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Sting vs. Seth Rollins Is One Weird WWE Main-Event

August 26, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE Universe will see an unlikely headliner at Night of Champions. Former WCW and TNA champion Sting will challenge Seth Rollins for the WWE world title in one of the strangest bookings this company has seen in years.

It was obviously never the long term plan to take a semi-retired former WCW star and turn him into the next headliner. When Sting signed with the WWE earlier this year the word on the street was that the company didn’t have any solid plans for the former champ. As a matter of a fact, when Sting was booked on WrestleMania, rumor has it that WWE officials felt it could be his last shot. Boy were they wrong.

Fast forward several months later and the WWE is coming off of one of the biggest SummerSlam events in recent memory. Unfortunately for Vince McMahon and the brass, the Undertaker is riding back into the sunset and Brock Lesnar is out of town once again. How do you follow up the hottest August that the company has seen arguably since the Summer of Punk? Well with Sting of course.

As many of you know by now, Sting returned to the WWE on RAW Monday night to kick off an angle with Seth Rollins. Sting was unveiled in place of Rollins’ statue and subsequently cleared the ring of Rollins and held the WWE title. The angle got over big with the Brooklyn audience and it appears all wheels are set in motion for Sting vs. Rollins.

Don’t misunderstand me, I loved the angle. I was as surprised as anyone to see the Stinger. However, the whole thing sounds completely crazy! Here is a guy that a few months ago the company didn’t even know if they’d book in the ring again, was scratched from SummerSlam, and is now brought in to be in the main-event. What the heck is going on around here?

Seth Rollins is coming off in my opinion his best in-ring performance since joining the WWE. Rollins somehow turned up his game at SummerSlam and put on an absolute clinic. Not that John Cena is the greatest worker in the world, but Rollins will be tested immensely to get that same match out of Sting. It’s a risk that I don’t know is worth taking.

This also brings us back to WrestleMania. Many criticized the decision to put Triple H over Sting at Mania. At the time, I was rather ambivalent to the decision. However, knowing what we do today the decision was as dumb as jobbing Brock Lesnar in his first night into John Cena a few years back. Sting coming in off of a loss is not quite the same as it would have been had Sting won at Mania.

So here is an odd question. Do you put Sting over at Night of Champions? It sounds insane but let’s be honest, this whole direction is insane. I can’t say yes or no at this point. The WWE is red hot right now. If Sting organically catches fire over the next several weeks leading up to Night of Champions, I think you have to strongly consider it. I wouldn’t do it today, but you never know how the fans are going to react.

If there is something positive to be said here it is that Sting vs. Rollins is as fresh as you can get. Sting in the main-event is as fresh as you can get. It’s nice to see something new for a change, but boy…this one is just really weird.

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WWE SummerSlam 2015 Results: Rollins Retains, Undertaker Wins

August 23, 2015 By: Category: Videos, WWE | Pro Wrestling

The WWE brought SummerSlam back to prominence with a main-event fit for a WrestleMania. The Undertaker returned and avenged his WrestleMania loss to Brock Lesnar in a classic, yet controversial match while Seth Rollins got help from an unlikely ally to retain his championship and win the U.S. title.

The Undertaker defeated Brock Lesnar in a fantastic match to cap off SummerSlam 2015. Lesnar passed out in Hell’s Gate after giving Taker the middle finger. Many, including myself, had concerns whether these two could live up to the unbelievable hype coming into the match. Not only did they live up to the hype, I think they exceeded it. This was nothing like their WrestleMania 30 match and everything you hoped for and more from two savage rivals.

This was another physical match for these two but wrestled with a much faster pace than their previous encounter. The match was much more of a brawl than their Mania 30 match which seemed to lag at times. The match immediately started off hot when Lesnar attacked Taker as he entered the ring, something I can’t recall ever seeing. Brock was cheered a bit more during introductions but wrestled the match as a total heel. As for Taker, I think he looked great and the best he’s looked since Mania 29. Lesnar hit Taker with a ton of suplexes while the dead man hit all of his signature moves. Lesnar was busted open during the match as well. A real cool spot saw Lesnar sitting laughing at Taker, Taker rises up and laugh back at Lesnar before brawling once again.

Unfortunately if there is one criticism of the match it may be the finish. The finish came when Lesnar had Taker in a kimura. Taker tapped and the bell rang, however, the referee didn’t see it. The story here is that the time keeper rang it on his own. Since the referee didn’t see it the match continued, Taker gave a distracted Lesnar a low blow, snagged him in Hell’s Gate and Lesnar passed out. Heyman and Lesnar went ballistic after the match as you could expect.

I can’t say enough great things about the match. It was truly a classic. The finish was Brock’s first loss since Mania 29. The finish also sets up a rubber match which will likely go down at WrestleMania 32, probably in a Hell in a Cell. I can’t imagine anyone complaining about seeing these guys for a third time after what took place in Brooklyn.

In the co-main event, Seth Rollins pinned John Cena to retain the title and win the U.S. title. The finish came when the referee was bumped and SummerSlam host Jon Stewart came to the ring with a chair. He teased that he was going to hit Rollins, although he looked incredibly flustered and wound up hitting Cena. Rollins hit a pedigree for the three count and the U.S. title.

The match was very good, but Rollins was the probably the runner up MVP after Undertaker. Rollins wrestled his best singles match as WWE champion and maybe his best WWE match to date. Something changed whether it was a fire lit under him or a directive from management because Rollins hit a ton of big moves throughout the match. It was to the point that Rollins was wrestling as a babyface, ironic since Rollins debuted a new ring outfit which was all white and original plans were rumoured to match Rollins as a babyface against Triple H. Why it took this long to see this Seth Rollins and why he didn’t unleash this arsenal in any of his matches against Dean Ambrose is a mystery to me.

When this match was originally booked, I was sure that Sheamus was cashing in. However, the second Rollins dropped that bit about a statue I assumed he was winning to set up the big angle where Cena destroys the new statue. The finish obviously sets up a rematch at Night of Champions and the rumor is that these guys will wrestle each other on the next few special events. They had what I’d call a great spectacle although I don’t want to take anything away from Rollins. The match got out of hand with all of the kicking out of moves in my opinion, but it was a lot of fun to watch if you could ignore that.

The undercard was rather solid but uneventful. Kevin Owens defeated Cesaro in an expected good match. The New Day regained the tag team titles in a match I thought was more fun than most people did on Twitter. Sheamus defeated Randy Orton clean in the middle in the opener.

Overall I’d say the four hours moved a lot faster than I expected going into the big show. As a spectacle, this may be the best SummerSlam event in a decade. I think the only problem is that both main-events had disputed finishes. One would have been fine, but people could feel a little ripped off when you see screwy finishes in both matches. Nonetheless, one thing you can’t complain about was the wrestling as the majority of the show was solid in the ring and you can’t ask for much more from that.

I’d highly recommend checking it out on the Network if you haven’t already, especially for the main-event which is a match that will be talked about for years to come.

Full WWE SummerSlam 2015 Results and winners…
The Undertaker defeated Brock Lesnar via submission
WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins defeated United States Champion John Cena to win both titles
Ryback defeated The Miz and The Big Show to retain the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Roman Reigns & Dean Ambrose defeated Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper
Kevin Owens defeated Cesaro
Team PCB defeated Team Bella and Team B.A.D. in a Three-Way Elimination Match
Steven Amell & Neville defeated Stardust & Cosmic King Barrett
Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev ended in a double C.O.
New Day defeated The Prime Time Players, Los Matadores, and Lucha Dragons to regain the WWE Tag Team Championship
Sheamus defeated Randy Orton

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WWE Champ Seth Rollins Tells the Camel Clutch Blog to Suck It and More

August 21, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

WWE world champion Seth Rollins is never one to mince words. The champ sat down with Rolling Stone to talk about breaking John Cena’s nose and oh yes, essentially tell the Camel Clutch Blog to “suck it.”

I noticed traffic coming to my website on Thursday from RollingStone.com so as any good website owner would do, I checked out the backlink. The link took me to a new interview with WWE champion Seth Rollins, who is always a great interview. I was surprised to say the least that the basis of the article was a critical blog written here about the champ back in May.

Don’t get me wrong, I am highly grateful to RollingStone.com writer James Montgomery for the traffic. At the same time I am a little disappointed because I do like Seth Rollins but I’ll certainly stand by my writer and my own opinion. Regardless, here is what the champ said about the criticism here on the CCB.

Speaking of narratives, are you aware of how your reign as WWE Champion has been received? A lot of what I read online has been less-than-complimentary, to put it mildly.
Twitter’s kind of an abridged version of all that; I see enough of it, so I don’t really go out of my way to read the sites or the sheets or anything like that. You have to take everything with a grain of salt, because everyone’s got an opinion, and now, with Twitter and the blogosphere and all that bull crap, everyone has the means to express that opinion, so it’s really hard to gauge an actual response. You just have to go out and do what you do; I know when things I do are good, and I know when they’re not, so I’m not going to lose my confidence over one dude online who’s writing a report that 20 people read. I know that I’m the one who worked for 12 years to get to this point, I’m the one who spent my whole life putting this before my family and friends, I’m the one who sacrificed every relationship I’ve ever had to get to this point, and if that guy sitting on his couch, who never did a thing, wants to point fingers at me and talk to me about my championship reign – even if it’s a good thing – he can suck it. His opinion is irrelevant to me.

To be fair, most of the criticisms have little to do with you and everything to do with the way you’ve been booked – as cowardly and incompetent, a weak champion.

Well, I am a heel. I am a bad guy. The object of being a bad guy is to be hated, and for people to not want you to have the championship. And I’ve had the title for 100-and-whatever days, and every single day of that reign, people have wanted me to lose that title more and more; so in my estimation, I’m doing a bang-up job as WWE World Heavyweight Champion. People have lost sight of what heat is. They don’t understand it, in the era of reality in wrestling, and how smart they are and all this, they’ve lost sight of what actual heat is. So the idea of booking a champion too weak doesn’t exist in my opinion. It’s about the heat.

First, I want to thank the author for putting the article into context. There was never any criticism of Rollins as a performer, it was simply criticising the booking. I won’t speak for Steve Grossi but I will speak on my blog. Rollins says I don’t understand heat. I don’t think it’s that hard to understand heat quite frankly. What I do understand is business (I do have an MBA) and I look at the numbers and the numbers tell me that he is not working as a champion. RAW experienced record low ratings before the SummerSlam season kicked off and there was a real panic in Titan Towers. Vince McMahon also reacted swiftly and moved John Cena back into the closing of RAW and the title picture. I think Rollins is arguably one of the greatest in-ring performers to ever hold the WWE title. I just look at the numbers and see that his title reign is not doing business and in my opinion, that’s not heat.

Rollins was also asked about breaking Cena’s nose.

It was bad. John, being who he is, had no intention of stopping that match, whether his nose was halfway off his face or not, but I knew right away when I hit him; the impact was way harder than I thought it was going to be. I heard his nose pop, and I felt it on my knee – I thought it was his eye socket or something; the way it cracked, I never heard a nose break like that before. The narrative changed after that, but that’s one of the cool things about all this. You can’t do that in any other medium. That visual of him finishing the match, standing there with his nose halfway across his face, that’s something that will be around forever. It’s pretty awesome.

Rollins was also asked about the ban of the Curb Stomp.

Obviously, it was a move that I was partial to, but it didn’t make or break me as a performer. I want to make it clear that it wasn’t banned because of a risk of injury – I’ve never hurt anybody with the move ever. We mislabeled the move to begin with – we gave it a lousy name – and then once I got to this level, we started to notice that I was going to be making a lot of media appearances, and moms were going to be seeing the representative of WWE doing this kind of maneuver, and kids were going to try it and it could go wrong very easily. That’s stuff I don’t think about, but that’s why we have people like Vince McMahon, who have done this for their entire lives – they think about stuff like that, and they keep us alive and not in court settling lawsuits all the time. So we decided to make a switch and change over, and I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to be handed down a move like the Pedigree, that no one else has been able to use as a finish in the past 20 years. So I don’t mind it one bit, and it kind of adds to the character. People say what they will, but at the end of they day, they’re not happy about it, so I’m doing my job.”
Overall it’s a really great interview with Rollins and I’d recommend checking out the entire read over at RollingStone.com

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WWE SummerSlam 2015 Predictions and Preview

August 20, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

To say that this is the biggest WWE SummerSlam in recent memory would not be an understatement. The 2015 event brings SummerSlam back to prominence as arguably the number two special event of the year. A rare appearance by the Undertaker in a rematch over a year in the making has many in and out of the wrestling world ecstatic for this year’s event.

The biggest party of the summer comes to New York this Sunday night. The WWE has stepped up the event with hopes of bringing it back to its 1990s prominence. The company is pulling out its big gun, booking Undertaker on his first non-WrestleMania special event in years and a title for title match between the WWE world and U.S. champions.

Let’s take a look at the top matches…

The Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

Like some, I believe that the WWE didn’t time this one right. Don’t get me wrong. It’s hot, red hot right now. However, I think that it could have even been bigger if it were put on a WrestleMania show. Either put it on 31 or save it for 32. Nonetheless, we’re getting it and fans are juiced up for the big rematch.

It’s hard to deny the intensity in the match. Thus far, these two have blown the roof off of several buildings with their confrontations and fights. They have certainly been more action-packed than their infamous bout at WrestleMania 30 which saw Lesnar end the streak. Hopefully the energy continues into the match.

SO let’s talk about the match. I think that these guys have set a real high standard of expectation here. They cannot go out there and have a match like they had at Mania. They need to tell a different story. This match needs to be a fight. I know people are expecting 20 or 30 minutes here but I think anything more than an 8-10 minute fight will kill the mystique. I think you can come back for the rubber match with a different story, but this match needs to be fast, intense, and full of action.

I don’t think that you bring back the Undertaker to have him lose. I’d be shocked if Taker lost at SummerSlam. I think he wins and I have no problem with Brock losing his first match in a while to Undertaker. I also think he goes over clean here, although they could insert Kane into the finish which would take all of the air out of the balloon.

John Cena vs. Seth Rollins U.S. Title vs. WWE world Title

Did you know that John Cena has been in the WWE world title match for in every SummerSlam since SummerSlam 2011? I just thought I’d through that out there. I believe that this match is coming together due to the low ratings RAW has suffered in recent months leading to SummerSlam. Like Seth Rollins or not, he has not been a draw as WWE world champ and the CEO is taking the only action he knows, bring back Cena!

Before we criticize the WWE for putting Cena back in the title picture, I think we need to give him credit where it’s due. Cena has had an excellent year in the ring thus far, putting together a string of excellent matches between bouts with Lesnar and Rollins, some Rusev matches, and of course the series with Owens. Cena has even outshined Rollins on occasion in the ring. While you may be sick of Cena, it is only fair to point out how solid he has been in the ring for a while now.

I have no reason to think that this match won’t be very good. They will certainly have time, especially with a four hour show. I’d expect nothing less than a 30-minute competitive match between these guys. But who is going over?

Seth Rollins asking for the statue threw a curveball into my original theory. As a matter of a fact, I think it gave the finish away. Rollins wins and Cena destroys his statue the next night on RAW. That seems the most predictable here. However, my original pick had Cena winning and Sheamus cashing in to win the WWE world belt. This would leave Cena as U.S. champion. Until Rollins asked for the statue, I was 100% sure of Sheamus leaving New York with the title. Now I am not so sure. I don’t think either guy is leaving with both belts so I’ll stick with my original pick of Cena over with Sheamus cashing in but I am not nearly as convinced.

Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. the Wyatt family

One thing I can almost guarantee you is that this match will be good. These guys always had great matches in six-man tags so I have no reason to think they can’t pull it off down two. I was almost sure that Dean Ambrose was turning on Reigns here until RAW this past Monday. I am starting to think that Lana and Rusev are reuniting, thus Lana on Dolph being the turn of the night. Maybe this one drags on and we finally see Sting in the mix by Hell in a Cell? I think that the Wyatts are winning to keep the feud going.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Rusev

I liked this feud a lot more on paper than what I have seen in the ring. I still think this one has a lot of potential but the chemistry is just not there between Dolph and Lana. One thing struck me on Monday and that was that I don’t believe Lana has made any physical contact with Rusev. I could be wrong, but I don’t even remember a slap. I think that this experiment into splitting them up has gone terribly wrong and the company just can’t figure out what to do with either one of them. Neither one of them are over nearly to the degree they were with each other. I think they reunite at SummerSlam and Ziggler takes another fall at SummerSlam.

Full WWE SummerSlam 2015 card and matches…
Brock Lesnar (w/ Paul Heyman) vs. The Undertaker
Randy Orton vs. Sheamus
John Cena (U.S. Champion) vs. Seth Rollins (World Champion) …Winner Take All singles match for both the WWE United States Championship and the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
Ryback (c) vs. Big Show vs. The Miz in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
The Wyatt Family vs. Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns
The Prime Time Players (Titus O’Neil & Darren Young) (c) vs. Los Matadores (Fernando & Diego w/ El Torito) vs. The Lucha Dragons (Sin Cara & Kalisto) vs. The New Day (a 2/3 combination of Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Xavier Woods) in aFatal 4-Way tag team match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
The Arrows (Stephen Amell and Neville) vs. The Cosmic Kings (Stardust & King Barrett)
Kevin Owens vs. Cesaro
Team Bella (The Bella Twins and Alicia Fox) vs. Team B.A.D. (Naomi, Sasha Banks and Tamina) vs. PCB (Paige, Charlotte and Becky Lynch) in a Three-Team Elimination match
Dolph Ziggler (w/ Lana) vs. Rusev (w/ Summer Rae)

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Dolph Ziggler, the WWE World Title, and Other SummerSlam Thoughts

August 20, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Lana’s boyfriend is back and Rusev is now in trouble.

OK, I have been wanting to use that line for a while. I never thought I could use a song by The Angels in a wrestling blog, but history has been made. The wrestling world can sleep a little better now that we know Dolph Ziggler is back in the WWE and the inevitable confrontation between he and Rusev is finally going to happen.

Somehow, I wish it wasn’t. If there was a match that looks good on paper, but will probably look bad in the ring – given both Lana and Summer Rae figure to be involved somehow, this is it. Frankly, both WWE stars deserve better. Rusev has fallen from a former United States Champion to wrestling in essentially a mixed tag match against one of the best performers in the business today, who also happens to be involved in a love tryst that has less chemistry than AJ Lee and CM Punk on screen.

Sorry, I had to throw that one in there.

Now that Ziggler has made his triumphant return to action (after an injury at the hands of Rusev and a crutch to the throat), is this the fate bestowed upon him from now on? Will Ziggler, who works harder than one on the WWE roster, other than maybe Daniel Bryan when he is in action, be the fall guy who has to work sad programs to remain relevant on television?

Gosh, I hope not. What a waste of talent if that is the case.

Ziggler was battling Daniel Bryan to claim the Intercontinental Title at WrestleMania in one of the better ladder matches we have seen in some time. Like I said, no one works harder and no one sells for his opponent better than the former World Title holder. You would think with the lack of faces on the roster the company would make a push for him to get some crack at a title or a better program. After all, isn’t Ryback holding the Intercontinental Title right now?

In wrestling, beating your opponent is not as important as your opponent selling for you. It’s a lost art form that Shawn Michaels, Ricky Steamboat, Ricky Morton and Ric Flair all made famous. CM Punk was great at selling for The Miz, Alberto Del Rio, and John Cena. But looking at the current WWE roster, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose get it. Others, not so much.

NO CLEAR WINNER

I suspect there will be a lot of interference in the WWE World Title match featuring Seth Rollins and John Cena, which will lead to a rematch at Night of Champions. Now that John Cena has put it out there that he intends to tie Ric Flair’s 16 world title reigns and took jabs at Triple H while doing it, you can expect the COO of the WWE to be involved in this match one way or another.

This is also a match which could go long – similar to the 30-minute ballet Cena had with Cesaro earlier this month. This is also a match where there is no clean winner and controversy will erupt. Gosh, when is the last time that has happened in a title match (note the sarcasm)?

There will be no resolution on Sunday night. Rollins way win the battle, but in the end, Cena will win the war.

HE AIN’T HEAVY, HE AIN’T MY BROTHER

In what I think could be the surprise of the night, look for there to be some kind of drama in the tag match between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns vs. The Wyatt Family.

Could there be a rift between Reigns and Ambrose? Will the members of Happy Days have a falling out?

Reigns has essentially been Ambrose’s sidekick for the better part of the past month, so it only seems fair to reason that he will turn on his “brother” in crime.

This won’t result in Reigns joining the Wyatt’s, which makes no sense at all, but it does mean that the wrestler who has been the biggest disappointment on the WWE roster this year will turn heel, get major heat from the fans, and finally realize his potential as a future world champion.

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Seth Rollins, SummerSlam, and Other WWE Thoughts

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

If Seth Rollins is going to be the lead heel of the WWE for the foreseeable future, he will eventually need to file for divorce with The Authority and forge his own identity with the company that helped make him a household name.

This isn’t a foreign concept in the wrestling business as many superstars have been able to sustain their careers, even become bigger stars while marketing themselves as lead dogs, not just ones who follow or hover around the pack.

Ric Flair was famous for this. As a singles competitor in the Mid-Atlantic region, Flair was still able to win titles and feud with the likes of Roddy Piper, Dusty Rhodes, Jack Brisco and Ricky Steamboat.

The Four Horsemen were a major part of Flair’s appeal, mostly because the three other wrestlers within the stable – whether it was Tully Blanchard, Arn Anderson, Ole Anderson, Barry Windham, Lex Lugar or any other addition to the famed group – held titles alongside the greatest world champion of all time.

Flair knew when to ally himself with his running mates and knew when to stand on his own two feet and take on the best of the best in the NWA or WCW and even in the WWF/E when he was champion or a member of Evolution.

Rollins may never be a Flair or a Steamboat, but he has the look of the hated villain whose in-ring promotion is getting better by the day. And now with his ability to stand on his own and win matches, it means he can bring in money for the WWE much like John Cena or Shawn Michaels or even Flair did back in his prime.

The recent events involving John Cena and the broken nose seen worldwide has made the current WWE World Champion even more dependable. And with SummerSlam less than two weeks away, the company is in the process of safeguarding Rollins against the possibility of not facing the current United States Champion due to his facial injury.

Whether it is Cena or Randy Orton, who became the No. 1 contender for the company strap after beating both Cesaro and Kevin Owens on Raw, the world title match should be a highlight of the night. Rollins can certainly carry his own weight against either former WWE champion.

A STORM IS BREWING

Another solid move by the WWE is the Brock Lesnar/Undertaker match that could mean the loser retires from the WWE.

According to sources, a stipulation that the loser of the match (Undertaker) must retire could be added to the match, only heightening its appeal with the crowd. It also means that much like the World Title Match, this is a main event that could go longer than anticipated.

I am not all that thrilled about that kind of match, but it adds interest and could mean Undertaker beats his long-time nemesis. My thoughts have always been that the final chapter in the Undertaker’s career should end with a feud with Kane. There is too much history and heat when these two lock it up in the ring for this not to happen.

If there is one common denominator to the Undertaker and his career in the WWF/E, it has been his connection to Kane, Paul Bearer and the urn. There has to be closure for the Dead Man to drift off into wrestling’s underworld.

For now, we have to be pacified by the anticipation of two heavyweights beating the hell out of each other in New York on August 23.

A SHOW STOPPER

Am I the only one who is excited to see both Cesaro and Kevin Owens in the ring? Am I the only one who thinks this could be a match that steals the show in New York? After watching the two in the ring, especially in the Triple Threat Match on Monday night with Randy Orton, I am convinced both wrestlers should receive a huge push once the second most important pay-per-view in the WWE concludes.

Feuds have a way of evolving and taking over events, changing course and direction and shocking us all. Whether it has been Daniel Bryan and CM Punk, Dolph Ziggler and Alberto Del Rio or even Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins, the fans have witnessed greatness and have begged for more. This is the kind of match that could lead to a mention for “Match of the Year” and a feud that may run for another pay-per-view or two, fade away, and is revisited in the future.

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The WWE Has A UFC-Sized Problem

August 05, 2015 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, WWE | Pro Wrestling

While the WWE is preparing for another John Cena world title run now that the “Winner Take All” stipulation has been tossed out in a challenge by the current champion Seth Rollins, will the big “16” keep fans interested in the product on television?

Frankly, I do not know the answer to that question. The WWE has a serious issue right now as it is being “punked” (no pun intended) by poor booking and no leader to take over the band other than the man who had his nose smashed two weeks ago on Raw. The fact John Cena is still on top of the wrestling scene right now with talent on the roster that is not being properly used speaks volumes about where the WWE is. Also, the fact it does not have the dominant character right now like the UFC has in Ronda Rousey.

I’m sure the McMahon Family would give anything to have wrestling fans talk about its performers the way we are all buzzing about how Rousey is the most dominant athlete in any sport at the present moment. And that kind of momentum isn’t going away anytime soon. Like the McMahon’s, UFC President Dana White might have issues putting enough top-level talent on a fight card, but when you have the one person everyone is talking about both in fighting and entertainment circles, it masks a lot of problems that might exist. The card from last weekend was not the most stellar White has put together.

But this is a blog about the WWE and how it has gotten away from the big bang of a wrestler who is so dominant that everyone talks about them – regardless of whether they are a casual fan or a hardened old-school relic.

This is something not even John Cena can fix. Seth Rollins is good, but he is not good enough. Brock Lesnar is great, but he cannot carry the WWE on his back the way Rousey is carrying White’s baby. And if you want to talk about other roster talent, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Cesaro and others aren’t even close.

Where is the dominant squash match when you need it? I thought that was what Lesnar was supposed to do – to come in and beat the hell out of opponents like Cena, The Undertaker and Rollins and leave them all in his wake.

With Rousey, the match is the story as much the fighter. I liken it to Floyd Mayweather in his prime. How fast can Rousey or Mayweather win a fight? How quickly will there be a submission or a knockout? Let’s plunk down $59.99 to see a 34-second match.

Now that the company uses the WWE Network for pay-per-view shows and exclusive network viewing, this would be a good time to find a wrestler who can dominate much like Rousey is beating the competition today. At $9.99 (yes, I know I sound like a commercial and probably should get paid by the company for this cheap form of advertising), wouldn’t it make more sense to get fans to purchase the product at a lower buy rate for the sure enjoyment of seeing pure mayhem?

I’ll give the WWE credit for changing its guard a bit and creating longer, more intense matches. Old school wrestling meets new school talent. The creation of a dominant Divas division thanks to Charlotte, Paige, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks has as much to do with the Rousey buzz and the fact WWE fans saw the dominant beauty in a WWE ring at WrestleMania. Fans can only hope at some point she makes the jump to the older product and helps it thrive.

When wrestlers like Big Show (The Giant) and Goldberg and Lesnar arrived in the WWE, they were as dominant as Big John Studd, King King Bundy and even a heel Hulk Hogan was at the beginning of his career. And fans ate it up. Somehow, wrestling got away from that, and in the process another product came along that showed it could be more dominant – even if it is only one athlete leading the charge.

The WWE is at an advantage when it comes to personalities because they are scripted and expected to be over-the-top performers. With Rousey, Conor McGregor and others, they are in-the-moment types of stars. The attitude is real, the everyday appeal isn’t rehearsed.

Rousey and McGregor are said to be part of a mega show at UFC 194 at Dallas’ AT&T Stadium set for Dec. 5. The WWE is still working on building its SummerSlam card that is now going to be four hours long. With Rousey’s win this past weekend and given the fact there may not be four hours of solid entertainment to keep fans interested, doesn’t it look like Rousey’s appeal to wrestling fans will again turn the tide even more and take away viewership from the McMahon stable? It’s just a thought, but if I were in Stamford right now, I’d be more than a little concerned.

Brock Lesnar and Undertaker is a great concept with the “big brawl” feel. But unless the Divas are taking ratings away from every other wrestler on the WWE roster and something unheard of happens in the match between Rollins and Cena, the WWE will still be playing the underlying role between the two companies.

That certainly isn’t good for the WWE, mainly because they don’t have the mega-star right now they can hitch their wagon to and build as a dominant force. Certainly not the way White and the UFC has done making Rousey the biggest and best athlete in sports today.

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Why Seth Rollins is Living in WWE’s Version of Purgatory

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

By default, John Cena is the logical opponent for Seth Rollins and the WWE World Title at SummerSlam in less than a month.

By hook or by crook, the WWE was going to get John Cena in a main event match whether the fans liked it or not.

Through nothing of his own doing, the momentum Seth Rollins has lived on has come a screeching halt. It’s not fair for the current company champion to take a back seat to the man with the second most coveting title in the WWE, but that is exactly what is happening for Rollins – because when it comes right down to it, Cena sells merchandise and brings the masses to the turnstiles and in the end that is the only thing that matters in McMahon world of professional wrestling.

For Rollins, it is a state of purgatory he has been placed in, lives in and cannot get out of because by design there is no other opponent for the first Money in the Bank winner to cash in his briefcase at WrestleMania.

And to add more salt to the wound of having to face Cena, the current United States Champion, the company had the man who wears the second most coveted strap beat the man who holds what is supposed to be the biggest and baddest title in all of the land.

Excuse me, I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.

There is no chance of Dean Ambrose coming through and delivering a five-star match with his adversary like he has done many times over. There is no chance of Roman Reigns or Randy Orton challenging for the strap. They are caught in feuds that aren’t main event worthy. And there is no chance of Dolph Ziggler coming to our aid and saving us from a fate worse than death. He has been filming another WWE movie and has been written of Raw while he is going all Hollywood on us.

Maybe Dog Ziggler is available to take Cena’s place in the match. I think the fans would be more acceptable of that and the potential outcome rather than see Cena not only win the WWE World Title, but become a 16-time world champion – matching the mark Ric Flair has held over the years.

Excuse me, I think I threw up again.

Rollins is in a no-win situation here. If he wins and beats “The Champ,” there will be a rematch. If he loses the title and the match, there will be a rematch. As someone said to me the other day, “The WWE needs to get its head out of its ass and give us someone else besides Cena to fight for the title.”

Unfortunately, there isn’t anyone else. Daniel Bryan isn’t here. Sheamus is a heel. Cesaro isn’t at that level yet and there isn’t a star from NXT ready to give Rollins a real fight.

You live by the Cena Rule, you die by the Cena rule.

I do have to admit the match on Raw between the colossal stars was solid, until the ending. Cena is one tough SOB after seeing what Rollins did to his nose. Most wrestlers and athletes would have crumbled after that kind of injury. But it does not make the decision by the company any more right in this case. Cena has to defend the company against The Authority because there is no one else to do it. A few weeks ago, we were excited about the future of the company. But right now, the Divas are more exciting than anything else on television sans Brock Lesnar and Undertaker beating the hell out of each other.

Rollins has to beat Cena and pray to the gods that Lesnar ends his fight with Undertaker and comes looking for his title again.

If not, it might be a case where Cena wins the title, stands next to Flair in total title wins and it won’t mean a thing because fans are tired of the WWE going back to the well once too often.

This time, Rollins must find solid footing and take down the Cena. And get out of the hell he is currently residing in.

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John Cena and Seth Rollins: WWE SummerSlam’s Logical Co-Main Event

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

I might have been wrong when I prematurely said John Cena would lose his United States Championship at Battleground last weekend. And I might have been wrong when I said John Cena would dip farther into the mod-card once he dropped the match at the pay-per-view to Kevin Owens.

Evidently, “The Champ” may get another crack at the WWE World Title.

All this proves, over and over again, is that when things get tough in the WWE, it all falls back onto the shoulders of the 15-time world champion. And with the match set for SummerSlam between Brock Lesnar and The Undertaker, someone has to step forward and challenge the current company champion.

Leave it to Cena to find himself back in title contention, but what this does more than anything is prove that the United States Title has surpassed the Intercontinental Title as the WWE’s second most important belt. And if anything else, it also proves Cena was correct when he confronted the Seth Rollins on Monday night.

The title does not make the man, rather the man makes the title. What Cena has done to take the U.S. strap and make it the most important belt displayed on Monday nights show how vital he is to the success of the WWE, and the fact Cena still draws money every time he is in the ring.

SummerSlam is the second-most important pay-per-view on the wrestling circuit and Rollins needs a dance partner in five weeks in Brooklyn. And of course, Cena doesn’t mind dancing with the devil.

I wondered out loud last week if Cena’s days in a wrestling ring were numbered – now that he has starred in another movie and the fact the WWE is quickly being invaded by NXT. But since Cena has had a memorable program with Kevin Owens and his movie “Trainwreck” is getting plenty of attention in movie theaters, the company would be foolish not to cash in on the success.

And who better to challenge the evil villain of the WWE than the man who defends the company like he is Superman.

This is a match that must happen, but I do have some reservations about it from a sheer historical perspective.

Cue the Happy Days music.

Should the WWE tempt fate by allowing Cena to match Ric Flair’s record of 16 world titles in wrestling history? How would the wrestling community react to Cena, should he stand in rarified air with the greatest champion of all time (in my opinion)?

The one thing I can say is Cena is the perfect opponent for Rollins in August. Since the war between Lesnar and Taker wages on, there is no true feud for the champ. Above everything else, the theme of Cena defending the WWE against The Authority will have some interest for the fans.

In the 1980s, both Flair and Hulk Hogan were on top of the industry because they were larger than life characters who could draw money. Randy Savage could do the same, but Flair was the main attraction in the NWA and later WCW. Despite attempts to put the title on Sting and Lex Luger, the promotion kept coming back to Flair because he was a “total” package.

Hogan’s influence outside the ring made him the best character to continue the WWF’s run in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Today, wrestlers are cheered for what they do in the ring, how they perform and how badass they can be. The WWE may be worried about selling merchandise, but fans want to see Rollins and Ambrose and now Kevin Owens because they are hot commodities. Cena is still the bridge between the past, the present and future.

And it’s only fitting to see the two biggest title holders in the company lock horns in the ring – like it used to be.

Like it or not, this the best possible situation the WWE could put together for SummerSlam. We aren’t even sure of this will fester enough to become a co-main event. But by judging how Cena was egging Rollins on Monday night, I say there is a better than even chance this will happen.

Frankly, it should – just to test the waters and prove the gap between the past and the future isn’t as separate as it needs to be.

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WWE Battleground 2015: Thoughts After The Dust Cleared

July 21, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Regardless of the fact he lost his last two matches to John Cena, Kevin Owens will never be as hot as he is right now in the WWE.

That might be a curse that haunts the former NXT champion. After going the distance with the United States Champion, where Owens proved to be every bit Cena’s equal, if not his superior, losing the final match – and a chance at a title – in the third and decisive match – might be Owens’ undoing. The WWE does not have a solid track record of taking talent that is ultra-popular and cashing in on a golden opportunity. At least where Cena is concerned. Could this be a change in the game plan for the company? Will writers and management take what they have in Owens, who could be the next great heel, and book him in another program with a solid veteran?

If the company can get away from the idea that Randy Orton and Sheamus presents a great angle for the fans, I think the Apex Predator and Owens would be a great feud – one where the 12-time world champion could help Owens get over again as the future of the company.

How the WWE handles the aftermath of Owens and Cena was not the only thing that caught my eye from the Battleground pay-per-view. Here are a few more thoughts.

A NEW DIVA ON THE HORIZON

Maybe the best part of Monday night, in my opinion, was the true birth of a new Divas division in the WWE.

Thank you, Charlotte.

Finally, we will all want to watch segments with women in the ring rather than take a bathroom break or raid the refrigerator. The fact the WWE is ushering in another Flair era makes this transition all the more exciting.

When I was younger, I always thought it would be Reid Flair who would eventually step in and try to challenge his father, Ric, for the family name. No one is ever going to replace the 16-time world champion, but now a new generation can get behind the beautiful and athletically gifted diva. While there will always be comparisons, the fact Charlotte does not have to live under the cloud of her father’s success will allow her to forge her own path in the company. And with the sudden push by Stephanie McMahon, Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks will help create the same kind of excitement that Lita, Trish Stratus and Torrie Wilson added to the Attitude Era.

The fact we saw nine female wrestlers with the chutzpah to make a statement in a male-dominant promotion over the better part of the last decade has me a bit excited.

WHAT TO DO WITH THE OVERFLOW

Maybe the two biggest losers from last night were two wrestlers who didn’t even get in the ring last night.

What is the WWE going to do with Dean Ambrose and what will happen to Cesaro now that he did not get a United States Title opportunity?

Since he lost to Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank, Ambrose has been toiling in obscurity and the WWE is allowing him to do it. Ambrose is too talented to not be in a major program – something the company has been blind to see. Here’s hoping in the next five weeks something materializes that will kick the Lunatic Fringe up the WWE ladder.

Cesaro looked as good as he has looked since arriving in the WWE in recent weeks. His program and matches with John Cena has shown off just how good a performer he is. And I would dare to say he is pound-for-pound the toughest SOB on the roster.

Could a Cesaro/Cena program work for SummerSlam? I sure hope it would. Cesaro is a main event talent who is caught in a numbers game right now.

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