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Roman Reigns Fan Q&A From Comic Con, Takes Shot At CM Punk

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

Roman Reigns is making some news for a rare fan Q&A he participated in over the weekend at Comic Con in Philadelphia. One comment in particular is creating a buzz in which Reigns shoots down a past claim about who created the Shield.

Reigns took part in a fun Fan Q&A at Comic Con. Before I go further I think Reign’s critics need to watch this to see a side of Reigns they rarely see on television. He is personable, engaging, witty, and seemed like he had a real great time being there. It was refreshing to see this side of Reigns as opposed to the guy created by WWE on Monday nights. The stripped down version of Reigns sans scripts appears to have a lot more potential than the one we are accustomed to seeing.

Reigns talked a bunch of topics but one that is receiving some attention is a comment he made about the success of the Shield. Reigns took a shot at CM Punk, who on a podcast last year claimed that the Shield was his idea.

So, and this, I don’t know, this will probably blow some people’s minds and then some people will be like ‘oh, you’re full of s***’ but I don’t f***ing care either way: The Shield was my idea. What happened was, at the time the head writer was Eric Pankowski. He called me up one day and he was like ‘okay, uh, nobody knows you’re going to turn heel but we want to stick a stable with you.

I’m willing to do the heel stable thing but why don’t we pick three guys from FCW that are ready instead of using two guys, you know what I mean? They would just be treading water. Who cares? How many times are these guys going to turn?

“The idea was [WWE] were supposed to be my group. Things f***ing change. They like to take other people’s ideas, make it their own idea, and then tout how awesome they are.

Reigns told the fans at Comic Con the only thing Punk created was the Pepsi tattoo on his shoulder. This is just another instance where another one of Punk’s former colleagues has discredited an account or claim Punk made in his Colt Cabana podcast interview. So keep in mind that while what Punk said made him seem like a real cool outlaw, how much of it is true and how much of it is exaggerated will always be up for debate.

WWE: It’s good to be the King: The Jerry Lawler Story

WWE: Ultimate Warrior: Always Believe

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WWE Best of Raw and Smackdown 2014 DVD Review

March 18, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

So, I’ve reviewed several of these over the last couple of years, and let’s be honest: these sets are more or less a quick cash grab. They are a collection of Raw and Smackdown matches that range anywhere from terrible to good, and that’s pretty much it. There are a few talking head segments interspliced into the DVD between matches and segments from people involved in them, but beyond that, there’s little else here.

Now, that’s not to say that the DVD set can’t be enjoyed. Some of the segments are decent, some matches feature alternate commentary from the competitors, and there are a handful of matches and segments on here that are very enjoyable. Stuff like a 6-man Elimination Chamber qualifier, Daniel Bryan vs. Randy Orton, the Usos winning the tag team titles from the New-Age Outlaws, a Shield handicap match and a triple threat for the IC title between Dolph Ziggler, Tyson Kidd and Cesaro (a dark horse candidate for WWE match of the year 2014, in my opinion), are all here, as well as several others. As for good in-ring segments, you’ve got the “Occupy RAW” piece, The army of Wyatt Family children surrounding the ring and the “last stand” between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho.

The rest of the DVD? While there are some other good matches on here, there’s a TON of what basically feels like filler, including Dean Ambrose losing the US title in a battle royal, a Bo Dallas/Sin Cara match that no one probably even remembers, the mud pool “match” between Vickie Guerrero and Stephanie McMahon, Batista attempting (and failing) to bash the WWE Universe, and others.

Fortunately, the good matches outweigh the bad stuff overall, but it’s still somewhat of a mixed bag. Chances are, you’ve seen most everything on this DVD if you already watch RAW and Smackdown every week. There might be one or two things new to you overall, but nothing that you will likely need to go out of your way to see.

The set overall is not a “must-buy” by any means, but if you can find it at a good price or get it as a gift, there’s definitely some enjoyment to be found (seriously, watch the IC triple threat). If you’re a collector and/or always get these installments, you likely have your mind made up and already know what you’re in for. Like I said, it’s not bad by any means; it’s just nothing spectacular and, as I said before, just feels like the quick cash-grab it’s obviously intended to be.

DISC 1

An Epic Year

Elimination Chamber Qualifying Match
The Shield vs. John Cena, Sheamus & Daniel Bryan
RAW * January 27, 2014

Randy Orton vs. Daniel Bryan
RAW * February 3, 2014

#1 Contender’s Fatal Four-Way Match for the Intercontinental Championship
Rey Mysterio vs. Jack Swagger vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Mark Henry
SmackDown * February 14, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Zeb Colter)

John Cena vs. Cesaro
RAW * February 17, 2014

The Next Guy

The Deadman vs. The Beast

Brock Lesnar & The Undertaker’s WrestleMania XXX Contract Signing
RAW * February 24, 2014

Batista Goes “Hollywood”

Batista Bashes the WWE Universe
SmackDown * February 28, 2014

Batista vs. Dolph Ziggler
SmackDown * February 28, 2014

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
New Age Outlaws vs. The Usos
RAW * March 3, 2014

The Usos’ Moment

Undertaker Chokeslams Brock Lesnar – WWE RAW Contract Signing

DISC 2

The Yes Movement vs. The Authority

Daniel Bryan “Occupies” RAW
RAW * March 10, 2014

John Cena vs. Luke Harper
RAW * March 24, 2014

Sending a Message

WWE Divas Championship Match
AJ Lee vs. Paige
RAW * April 7, 2014

Turning the Paige

The Band is Back Together

Handicap Match
The Shield vs. Rusev, Alberto Del Rio, Bad News Barrett, Jack Swagger, Fandango, Titus O’Neil, 3MB, and RybAxel
RAW * April 14, 2014

The Wyatt Family & Children Surround the Ring
RAW * April 28, 2014

Following the Buzzards

Cracking The Shield

20-Man Battle Royal for the United States Championship
RAW * May 5, 2014

John Cena & The Usos vs. The Wyatt Family
SmackDown * May 9, 2014

BO-lievers

Bo Dallas vs. Sin Cara
SmackDown * May 23, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Bo Dallas)

Seth Rollins Turns on The Shield
RAW * June 2, 2014

Daniel Bryan Occupies WWE RAW – Yes Movement

DISC 3

Why Seth, Why?

Seth Rollins Explains His Side
SmackDown * June 6, 2014

There’s Always a Plan B

Gold & Stardust vs. RybAxel
RAW * June 16, 2014
(Alternate Commentary with Stardust)

Vickie’s Last Laugh

Mud Pool Match with Vickie Guerrero’s Career on the Line
Vickie Guerrero vs. Stephanie McMahon
RAW * June 23, 2014

Brie Bella & Stephanie McMahon’s SummerSlam Contract Signing
RAW * August 4, 2014

Stephanie Will Pay

The Authority Introduces Brock Lesnar as WWE World Heavyweight Champion
RAW * August 18, 2014

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * August 18, 2014

Jericho and Wyatt’s Last Stand

Steel Cage Match
Chris Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt
RAW * September 8, 2014

The Rock Interrupts Rusev and Lana
RAW * October 6, 2014

15-Man Tag Team Match
Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny
SmackDown * October 10, 2014

Randy Orton vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * November 3, 2014

Triple Threat Elimination Match for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
Dolph Ziggler vs. Cesaro vs. Tyson Kidd
SmackDown * November 14, 2014

John Cena, Ryback, & Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins, Kane & Luke Harper
RAW * December 1, 2014

Looking Back at 2014

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

WWE: Best of Raw and Smackdown 2014

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WWE Destruction of the Shield DVD Review

March 11, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I was worried about this DVD initially, if for no other reason than the Shield just plain weren’t around that long. Were they an amazing, dominant faction that produced some great moments and matches? Absolutely. However, their run was limited thanks to a split in early 2014 that left most fans scratching their heads (especially when it happened a night after their huge clean sweep of Evolution in a 6-man tag team elimination match at Payback). Despite this, however, The Destruction of the Shield is overall a really fun DVD that covers a lot of ground.

Being that these three guys haven’t been in WWE long, you’d hope the the DVD would start with some discussion of each man’s work prior to their debut in 2012 at Survivor Series…and that’s exactly what we get. With the exception of Roman Reigns, who went straight to developmental (more on him in a minute), both Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose have their independent careers covered here, leading to each of their signings with WWE’s then-developmental system, FCW. Although these pieces are somewhat limited, CZW, ROH and DGUSA/Evolve were all still cool enough to loan WWE some footage in order to cover the respective careers of these two athletes. What’s even cooler is commentary from guys both men worked with that are in WWE today, including Daniel Bryan, Cesaro, Sami Zayn (El Generico) and a surprise appearance from referee Drake Wuertz, better known as long-time CZW mainstay Drake Younger. All parties praise the efforts of both Rollins and Ambrose on the indy circuit, with the general consensus being that both men would eventually make it to WWE (on a side note, Rollins mentions that he nearly didn’t sign with WWE because John Laurinaitis was horrible about returning calls, and instead nearly signed with TNA, or as he puts it, “some other company).

Now, as I said, Reigns never really worked the indy circuit, and instead went straight to FCW. However, that’s not to say he had an easy ride. Yes, he’s a member of the famous Anoa’i wrestling family, but if anything, he comes off as feeling even more pressured to be successful in wrestling as a result, which is completely understandable. Aside from this, Reigns was a star football player in high school (on a team with his cousins, the Usos, no less), became an even better player in college, and nearly made it big in the pros before being cut from his practice squad. From that point, Reigns decided to go into the family business, as he felt he had a better shot at providing a stable life for his daughter, a move that was obviously a smart gamble.

In addition to these stories, numerous WWE personnel discuss the careers of all three men, including Joey Mercury, who was apparently very instrumental in getting all three contracts, as well as legends like Mick Foley and William Regal, who have both worked extensively with Ambrose in the past. Even Ambrose’s attempted feud with Foley is covered, and I didn’t realize the reason the legs were cut off before it had the chance to really grow was Foley was more or less told by doctors he could never wrestle again, contrary to the popular rumor that WWE simply didn’t like the angle.

From the signings, each wrestler spending time in FCW/NXT is discussed, including the frustrations of both Ambrose and Rollins waiting longer than originally expected to get called up (in Rollins’ case, most notably attitude problems and serious issues with WWE agent Terry Taylor), up until the idea was created to put the three together and make them something a modern-day Horsemen group. At this point, most fans should be familiar what happens next: the Shield entered the WWE and caused complete destruction for a year and a half, until their break-up at the aforementioned RAW the night after Payback. This part of the DVD is less interesting, if for no other reason than it’s pretty common knowledge. And, surprisingly, despite all of this taking place on WWE, this section is really glossed over, with only a handful of matches being mentioned and a small blurb about their championship runs.

All of this leads up to the break-up and ends with the Ambrose/Rollins and Reigns/Orton matches at Summerslam. Both matches are looked at in detail, including preparations each man went into to physically get ready (all three are major workout junkies, and it shows), capped off with what ended up being two show-stealing matches at the second biggest card of the year.

That’s all on disc 1, which is also where the matches start. And the match list for this set is really extensive. Although no indy footage for Rollins and Ambrose was obtained, we still get some exclusive matches featuring both them and Reigns from both FCW and NXT, most of which the average fan has never seen. One of note is a triple threat match between the three, back when Reigns was still wrestling as Leakee Lee. Also included are an awesome match between Ambrose and one of his heroes, William Regal, as well Rollins becoming the first NXT Champion in a match with former WWE scrub, Jinder Mahal.

Aside from this, the rest are WWE matches you’ve probably seen, but that’s not really a bad thing. The Shield have been involved in some awesome matches, of the singles, tag and 6-man varieties, with a little bit of each thrown in for good measure. The Payback 6-man is here, as well as the awesome one vs. the Wyatt Family from last year’s Elimination Chamber. Also included are Ambrose’s US title win over Kofi Kingston and Reigns/Rollins beating Team Hell No! for the tag titles, both of which took place at Extreme Rules 2013. Both Summerslam matches mentioned above are included in their entirety, as well as Rollins’ MITB case win last year. All in all, 18 matches are included, and all of them are pretty enjoyable in their own ways.

While the documentary could have been a little bit better (mainly in the detail department, with less glossing over), the set overall is a really solid collection, with the match listing definitely being the selling point. If you’re a fan of all three guys or just one or two, you’ll want to pick this set up if you have the chance.

Documentary
*Who is the Shield?
*Game Changer
*Seth Rollins’ Journey Begins
*Dean Ambrose’s Journey Begins
*Roman Reigns’ Journey Begins
*Brothers in Arms
*The Ambrose-Rollins FCW Rivalry
*The Face of NXT
*Clashing Egos
*The Quick Study
*Failure to Launch
*Assembling the Shield
*Immediate Impact
*Bringing the Sword
*The First WrestleMania
*Extreme Success
*Lone Survivor
*Royal Record
*State of Evolution
*Shield Disassembled
*Buying In
*Lunatic Fringe Unleashed
*One Versus All
*Rollins Training for Summerslam
*Ambrose Training for Summerslam
*Good Friends, Better Enemies
*Reigns Training for Summerslam
*A Most Intriguing Matchup
*Arrival in Los Angeles
*Summerslam
*The Future is Now

Matches

Dean Ambrose on Seth Rollins FCW Rivalry

15-Minute Time Limit for the FCW 15 Championship
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
FCW * August 14, 2011

Seth Rollins on Dean Ambrose FCW Rivalry

30-Minute Time Limit for the FCW 15 Championship
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
FCW * September 18, 2011

Roman Reigns on FCW Triple Threat Match

Triple Threat Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins vs. Leakee
FCW * February 5, 2012

WWE Shield DVD Full Match Listing

DISC 2

Dean Ambrose on William Regal FCW Rivalry

Dean Ambrose vs. William Regal
FCW * July 1, 2012

Seth Rollins on NXT Championship

Gold Rush Tournament Finals for the NXT Championship
Seth Rollins vs. Jinder Mahal
NXT * August 29, 2012

Roman Reigns on NXT Debut

Roman Reigns vs. CJ Parker
NXT * October 31, 2012

Seth Rollins on Shield In-Ring Debut

6-Man Tag Team TLC Match
The Shield vs. Ryback & Team Hell No
TLC * December 16, 2012

Dean Ambrose on United States Championship

United States Championship Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Kofi Kingston
Extreme Rules * May 19, 2013

Roman Reigns on WWE Tag Team Championship

Tornado Match for the WWE Tag Team Championship
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs. Team Hell No
Extreme Rules * May 19, 2013

Roman Reigns on Facing the Usos

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Seth Rollins & Roman Reigns vs. The Usos
Money In the Bank * July 14, 2013

Roman Reigns on Survivor Series 2013

Classic Survivor Series Elimination Match
The Shield & The Real Americans vs. The Usos, Rhodes Brothers & Rey Mysterio
Survivor Series * November 24, 2013

WWE Shield DVD Full Match Listing

DISC 3

Dean Ambrose on Wyatt Family Rivalry

6-Man Tag Team Match
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) vs. The Wyatt Family (Bray Wyatt, Luke Harper & Erick Rowan)
Elimination Chamber * February 23, 2014

Seth Rollins on Evolution Rivalry

No Holds Barred 6-Man Elimination Tag Team Match
The Shield (Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins & Dean Ambrose) vs. Evolution (Triple H, Randy Orton & Batista)
Payback * June 1, 2014

Seth Rollins on Money in the Bank 2014

Money in the Bank Ladder Match
Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Rob Van Dam vs. Jack Swagger
Money in the Bank * June 29, 2014

Dean Ambrose on SummerSlam

Lumberjack Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
SummerSlam * August 17, 2014

Roman Reigns on SummerSlam

Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton
SummerSlam * August 17, 2014

Seth Rollins on Falls Count Anywhere Match with Dean Ambrose

Falls Count Anywhere Match
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * August 18, 2014

Roman Reigns on Seth Rollins Rivalry

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins
RAW * September 15, 2014

Deleted Scenes
*The Dean Ambrose – William Regal Rivalry
*Leakee

WWE Shield DVD Full Match Listing

BLU-RAY EXCLUSIVES

Roman Reigns on FCW Triple Threat Match

20-Minute Time Limit for the FCW 15 Championship
Dean Ambrose vs. Seth Rollins
FCW * August 28, 2011

Dean Ambrose on Facing The Undertaker

The Undertaker vs. Dean Ambrose
SmackDown * April 26, 2013

Seth Rollins on Facing Orton and Bryan

WWE Tag Team Championship Match
Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins vs. Randy Orton & Daniel Bryan
Payback * June 16, 2013

Roman Reigns on Royal Rumble

30-Man Royal Rumble Match
Royal Rumble * January 26, 2014

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield (Blu-ray)

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The Roman Reigns Debacle: Where Did It Go Wrong?

March 10, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Some are calling Roman Reigns the least over WWE superstar to headline a WrestleMania. That is high praise considering it wasn’t even five years ago that Miz was headlining. Where did it all go wrong for the former member of the Shield?

Consider this for a second. It was only a year ago that Reigns was tapped to be the next John Cena of the WWE. Today many will argue that the experiment with Reigns has failed. Who is to blame for the colossal descent is a matter of opinion. Is Reigns to blame for not being able to achieve the success he was slotted for or is it the WWE Creative Team who may be responsible for the worst booking of anyone on the ascend in the last decade?

So where did things go off of the rail for Reigns? Let’s start back at WrestleMania 30. Reigns was booked as part of a quick six-man tag team match with the Shield against the New Age Outlaws and Kane. Reigns was showcased here and was super over with the fans in New Orleans. The future looked for Reigns coming out of Mania.

Next up for Reigns was a big feud against Evolution. The Shield and Evolution had a pair of memorable matches on pay-per-view shows following Mania. The fans went freaking ballistic for Reigns at Extreme Rules when he hit the Superman punch and spear on Batista for the pin. Reigns was not only over, but he was super over. He looked more than ready to headline Mania the next year and be a featured WWE player in 2015.

Here is where things got interesting. The RAW after Extreme Rules the Shield fought the Wyatts. Bray Wyatt pinned Reigns, with interference from Evolution. The night after Reigns’ star shined brightest he was pinned on RAW. That is just unfathomable if you think about that. Reigns did score the pin over Triple H in the Evolution rematch at Payback. He was still red hot but you have to wonder if the taint of that pin loss to Bray Wyatt hurt Reigns moving forward.

The Shield splits up after Payback and the next couple of months are critical. The WWE could have separated Reigns here and established him as a money singles player. Instead he completely floundered over the next few months. Reigns didn’t have a real purpose and came up short in the Money in the Bank match. Even worse is that Reigns’ ex-Shield partners were picking up real steam with their feud as he took a backseat. Ambrose and Rollins were stealing shows with their rivalry as Reigns bounced around.

Let’s focus on Money in the Bank for a second, which was Reigns first big match away from the Shield on pay-per-view. It is fascinating when you watch back the reaction Reigns got as he was walking down the steps. It was not only nowhere close to the reaction he received just a couple of months back at Payback, but it was far less than John Cena’s. Reigns badly needed to win Money in the Bank or not be booked in the match. Reigns was already struggling and not winning Money in the Bank hurt. It is hard to argue the booking decision since Rollins was clearly much hotter at the time. However, if your long range plan was to rehabilitate Reigns for Mania, they needed to give him the win here.

Reigns spends the next few weeks wrestling Randy Orton repeatedly on television as Rollins and Ambrose are tearing it up. Even worse, now Reigns is booked to lose two big PPV matches in a row. Reigns is booked in a Fatal 4-Way match at Battleground for the WWE championship and loses. This was just pure insanity! The guy you are supposed to be booking as the next big superstar, a legit threat to Brock Lesnar has now come up short in two big matches. I think it was at this point that his goose was cooked.

Reigns would of course take some time off in the fall due to injury. Reigns was just starting to heat up again with a feud against Seth Rollins. Reigns would have presumably beaten Rollins at Night of Champions, although you never know. The biggest problem here is that unlike Daniel Bryan who came back hot from his injury, Reigns was struggling when he went out. He wasn’t hot which meant he wasn’t missed at all by the fans. Even worse, Dean Ambrose stepped into that spot and was far more over with the fans. The WWE tried their best to make sure fans understood that Ambrose was not a top guy but it didn’t matter. He thrived, Rollins remained hot, and Reigns was sitting at home out of sight and out of mind…that was until that infamous RAW interview.

Michael Cole conducted an interview via satellite with Reigns on RAW. The badass, monster, no-nonsense Reigns transformed into a goofy, corny, babyface. Whatever aura Reigns had was destroyed singlehandedly in this one promo. Experts and critics watched in astonishment as Reigns delivered some of the worst scripted promo lines you had ever heard a character like him repeat. It was awful and while they tried to fix this in future interviews, the damage was done.

Enter Daniel Bryan! Bryan left the WWE as champion and red hot with the fans. His presence was missed and fans couldn’t wait to see him return. Bryan announced his return to the Royal Rumble and Reigns’ goose was officially cooked at this point. Even with Reigns struggles, and his struggles started far before Bryan returned, the company still proceeded with plans to give him a Royal Rumble win and a match with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania. It may have worked if not for the fact that the people’s champion was now back and after last year’s Rumble, it was clear he had to be in it to win it. He didn’t and ever since then, Reigns has paid the price for it.

On top of all of this, Reigns’ character development since September has been downright awful. The person or people responsible for getting Reigns ready for Mania should be fired immediately or resign. They have over-produced this kid to the point that fans just don’t even care anymore. The worst reaction anyone in a WWE ring can get is apathy. Reigns would be better off getting booed out of the building every week. Instead, he receives tepid reactions and fans are more pumped for Dolph Ziggler these days than they are for Roman Reigns.

Who is to blame for this collapse? Reigns has to have some accountability here. Every top WWE superstar said no to Vince McMahon and went to great lengths to protect their characters from Stone Cold Steve Austin to Hulk Hogan to Shawn Michaels to the Rock to Triple H. Reigns has to be his own advocate and if something doesn’t feel right, he needs to fight back. Is it better to be perceived as difficult from the office and stay over or be a yes man and sit back and accept dumb ideas at the expense of your momentum? No successful top guy has ever been a yes man and Reigns has to take some responsibility here for his own demise.

That doesn’t relieve the creative team and Vince McMahon of their failures here. Let’s take silly promos out of this and go all the way back to May 5, 2014 when Reigns was pinned by Bray Wyatt on television. Let’s go back to June and the post-Shield split and the lack of a plan the company had for Reigns. Let’s go back to last summer and revisit booking Reigns in two top matches without winning. The Royal Rumble and his silly promos are an easy cop out. This mess goes back much further than that.

Roman Reigns needs to be rebooted. From his character to his impact as a performer in the ring. Being forced down the fans throats not only won’t do him any favors, it could be the final nail that kills Reigns’ chances as a top guy. Everyone involved need to take a long hard look in the mirror because there is plenty of blame to go around for this debacle.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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Paul Heyman, Sting and Other WWE Thoughts

February 10, 2015 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

While this may sound odd, a part of me does not want Brock Lesnar to leave the WWE. If “The Beast Incarnate” does not re-sign with the WWE and takes his scary smile with him to that octagon on the other side of the sports world, the company, the fans and the wrestling business will all be wondering, “What happens to Paul Heyman?

Has the WWE thought far enough in advance to make sure that if the current WWE World Champion takes a walk, Heyman will still remain a huge part of the company landscape? The man who is every bit of part Bobby Heenan, part James Mitchell and part Gary Hart is the one thing the WWE has right now that continues to deliver consistency besides a Daniel Bryan Judo kick to his opponents.

Should the WWE Universe begin to worry about the possibility of Heyman not appearing on Raw or giving his insight at a pay-per-view event? Is there another champion or championship talent on the current roster who will become the new client of the man who appears to have all the stroke and gives us all a reason to tune in to Raw each Monday night?

I would not be surprised if Heyman pulls his support from Lesnar at takes Roman Reigns’ side at WrestleMania XXXI. The move helps everyone concerned. Lesnar leaves. Reigns wins the WWE World Title. Heyman becomes Reigns’ mouthpiece and Vince McMahon is a very happy man.

THE RETURN OF ORTON AND SHEAMUS

The appearance of both Randy Orton and Sheamus cannot comes soon enough. The WWE is lacking main event faces on the current roster and with both former WWE World Champions returning from injury, the moment they both get in the ring cannot come soon enough.

The WWE did a promotional message about Sheamus returning to the ring. Stories a circulating that Orton should return at Fast Lane.

I guess we will all remain in limbo of when that will happen in reality.

THE REALITY OF WRESTLEMANIA

I may be the only one who doesn’t want to see Triple H and Sting in the ring. Not because of what the match will be, but what the match won’t be.

Triple H is still capable of delivering a 5-star match as was the case last year’s WrestleMania match with Daniel Bryan. He still looks the part and on any given night, can face off against the WWE’s top stars.

Sting is another story.

At 55 years old, when was the last time we truly saw Sting give us a match we could talk about for more than five minutes? The storyline is solid and the “Crow-like” mystique of the potential WrestleMania matchup catches the fans’ attention. But Triple will have to carry Sting, much the same way Daniel Bryan will have to carry Roman Reigns at Fast Lane.

The same could be said for Undertaker and his potential match feud with Bray Wyatt – should the WWE still go along with that plan.

AMBROSE AND BARRETT

While I have been critical of the WWE for the work they are doing in the main event of late, I have to give them props for putting together a feud with Dean Ambrose and Wade Barrett.

After getting over (again) with his feud involving Bray Wyatt, Ambrose now will set his sights on the Intercontinental Title.

Both performers should give the fans one hell of a showing.

Ambrose really is one of the best the WWE has to offer and Barrett could have been a WWE World Champion already, if it was not for injuries he has sustained along the way. This is a golden opportunity for both wrestlers to shine.

WWE: The Destruction of the Shield

The Randy Savage Story DVD

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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.

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Seth Rollins Says Shield Nixed Original Breakup Plans

December 05, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

The breakup of the Shield in 2014 has had a massive residual effect on the WWE. Rollins, Ambrose, and Reigns are all poised for big things. Rollins talked about the angle in a recent interview and if it was up to the WWE, it would have happened sooner.

Rollins was a guest on the Talk is Jericho podcast with Chris Jericho and delivered one of the most interesting interviews with a current WWE superstar you will hear in 2014. Unfortunately for Rollins and Jericho, all of the buzz has been lost with CM Punk’s recent podcasts but this was an interview that told you a lot about what could have happened if Vince McMahon had his way.

If you remember, the breakup of the Shield actually started months earlier and the breakup soon turned into a babyface turn for the trio. Rollins told Jericho that the team saw more time in a run together and recalled how he and his teammates delayed the angle and bought time for a big babyface run.

“We said no, we stopped it,” Rollins said. “One major time for sure. They wanted us to be prepared for that, but we’re not cowardly heels. People like us. We put a huge kibosh on it.”

Rollins went on to tell Jericho that the reason they stopped it was because they felt they had a babyface run in them. Rollins felt that the team was appealing to both men and women and that they were leaving money on the table by breaking up without a turn.

“In this company no one had really cornered the market on six-man tags,” Rollins said. “As an attraction, the six-man match had never been an attraction here. We had that six man thing down. We had a pace that catered to our fans. They went with it (the babyface run) for a little while. We talked to them (Vince) and got it settled.”

It is interesting if you think back on it and you have to wonder where things would be today if the trio had broken up when the angle initially started. We wouldn’t have seen the feud vs. Evolution which means Rollins trajectory would have been much different. I think Rollins was the biggest benefactor here as he was looking as the odd man out when the angle started with Ambrose cemented as a U.S. champion and Reigns poised for big things.

Another fascinating note about the interview was a story Rollins told about the original idea for the Shield. Rollins told Jericho that they were booked to come out with big shields that had the word “Shield” on it and laughed about how corny it would have been. He said it was Vince that stopped the three and questioned why all three couldn’t take Ryback without weapons. Rollins said they ditched the weapons at that point and couldn’t be happier.

Listen to the rest of the interview over at Talk is Jericho.

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WWE’s Ten Best Matches Of The First Half Of 2014

July 10, 2014 By: Category: lists, WWE | Pro Wrestling

Through questionable booking, a stock market crash, fan discontent, and the unfortunate loss of JTG, WWE has provided audiences with, if nothing else, a lot of great in-ring action. Here are my personal picks for the ten best bouts so far in 2014.

10. 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.

9. 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 never really impressed me in NXT, 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.

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

Forget the aftermath of the night, 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.

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

Takeover’s 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 making 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.

6. 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 in August (hailed by many as the 2013’s best match), the story was 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 Neutralize. 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.

5. 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.

4. 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). A rematch at the June 1 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’s 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.

3. 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 everyone had to be encouraged by what they saw, especially when the crowd went crazy for the Cesaro Swing attempts.

2. 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 have been truly juiced-in main eventers yet, 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 while it was still going), and remains in the running four 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.

1. 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 though Hunter didn’t know how to elevate.

Justin Henry has been an occasional contributor to Camel Clutch Blog since 2009. His other work can be found at WrestleCrap.com and ColdHardFootballFacts.com. He can be found on Twitter, so give him a follow.

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Dean Ambrose Talks Shield Breakup and More

June 27, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

Dean Ambrose is at a crossroads in his WWE career. Now that he is on his own, there are only two ways his career can go and according to a confident Ambrose, his trajectory is moving upwards.

I recently questioned the booking of Ambrose in a blog here on the CCB. I was concerned after the first few weeks that Ambrose may be the odd man out. Within a week he has been added to a Money in the Bank match, a match some are predicting he could win. Whether it is the start of the ascension or a missed opportunity is something we won’t know until Sunday.

Ambrose is doing media to promote the event and was asked flat out in an interview with RVmag.com whether or not he is worried about being the odd man out. According to Ambrose, while it may be a rocky climb, he is confident that his journey will end at the top.

With Reigns being booked as WWE’s next big star and Rollins aligned with Triple H, are you worried at all about getting lost in the shuffle like so many other superstars are lately?

Nope.

Pretty confident, huh?

I’ve got confidence for miles and miles every day I wake up. If you know anything about me or anything about my history, if I’m backed into a corner, I will put my head down and swing and bite and scratch and crawl and throw punches until my arms fall off. I get where I want to go whether anyone likes it or not. I’ve made a career and life out of proving people wrong and making people eat their words. I get where I want to go and get what I want. It’s not always a typical storybook because it’s Dean Ambrose – it’s not going to be. It might get ugly and might not always be the prettiest. I might have some scratches and bruises, but I’m going to get to where I want. You know, it can be really easy to listen to people. I’m a guy – I don’t listen to things or to the little things that is. The gossip or comments of public perception. All that matters is the crowd. I know who I am and I know what I do and I know how hard I’ve worked to get here. You never know which way the road is going to turn. I think the top guys wake up every day in the morning and look at themselves and say, “I’m a top guy, I’m a world beater, and no one’s going to stop me from getting what I want.” I do the same and I feel the same and have for a long time.

If confidence constituted your spot on the card, Ambrose would be headlining MITB on Sunday. Confidence is a weird thing to carry in a WWE locker room. You are damned if you do and you are damned if you don’t depending upon who you are. Hopefully in Ambrose’s case it will work for him rather than against him.

Ambrose was asked about the big angle in which Rollins turned on the Shield. Did Ambrose think it was well done? You bet he does.

You never know what’s going to happen on Monday Night RAW. You always got to to tune in because anything can happen and the same things goes for us when we show up each Monday night. You never know what’s lurking around the corner or what twist they’re going to throw your way. The cool thing is The Shield never started going on the downslide. We went out at our absolute apex with a clean sweep of Evolution, one of the most decorated and dominate stables of all time. The cool thing to take away is that we did go out on a high point whereas other groups don’t and I take a lot of pride in that. We’re all still three of the best performers in the company and are still always going to carry that mindset and that work ethic and be that symbol of excellence. That becomes part of your psyche and you want to go out there every night, bust your ass, put on the best show possible, and refuse to be out-done by anyone. You’re still going to see that from us. You won’t see us working together in the classic Shield way, but all three of us with all of our egos and aspirations and desire are still going to be on your TV making our way up top. It’s an exciting time for the fans.

He makes a great point about the turn. The turn came while the Shield was hot, arguably hotter than ever in the WWE. While some may argue that as a reason not to turn them, Ambrose thinks that will work for them. I tend to agree.

Ambrose goes on in the interview to talk about prepping for Money in the Bank, his love of professional wrestling, who he is closest with in the locker room and more. Check out the entire read over at http://rvamag.com.

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WWE Is Botching The Shield Post-Breakup

June 23, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

I don’t think it’s too early to be concerned about the Shield. Thus far it would appear that the lessons the WWE creative team got right when the Shield were together have been forgotten now that they’re apart.

It’s easy to play fantasy booker without the responsibilities the WWE Creative Team carry but this one isn’t brain surgery. If there is one thing that this writing crew has gotten right in the last year and a half it is the booking of the Shield. Every mistake this team has made when introducing or elevating talent on the roster was avoided with Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose. That is why it is concerning to see that playbook thrown out now that the trio have been split apart.

Let’s go through the team individually and take a look at how their first couple of weeks apart as singles stars is going.

Seth Rollins – Rollins is obviously positioned better than anyone else at this point. He is associated with the top act in the company and appears to be the darling of Triple H on and off camera. Rollins is playing his role to perfection and in the ring, he has been fantastic. Yet a closer look at the booking reveals a few warning signs that need to be addressed quickly.

The biggest WTF moment for me came last week when Rollins gloriously told the fans that he was signed as the first guy in the “B” Money in the Bank match. I watched the promo on Superstars and my first thought was, “Why is this guy so happy? Shouldn’t he be angry?” Rollins’ position was clear and that is mid-high mid-card star and nothing more.

Think about this for a second. Shouldn’t the guy who turned his back on his brothers for the Authority be rewarded with a spot in the WWE world title MITB match? The only reason not to put him there would be personal business such as going to war with Ambrose or Reigns. Yet Rollins is rewarded with a spot in a MITB match to earn a title shot, not the title. Rollins should be angry, fired up, feel betrayed, yet he gloats about that. I look at a guy bragging about being outside of the main-event and I don’t see a guy positioned in a good spot period.

Roman Reigns – Clearly nothing is wrong with the booking of Reigns now that he is in the WWE world title match right? Wrong. The hotshot move of Reigns to the MITB title match thanks to Vickie essentially being drugged is too much too soon. Reigns should simmer, have a slow burn to the big dance, giving the fans a chance to salivate over it. Instead he is shot right to the big dance without having more than a handful of singles matches on television. This one can only go one way and that is wrong.

What if Reigns wins the title, will I think differently? No. Reigns is not ready. Could they protect him? Sure, but when is the last time that anyone got over who was obviously protected? Bill Goldberg and that was over ten years and two decades ago. Losing is probably better for him but what does that say about him in the eyes of the fans? Keep in mind that this also comes at a time when fans still want to see the Yes Movement continue. I am sure those fans who booed Batista will surely be understanding of Reigns taking away their hero’s spot right? Exactly.

Dean Ambrose – Than there is Dean Ambrose, the Shield member once predicted to go furthest after a breakup. Sadly the opposite is happening and Ambrose is going south faster than anyone could have imagined and I don’t get it. This guy has it all. He is arguably the best promo guy in the company (his promo last week on RAW was one of the best all year), he is fantastic in the ring, and arguably has more charisma than any of the other Shield members yet his position is clear. He is a low-mid card wrestler. He’s wrestling in jeans and a t-shirt and getting squashed by Kane (multiple times). This in addition to recently losing the U.S. title in a battle royal. I am almost inclined to think that he has some kind of heat with the office because there is no other explanation for the way he’s been booked recently. He is obviously the odd man out and is about six-months away from doing comedy angles with Santino and Fandango.

Maybe I am jumping the gun here because after all, it has only been a few weeks that the Shield have been apart. I am the first one to preach patience when it comes to letting an angle play out so I am a bit of a hypocrite here. Yet my gut tells me that something isn’t right and there isn’t a lot of time left to change it.

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