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
Aside from Bruno Sammartino and Tito Santana, there aren’t many wrestlers who can say they enjoyed a decade-plus run in WWE without once turning heel. Sure, Rey Mysterio was booed more out of fan annoyance than genuine hatred (Eddie-sploitation, being the 30th entrant in the 2014 Rumble instead of Daniel Bryan), but Mysterio was the consummate pro: a man who broke new barriers for undersized high flyers as oftentimes the most exciting performer on a given show. His runs in ECW and WCW set the stage for a lengthy stay in WWE, land of the giants, where he broke the glass ceiling several times though his daring leaps and well-honed underdog persona.
Going through Mysterio’s long run with WWE turns up the expected stockpile of captivating matches, boasting the sorts of dives, jumps, and crashes that explain a timeline of knee surgeries that has cruelly been mocked by armchair sloths each time he goes on the DL. In between those sideline stints, here are Mysterio’s ten best matches under the WWE banner.
10. The 2006 Royal Rumble Match (Royal Rumble, 01/29/06)
Not even in the upper echelon of greatest Rumbles (1990, 1992, 2001, 2004), but needs to be on this list for two obvious reasons: Mysterio breaking the longevity mark (1:02:12, a record that still stand today), and actually winning the match itself. Mysterio’s entire 2006 became a sour blur of him almost literally becoming the late Eddie Guerrero in his quest for, and run with, the World Heavyweight Title, and his co-opting of Guerrero’s low-rider prior to the match reeks of button-mash pandering (moreso when we saw where the story went). Still, his endurance was most impressive, and the ending with him overcoming Triple H and Randy Orton to win was quite satisfying.
9. vs. Kurt Angle (SummerSlam, 08/25/02)
From the time the Filthy Animals faded into oblivion to Mysterio’s WWE debut, it seemed fans had forgotten just how special this athlete truly was. Upon his debut for the company at age 27, Mysterio reminded everyone of his world-class agility and precision, wowing Smackdown crowds en route to the SummerSlam bout with Angle, who famously called him a 12-year-old boy out of anger. Angle and Mysterio kicked off the greatest SummerSlam of all time with a bout laden with innovative counter-attacks and high-impact wrestling, what you’d expect from both in their primes. Angle won by countering a rana into the Ankle Lock, but what was packed into nine minutes was something else.
8. vs. Dolph Ziggler (SummerSlam, 08/23/09)
Mysterio’s fireball presence makes him a natural show-opener, and he would open SummerSlam four times in his career. This Intercontinental Title defense against a then-untested Ziggler was thought to either to be a formula win for Rey, or a way to get the belt on an unproven developmental call-up in order to falsely justify him to a too-hip-for-that audience. Mysterio did win, and in the process used the twelve minutes to piece together a sleeper of a bout, exchanging heart-pounding near-falls down the stretch. If you’re looking for the moment where Ziggler began turning heads, look to this match here. Mysterio did what he does best, elevating the guys he works with.
7. vs. Eddie Guerrero (Judgment Day, 05/22/05)
The 2005 feud with a soon-to-depart Guerrero started out enjoyable enough, rooted in a haunted Guerrero finding himself unable to cleanly defeat his good friend. It degenerated into a farcical custody storyline in which Eddie claimed to have helped inseminate Rey’s wife in creating son Dominick (and you thought PG-WWE was bad), but this B-show match did without that silliness. Continuing the original story, Guerrero threw everything including the metaphorical kitchen sink at Mysterio, and still couldn’t beat him. Interference from nephew Chavo still can’t close the deal, and Mysterio just about wins until Eddie blasts him with a steel chair. For once, a DQ finish didn’t even feel cheap – it just reinforced the angle that Guerrero couldn’t beat Mysterio.
6. vs. Eddie Guerrero (Smackdown, 03/16/04)
Times sure were different one year earlier – Guerrero was WWE Champion and Mysterio the on-again/off-again Cruiserweight Champion (off at this point). Mysterio won a gauntlet series earlier in the night, earning an immediate shot at Guerrero’s title, and damned if this match wasn’t Smackdown’s best in a dreary 2004 for the brand. The action is literally non-stop save for some arm-work in the earlier stages, and is only a couple shades off of their Halloween Havoc 1997 all-timer. Guerrero avoided the Dime-Drop, and cradled Mysterio to retain the gold after a wild near-twenty minutes of duration, and ended up being the apex of Guerrero’s doomed title reign.
5. with Billy Kidman, vs. The World’s Greatest Tag Team (Vengeance, 07/27/03)
Perhaps the most underrated WWE PPV ever (this match along with Benoit vs. Guerrero, Cena vs. Undertaker, and Lesnar vs. Angle vs. Show), Vengeance was a snapshot of what Smackdown in 2003 was: a bold and fresh alternative to the one-note wankfest Raw had become (Smackdown’s only hindrance: wretched McMahon involvement). Mysterio and ex-Animal comrade Kidman took on Charlie Haas and Shelton Benjamin for the Tag Team Championship, and were given fifteen minutes to put together a lost tag team classic in an era rife with them. Haas and Benjamin retained with a modified Doomsday Device on Mysterio, but not before the faces teased the crowd to its nerves with a near victory.
4. with Edge, vs. Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle (Smackdown, 11/05/02)
Frequent use of the “Smackdown Six” (these four plus Los Guerreros) in interchangeable bouts left the brand new Tag Team Titles ripe to be watered down. This ended up basically true, even if it gave us these classic matches. Sixteen days after Angle and Benoit got the gold, they lost the belts in a two-out-of-three falls match to Mysterio and Edge in a sadly-overlooked encounter. Benoit was pinned to end the first, and Edge tapped to Angle to even it up. The third fall seemingly ended with a Mysterio victory roll, but Angle being in the ropes led to a restart. Mysterio blasts Angle with a 619 on the floor (using the ringpost as a wraparound point), and Edge spears Angle after nearly a half-hour to capture the titles.
3. vs. Chris Jericho (The Bash, 06/28/09)
Long before Cody Rhodes and Dean Ambrose made all-too-plain their intentions to restore legitimacy to the IC Title, here were Mysterio and Jericho doing just that, understated in words, explicit in action. Jericho had just won the belt three weeks prior at Extreme Rules, and Mysterio put his mask on the line for the rematch. Crowd was living and dying on a million and one crazy counters, including Mysterio escaping a torture rack with an intricate DDT. Jericho, who made his obsession with Rey’s mask clear, ripped it off, only for there to be a second one underneath. Mysterio won shortly thereafter, culminating a feud that was an oasis in a desert that was WWE’s 2009 in decline.
2. vs. John Morrison (Smackdown, 09/01/09)
Shortly after the earlier-mentioned sleeper epic with Ziggler, it was announced that Mysterio would be out for thirty days after testing dirty in the company’s Wellness Policy. On the way out, Mysterio would have to drop his Intercontinental Title to someone, and rising babyface star Morrison (no stranger to the situation, given his passing the ECW Title to CM Punk two years earlier under the same circumstances) would receive the torch. If the match was an attempt to rehabilitate his image in light of the bad news, Mysterio made the match count, taking up almost a quarter of TV time in a hyper-driven babyface clash, losing clean as a sheet to Starship Pain.
1. with Edge, vs. Chris Benoit and Kurt Angle (No Mercy, 10/20/02)
The tournament final for the new WWE Tag Team Championship was hailed as 2002’s match of the year by many outlets (it’s neck and neck with Shawn Michaels’ comeback against Triple H for me), and its string of crisp sequence after crisp sequence makes it hard to argue against. You know WWE has high hopes for a match when there’s two heat segments, one each for Mysterio and Edge to play hero-in-peril, paid off with multiple near falls in the homestretch. Angle made Edge submit to the ankle lock to close out the lengthy battle, with Wrestling Observer, Pro Wrestling Torch, and RSPW each selecting the match as the best of 2002.
You may have a better chance of picking the winning Power Ball numbers than figuring out what the WWE intends to do not only with the Royal Rumble match at the upcoming pay-per-view event, but also with the Triple Threat match for the WWE World Title between John Cena, Seth Rollins and champion Brock Lesnar.
Now that Roman Reigns has appeared to have stuck his foot in his mouth and the fans and company have cooled on him becoming the next big thing in the WWE, the likelihood of Armageddon will not take place with a Royal Rumble win and showcase at WrestleMania XXXI.
The company may also be setting us up for a Brock Lesnar face turn to finish out his run with the company. While I thought Lesnar winning the Triple Threat match was a virtual certainty this evening, now there are other possibilities that make the evening even more inviting. The one thing I am sure of is the idea John Cena will walk out of Philadelphia with either the WWE title on his waist or winning the Royal Rumble match.
So, what’s the promotion to do? Here are a few ideas…
HAVE LESNAR LOSE THE TITLE MATCH, BUT WIN THE RUMBLE MATCH
If a face turn is in fact in order, then Seth Rollins becomes the new “Edge” heel in the WWE. Rollins took a giant step toward becoming “the man” of the company when he curb stomped both Cena and Lesnar on Raw and then become the Lesnar ass kicking on the “go home” show Monday night.
If Lesnar loses the title and wins the Rumble match, it sets up a Paul Heyman/Triple H war of words for the next three months. It also becomes a Lesnar vs. Authority type feud, which this company needs.
This scenario works out the best for all parties involved and could – actually certainly – boost ratings.
ROLLINS WINS TITLE, DANIEL BRYAN WINS RUMBLE
The “YES!” movement is alive and well in the WWE and Bryan’s continued feud with The Authority is what is best for business. Taking on all of the Authority again makes sense to pick up where both sides left off when he was injured.
I like the dynamic of Bryan and Rollins as the main event for WrestleMania. A match of two cruiserweights may be more appealing and certainly more dramatic than seeing a super heavyweight just beat down a smaller opponent. Lesnar vs. Bryan or Lesnar vs. Rollins works, but it may not be as entertaining.
ROLLINS WINS TITLE, DOLPH ZIGGLER WINS RUMBLE
Another great match and the one I want to see more than any other in the WWE.
Rollins mic skills are getting better and his performance in the ring is spectacular. He gives an “A+” performance every time he gets in the ring.
Since Ziggler won the Survivor Series Match for Team Cena by pinning Rollins, this is also a redemption match and feud. The WWE should again let Ziggler become the torch bearer for the company. Besides Bryan, I cannot see another cruiserweight who can deliver a solid match (beside Dean Ambrose) in a main event match.
LESNAR WINS TITLE, REIGNS WINS RUMBLE
I am still throwing this one out there because it has been in the works for some time. The WWE has resorted to having Vince McMahon write Reigns’ promos since he is not the most gifted speaker when it comes to interviews. CM Punk he is not.
If the company wants Reigns to dominate the Rumble match, facing Lesnar at WrestleMania would be aces for pay-per-view audiences.
ROLLINS WINS TITLE, REIGNS WINS RUMBLE
This needs no explanation. Two former Shield members with a lot of bad blood still left to spill. Fans would eat this one up alive. And even if Reigns is not the best on the mic, it would sell like wild fire.
LESNAR WINS TITLE, ORTON WINS RUMBLE
Please do not let that happen. NO, NO, NO!
Orton is set to return to the Rumble as is Sheamus. The idea of Orton winning and facing Lesnar is a solid choice, but it is not fan-friendly. Forget the idea of Sheamus in the main event. Not Going To Happen.
CENA WINS TITLE, RUSEV WINS RUMBLE
This is the only match I would want to see that makes perfect sense if Cena should win.
Cena is an aging vet who has won everything, Rusev has not been beaten yet and loves to bash on America.
Problem solved. Cena needs to fight the good fight for the WWE, not himself. And while the masses are split on loving or hating Captain Jorts, there is one thing everyone can get behind – support for Cena against the big Russian. If Cena becomes The Rock or Sting of this year and fights for the company that made him famous, he becomes a true hero for the fans, and puts an end to the Russian’s abuse of America.
It is never to early to start making WWE Royal Rumble 2015 predictions. Let’s take a look at the big match, break it down Vegas style, and see who has the best chance of challenging for gold at WrestleMania 31!
I thought I’d have some fun and take a look at the chances that each top prospect has of winning the Royal Rumble using Vegas odds. Of course take these odds for what you will as I had Batista last year as the favorite with -200 odds and John Cena as the 2013 favorite with -6.25 odds, although to be fair I had 2012 winner Sheamus with 50 to 1 odds. This year is truly anyone’s guess at this point.
Of course things can and likely will change from now until the Rumble in terms of injuries, card placement, and even champions. We all think we know what the WWE has planned for the Rumble and WrestleMania, but what if we are all wrong? Let’s take a look and see what the match looks like on the Vegas sportsbooks.
Daniel Bryan – As of today all reports indicate that the Rumble winner is up in the air. If that is true, I have to think that Bryan has the edge. As long as he can get the Yes Movement to rev back up he should be right in the mix for top consideration. I think Seth Rollins being added to the main-event helps out the scenario as well. I love his chances!
Roman Reigns – Reigns was the odds on favorite for months to win the Rumble. The plan since last year’s Rumble was for Reigns to win the Rumble and defeat Lesnar at Mania 31. Things may have changed. Reigns missed time and during that time off his momentum cooled off considerably. Reportedly WWE officials are concerned about recent reactions to Reigns at the live events. I also think the situation with Rollins being added to the main-event doesn’t help his chances. He is still a favorite but he is far from the lock he was a month ago.
Odds: 2 to 1
Randy Orton – Orton comes in with very high odds entering this year’s Rumble. It would seem that the WWE has a big push in store for Orton, who is set to return as a babyface and feud with Rollins. It is not inconceivable to see Rollins win the Rumble and face Orton at Mania. Would it be a disappointment? Yes it would and the crowd would hate it but that won’t stop the WWE from proceeding with what they think is best. Just take a look at last year’s Rumble if you don’t believe me.
Odds: 7 to 1
Sheamus – Sheamus is rumored to be a big surprise at this year’s Rumble. It seems as if the WWE suddenly gets a renewed interest in Sheamus around this time every year, only for that interest to cool off over the next several months. I don’t think a Mania match with Sheamus and Brock is out of the question, yet it is doubtful. However, as long as the big guy is in the mix he is always in consideration of a big spot at Mania.
Odds: 10 to 1
Dean Ambrose – I would have loved to see Ambrose win the Rumble and I still would. Unfortunately the WWE did a great job of capping any momentum he had a few months ago. Ambrose has been beaten and made to look quite foolish in recent weeks. Not exactly the way you want to see someone booked before the Rumble eh? I would have loved to see it and a few months ago when Reigns went out, I would have predicted it. Unfortunately creative got in their own way and screwed it up for everyone.
Odds: 15 to 1
Bray Wyatt – With rumors of Bray facing the Undertaker at WrestleMania, a Royal Rumble win seems unlikely. However, the company is obviously committed to him and what happens if Taker isn’t coming back? What happens if the WWE already knows this or they have different plans for Bray? They obviously like Bray and have big things planned and while I don’t think he is a real favorite to win the Rumble, it certainly wouldn’t surprise me.
Odds: 15 to 1
Dolph Ziggler – Dolph is an interesting guy because just when you think he is relegated to jobber-dom, you get the Survivor Series win. He is being pushed hard right now as part of this Team Cena vs. Authority storyline and while I think Dolph winning would blow the roof off of the building in Philadelphia, I’d be surprised if they went that far with the former intercontinental champion at this time.
Odds: 24 to 1
The Big Show – Show is always in the running because as much as I am bored with him as a performer, the company always keeps him in the mix. I think it’s highly doubtful they go with Show in the title picture at Mania but you honestly never know what this company is thinking. Do I think it happens? No, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me either.
Odds: 28 to 1
Ryback – The big guy is the final guy who I will give any consideration to winning the Rumble. Ryback is another guy like many above who has been the victim of the start-stop push so you never really know what they are thinking with him. He was reportedly under consideration for a huge push at the Survivor Series, only to see those plans change shortly before the show. You know Vince loves his muscle guys which always makes Ryback a favorite in a Royal Rumble match.