace of the show. Behind the scenes it was a great spot for them as they don’t have to worry about match time being cut. Bryan had a ton and I mean a ton of “Yes” signs in the house.
The match was over in a matter of seconds. Sheamus nailed Bryan with a Brogue Kick right after the bell was sounded for the win and the WWE world heavyweight championship in 18 seconds. I hated this. What a waste of one of the best workers in the company here. It reminded me of when I went to see a New Japan show live in the 1990s and was pumped to see Jushin Liger vs. Ultimo Dragon and yet they ended the match in about 90 seconds. I have one word for the booking here, “No!”
Kane defeated Randy Orton in a bit of a surprise. Orton was going for the RKO from the top but was instead chokeslammed from the second rope. I am not sure what is going on with Orton but it almost appears that the guy is getting buried. Quite frankly he was treated much better when he was an undisciplined troublemaker. I wouldn’t call it a bad match but it was certainly a waste of Orton in my opinion.
The Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes to win the WWE I-C title. Not a bad match, but more like your typical television bout. Most of the match saw Show throw Cody around until Cody worked over Show’s knee. The finish came on a second Disaster Kick attempt by Cody who was caught and dropped by The Big Show. Big Show pulled the strap down ala Jerry Lawler and knocked him out with the right hand. Show ends Cody’s 233 WWE intercontinental title reign. Show cried after the match and really put the win over nicely here.
Maria Menounos pinned Beth Phoenix to win the Divas tag team match. This was actually a bit better than I expected, not that I expected much. The biggest disappointment was the unflattering pants attire of Maria Menounos. Hey if you are going to force me to watch her wrestle, at least stick her in a bikini
The Miz pinned Zack Ryder to win the 12-man tag team match. John Laurinaitis will now have total control of SmackDown and Monday Night RAW as the G.M. The finish came when Zack had The Miz set up for the finish and Eve Torres came into the ring. The referee turned around and told Eve to leave. Zack confronted Eve, turned around, and received the Skull Crushing Finale. Eve kicked Zack in the groin after the match. I was expecting a lot more here, although to be fair they were following the Hell in a Cell match.
Overall I’d say it was a one match show. The Undertaker vs. Triple H match was so good that I would recommend the show simply for that. The Rock vs. Cena felt flat to me as a match, although the atmosphere made this at minimum a WrestleMania classic moment. The rest of the card was good but nothing else really stood out to me. I’d rate this one slightly better than last year but that isn’t really saying much now is it?
The elephants in the room here are Batista and Brock Lesnar. It was reported by numerous sources over the weekend that both were at WrestleMania. Most fans assumed that they would be a part of the show, specifically Brock Lesnar. I would be absolutely shocked if Lesnar does not appear on RAW tomorrow night in some major angle. The plan at this point appears to be to announce a big match tomorrow or at least set up a match tomorrow for next year. The WWE would generally shake up RAW the night after WrestleMania in the past with big angles. Look for that this Monday on RAW. Otherwise I have no explanation for the absence of Lesnar and Batista.
Full WWE WrestleMania 28 results & winners… Primo & Epico defeated Justin Gabriel & Tyson Kidd and The Usos in a Triple Threat Tag Team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Sheamus defeated Daniel Bryan for the World Heavyweight Championship
Kelly Kelly and Maria Menounos defeated Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres
Team Johnny (David Otunga (captain), Mark Henry, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, The Miz, and Drew McIntyre) (with Vickie Guerrero) defeated Team Teddy (Santino Marella (captain), R-Truth, Kofi Kingston, Zack Ryder, The Great Khali, and Booker T) (with Hornswoggle)&Aksana vs. in a 12-Man Tag Team match to determine General Manager of both the Raw and SmackDown brands
Kane defeated Randy Orton
The Big Show defeated Cody Rhodes for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
CM Punk defeated Chris Jericho to retain the WWE Championship
The Undertaker defeated Triple H Hell in a Cell match with Shawn Michaels as Special Guest Referee
The Rock defeated John Cena