Subscribe

WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Results: Roman Reigns Is Your Royal Rumble Winner

January 25, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The 2015 WWE Royal Rumble looked to be one of the most unpredictable Rumbles in recent memory. Unfortunately the final result wound up being the most predictable result of all scenarios. The WrestleMania 31 main-event match we have heard about for a year is still in tact as Brock Lesnar will meet Roman Reigns in the Mania headliner.

24 hours before the Rumble, the Rock sent out a tweet with a picture of himself in Philadelphia with the tweet “In town and always gotta stop by the neighborhood… #SouthPhilly”. Rock’s involvement in the event and WrestleMania has been kept under wraps, thus for the fans that stayed off of social media in Philadelphia, they were in for a real treat and welcomed back the Rock with a thunderous ovation.

Roman Reigns won the Royal Rumble. This year’s Royal Rumble featured several early surprises. Bubba Ray Dudley was the first surprise, entering the Rumble at number two. The former Bully Ray was an unexpected surprise, although he ditched Bully and was in full Bubba gear. Bubba worked with R-Truth to deliver the Dudley Death Drop on the Miz. Bubba eliminated Truth quickly. Luke Harper and Bubba were left alone in an interesting matchup. Bray Wyatt was in the match early at #5. Another big spot was Bray, Rowan, and Harper all alone and fighting with each other. The key here is that Rowan wasn’t officially in the match and just came into the ring. Bray dumped Harper and Rowan over the top rope. The Boogeyman was another surprise entrant at #7. Zack Ryder returned to action at #9. Daniel Bryan was in this year at #10. As you could expect the crowd went nuts for Bryan. Diamond Dallas Page showed up as another surprise at #15. Page hit Diamond Cutters on Bray and Fandango. Rusev was next and quickly eliminated DDP. Bray eliminated Bryan right before #16. Wow, didn’t see that one coming! The fans continued chanting for Bryan. Roman Reigns entered at #19 to a lot of boos. What did they expect? The booing grew louder and it got ugly early. Reigns eliminated Stardust and Goldust. Dean Ambrose quieted the crowd entering at #25. Reigns was fairly quiet after his first few minutes in the Rumble. Dolph Ziggler entered at #30 to a big ovation. Big Show knocked out Ziggler with a KO punch. Show and Kane dumped Ziggler over, giving Kane the record for all-time eliminations. Show dumped Bray Wyatt over the top rope leaving the Show, Kane, Ambrose, and Reigns as the Final Four. This went over as well as you’d expect with the crowd. The action was also as slow as you’d expect with Show and Kane in there. Show and Kane dumped Ambrose over. Show and Kane argued and Reigns wound up dumping them both over to a loud chorus of boos. Show and Kane double-teamed Reigns following the match. The Rock hit the ring and helped out his cousin. While the intent was to get Reigns over, the crowd booed Reigns and cheered Rock. Rusev was never eliminated and rolled back into the ring! He didn’t last long as Reigns threw him out to win the match and a date with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania.

There is a lesson learned here and the lesson here is that WWE Creative doesn’t budge. Unless someone is injured or quits, the WrestleMania booking plans aren’t changing…no matter what. I admit it, I fell for it. I thought things may change yet we are getting the match that we have been hearing about for the last nine months.

The WWE also learned nothing from last year. Reigns was booed out of the building the same way Batista was. I can’t say I blame the crowd as not only did you get Bryan squashed, the finish was probably one of the least exciting Rumble finishes in recent memory. The logic makes no sense. If Triple H is really out for what is best for business, than why do you send Big Show and Kane out to win the match? Is Big Show or Kane vs. Lesnar really best for business?

It will be interesting to see how the WWE reacts to this over the next few weeks. Brock definitely turned babyface with his performance tonight and Reigns was seen by all as the heel, sans his endorsement by The Rock. Will Lesnar go into Mania as the babyface and Reigns the heel or will the company ignore what is likely to be a growing chorus of resentment the same way crowds around the country turned on Batista.

The WWE really dropped the ball here and I don’t know if it was ignorance or intentional. They should have never booked Bryan in the match if that was all they had for him. They should have known the fans would turn. Number two, they should have never booked the Rumble in a city like Philadelphia because I think the east coast fans made it clear last year that they wanted Daniel Bryan. Three, it was fine to eliminate Bryan but to have him come in for such a short time and portray him like a jobber in a city like Philadelphia only made the crowd more irate. Keeping Bryan in the match for a while could have kept the fan negativity to a minimum as opposed to 30 plus minutes. It’s clear that the company sees Bryan as a mid-card star at best right now and it will be a long time before he gets another crack at the main-event and that’s a shame.

The WWE really dropped the ball here and I don’t know if it was ignorance or intentional. They should have never booked Bryan in the match if that was all they had for him. They should have known the fans would turn. Number two, they should have never booked the Rumble in a city like Philadelphia because I think the east coast fans made it clear last year that they wanted Daniel Bryan. Three, it was fine to eliminate Bryan but to have him come in for such a short time and portray him like a jobber in a city like Philadelphia only made the crowd more irate. Keeping Bryan in the match for a while could have kept the fan negativity to a minimum as opposed to 30 plus minutes. It’s clear that the company sees Bryan as a mid-card star at best right now and it will be a long time before he gets another crack at the main-event and that’s a shame.

Brock Lesnar pinned Seth Rollins to retain the WWE world championship. This match was just fantastic. How great was it? A John Cena match got several “This is awesome” chants in Philadelphia. The big spot of the match was Rollins delivering an incredibly high flying elbow onto Lesnar from the top rope to a table. Lesnar was wiped out at that point with Rollins and Cena in the ring. Rollins revered a Cena superplex into a running power bomb into the turnbuckle. Cena had Rollins in an STFU before J and J Security interfered and broke it up. The EMTs brought out a stretcher for Brock at this point. The announcers put it over as if Lesnar’s ribs were broken. J & J and Rollins delivered a triple power bomb onto Cena. Rollins brought the MITB briefcase into the match but was dumped over the top by Cena. Cena took out J & J with a double Attitude Adjustment. Cena hit an AA on Rollins for a two-count. Rollins wound up hitting a curb stomp onto Cena for two. Rollins hit the Phoenix splash and then Lesnar came back into the ring out of nowhere and delivered a couple of German suplexes. Rollins nailed Lesnar a couple of times with the briefcase. Lesnar caught Rollins going for the cub stomp and dropped Rollins on top of the briefcase for an F5 and the win. I would put this up there with arguably Brock’s best match since returning to the WWE.

The result tells me one thing. It tells me Brock is staying and has either re-signed or expected to re-sign with the WWE. My hunch and this is a total guess is that the WWE thought Lesnar was leaving and had Cena booked to win. Plans changed and the parties came to an agreement, yet the WWE didn’t want Cena doing another job to Lesnar so they booked Rollins in the match. This was also a case where getting pinned didn’t hurt Rollins one bit. I think this match actually helped Rollins and elevated him to a main-event player.

Full 2015 Royal Rumble Results and Winners…
Roman Reigns eliminated Rusev to win the 30-Man Royal Rumble match
Brock Lesnar defeated John Cena and Seth Rollins in a Triple threat match to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) defeated The Miz and Damien Mizdow to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship
The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella) defeated Paige and Natalya
Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Adam Rose defeated The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods)
The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor) defeated The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn)

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE Royal Rumble 2015: The Scenarios Are Endless

January 24, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

You may have a better chance of picking the winning Power Ball numbers than figuring out what the WWE intends to do not only with the Royal Rumble match at the upcoming pay-per-view event, but also with the Triple Threat match for the WWE World Title between John Cena, Seth Rollins and champion Brock Lesnar.

Now that Roman Reigns has appeared to have stuck his foot in his mouth and the fans and company have cooled on him becoming the next big thing in the WWE, the likelihood of Armageddon will not take place with a Royal Rumble win and showcase at WrestleMania XXXI.

The company may also be setting us up for a Brock Lesnar face turn to finish out his run with the company. While I thought Lesnar winning the Triple Threat match was a virtual certainty this evening, now there are other possibilities that make the evening even more inviting. The one thing I am sure of is the idea John Cena will walk out of Philadelphia with either the WWE title on his waist or winning the Royal Rumble match.

So, what’s the promotion to do? Here are a few ideas…

HAVE LESNAR LOSE THE TITLE MATCH, BUT WIN THE RUMBLE MATCH

If a face turn is in fact in order, then Seth Rollins becomes the new “Edge” heel in the WWE. Rollins took a giant step toward becoming “the man” of the company when he curb stomped both Cena and Lesnar on Raw and then become the Lesnar ass kicking on the “go home” show Monday night.

If Lesnar loses the title and wins the Rumble match, it sets up a Paul Heyman/Triple H war of words for the next three months. It also becomes a Lesnar vs. Authority type feud, which this company needs.

This scenario works out the best for all parties involved and could – actually certainly – boost ratings.

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, DANIEL BRYAN WINS RUMBLE

The “YES!” movement is alive and well in the WWE and Bryan’s continued feud with The Authority is what is best for business. Taking on all of the Authority again makes sense to pick up where both sides left off when he was injured.

I like the dynamic of Bryan and Rollins as the main event for WrestleMania. A match of two cruiserweights may be more appealing and certainly more dramatic than seeing a super heavyweight just beat down a smaller opponent. Lesnar vs. Bryan or Lesnar vs. Rollins works, but it may not be as entertaining.

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, DOLPH ZIGGLER WINS RUMBLE

Another great match and the one I want to see more than any other in the WWE.

Rollins mic skills are getting better and his performance in the ring is spectacular. He gives an “A+” performance every time he gets in the ring.

Since Ziggler won the Survivor Series Match for Team Cena by pinning Rollins, this is also a redemption match and feud. The WWE should again let Ziggler become the torch bearer for the company. Besides Bryan, I cannot see another cruiserweight who can deliver a solid match (beside Dean Ambrose) in a main event match.

LESNAR WINS TITLE, REIGNS WINS RUMBLE

I am still throwing this one out there because it has been in the works for some time. The WWE has resorted to having Vince McMahon write Reigns’ promos since he is not the most gifted speaker when it comes to interviews. CM Punk he is not.

If the company wants Reigns to dominate the Rumble match, facing Lesnar at WrestleMania would be aces for pay-per-view audiences.

ROLLINS WINS TITLE, REIGNS WINS RUMBLE

This needs no explanation. Two former Shield members with a lot of bad blood still left to spill. Fans would eat this one up alive. And even if Reigns is not the best on the mic, it would sell like wild fire.

LESNAR WINS TITLE, ORTON WINS RUMBLE

Please do not let that happen. NO, NO, NO!

Orton is set to return to the Rumble as is Sheamus. The idea of Orton winning and facing Lesnar is a solid choice, but it is not fan-friendly. Forget the idea of Sheamus in the main event. Not Going To Happen.

CENA WINS TITLE, RUSEV WINS RUMBLE

This is the only match I would want to see that makes perfect sense if Cena should win.

Cena is an aging vet who has won everything, Rusev has not been beaten yet and loves to bash on America.

Problem solved. Cena needs to fight the good fight for the WWE, not himself. And while the masses are split on loving or hating Captain Jorts, there is one thing everyone can get behind – support for Cena against the big Russian. If Cena becomes The Rock or Sting of this year and fights for the company that made him famous, he becomes a true hero for the fans, and puts an end to the Russian’s abuse of America.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE Royal Rumble 2015 Predictions and Preview

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

The WWE Royal Rumble is my favorite event of the year. There is nothing more exciting and in some years more unpredictable than the Rumble match. The 2015 event should be no different with an unpredictable Rumble and main-event.

The Rumble has been hot and cold in recent years. Last year’s Rumble was a lot more fun than people give it credit for. Unfortunately it was marred by the fan reaction to Batista being the odds on favorite to win at the height of the Yes Movement. Even Stone Cold Steve Austin jokingly said on his podcast that he would have gladly made an appearance to help diffuse some of the heat. That is what make this year’s Rumble so damned fascinating.

The 2015 Royal Rumble is essentially a two-match show. The WWE championship match and the Rumble match are it. The 30-man Rumble winner will go on to WrestleMania 31 and challenge the WWE champion for the title. Who either man will be is a complete toss-up at this point. Since I would venture to guess the majority of you reading this blog are only interested in those two matches, I will keep this preview to the main-event matches only.

WWE world championship: Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Triple Threat Match
This is arguably the most unpredictable WWE championship match in years. Not at any point in recent memory do I recall a WWE world title headliner with three guys where the result could wind up in any direction. It is very rare for the title to change hands at the Rumble, yet there has never been a title match at a Rumble with these circumstances.

Brock Lesnar is a lame duck champion. Lesnar’s contract has been reported to expire shortly after WrestleMania. That is not anything new for Lesnar, who has always had his contracts come due right after Mania. However, in previous years it was expected that Lesnar would re-sign and stick around for another 1-2 years. This year is much different.

Lesnar is rumored to be returning to the UFC after his contract expires. Regardless of whether he stays with the WWE or goes back to UFC, one thing is clear. Lesnar will be letting his contract expire in order to negotiate the best deal after Mania. With Bellator MMA now in the mix, Lesnar has the opportunity to make a lot of money. Unfortunately for the WWE, the economics are such that is really doesn’t make much sense for them to outbid UFC and Bellator. Thus unless Lesnar is simply bluffing and can’t fight again due to health issues, the WWE is the least likely suitor to sign Brock.

With most wrestling fans knowing that Brock is leaving, the WWE wants to avoid a situation like WrestleMania 20. While I don’t think it’s a problem if Lesnar comes to Mania as a lame duck champion, it is highly unlikely WWE takes that chance. Thus I see Lesnar as the least favorite of these three guys to walk out of Philadelphia as WWE champion.

The match is set up for Cena to get his win back. Cena is down 0-2 to Lesnar in the current WWE title series. The mentality of the guys in the WWE is to not let Lesnar beat Cena again if he is leaving. I think Cena gets his win back here in what will be an ugly situation in Philadelphia. As someone who has attended Philadelphia WWE shows going back to 1982, guys like John Cena aren’t very popular in this town.

Enter Seth Rollins. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Rollins was booked in the match late. I think there is a reason for it and the reason isn’t for Rollins to leave Philly belt-less. I think that WWE Creative realized Lesnar was leaving, realized that Cena had to beat him, and realized they didn’t want either Cena or Lesnar coming to Mania as the champion. It was time to pull the trigger on Rollins.

I think Cena wins the match and is destroyed by Lesnar after the match. I think Rollins takes advantage of a downed Cena, cashes in his Money in the Bank, and beats Cena for the title. The Philadelphia audience would eat it up, which isn’t necessarily a good thing since Rollins is a heel. Regardless, I think Rollins cashes in and leaves Philadelphia with the title on January 25.

The 30 Man Royal Rumble

I published a blog last week with my predictions so I won’t deviate too much from it. I went with Daniel Bryan as the favorite to win in my blog, with Roman Reigns being my second choice. That said, this year’s Rumble is probably the most unpredictable in ages and that is a very good thing. Nobody likes a predictable Rumble, just ask the fans in Pittsburgh about it.

The working plan for the last year has been to give Reigns the Rumble win and have him beat Lesnar for the WWE world title at WrestleMania 31, taking his place as the next face of the company. Unfortunately for Reigns and fortunately for fans like us who don’t like predictable Rumbles, a lot has changed. Bryan is back sooner than people thought, Reigns has not gotten over nearly as much as the company thought he would by this point (he was far more over last year at this time), and Lesnar is a lame duck champion. It was time to call an audible.

This really could go either way in regards to Reigns or Bryan. I know a lot of fans are saying that Bryan has to win or the fans will revolt. Well, I am not entirely sure about that because guys like Reigns play pretty well in Philadelphia. I don’t sense the Yes Movement being as strong as it was before Bryan left, but that would certainly change with a win in Philadelphia. I also think Bryan vs. Rollins would deliver a lot more than Reigns vs. Rollins in a Mania headliner.

I am going to stick with my Bryan prediction although I would not be surprised to see Reigns win. I think that WWE Creative can be pretty stubborn as was the case last year with Batista. Whether they learned their lesson or are too arrogant to recognize it is the bigger question. I tend to think that these guys are pretty arrogant and will do what they want. Remember, without Punk leaving it is highly likely Bryan would have never gotten that spot vs. Triple H and thus the title match. I do predict that it will come down to Bryan vs. Reigns in the Final Two which could make the final few minutes some of the most intense and fun in Rumble history.

Yet I think it ends with Bryan winning and a hell of a main-event in San Jose.

Full 2015 Royal Rumble Card and Matches…
30-Man Royal Rumble match
Brock Lesnar vs. John Cena vs. Seth Rollins in a Triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
The Usos (Jimmy and Jey Uso) vs. The Miz and Damien Mizdow for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Paige and Natalya vs. The Bella Twins (Brie and Nikki Bella)
The New Day (Big E, Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods) vs. Tyson Kidd, Cesaro and Adam Rose in a Six-man tag team elimination match
The New Age Outlaws (Road Dogg and Billy Gunn) vs. The Ascension (Konnor and Viktor)

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Seth Rollins Stands his Ground against Brock Lesnar

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

Seth Rollins stood eye to eye with the devil himself on Monday Night Raw and he didn’t blink. Not once. The guy given all the credit for creating The Shield then destroying it has spent the past several months trying to convince the world he’s the next big thing.

And now he’s trying to prove that against The Next Big Thing. Brock Lesnar is the big dog in WWE, the guy with the most important piece of hardware in the industry and when a guy like that stares you in the eye, he means business. And Seth didn’t blink one time.

Think about it. Lesnar has only had five actual dance partners since coming back in 2012. Five guys and all of them were former world champions. That in and of itself is a statement not only by WWE but by Lesnar himself; I’m here for the money matches, nothing else.

Lesnar came back, got the spotlight and stepped into the ring with talents that WWE could build a card around. The only exception to that was The Big Show, who has never been a legitimate main event star since he went to work for Vince. It’s not his fault necessarily, it’s just he always seemed to be one step shy of greatness.

But as for the rest of them, CM Punk, John Cena, Triple H and The Undertaker? Top tier main event talent. That’s the collection of stars that WWE put in front of Brock; battle tested, marquee names. And really, who can blame WWE?

Who can blame WWE for doing everything in its power to ensure that a worker paid the amount of money Brock is who will not work a part time schedule, give them as much return as possible? Forget all that talk about him putting younger talent over. That’s a job reserved for the veterans still in the company, the ones whose spots will eventually be filled by that younger talent.

This is Brock Lesnar we’re talking about here, people. He’s the big time prize fighter, the man that makes bank for the company every time he’s on the card. He needs other bankable stars to work so the company can make the rent that week. And he’s got no time for the next generation.

Or at least he didn’t. Now Seth is in the picture. One of the talents that are tasked with carrying WWE forward has a prime opportunity at The Royal Rumble to prove he’s something more than just the guy that stood beside Dean Ambrose for two years. Rollins has the chance to show what he can do on the main event stage once again only this time; it’s against The Beast Incarnate.

So how did he look to you on Raw? How did Seth Rollins look standing nose to nose with Brock Lesnar? Let’s face it, that’s the true measure of how he will probably fare at The Rumble. Seth should not be intimidated. He should not be forced to play second fiddle to anyone, no matter who it is. Brock’s pedigree aside, the fact of the matter is he’s just keeping the belt warm. The title is coming back to WWE and when it does, the guy getting it needs to be ready.

Does Seth look ready? Before he stared down Lesnar, I would have said no. He’s looked good and I enjoy his work but WWE world champion? Eh. But after he and Brock had their face-to-face? I think I’m getting onboard. Well, I have a foot off the dock anyway.

That’s the power of a well executed spot. WWE creative, and yes I use that term loosely, can write these moments all day long. But the ones making it happen are the guys on TV. They’re the ones that have to convince the fans that they should care about what they’re watching. It’s up to them to run the plays and score the points.

And I think Seth scored big time on Raw. He didn’t flinch. He didn’t smirk. He didn’t back down. Seth Rollins has been portrayed as a squirmy lowlife that sold out his best friends and is coasting to the top on someone else’s dollar. That character has been okay and he’s made the best of it.

But the Seth Rollins that breathed the same air as Brock Lesnar and lived to tell the tale? That Seth is something very different. That’s Mel Gibson in Payback; a two-bit thug getting revenge on top level thugs and he’s not a very nice guy about it. There is nothing redeeming about any criminal in that film but that doesn’t stop you from wanting to see him get one over on them.

The notion of a guy gone bad that somehow finds his way back is probably one of the most intriguing story points in all of pro wrestling. We’ve seen it a thousand times before and though I don’t think that’s where this is leading, it’s certainly an avenue WWE can go if they choose to.

In the meantime, Seth’s character has turned a corner. He’s still a squirmy lowlife but now he’s a squirmy lowlife with a pair. And after staring down Brock Lesnar with no fear in his eyes, that pair clangs together like church bells on a Sunday morning. Amen and pass the briefcase, brother.

WWE: ECW Unreleased Volume Three

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Evaluating The WWE Youth Movement – Year End Followup

January 07, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE youth movement was in full throttle this past April. A few months into the new year and stars were on the ascend for a new roster of talent. Unfortunately that momentum has subsided over the last eight months as we look back at what could have been.

I wrote a blog back in April taking a look at the new generation of stars on the WWE roster. Fans were feasting on a fresh look WWE that featured unfamiliar names in main-events and new faces that were stealing the show on a weekly basis. As we move into a new year I thought it would be a great time to take a look back and see where these future stars are today and how bright their stars look in 2015.

Bray Wyatt – There are rumors that he will be matched with the Undertaker at WrestleMania 31. That kind of spotlight will certainly help Wyatt. However, as I said back in April I think he is just too one-dimensional and that will always hold him back. I got into arguments with fans on Twitter about it but I stand by my statement. I think 2015 is a crucial year and if something doesn’t change he could wind up in some hot water by the end of the year. It’s up to him and the writing team to figure it out and at this point I’m not sure I like their chances.

Roman Reigns – I saw big things for Reigns back in April. I thought he had a sustainable character with plenty of potential to be that next big star. I am not so sure I agree with that assessment today. Something has changed and I think a lot of it has to do with Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose stepping up and raising the bar for Reigns. He is turning into a very predictable wrestler with his three or four moves and I think that fans are starting to see it. They need to book Reigns in a 20 minute match and showcase the fact that he is more than just a one-dimensional guy. His injury timeout came at a horrible time and I think he is going to struggle to find that momentum. However, that said I think he sees a title reign in 2015 and a huge push to boot.

Cesaro – Ironically if I was starting this list today he wouldn’t even be on it. That shows you how far my former CZW colleague has fallen and that is a damned shame. I did point out back in April that he isn’t the kind of a guy that the WWE typically invest big pushes in and I think I have been proven right. He has a long way to go yet with all of that talent he is bound to see big things at some point. I am just not sure that happens in 2015 and that would be unfortunate.

Seth Rollins – I predicted back in April that he would have a better WWE career than Dean Ambrose and I was right. Rollins has broken out in 2014 and is slated for big things in 2015. I am just not sure how it all plays out because as we have seen with Wyatt, you can’t go up after feuding with John Cena. Feuds with Reigns for the title and Randy Orton should keep him busy for a while but it is what happens around this time next year that has me a little concerned for his sustainability in his current spot.

Dean Ambrose – In my opinion Ambrose is the most talented guy on this list and should be getting the push slated for Reigns. However, I don’t write WWE television and the writers obviously see Ambrose as a mid-card guy at best. Ambrose’s ability to out-talk most of the roster will always put him in a good place. Unfortunately I see that place in low-mid card feuds, which is a total waste of this great talent. I do think at some point he will get a shot and I wouldn’t be shocked to see a WWE title in his future. I just worry that creative will do too much damage on the way to the title that his championship reign won’t measure up to its potential.

Daniel Bryan – Do I even put Bryan on this list? I will since I included him in April but there are so many questions surrounding the American Dragon. He will be coming back at the Royal Rumble but what happens from there? Will he receive the big push that the Yes Movement would like to see him get once again? Will he be relegated to a mid-card star, the way he was before things exploded last year? It is impossible to offer any real evaluation on him at this point.

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Seth Rollins Added To WWE Royal Rumble Main-Event

January 06, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The Authority wasted no time in shaking things up on Monday Night RAW. It was quickly announced that the WWE world title match would get a new addition. Seth Rollins was added to the match, making it a Triple Threat Match.

This one came out of nowhere. The booking change comes in plenty of time yet the plans have been in place for a Cena vs. Lesnar series to culminate at the Rumble for months. The sudden change has many wondering what the ramifications are coming out of the new matchup.

The new matchup certainly shakes things up and makes the main-event even less predictable than before. It was a given up until recently that Brock Lesnar would retain the title and go on to WrestleMania 31 and drop it to Roman Reigns. Quite honestly after the latest change to the match I think that is the least probable result.

The other scenario many were talking about in the last few weeks was Cena winning. It was recently reported that the WWE Creative Team were giving serious consideration towards changing their original plans. The Cena plan would have had Cena winning the match at the Rumble and either going to Mania and wrestling Roman Reigns or immediately dropping the title to Seth Rollins due to a Money in the Bank cash-in.

Now you have Rollins in the match. How does this change the landscape moving forward? For starters, the idea of Rollins suddenly cashing in doesn’t make sense. Although I wonder if you can have Cena win, Lesnar lay him out, and then Rollins cash-in right after the match? That could be a scenario. The other is Rollins winning and going to Mania to wrestle either Reigns or Daniel Bryan for the WWE title.

In my mind this all seems like a gut reaction to all of the news and rumors surrounding Lesnar. Lesnar’s contract with the WWE expires right after WrestleMania. Mania would be his last match. It was expected months ago that Lesnar would sign a new deal, however the latest reports indicate that Brock is leaning towards returning to the UFC. The timing of this all seems too coincidental for the news not to influence the booking.

A final thought is that Rollins is being booked as a sacrificial lamb. Maybe the idea is that with Lesnar leaving, they don’t want him to pin Cena on the way out? This way the company can proceed with its year-long plan to book Lesnar vs. Reigns and give Reigns the title and a Mania moment. Keep in mind that every year we hear rumors of Mania changes yet rarely does the WWE change direction. Last year was an exception and without CM Punk walking out I don’t know if those changes are even made.

Regardless, this may be the first time in years that the result of the WWE world championship match is more intriguing than the Rumble winner.

WWE: ECW Unreleased Volume Three

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

WWE and NXT 20 Best Matches of 2014

December 30, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Complain all you wish about WWE, but there are 20 incredible matches listed here, all available to be watched at your leisure for, yes, $9.99 on WWE Network. Viewing all of them over the course of a few days would go a long way in taking your mind of most of the awful booking and half-baked episodes of Raw you endured in 2014, not to mention the constant plugs of the WWE App. The list is a reminder that not all was bad in the past year. In fact, quite a bit of it ruled.

Your mileage may vary, but here’s my take on the greatest matches from the sports entertainment giant from 2014.

20. The Shield vs. Evolution (WWE Payback, June 1)

Through December’s NXT Takeover: R Evolution in December, awareness of Triple H’s investment in NXT had never been higher. As such, the feud with The Shield this past spring makes the utmost sense: he trusts himself and two veterans in Batista and Randy Orton to get the most out of three of NXT’s most popular stars (next to Bray Wyatt, they’re the Mount Rushmore of NXT until Sami Zayn and others challenge them).

The bout at Payback was under elimination rules, with no countouts or disqualifications, and descended into thorough chaos, peaking with Roman Reigns taking a vestless whipping by the heels. The Shield winning was hardly stunning, but the clean sweep (in the group’s last hurrah) was: after 27 minutes, Seth Rollins pinned Batista, Dean Ambrose eliminated Orton, and Reigns speared real-life benefactor Triple H to survive with the trio in tact.

19. Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan vs. John Cena vs. Cesaro vs. Christian vs. Sheamus (WWE Elimination Chamber, February 23)

As long as the performers cut a watchable pace in the epic-length Chamber matches, and there’s some creative mayhem taking place between the chain-link walls, it generally adds up to a great match. This was no exception, and it even came with some added drama: would Bryan avenge his exclusion from the Royal Rumble match and become WWE Champion? A spurned Twitterverse, led by a bat-wielding Mick Foley, glued their eyes to the action.

Bryan, of course, didn’t win here, succumbing to Corporate Kane (RepubliKane?) in a screwy finish. Cena also didn’t win, as a Wyatt Family teleportation cost him Orton’s gold as well. It was Bryan’s portion of the story that received the most focus, with him taking a beating (being whipped through an empty pod by Cesaro), and valiantly clawing his way back before the heart-ripping finish. That only made the WrestleMania payoff more enjoyable.

18. Sheamus vs. Cesaro (WWE Night of Champions, September 21)

The McMahon Paradox Extravaganza: the latter wrestler he claims can’t connect with the crowd, while the former truly doesn’t, in spite of any feelings Vince has toward the wooden, but physically gifted, Sheamus. It was in this match that we got Sheamus at his most robust: the temperamental brawler who dishes out punishment as well as he receives it. Cesaro is equally in his glory in these bouts, and was capable of getting the best out of Sheamus.

With the all-but-lifeless United States title at stake, Cesaro and Sheamus made with the stiff blows, exchanging elbows and forearms with assembly-line regularity. Even with Cesaro lost in the shuffle following a summer of poor direction, it seemed at times he was closing in on finishing Sheamus, particularly in the ultimate war of strikes. Cesaro had the upper hand for a split second, and just walked into a Brogue Kick to take the loss.

17. Luke Harper vs. Dolph Ziggler (WWE TLC, December 14)

TLC (and S) failed to cobble together a fourth-quarter rally in order to beat NXT’s R Evolution event; in fact, the show was blown out of the water completely by the development squad. Much of the blame for TLC’s failure came from uninspired matches with increasingly-meaningless weapon modifiers. Ziggler and Harper’s ladder match for the Intercontinental Title went on first, and was by and far the night’s most shining moment.

The match came with some ramped-up sickness; both men bled the hard way (Harper opened up a metal-cut by his armpit), and Harper nearly busted his arm on a suicide dive. The Cleveland crowd cheered for former-homeboy Ziggler, sustaining his rise in popularity with an exciting cat-and-mouse battle with a faultlessly-sadistic Harper, overcoming him in the end with a nod to the SummerSlam 1995 finish, superkicking him off of a second ladder, and retrieving the belt.

16. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (WWE SummerSlam, August 17)

The company had plenty to atone for after flaking on the duo’s would-be match at Battleground, only made up for by Ambrose attempting bloody murder three times during the course of that evening. A lumberjack stipulation for the SummerSlam bout read as needless; just send the two out there and let them attempt to kill one another. Silly us; the sea of humanity at ringside only added to a heated matchup that felt all too short.

Among the highlights: Ambrose suplexing Rollins from the apron onto a group of lumberjacks, and then Ambrose crazily throwing lumberjacks aside while in crazed, Captain Ahab-like pursuit of Rollins. Babyface lumberjacks carried Rollins back to the ring as a human sedan, so Ambrose dove off the top rope onto the pile. Kane’s interference took the wind out of a wild match, but not before it engrossed a chaos-loving crowd.

15. Charlotte vs. Natalya (NXT Takeover, May 29)

This was certainly surprising. You’d expect a good match from Natalya under required circumstances (read: a match of reasonable length where she’s not selling for the trade show model du jour). But Charlotte? She didn’t impress me in NXT early on (though THAT would change), and it seemed her push was based on that she was tall, blonde, and the offspring of wrestling royalty. To say this match was incredible might be the understatement of all of 2014.

In a match to determine the new NXT Women’s Champion, Charlotte held her own in what ended up a highly intense match-up, most notable for the Sharpshooter/figure-four spot with determined reversals and realistic selling. Perhaps having Ric Flair and Bret Hart at ringside was a heaven-sent dual muse? Charlotte capped off the match with the win, which many predicted, but the story in getting to that point was something no one saw coming.

14. Daniel Bryan vs. Bray Wyatt (WWE Royal Rumble, January 26)

Forget the aftermath of the match, which consisted of two hours of fan anger the likes of which hadn’t been seen since the 1991 Great American Bash. Contained within its frame of time, Bryan and Wyatt held their own in a match that essentially saved the Rumble from being one of the absolute worst PPVs of all time. Even with the match, the night retains its unfathomable infamy, but at least you can say, “Well, one match was awesome.”

Bryan and Wyatt’s match opened the Rumble, and was pretty oddly structured for an era bent on mechanical pacing. Bryan worked Wyatt’s legs early with a series of kicks, and the match didn’t really hit the WWE Main Event Style until well into the proceedings. That was for the better, because different can be highly enjoyable. The finish was memorable, with Wyatt catching a Bryan dive into Sister Abigail against the crowd barrier, very suitably slick.

13. Tyler Breeze vs. Sami Zayn (NXT Takeover, May 29)

Takeover was a serious contender for the best WWE show of 2014. The women’s match makes this list, and the NXT Championship bout between Adrian Neville and Tyson Kidd was a viable list candidate that just fell short. Breeze and Zayn’s number one contender match was the best of a well-executed card, hardly surprising given Zayn’s general Midas touch. However, the match served as Breeze’s coming-out party, making him one to watch.

Making anyone this generation’s Shawn Michaels is a risky proposition, equal to calling any NBA player “the next Jordan”, but WWE’s all in with coloring Breeze the risk-taking pretty boy incarnate of today. He was game on exchanging crazy moves with the experienced Zayn, including a weird reversal sequence that ended in an improvised powerbomb. The ending was also a creative bit of screwiness, involving a questionably-blatant low blow.

12. Jimmy and Jey Uso vs. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan (WWE Battleground, July 20)

What is it with Harper and opening matches that all but save mediocre-to-bad PPVs? Not only does a bleating hillbilly make the Intercontinental Title feel like its worth fighting for, but Harper did the same for the Tag Team Championships, held by the Usos. The two teams met in a two out of three falls match, a stipulation that seemed oddly tacked on, and in the end, it wasn’t even necessary. The efforts of the four drove the match beyond anyone’s expectations.

The Wyatt disciples grabbed the first fall after a Harper running boot, but the Usos quickly tied it with a roll-up. The third fall extended to epic length, with a ton of false-finishes, last second saves, and ante-upping action, including Rowan hitting a double-superplex on both Usos, and a spiraling moonsault from Jimmy Uso. The brothers retained with a pair of diving splashes, but not before the crowd found itself living and dying on every close pinfall attempt.

11. Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (WWE Hell in a Cell, October 26)

For the first time since 1994, a WWE PPV had ended with two men under 30 years old in a singles main event. Ambrose and Rollins, both 28 at match time, figured to be blowing off a five-month issue after the split of the Shield, and conventional wisdom had Ambrose getting his receipt from the SummerSlam loss. The match would tap into some lost Attitude Era magic and imagination, with a swerve ending out of Vince Russo’s soggiest wet dreams.

Channeling their collective inner Mick Foley, the two began the match on top of the Hell in a Cell cage, with Jamie Noble and Joey Mercury taking part in the mayhem. Ambrose and Rollins took a safer (only slightly) fall off of the cage through tables, but continued the fight inside with Ambrose gaining the upper hand. This led to the utterly random ending with Bray Wyatt interfering following a holographic smoke signal, but everything up to that point was killer.

10. Cesaro vs. Sami Zayn (NXT Arrival, February 27)

Nothing better than a feud over who is simply “the better man.” Strange concept to some in power, but for my simple eyes, the Zayn/Cesaro rivalry was some of the most enjoyable wrestling over the past several years. After a two-out-of-three falls match that Cesaro won the prior August (hailed by many as the 2013’s best match), the story was that Zayn was bent on avenging the loss, and challenged Cesaro to a final battle at WWE Network’s first major special.

The cat-and-mouse nature of the match, with Zayn’s eager risk-taking and Cesaro’s defiant power response, built feverishly to Cesaro gaining the definitive upper hand, and Zayn looking the beaten man. Cesaro even begged Zayn to stop kicking out, but Zayn countered the Neutralizer. That led to Cesaro brutalizing him with Swiss Death, a discus uppercut, and the punctuating Neutralizer. Afterward, Cesaro gave Zayn the gesture of respect he’d wanted.

9. Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston (WWE Money in the Bank, June 29)

The latter four names served as little more than aerodynamic fodder for this match. While most Money in the Bank ladder matches leave story locked away in favor of letting directionless talents put on a 20-minute stunt show, the Rollins-Ambrose war began boiling here. An increasingly-unhinged Ambrose entered himself in the match with less interest in a World Title contract, and more focus on maiming Rollins for his unexpected betrayal four weeks earlier.

Ambrose attacked Rollins from Jump Street, fondly reminiscent of Cactus Jack’s “who cares about the belt?” vile pursuit of Sting over twenty years ago. Rollins took a scary bump onto a wedged ladder display, and Ambrose sold a dislocated shoulder in his undeterred quest to make Rollins pay. Kane interfered in the final stages, Tombstoning Ambrose so that Rollins could snare the briefcase. The other four men contributed mightily, but for once, there was an actual story.

8. Randy Orton vs. Batista vs. Daniel Bryan (WWE WrestleMania XXX, April 6)

Nostalgia always feels best when its employment seems natural. There was no shoehorning of classic Attitude Era elements into the WrestleMania main event, which saw the use of a crooked ref, even more crooked authority figures, and a teased stretcher job for Bryan that turned into a Willis Reed comeback special. Add to it the legitimate want of the audience to see Bryan prevail, and the elements were there for a tremendous ‘Mania finale.

It took a lot to get the crowd back into it after The Undertaker’s streak was startlingly ended less than an hour earlier by Brock Lesnar, but all three performers held their own, even the maligned Batista. The bomb/neckbreaker combo on Bryan through the table was memorably sick, and Bryan’s forcing of Batista to submit erupted the Superdome appropriately. If this were the Newlywed Game, WWE held up cards that had every fan answer correct in this one.

7. Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn vs. Tyler Breeze vs. Tyson Kidd (NXT Takeover: Fatal Four Way, September 11)

Demonstrating the sort of knowing, long-term building that the latter day Vince McMahon lacks (“We have one week to get the ratings up to a 2.9 or the stockholders will burn Titan Tower down!”), NXT had built up Zayn as the perfect underdog: the fair-playing gentleman who will compete to his last breath, but won’t yield from his principles. Lacking the hypocrisy of John Cena, NXT viewers rallied behind the proud ethics of Zayn, wishing him toward the top.

This fatal-four-way took some time to find its groove, but did in a major way. The narcissistic Breeze had a good showing in the middle with plenty of near falls, but Zayn brought it home, ending a frenzied sequence with a Heluva Kick on Kidd for two, after a desperate Neville pulled the referee out. Neville used the unsportsmanslike move to land Red Arrow on Kidd and retain, which robbed Zayn once more. Not a worry; his day would come in the grandest of fashion.

6. The Shield vs. Evolution (WWE Extreme Rules, May 4)

The Shield coming to Bryan’s rescue the night after WrestleMania kicked off a highly enjoyable run against the reformed Evolution (until Rollins was swiftly turned, apparently in response to low Memorial Day ratings if you believe the sheets). The aforementioned rematch at Payback event, under elimination and ‘no DQ’ rules, was pretty great in its own right, but the original from Extreme Rules remains the superior exhibition, with its faster pace and livelier crowd.

Rollins continued his campaign to become the modern WWE generation’s Jeff Hardy, doing so by leaping off of the upper deck at the IZOD Center onto Triple H, Randy Orton, and a sacrificial Dean Ambrose. Say what you will about Batista, but he’d been a good sport since the poorly-received comeback, putting over Roman Reigns clean as a sheet by eating the Superman punch, and the emphatic spear. WWE has issues creating stars, but got the Shield 100% correct.

5. John Cena vs. Cesaro (WWE Monday Night Raw, February 17)

If you’re given twenty minutes on free television to work with John Cena, and you’re still kicking around the midcard or upper midcard with little in the way of promising direction, chances are this is your litmus test. WWE seemed to be flirting with a true push of Cesaro in the preceding weeks, sticking him into the Elimination Chamber match, and even put him over champion Randy Orton in a non-title bout. So far so good, but the real test was at hand.

The win over Orton raised the possibility that he *could* beat Cena, instead of having it be the obvious “LOL CENA WINS” trope, and Cesaro held up his end. The most notable spot was the deadlift superplex, now a Cesaro staple, which was used on the B-shows before its unleashing on Raw. Cesaro did end up losing clean to Cena, but was rewarded with the WrestleMania battle royal win and earning Paul Heyman as a manager before things cooled off.

4. The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family (WWE Elimination Chamber, February 23)

Pretty good sign when the fans are chanting “THIS IS AWESOME” before any of the six have even made contact with one another. Then again, it raises the bar pretty high for a group of men, none of whom were truly juiced-in main eventers at the time, that are being counted on to deliver in a prime spot. It was hailed as a match-of-the-year candidate before it even ended (and indeed before it even kicked off), and remains in the running ten months later.

The Shield weren’t particularly babyfaces in the run-up to the match, aside from not backing down in face-to-face confrontations, but the trio took to the good guys formula with the sort of timing and pacing that made it seem like they’d been faces for years. The chaotic end-run of the match, which was a star-maker for the kamikaze Rollins, puts it above most other spotfests by having logic and organization behind each stunt. The Wyatts won, but really, so did the Shield.

3. John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Big Show, Erick Rowan and Ryback vs. Seth Rollins, Luke Harper, Kane, Rusev, and Mark Henry (WWE Survivor Series, November 23)

Other than Roman Reigns’ breakout showing at the 2013 event, there hasn’t been a truly classic Survivor Series match in years, probably since the madcap fun of the Raw vs. Smackdown match in 2005. Picking the greatest elimination bout of all time was a veritable toss-up between the 1987 20-manner and the Austin/Bischoff-helmed teams in 2003. For years, that was my either/or argument until this match swooped in and surprised pretty much everyone.

The crowd built to nuclear levels following Rusev’s elimination nearly 20 minutes in, and were stunned when Show double-crossed Cena. Ziggler’s subsequent valiant effort to overcome three-on-one odds saw him win over the fans, building to a dramatic finale with Rollins where Triple H would not let him win. Sting’s debut iced the match as a modern classic, made all the more enjoyable by Stephanie’s well-done breakdown in the aftermath, her job lost.

2. Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H (WWE WrestleMania XXX, April 6)

After “The Game” made Brock Lesnar slow down to his pace for a trio of matches, and needed Shawn Michaels to play rodeo clown in the overrated “End of an Era” match, I went into his match with Bryan with lowered expectations. I’d figured Bryan would have to slow down to allow his 44-year-old boss with two bum legs to keep up. Lo and behold, the Fountain of Youth resides in New Orleans, as Triple H had his greatest match in probably a good decade or so.

As if he was determined to prove he could still go with the best, and maybe feeling slighted that CM Punk brushed off a match with him, Helmsley wrestled a beaut with the best technician in the company, mixing pure wrestling with the sports-entertainment transition spots you’d expect out of his matches. In the end, Triple H put Bryan over 100% cleanly, and allowed him to kick out of the Pedigree in the process. And we all thought Hunter didn’t know how to elevate.

1. Adrian Neville vs. Sami Zayn (NXT Takeover: R Evolution, December 11)

One of the bolder statements I’ve seen among internet feedback: Zayn’s NXT Championship victory meant more than Daniel Bryan’s WrestleMania title win. I can see this point, actually: with Bryan, you knew that once the YES Movement had the ‘YES-in”, he was getting the strap. With Zayn, there was no telling if he’d truly be a bridesmaid forever, even with the stipulation that he had to leave NXT (read: go to the main roster) if he lost to Neville once more.

The story told was some of the best you’ll see: Zayn fighting the urge to cheat, in spite of Neville’s prior claims that without bending the rules, he would never get the gold. The match built toward two ref bumps, Zayn’s patent frustration, and a finish where Zayn finally conquered the Brit and won the elusive title. The celebration with debuting Kevin Owens and the roster solidified the moment….and Owens’ heartless double-cross only enhanced the awesomeness.

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

The Camel Clutch Blog WWE 2014 Year In Review

December 29, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The World Wrestling Entertainment had an eventful 2014. The WWE saw new stars breakout, a historic result, & one of the most fascinating stories in recent years with one top star quitting and jumping into the world of MMA. Rather than look back myself at the WWE 2014 in review, I am joined by a collection of pro wrestling writers from CamelClutchBlog.com.

WWE Wrestler of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Brock Lesnar. This may not be a popular opinion but I am going with Brock Lesnar for Wrestler of the Year. Yes I know he wrestled a part-time schedule, but look at what he accomplished in just a handful of matches? He not only ended the streak but he destroyed the WWE world champion in the most one-sided match you’ll ever see headline a WWE pay-per-view. Nobody even came close to giving Lesnar a run for the money. Rollins was my initial choice but even he didn’t have victories as historic as Lesnar. Speaking of historic, Lesnar had two historic matches in one year! I know some people will argue the schedule but I can’t think of anyone who had as dominant of a 2014 in the WWE ring as Brock.

Dustin Nichols – Dolph Ziggler. Had he not gone down with an injury early in the year, I think 2014 would have been the year for Daniel Bryan. Having said that, I am going with Dolph Ziggler. After being punished for some untimely (albeit truthful) comments about Randy Orton being boring and holding the roster back, WWE seems ready to forgive and forget and allow Ziggler to be the star we’ve all known he could be for years. Ziggler’s last few months in WWE have been spectacular, with great match after great match, as well as several key, big wins over guys like Luke Harper and Seth Rollins, including being the sole survivor in the main event at this year’s Survivor Series. Not only that, but he has brought a lot of prestige back to the Intercontinental Championship, and with the WWE title being on a part-timer who only works 30 days a year, Ziggler has done what he promised and made the IC title the most important singles belt in the company.

Tom Clark – Dolph Ziggler. Dolph Ziggler is usually the fans’ choice and honestly I have to go with him this time out.  Dean Ambrose had a good year and Seth Rollins did very well but for me, no one was as consistent as Ziggler.  Every time he laces up the boots, he impresses.  Just because he’s not a top guy makes no difference in terms of what he means to that company; Dolph is an absolute workhorse and he gets it done every time out.  He looks more comfortable and more at ease than he perhaps ever has before and if this is what simply allowing a guy to work with little main event expectations is like, then I for one say keep him where he is. He will eventually rise to the top, the guy is too good and he’s too over to be kept down for much longer.

Jeff Peck – Seth Rollins. Heading into 2014, Seth Rollins may have been the least likely guy on The Shield to breakout on his own and now he is by far the best star from The Shield since their split back in June. Rollins how tremendous matches throughout the year with guys like Dean Ambrose & John Cena and now he is poised to be a WWE Champion at some point in 2015. It’s amazing to see how far Seth Rollins has come from Tyler Black in ROH to the star we see each and every week in the WWE.

Atlee Greene – Dean Ambrose. In the wake of Daniel Bryan’s injury in May, no one has captured the imagination of WWE fans more than Dean Ambrose. Seth Rollins, and to an extent, Roman Reigns have had some good matches and fun moments but the lunatic fringe, with his versatile performance on the microphone and in the ring, has proven that in the case of The Shield, the sun of its parts is greater than the whole. Dolph Ziggler and Seth Rollins also deserve consideration for this honor.

Steve Grossi – Brock Lesnar. Some people are going to think I’m crazy but I’m going with Brock Lesnar for my wrestler of the year.  When I think of the individual that should win this, in my mind, it’s the wrestler who had the biggest year – the wrestler who made the biggest impact.  Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Daniel Bryan, John Cena and Dolph Ziggler all had great moments but no one even comes close to the impact Brock made in the ring in 2014.  I hate the idea that he didn’t wrestle enough to win wrestler of the year.  This isn’t football or baseball where stats are compiled.  He works when he works. It’s not about collecting stats to compare against someone else.  With Ziggler’s win at Survivor Series being close, Brock had two wins that are untouchable by anyone else.  Lesnar’s domination of Cena at SummerSlam was unbelievable.  It was the most one-sided beating of Cena’s WWE career.  Brock hit Super Cena with 16 German suplexes, and two F-5’s, pinning Cena clean to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.  Four months prior, the thing I never thought would ever happen, happened.  Brock Lesnar did exactly what Paul Heyman said he was going to do, he defeated The Undertaker at WrestleMania, putting an end to Taker’s 21-match undefeated streak. Those are two moments I never thought I would see and Brock Lesnar did them both in the same year. Hands down the wrestler of the year for 2014.

Danny Bixby – John Cena.John Cena. Let’s go ahead and everyone agree to just disavow me now. My pick is…sigh…John Cena. Ugh, I hate myself for this! But let’s be honest, this year has been pretty much a crapshoot talent-wise. With CM Punk quitting in January, Daniel Bryan getting injured for 6-12 months right after he won the title at Wrestlemania and WWE’s new golden child Roman Reigns being out for a few months this fall, the WWE main event scene has fallen to one guy: John Cena. He has main evented 7 out of 12 PPV’s this year, and been the “2nd main event” for the other 5. Nobody else can boast that. The WWE relies on him to carry the weight of the product, and he does it year after year. 2014 was no different.

David Levin – Daniel Bryan. The rise of Bryan over the course of two years is one of the best stories in wrestling history. It is as important to the business as it was back in the 1970s when it was thought Ric Flair wasn’t worthy enough to hold the belt because Dory Funk and Jack Brisco had better wrestling backgrounds. The cult-like rapport’ Bryan has with the fans from a simple catch phrase – “YES!” – is one for the ages.

Robert Goeman – Seth Rollins. If Daniel Bryan had stayed healthy, this award would have been his. When the Shield broke up this year, Ambrose and Reigns had easy transitions into their face roles. Ambrose became a vengeful psychopath hell bent on destroying Rollins and Reigns…he changed his gear! Rollins became the handpicked golden boy of the Authority and has knocked it out of the park as a cocky little turd. With the sudden disappearance of alleged real world’s champion Brock Lesnar to visit every Jimmy Johns in a goodwill tour to spread the word of Vito Meats, Rollins has settled comfortably into the top heel spot. The highlight of his is of course the excellent Ambrose feud and good to great bouts against the likes of Ziggler and Cena among others. Rollins has cemented himself as the top heel in the company and I really don’t see anybody on the roster unseating him or even challenging him. Of course, I’m not forgetting all of the excellent work Rollins did in the Shield; he just impressed the heck out of me in this role. I honestly thought he would struggle in the role, but Rollins has been a natural in the role.

Chris Skoyles – Dolph Ziggler. Equally revered by casual fans and die-hards alike, Dolph Ziggler -in this writer’s opinion- deserves the nod for Wrestler of the Year not so much for any kayfabe accomplishments, but more for continuing to maintain his status as a firm favourite despite his continual mistreatment at the hands of the WWE machine. Whilst others are held up as bastions of greatness one minute, only to be scorned the next (see: Roman Reigns), Ziggler manages to retain the respect and adulation of fans thanks to his always-on-form work in keeping us entertained.

Eric Darsie – Dean Ambrose. If you told me at the start of 2014 that the Shield will break up and Dean Ambrose would be the guy I was most excited about watching out of the three, I’d laugh at you. When the three broke apart at the end of the spring, all three men jumped up the singles ladder rather quickly and I can see all three men as main eventers in the future, but with Dean Ambrose having a two pay-per-view main events under his belt as a singles star, he’s my wrestler of the year.

WWE Story of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – CM Punk Quitting the WWE and signing with the UFC. I struggled between CM Punk leaving the WWE and going to UFC and the Ultimate Warrior’s return and subsequent passing. With all due respect to the Warrior, I think the CM Punk story was much bigger on so many levels. Never have we had a story where a top guy just walked out of the company, impacting WrestleMania, and going to the UFC all in one year! On top of all of that you have the added element of Punk’s wife still working for the WWE. This is one hell of a story and the recent podcasts and interviews only heated it up again. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like it again and for me, this was the biggest story of the year in and outside of the ring. How big of a story was this? In a year where the WWE essentially eliminated the pay-per-view model in favor of a network, this story was bigger.

Dustin Nichols – CM Punk quits and signs with UFC. I think there’s really only one story that can earn this award, and that’s CM Punk parting ways with WWE and eventually signing with UFC. Regardless of which side you believe (although Punk’s seems more likely), the fact is that Punk was a major star during his time with WWE, and leaving the company for a variety of reasons was even more major. The split was bitter, and Punk eventually decided to not only not return, but to leave pro wrestling for good, announcing his retirement before the age of 40, something almost unheard of in this sport. If that wasn’t shocking enough, Punk recently signed a major contract with UFC, with both sides likely looking to replicate the success of Brock Lesnar a few years back. Punk is already training for his first fight, and is expected to debut sometime in 2015. Already, speculation is running rampant on not only who Punk will face, but how well he is expected to fare in “the Octagon”. Regardless of what you think of his career move, Punk signing with UFC has the whole sports world talking.

Tom Clark – The CM Punk saga. For me, this has to be the CM Punk saga.  The guy that once stood up for the WWE locker room decided to leave it behind in favor of healing up and trying to have a normal life with his new wife.  It made sense and I for one didn’t hold it against him.  When he finally broke his silence on WWE, everyone lost their minds and when the UFC announcement was made, things got even crazier.  The voice of the voiceless was screaming louder than ever before and he wasn’t even in the ring anymore.  Fans can either hate him or love him but no one deny Punk’s drive to be his own man and not be controlled by anyone else on any level.  We should all be that brave.

Jeff Peck – CM Punk vs. the WWE. From the walkout to the podcast pipebomb to Vince McMahon’s response the CM Punk/WWE saga has dominated headlines throughout of 2014. From rumors of CM Punk being at RAW in Chicago back in March 2014 to rumors of CM Punk being at WrestleMania 30 to rumors of any and every type of return. It’ll be interesting to see what twists it takes heading into 2015 as CM Punk prepares for his UFC debut and if there is any “burying of the hatchet” between he & the WWE.

Steve Grossi – The Ultimate Warrior Returns. The debut of Sting is a very difficult story to pick against but for me, The Ultimate Warrior was the story of 2014.  After a long and ugly feud with Vince McMahon and WWE management that lasted 18+ years, The Ultimate Warrior took his rightful place in the WWE Hall of Fame with a speech that will never be forgotten.  Then, the night after WrestleMania XXX, he made an epic return to Monday Night Raw with an even more powerful and very eerie speech.  He said, “No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own.  Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat; his lungs breathe their final breath.” It’s almost like he was saying his final farewell.  Then the following day, one of the saddest days I can remember, he passed away.  There is no doubt in my mind that after everything that had happened in the events during WrestleMania weekend, he was happy and finally at peace.  He will forever be one of my all-time favorite wrestlers.  He’s the kind of personality you never forget.  The music, his sprint to the ring, the face paint and one-of-a-kind promos and there’s no question the spirit of the Ultimate Warrior will live forever. I couldn’t be happier that he was able to make his return and take his place in the WWE Hall of Fame.

David Levin – CM Punk Walking Out. Punk marched to the beat of his own drum. He walked out and then was fired on his wedding day. Arenas chant his name, hope he will appear in person in a “Sting sitting in the rafters” type scenario.Now, after hearing about how Vince McMahon publically apologized to him for the way he company treated him, to how Punk was never treated properly for MRSA to how he now is property of the UFC, Punk continues to make headline just for the mere fact he is the most polarizing wrestler who has not appeared in a WWE ring in the last 11 months.

Danny Bixby – $9.99! Say it with me: $9.99!!! That’s right, the absolute biggest story of the year was the creation and promotion of the WWE Network. A fan’s wet dream when it comes to watching pro wrestling. You can see every WWE/WCW/ECW ppv that ever existed, along with every new WWE ppv live while they air. I mean really, even if it was current PPV’s, you’re looking at $600 in ppv cable costs…instead of $120 for the year for the Network. That’s a crazy deal. Throw in all the old stuff, the new special content (Countdown, Monday Night War, etc) and every fan has been salivating at this. Hell, it’s worth $9.99 just to be able to watch NXT every week! As time goes on, the future of WWE will rise and fall with the success of the Network. All of their eggs are in this basket. Hopefully it doesn’t get crushed.

Robert Goeman – CM Punk’s Walk Out. This to me was a tough vote because we had the Network launch and it struggle leading to the stock debacle. You had Daniel Bryan cementing himself as the new face of the WWE, to only see his career in doubt. We all know or at-least we thought we knew the story being Punk leaving, sitting out his contract and then seemingly disappearing. Punk had never talked about the walk-out; the WWE seemed to be in radio silence mode and CM Punk became CM Sticky Note. Everybody theorized when Punk would return, then people were happy he was gone, and then everybody wanted him back. We also wondered when Vince would be seen driving a dump truck full of money down to Chicago. The company took pot shots at him in Chicago and Punk to his credit maintained silence. On Thanksgiving weekend, Punk would appear on Colt Cabana’s podcast, revealing

Chris Skoyles – CM Punk and WWE part way. I badly wanted to give this one to the Undertaker’s streak reaching its end. After all, did anything come as far out of the blue as that? Yet ultimately, I have to concede that the Punk/WWE break up earns the win simply because it’s dominated headlines for pretty much the full course of the year. Months after the Straight Edge Superstar’s last appearance in a WWE ring, we were still talking about him online, chanting his name in arenas and wondering what he’d do next. The move to MMA means we’ll still be talking about him long into 2015.

Eric Darsie – CM Punk vs. Vince McMahon. Since he walked out the night after the Royal Rumble, CM Punk was silent until Thanksgiving, when his first part interview with Colt Cabana on Art of Wrestling came out. With the lawsuit and all, he couldn’t come out sooner than he did, but it all made sense after both editions of Art of Wrestling came out. McMahon appearing on the Steve Austin Show with Stone Cold, it appears to me that what Punk mentioned in his two interviews with Cabana opened up a can of worms that the WWE has to close with their doctors, and with CM Punk.

WWE Match of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Team Authority vs. Team Cena (Survivor Series 2014). This was another tough one because I hate to be accused of recency bias but I don’t think there was a match as exciting all year as the Survivor Series 2014 Team Cena vs. Team Authority match. The match was 43 minutes long which has to be the longest WWE PPV main-event in recent years. The match was incredibly dramatic, more so than even Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H. The fans were fantastic as they added an element of excitement to the match rarely seen outside of WrestleMania. The final fifteen minutes were as fun as you will get on a WWE event in 2014. I watched it again before writing this to confirm and it was just as entertaining several weeks later as it was live. I loved this match and the drama that came with it, thus it gets my nod for Match of the Year.

Dustin Nichols – Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista (WrestleMania 30). Although not the most spectacular match I’ve ever seen, I’m going with Bryan/Orton/Batista at Wrestlemania. Although something of an average triple threat match, the story of Bryan defying the odds and continuing to come back from absolutely everything thrown at him told a great story and made the match (as well as the payoff) completely worthwhile. Andre/Hogan at Wrestlemania III wasn’t the greatest of matches, but everyone remembers it because of the great build and the fantastic story. I think the same will be said for Bryan finally reaching the pinnacle of WWE in front of a crowd 100% behind him.

Tom Clark – Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton vs. Batista (WrestleMania 30). This one has to be Daniel Bryan’s title victory over Randy Orton and Batista at WrestleMania 30.  It may not get the nod overall in terms of being a technical masterpiece but it was the main event of WWE’s biggest night of the year.  Combine that with the fact it was Bryan’s ascension to the top and it meant so much more.  There has arguably not been a guy more deserving and more suited to fill that spot in recent history than Daniel Bryan and I’m very happy that he got his Mania moment.  It was the biggest night of his career and it came on the night when the company made the most money.  For me, that’s an epic match that’s hard to top.

Jeff Peck – Charlotte vs. Natalya (NXT Takeover – May 29th, 2014). This may come as a shock to some but it really stands out to me as the best match in a WWE ring from this past year. Charlotte and Natalya took the Flair/Hart rivalry to the next level back in May 2014 by putting together one of the best women’s wrestling matches I have seen in some time. The chemistry between the two of them is amazing, both are extremely athletic and they brought a emotional investment into the match.

Atlee Greene – Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins (Monday Night Raw 8/18/14). Their match at Summer Slam was match of the night and they upped the ante tenfold the next night on Raw. This was 25 minutes of televised mayhem that engulfed the Thomas & Mack Center and completely captivated the viewers at home. Nothing was wasted and everything meant something, unlike most Falls Count Anywhere matches, which are simply done for shock and awe. The finish where Rollins curb stomped Ambrose’s head through the cinder blocks was perfectly executed and heightened the drama of an already intense feud.

Steve Grossi – Wyatt Family vs The Shield: Elimination Chamber. The Shield vs. The Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber is my choice for match of the year.  There are many ingredients that make for a great match and this one had it all.  All six members of these factions are spectacular performers and we are seeing that play out today.  The buildup for this match was great.  The promos and altercations were all fun and highly entertaining.  The anticipation was unbelievable for them to finally have the match and that was evident the night of Elimination Chamber. The second these two groups entered the ring the crowd was jacked up.  They were chanting, “this is awesome” before the match even started.  Of course the contest lived up to the hype.  This faction war had Dean Ambrose go missing, Seth Rollins flying everywhere including through an announce table, excitement, unpredictability and most importantly a definitive finish. There were a ton of great matches in 2014 but this one tops them all.

Eric Darsie – The Shield def. Evolution (WWE Payback). One of the matches I believe put over the Shield, especially the night after they’d break apart, was their clean sweep against Evolution at WWE Payback in a no disqualification elimination match. There weren’t any falls until the last minutes of the match and WrestleMania main eventers put over the new stars, what better match to put over the new singles stars?

Danny Bixby – Wyatt Family vs The Shield: Elimination Chamber. This match only barely squeaked out ahead of The Shield vs Evolution at Payback mostly because of the storyline surrounding it. This was the major turning point for the Shield. They were now full out babyfaces after being unstoppable heels since their debut. And the fans were dying for it! This match gave people what they wanted: A compelling reason to fight (Wyatts cost the Shield a shot at the title in the chamber) and 6 performers who gave everything they had to the match. Even Erick Rowan, the weakest link in the bunch, looked legitimate in this contest. The only thing that may have made it better would be putting Ziggler & Cesaro into it somehow too.

David Levin – Team Authority vs. Team Cena (Survivor Series 2014). The WWE is finally allowing more wrestlers to move forward, leaving John Cena’s spot vulnerable. Ziggler coming forward did a few things to the landscape of the WWE. It opened the door for someone to be the go-to face in the company. It also meant the remnant of The Authority have two heads to chop when it comes to getting even. Ziggler is one of the best performers to come through the WWE in the past decade.

Robert Goeman – Brock Lesnar vs John Cena (SummerSlam 2014). Before you begin to grab from that box of rotten fruit with my name written on it, let me explain. Were there better matches from a wrestling standpoint? Yes, but from a story standpoint nothing will touch this. A legitimate big fight atmosphere not seen since Hogan vs Vader at SuperBrawl 1995, coupled with the biggest curveball in WWE history as Lesnar just runs through a fifteen time champion with ease. This is a match with so many great moments: The F-5 right away, Lesnar’s facial expressions, the suplexes, Charles Robinson in general, that Let’s Go Cena kid, Heyman being Heyman, and even Cena’s last ditch moves to slay the monster. Those two moments will always stand out for me, the outta nowhere AA and Lesnar sitting up like The Underaker with the grin and laugh like it was nothing. When Cena locked in the Hail Mary STF, I had the same dread that many fans felt as Lesnar would tap out and Cena would win. It’s one of the best STF’s Cena ever did, but the moment of Lesnar breaking out with ease, pounding on Cena, dragging Cena and hitting with F-5 to mercifully end it all was beautiful.

Chris Skoyles – Daniel Bryan vs. Triple H – WrestleMania 30. A tough one this one. For many, the subsequent main event, with Bryan finally lifting the title after a dramatic outing with Orton and Batista may be the better of the former American Dragon’s Wrestlemania 30 matches. Given the drama involved and the feel-good finale, it certainly deserves to be up there, but for this fan, the opening contest just pips it to the post. Bryan stood toe-to-toe with the man who had tormented him for months and took him out at the end of one of the best ‘Mania opening matches in 20 years.

WWE Angle of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Daniel Bryan vs. the Authority. In a perfect world this angle would have paid dividends right after WrestleMania. Unfortunately injuries to Bryan prevented the angle from truly paying off. Ironically this great angle would have not even been possible if it weren’t for CM Punk walking out and leaving Triple H without an opponent for Mania. Regardless, by the time this match got to Mania the feud was red hot and Bryan was finally given the big WrestleMania push we hoped to see.

Dustin Nichols – Brock Lesnar ends the Streak. Unfortunately, the angles this year weren’t all that great, mainly due to the shows being almost completely dominated by the Authority vs. whoever every single week. While the angle did provide some great moments, it got very stale very quickly, as any angle of this nature does. If I had to pick one, however, I am going to go with something most nearly everyone else hated, and that’s Brock Lesnar conquering the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania. I have been begging for this to happen for quite some time, but never had much faith it would happen. While Lesnar wouldn’t be my first choice, seeing him absolutely destroy the Undertaker and cleanly pin his shoulders to the mat was phenomenal. Follow that up with Lesnar obliterating John Cena in a completely lopsided affair, and Lesnar became one of my favorite performers of the year, even if he did work only part-time.

Tom Clark – Brock Lesnar Dominates the WWE. Brock Lesnar owned WWE in 2014 due to his manhandling of John Cena at SummerSlam and because of his shocking win over The Undertaker at WrestleMania 30.  His return to the company and these two events are enough for me to consider it the angle of the year.  The fact that WWE would allow a guy that’s not even part time to first conquer The Deadman at Mania then destroy Cena for the championship is so surprising that it has to get the nod here. That he spent four months off of TV with no title defense is just icing on the cake; it may not be the popular choice but for me, this was definitely the angle of the year.  And no, I’m not happy about it either.

Jeff Peck – Seth Rollins turns on the Shield. I’ve said that Seth Rollins turning his back on The Shield could be the “Shawn Michaels super kick to Marty Jannetty through the barber shop window” moment circa 2014. It came out of no where and it was with someone fans would least likely expect turn his back as a heel. Just 6+ months later from the angle and we could be looking at a moment that defines the WWE for years or decades to come.

Eric Darsie – Brock Lesnar being the 1 in 21-1. Who ever thought going into WrestleMania XXX that the Undertaker will take a lose at WrestleMania, especially to another part timer like Brock Lesnar? With how Brock has been booked for the rest of the year, and with his MMA credentials, I don’t know who’d be better to be the one to end the Undertaker’s WrestleMania streak. Brock made John Cena look like a jobber at SummerSlam to become the new WWE Champion, and coming off of the victory at WrestleMania, Brock can not be stopped!

David Levin – Daniel Bryan vs. The Authority. It has been NWO-ish in how the Authority had built so much momentum, beating the hell out of Bryan. It reminded me of Lex Luger, Randy Savage and others getting their asses licked each week. The “B+” angle works great with Bryan, the underdog and the bearded, smallish wrestler with a heart as big as Eddie Guerrero and Chris Benoit combined.

Robert Goeman – The Rise of the YES Movement Going into WrestleMania XXX. Hands up, who thought that the WWE was going to screw this up? After so many screw-ups when it came to booking Daniel Bryan in summer/fall/winter, I surely thought that Bryan would lose again in 18 seconds at The Show of Shows. I can admit that I was wrong and there was some really good stuff in the weeks leading into Mania. The Occupy Raw segment was well done and the beat down angle, while predictable was executed so well. Credit obviously goes to Triple H and Bryan for playing their respective roles very well, but Stephanie McMahon was great in this angle, and they’d try to do the same thing with Steph and Brie….but that didn’t work obviously. It’s a great angle and it lead to The Miracle on Bourbon Street, which combined my love for Triple H doing the job and Bret Hart’s WrestleMania X journey.

Chris Skoyles – Daniel Bryan – The Underdog Prevails. Though Daniel Bryan – WWE Champion may not have lasted long, everything before that big Wrestlemania moment made for compelling television. What really made this one stand out was that it perfectly weaved on-screen drama with fans’ real-life frustration over Bryan’s push to keep us hooked from start to finish. Throw in Triple H at his most heelish best, memorable moments like the ‘Occupy Raw’ segment, and we’ve got our angle of the year.

WWE Breakout Star of the Year

Eric Gargiulo – Seth Rollins. The WWE breakout wrestler of the year is probably someone I would have never predicted a year ago. Daniel Bryan was on his way and I think Dean Ambrose could have been bigger, but the WWE creative team did less to hasten Rollins’ ascension than anyone else. He went from a cog on a three man team to being the number one full-time heel under Brock Lesnar in a year. I almost gave Rollins Wrestler of the Year but his record just didn’t quite measure up. He has no real big victories to speak of and nothing that even comes close to dwarfing the end of the streak. Rollins has a big chance to be Wrestler of the Year in 2015, but I can’t think of anyone who took as big of a leap in such a short time in 2014 or any recent year than Seth Rollins.

Dustin Nichols – Damien Mizdow. While the angles in the company were kind of stale this year, there was no shortage of breakout stars. All three members of the Shield, Bray Wyatt and Luke Harper could all lay claim to this award. However, I’m going to go a different route and go with Damien Mizdow. Mizdow is on the verge of finally becoming a major star, and everyone knows it. After having a very lackluster couple of years in the company, the former Damien Sandow got slapped with a gimmick that should have killed him for good, that being the Miz’s stunt double. Instead, Mizdow decided to have fun with the gimmick, including coming up with the idea of mimicking all of Miz’s moves and actions in the ring himself, and the fans have completely latched onto it. What was originally an idea to get Miz over (it’s never going to happen, WWE. Accept it) has instead breathed completely new life into Mizdow, legitimately making him one of the most over wrestlers on the roster. It’s only a matter of time before WWE splits this team up and finally starts pushing Mizdow onto bigger and better things, something they’re already in the process of teasing.

Jeff Peck – Rusev. When the WWE first debuted Rusev as a Russian star I groaned because it was a gimmick that was down 20-25 years ago, yet the WWE has made it entertaining and gotten it over in 2014. Rusev is a force in the ring with a ton of momentum heading into 2015 and having Lana as his mouthpiece has made him into a superstar that I’ve grown to enjoy on a weekly basis. I do believe that 2015 will be a big year in longevity for Rusev as I think he can clearly be a force in the WWE for years to come, if booked correctly.

Steve Grossi – Dean Ambrose. I’ve been saying this for months now and I am going to continue to say it, Dean Ambrose is currently the best thing going in the WWE today.  When it was time for The Shield to split up, it was clear he was not in their main event plans.  Roman Reigns was handpicked to be the next baby face star and with Seth Rollins winning Money in the Bank, he’s clearly in position to make a huge impact in the future.  But then Ambrose was given the opportunity to stand out and that’s exactly what he did.  He’s great on the microphone, excellent in the ring and you never know what you are going to get with him.  Whether it’s ripping apart a dummy in the ring, destroying the Money in the Bank briefcase, jumping out of a present or the back of a car, he’s taking the fun factor to another level.  In this case, it’s not all about getting the win in the ring.  The Lunatic Fringe has been a part of some of the best programs of the year, most notably against Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt and in my opinion; those feuds were great because of Ambrose. No question he’s the guy to keep an eye on in 2015.

David Levin – Bray Wyatt. Bray Wyatt. While we expected the members of the Shield to dominate this first half of the year, Wyatt came in a revolutionized the oddity in wrestling again. Not since the days of Kevin Sullivan and Adrian Street have we witnessed such a dramatic entrance in the business and the feuds he has already assumed with Kane, John Cena, Chris Jericho and now Dean Ambrose make him as epic as the WWE wanted him to be.  

Robert Goeman – Luke Harper. While Harper had some good performances in 2013, I felt that he took off this year with some great moments in the Shield/Wyatt Family series. Harper also had some great matches against Cena during the Wyatt feud and stood out in the blow-off to the Uso’s feud at Battleground. Harper also had some good showings against Chris Jericho in the Jericho/Wyatt feud and capped off 2014 with a show-stealing ladder match against Dolph Ziggler at TLC. Harper’s future is bright and looks to be the next great big man that the company has desperately looked for since The Undertaker started to slow down. Hopefully, Harper will have a strong showing in the Rumble match, heck I would even peg him being in the final six at-least.

Eric Darsie – Seth Rollins. Along with Dean Ambrose, I was surprised to see how great Seth Rollins was by the end of 2014 as a singles star. I never thought Rollins would be as great of a heel when he was a part of the Shield and if you told me back at the start of 2014 that Rollins will be one of the top heels by the end of the year, I’d be surprised. I can’t wait to see where 2015 takes him.

Chris Skoyles – Dean Ambrose. Another tough one. In terms of in-ring excellence, others may have shone brighter than Ambrose, and though he was already well entrenched in the WWE system along with the shield, it was in 2014 that he proved he could hold his own as a top-tier solo star.

Krysta Ibach – Luke Harper. I am trying to decide who the bigger break out star is; Dean Ambrose…Seth Rollins…or Luke Harper. (Cue chorus in the peanut gallery….HARPER???). Yes Harper. Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins have just expanded exponentially since the implosion of the SHIELD. (Reigns not so much; he needs to lose the strong but silent type image; he was much better when he was that flirty, cheeky man.) Their promos for the most part are consistent and spot on; their in-ring work just gets better and better. Ambrose is train wreck riveting; you just can’t look away when he’s on. Even that spot with the mannequin where Ambrose went all out; it was a strange spot but still we were riveted. Rollins too has his moments where you just don’t want to miss anything he might do, the high spots where he drops off ledges. Their feud is one that WWE can revisit time and again and the IWC may never tire of it, their chemistry is awesome. Some of the angles have been shit, but that’s more creative than talent. And Harper…as one of the big men of the company, Harper can pull off moves that one would expect from a smaller competitor (I’m still talking about THAT first hurricanrana.) It’ll be interesting to see where they take Harper now that he has been “Set Free” from the Wyatt Family. I can see him having a great singles career…if they don’t shank it like they have with others *cough* Drew McIntyre (Drew Galloway) *cough*

You can get more of Danny than you can handle at his website www.stillrealtome.com. He also co-hosts the best pro wrestling podcast in the world, Still Real To Me, subscribe on iTunes www.stillrealtome.com/itunes. Follow his show on twitter @SRTMpodcast

Tom Clark is the host of Tom Clark’s Main Event podcast, a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report and a Writer for Whatculture.com

Eric Darsie is known as a ‘common-man’ among his peers, at least he thinks so. He works hard with his hands in the heart of Minnesota and on his free time, he thugs and a bugs with his family and friends. Whenever he doesn’t do that, he’s found to be writing. Now more of a rare thing, he’s gems could be found here. If you would like to see more of Eric’s work outside of the professional world, check him out at http://vintagedarsie.wordpress.com/, http://www.writerscafe.org/Darsie/writing/.

Steven Grossi is a digital video producer who likes to write a little. He’s a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, hardcore MMA fan and a total wrestling nerd. He usually has a strong opinion on anything combat sports related so give him a follow on twitter @SteveOGrossi.

Robert Goeman has been writing for CamelClutchBlog since 2014 and has written for FiveOuncesofPain and What Culture. Follow him on twitter at https://twitter.com/RobertGoeman.

Chris Skoyles is a writer and wrestling fan currently on a mission to review every WWE pay per view from Wrestlemania 1 – 30. Those reviews, and more, can be found on the Retro Pro Wrestling blog (http://allprowrestlingreviews.blogspot.com). Chris tweets at @Retropwrestling.

Jeff Peck is the co-host for the wrestling podcast, “The Still Real to Us Show” and the podcast, “The Bower Show.” You can download the shows over at TheBowerShow.com or WrestleChat.net. You can also follow Jeff on Twitter: @TheJeffPeck and “like” his Facebook pages: Facebook.com/TheStillRealToUsShow and Facebook.com/BowerShow

Atlee Greene is a contributor to Camel Clutch Blog and host of The Bodyslam Podcast. His other work can be found at Gerweck.net, ForcesofGeek.com, Whatculture.com and his own personal blog. He can be found on Twitter @MidnightLogicGo

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:

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Seth Rollins Talks WWE WrestleMania 31, Character, and More

December 24, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins has high aspirations. Regardless of a planned WrestleMania 31 headliner, Rollins still aims to thrust himself into the marquee WWE main-event and is happy with what he has done so far in preparation to get there.

Rollins’ star had arguably the highest ascension in 2014. Rollins went from being part of a three-man group of breakout stars to being the one who broke out and became the biggest star of the three once they split earlier in the year. Savvy fans saw it coming but many had doubts that WWE creative would feel the same way. Thus far they have given him the ball and he is running wild with it.

Rollins recently did some media promoting an overseas tour this coming February with The National. Rollins touched on several subjects including his rise as a top heel, his career goals, and reflections on the Shield.

My character is very polarizing, sure,” says Rollins. “There’s a lot of stuff I’ve done over the past year that people haven’t been too pleased about – and to be the best at anything, you’ve gotta make some enemies.

So call me number 1 villain, call me hero, call me top guy in WWE. Whatever you want, it doesn’t matter to me. I’m happy with what I’ve done to get here.

I wouldn’t go as far as to call him top guy yet but he is probably #2 behind Brock Lesnar as the top heel right now, certainly the number one full-time heel. For a guy that was part of a three-man unit a year ago, one spot from the top is better than anyone could have expected.

Rollins also talked about the Shield split and where his attitude was at the time.

Look, it had got to the point where it was time to make a statement for me,” he says. “The Shield had run its course as a three-man group, and we’ll go down in history as one of the greatest factions of all time.

So I wanted to stand out, and now we’re three separate, successful entities. The others didn’t like the way it happened, sure, but maybe they’d look back at it a little differently now.

Rollins has a big target set for WrestleMania and that is the WWE champion.

“Whoever the WWE World ¬Heavyweight Champion is at that point, it doesn’t matter,” he says. “As long as the title’s on the line, that’s the match I want to be in.”

I have to think that as the Money in the Bank holder that he can cash in at WrestleMania. Nobody has ever done that, although Daniel Bryan teased it a few years ago. I am not sure why that has never been done. I always thought that it would be a great storyline to have a guy go all the way to Mania with the briefcase. It would not shock me at all if they go with the planned Reigns title win at Mania and have Rollins cash in immediately and win the belt to close out Mania.

We’ll find out soon enough!

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com

Seth Rollins Talks CM Punk

December 19, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Seth Rollins has quickly become something of a spokesman for the WWE. Rollins is popping up in more and more media interviews and you knew it was only a matter of time before he was asked about WWE public enemy #1, CM Punk.

Rollins has transitioned smoothly into a must-get for journalists hoping to snag a WWE superstar for their radio show or newspaper. Rollins in a short time frame has become something of a voice for the WWE, offering honest, thoughtful, and entertaining interviews to fans and media alike. This is probably why it didn’t take him long to get asked about his former foe, CM Punk.

It has been less than a month since Punk delivered his biggest pipe bomb yet on Colt Cabana’s podcast. Punk ripped the WWE and specifically went out of his way to embarrass Ryback. While Vince McMahon told Steve Austin he’d love to have Punk back, what do the other wrestlers think? How would he be treated by the locker room? Glenn More and Steve Guy asked Rollins about just that.

I don’t see why not. He’s a self-admitted jerk, first of all. And if you listen to his podcast, he didn’t say that he was in a great mood the last few months that he was there. He admitted how grumpy he was and how much of a jerk he was, even more than he already is. I think we would welcome him back. I’m not to hold too much grudges. I think everyone deserves a second chance; an opportunity to redeem themselves. I would welcome him back. I’m sure he would face some resentment, as far as the locker room is concerned. But guys get over that stuff pretty quick. I think if it was best for business, yeah, I would be open to it for sure.

Rollins was talked about how Punk left and whether he’d do the same thing.

I think it could have handled better, probably, on both sides. And I think down the road, people involved will say the same thing. But as much as I don’t necessary agree with the way he left, I think I understand, mentally, where he was. This business can take a toll on you. You travel a lot. You get beat up a lot. There’s a lot of frustration that’s involved and mentally, over time, that can wear on you. It can put you in place where you’re a different person. And when you’re not happy with who you are and the person you want to be, you gotta take a step back. You gotta look at things outside the bubble a little bit. I think that’s what he did and I think he realized that he needed to take a step back and see what was going on. And if he didn’t like it, then he can move on. I think they agreed to disagree. Like I said, could have been handled differently from a public relations standpoint on both sides. I think once the dust settles, everything will feel itself out and it should be alright.

Finally he was asked about Punk going to the UFC. Rollins has positive thoughts on that as well.

Good for him. Kudos to Punk for finding himself something to do after WWE. He’s made a big splash over the last few weeks between his podcasts and signing with UFC. I wish him the best of luck. I really hope that he has as much success there as he has here. I think it will be very interesting for him to try something new. He’s only been a pro wrestler since he was 18 years old. For him, at his age, to step out of his comfort zone and try something new is pretty admirable and I’m looking forward to seeing how he does.

If you were expecting Rollins to come out and rip Punk you were mistaken. Rollins is a Punk fan yet I am not quite sure if he will be as welcomed back as he thinks without a public apology to the Big Guy.

WWE: True Giants Home Video

The Randy Savage Story DVD

Grab discounted WWE DVDs, merchandise, t -shirts, figures, and more from the WWE Shop on Amazon.com