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Ryback Revisited: Will WWE’s Big Guy Make it This Time?

October 31, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ryback made his comeback to WWE on the October 27 edition of Monday Night Raw. The Big Guy made his surprising return to the company against Bo Dallas, who he promptly squashed and left for dead. Bray Wyatt’s baby brother didn’t stand a chance and as Ryback stood there flexing over him, it occurred to me; he’s over.

Wow. Just like that, huh? Well, isn’t that something? Isn’t it something that the guy so many fans wrote off as just a cheap Goldberg clone, a failed WWE experiment, was actually getting a pop when the last time they saw him, he was a heel?

Oh and to make matters even more interesting; no one chanted Goldberg’s name this time. So what happened? What made the same crowd that booed and hissed Ryback now decide that he was worth their time? Honestly, I don’t know and I don’t much care.

The only thing I care about is that Ryback has another chance and this time WWE needs to get it right. This guy can be a star; there is no doubt about that. Despite how many fans didn’t like him the first time around, I don’t know of anyone that didn’t feel he was not capable of getting to the top. He has what they want and this time they need to want it.

Here’s the thing. I am a CM Punk guy. I am also a Daniel Bryan guy, a Dean Ambrose guy and a Cesaro guy. I believe that WWE is at its finest when the best workers are on display. I’m old school and for me, there is nothing better than a straight up pro wrestling match.

I love the back and forth, the give and take, that only the best workers can provide. Any schmuck can learn to run the ropes and take a few bumps but to do it convincingly while keeping the fans interested from opening bell to ending bell is something else altogether. Only an artist can do that and all of the men listed are responsible for some very impressive works indeed.

But, and you knew there was a but, there’s nothing like the big guys. As much as I respect the technicians that can tell a story with holds and counters, I can also appreciate the smash mouth action that only a super heavyweight can provide. Mark Henry, Big Show, Luke Harper and Erik Rowan, no one can bring the pain like these guys can and let’s face it; it’s just not pro wrestling without the monsters.

And the fact is that WWE loves the monsters, they always have. At one time, Vince McMahon’s company was littered with them as WWE was essentially the land of giants. Andre, Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, The Barbarian, King Kong Bundy, the list goes on and on. At one time, this is how WWE did business and how Vince wanted his product to look.

The bigger the better, that was the train of thought. And other companies around WWE followed suit. Pro wrestling was all about the larger than life characters that could bench press minivans and those are the guys that sold tickets.

No one cared about the smaller guys and really, why should they? It was hard enough for the casual viewer to buy into the reality of the business, if all a company featured was cruiserweights, it was even harder. Believing that the physicality and potentially deadly moves were being inflicted with utter malice was much easier if it happened with a cast of 7 foot 300 pound guys.

Those guys could shake it off a lot easier, they seemed built to take the damage, and they made it more real. But the problem was that a good number of those super heavyweights attained their physiques through chemical means. While a lot of fans didn’t really care, a lot of people outside the business did and truth be told, things had to change.

So Vince let the cat out of the bag and decided to tell the world that the industry was all a sham. When that happened, he incurred the wrath of every promoter on the face of the planet as well as many fans that had their fictional realities shattered before them. But as much as he was hated for the move, the fact is it had to be done.

By shifting the focus from the comic book style storylines onto the sheer athleticism of the talents involved, Vince opened the door for more guys to advance and to get their names out there. Suddenly, pro wrestling was less about football players with no pads smashing each other to pieces and more about dynamic technicians creating an art form.

That’s why Bret Hart, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan and a host of others were able to ascend the ladder and grab that brass ring. The fans of 2014 are not the fans of 1984 and that’s just how it is. So does that means there’s no room for a guy like Ryback?

Absolutely not. Just because he’s built like Goldberg does not mean he is Goldberg. And just because he’s not Seth Rollins in the ring does not mean he cannot entertain. Ryback endured two years of chants directed at a former star and hate that was unfounded because at the end of the day, no one wanted to give him a chance.

He took it all on the chin, he kept his head down and he kept working. He did the heel turn and watched helplessly as he was fed to John Cena. He stood by Paul Heyman’s side and was never given a real shot at moving up. He was put in a tag team alongside Curtis Axel and did everything he could to get over, only to never win the tag team championships.

Ryback has been near the mountaintop, got pushed back down and then was given a plate of garbage as a consolation prize. Now he’s back and this time, he deserves a chance to make it big. Will he be the megastar that John Cena is? Maybe not. Will he rally the fans to his cause like Daniel Bryan did? Who knows? At the end of the day, Ryback may be nothing more than just a solid mid-card guy and nothing more.

But he needs the opportunity to at least try. The company needs to get behind him and two years from now, if he’s right back where he started once again, then I will be the first one to admit that he just didn’t have it. In the meantime, I’m anxious to see what happens with Ryback. Here’s to second chances.

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Ryback Ruled: The WWE Rise and Fall of Ryback

August 11, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

If you have ever been a fan of the WWE, or at least watched some of the product, it should be no secret to you that the WWE loves to ‘shotgun’ debuting wrestlers to the top. Some debut by compiling a large undefeated streak, while others win mid-card championships weeks, or even days into their career.

Either way, it seems like every year, the ‘machine’ that is WWE brings in these new Superstars and pushes them up, only for them to be pulled back down just as quickly. Is this making sense? Does this bring back any memories? Not sure? Do the names Brodus Clay, Fandango or the infamous Lord Tensai ring a bell? Well, do you remember when Ryback debuted on the main roster? He is a perfect example of a WWE Superstar who was pushed to the moon, only to soon after crash land back on Earth. Let me refresh your memory.

There was a time not too long ago when Ryback was destroying everyone in sight. Ryback debuted right after Wrestlemania 28 and went full force from the moment he entered a WWE ring. For the first few months of his run, he was defeating jobber after jobber. On some occasions he would defeat two, or even three competitors in handicap matches. Simply put, Ryback was a beast; his finisher was different and his intensity was captivating. Yes, he may have looked awkward in RVD’s attire and he may have even been a ‘poor mans’ Goldberg, nevertheless, he was making it work. Ryback embodied the exact mold that ‘we’ believe Vince McMahon loves the most; he had ‘the look,’ he was strong and he was ‘larger than life.’ He seemed poised to move up the card and become a top babyface in the company. After demolishing an endless list of no-name local jobbers that they put on his plate, he began to move up the ranks.

Ryback ran through the low-card and mid-card with ease, defeating both the IC Champ The Miz in a non-title match as well as the IWC Champ Dolph Ziggler. As months went by, he continued to garner a respectable fan-following, as they would chant “Feed Me More” in unison during his matches. Feed him more the WWE did. Seven months into his run, the still undefeated Ryback was given the ‘rub’ from John Cena.

Cena gave up a chance to face CM Punk for the WWE Title so that Ryback would get an opportunity at the championship. It seemed like Ryback was being positioned to become a ‘top guy.’ He was being booked as an unstoppable force, he had never faced a true challenge in any of his matches; with his physique, intensity and the dominance in which he displayed in all of his matches, he felt unbeatable. Though he received the championship match, he got screwed out of the title by Brad Maddox and lost 2 other title matches due to interference from the Shield. Ryback went on to feud with the Shield, continuing to be, what one could consider the number two or three babyface in the WWE.

At Wrestlemania 29, 371 days since his debut, Ryback was pinned cleanly in a singles match for the first time against Mark Henry. The result of this match was was shocking, most expected the WWE to use the victory over Henry at Wrestlemania as a way to continue pushing Ryback as a strong babyface. Though the result was shocking, it was not as shocking as what Ryback did next. The next night he received the largest pop of his career when he turned heel and attacked John Cena. He failed to win the title in 2 matches against Cena. He then went on to join forces with Paul Heyman to feud with CM Punk another time, thus entering the road that would take him straight down the card. Ryback lost to CM Punk and was eventually relegated to teaming up with the other non-successful Paul Heyman guy Curtis Axel, forming Rybaxel.

This marked the beginning of a new Ryback. He was still strong, intense and had a killer physique, but his legitimacy took a massive hit. He may have had a year long streak of not being pinned cleanly, but he rarely won matches against formidable foes; Ryback couldn’t win ‘the big one,’ he was WWE’s version of Tony Romo. Therefore, he looks like he could beat anyone at anytime, but at the end of the day, it is hard to view him as a viable threat to win any championship because he is unproven. Ryback has since then entered into the category of Superstar that is currently occupied by wrestlers such as Big Show and Kane. He looks like he could/should beat anyone, but you don’t expect him to win the match that he is in, he is being used as ‘enhancement talent.’ His tag team with Axel is not the worst, but it is definitely not in the top tier of the division.

Ryback was once a dangerous threat to win the WWE Title. He had sold out arenas chanting “Feed Me More” and “Ryback Rules.” He was once arguably the number two babyface in the company. He struck fear in the souls of both John Cena and CM Punk. Now, he is stuck in the low to mid-card of the tag team division. Ryback was pushed to the top way too quickly, he did not have the ‘miles’ under him to keep his spot.

Even still, the character of Ryback has great potential and I believe that if booked well and with slow enough build, he could once again be near the top. There have been many WWE Superstars like Ryback who debuted on fire, but were quickly cooled off. Brodus Clay, Fandango and Ryback are just a few examples. Think about those who are in that position right now. Think about the ‘new kids on the block’ such as Bo Dallas, Paige and Rusev. What will become of them? Will they still be successful in a year? Will they make it to the top of the card? Will we remember them? Will they last? Only time will tell.

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The Atrocious WWE Booking Of Ryback

November 15, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE has done it again. WWE creative has successfully stalled any momentum one of their rising stars effectively killing off his potential. The booking of Ryback has been a disgrace and Vince McMahon should be ashamed of himself.

Let me make this perfectly clear. I am hardly a Ryback fan. He is not what you would call my cup of tea as far as a pro wrestler goes. However I can respect the business he brings to the company and at the end of the day this is a business. So please understand this isn’t a case of a Ryback fan whining about his favorite wrestler’s push. I am however a fan of good booking.

I wrote a blog last year when Ryback was shot to the top due to John Cena’s injury defending the idea that the WWE put him over CM Punk for the WWE championship. I understood that the company had plans on the table for a Punk vs. Rock program and that Ryback wasn’t even supposed to be there. However, I also saw that the WWE caught lightning in a bottle, by luck mind you with Ryback, and the limited opportunity to strike was there.

They didn’t listen. The Ryback vs. Punk program put a halt to Ryback’s momentum and squashed all of the momentum they had to make a rising star. I blogged at the time that the WWE had consistently taken guys with momentum and did everything in their power to squash that upswing and make sure fans knew that it was John Cena and everyone else. The only reason Ryback was hot was because they hadn’t beaten him yet. Well they did and he was done a few months later.

Here we are several months later and the Ryback has turned heel. Ryback had a ton of momentum once again going into his program with John Cena for the WWE championship. I understood taking the WWE title off of Cena so quickly after he won it probably wasn’t ideal. Yet again the WWE were handed an opportunity where Ryback was hot and needed to continue his momentum. Cena (and Punk last year) could absorb a loss and be fine later on. Ryback could not. Ryback needed to win the WWE title to cement himself as a top guy and continue the ascension.

Again the company didn’t listen and he was done once the program ended. Somehow or another he got a third opportunity as part of the Paul Heyman-CM Punk program. This was it! There was not going to be any more chances for Ryback to get hot. He needed to go over Punk convincingly and jump back into the WWE title picture. The storyline would have been perfect going into the Rumble. Ryback would have been the favorite and put someone else over by not winning, yet sustaining his momentum going into WrestleMania and beyond.

Instead we got two straight matches with Ryback on the losing end against CM Punk. That was Ryback’s third strike and he is definitely out. Now the company is teasing some kind of a Ryback babyface turn. Nobody could ever convince me that this was the longterm plan for Ryback. They are scrambling here and unfortunately no matter who he turns on or feuds with he will never get that same momentum back he had those three previous runs. It’s over!

It isn’t just about Ryback, although he is a great example. You could easily take Ryback’s name out of the title and replace it with Bryan’s. Daniel Bryan was a failure as a top guy according to the numbers. He didn’t draw and fans just weren’t buying him as a top guy. That could have easily been fixed because we all know the momentum was there to change it. What do they do instead? They put Randy Orton over on him, never give him his revenge, and immediately send him into a tag team match against the Wyatts. Job well done!

This leads me to the bigger picture here. The WWE booking has been for a lack of a better word atrocious when it comes to getting new guys over. Vince McMahon wants to blame creative (or Daniel Bryan) for recent low buyrates. How are guys like Bryan, Ryback, Dolph Ziggler, Damien Sandow, and even Punk successfully draw when they are elevated under this formula? Nobody will ever succeed under this booking. The only reason Ryback had a chance was his streak and you best believe that you won’t be seeing any lengthy streaks under this booking regime.

People like to call Vince McMahon a genius. People like to credit Triple H for understanding pro wrestling when it comes to booking. You better believe that Triple H would be working somewhere else today if he was booked like this in the early part of the century. You better believe that Vince McMahon would not be remotely close to the tycoon he is today if he booked Hulk Hogan, Steve Austin, or The Rock like this when they got hot. I can’t rationalize any way that this “even” booking helps anyone when it comes to business. The numbers don’t lie and all you have to do is look at the buyrates to confirm this.

The WWE needs a complete overhaul to its booking philosophy. They aren’t going to go out of business but they are completely screwed if something ever happened to John Cena or he just decides one day that he is done. Nobody on the current roster has been booked well enough to be positioned as the top guy in the company. Just the idea that these people can’t see that is probably the scariest revelation of all.

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Ryback and the Case of the Has-Been Super Heel

November 15, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

If the WWE is going back to its roots and making the “heavyweight” the focus of the WWE title run, then can I ask what in the blue hell the company is going to do with Ryback?

After Paul Heyman came out and essentially say goodbye to the “big nothing” not only have I been wondering what Heyman’s next move is going to be, I cannot help but think of Ryan Reeves and what will eventually become of him and his character.

As it is right now, it seems the WWE is trying to make short work of him in the ring, that the big man is not safe to work a long program with other wrestlers and has injured top stars in the past because he is not a “Kane-like” worker in the run.

The fact the WWE had to push the big man along faster than maybe they would have like because of injuries to other wrestlers (John Cena) speaks volumes about how the company cares for its performers and characters. Ryback is one of those characters we may always wonder, “What could have been.” He is not anything like Goldberg and is not even close to mirroring someone like Batista. He is actually more like Mason Ryan than he is a top superstar.

Ryback’s chasing titles was more out of necessity than anything else.

Does this mean that Ryback will never be a top performer in the WWE or that his ship has sailed? I do not have the answer for that. What I do think is when he was challenging wrestlers like Antonio Cesaro, which I thought was a great feud, the WWE should have put the United States strap on him and helped him build on his legend.

But once again it was obvious that “Vince was being Vince” and the idea of a big, strong, muscular meaty guy mean dollar signs to the owner of the company. Right to the top without “Titan Training.”

It may turn out that Ryback becomes a good mid card wrestler in time. But right now he and Ahmed Johnson are about neck and neck.

Since the WWE has stated in other online statements it wishes to go back to the way of the Big Man, shouldn’t Ryback be included in this kind of rebirth? Isn’t sending him to the mid card a way of humiliation – like a kid being embarrassed on the playground?

And while we are on that subject, here is some food for thought…

The WWE recent has made huge waves about giving Roman Reigns a huge push toward a singles title. He fits the mold of the big man, has a look that is sick and is kin to The Rock. He is a no-brainer in terms of star power, but there is one thing he does not have going for him.

Reigns may be as green as Ryback in terms of experience and when he is a pack like he is with The Shield, he looks dynamite. How will he be with a role on his own? Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins should have been given more of a push then Reigns. Ambrose has the United States Title around his waist and is doing nothing with it. Rollins could be better than both of them when it is all said and done.

Oh, sorry, went off on a tangent there. I know my thoughts seem to roam when they want to. Ryback could still be a huge star, but here is what I think should happen. Send him back to NXT.

Repackage him. Train his some more and most of all, give him a new gimmick. If it does not work, then the company can say it tried. But if it does work, then this could be one of the better comeback stories the WWE has seen in some time.

Follow David on Twitter @davidlevin71

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WWE WrestleMania 30 Match Rumors Heat Up

September 30, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

It is always fun to follow rumors regarding The Undertaker and his WrestleMania opponents. Several options have been rumored for the Dead Man’s WrestleMania 30 match but the latest rumor is one that is raising a lot of eye brows.

Bryan Alvarez reports in the latest edition of Figure Four Weekly that there is serious consideration right now for a Ryback vs. The Undertaker match in New Orleans. What is even more surprising about this rumor is that the idea would be for Ryback to end the streak. The latest news certainly has a lot of people talking on social media and most are in an uproar over the idea.

Right now, the company believes that Rock probably isn’t doing WrestleMania this year. All subject to change, of course. Undertaker hasn’t committed to working the show yet, but my gut tells me he almost certainly will. If he does, there is talk of doing Undertaker vs. Ryback. The story would be that Paul tried to get his guy (Punk at the time) to beat Undertaker last year and his guy failed, so this year he has a bigger, stronger guy to try to end the streak. I believe this is subject to Ryback getting over big. If not, the other idea is doing the Undertaker vs. Brock match that has been talked about for a while, with basically the same Heyman tie-in

According to report this all falls on The Rock. If The Rock winds up doing WrestleMania he’ll wrestle Brock Lesnar. If he doesn’t, the WWE will likely go with a Lesnar vs. Undertaker match. There is also the possibility of a Sting vs. Undertaker match. We talk about it every year but Sting’s contract will be up by then and he will be a free agent. It’s not likely but that is something that always has to be considered until Sting re-signs with TNA.

I don’t think for a second that we’ll see a Ryback vs. Undertaker match at WrestleMania. WrestleMania is a long time away and I can’t imagine Ryback sustaining any serious momentum until then. Ryback would have to run through CM Punk and another top babyface over the next few months to stay strong. I don’t see the Punk vs. Ryback feud ending with Punk putting Ryback over so what would be the point.

The WWE are enamored with Ryback’s look but let’s call a spade a spade here. He is terrible in the ring. He’s had some decent matches but overall I find him incredibly hard to watch. There has been a standard set with The Undertaker’s Mania matches and I don’t think he could fulfill it. He doesn’t have the star power that Sting has which would make up for that so I just don’t see it happening. It’s a fun idea to talk about now but come 2014 I don’t even think it’s a consideration.

I think at this point my money is on a Lesnar vs. Undertaker match regardless of The Rock. They could always do The Rock vs. Lesnar at WrestleMania 31. The Undertaker vs. Lesnar is a match that has been talked about for awhile and makes the most sense. You can even do the same Paul Heyman storyline proposed for Ryback. Anything other than a Cena vs. Taker match doesn’t make much sense to me.

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Goldberg Vs. Ryback Must Happen In The WWE

September 26, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

You have heard the chants now for close to a year. Every week the fans are chanting for Goldberg whenever Ryback hits the ring or the ramp. The WWE fans have spoken and it’s time to give the fans what they want. Bring in Goldberg!

It pains me to write this blog. I am about as far from a Goldberg fan as you’ll find. I think his impact on the business is incredibly overrated. The man also seems as full of himself as ever on Twitter. The last thing I want to do is encourage anyone to feed his ego. Yet at the end of the day even can only ignore the obvious for so long before acknowledging that the fans are demanding to see him.

The phenomenon of Goldberg is a weird thing in 2013. He hasn’t appeared on television in years. His big run in WCW was only for a brief time. It has been proven that most of the WCW fan base never came back to pro wrestling. Yet for some reason or another, his legend has sustained. Quite frankly it’s remarkable.

The chants for Goldberg got louder the more Ryback was pushed. Once Ryback was pushed to the main-event last year against CM Punk, the Goldberg chants got louder and louder. It’s easy to say that it is just a fad but we are now talking close to a year. Every time the man steps out from the locker room whether he is a heel or a babyface, the fans want to see Goldberg. It’s not just a fad anymore, there is some real substance here.

Let’s call a spade a spade here. The match would be pretty terrible. I haven’t seen Ryback have many good matches and Goldberg’s matches were a lot of smoke and mirrors. It’s a tricky match to book because the expectations for a match that has been brewing for a year are going to be huge. It just can’t be that good. Can it be fun? Sure, I see no reason why you couldn’t book a fun match with these guys. I just wouldn’t expect any kind of a classic.

Where do you do it? Could you hold it off until WrestleMania? I don’t think so. I can’t see Ryback sustaining his spot through Mania. I think you have to strike while the iron is still hot with this thing. I think you book the match for the Survivor Series. Help Ryback now while there is still time instead of waiting until Ryback is banished back to the middle of the card. Paying Goldberg’s price tag doesn’t make much business sense otherwise.

Again I am certainly not clamoring for the match. At the same time you have to listen to your audience and this is an audience that has demanded this match for a year. We aren’t talking about a small group of fans trying to get noticed on television, we are talking about a large voice of fans from around the world. It’s time to give them what they want and they want Bill Goldberg.

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WWE Wrestler of the Week: September 13th – 19th, 2013

September 20, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE Wrestler of the Week has always been a superstar who achieved great success over the seven-day period. In the past, this has been the result of wins and being featured a lot on Raw and SmackDown. This week’s winner has broken that mold. He didn’t even have one match this week. How could the winner of this award not have even wrestled a match? Well, I will explain how Ryback, with an assist from Paul Heyman is on his way to big things after this week.

Ryback’s week began on Smackdown in a backstage segment. The Big Guy, as he now calls himself, has always been seen as someone with poor mic skills. That is why this segment was so interesting. Ryback interviewed a local Canadian wrestler to show off his skills. I was actually impressed and found Ryback to be pretty entertaining in this segment.

While WWE fans were not expecting to see Ryback at Night of Champions, it seemed fairly obvious Paul Heyman had a plan. After CM Punk eliminated Curtis Axel from the match, he began the beatdown on Heyman. I had a feeling Heyman would win. I had read, prior to the event, people thinking there would be a new Paul Heyman guy. We learned that Ryback is that new guy as he helped Heyman defeat Punk.

On Raw, Ryback and Heyman addressed the WWE Universe and bragged a bit on the defeat of Punk. The end of this segment was strange as Heyman gave Ryback a kiss on the cheek. It certainly showed the new friendship of Heyman and Ryback (Heyback?), but the choice of a kiss was weird.

Becoming a client of Heyman’s has to put Ryback in a great situation. As regular fans know, Ryback had a great start as a babyface, but was pushed too much too soon. Then, he turned heel and hasn’t gotten very far since. When Vickie Guerrero was fired as Raw general manager, I thought she would begin to manage Ryback. Instead, she became the cougar in charge of Smackdown and Ryback was left alone.

It seems logical that Ryback will now feud with Punk on Heyman’s behalf. Some fans may not like this since these two were feuding during Ryback’s pushed too much too soon time. However, with Heyman on his side, Ryback will get built stronger on the mic by his manager. When Punk was squaring off with Axel, I felt as though as the Straightedge Savior was way above on another level. Ryback has to be considered a bigger threat than Axel.

All clients of Heyman have reached a lot of success. From Steve Austin and Rick Rude to Punk and Axel. The current Intercontinental Champion was never on WWE TV until he was paired with Heyman.

What does this mean for Ryback’s future? Right now, all of the championships are held by heels except the WWE title, which is vacant. With Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton feuding over that championship, Ryback may not get a shot for some time. In the short term, a feud with Punk is where Ryback will be. In the long term though, perhaps Ryback will take Axel’s place as midcard champion.

Who do you think deserves WWE Wrestler of the Week? What does the future hold for Ryback now that he is a Paul Heyman Guy? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Seth Guttenplan is the owner of GuTTWrenchPowerBlog. When Seth is not writing about wrestling, he is a Special Education teacher in New Jersey. To read more from Seth, follow him on twitter ( @sethgutt ) and visit http://guttwrenchpowerblog.com

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Top 5 Pro Wrestlers on the Rise/Decline Week Of August 9, 2013

August 09, 2013 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Top 5 Wrestlers on the Rise

  1. Christian: He just needed one more match. I like the move to give Christian the title match. Watching the match, I was sure that RVD would win. Why bring RVD back and not capitalize on how over he is with the casual and passionate fans? But back to Christian he deserves this match. He deserves a lot more than just this title match. I feel like he should win this match, I hope he doesn’t win just to lose to Sandow after he cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase. Rhodes would not allow this to happen I would assume so if Christian does win, I see him walking out of Staples Center the World Heavyweight Champion.
  2. Big E. Langston: Who is more dominant than Big E right now? For my money, no one. I am going on record right now and saying that if the WWE pulls the trigger on a Big E. Langston/Dolph Ziggler match, Big E will win. They are billing Big E as the dominant heel monster everyone expected him to be after the Ziggler split. Big E looks, acts and squashes his opponents like a monster should. Big E is going to be a big star barring something unforeseen like injury or early retirement.
  3. Cody Rhodes: The WWE made a mistake and I think they realized this soon after Money in the Bank. I like Damien Sandow and his character is new and fresh but Cody Rhodes should have won Money in the Bank. He still might, I proposed a long time ago that Cody Rhodes and Damien Sandow should have a one on one Money in the Bank Ladder match at Summerslam. I think this will be an entertaining match and I could easily see Rhodes win the briefcase and cash in on Del Rio later that night. Either way expect to see the WWE capitalize on Rhodes’ recent popularity.
  4. Antonio Cesaro: This guy has everything you need to be a star! Cesaro picked up some easy tag team match wins this week. Cesaro is smart though, he is using his time with Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter to give him some time in the ring to perfect his craft. He is getting a solid ten minutes of ring work consistently because WWE’s lack of tag teams. After the eventual split of the Real Americans, Cesaro will be the next superstar to receive a push.
  5. Randy Orton: When was the last time the WWE Universe cared about what Randy Orton was doing? Everyone on the internet is picking Randy Orton to walk out of LA with the WWE title. Which is pretty crazy seeing as he’s not even in the match and that means he’d have to cash in on the WWE Champ John Cena (a chorus of cheers) or Daniel Bryan (a chorus of boos). I don’t think this means he’d turn heel by any means. Randy Orton could cash in on Bryan and get booed that night. He would probably feud with John Cena and be the clear favorite among the WWE Universe. Randy Orton does not need to turn heel (it would be a nice change) to cash in and have a successful run as the WWE Champion.

 

Top 5 Wrestlers on the Decline

  1. Ryback: He is destined for the mid-card. Ryback isn’t a main eventer by any means. I’m glad the WWE finally realized this after about six months of endless Ryback PPV matches. Imagine people’s disgust if John Cena chose Ryback instead of Daniel Bryan. People are finally excited for a John Cena match, when was the last time someone could say that? Ryback will never be a main eventer and he should never be thought of in that context. He will be just like Mark Henry and I mean that in the nicest possible way. I could see Ryback holding a mid-card title but that’s the closest he should ever get to the Main Event or a major Championship.
  2. The Miz: Wow, this guy cannot catch a break. I thought he was the sure fire pick to feud with Curtis Axel but boy was I wrong. Instead of wrestling at Summerslam, the pre-show or doing the pre-show commentary group. He got the prestigious position of Summerslam Host. What exactly that entails and how much will we actually get to see him, is the two burning questions. If we truly was a host and called the shots at Summerslam, wouldn’t we see him in a Championship match of sorts? The Miz never and will never get over as a face. He will be stuck in limbo until the WWE makes a change.
  3. Fandango: Well I think we all seen this coming. The ballroom brawler lost all momentum he ever had in the recent week. He walks out of matches, interrupts Punk just to get destroyed and then taps out against Punk on Raw. After Wrestlemania’s upset over Jericho, everyone knew there was going to be a decline. I too thought there was going to be a decline but I could never guess that it would be this extreme.
  4. Samoa Joe: One of the best features of TNA Impact. He is top three in terms of the best wrestler on the roster. With the names of Kurt Angle, Double A Austin Aries and AJ Styles it can be argued how this list should be ordered. Nonetheless Joe is one of the best. He should not be losing to Jeff Hardy! Jeff Hardy is still one of the most popular superstars in TNA and maybe wrestling as a whole. TNA needs to realize that Hardy is near the end of his road though, Joe is a untapped commodity. Joe could easily carry TNA and carry TNA to the better, in my opinion. For those fans that seen Joe in Ring of Honor can attest to that. He could carry any wrestling company and he has the best attribute a wrestler could have. The ability to make the people he’s in the ring with look even better than they are. Magnus is the clear cut choice to win Bound for Glory which is a smart move but after this I hope to see a revival of the Magnus-Joe feud. This was a very good program and I wouldn’t mind to see it again this time feuding over the World Title.
  5. Ricardo Rodriguez: I use the term wrestler loosely in this case. The only thing Ricardo was used for was Del Rio’s ring announcer and the guy everyone could beat up instead of Del Rio. After the apparent split between the two, I can’t think of much things Ricardo could be used for. Do I see him getting released, not exactly. They are a lot more people on the WWE roster who gives the product the same amount Ricardo would if the split is permanent. I could also see Del Rio and Ricardo being together in the future, they could blow this over as Del Rio just losing his temper. I didn’t like the split in the first place and I would be shocked if this is permanent.

This will be a new weekly feature on Camel Clutch Blog. It will be posted every Friday before WWE SmackDown. The list will cover from Smackdown all the way until Impact and everything in between. Use the comment section below to tell me your thoughts of the new feature. Do you agree with the list? Who would you include or take out of my list? I’ll be active in the comments, don’t hesitate to agree/disagree or just talk wrestling with me in the comment section below!

Brandon Sampson currently blogs for CamelClutchBlog.com about Wrestling and does the weekly Monday Night Raw recap and reaction. Like him on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/CamelClutchBlogBrandon and follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/CCB_Brandon

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John Cena refuses Help, Walks on Water after WWE Extreme Rules

May 20, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

John Cena apparently refused medical treatment on Sunday night after WWE’s Extreme Rules pay-per-view went off the air. As seen on WWE.com, Cena had been loaded into the back of an ambulance and appeared to be on his way to the nearest facility, when he suddenly told those attending to him no, that he was not going to go.

I swear you just can’t make this stuff up.

However, someone in WWE creative did, as once again the point that John Cena is a superhuman fighting machine has been frustratingly driven home. Why frustrating? Well, we all know the answer to that one, right?

Because John Cena is indestructible. That’s it. Do whatever you want to him, hit him as hard as you like, take the boots to him for a straight hour if you want, beat the man to a bloody pulp and then sit back and watch what happens next.

Watch John Cena rise from the dead with a smile on his face as if nothing ever happened.

But I do have a theory. There is perhaps a larger storyline brewing here, one that we have not thought of. Maybe this is not John Cena the clean cut all-American goody two shoes that we have been watching all these years. Maybe John Cena is not Mr. Hustle Loyalty and Respect after all.

I submit that perhaps John Cena is the third Brother of Destruction.

Think about it. Just like The Undertaker and Kane, John is crazy strong. He is physically capable of taking on Superstars much bigger than he is and not only match them move for move but beat even defeat them in the end.

And every time it appears that John Cena is beat down, that his opponent has the upper hand and the match could possibly be drawing to a close, what happens? Much like the Deadman and The Big Red Machine, John Cena no-sells, sits up; hit’s a flurry of moves then gets the pin.

Eerie, isn’t it?

By the way, I hope that you’re picking up my sarcasm because I’m laying it on pretty thick. And now for all you Cena fans out there, here’s a message that you need to hear.

Relax, okay? I am not attacking your boy here. The fact is that this has been Captain America’s way of doing things in the ring for a long time now. His character is the epitome of resiliency, a guy who has a rock solid never say die attitude and is not easily held down by anyone he faces.

John continues to be the face of WWE and as such must look strong every time he’s in the ring. As fans we simply should not expect him to go over on every top name that the company has ever put him against, only to look weak in a match with an opponent who is still attempting to build a career in WWE.

But-and here’s the tricky part-when a man takes a beating in the ring, despite who he is, he must show that he has been affected by it. Smiling, waving, acting as if he had not just been through a war, absolutely destroys any realism that was created by the match itself.

It’s not about wanting John to look weak. Not for me. It’s about wanting John to look the part. That’s all I have ever wanted from the guy.

The fact is that Ryback looked good on Sunday night. In fact, he looked better than I thought he would. He took the fight to Cena and gave him everything he had. I had my doubts about how this match was going to look, but as I watched Ryback methodically pace in the ring, taking his time against the WWE Champion, it occurred to me that this was getting over just fine.

And when Ryback hoisted Cena up and drove him through the set on top of the ramp while sparks flew around them? Well, that was a bit of unexpected drama that made the challenger look even better. Ryback had taken full control of the match and had decimated John Cena, leaving him for dead.

Yeah, that made me smile a little too.

Because even though the moment helped Ryback and went a long way in establishing his monster heel persona, we all know that at the end of the day that John Cena will always get back up. He will always come back for more.

But, refusing help from the EMT’s? Sitting up in the ambulance, taking off the neck brace and leaving without treatment? Had this happened live on pay-per-view, it very likely would have destroyed the drama of the match and essentially killed any momentum that Ryback had built as a result of it.

And now a message for any Ryback supporters who may be reading.

Don’t get your hopes up. Because while Ryback is doing everything asked of him and attempting to get over as much as he can, the commitment from WWE apparently stops at John Cena’s door. No one, especially not a relatively new Superstar who is not firmly established as a top contender, is going to get one over on him.

And this includes Ryback.

So for anyone out there hoping that John faces his big brother The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30, be prepared for what will happen next. Because win or lose, John will get up, he will be smiling and just like Wyatt Earp after charging through the river alone and outnumbered against the cowboys in Tombstone, John will look like the the toughest, most fearless man on the planet.

“Where’s John?”

“Down by the river. Walking on water.”

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomclarkbr

Tom Clark is a WWE Featured Columnist & Consultant for Bleacher Report and a Contributor for JBL’s Layfield Report
http://bleacherreport.com/users/316723-tom-clark
http://www.layfieldreport.com/Tom-Clark.blog

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The recent problem with setups in the WWE: Inside The Wheelhouse

May 16, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

There is a problem growing in the WWE recently that I don’t ever remember being this bad until now and that’s been how every match in the company has been poorly “setup” leading to a PPV match.

On paper the WWE has given us The Rock vs. John Cena II, The Undertaker vs. CM Punk, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar II (soon-to-be III as well), Chris Jericho vs. Fandango I (soon-to-be II as well), Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger I (soon-to-be II as well), John Cena vs. Ryback and the underrated Kofi Kingston vs. Dean Ambrose match. While on paper those are all very solid matches to be showcasing on WWE television, they haven’t gotten over with the fans as well as one would think. The excitement for these matches hasn’t been that strong at all.

Now I know it’s easy to blame the WWE creative team for all these faults and that’s what I plan on doing right now because more then ever this has been their fault.

I’ve defended the WWE creative team and I’ve bashed the WWE creative team in my history of writing blogs for the CCB. I know it’s trendy to take the side of “negativity” in professional wrestling but when the creative team does something right they should be praised. When they do something wrong, they should be equal parts bashed.

The “setup,” build or whatever you want to call it for WrestleMania 29 just wasn’t there this year. There has been reports out there that creative had a “shake up” in March, weeks out from WrestleMania and that there card was ever-changing but that shouldn’t be an excuse for the company nearing their biggest show of the year. While it was a “solid” WrestleMania this year, I still felt like I was left wanting more and not because of the great in-ring work of the wrestlers, but because the company just didn’t deliver on a creative level.

You would’ve thought these issues would’ve been resolved heading into WWE Extreme Rules this Sunday but they are continuing yet again.

John Cena vs. Ryback has minimal interest right now because I think a good portion of fans are still trying to get a feel for Ryback as a heel. Let’s face it, he really hasn’t been booked well lately as he lost to Mark Henry at WrestleMania and his long standing feud with “The Shield” disappeared after losing to them multiple times. When your not booked strong but are all of a sudden the #1 contender to the WWE Championship AND a heel, it’s hard for fans to get excited or into it.

Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar III inside the steel cage will deliver at Sunday’s Extreme Rules PPV; there is no question about that. But the way it’s been built up has me scratching my head in disbelief and really wanting to see more but not given the opportunity by the WWE creative team. They have a “gold mine” on their hands and I feel like they aren’t tapping into this “rubber match’s” highest potential, something they were highly criticized for during The Rock’s recent run.
WWE’s saving grace lately has been “The Shield” and I’m even confused on how they will be used this Sunday at Extreme Rules. Fortunately for the WWE creative team this confusion is also inspired by a bit of intrigue since “The Shield” could go in so many different directions this Sunday. The one direction the WWE creative team can’t do is not having one at all.

I really believe wrestling fans have every right to be upset with the WWE creative team currently. It hasn’t been there best television lately and we right smack in the middle of “WrestleMania hangover season” where the WWE quiets down for a bit heading into SummerSlam.

While the wrestlers are doing their part with the execution, the creative team is not living up to their end of the bargain based on the setup in recent months. This could be a very crucial time for the WWE right now, especially if ratings and PPV buyrates continue to tumble.

For more on this topic join us for the Thursday May 16th edition of “The Still Real to Us Show” and download the show at www.wheelhouseradio.com or www.wrestlechat.net.

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at www.979espn.com

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Ryback’s Chances of Defeating John Cena at WWE Extreme Rules

May 15, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Ryback is a monster, a beast that is currently on the hunt in WWE. His latest target is WWE Champion John Cena, who he will be facing at Extreme Rules on May 19. The championship will be on the line in this one, but does Ryback really have a chance at winning?

From the moment Skip Sheffield stopped wearing the cowboy hat and started wearing the airbrushed singlet, he has been the talk of WWE. Fans knew right away that the company intended on spotlighting the newly dubbed Ryback, though no one likely knew to what extent.

He rose through the company by beating one jobber after another, oftentimes putting two men on his shoulders and marching around the ring with them. While many fans looked at him and saw Bill Goldberg version two, Vince McMahon looked at him and saw something entirely different.

He saw the company’s next big star.

This is the part when I should tell you that after crossing paths with then WWE Champion CM Punk backstage on Raw that Ryback was on the fast track to becoming that big star. I should have one story after another about the number of matches that Ryback and Punk had and about the fact that the two men exchanged the belt a couple of times during their rivalry.

But none of that is true. Not one word. And what is the reason for that? What put Ryback off course so badly that a year after he was repackaged we’re still talking about his potential when it was obvious WWE loved the guy? What happened?

The Shield happened. Plain and simple.

That’s right; one good idea was countered with another good idea. Now that second good idea turned out to be a great idea, while the first good idea was actually just an okay idea.

Everybody got that?

The fact is that WWE shot themselves in the foot with Ryback. He was presented well, had all the spotlight and focus that a Superstar could hope to have and he did everything he could to connect with fans on every level possible.

But just when it appeared as though he may be taking that next step, three guys from WWE’s developmental territory showed up and ruined the whole thing. The Shield got over like no other faction has in a very long time. Everything they said, everything they did, made headlines in WWE and had fans talking.

Where Ryback had fallen a little short, The Shield unquestionably succeeded. WWE wanted fans to think that Ryback was the future of the company, while fans knew that The Shield was the future of the company. The Shield was everything that Ryback was not and it just seemed to come so easily for them.

So what do you do when you can’t get a guy over the way you want him to be? Easy. Turn him heel. Works every time, right?

Right? Is it working for you? When Ryback speaks, do you feel his words? When he threatens John Cena, do you find yourself marveling at how well he’s doing, how well he the heel turn is going for him? Or are you shaking your head, wondering if the guy will every truly be the WWE Superstar that Vince McMahon wants him to be?

The answer could very well lie with Ryback’s WWE Title match against Cena at Extreme Rules. If Ryback goes over, then he will suddenly be propelled to the top of the industry. He will go from being the almost was to being the true top dog in WWE. It will be Ryback’s time to rule.

But if he does not go over, he will lose yet another step. And despite how he loses, whether it’s because John pins him or The Shield cost him the victory, he will definitely lose a step. Who knows, perhaps we will always talk about Ryback being the guy who was so close, who had all the tools, yet never quite made it.

Meanwhile, The Shield are dominating and will likely win three major championships at Extreme Rules. They continue to conquer in nearly everything they do.

As for Ryback, there is always the possibility that all the fans who are criticizing him will eat their words on Sunday. Perhaps all of the apparent missteps WWE has made in regards to Ryback will lead to something big, a shocking moment that we never thought would ever happen.

Perhaps The Shield could actually help Ryback defeat John Cena for the WWE Title?

How’s that one working for you?

Follow Tom on Twitter @tomclarkbr

Tom Clark is a WWE Featured Columnist & Consultant for Bleacher Report.com and a Contributor for JBL’s Layfield Report.com http://bleacherreport.com/users/316723-tom-clark http://www.layfieldreport.com/Tom-Clark_Mark-Henry-vs-Sheamus-Determine.blog

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WWE SmackDown Results May 3 and Recap

May 06, 2013 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

This week’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown opens up with Ryback heading to the ring. Looks like we’re going straight into a match.

Before that starts, though, Ryback has a few things to say. Last Monday night, he knew John Cena was hurt when he was supposed to tag with him to take on The Shield. He’s not Cena’s keeper. Cena chose to put himself in the match and put himself at further risk. He was the one who lost to The Shield. Afterwards, Cena was hobbling like a weak, pathetic animal. In the laws of the jungle, the bigger, stronger and faster animals always eat the weak. Ryback rules.

MATCH 1: Ryback vs. WWE Tag Team Co-Champion Daniel Bryan
Bryan hits a kick to the left leg, ducks a clothesline and hits another kick. He ducks a corner attack, hitting more kicks to the legs. Ryback finally boots him in the stomach and clubs him with a forearm. Bryan blocks a back body drop by hitting more kicks, but gets rammed into the corner with shoulder thrusts. Ryback hits a knife-edge, then clubs Bryan down. Back up, Ryback hits a bodyslam. Bryan pops up with more kicks to the left leg, but it’s cut short by some forearm shots. Ryback throws Bryan outside, and Bryan lands on his feet, baiting Ryback to the floor. Bryan gets back in, hits a dropkick through the ropes and follows up with a suicide dive. Back in the ring, Ryback hits some kneelifts on Bryan in the corner and goes for a running powerslam. Bryan escapes and goes back to the kicks until Ryback catches a kick and just shoves him down. Ryback goes for a powerslam and turns Bryan vertical, but Bryan knees him in the head to counter. Back on his feet, Bryan hits more kicks to the leg before running into a gorilla press. Ryback holds him for a moment, then throws him to the floor. Commercials.

Back from the break, Ryback drops Bryan with a kneelift, then beals him out of the corner. Bryan rolls to the apron and Ryback charges in. Bryan counters with a shoulder and goes for a sunset flip, but Ryback blocks him and slams him into the mat by his head several times. Ryback sets Bryan in the corner, where Bryan blocks a charge and goes for a middle rope dive. Ryback catches him and turns the move into a swinging powerslam for 2. Bryan comes back with kicks to the leg, dropping Ryback to a knee. Ryback goes for a Thesz Press, but Bryan somehow counters into a half-Boston crab. That was a damn good spot right there. Ryback eventually kicks Bryan off, so Bryan goes back to the kicks, ducks a clothesline and hits one of his own, followed by a running corner dropkick and more kicks. Bryan ties the left leg in the ropes and hits another dropkick before following up with a third. Up top, Bryan hits a sit-out missile dropkick for 2. Bryan begins hitting the No! Kicks, but Ryback blocks the Buzzsaw and goes for a powerbomb. Bryan uses momentum to pull Ryback over the top rope, sending them both to the floor. Bryan gets on the apron, but gets caught. Ryback rams him back-first into the ring post and rolls him back in the ring. Ryback picks him up in a deadlift and hits a powerbomb. Bryan kicks off a second attempt, but it’s all for naught as Ryback hits the powerbomb once more. He calls for the Meat Hook, which connects. Shell Shocked hits, and it’s over.

WINNER: Ryback. Awesome way to start the show this week. If Smackdown could start every week with matches that good, I’d be very happy.

Renee Young is in the back with Ricardo Rodriguez. She asks about his match with Zeb Colter tonight. He’s very excited, and then rambles in Spanish before kissing her. Alberto Del Rio walks in and tells him to get a hold of himself and come get ready.

MATCH 2: Zack Ryder vs. Fandango (w/Summer Rae)
Crowd’s not so much into Fandango’s entrance theme this week, it seems. Fandango hits a couple of kneelifts. Ryder blocks a hip toss, hits his own, and then hits a drop toehold for 2. Fandango comes back with stomps and kicks to the head before tying Ryder into the ropes, where he hits some forearms shots to the back of the head. He follows up with an apron kick, getting 2. Ryder comes back with a facebuster, blocks a corner charge, then hits a missile dropkick from the middle rope. Ryder hits a running forearm and the Broski Boot for 2. Fandango counters the Rough Ryder into a stun gun and follows up with a side-Russian legsweep. He connects with the guillotine legdrop and gets the 3.

WINNER: Fandango.

Kaitlyn is in the back, holding a dozen roses. Natalya and The Great Khali stop to ask her what that’s about. Kaitlyn reads a text from her secret admirer to them, but doesn’t know who it is, as it’s from a blocked number. Natalya says Khali has the best advice when she’s confused, and tells him to give her some. All I can understand is, “If you need advice, come to me.”

Later tonight, Kane faces Dean Ambrose one-on-one.

Renee Young is now standing by with Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger. She reminds Zeb he can redeem his loss on Monday night by beating Ricardo one-on-one tonight. Zeb immediately loses my attention with the phrase “lamestream media”. He then rambles on about being brave, supposedly being violently ill on Monday night. He still went to work, though, because that’s what real Americans do. Okay, I can’t do this. I cannot stand listening to Zeb or his promos. This is the worst kind of cheap heat there is in pro wrestling.

MATCH 3: Ricardo Rodriguez (w/Alberto Del Rio) vs. Zeb Colter (w/Jack Swagger)
I’m glad Ricardo gets more ring time. He’s actually a very good in-ring performer overall. He may be doing a comedy gimmick, but the man can work and is professionally trained to do so. Anyway, Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee and Big E. Langston) is doing color commentary for this match. Zeb pushes Ricardo before slapping him. Ricardo grabs him by the beard, then kicks him in the knee. Ricardo stomps his hand, then “rides the pony”. Zeb gets up and rakes the eyes before punching Ricardo several times. Ricardo comes back with a hard right and a pair of thrust kicks, sending Zeb to the corner. He goes to charge in, and Jack Swagger hits the ring with a clothesline.

WINNER VIA DISQUALIFICATION: Ricardo Rodriguez. ADR hits the ring and clotheslines Swagger to the floor. Teddy Long comes out and says that, if that’s how these four want to play it, he’s turning this into a tag team match right now. I laugh when Ziggler refers to this as “Classic Teddy”.

MATCH 4: Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger
Swagger and Ricardo apparently start the match during the commercials, and Swagger is in control with a hard corner whip. Ricardo dodges a charge, causing Swagger to go shoulder-first into the ring post. ADR tags in, hits a pair of clotheslines and a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Swagger rolls to the apron, where ADR pulls him through the ropes, hits a few forearms to the back and goes for the Backstabber, but Swagger elbows him off. ADR comes back with a double-knee armbreaker and applies the jujigatame. Big E. Langston and Dolph Ziggler hit the ring and attack both men, causing a double DQ.

WINNER: No contest. Langston throws Swagger to the floor, then drops the straps. Before he can continue the attack. Teddy Long comes out and says he knew this would happen, and makes this into a triple threat tag team match. That’s right. Teddy Long just pulled some kind of Inception bullsh*t and made a tag team match within a tag team match. Sigh.

MATCH 5-Triple Threat Tag Team Match: Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez vs. Zeb Colter and Jack Swagger vs. Big E. Langston and World Champion Dolph Ziggler (w/AJ Lee)
ADR starts off by attacking Ziggler with kicks and punches. Snapmare out of the corner, followed by a spinal tap by ADR for 2. Ricardo tags in and hits a running knee to the face for 2. Low dropkick by Ricardo, and ADR tags back in, hitting a quick kick to the head for 2. Ziggler kicks him in the knee and hits a beautiful dropkick. Langston in, who hits a belly-to-belly suplex. Langston rams ADR into the corner and hits a running shoulder thrust. Ziggler back in, and he hits some body blows, followed by an avalanche for 2. Ziggler applies a mounted rear chinlock now, and ADR fights out with strikes. Ziggler blocks a back body drop, but still gets pancaked. Ziggler comes back with a kick to the knee and hits a neckbreaker. Langston tags in and walks into a mule kick by ADR. He shakes it off and drops ADR with a forearm shot before hitting some body blows. Standing back body drop by Langston before he rams ADR into the corner and hits a running shoulder thrust. Ziggler tags back in and misses a corner charge. ADR hits a thrust kick to the face, and then follows up with a Backstabber on an incoming Swagger. Langston comes back in and gets low-bridged to the floor, and Ziggler goes out next, courtesy of a clothesline. Zeb is in the ring, and ADR looks at him, calling for the jujigatame. Ziggler comes back in and hits a nice jumping DDT for 2. Ricardo tags in and goes after Langston, but Langston drops him with a standing avalanche. Swagger takes Langston out with an elevated belly-to-belly suplex, but is quickly hit with a step-up enziguri by ADR. Ziggler comes in with a schoolboy on ADR but only gets 2. ADR applies the rolling jujigatame and Ziggler taps out.

WINNERS: Alberto Del Rio and Ricardo Rodriguez.

We see some darkened area in the back, and what sounds like someone getting assaulted. The camera pans up to show The Shield. Dean Ambrose says it breaks your heart when “the champ” becomes “the chump”. They broke Cena, they broke The Undertaker, and they’ll break Kane next. Justice is what they dispense every day, and that’s what they’ll do to Kane tonight. They put ‘Taker down, but it could have been worse. Don’t believe them? By the end of the night, you will believe. Believe in The Shield. The camera pans back down, and we see that it was Daniel Bryan who was assaulted.

After the commercials, we see the referees and trainers checking on Bryan.

MATCH 6: Randy Orton vs. Damien Sandow
Orton starts with a side headlock before shouldering Sandow off the ropes. Lock-up, and Sandow goes to the headlock this time. Orton counters into his own, then hits another shoulderblock. Sandow suckers him into the corner, then stomps him down to the mat before choking Orton with his knee. Back up, Sandow hits the Venis kneelift, follows up with a snapmare and hits a jumping kneedrop for 2. Sandow applies a rear chinlock, then sends Orton to the corner. Orton reverses and hits the Four Moves of Boredom. Sandow blocks the fourth, though (the DDT), hotshots Orton, then sends him to the floor with a running knee strike. Commercials.

Back from the break, Orton counters a side headlock with a back suplex. Sandow comes back with a dropkick to the knee and hits a DDT for 2. Sandow picks Orton up for some kneelifts and follows up with a side-Russian legsweep before hitting the Cobito Aquiet, then hits a second one for 2. Sandow goes back to the rear chinlock, but Orton headbutts his way out. Sandow comes back with a boot before running into a dropkick. Back body drop connects, and Sandow rolls to the apron. Orton hits the suspended DDT from here and now calls for the RKO. The RKO connects and Orton gets the 3.

WINNER: Randy Orton. As Orton is celebrating, The Big Show comes out. He tells Orton he is amazing, but the problem is he’s not a team player. It’s all about Randy Orton. If Orton hadn’t had such a big ego at Wrestlemania and made the tag, they might have beaten The Shield, and Orton wouldn’t have gotten knocked out. All of a sudden, Sandow attacks Orton from behind and lays him out with the Terminus. Show laughs and says that is so funny. But, understand him: at Extreme Rules, there will be nothing funny about what Show does to him.

We see Kane leaving the trainer’s office when he’s stopped by Matt Striker, wanting to know Daniel Bryan’s condition. Kane says he’ll make The Shield pay for what they did to Bryan and his brother. He knows what he’s getting into and what’s going to happen to him. Sooner or later, they’ll get him down and make sure he’s stay down. But, he’s going to take down as many as he can. We’re going on a little journey to a place called Hell.

MATCH 7-Arm Wrestling Contest: Mark Henry vs. Sheamus
Henry stalls and tells the ref to make sure Sheamus’ hands and arms are dry. Is that a required spot in every arm wrestling contest in pro wrestling history? Henry takes his t-shirt off for whatever reason, and now the contest starts. Chris Jericho once said Scott Norton taught him a trick to winning any arm wrestling contest, no matter how strong or big you are. I’d love to know what it is. Anyway, Henry starts to win, but Sheamus begins taking control. He’s close to winning, but Henry takes control once more and beats him.

WINNER: Mark Henry. Wow. I’m surprised this didn’t end with Henry knocking the table over and attacking Sheamus. Like always. Sheamus congratulates Henry and says he has the stronger right arm, but he doesn’t believe Henry has the strongest left. He challenges Henry to a rematch, and Henry shrugs it off. Sheamus continues to egg him on, calling him scared. Of course, Henry gets back in the ring at this point. Henry agrees to the rematch, and Sheamus toys with him for a minute or two. Before it can start, Sheamus just punches Henry, then drops him with a Brogue Kick.

MATCH 8: Dean Ambrose (w/Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins) vs. WWE Tag Team Co-Champion
Reigns is carrying Daniel Bryan’s WWE Tag Team title with him. Based on the fact that Ambrose is the only one who has gotten singles matches thus far, I think it’s obvious to everyone that even those within WWE know he’s going to be the breakout star of the group. Kane clears the ring before the match even starts by swinging his title belt. He boots Ambrose, then goes outside and throws Rollins into the barricade and throws Reigns over the announce desk. Rollins then gets clotheslined into the crowd. The match starts, and Kane throws Ambrose into the corner for some body blows and an uppercut. He boots Ambrose in the head, then throws him to the floor. Outside, Kane hotshots Ambrose onto the barricade before rolling him to the apron for a right hand to the jaw and a boot to the side of the face. Reigns is still out behind the desk. Back in the ring, Kane ties Ambrose up in the corner and hits a straight right, followed by a short-arm clothesline. Ambrose blocks a charge and mounts the middle rope, but gets an uppercut that sends him to the floor. Commercials.

Back from the break, Ambrose has taken control and is working over Kane’s left leg. During the break, Ambrose snapped Kane’s leg over his shoulder, hence the focus of his attack. Reigns and Rollins are both back up now. Ambrose hits a rolling leg snap on Kane. Kane tries to fight back, but Ambrose continues to assault Kane, who is now in the corner. Ambrose with some mounted corner punches, followed by a forearm shot to the face. Ambrose rolls outside and wraps Kane’s leg around the ring post twice, then applies a modified figure-4 before getting back in the ring, courtesy of the top rope. Kane has enough time to recover, and he launches Ambrose from the top. Kane hits a couple rights and a pair of corner clotheslines, followed by a sidewalk slam for 2. Kane goes up top for the flying clothesline, which connects. Kane is smiling as Rollins & Reigns are barking orders at Ambrose. Kane goes for the chokeslam, but Ambrose escapes and goes for a DDT. Kane escapes and goes for the chokeslam once more, which hits. Kane doesn’t capitalize with a pin, however, and Ambrose begins to stir. Kane calls for the tombstone and hoists Ambrose up, but lets him go when he see Rollins on the apron. Kane boots Rollins to the floor, and Ambrose clotheslines him over the top. Kane lands on his feet, drags Ambrose outside and slams him face-first into the announce desk. He then attacks Reigns and throws him into the steps. Ambrose rolls back in the ring, and Kane follows. Ambrose dropkicks him in the bad knee, then hits a headlock driver, getting the 3.

WINNER: Dean Ambrose. Major victory here, all things considering. At this rate, Ambrose is going to be HUGE in WWE somewhere down the road. Kane gets back up and challenges The Shield to get back in the ring. He fights them off for a moment until they surround the ring. The numbers are too much, and they completely dominate him. He eventually begins to fight back and grabs Rollins & Ambrose in a double goozle, but Reigns comes out of nowhere with a spear. Kane is then dropped with a triple powerbomb. Ambrose rolls to the floor and grabs the tag belts and hands one to Rollins. The trio stand over Kane with the belts held over their heads.

End of show.

The opening match was good. The main event was good. Even the “Teddy Long Tag Team Extravaganza, Playa” was good. Episodes like this make my job so much easier. Oh, and in case I haven’t said it before, The Shield is the best idea WWE has had in ages, and thus far, it has been executed to perfection.

-Dustin

Dustin Nichols is a freelance writer, and you can keep track of all of his work on his Facebook page, which can be found at www.facebook.com/DustinNicholsWriter. Oh, and if you like bodybuilding, check out his mom’s official site by clicking the banner below:

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