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WWE Elimination Chamber 2015 Predictions and Preview

May 29, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE will be presenting its first Network-only special event from the main-roster on Sunday night. The Elimination Chamber returns with two chamber matches in addition to a rivalry renewed and the main-roster debut of the NXT star of the future. Let’s break down the card and take a look at the top matches on Sunday’s event.

Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins for the WWE world championship

Count me in as a fan that will never sick of seeing these guys wrestle, even when the go-home angle features Ambrose in a goofy police getup. I was excited when it became clear that the WWE was bringing this rivalry back. I can’t think of many better rivalries in 2014 that the WWE had. Adding the component of the WWE world championship could only make this one better…or so I thought.

I blogged extensively this week about the problems I am having with Seth Rollins as WWE world champion. Unfortunately Rollins’ cowardice is hurting this second chapter in the rivalry for me. I preferred to see these guys both want to tear each other up limb from limb but at least we are guaranteed a killer match on Sunday. I also think that a golden opportunity was blown here by not putting Ambrose over for the quick reign at Payback.

I don’t think there is a person reading this blog that believes that Ambrose is going to win on Sunday. That said, I think that Ambrose should absolutely win on Sunday. Ambrose has something special and it was never more evident than when he was featured last year during Roman Reigns’ absence as a top babyface. Ambrose has something and unfortunately for him, the company refuses to embrace and run with it.

This renewed friendship between Reigns and Ambrose seems rather suspect to me. If not for the fact that the company still has big plans for Reigns as a babyface, the friendship seems set up for Reigns to turn on Ambrose. This match would be the perfect set up for it. It will probably wind up with Ambrose turning on Reigns and I could see the finish on Sunday playing a big part of it. I think Rollins retains the title due to some kind of interference from Reigns that backfires on Ambrose. The company needs to give Reigns something to do while Rollins gets ready to wrestle Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. A feud with Dean Ambrose is probably the way this thing plays out which takes us to Reigns vs. Rollins in the fall.

John Cena vs. Kevin Owens

I can’t recall a time where there was a match this close to predict. By watching RAW the last two weeks one would have to presume that Cena is beating Owens here. Owens has laid him out twice and Cena put him over big on promos. Yet Owens is red hot right now as NXT champion and all reports from behind the scenes are that management is very high on him. Do you have Cena get laid out two weeks in a row and lose…to a guy from the minor league nonetheless? Or do you have your star of the future get beat in his first big match on the main roster? There is no clear cut right or wrong answer here.

I am sure this will be a real good match. The goal here has to be to make Owens shine as he is a star of the future for the company. One thing you could do here is tell a story where Owens has Cena’s number throughout the match and Cena wins with a veteran move, telling the story that it was Cena’s savvy from being a top WWE performer for the last several years that gave him the edge. Leave the rivalry open and when and if the time comes when Owens comes up to the main roster for good, they pick right back up again with Owens winning the next phase of the feud. That said, when is the last time anyone on the upswing ever got the better of Cena in a feud? CM Punk would probably be the only guy I can think of and there have been a lot of them.

I think Cena does go over here and Owens has a strong showing. They could really do something special here and have Samoa Joe interfere, building heat on the Owens-Joe rivalry while introducing Joe to the main roster. That would work for everyone but at the end of the day I don’t see that much time being invested into a guy with a part-time NXT deal. I predict Cena goes over and social media goes wild once again with anti-Cena venom.

Sheamus vs. Ryback vs. R-Truth vs. King Barrett vs. Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler – WWE Elimination Chamber Match for the Intercontinental title

This is a real tough match to predict. First of all let me say that I think this match rests on the shoulders of Dolph Ziggler. If Ziggler fights until the end I think we see a real fun match here. If Ziggler is an early exit, I think this match struggles a bit. No pressure at all Dolph.

So who walks away with the intercontinental title? I think you have to go with Rusev here. Rusev is coming off of three straight losses to Cena in addition to losing Lana. The company invested a lot of time into him over the course of 2014. That investment is all for nothing if the feud with Cena turns into a downward spiral. I don’t think it makes sense for the belt to go on anyone but Rusev. Which means that it will probably be Sheamus who wins. I’ll stick with my Rusev prediction, possibly coming down to a battle of the big men with Sheamus to decide the title and the match.

Note: Rusev suffered an injury this week and is questionable for Sunday’s event. If he can’t go I’ll go with Sheamus for the win and the title.

Full WWE Elimination Chamber 2015 card and matches…
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
John Cena vs. Kevin Owens
Sheamus vs. Ryback vs. R-Truth vs. King Barrett vs. Rusev vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Elimination Chamber match for the vacant WWE Intercontinental Championship
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. The Lucha Dragons (Kalisto and Sin Cara) vs. Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (with Natalya) vs. The Prime Time Players (Darren Young and Titus O’Neil) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) vs. Los Matadores (Diego and Fernando) (with El Torito) in a Tag team Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Nikki Bella (with Brie Bella) (c) vs. Paige vs. Naomi (with Tamina) in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Divas Championship
Neville vs. Bo Dallas

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Kevin Owens: A Victory Over John Cena Would Cement his Spot on the WWE Main Roster

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

After going head to head against John Cena in a stellar segment on Raw, Kevin Owens made it clear that he is on the same level as the United States Champion. Owens is an imposing force within NXT, and plays his heel character to perfection. By securing a victory over Cena at the upcoming Elimination Chamber event, the NXT Champion could prove to the mainstream WWE audience that he is one of the best performers in the company today.

John Cena is coming off of his third straight pay-per-view event victory against Rusev. Another win isn’t necessary for Cena to be taken seriously by the audience, nor will it assist him in gaining any momentum moving forward. If Kevin Owens defeats John Cena in his inaugural WWE match, however, it would skyrocket him towards the top of the company.

While he’s no longer in the main event scene, John Cena is still the most popular performer in WWE, and is arguably most famous superstar of his era. Securing a victory over the man who has been the face of WWE for more than a decade would undoubtedly give Owens the credibility he needs to become an upper echelon performer on WWE’s main roster.

Kevin Owens retained his NXT Championship title in a match against Sami Zayn at NXT’s special event, Unstoppable, on Wednesday night, and subsequently began a feud with new NXT star, Samoa Joe. It’s more than likely that this feud will continue in NXT, which makes it seem as though Owens’ match with John Cena at Elimination Chamber will be a one-and-done type of event. Cena defeating such an overwhelmingly popular NXT star in a meaningless match would be an awful move, as it would stall Owens’ momentum and make him appear to be less of a threat when he does make the move to the main roster on a full time basis.

From a storytelling standpoint, John Cena losing to Kevin Owens simply makes the most sense. Not only has he been consistently battling challengers in the weekly “John Cena United States Open Challenge” on Raw, but he was also recently involved in several hard-fought matches against Rusev. All of the physical and psychological damage that he has sustained over the past few weeks should be taking its toll on the United States Champion, and as a result, he gets defeated by an amateur. If any character could possibly exploit that and use it to their advantage, it would be Kevin Owens without a doubt. Cena could then seek his revenge on Owens when he becomes a full time member of the roster, setting up a meaningful feud that could potentially benefit both performers.

The roadblock that could possibly prevent a Kevin Owens victory from actually happening is WWE’s dedication to John Cena. Allowing their most prominent performer to lose a match against an unproven main roster rookie such as Owens would be a tough sell. Cena has become notorious amongst the WWE Universe as a performer that always emerges victorious in the end, even against his toughest opponents. Three things in life are guaranteed to WWE fans; death, taxes, and John Cena winning. Cena taking a loss to a debuting performer just seems too out of the ordinary for fans to believe that it could actually happen.

NXT, however, seems to have that same level of dedication for Kevin Owens. He was inserted into the main event scene the same night that he made his NXT debut in December, and won the NXT Championship just two months later. Owens has the support of Triple H, on screen and off, and is presented as the next big thing in the company as a whole. He has the support of the audience, puts on stellar matches on a regular basis, and is always furthering the development his character. If there was ever a time for a rookie to make an enormous impact on WWE’s main roster, it’s now, and Kevin Owens is the character who could pull it off flawlessly.

A win over the United States Champion also presents an opportunity for Kevin Owens to continue paving the way for more NXT performers to make the jump to WWE’s main roster. From Tyler Breeze to Bayley, there are countless performers anxiously awaiting their chance to play in the big leagues, and Owens being booked properly would give the audience hope that their favorite NXT stars will be properly utilized upon their arrival.

Kevin Owens is just one of several NXT performers that have recently made their main roster debuts; Neville and Sami Zayn both appeared on Raw in recent weeks to accept John Cena’s open challenge, but both failed to defeat the United States Champion. The success of WWE’s developmental brand is seen throughout the main roster, from Roman Reigns, to Rusev, to Paige. The hope now is that the people in charge see what this victory could potentially mean for Owens in the long run and execute the booking of this match accordingly.

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WWE Payback 2015 Results: Rollins Retains, Rusev Quits

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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WWE Payback 2015 Predictions and Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Rusev Must Defeat John Cena At WWE Payback 2015

May 13, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I can’t recall someone rising to the top in the WWE as quickly as Rusev did in 2014. The WWE booked him better than any new heel in a decade. Yet Rusev is facing a crossroads at Payback which could bring all of that momentum to a screeching halt.

While Rusev had experience outside of the WWE before signing in 2010, he didn’t have the pedigree that other guys like Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, and Seth Rollins had before coming up to the main roster. Rusev is about as “home-grown” as it gets and for all of the criticism that the developmental system has gotten over the years, they got it right with him. They truly molded this raw talent into a money-drawing WWE machine.

I never would have imagined that a Russian menace gimmick in 2014 would have gotten as over as Rusev did, but it did. Credit goes to Rusev, Lana, and the bookers who protected Rusev and shielded him away from the 50/50 booking we have all come to know and hate. The rivalry with John Cena was a natural hit and for the first time in several years, fans were booing the heel against John Cena.

I had no problem when Cena got his first win over Rusev at WrestleMania. Rusev had done enough damage, including scoring a win over Cena to sustain his momentum. Everyone has to lose at some point, even Brock Lesnar has lost since he returned. Rusev remained hot with the loss and most would agree that he and Cena had the hottest feud going into WrestleMania. Everything was clicking and Rusev was still red hot.

Cena defeated Rusev at WrestleMania but you know what? It was okay. The match was presented as a special event and Rusev received an entrance that separated him from the other WWE stars on the show. Win or lose, Rusev was still coming out of WrestleMania as a hot heel on the upswing. His trajectory looked much different than Bray Wyatt’s did last year coming out of the Cena feud.

Then there was Extreme Rules. Extreme Rules was a different animal. It wasn’t WrestleMania, Rusev didn’t get the glitzy treatment, and it was a specialty match that benefitted Rusev. Sure, Rusev wasn’t pinned nor did he submit in the match, but he lost his own match. Not only that, this was the first disappointing match in the series. The stipulation prevented the guys from tearing down the house as they have done in their previous meetings. Ironically, this was the same problem with Wyatt vs. Cena last year at Extreme Rules and Wyatt still hasn’t recovered from the disappointing match.

Now we have Payback. The feud appears to be heading to a crescendo in a few weeks. Unlike Mania and even Extreme Rules, Rusev cannot lose this match! Losing three in a row against Cena will be an albatross that Rusev may never be able to disassociate himself with. While some will argue that wins and losses don’t matter, I would disagree. Winning and losing individual matches may not matter as much, but losing three in a row, including the finale is a killer. Rusev cannot afford this loss.

Looking at the big picture, I feel it is more important to bring Rusev out of this feud hot than it is Cena. Cena has sustainability and even after going 1-3 against Lesnar, he barely missed a step. As a matter of a fact, I could argue that losing was probably the best thing for Cena. A win for Rusev would set him up for inevitable showdowns with Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, and yes the beast incarnate Brock Lesnar. While those matches will still be intriguing, they will not have the same zest with Rusev hobbling out of this feud without his belt, his girl, and three losses in a row.

Orton, Reigns, and Lesnar need Rusev to remain hot and sustain his momentum as the year progresses. Those are money matches right there that the will all be hurt by another Rusev loss. It is critical that Rusev wins at Payback. The future of the company depends on it.

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Rusev May Lose Credibility as a Top Heel Character at the Hands of John Cena

April 29, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Most fans assumed that the “Russian Chain Match” at Extreme Rules would be the finale of the Rusev vs. John Cena storyline. However, it was revealed after Cena secured the victory against Rusev that the last match in this feud will take place at WWE’s next pay-per-view event, Payback. Now, WWE needs to tread carefully from a booking standpoint if they want Rusev to remain successful. Losing yet another match to John Cena could potentially hurt Rusev’s credibility, and could possibly damage the character as a whole.

Their match at Extreme Rules was presented to the audience as Rusev’s specialty matchup. It was a “Russian Chain Match”, and everything surrounding the match seemed work in Rusev’s favor. The stipulation gave both men the ability to shine in a loss, as pin falls or submissions were irrelevant. Although he ultimately lost to Cena, Rusev had a dominant showing throughout a majority of the match. Rusev was not pinned by Cena, nor did he submit, but two consecutive pay-per-view losses certainly won’t help the character’s momentum moving forward after his feud with Cena comes to an end. Rusev was able to look strong in the defeat, but this result may have set him up for failure in the long run.

Instead of ending the storyline at Extreme Rules and allowing Rusev to start acquiring wins elsewhere, the company has decided that one more match is required before this feud concludes. If Rusev loses the next match, he’ll suddenly have a 1-3 record against John Cena. Possessing that record, especially against Cena, will unfortunately place Rusev into a spot that so many other performers have found themselves in over the years; Ryback, Bray Wyatt, and even Seth Rollins are just a few examples of performers who had a tough time regaining their momentum after losing big matches against John Cena.

As we all know, wins and losses don’t tell the entire story of a character in professional wrestling. The quality of an opponent, the timing of a victory or loss, and the accompanying storyline all play important roles in the characters’ overall journey.

All of these elements are now working against Rusev as he heads into his final match against John Cena.

Rather than presenting Rusev to the audience as an intimidating force moving forward, the company now risks the possibility of all of the momentum he has gained thus far being diminished as a result of another loss to John Cena. This potentially devastating loss awaits him in an “I Quit” match at Payback.

In stark contrast to the “Russian Chain Match’, an “I Quit Match” is, for all intents and purposes, John Cena’s specialty match. Cena’s character revolves around never giving up, so it’s obvious as to how this stipulation works in his favor. Of the four “I Quit” matches he has been involved in over the course of his WWE career, John Cena has yet to lose one. The Miz, Randy Orton, Batista, and JBL have all fallen victim to Cena when this stipulation is in play.

While WWE is usually very careful with how they book a performer in a big loss, there is no way to protect the loser of an “I Quit” match. This type of match results in an extremely meaningful win for one character, and an extremely damaging loss for the other. The story that is told throughout the course of an “I Quit” match is simple; one man overpowers their opponent and proves that they are the better man. A Rusev loss will clearly mean that Cena broke his will, something that should never happen to a successful, monstrous heel such as Rusev.

John Cena is so established as a character, that he has the ability to bounce back from a big loss and still be highly relevant on WWE’s roster. However, Rusev has yet to make an impactful impression on the WWE Universe. Having Rusev actually surrender to Cena can potentially ruin his presentation as a heel character that should be feared by his opponents.

Just a few months ago, he was the most unstoppable force within WWE. At May’s pay-per-view event, Rusev stands to become just another one of Cena’s many victims. Similar to the way Bray Wyatt needed a rebirth after falling to Cena countless times, WWE will need to do some major character rebuilding for Rusev should he lose at Payback.

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John Cena, Daniel Bryan and other WWE Extreme Rules Thoughts

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

USA 2 Russia 0.

By winning the Russian Chain Match at WWE Extreme Rules over Rusev, John Cena has made sure every WWE fan who was in Chicago and those who watched from their televisions know one thing – the United States Heavyweight Championship is the most important title in the company right now.

As proven time and time again, the WWE will not let the 15-time world champion wander far from the top of the mountain. Even with the influx of talent in Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan, the WWE still needs Cena to make it all happen. This is much like the WWF in days gone by when Hulk Hogan held the company title for long reigns, losing it from time to time, but still coming back to claim it – the way Vince McMahon intended it.

Now that the Cena/Rusev program would appear to be finished at Payback, what happens next for Cena and better yet, what happens for Rusev. Will there be another formidable opponent for the Russian – who bleeds red, white and blue and can carry the pageantry of Cena? There is no one on the roster to give Rusev a true rivalry unless a newly title-less Cesaro turns face and challenges him.

And while we are on the subject, who is next in line for Cena? My money is on Sheamus or Bad New Barrett. There is still a thought on my part there may be title unification in the near future between Cena and whoever holds the Intercontinental Title.

Thoughts on Daniel Bryan

The moment I read that Daniel Bryan had been scratched from Extreme Rules, the idea of retirement came to mind.

Not that the current Intercontinental Title holder would be ending his career any time soon (although, we never know), but because concussions are injuries that seem to multiply. With the impact of Bryan in matches and the “car crashes” he endures on a nightly basis, will the for former WWE World Champion ever be the same as he was before his neck injury that sidelined him for months and this current injury, which seems to be worse than for thought?

Instead of the WWE trying to rush Bryan back, could this be a situation where a timetable for the wrestler coming back healthy is still not known? In the meantime, the state of the Intercontinental Title is still up in the air with Bad News Barrett still the top contender for the title.

Does the WWE hold a tournament for the title, should Bryan not be able to wrestle and does Neville’ win over Barrett last night have any bearing on the title situation, should it change?

Let them all wrestle

I like the idea of wrestling programs regardless of their status with the WWE. In the WWE World Tag Team Title Match and the WWE Divas Title Match, all opponents were heels. Maybe that is the road this company needs to travel.

Since the WWE cannot seem to decide which way to turn, why not give the fans what they want – matches that pit WWE superstars against each other – regardless of which side of the fence they stand? Wouldn’t Cesaro vs. Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns vs. John Cena be worth the price of admission?

In years past promotions were against face vs. face or heel vs. heel matches. Now, with the commonality of the business, and the idea that being “bad” is cool, let’s just give the fans feuds that make the most sense rather than worry about what side they stand. Maybe that is truly what is best for business.

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WWE Extreme Rules 2015 Results: Rollins Retains, Reigns Stands Tall

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

Seth Rollins Extreme Rules 2015WWE 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

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WWE Extreme Rules 2015 Predictions and Preview

April 23, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE will have its annual WrestleMania rebound special event on Sunday with Extreme Rules. The gimmicked show will feature two old school stipulations in what appears to be a fairly predictable show.

Hey I’ll concede that it will never be easy to follow WrestleMania, but this year’s Extreme Rules event is a bit of a letdown. The omission of Brock Lesnar from the event really hurts whereas everything else seems so inconsequential in relation to Lesnar’s storyline with the Authority. But it is what it is and while I wouldn’t expect a great show, these shows generally deliver a lot of fun.

Let’s take a look at the key matches, break them down, and pick some winners.

Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton for the WWE world heavyweight championship/RKO Banned in a Steel Cage – Rollins will get Orton as his first challenger to the WWE title. The main-event is a rematch straight out of WrestleMania. It is interesting to note that what was an undercard match that wasn’t all that compelling is now the main-event of the show. Talk about a promotion!

I will say this. I thought that next to Lesnar vs. Reigns that Rollins vs. Orton was the best match on WrestleMania. I have no problem with these guys wrestling again, especially if they are given more time. Orton has been on fire since Mania with his biggest babyface push in quite some time. Rollins has a lot of dynamics in play as well, maybe a little too many but the match certainly makes sense from a storyline perspective.

I would be flat out shocked if Orton won the title at Extreme Rules. Although this is one of those matches where the WWE really could go the surprise route in hopes that expiring free WWE Network subscriptions will get renewed out of interest. Otherwise there are already rumors of a Reigns vs. Rollins vs. Orton main-event at Payback. I think Rollins wins with some kind of help either intentional or inadvertent from Kane. It is way too easy for the WWE to play the Kane and Rollins fooled us all card. I think interference in favor of Orton backfires and Rollins retains the title. It also wouldn’t shock me if Payback switched to Kane vs. Orton vs. Rollins.

John Cena vs. Rusev for the US championship in a Russian Chain Match – I would be a lot more excited for this one if we weren’t in the PG era. The idea of a chain match in a company where guys aren’t allowed to bleed sounds very unappealing. I am not sure how they pull this one off without blood but I certainly wouldn’t expect either one of these guys to go rogue and get red.

I love this feud and by all accounts most fans are into it. I am not sure what you do here. Cena can’t lose the title after a month and Rusev can’t lose two in a row, especially his own gimmick match. I have seen a lot of these four corners matches over the years and most end with a cheap finish. Again like the Rollins match, I could see a Rusev surprise here in hopes of converting Network squatters. In the end I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Rusev wins and maybe Cena gets the belt back at the next show. I just think that they have too much invested in Rusev to book him to lose twice. Although you could have said that a few years ago about Brock Lesnar.

Roman Reigns vs. Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match – This company just doesn’t get it and appears to be no closer to rebuilding Reigns than they were before WrestleMania. It’s a damned shame as Reigns could have come out of WrestleMania with some momentum yet this feud with the Big Show has been nothing more than a big anchor. This feud must not continue!

Unfortunately it is and I have a feeling that this match will not help Reigns out in the least. Reigns needs to get in there at Extreme Rules and lay Show out quickly. That won’t happen. Last Man Standing Matches are either really great or really slow and boring. Sadly I see this one falling into the slow and boring category. I don’t think anyone in their right mind books Reigns to lose here.

As far as big matches go that’s it! Daniel Bryan is in limbo right now and even if he does make the show, how much is he really going to do? Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose in a Street Fight could be fun if they didn’t already wrestle each match as if it was a Street Fight. Ziggler vs. Sheamus will be as good as the time they are given. Overall I expect a fun show but far from anything near the greatness we saw at WrestleMania 31.

Full WWE Extreme Rules card and matches…
Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton for the WWE world heavyweight championship/RKO Banned in a Steel Cage
John Cena vs. Rusev for the US championship in a Russian Chain Match
Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett in a WWE Intercontinental championship
Roman Reigns vs. Big Show in a Last Man Standing match.
Sheamus vs. Dolph Ziggler in a Kiss Me Arse Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper in a Street Fight
Nikki Bella vs. Paige for the Divas championship

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John Cena is the Greatest Heel in the Pro Wrestling World

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

Over the past decade John Cena has been WWE’s main attraction, their star. Cena is the face of the world wide phenomenon known as the WWE and there’s no denying he will be the face of the company for the next few years. WWE has relied on him to be ‘the go to guy’ and he has delivered as supposedly, according to most fans, their biggest babyface. While many fans see Cena as their “hero” and “idol”, other IWC members known as “smarks” love to hate him. John Cena might be a polarizing figure but he is certainly not a babyface…he is a heel, in fact he is currently the biggest heel in the wrestling world.

Whether you love him or you hate him, at the end of the day the fans have strong feelings towards the face of WWE. If you’ve been to a live WWE event, you can hear the hostility in the air as soon as Cena’s music hits. Over the past decade John Cena has truly become the biggest heel in wrestling due to the fact he’s turned into everything the average WWE fan despises. The once freestyling rapping, badass has turned into a wrestling version of Tom Brady. Like Brady, Cena has money, fame, Nikki Bella, and a Hall of Fame Championship Resume. So what would make fans hate a guy that is one of the biggest Make-A-Wish and WWE stars of all-time while preaching “Hustle, Loyalty, and Respect?

Many fans in the wrestling world hate John Cena because he’s been pushed down our throats and rarely puts fellow wrestlers over (not that it’s his fault). The best way to build a star in professional wrestling is for an up-and-comer to beat an accomplished wrestler on a big stage. We truly believe Wyatt losing to Cena slowed his momentum last year, Bad News Barrett had his push destroyed by Cena as well. Fans hate how John Cena’s character has become stale over the years, week in and week out we, the fans, either hear the former “Dr. Of Thuganomics” come out to the ring and shout out “Never Give Up” wearing t-shirts with very bright colors while looking like superman in the ring.

Fans of WWE are tired of seeing John Cena portray the unbelievable role of the ultimate superhero. Adults are not very fond of superheroes. They are even less fond of corny-looking bright attire which is obviously used to please the kids. Cena doesn’t look like a tough guy’s wrestler even though he is built like a tank. He also rarely loses a big matchup without some kind of interference or unfair tactics being used by his opponent. Notably, Cena has only lost cleanly a few times in recent history, Losing WWE titles matches to Daniel Bryan at Summerslam 2013, to Brock Lesnar at Summerslam last year, and losing to The Rock at WrestleMania 28.

Another pet-peeve plenty of wrestling fans have against John Cena is how World Wrestling Entertainment only markets him. Sure WWE features other wrestlers as they film movies at WWE Studios, but never do we see the likes of Seth Rollins, Daniel Bryan, or Dolph Ziggler being featured on shows like “Saturday Night Live” or “The Tonight Show”. WWE has grown used to the idea of planting Cena’s face on every collector cup or magazine cover possible, many in the wrestling community believe Daniel Bryan could do a great job in the same spotlight Cena has been in over the past 12 years.

What makes Cena so hated even as a mid-carder now is that he’s still playing the same role he would play holding the WWE Championship. Plenty of fans feel John Cena only used the rapper gimmick to gain superstardom only to drop the act and show the entire world who he really is and what he’s truly about. If wrestling was about shaking hands and kissing babies, John Cena would be the greatest of all-time. Die-hard fans of wrestling love a character who isn’t afraid to have an edge, break the rules, and is constantly reinventing himself. The Undertaker is a great example of molding his character with the times.

Fans dislike John Cena because he is nothing like The Rock and Stone Cold. Adult WWE fans are very nostalgic about the Attitude Era, which spanned the late 90’s and early 2000’s. This was the time during which The Rock and Steve Austin became extremely popular, selling out arenas and garnering mainstream popularity. Professional wrestling was at it’s peak then, and the storylines were far edgier, more violent and a treat for adult fans. After Austin and Rock left, WWE transitioned into having John Cena as the top babyface, he is basically too repetitive and cartoonish for Attitude Era fans.

Bottom line, fans of wrestling are ready to see the future of wrestling. There’s so much raw talent in the WWE with the likes of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins, and Roman Reigns there’s no need to showcase Cena as much anymore. Seth Rollins has flourish in his role as a top heel in the company and the current WWE Champion. Roman Reigns despite getting the same fan response as Cena, continues to improve and Dean Ambrose is extremely over with the fans and is making strides as an potential World Champion.

Many people compare John Cena to a modern day Hulk Hogan, even Hogan at one point recognize when he was becoming stale, stagnant, and corny, he made an heel turn and became greater than ever. His time is up, his time is not now, John Cena will always be stale, stagnant, and corny, and for that he will always be the greatest heel in the wrestling world.

So while hundreds of fans see Cena as their idol and the biggest babyface in the WWE, people have to realize that that Cena is in fact the biggest and greatest heel in wrestling. Cena will continue to be the biggest heel as long as WWE Creative continues to book him the way they do now. Cena is hands down the biggest heel in the WWE and from this angle there is no denying that.

This article was co-written by CamelClutchBlog’s Max Cruze and Sherron Watson who currently writes for PWInformant and WWERumblingRumor; you can follow him on Twitter @S_Watson1982 and @MaxCruzePW

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