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15 Best WWE Matches of the First Half (Jan 1- July 1) of 2015

July 07, 2015 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

At the midway point of 2015, WWE is struggling creatively, but has produced a number of excellent matches, a handful of which vie for honors as 2015’s true match of the year. Here are the fifteen best from both the main roster, as well as the popular NXT developmental center.

15. John Cena vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE United States, Monday Night Raw, March 30)

Inception of the enjoyable US Open Challenge stuck the landing straight out of the chute, showcasing a side of Ambrose often lost when he’s typecast as comically-unkempt street urchin. Cena and Ambrose set high expectations for a formula that would give aimless performers something to do, and opened the door for some NXT performers to make their big debuts.

14. Bad News Barrett vs. Daniel Bryan vs. R-Truth vs. Stardust vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Luke Harper vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE Intercontinental/Ladder Match, WrestleMania 31, March 29)

While the prior match served as the creation of a new playbook, this seven-man scramble was in many ways a rehash of the perfected parade of chaos that multi-competitor ladder matches have been for WWE for over a decade. Bryan’s win is now a bittersweet one with his litany of devastating injuries, but as a match, it set the pace for a great WrestleMania.

13. John Cena vs. Neville (WWE United States, Monday Night Raw, May 11)

The US Open Challenge comes with the black cloud of predictability – you know Cena’s somehow going to escape with the title. This time, Neville did win, albeit by disqualification, after Rusev attacked him following his landing of the lights-out Red Arrow. Neville hardly had to slow his roll for Cena, who’s proven with the challenge his compatibility with any worker.

12. Charlotte vs. Sasha Banks vs. Bayley vs. Becky Lynch (NXT Women’s, TakeOver: Rival, February 11)

Banks’ coming-out party was really at R-Evolution in December, when she held her own with a rapidly-improving Charlotte. Despite playing a materialistic minx of a villain, she, next to the amiable Bayley, were the crowd favorites to win the four-way. Banks pinning Charlotte to capture the title demonstrates a hefty show of faith in her own in-ring improvements.

11. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton (WWE World Heavyweight, Payback, May 17)

This one followed the pattern of most WWE fatal four ways, two guys get bumped while the others duke it out until someone breaks a pin, but it hardly felt as such. A dramatic final stretch coupled with some moments of invention earlier on put it above standard fare. The Shield triple-powerbomb, with subsequent scorning of Rollins, is a true calendar highlight.

10. Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins (WrestleMania 31, March 29)

One of the main reasons that WrestleMania was so acclaimed stems from the one-two punch that kicked off the show. Following the chaotic ladder match, Orton and Rollins cut a frenetic pace, not even thrown off the rails by the excessive interference of J&J Security – in fact, they enhanced the match. The ending “RKO Outta Nowhere” rates as the move’s pinnacle.

9. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (Non-Title, Monday Night Raw, May 4)

It was one of Cena’s US Open Challenges minus Cena – just send two high-class performers out there and have them put on a helluva bout. Ambrose earned entry into the Payback main event by pinning Rollins here, and the Montreal crowd was hanging on every one of his comeback strikes. Will WWE ever realize that Ambrose is the babyface they direly need?

8. Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (NXT Women’s, TakeOver: Unstoppable, May 20)

The recurring trend of NXT quarterly specials: “That may have been the best women’s match in company history!” A year ago, that was Charlotte and Natalya earning that rave, while today, this is the ladies’ outing to beat. A story of determination and grit centered around submission attempts supersedes the putrid main roster schizophrenic booking of the “Divas”.

7. Finn Balor vs. Adrian Neville (No. 1 Contender’s, TakeOver: Rival, February 11)

They were given thirteen minutes, so barring one performer tanking it like a lottery-minded NBA team, you knew this would rule. Besides, Balor is incapable of mediocrity when caked in intimidating war paint. The match was a blend of what they do best with ‘corrective’ WWE style, concluding with a Balor Coup de Grace, match of the night on *most* shows.

6. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE World Heavyweight/Ladder Match, Money in the Bank, June 14)

A divisive pick due to the Heaven’s Gate-length of the match (36 minutes!) and the dragged out ending with angsty Ambrose watching a dazed Rollins celebrate for an eternity. Aside from that, it was a tremendously told story of hatred and heart, two wrestlers with something to prove outside of the tiresome “build my legacy” WrestleMania-time narratives.

5. Sami Zayn vs. Kevin Owens (NXT Heavyweight, TakeOver: Rival, February 11)

The ending of a classic match should come to define the combatants. This one further galvanized Zayn as the never-quit hero (far more subtly than superhero Cena) while casting Owens as the opportunistic prick that would sooner beat his old friend into a coma than leave the arena without championship gold. There’s simply no villain like Owens in the business today.

4. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens (Money in the Bank, June 14)

Far-too-immediate sequel to a landmark match just about equaled the original’s unpredictable charm, though this ending was much more expected. Cena and Owens once more cut a hellish pace en route to the Cena victory, following the third of three AA’s. Owens’ post-match attack, with obnoxious heckler’s laugh, capped off another masterpiece.

3. Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight, Royal Rumble, January 25)

The saving grace of an uninspired, maddening night in Philadelphia was this triple threat pitting three pros of differing characteristics. All three got their shine, with Lesnar as unkillable monster, and Cena as the valiant brawler, though it was Rollins that shone brightest in defeat. With his performance, his main event ticket was indelibly punched.

2. John Cena vs. Kevin Owens (Elimination Chamber, May 31)

The finish damn near broke social media, which is a testament to the positives of Cena’s inability to lose cleanly: when he *is* defeated, it means the world. Cena and Owens cobbled together an evolutionary version of Sting vs. Vader and turned the new monster into a made man with a concrete victory. The rematch should have been further down the line.

1. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight, WrestleMania 31, March 29)

To say this was a surprise classic is something of an understatement. Lesnar’s matches defy the paint-by-numbers main event style, and what followed was a thumping beatdown of a resilient Reigns, who dramatically turned the tide when Lesnar began gushing blood. The final five minutes, including Rollins’ cash-in, are deservedly etched in ‘Mania lore.

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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Dean Ambrose Could be In Trouble

May 14, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

First they announced Rollins vs. Orton. No one seemed to care. Then they announced Rollins vs. Orton vs. Reigns. Still couldn’t care less. Then they announced Rollins vs. Orton vs. Reigns vs. Ambrose. Suddenly there is some excitement and talk. Ambrose is once again in the limelight. And this time, let’s hope the light won’t flicker.

There were a lot of chances with Ambrose; not to put him in the title picture, but to build him steadily. But WWE chose not to. Probably they were worried that it might dilute the fan base they were building for Reigns. But now that that base is not only diluted but has become as dull as ditchwater, WWE is reviewing the Ambrose option. That means two things can happen.

1) the WWE would try to shove Ambrose down our throats in a bid to move the needle and kill the goose that can yada yada or 2) feeling that ‘he’s not ready just yet’ they would try to humble him as only the HHH regime can do.

In either case, Ambrose is in trouble.

To me Ambrose is the last exciting thing left in WWE. (Lesnar is a part-timer and Ryback is about to be fed to Wyatt) There is a genuine edge about him. He can wrestle and he put together the best match of the night. But the trouble with all that is Ambrose is alone. There is no else in the current roster that can bring the same kind of excitement and color to wrestling. From faces to heels, they are all one-dimensional (including Bray Wyatt whose promos have gone from terrific to soporific. I make tea when he talks). Besides, there’s a little bit of character tweak Ambrose requires before he can chase the championship.

So here’s hoping that WWE would chose a different route for Ambrose; which is to deny the fans Ambrose – but in a calculated manner. Just like they denied the fans Daniel Bryan till putting Daniel Bryan became the only sensible decision, WWE should deny the fans Ambrose & Title till they can’t take it anymore.

One of the things with television ratings is that the reaction of the live audience can affect it. The television viewer looks to the live crowd for cues. It’s a subconscious thing. And right now the live crowd is just dead.

When I look at WWE, I see a pattern. It started with the wild days of Hulkamania. Then it went to the sedate though technically strong days of Bret Hart. Then it reversed to the explosive days of Steve Austin only to switch back to the sedate though merch-moving days of John Cena. See what I mean? It had always see-sawed. So the next crest has to be something that is anything but sedate. Might I suggest ‘Unhinged’?
Ambrose can lead that. Maybe he’s not a great talker. But then I guess it’s time WWE focused on some good over-the-top action and moments. Moments are what we are badly missing these days. And more than great matches, its moments that make a star.

Ambrose’s early run in with Rollins had produced quite a few moments. But they were short lived as WWE used Ambrose give Wyatt a leg-up. That really didn’t go anywhere and won’t. Wyatt is just not scary, threatening or credible enough. But you know who is? Reigns! The way ahead for Reigns is to get frustrated and turn heel. I would be surprised if that doesn’t happen soon. Of course that throws a spanner in the works called Rollins. But then, is Rollins working as a heel? Back in the 90s, he would have been vying for the Intercontinental Championship as a face at this stage of his career.

Anyway, back to Ambrose. The key of course is some smart booking. Allow Ambrose to slowly build his fan base. Allow Ambrose to develop his mic skills. Allow Ambrose to tone down a bit for fans to identify with so much so that by the time the title is around his waist, WWE would not be thinking of taking it off him.

So here’s hoping that at Payback, Ambrose would come close to winning the title, but just won’t. But at the same time here’s hoping that Ambrose won’t in the process take the fall (Orton can do that). Going forward, here’s hoping that Ambrose won’t win the MITB and that Wyatt does. That done, here’s hoping that fans would be kept thirsting for Ambrose till Wrestlemania 32. Then here’s hoping that Wrestlemania 32 would be between Ambrose & Lesnar. And finally, here’s hoping that Wrestlemania 32 will usher in a new era. WWE Unhinged!

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WWE Payback: One Champion, One Title, One Opponent

May 12, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Four wrestlers. Three “faces”. Two stooges for security. One WWE World Champion. This isn’t how it used to be in the world of professional wrestling, but it’s the way the world turns in Vince McMahon’s circus. Welcome to the “We don’t know who we want to face the world champion, so let’s throw four guys in a ring and see what happens.”

That is what we have to look forward to at WWE Payback this coming weekend.

In layman’s terms, it means the WWE doesn’t have a clue what to do with Brock Lesnar being “suspended indefinitely” and John Cena making the United States Championship the most prized strap the company can offer. Oh my, how the tables have turned. When Randy Orton and Seth Rollins gave us arguably one of the best WrestleMania matches in the past decade, I thought a program with the superstars would be worth another pay-per-view or two. Then, the unthinkable happened – well not unthinkable since many of us wrestling fans thought about it – and Rollins cashed in on the title with this Money-in-the-Bank contract.

Hmm. Great idea at the time, not so great right now.

There is enough star power in the ring between Rollins, Randy Orton, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns to put 12 matches together. All four will get in a ring, beat the hell out of each other and hopefully give the fans what they paid money to see. And then Rollins will walk out (maybe slither out) of the ring with the title in hand. The idea that someone other than the current champion leaving with the company title should be erased from your minds now – That’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

The title picture is certainly not what it used to be. One champion, one title, one opponent. There was no wavering on who Hulk Hogan faced for the title. There was only one opponent for Verne Gagne. Bruno Sammartino handled his rivalries one at a time.

Ric Flair was a little different in that he traveled from town to town as the NWA Champion, faced the promotion’s top star and then moved to another region. It kind of makes me wish the WWE would work a title run much like the Great American Bash used to be back in the days of Dusty Rhodes and his fertile mind. He created huge productions for wrestling fans.

During an event like that, Ric Flair would travel with the NWA and face top talent night after night. The series also gave talent that would not ordinarily be in singles competition or in a title match time to shine.

I loved seeing Flair face both Road Warriors and Ricky Morton. He would face Dusty Rhodes and Barry Windham and some lesser known talents like Bobby Fulton or maybe Bobby Eaton. Those were the days when the title was more important than the person who wore the strap. Today, it is the opposite in every day.

Again, that’s not how it works. That’s not how any of this works.

How would a Rollins or Cena or Orton handle facing multiple challengers nightly and in different towns? Could they stay on point? The WWE works so hard on promoting programs and rivalries and then changes them up to give the fans more to get excited about. Frankly, it is really stale, no matter how good the Fatal Four-Way match could be at Payback.

The WWE must come out of this event on Sunday with one opponent for Rollins moving forward. The fans want to see head-to-head competition. There may be plenty of excitement from an Ambrose-Rollins confrontation that it warrants another feud between the two as the company moves toward Summer Slam. But the fans won’t know if the WWE cannot make a decision to have one title, one champion and one hellacious feud going forward.

That’s how this is supposed to work.

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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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Seth Rollins Will Further Establish Himself as WWE’s Top Performer at Extreme Rules

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

On a roster that seems to always lack quality, top-level baby face characters, Randy Orton is beginning to emerge as the improbable “good-guy” opposite Seth Rollins in their current feud.

Currently, WWE is allowing Roman Reigns to get back into the audiences’ good graces as he feuds with mid-card performers, with the end goal most likely being a WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory that the WWE Universe accepts with open arms. With John Cena standing atop the United States Championship division, the main event scene is missing key baby face characters.

Although he is a heel performer by nature, the new anti-establishment characteristics Orton has been implementing as of late have quickly helped him to become a favorite of the WWE Universe. Facing such an experienced opponent in his first defense of the World Heavyweight Championship will also assist Seth Rollins in his quest to be viewed as a worthy champion.

Randy Orton’s RKO frenzy on this weeks’ episode of Raw helped to further emphasize his role as an anarchist, considering the popular finishing move will be banned at Extreme Rules.

Orton has been able to remain effective during his feud with Rollins since the storyline has more of a focus on his destruction rather than his promos. Orton is an amazing in-ring performer; however, he sometimes fails to connect with the audience on the mic. He should always be allowed to let his physicality do the talking for him, which is something that gives any feud he is involved the ability to captivate the fans. Annihilating any person that was in his crosshairs was an excellent way to get the audience more invested in the characters’ newfound “antihero” status as well. It also allowed Seth Rollins to gain even more heat heading into Sunday for banning the RKO at Extreme Rules.

Orton’s ongoing rivalry with Rollins is the perfect way for the new World Heavyweight Champion to accomplish his long-standing mission of becoming the top star within WWE. Orton’s previous status as the face of WWE, as well as being the face of The Authority, adds even more storytelling quality to a Seth Rollins victory. After defeating Orton once and for all, Rollins would then have the ability to further establish himself as the new top star of the company in the eyes of The Authority, as well as the WWE Universe, since Orton pulled out a huge victory over him at WrestleMania 31. Seth Rollins will have finally gotten his revenge against his biggest adversary so far, Randy Orton.

The Orton and Rollins feud has been drawn out for months now, and a Steel Cage Match at Extreme Rules is the ideal setting to bring the story to a close. A Rollins victory would be viewed as more than a successful first title defense; it would finally signify his success over Randy Orton on the whole.

This feud has cemented the fact that both men are elite performers that have amazing in-ring chemistry. In addition to the storyline benefits that would come as a result, a Rollins victory will also increase his credibility as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Rollins needs to use Orton’s’ star power to establish himself as a deserving champion so early on in his title run. Randy Orton is currently doing his part to set Rollins up perfectly for one of the most important wins of his career thus far.

Seth Rollins works perfectly as a cowardly heel character, but the audience may stop viewing him as a legitimate champion if he fails to deliver stellar matches. Of course, we all know that is something he is perfectly capable of doing, and considering their phenomenal chemistry, a victory over Randy Orton is an ideal outcome for Rollins’ inaugural World Heavyweight Championship title defense.

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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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Sting Post-RAW Promo From WWE Network

March 17, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

If you don’t have the WWE Network or haven’t followed any of the wrestling news websites online you probably have no idea that Sting cut his first real WWE promo following RAW on Monday night. It was short, it was on point, it was pretty darn good and it’s right here for those of you that missed it.

Count me in as one of many who had no idea that Sting was on the WWE Network last night. The buzz from most insiders is that the WWE didn’t want Sting cutting promos because they didn’t feel he was very good in WCW. That would explain the horrible Black Scorpion-ish promo last week. However, if there is anyone in or out of the WWE that doesn’t think Sting can cut a good promo, well they need to watch this clip. The Stinger is on fire and it’s awesome!

This all begs the question as to why in the world would the WWE give away Sting’s first “real” interview on the WWE Network? Why not put it on television and get people excited enough to buy the Network to see WrestleMania 31? The people watching him Monday night on the Network already have it so in that sense, the promo is a real lost opportunity in my opinion. The marketing behind this seems completely backwards to me.

Regardless of the circumstances, it is pretty cool to see and hear Sting talk in a WWE ring. I will admit that I wasn’t real excited about Sting vs. Triple H going into WrestleMania. His intensity on RAW in the ring and during this promo have changed that.

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