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WWE Money in the Bank: John Cena Won the Match, Kevin Owens is Winning the War

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

When is the last time you saw a John Cena match and thought it might have been the best matches on the card if not THE best of the night?

Thank the good lord for Kevin Owens.

Forget the ending and the “Happy Days Moment” which really had no place after he pinned Owens. (I am so glad Cena got planted) Cena showed he can still put on one hell of a match. Owens and Cena have now fought to a 1-1 draw, where you know there will be at least one more match before this feud is over.

And we as fans welcome the chance to see the same action in the ring as the two matches before provided.

Bravo, Woot Woot! Give us more.

Owens took Cena to the limit and back many times over. And for once, maybe the Cena we are all witnessing is the Cena we should have been seeing all along. For years, many of us have thought Cena has been rigid, unwilling to sell and did not want to sell principle for a chance to give others a spot at the top of the mountain.

For the past two months, we have seen Cena in a new realm. The United States Title is the strap by which wrestlers get over with the help of the 15-time world champion. Yes, times are changing in the WWE. And frankly, Cena has earned more of my respect. I am not a Cena fan for his in-ring performance (while I think what he does for Make-A-Wish and cancer research is pretty freaking awesome), but the change in his attitude and demeanor has brought me to understand that Cena’s role with the company is one of mentor not just moneymaker.

One of the things I appreciated about Ric Flair more than anything was his ability to sell for his opponents and help them make money. He did that for Sting, Barry Windham, Lex Luger and others throughout his career. Maybe some of that “Woooo!” is rubbing off on “Everyone’s All American.”

There is no doubt there will be another match between Cena and Owens and no doubt it might be better than the performance we saw Sunday night. It will be hard to top, but Cena makes Owens a better wrestler and vice versa.

There comes a time in every athlete’s career where they realize there are others who are better or more charismatic or they have that “it” factor that will make them great. Owens, in a very short time, has proven he can take arguably the greatest to ever wrestle in this promotion to the limit and to a place I thought was only reserved for the likes of CM Punk. I was wrong. Kevin Owens is on par with John Cena – there is no doubt about that.

But once the magic is gone, meaning Cena is no longer the object of Owens anger, who takes his place? Which WWE superstar will be pared with the NXT champion? Will it be someone like Randy Orton or will the company as Dolph Ziggler to do the honors? A loss tonight did not hurt the momentum Owens has created – especially after he assaulted Cena after the match. The WWE must be careful how they package Owens and book him after the Cena feud. He cannot just go back to NXT and be the forgotten foe. This will certainly test the creative team in Stamford to give Owens the platform to continue to jump off of.

In this case, losing to John Cena is not the end of the world for Kevin Owens. In fact, the loss tonight got him over more with the fans and like the current US champ said, he belongs in a WWE ring. Let’s just hope he does not become a forgotten man once he leaves the ring with the man who helped put him over in the first place.

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WWE: The John Cena Debate: Cena Will NEVER Turn Heel

June 08, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Adult cancer patients don’t get to participate in the “Make-A-Wish” foundation. But if they did, I wonder how many of them who are wrestling fans would want to meet John Cena. Would he be the one person, over anyone else, they would ask to spend time with?

This week, John Cena’s picture and video from Raw of getting in the ring with a child who brought a sign to the show stating, “I am beating cancer” is getting mixed reviews. Some have claimed it was plant, just to boost the United States Champion’s appeal since he had just lost Kevin Owens at Elimination Chamber. Others are applauding him for his continued support of “Make-A-Wish” and the children he sees when they ask to visit with “The Champ.”WWE: The John Cena Debate: Cena Will NEVER Turn Heel – http://ow.ly/NWsn8 | #WWE by @DavidLevin71

For whatever side you are on when it comes to Cena, and the millions who love him and hate him at the same time, it cannot be argued that his work outside the WWE is without approach. And for that reason, there is no reason to believe the 15-time world champion will ever take a walk on the dark side.

In reference to Paul Laska’s blog yesterday “Another Turn John Cena Heel Blog,” sorry, I have to disagree with you on this one.

Cena is as close to, if not more than, Hulk Hogan of this generation.

I agree with the majority of Laska’s comments and think there is some turn validity to them – especially this portion of his post…

Remember nineteen years ago this coming summer where a superstar turned heel that sent shockwaves throughout the world or professional wrestling? That wrestler was Hulk Hogan. He turned on his good friend Randy Savage, formed the NWO, and basically spat in the face of the past and those fans and kids supporting Hogan. Hogan told those kids to train, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins to stick it.

His character needed a jolt and the heel turn far exceeded its expectations. The point is Hogan became WWE champion on January 23, 1984 and over the next decade put made professional wrestling mainstream. His act was getting stale into the nineties and really needed a change. The best to liven it up was becoming a heel. In fact, Hogan became the biggest heel in all of professional wrestling at that time.

Turning John Cena will bring the casual viewers back and stir up discussions over the internet. It’s a win-win because the current Cena haters will either hate him more or join him. The kids and ladies will boo him loudly. The one caveat is that he should not be included in The Authority and claim that he literally carried the WWE on his back while trashing the “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” motto telling kids it was all false hopes letting everyone know he is the WWE since he became a WWE champion in the early 2000’s.

Here is where the difference becomes obvious between the two WWE superstars.

Cena holds those values as close to himself as a person – so it seems – than anyone else in the business. We don’t see the inside of Cena’s life, aside from E! Entertainment and a well-publicized divorce. Those things do not change who he is in the ring or how he works tirelessly for WWE.

Hogan’s show, “Hogan Knows Best” along with his book, “Hollywood Hulk Hogan” gave us a glimpse into how it was all about him. His bitching and moaning about his life as the champion and the relationship with Vince McMahon.

Two different eras, two different people. Two different concepts.

It’s hard to imagine Cena turning on his fans, the children, the company (in so many words) and himself after we saw the image of him in the ring with the cancer-stricken fan. I’m sorry, Paul. It’s a hard pill to swallow.

We can think about it, hope for it and debate it might be “what is best for business.” In the end, maybe we all should just live with the fact Cena is now closer to retirement than he is to the start of his career. He has made the company more money than most wrestlers who ever worked in a WWE arena. And when all is said and done, if he does not want to turn heel, he just isn’t going to do it.

And the fans out there – the ones who hope he makes their wishes come true – hope he doesn’t either.

He just isn’t going to do it.

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Another Turn John Cena Heel Blog

June 04, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I’m piggybacking on Eric G’s article about how the heels have fared after feuding with John Cena. I agree with him for the most part. Generally someone who has potential top heel appeal like Rusev and Kevin Owens will get their bumps and losses against an established superstar. That will then clear their path to becoming a top heel within the company. Based on Eric’s article that hasn’t happened recently and I agree that something needs to be done about it.

But consider this, what makes a wrestler great and even a superstar is their performance inside the ring as well as the intangibles like their mic skills, working the crowd to love or hate them, and that thing some have that make it look so easy while performing live in the ring for the cameras.

That hamster in my head had was spinning its and me thinking what would wake up the professional wrestling and draw so much more interest? The answer? Make John Cena a heel.

My wrestling friends told me in the past it would never happen. He’s so popular but at the same time he has his own little niche of heels that’s by the “John Cena Sucks” chants when his music’s played. A good company knows how to use its assets to their benefit. John Cena is their biggest piece of gold on their roster. He’s a dedicated WWE employee. Kids love him, and Cena will bend over backwards for the WWE.

Impossible? Remember nineteen years ago this coming summer where a superstar turned heel that sent shockwaves throughout the world or professional wrestling? That wrestler was Hulk Hogan. He turned on his good friend Randy Savage, formed the NWO, and basically spat in the face of the past and those fans and kids supporting Hogan. Hogan told those kids to train, say your prayers, and eat your vitamins to stick it.

His character needed a jolt and the heel turn far exceeded its expectations. The point is Hogan became WWE champion on January 23, 1984 and over the next decade put made professional wrestling mainstream. His act was getting stale into the nineties and really needed a change. The best to liven it up was becoming a heel. In fact, Hogan became the biggest heel in all of professional wrestling at that time.

Turning John Cena will bring the casual viewers back and stir up discussions over the internet. It’s a win-win because the current Cena haters will either hate him more or join him. The kids and ladies will boo him loudly. The one caveat is that he should not be included in The Authority and claim that he literally carried the WWE on his back while trashing the “Hustle, Loyalty, Respect” motto telling kids it was all false hopes letting everyone know he is the WWE since he became a WWE champion in the early 2000’s.

Cena’s made the United States Championship relevant again. He’s a fifteen time WWE champion. Cena’s a ratings juggernaut. He’s young by wrestling standards but how far will the same shtick go? He would be a great heel to work with Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, and Neville, etc. If this ever happens, he can easily switch sides a la Ric Flair and HHH. It worked for them because they had that “It” factor aside from their wrestling skills.

I’m hoping somewhere down the road John Cena turns heel. If not, so be it. But if John Cena does turn heel, I would say what Ric Flair said almost 30 years ago “Whether you like it or don’t like it, sit down and look at it….”

I would like that.

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WWE: Kevin Owens Win Over John Cena Should Have Fans Worried

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

Pro wrestling fans are giddy with excitement after Kevin Owens defeated John Cena clean in his WWE main roster debut at the Elimination Chamber event. Unfortunately history tells us that this party will probably take a much different turn in about two weeks.

I never expected it and neither did the majority of wrestling fans. When Kevin Owens confronted John Cena on RAW I added a bit of caution. Be careful what you wish for. My biggest concern was the long story and where this program will leave Owens when it is over. Will Owens be the hottest thing in the company or will he struggle to tread water like the others before him.

Look no further back than Rusev as to what happens to those that defeat John Cena. Rusev was the hottest heel behind Brock Lesnar in the company heading into WrestleMania. With one win over Cena, Rusev looked to be on his way to big things. Those big things turned out to be three straight losses to Cena. Not only that, look at where Rusev would have wound up if not for his injury. He went from John Cena to the intercontinental title picture, booked in a match he wasn’t scheduled to win. A far cry from just a few weeks ago.

Bray Wyatt came before Rusev. Wyatt got his win over Cena at Extreme Rules but wound up going 1-2 in the series. Worse than the losses is what happened to Wyatt after. I would dare say that Wyatt has not recovered since that series. Wyatt was red hot like Owens and Rusev but would struggle for close to a year before getting some heat back against the Undertaker at WrestleMania.

The pattern is clear. You may beat John Cena but you aren’t going to win the feud. Not only will Cena win the feud, but you will be worse off for it. Your heat will be killed and the chances of you getting that heat back are not good. So for those of you excited about the win, I counter and tell you that the win may be the worst thing for Owens. Losing at Elimination Chamber yet winning the feud or final match in the program would have been something to truly get excited about.

Now it isn’t all doom and gloom for Owens. He has several red hot feuds in NXT and is the current champion. There were numerous reports last week that indicated Owens signed a main roster deal and will start on house shows shortly against Cena. Triple H is reportedly a huge Kevin Owens supporter and wants to book him strong. Maybe Owens survives this thing after all?

Unfortunately history says different and those that don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat those same mistakes. WWE Creative have shown little regard for history and appear to be very stubborn when it comes to booking John Cena. It’s may be too early to get excited for Owens, but it certainly isn’t too late to start worrying.

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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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