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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John Cena’s Value to the WWE United States Title

April 03, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

As odd as it may seem, the WWE World Champion Seth Rollins is not the top down on the company’s ladder despite his win over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 31 last weekend. That distinction still belongs to John Cena, the current United States Champion, although the 15-time World Champion is third in position in terms of title distinction.

Any title that is associated with Cena still means something. The United States strap just got a jolt of electricity after being MIA for some time. With Cena and now Daniel Bryan maintaining the mid card titles, we shall see if the company will work hard to place a major emphasis on title reigns and feuds for these belts.

Back in the day, the United States Title meant something, especially in the NWA. Harley Race was recognized as the first ever champion, having beaten Johnny Weave in a national tournament in 1975. Since then, greats like Jack Brisco, Ric Flair, Wahoo McDaniel and Magnum TA made the belt popular, and in some regions that only saw the world champion when he toured the country, the United States Title meant as much if not more to that promotion.

Overall, there have been 79 different champions. Ric Flair holds the record for having the most reigns at six, while John Cena holds the record for most reigns under the WWE banner at four. Lex Luger holds the record for longest reign, with his third reign lasting a total of 523 days, while Dean Ambrose holds the longest reign since WWE reactivated the title, at 351 days (overall the third longest in the title’s history). Only two men, Lex Luger and Rick Rude, in history have held the championship for a continuous reign of one year (365 days) or more.

It is that kind of prestige someone like Cena brings to the current strap. This is his fourth title reign as he first won it back in 2004.

I’m reminded of great battles from the past like Magnum TA and Wahoo McDaniel, which eventually led to Magnum TA and Nikita Koloff and their Best of Seven series in the mid-1980s. Koloff, the then hated Russian, would not be denied as he took the strap much to the disapproval of the fans.

Koloff would defeat then Wahoo McDaniel to unify the NWA National Heavyweight Championship into the US title.

Those matches mattered as much as the U.S. Title match between Cena and Rusev last week. I did not necessarily agree with the WWE’s decision to take the belt from Rusev because his unbeaten streak and run through the roster was impressive – something the company needed in light of the Roman Reigns debacle. But when the move was made to make Rollins the new company title holder, letting Cena win the strap makes more sense after the fact. Does this mean that Cena will eventually get a title shot because he is now the U.S. Champ? Maybe not, given that there are others in line for the title.

Brock Lesnar will be given his rematch. The program between Randy Orton and Rollins is heating up again after the two were showcased last weekend. Daniel Bryan has to figure in the mix, having won the Intercontinental Title and of course, there is still Reigns to think of as a future champion.

If there was anyone on the roster who should have beaten Rusev to reclaim America, it was Cena. There is no other “patriot” who is as closely identified with the American spirit as Cena. And to have him hold up the United States Title is as important to the company as waving Old Glory with pride.

In this case, putting the strap on Cena is more than dollars and sense. It really about the right person to defend what makes us the most proud. And when someone steps on Old Glory, who else are you going to call on to defends its honor?

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WWE Extreme Rules 2015 Main-Events Announced

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

WrestleMania 31 isn’t even a week old yet and the WWE is moving on to Extreme Rules. The gimmicked up event will be taking place at the end of the month and we already have two big championship matches locked in and ready to go.

The early card features the typical WrestleMania rematch and a fresh WWE championship match in the headliner. The matches became official at Tuesday night’s SmackDown television taping. It’s early so we have a lot more weeks to go, but an early look at the card look something like this.

Randy Orton will challenge Seth Rollins in the main-event for the WWE world title. I would expect some kind of a stipulation to be added to the match, although nothing has been announced at this time. The match was expected as Orton is coming off a clean win over Rollins at Mania. The trajectory of this feud now brings some clarity to the mystery of Orton’s whereabouts the last few months and why the feud was held off as long as it was.

I have no problem with the match. Orton has his critics so I am sure that many will be lining up to complain about Orton headlining another WWE title match. Orton has been in that championship picture fairly consistently since SummerSlam 2013. I thought Orton and Rollins were only second to Lesnar vs. Reigns in having the best match at Mania. The two have great chemistry thus I have no problem seeing these guys matched up again. I would expect the feud to continue for another event or even two following Extreme Rules.

Some may complain that Roman Reigns is not in the spot. I think putting Orton in the spot with Rollins allows the WWE to repackage Reigns. Reigns desperately needs his momentum back. Even after a brutal show-stealing match at WrestleMania, the guy was booed out of the building Monday night. Something needs to be done here and it’s not forcing him down everyone’s throats. I like the idea of keeping him away from the title match and biding time until he is ready.

A big question is what you do with Reigns at Extreme Rules. Putting him against Big Show isn’t optimal although I think he has less of a chance getting booed out of the building against Show or Kane for that matter. A tag-team reunion with Dean Ambrose against Show and Kane could be another interesting idea. I think they need to put him in a situation where is safe from getting booed out of the building. Unfortunately the safest bets are Show and Kane. There are rumors of a feud with Bray Wyatt. That is a bad idea unless the WWE wants the booing to get louder for Reigns.

The other main-event probably isn’t much of a surprise. John Cena and Rusev will battle for the U.S. title at Extreme Rules. I’d almost guarantee some kind of a stipulation here. They did a deal with flags at SmackDown so I wouldn’t be surprised to see a flag added into it. My hunch is that it will be an I-Quit match but that is purely a guess on my part. The third match completes the trilogy and may end the feud at Extreme Rules.

Again I have no problem with the match. I couldn’t imagine these guys wrestling anyone different. The feud is hot and may be the hottest feud Cena has been in since the CM Punk feud of 2011. Who goes over is a big question here. I lean towards Rusev going over although it wouldn’t surprise me to see a different result. Cena certainly wouldn’t quit but they could do some kind of a screw job finish to get the belt back on Rusev. I also can’t fathom Cena walking around with the U.S. title for much longer.

It’s not a lineup that will get you pumped but if you look back over the last year, lineups like these are the ones that generally delivered big. It seemed that the lower expectations were going into a show (Survivor Series), the better the show turned out. I think the momentum sustains and we see another great WWE event at Extreme Rules.

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WWE Needs To Sustain Momentum With US and Intercontinental Titles

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

Going into Wrestlemania this past weekend, there were rumored plans in the works to increase the credibility of WWE’s two “mid-card” titles; the Intercontinental Championship and the United States Championship. Just as the rumors told, the titles ended up around the waists of top stars Daniel Bryan and John Cena. The question now is will WWE follow through with this title credibility plan and if so, how will they do it? Monday’s post-Maina Raw shed some light to begin answering these questions.

Sunday at an amazing Wrestlemania, we saw the first steps in the rejuvenation plans of the often forgot about titles as Daniel Bryan opened the card defeating six other superstars in an Intercontinental title ladder match. Later Bryan was shown backstage being congratulated by former Intercontinental greats Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Ricky Steamboat & Roddy Piper. Surrounding Bryan with these legends was an obvious attempt to begin adding credibility back to the title. Later in the show, John Cena defeated the monstrous Rusev to begin his fourth run with United States title. The rumored plan was now starting to take shape giving the titles needed star-power.

Monday on Raw, we saw plans for the titles move forward as both were defended in exciting, action-packed matches. The opening contest of the night saw newly crowned Intercontinental Champion Daniel Bryan defend against former champ Dolph Ziggler. The two competitors put on an almost flawless match with Bryan getting the win, and the fans left on the edge of their seats wanting more. Later in the night saw John Cena issue an open challenge for his newly won United States title, which was answered by former (and record-setting) United States champ Dean Ambrose. These two battled in an intense back and forth contest ending with Cena picking up the win. Cena commented after the match stating “I am proud of this championship, and I want to give it the meaning and equity it deserves.”

WWE showed its fans on Monday night with these great matches that the two titles are back on the radar and giving them star power with match quality is a priority moving forward. Now can they keep this momentum going?

For a long time, the Intercontinental and United States titles have had their credibility almost vanish as the result of poor storylines and often unentertaining matches. The Intercontinental title was once a pathway to greatness helping build such stars as “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Bret Hart, and Chris Jericho. The United States title in its own respect was a building block to future world champions such as Dusty Rhodes, Booker T., and even John Cena. What happened to the days when these titles meant something? WWE seems to be once again seeing the value of the two championships and is moving forward to bring them back to the prominent position they once had.

Earlier rumors said that with the possibility of Brock Lesnar retaining the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania, putting the mid card titles with Bryan and Cena would keep main events more interesting while Lesnar was away. Now that weekly mainstay Seth Rollins has been put in the World title position, will WWE continue with the plan of restoring the prestige to it’s once credible titles? Monday’s Raw was a fantastic start, but now we must wait and see what comes next.

Heading into Extreme Rules later this month and on through to Summerslam, I will be watching this title situation closely. The positive fan reactions WWE has received post-Mania should be a sign they are heading in the right direction, only benefiting Intercontinental and United States titles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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WWE WrestleMania 31 Predictions and Preview

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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