Who Will, Who Won’t, & Who Might Win The 2017 Royal Rumble

royal-rumbleFor years now, the Royal Rumble has been one of my favourite events of the wrestling calendar. There’s just something about the format that keeps me on the edge of my seat. Whether it’s the surprise debuts, the surprise returns, the great performances for either lasting the longest or eliminating the most, or simply the idea of not knowing who will be going to WrestleMania to “main event” a WWE championship match…it’s almost always exciting and unpredictable.

reigns-wins-rumbleOf course, it’s not ALWAYS unpredictable. When Roman Reigns won two years ago, it was absolutely predicted and people shit all over it. But for the most part, you never really know for sure what’s going to happen at the Rumble and/or who is going to win.

That has never been more apparent that the 2017 Royal Rumble.

While there are currently a couple of front-runners, there is a legitimate possibility that up to SIX different individuals could realistically win the Rumble this year. I think it’s only fair to review those options here (and, really, it’s the point of this whole post):

Braun Strowmanbraun-strowman

braun-strowman-3It pains me to say this, but Strowman is the odds-on favourite at this point to win it all. After initially coming to RAW, Vince’s new favourite performer was initially given a gimmick of “unstoppable monster defeating local jobbers” on a weekly basis (helping to give James Ellsworth a job on Smackdown Live, actually). But then, all of a sudden, he “graduated” to main event player in Survivor Series and has been dabbling with the likes of Sami Zayn, Seth Rollins, & Roman Reigns on a weekly basis. They are obviously getting him ready for a main-event run, so having him win the Royal Rumble makes sense.

The (very tentative) plan would to have Strowman win the Rumble, Roman Reigns beat Kevin Owens for the WWE Universal championship at the Rumble, and then for the two of them to meet in a “main event championship match” at WrestleMania. But here’s the rub…

braun-strowman-2They would NEVER be allowed to go on last. In fact, with potential match-ups of Cena vs. Taker, Goldberg vs Lesnar, and Triple H vs Rollins…the “main event championship match” could be placed anywhere else on the card without any pressure. This is a PERFECT opportunity for Vince & Company to see what Strowman can do on the biggest show of the year against his “top guy”. If Strowman sucks ass, then khali-vs-undertakerhe’ll be relegated to Great Khali territory by the end of the year (remember Khali being World champion and even pinning Undertaker at one point??). If Strowman performs at or above expectations, then you can count on seeing a LOT more of the guy over the summer months. It’s really a win-win situation for WWE because even if the match sucks ass (which it will), nobody will remember it when Mania is over.

braun-strowman-4Of course, this all might be incredibly insane to believe if the next opponent lined-up for Strowman is Big Show, who made it a point to say he was gunning for Strowman at the Rumble on this week’s RAW. In fact, Strowman wasn’t even included in the main event portion of the show, as WWE insinuated that Undertaker, Goldberg, and Brock Lesnar were the three biggest stars with potential to win it all.

The Undertakerundertaker-1

taker-vs-shane-mcmahonThe original plan (and has been for awhile now) was to have Undertaker face off against John Cena in a big-name, marquee match-up (assuming Cena wins the WWE World Heavyweight championship from AJ Styles). Last year’s injury to Cena meant that Taker had to face Shane McMahon in a major gimmick match in order to give him something to do. Having him wrestle his last WrestleMania match against “The Face That Runs The Place” would make sense, helping to set-up Cena as truly one of the best in WWE history.

taker-1Lately, though, the suggestion is that the Taker/Cena match is (again) off the table…perhaps saving it for when Taker really wants to retire. At this point, though, it looks like he’s prepared to do the part-time wrestling thing (similar to Brock Lesnar’s schedule, but a bit heavier) and after appearing on both Smackdown Live and RAW recently, the number of possible opponents for Taker to take on is quite large. He doesn’t need to win the Rumble to have a different, marquee match-up at Mania…but him winning a championship opportunity would certainly be an intriguing choice.

Chris Jerichochris-jericho-2

chris-jericho-1Let’s assume that Kevin Owens sneaks past Roman Reigns on Sunday. This means that Jericho would have a championship opportunity at WrestleMania against his “best friend”. And much to the chagrin of Owens, this is something Jericho has mentioned in promos lately as being a distinct possibility. The storyline of “Jeri-KO” has gone on a lot longer than most anticipated, which means that their WrestleMania match could mean that much more if Jericho were to go after Owens’ title.

jeri-ko-1On the other hand, Jericho just won the United States championship from Roman Reigns on RAW. This allows Reigns the “freedom” to win the WWE Universal championship from Kevin Owens at the Rumble and for Jericho to be the one defending his title against (former) BFF at Mania.

Jericho has won everything there is to win in WWE…except the Royal Rumble match itself. Will this be his year?

Bill Goldberggoldberg-2

goldberg-1I never thought I would have even suggested that Bill Goldberg had the potential to win the Royal Rumble until his post-Brock Lesnar-victory speech on RAW, where he suggested that Stephanie McMahon had asked him if he still had one more title run in him. And you can’t watch Goldberg on television and think the guy isn’t “over” anymore. The chants of “GOOOOLD-BERRRG!!” are loud and constant. Hell, even Paul Heyman is getting those chants goldberg-3without Lesnar by his side. This says that Goldberg is still uber-popular and with his quick victory over Lesnar, a win at the Rumble (which doesn’t take a ton of stamina to perform in as compared to a normal match) would cement him as a legitimate championship contender for the WWE Universal championship at WrestleMania.

And as much as it sounds crazy to write down, there is very much a possibility of Goldberg taking on either Roman Reigns or Kevin Owens for the title at Mania, as both possibilities have been teased on recent editions of RAW.

Samoa Joesamoa-joe-3

samoa-joe-1Honestly, I wouldn’t have even thought this was possible until realizing that the betting odds on the Rumble, as of this writing, have Samoa Joe listed at just 6-1 odds. Why in the world would they have him that high considering the fact that he hasn’t even debuted on the main roster yet??

joe-vs-stylesWWE reportedly has BIG plans for the Samoan Submission Machine, which includes a marquee matchup at WrestleMania. There are rumblings that the WWE wants to match Wrestle Kingdom 11’s stellar “six-star match” between Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada. One match that has the potential to reach the same type of rating is one that has been done before to five-star results: Samoa Joe vs AJ Styles.

samoa-joe-2So if WWE is as big on Joe as the rumours have it, then having him be a surprise debut at the Royal Rumble and then going on to win the whole thing would certainly be an incredible way to make a massively large statement. It sounds insane when you write it down, but when you think about it (and assuming the rumors on backstage thoughts on him are true), this is extremely feasible.

Finn BálorFinn Balor

No, Finn Bálor’s shoulder isn’t quite ready for a comeback yet. It’s better, for sure, but he’ll be defying the odds in a Cena-esque way by making it back to WrestleMania, much less the Royal Rumble. So realistically speaking, Balor probably won’t even show up in the Rumble match.

Finn Balor 3But here’s the thing: you don’t need to do much to participate in a battle royal. There’s not usually a ton of bumps or injuries that take place inside of the ring (the injuries happen once you’re thrown over the top rope). So I suppose if you put it into that type of perspective, it’s entirely possible that Bálor (currently sitting at 5-1 odds) could make his surprise return as a late-Rumble entrant.

If he does, the first-ever WWE Universal champion has as good a chance as anybody at winning the whole thing…especially if the “WWE machine” wants to get behind “The Demon” one more time and try to push him to the moon again.

There are a few dark-horses to win it all, too…

  • sami-zaynSami Zayn – Yes, there’s been talk of backstage heat and yes, he’s been getting his ass handed to him as of late, but Zayn is the perennial underdog favourite of the fans for a reason. I honestly don’t see this happening, but if he were to win then he’d probably lose his shot at Mania to Braun Strowman who would then face Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal championship. See? There are multiple ways to get to the finish line here…all while still putting over one of their most popular superstars in the process.
  • dolph-zigglerDolph Ziggler – After his recent heel turn, it’s still unlikely that Ziggler will be put into a position to actually win the Rumble, but if AJ Styles somehow gets past John Cena and retains the WWE World Heavyweight championship, then we could be in for a hella-great match between the two of them on the “Grandest Stage of Them All”. Of course, with Jerry Lawler doing commentary for the Rumble, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Lawler somehow costs Ziggler by eliminating him (or at the very least, causing a distraction that leads to his elimination). I’m hoping that’s not the case, but this is WWE we’re talking about here.
  • randy-ortonRandy Orton – I’m not exactly sure how “Orton in the main event title picture” goes with his current storyline as a member of the Wyatt Family, but his current odds are at 3-1 (just behind Goldberg!), so I suppose it’s a distinct possibility. Somebody may have to explain his odds to me, though…I just don’t understand the rationale of him winning given his past few months of storyline progression.
  • rusevRusev – I’m admittedly a huge mark for “The Bulgarian Brute” and, quite frankly, he’s not been pushed in the best spot since dropping the United States championship to Roman Reigns awhile back. But Rusev continues to turn chicken shit into chicken salad…even out-promo-ing Shawn Michaels on a recent RAW live in-ring segment. Vince & Company are still very high on Rusev’s future, as the package deal of he and Lana are great both in the ring and outside of the ring. It’s highly unlikely that he’ll win, but there’s still a chance given how Triple H says the winner will surprise most fans.

Finally, in terms of those who could still potentially win the Royal Rumble but probably WON’T…

  • NO.gifBrock Lesnar – I don’t see the benefit of Lesnar being in a championship match at Mania when there are other stars who can carry the show. What’s scary is that outside of Goldberg, there is actually serious talk of putting Lesnar in the ring with Braun Strowman as a way to really test him out.
  • no-4The Miz – No, Miz had his shot at being the face of the company and it worked for a bit before he was pushed back down the card. Now he’s seemingly poised to eventually beat Chris Jericho’s record of being a nine-time Intercontinental champion. It doesn’t make sense to suddenly thrust him into the main title picture, even if his gimmick with wife Maryse is making him a super-hot heel on Smackdown Live right now.
  • NO.gifBaron Corbin – I know the guy won the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal in his main roster debut at WrestleMania last year, but I just don’t see “the machine” getting behind Corbin on Smackdown Live. At least not yet, anyway. Corbin still has a ways to go before being considered a legitimate threat at any major title, so I can’t see him being put into that type of position with a Rumble victory at this point in his career.
  • Kenny Omega – It’s highly doubtful that Omega is even going to make a surprise debut at the Royal Rumble, much less win the damn thing.

no-2

All told, the 2017 Royal Rumble looks to be an incredibly entertaining event. There are so many surprises that could take place and, really, the end result is still completely up in the air. Because of that, I’m absolutely STOKED to watch it.

But what about you? What are your thoughts on this year’s Royal Rumble? Do you think there’s a heavy favourite to win?

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RAW Thoughts

We’re about to discuss the go-home show for WrestleMania and I gotta say…I’m not really that interested in the big event, if I’m being honest. I’m much more excited about NXT TakeOver: Dallas at this point. Will RAW change that point of view for me? Let’s find out!!

UnderTaker vs Shane McMahon

UndertakerWell…the opening segment was absolutely awesome. Undertaker‘s opening promo was excellent and really drove home that he didn’t want to lose on Sunday. The interruption by Shane McMahon was perfectly timed and the back-n-forth between each man was great. The confrontation by Shane-o-Mac looked realistic. The end result of the segment gave people hope to believe that Shane could actually defeat Undertaker at WrestleMania. I honestly don’t think that you could have asked for a hotter opening than this.

Zack RyderI thought that using a complete loser like Zack Ryder to put over the Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles feud was a good idea. I mean, what better way to completely embarrass Jericho than to have him lose to Ryder? Makes perfect sense. I think Jericho’s done a great job at trying to put Styles over in this feud and, even though I was originally against it, I’m looking forward to this match-up as it has the potential to steal the show. And Ryder? I mean, just look at this fuck-tard. Look at his ridiculous beard. It’s like he purchased Hollywood Hogan‘s beard dye kit from his nWo days.

Charlotte vs Sasha Banks vs Becky LynchCharlotteI love the in-chemistry between Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks. There’s just something about them that clicks when they get inside of the ring together. The match between Charlotte and Lynch was really good. At least it was good for as short as it was. The blatant interference of Ric Flair gave Lynch the “out” that she needed in order to stay strong. That’s been the way Lynch has been booked from the beginning: constantly screwed out of her title matches without legitimately losing. It’s smart to lose like that because the babyface retains their heat. And at this point, WWE is keeping Charlotte and Banks apart…and that’s really smart, in my opinion. The big money match is between Charlotte and Banks, so I think keeping them apart from wrestling one-on-one is a really good idea. The anticipation continues to build for this triple threat title match because it legitimately could steal the whole show on Sunday.

Andre the Giant 3rd Annual Memorial Battle RoyalThe segment lasted about three or four minutes, but at least WWE attempted to give people a sense of what the Andre Memorial Battle Royal will be like on Sunday during the pre-show. I saw Goldust, Damien Sandow (!!!), Fandango, the Ascension, and even that gay member of the Prime Time Players. Man…the stars will be coming out to play for this one!!

sarcasmAt least things were about to pick up again…

Triple H vs Roman ReignsRoman Reigns vs Triple HOnce again, Triple H attempted to put over Roman Reigns as a babyface while trying to get the world to boo him. The only thing he did, though, was get the crowd to chant “WHAT?” a couple of times and boo anything that had anything to do with Roman Reigns. And really, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard Triple H put over an opponent as much as he tried to put over Reigns. Unfortunately, the segment ended with a “Roman sucks” chant…so we have our first REAL taste of what to expect at WrestleMania

New Day vs League of NationsAlberto Del Rio vs Kofi KingstonI really enjoyed the entire segment with the New Day and the League of Nations. First off, the New Day is SUPER over and it never fails to surprise me to see the crowds get into their gimmick. I mean, it’s almost like the Attitude Era with them. The crowds LOVE them. I thought that having Kofi Kingston taking on Alberto Del Rio was smart because Del Rio was really able to put across a sense of energy and anger and realism to the match. I was surprised to see Del Rio lose because that, by definition, means the League will pull out the victory on Sunday night. Whether or not that actually happens it debatable, but the entire segment (yes…including Coach‘s appearance) was pretty fun.

Seth RollinsI love that WWE is doing whatever they can in order to put Roman Reigns over as a babyface, but it’s too late now. The fans aren’t prepared to cheer for him no matter WHAT you do. The backstage segment may have worked a year ago, but it’s way too late for that now. I wish WWE would simply bite the bullet and accept that they fucked up, realize Seth Rollins is their “babyface face of the company” once he returns, and turn Reigns (officially) at Mania. I don’t see any other way out of this.

Kalisto vs RybackKalistoAgain, the booking was smart here as Kalisto (i.e. the REALLY small underdog) was taking on Konner (i.e. the REALLY big opponent). It was just a way to show the world that he stood a chance against Ryback…though he really doesn’t. Their in-ring confrontation, though, did little to entice me. This is one of the least desirable matches on the entire Mania card. I’m already yawning at the mere thought of watching it.

Dean Ambrose vs Brock LesnarDean Ambrose & Brock LesnarI don’t think that anybody can listen to a Paul Heyman promo and NOT get excited about whatever match he’s involved with. Even with Dean Ambrose getting his ass handed to him at every single corner of the WWE Universe, I’m still interested to see this match because Paul Hayman has made me interested. He’s absolutely right, too…Brock Lesnar is not just a “once in a lifetime” performer, but a “once ever” performer. Any time you see him, you’re seeing something you’ll never see again. For that reason alone, this match is worth watching.

The Ambrose part of this segment, though…was dumb.

Kevin Owens vs Zack Ryder vs Stardust vs Dolph Ziggler vs Sami Zayn vs Sin Cara vs The MizKevin OwensI’m sorry, but this whole thing just sucks. This should be a match between Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. I understand wanting to re-build their feud for the main roster and all, but to include cast-offs like Sin Cara 2.0 and Zack Ryder is a goddamn joke. Not only that, but it makes the Intercontinental championship look like a joke, too. I mean, Owens wanted to wrestle either Ryder, Cara, or Stardust because he thought he could beat any of them. So why are they part of this match? If they win, haven’t you already said that an undeserving wrestler is your champion? And even if Owens retains, does it mean as much if the match includes those three lower midcard performers? I’m sure the match itself will be fine, but Owens (and the IC title) deserves more.

Roman ReignsThe final segment of the night brought a cheer from the crowd for Reigns, but it didn’t last long before a “You still suck” chant broke out. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I feel bad for the guy. He’s not doing anything wrong. His detractors can bitch and moan about his promo (in)ability or lack of in-ring skills, but he’s got everything it takes to be the WWE champion. Anybody who claims otherwise doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

Sufferin' succotashBut despite the hard work and the numerous efforts by WWE Creative to get people to boo Triple H and cheer Roman Reigns, it’s a matter of too little, too late. They blew their chance with Reigns the second he said “Sufferin’ Succotash” and then proceeded to kill the entire roster at the Royal Rumble. It’s been OVER A YEAR since all of that took place and the crowd is STILL booing him. Why continue to push him as your #1 babyface? Roman Reigns vs everybody

John ReignsIs this a situation similar to John Cena? Sure…but Cena has been around as the top guy for a decade. Reigns has been (arguably) the top guy for less than a year. It’s unfair to compare the two situations because Cena is still seen as a massive cross-appeal superstar. Reigns isn’t that well-known in the lexicon of the general public…and he will only be seen as a massive joke by the casual audience because any time you show him off, the crowds will be booing. How will casual audiences think of this guy as anything other than a joke if the #1 good guy in the company gets more boos than cheers on a regular basis?

WrestleMania 32 - bWrestleMania‘s final moments may just go down in history as some of the most awkward and depressing we’ve ever seen. Goddamn…I really hope WWE is ready to push the reset button and do something incredibly drastic in Dallas this Sunday. Give people a reason to watch on Monday that doesn’t include booing the good guy.

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This is just what I’m thinking, but what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!

RAW Thoughts

We’re on the final road to WrestleMania hot off the heels of last night’s FastLane PPV. I’ve read that we’re to expect the unexpected tonight in Detroit, so I can’t wait to see how WWE begins to set-up their biggest card of the year!

Guess Who WonAmbrose 'injured'We kicked off the festivities with a recap of last night’s main even Triple Threat match, and then a video from “earlier today” when Brock Lesnar attacked Dean Ambrose in the parking lot, thus setting up one of the “meh matchups” for WrestleMania.

Vince McMahon then came out to give the award out for the Vincent J. McMahon Legacy Award. I thought it was going to go to Triple H, but it instead went to Stephanie McMahon.

Ugh.

Just as she was about to read an acceptance speech, OUT CAME SHANE MCMAHON!!!

Vince & ShaneWhat in the living hell??? Talk about a shocker!! Holy shit!! After an extended “Shane-O-Mac” chant, a “Holy Shit” chant, and a “This Is Awesome” chant, we finally got to hear just why Shane was there. He proceeded to tell his dad and family that under Stephanie and Triple H’s reign the ratings have tanked, the stock has fallen, and there has been a plethora of injuries to major superstars.

Shane sent Stephanie packing and then told his dad that he wanted control of Monday Night RAW.

Okay. I’m intrigued.

What in the actual fuck???

Let me think about this for a second…Shane McMahon is back to get control of Monday Night RAW, thus being in control of the entire company. In order to do that, Shane-O-Mac must come back for one more match…against the Undertaker at WrestleMania in a Hell In A Cell match.

Yeah…I think I can handle this. I’m speechless about the whole thing, but I’m down with it (even if it’s just a set-up for John Cena vs Undertaker, which is still a possibility). Wow…talk about unexpected.

Lucha DragonsThe next match was a throw-away six-man tag match with the Lucha Dragons and Neville taking on the WWE World Tag Team Champions, the New Day. The match was entertaining and had a couple of innovative spots. In the end, New Day won…thus shooting down possibilities that the Lucha Dragons are next in line for a WWE tag title shot. In fact, there was a short segment with New Day making fun of the League of Nations, so that inexplicably seems to be the next feud for them…even though they didn’t, in fact, turn babyface last night. I’m actually confused about the whole thing.

Brock Lesnar 1Kicking off Hour #2 is Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. I suppose they felt the need to do whatever they could to make Lesnar a heel going into their match with Dean Ambrose at WrestleMania, but I don’t see anything wrong with a face vs face match. People will cheer Lesnar, anyway. Heyman delivered another insanely awesome promo, telling the world how Lesnar got ripped off and made a few jabs at both Ambrose and Reigns along the way. It was awesome.

Ambrose drives ambulanceThen, driving the ambulance as if he were drunk, Ambrose came “back from the hospital” to challenge Lesnar to a match at WrestleMania. Ambrose crawled towards the ring but couldn’t muster the ability to stand up. Lesnar began to walk away by stepping on his head…but Ambrose grabbed the house mic and challenged him to a match at Mania in a no holds barred street fight. Lesnar laughed and made his way back down to Ambrose and gave him an F5 on the floor.

Lesnar vs AmbroseThe crowd chanted “one more time” as Heyman grabbed the mic and accepted the challenge. As much as the segment was awesome, the idea of a gimmick match between Lesnar and Ambrose at WrestleMania is just “meh” for me. I mean, I’m sure Ambrose will do well and “won’t give up”, but other than a few lucky spots it’ll be Lesnar killing him for 10-15 minutes. As entertaining as that may be, at the end of the day it’s just “meh”.

There was a completely forgettable segment with the Usos destroying the Ascension after being dressed-down by the Dudley Boyz. Yawn. Next?

Styles & JerichoIt was nice seeing Chris Jericho, again, giving the rub to AJ Styles. This time, though, Jericho was back to being full-fledged babyface. Their love-fest was interrupted by the #SocialOutcasts, which led to a forgettable tag team match between “Jeri-Styles” and Curtis Axel & Heath Slater. It showcased the comedy possibilities by the Outcasts and the athletic abilities of Styles, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Wyatt WrestleManiaAfter a couple of backstage skits, we had a rematch (of sorts) from FastLane with Kane, Big Show, and Ryback taking on the Wyatt Family (only this time with Bray Wyatt replacing Braun Strowman). For me, two things stood out during the match: (1) the slow-building tension seeming to develop between Harper and Wyatt and (2) the “Gillberg” chants for Ryback by the awesome Detroit crowd. The big story from this match was that Ryback simply walked out on his partners near the end of the match (though Kane telling him it was time was actually caught on camera). This distracted Kane long enough for Bray to hit Sister Abigail and get the pinfall.

Sasha Banks vs Naomi“The Legit Bo$$” Sasha Banks showed up to take on Naomi. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…being a great wrestler doesn’t mean you can simply do “moves”, which is something Naomi does. I mean, she’s extremely athletic and can do all of the moves it takes to be a good wrestler, but it’s glaringly apparent that she can only do moves. There is a reason why she hasn’t been a top contender or a Divas champion at this point in her career. It’s not because she doesn’t have the ability…it’s because she doesn’t know how to string it all together. Can she ever do that? I dunno…but if she was better at what she does, she’s probably be a champion by now considering the talent she has. 

CharlotteAfter the match was over, Charlotte came out to tell everyone that Sasha Banks will clash with Becky Lynch to determine the # 1 contender to the Divas title that will battle her at WrestleMania. She was dressed in “mom jeans” and a top that looked like it belonged to Nikki Bella. Huh.  Oh well.

My guess is that at the end of the day, we’ll have a Triple Threat match for the title. I guess we’ll find out in just over a month.

We’re told that the second inductee into the Class of ’16 Hall of Fame will be Charles Wright…better known as The Godfather. While not ranked nearly as high, I had Godfather listed in my Top 30 Wrestlers NOT in the Hall of Fame.Godfather in WWE Hall of Fame

SheamusThe main event was Roman Reigns taking on Sheamus (and the League of Nations). I gotta be honest…I didn’t have high hopes for this match when it started. I mean, we’ve been there and done that before. It’s boring as hell at this point. Once Sheamus was about to win via countout, Triple H‘s music hit and the WWE World Heavyweight Champion made his way to the ring for an impromptu battle.

The problem, though, was that the crowd was booing Roman Reigns and cheering Triple H. This really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone at this point. So even though Triple H did what he could to be a destructive heel onto a sympathetic character, the crowd was chanting a name and it didn’t belong to Reigns.

Triple H vs Reigns 1Triple H then smashed Roman’s head against the announce table repeatedly in rapid succession (much to the crowd’s delight as they chanted “YES” every single time) and ended up smashing Roman’s nose and making his face a bloody mess. He then gave Reigns a Pedigree on the steel steps before mocking him and posing with the WWE title, much to the crowd’s delight.

Triple H vs Reigns 2If WWE was trying to make Reigns a sympathetic character tonight, that mission failed miserably.I know they’ll continue trying, though…but I’m feeling bad for Reigns at this point. He’s doing everything he can given the confines of the gimmick they’re allowing him to have. I can only hope that last night changes Reigns into a killer as we head into Mania…that may be the only Reigns that people will cheer.

The only problem, however, is that the internet is too smart for their own good. Already uploaded onto YouTube is a video of Byron Saxton appearing to give Reigns a blood capsule to smear all over his face. See it for yourself…

Sigh…poor Roman can’t catch a goddamn break.

Not that it matters because (I had to break it to you, kids), but this is sports entertainment and at the end of the day you’re NOT SUPPOSED TO REALLY INJURE YOUR OPPONENT.

Mind blown

Triple HFrom extreme highs at the beginning of the show to extreme lows at the end, this was an up-and-down episode of RAW. Some matches were set-up for WrestleMania, others were hinted at, and others weren’t touched at all. The next few weeks should be very interesting.

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But these are just my opinions. What are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!

RAW Thoughts

It’s the “go home” show for this Sunday’s FastLane which will tell the world who will main event WrestleMania against Triple H. There are some mid-card matches already announced for the show, but how will they progress with storylines? Let’s find out!!

Stephanie McMahon & Dean AmbroseI emphasized last week how I didn’t see how Dean Ambrose getting decimated by Brock Lesnar helped him in any way. Did it make him look tough? Sure. Did it make him look crazy? Absolutely. Did it give me the sense that Ambrose had any chance at all in facing Lesnar? Of course not…how could it? Ambrose didn’t stand a chance. Of course, WWE has been promoting it all week long and even opened up RAW with it. I still don’t know how it helps him on a main event level. What I liked, though, was how Stephanie McMahon immediately emphasized that Ambrose couldn’t do anything without the help of Roman Reigns…further planting the seeds for one of the two men to turn on the other.

Fatal FivewayIn terms of the first match, I was really happy to see all five participants. I was especially happy to see Tyler Breeze getting a spotlight on RAW in a match where he wasn’t designated to be “enhancement talent” and lose in under five minutes. This guy has all it takes to be a star…he just needs Vince to stop looking at untalented oafs like Braun Strowman and start realizing that the future of the sports entertainment business isn’t all muscles, but rather in-ring entertainment…whether it’s by wrestling or by being a character or both. The sooner Vince realizes that NXT is popular because it’s the anti-WWE, the better the overall WWE product will be.

Kevin OwensI really enjoyed the final few minutes of the match. What I really enjoyed was the surprising finish. I mean, I honestly didn’t think that Ambrose was going to lose the title. I thought he’d lose at FastLane and then defend the title at Wrestlemania. Having him lose the title (and not actually take the pinfall) means that there’s an even bigger chance he’ll be winning this Sunday. The whole thing is crazy. But in the end, Kevin Owens is your new Intercontinental champion, which opens a world of opportunities up for him heading into the big show. This one match has me super intrigued for how FastLane will play out.

Mark HenryWhile entertaining, there wasn’t much else of note with the Big E vs Mark Henry match. I mean, they announced a TALK SHOW SEGMENT for this Sunday’s PPV with the tag team champions. What in the hell?? Are you telling me that WWE Creative has spent so much goddamn time on the main event that they’ve forgotten how to build-up a tag team division? Sigh. My only hope is that WWE introduces a tag team (like, say…Enzo & Big Cass?) during this interview segment at FastLane so they can build some type of interest in a tag team title match at WrestleMania in the limited time that they have.

Brie BellaI’ll give credit where it’s due…I think Brie Bella gave her best promo ever in her segment with Charlotte. Sure, the script was completely contrived and the end result was pretty unrealistic, but Bella really did a decent job. Thankfully, Charlotte still carried the conversation because, quite frankly, she’s an incredible heel on the mic and knows how to carry herself. She just exudes charisma and personality and confidence. Hell…she doesn’t even NEED Ric standing beside her to be a credible heel champion. She’s simply awesome on her own.

AJ StylesI enjoyed the AJ Styles match with Miz. I enjoyed it primarily because Chris Jericho was on commentary putting Styles over in a way that Miz couldn’t. Styles sold a lot for Miz, but in the end he kicked out of Miz’s finisher, they finally gave him the mic after he won, and the entire segment was one big spotlight for the Phenomenal One. I awas really expecting a triple threat match at FastLane, but it sounds like we’re heading for the “rubber match” between Jericho and Styles instead with Miz left on the outside looking in. Not sure if I like this idea entirely, though…unless it sets up a triple threat for WrestleMania.

Dudley BoyzI love that after all these years, the Dudley Boyz still know how to rile up a crowd. They simply walked out there and delivered a promo that proved why they are still so successful after all this time. It’s never been just about them delivering inside the ring, but also how they were able to promo like no other team of their era. Bubba, in particular, knows how to hit all of the right spots given to him by WWE Creative so that the points are made exactly the way they’re supposed to. While I’d rather see the Dudleyz go out as babyfaces at WrestleMania, if they can appear on the “SuperBowl of Wrestling” one more time then it doesn’t really matter if they’re cheered or booed. They’ve earned their spots at this point.

Next up was the “classic match-up” of Paige vs Summer Rae. Of course…Summer Rae picked up the pinfall. Wait…what?????

I don’t even know what to say about this one. Is Summer getting pushed? Is Paige still injured? What’s the deal? I’m all about upset victories here and there, but this one came out of nowhere and doesn’t make any sense to me. I’m confused.

Paul Heyman & Roman ReignsGosh…I just love Paul Heyman. I also love the promos that he delivers. What I loved about his promo with Roman Reigns was that it potentially set up a Heyman/Reigns alliance at some point down the road. Don’t believe me? If WWE really wants to pull the trigger on the Ambrose Asylum babyface run on top, it would make perfect sense to see Roman Reigns turn into the next “Paul Heyman Guy“. They’ve always had respect for each other in their promos, and despite the Dudleyz Boyz attacking Reigns and Michael Cole insinuating it could’ve been because of Paul Heyman, I think it would be extremely interesting to see Brock taking the summer off and Reigns being a Heyman Guy…rebuilding himself as a massive heel (who is cheered because of his affiliation with Heyman) and going after Ambrose as champion. It just has a world of possibilities.

For the record, I think the #SocialOutcasts have TREMENDOUS potential.

Goldust and R-Truth delivered one of the greatest segments I’ve ever seen…

I didn’t get much from the 6-man tag match or the Divas match. If anything, they were just filler for the night. Having said that, they each pushed along storylines for FastLane…they just weren’t anything much.

I really enjoyed the Bray Wyatt promo last night. Wyatt very clearly stated that he wants the fans to join him, but in order to do that they had to bow before him. It was eloquent and pointed.

Big Show vs Braun StrowmanThe Big Show vs Braun Strowman match was about as boring as you’d expect it to be. I’m sorry, Vince…but Strowman is NOT your next big monster heel superstar. You can book him that way, but the fans will NOT accept him as a legitimate superstar any time soon. He did NOTHING last night to impress me or change my mind. I just don’t see what Vince & Triple H see in this guy other than his size and muscles. I’m not sure if this is leading to a triple threat match at WrestleMania or not, but I think it was absolutely ridiculous to put these seven guys in the main event to close out the night. 

Really? You’ve got Ambrose and Reigns and the League of Nations and the Dudleyz and the Wyatts all in the building, and your main event concludes with Big Show, Kane, and Ryback standing tall as we fade to black?

Mind blown*****

In the end, this was a pretty good episode of RAW. While I think the first two hours were MUCH stronger than the final hour, overall this show did a good job of setting up FastLane.

This is just what I’m thinking, but what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!

RAW Thoughts

RAW ThoughtsWe continue the Road to WrestleMania with a stop in Birmingham, Alabama. I’m interested to see how the rest of the FastLane undercard develops and where it may lead. Let’s go!

Matt Hardy HOFBrock Lesnar & Paul HeymanWe kick things off with the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, along with his advocate Paul Heyman. The crowd pops huge for his entrance and are very quiet to listen to Heyman’s promo…as they should. You want to know who the biggest superstar in the entire company is at this point? It ain’t Cena, it ain’t Reigns, and no…it ain’t Ambrose. It may suck for Vince that a part-time player is the biggest star he has, but that’s his own fault. Brock Lesnar is, simply put, the #1 box office draw that WWE has right now. As much as they want to set-up Reigns as the winner at WrestleMania to give him “his moment”, what’s BEAST for business is to have Lesnar be the champion.

But those are just my opinions…

Dean Ambrose vs Brock LesnarAnd yes, Paul Heyman delivered another promo that I was more than happy to listen to. I’d much rather hear Heyman than 99% of the current roster open up the show any day of the week. When Dean Ambrose came out, he was able to deliver another solid promo, as well. He’s got a unique delivery that plays to his gimmick. Sometimes the fans “get it”; sometimes they don’t. But he’s still miles ahead of most of the roster.

The fact that they’re playing the three top babyfaces off against each other for FastLane is an interesting situation. You KNOW that Reigns will be booed out of the building if he wins and that either Ambrose or Lesnar winning will result in a massive pop. How does this match help Reigns in any way? Once again, I’ve GOT to question WWE’s booking decisions when it comes to Reigns. I just don’t get it.

I understand that WWE is in the middle of pushing Kalisto as Rey Mysterio 2.0, but there is NO WAY that he should be in a competitive match against Rusev. I can only suspend disbelief for so long. The fact that Rusev sold so well for Kalisto is proof that he’s a future champion and a team player. He really made Kalisto look better than he had any right to be. Remember when Rusev was dominating John Cena and killing people in the ring? Yeah…me, neither. Let’s push Braun Strowman some more…

Stephanie McMahon, Roman Reigns, & Dean AmbroseThe backstage segment with Stephanie McMahon, Roman Reigns, and Dean Ambrose was very intriguing only for the spot where McMahon suggested that one of the friends will stab the other in the back, bringing up Shawn Michaels turning on Marty Jannetty and Seth Rollins turning on them. Is this a legitimate foreshadowing of a breakdown and a heel turn? Or simply a dangling carrot?

Social Outcasts 3It was nice to see the #SocialOutcasts get some more mic time. I liked the team of Adam Rose & Curtis Axel, too. They had chemistry and looked really good against the Usos. The only problem was that with Heath Slater acting like a goof on the outside, it looked like he was trying to emulate the New Day…and that’s not good when you’re trying to get a push for being original and unique. Honestly…it’s 3MB all over again. At least they’re getting a spot on the roster, right? It’s better than nothing, I suppose.

But we still have no idea just what tag team will be “over” enough to take on the New Day at WrestleMania. Crazy.

AJ Styles 1I was wondering how they were going to get AJ Styles over with his MizTV segment, because Styles isn’t the best on the mic. I quickly realized that Miz was going to put Styles over on his own by not letting Styles speak yet still going off on the mic about his accolades. Not the worst idea in the world, when you think about it. It was also intriguing to put Styles in a position where there was no other option than to get a babyface pop against the very hated Miz. Definitely smart booking all around in order to throw more “hype” on the Styles Train, though in the end I’m not sure it did much to help Styles get more acclimated with the WWE Universe or get him over.

Alicia Fox & Brie BellaI wasn’t going to even mention the match between Brie Bella and Charlotte because it’s been done and nobody gives a shit. Then, for whatever reason, Ric Flair caused a distraction with the referee when Charlotte was in a sleeperhold (???). Yet he was still causing a distraction when Charlotte escaped, went for the figure-four leglock, and inexplicably got rolled-up for the pinfall. I mean…what total and utter bullshit. When they played Brie up to fans for being Daniel Bryan’s wife didn’t work to get her over (keep doing “Yes Kicks”, Brie…maybe they’ll cheer you more!), they thought that her being the sister of the recently-surgeried Nikki Bella would help get her over (she’s fearless for having surgery and YOU can be fearless for being her sister!). FFS…what a crock of shit. So do we now have to put up with Brie Bella vs Charlotte at FastLane?? What happened to Sasha Banks?? Where’s Becky Lynch?? Where’s Paige?? Where are the TALENTED women wrestlers??  Goddamn…this whole segment just pissed me off.

Wyatts vs Big ShowI’m wondering why Big Show is being inserted in a storyline against the Wyatt Family. I thought they were going after Brock Lesnar. Are we potentially looking at a Big Show vs Braun Strowman match at WrestleMania? I’d prefer that over Lesnar vs Strowman…but I think we might be getting Show vs Strowman at FastLane instead. Regardless, I feel bad for Strowman because he’s being thrown into a no-win situation. Why no-win? Because he’s simply too green to be given the spotlight at this point in time. He’s not ready…at all. Hell…he didn’t have televised matches or even house show matches while in Florida. How is he magically ready for the main roster? It’s typical “WWE likes big muscular men” bullshit booking. Strowman will fade out like Giant Gonzales or Great Khali within a year or two.

Tyler BreezeI know that Titus O’Neil is currently doing everything right outside of WWE and that’s the reason why he’s being pushed, but the guy simply isn’t getting over with audiences. It’s the same thing that happened with the Prime Time Players. He’s talented and charismatic, but he just doesn’t have “it”. Having him going over Tyler Breeze is a waste of a win. Showing two or three people standing up to cheer once he got his pinfall isn’t going to convince the world that he’s worthy of a push because he’s not. The guy who IS deserving of a push is the one who jobbed out WAAAAYY too quickly. Unbelievable.

Yes, Dolph...we're ALL surprised you won.

Yes, Dolph…we’re ALL surprised you won. By all means keep celebrating.

I don’t even know what to say at the outcome of the Dolph Ziggler match with Kevin Owens. I mean, Owens dominated the entire match (and rightfully so), yet somehow still loses via CLEAN PINFALL. What in the blue hell did Owens do to deserve losing this “feud” with Ziggler? Better yet, who in the blue hell is Ziggler blowing in order to win this feud?? What the hell is going on tonight? Who is booking this shit? I mean, you’ve got some very unusual decisions going on tonight. I’m not upset with the show in general, but I’m certainly upset with some of the wins and losses because they just don’t seem to make any long-term booking sense. I just don’t get it.

Sasha BanksI was really excited about the possibility of Sasha Banks battling Charlotte at WrestleMania, but now it looks like Becky Lynch will be teaming with Banks to go up against the untalented team of Naomi and Tamina…either at FastLane or on Smackdown or next week’s RAW. I don’t mind Banks being turned babyface and leaving Team B.A.D., but I was really hoping that she’d remain on her own. I just think you could easily make her a “Stone Cold” Steve Austin type of Diva babyface by taking on anyone. The crowd loves her regardless, so why does she need to team with Lynch to get the “babyface rub”? I would’ve been fine with a Banks vs Lynch feud at FastLane without getting Team B.A.D. involved, but I guess there are other booking plans afoot.

New DayThe final match was fun to watch. All five men are at the top of their games and the match flowed extremely well, culminating with a final sequence of events that led to the pinfall. Great stuff that the fans enjoyed. It didn’t really push any story other than the Ambrose vs Lesnar feud that should add more fuel to the FastLane fire. So while the match was entertaining, it didn’t really do much other than that. So that begs the question…what was the point? You would think that the Road to WrestleMania would actually help storylines progress, especially in a main event. Instead, we get a small storyline for FastLane (Why are they hyping Ambrose vs Lesnar? Is that the new Mania direction??) and nothing for the tag team champions. Sigh…

Here’s the deal with RAW tonight…it wasn’t a bad show. In fact, I’d say it was a pretty decent show with lots going on. And whether or not I agree with their booking decisions shouldn’t take away from my enjoyment of the program itself. Why? Because WWE is eliciting an emotional response from me. No, I don’t like some of their decisions but I’m willing to sit back and wait in order to find out where they end up. Sasha as champ at Mania? Owens in a big-time storyline stewing from his frustrations? Rusev not being treated like a jobber? Styles in a high-profile Mania match? Until these booking decisions play out at Mania, I can only accept the fact that I’m emotionally invested in the show. Whether it’s a positive or negative response is besides the point. I actually care…and I suppose that’s the most important thing.

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This is just what I’m thinking, but what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or hit me up on social media and let me know!

RAW Thoughts

By all accounts, tonight’s episode of RAW should be a good one with the return of Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman to the show, along with the fallout of last week’s revelation that Roman Reigns will have to defend his WWE championship in the upcoming Royal Rumble match. As we’re officially beginning “The Road To WrestleMania“, storyline advancement should be moving right along…

CM Punk memeI know that it’s become predictable to start RAW with an in-ring segment, but I enjoyed this one. They are booking Roman Reigns perfectly as the “one versus all” motto is being used against him. But this is how you HAVE to book Reigns in order to garner any type of sympathy for the guy. If you want fans to cheer for him, then you have to book him in a way where he doesn’t seem like he’ll automatically win EVERY match.

They built up Bray Wyatt by having him show up under the spotlight, they put over the fact that being friends with Roman has its drawbacks (i.e. Dean Ambrose being attacked by Sheamus before their match), and they stressed the fact that anybody could become world champion as long as they all worked together to toss out Reigns during the match (Vince even specifically pointed out Dolph Ziggler, Kevin Owens, & the New Day). This is exactly why the Rumble is so much fun…you just don’t know what to expect (unless, of course, you count the past two years where the ending was sadly predictable, hence the negative reactions each year).

Sheamus vs Dean AmbroseI’m normally bored by any Sheamus match, and this one wasn’t a whole lot different. I mean, the guys tries and all…but there’s just something about him that bores the hell out of me 90% of the time. I liked the fire that built-up with Dean Ambrose near the end of the match (Sheamus does put in 100% effort every time) and I really liked the double count-out “battle to the death” finish, but I LOVED the post-match attack by Kevin Owens. It’s been too long since somebody went nuts during a feud and continued to attack his nemesis. Owens is the perfect heel to do this and he’s truly earning his way up the card.

Vince, Steph, & PaulIt was intriguing to see the backstage segment between the McMahons and Paul Heyman. I mean, you would think it’s obvious that Brock Lesnar would be entered into the Royal Rumble match and be a potential winner, but Heyman wants Lesnar to simply be named the #1 contender so that he can challenge the winner of the Rumble at WrestleMania. I wonder where they’re going with this because the last time I checked, Lesnar was a babyface. Is this not the case? You just never know with WWE Creative, but I’m interested to see where this leads to.

Stardust 4I’ll be the first to admit that I’m finally beginning to be won over by Stardust. At this point, it’s no longer a character…it’s a gimmick that Cody Rhodes has been LIVING. He has put everything into getting it over and I think he has done a really good job of doing so. Listen…I’m not saying he’s main event talent by any stretch, but I’m impressed by the hard work that Rhodes puts into his role and I respect him for that.

Having said that, kudos to Stardust for making Titus O’Neil look decent two weeks in a row. I don’t understand why Titus is getting pushed (outside of the fact that he’s a really great role model…he’s not that great inside of the ring). The post-match beatdown by Stardust shows a vicious side that he should’ve been displaying all along…especially when he aligned himself with the Ascension (is that done now?).

Chris JerichoI pretty much tuned out of the entire Chris Jericho / Usos / New Day segment. I’m sorry…I used to be a MASSIVE Jericho fan 15+ years ago, but I don’t want to see him be the focus of any segments in 2016. I don’t want to see the “Jeritron 6500” and I don’t want to hear his lame-ass catchphrases anymore (that haven’t changed in 15+ years). I don’t mind seeing him make surprise appearances and wrestle because he can still go in the ring, but all you have to do is see the throngs of people who were sitting on their hands during his appearance to realize his place in the 2016 WWE.

Usos vs New DayThe tag match was alright, I suppose…but it was nothing I hadn’t already seen before between these two teams. This is why new blood is needed on the main roster. If it were up to me, I’d call up Enzo Amore & Colin Cassady…they’re definitely ready for the opportunity. Hell…you could even fast-track Jason Jordan & Chad Gable if you really wanted to. I just don’t think the Usos are the answer because the New Day are still so damn OVER right now. I mean, tag title matches against the Usos cover the Royal Rumble and possibly Fastlane. But then what? What’s your WrestleMania tag team title match? 

John CenaMichael Cole mentioned John Cena‘s shoulder surgery last week and said that he’d be out “a number of months”, but was out of the hospital and rehabbing the very next day. Cole didn’t specifically say that Cena would miss WrestleMania, so I don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility that he makes a miraculous recovery (as he has done in the past) and returns to help the company sell out ATT Stadium.

JBL was standing inside of the ring to announce what WWE had noted on their website and social media feeds earlier today…that Sting was going to be the first entrant inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016. I think it’s absolutely deserved, as I was a fan of Sting when I was younger. I went from graduating high school and going into my first year of university with a poster of Sting on my dorm room wall. This is a pic circa 1990. Dorm room circa 1990Social OutcastsI don’t even know what to say about the Social Outcasts “stepping up” to take on the Wyatt Family. If it weren’t for Ryback making the save, all four men would have ended up demolished. I don’t think they’ve got main event potential, but WWE needs to give them an opportunity to grow and shine and catch on for more than a damn week before feeding them to a more dominant team. It’s silly.

Coming up next…

Well, at least Kalisto tried to give a promo. I’m sure he’ll improve eventually. But yeah…keep “giving it your all” and hope for the best.

Kalisto vs Alberto Del RioAfter taking responsibility for injuring John Cena and causing him to miss the Royal Rumble AND WrestleMania, Alberto Del Rio proceeded to decimate Kalisto in their United States championship match. This was basically a retread of their Smackdown match (only without John Cena at ringside) with a little bit more Kalisto offense thrown in to make it feel like he could actually win. I’ll give credit where it’s due…Del Rio has been fantastic inside of the ring since his return. He’s in phenomenal shape and has been putting on some really great matches. He did his best to make Kalisto look strong while decimating him at the same time. I knew that WWE Management was high on Kalisto, but I didn’t think they were willing to pull the trigger on a singles title run at this point. This was a nice surprise title switch and it’ll be interesting to see where they go with him leading into WrestleMania. Kalisto - US champion

I couldn’t be happier to see Becky Lynch attack Charlotte in “retribution” for what happened on RAW and Smackdown last week. Primarily, I was happy to see that I didn’t have to watch Brie Bella wrestle. I love that the storyline continues between these two. Good stuff here…especially Becky’s post-run-in promo backstage.

The “One Versus All” match between Roman Reigns and the majority of heels on the WWE roster was basically a Reigns vs Kevin Owens match. I loved that they saved Owens by having the heels jump Reigns before Owens could be beaten…it keeps him strong. I think Owens put on one hell of a performance.

Lesnar & HeymanThe performance by Brock Lesnar, however (along with the crowd’s reaction), only goes to show just how much of a superstar he is compared to the rest of the roster. He absolutely decimated everybody (including Reigns) and in three minutes was the star of the entire night. It’s nice to see, but the difference in crowd reactions just goes to prove how much more work WWE needs to do in order to build some new stars. As it stands, it’s going to be difficult to deny the fact that Lesnar’s star power shouldn’t place him (again) in the main event of WrestleMania. Because of that, it makes this year’s Royal Rumble outcome even more intriguing.

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But what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or via social media and let me know!

RAW Thoughts

Super Cena 3We are in a sold-out TD Garden in Boston and ready to jump-start some record low RAW ratings. How much will Vinny Mac blow his wad on tonight’s show? I guess we’re about to find out…

– Yeah…we’re kicking things off with Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman, so Vince is pulling out all the stops first-thing. Not that I’m complaining, though…I tune in for Lesnar.

Heyman & LesnarHeyman laid down another killer promo to tell the world that Hell in a Cell will be the ending of the Undertaker. He recapped the two previous matches between the two, first with the match that ended “The Streak”. After showing a video package where Lesnar destroyed Undertaker at WrestleMania, there was a mix of boos and cheers. Heyman then talked about the rematch, where Taker tapped out but the referee didn’t see it because he was on the other side to count a pinfall. One low blow later and Taker won the match by submission after Lesnar passed out.

At this point, Heyman stated that this would be the LAST TIME that Brock Lesnar would face the Undertaker. One would be declared the winner of the war; the other wouldn’t walk out of the cell at all.

Lesnar & ShowOut of nowhere, Big Show decided to come out and interrupt the end of Heyman’s promo. Lesnar sat back and began to laugh a little bit. After a small “Please Retire!” chant, Show began to speak. He offered his hand to admit that Brock is “The Man”. Lesnar laughed it off and walked away. Show then baited Lesnar into a fight, but Lesnar QUICKLY hit an belly-to-belly overhead suplex before hitting the F5. No matter how many times I see that feat of strength, it never ceases to amaze me.

– Backstage, Seth Rollins told Stephanie McMahon that he couldn’t have his tag team match later tonight with Show as his tag team partner because Show wouldn’t be 100% (Really? Two hours from now?). Stephanie told him to “figure it out”. I wish the Authority would either be heels or babyfaces. I mean, if Rollins is “their guy”, then start acting like it. I hate that they try to act like babyface authority figures sometimes when they treat Rollins like crap. It’s ridiculous.

6-man tag teamRoman Reigns is making his way to the ring as we are about to go to commercial. Vince is REALLY trying to hit the ground running tonight. Once we come back, the babyfaces are in the ring and ready to battle the Wyatt Family, who then make their incredibly awesome entrance.

Ambrose vs StrowmanI see a lot of “Braun Strowman sucks” comments online right now and yes, they’re completely warranted. Having said that, Strowman isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Vince sees a massive man and a monster, and his old-school thinking makes him believe that is enough to get someone over in 2015. Will Strowman ever be a huge star? Probably not, but I see his career progressing similarly to the Great Khali. You all know what Khali was like at the end of his run, don’t you?

Anyway, the match had heat early to progress from the incredible end to last week’s RAW, as Reigns went after Bray outside of the ring. The faces even joined together to knock Strowman out as the heels took a powder and we went to commercial after about two minutes of action. Strange.

Harper vs OrtonThings ended up being a “normal” match…not the incredibly hot and awesome 6-man matches that we used to get with The Shield taking on the Wyatt’s. That’s probably because every time Strowman got involved, things grinded to a screeching halt so he could continue being a killer that Vince loves to put in the ring.

Reigns vs HarperThe match picked up a bit near the end once Reigns made the “hot tag”. In fact, the crowd was going crazy as the babyfaces won once Orton hit an RKO on Harper, followed by an INCREDIBLE spear by Reigns (props to Harper for making it look so good). 

I’ll be honest…I’m REALLY looking forward to the Reigns/Wyatt Hell in a Cell match. If there was any WWE match this year that deserved a bit of colour to really put the “blowoff match” over, it’s this one.

Sheamus vs Neville– “Mr. Money in the Bank” Sheamus is ready to destroy what he calls “a loser” in Neville. After a quick little promo of insults, Neville attacks Sheamus and is destroying him. King Barrett, sitting on commentary, said that he simply wanted to talk to Neville…which caused him to get caught with a Brogue Kick and a one-minute pinfall. Thanks for coming out, Neville. Thanks for continuing to put over new stars, Vince. Sigh…

Kane vs Rollins 1Corporate Kane is inside the ring and explaining to the crowd that Seth Rollins now needs a new partner because Big Show is unable to compete. At this point, Kane appoints himself as Seth’s partner. Rollins comes out and disputes the idea. As they argue, out comes Stephanie McMahon. Sigh…

Steph on my tvMcMahon proceeds to make a match at Hell in a Cell with Seth Rollins vs Demon Kane, then agrees that he should be Seth’s partner tonight. THEN she says that if Demon Kane doesn’t beat Rollins for the WWE title, then Corporate Kane will be fired. Interesting…

Seth Rollins is now backstage talking with Triple H about the Kane situation. Trips gives him more sound advice…“Do unto others before they can do unto you.” Goddamn…why are Triple H and Stephanie now playing opposite sides of the same fence??

– It’s Diva time with Natalya taking on Paige. These two are completely capable of having a killer match if given the right circumstances and time. Do you think it’ll happen? No…I don’t, either.

Natalya vs Paige 1The match was pretty good, but over a little too quickly to be considered anything more than that. They did the best they could given the time that they had and the crowd didn’t crap on them so they should consider it a win. Surprisingly, Natalya won clean by making Paige submit to the Sharpshooter. I wonder where WWE Creative is going with Paige right now because her heel turn hasn’t resulted in any wins…so what’s the point?

In a post-RAW interview, Becky Lynch talked about Paige and Charlotte and, to me at least, displayed a great deal of charisma and charm. I see big things for her and her character.

Kevin Owens– We are graced by the presence of Intercontinental champion Kevin Owens. Apparently, on the RAW pre-show there was a verbal disagreement between Owens and the Lucha Dragons, so a challenge was made and we’ve now got Kevin Owens taking on Sin Cara. Uhh…okay. At least it’s a fresh match-up.

Kevin Owens vs Sin CaraWell…the match was basically a quick squash. Whatever…at least Owens was on RAW. Once the match was over he went after Kalisto and was about to give him a powerbomb on the ring apron before Ryback ran down for the save. The crowd was indifferent to Ryback, which has been the case lately. I understand that Vince believes that Ryback can make him a ton of money, but the guy just doesn’t have the natural charisma to get the fans firmly on his side.

– Backstage, Stephanie runs into the New Day. She proceeds to make a match at Hell in a Cell between the tag team champions and the Dudley Boyz. Again, Steph was acting like a babyface. I don’t get it.

Kane & Rollins vs Dudleyz 1– In a bit of odd timing, we’re getting Seth Rollins & Corporate Kane vs the Dudley Boyz at 15 minutes before the start of the third hour. Kane tries to start off the match, but his ankle hurts too much so Rollins tags himself in. This is the story for the first part of the match, then Kane decides to “play ball” and his team start to take over. Just before we go to commercial, we get a “We want Sasha” chant…to show Vince just how popular this incredible Rollins vs Kane feud really is. Kane & Rollins vs Dudleyz 2

At one point, Kane’s ankle was so bad that the ringside doctor wanted to take Kane out back. Rollins wouldn’t let that happened and actually handcuffed Kane to the ring post.

Kane hurt 2After a bad collision, though, the cuffs broke and the doctor ended up taking him to the back…again. Realizing that this meant Demon Kane would be making an appearance, Rollins was distracted and the match continued. Bubba and Devon made a comeback and were about to bring a table into the ring when Rollins dropkicked it first, causing a disqualification (really??).

As Rollins tried to leave, Demon Kane appeared and proceeded to decimate him. Just as he was about to chokeslam Rollins, the Dudleyz hit the 3D on Kane.

Rollins was about to leave when he saw the table, re-thought things, and threw the table into the ring. Once he set it up, as you’d probably expect, Demon Kane “woke up” and chokeslammed Rollins through the table. Sigh… Kane puts Rollins through a tableSasha Banks & Team B.A.D.Team B.A.D. come out and you can tell it’s tough for Sasha Banks to hold back her giddiness at being back in her home city getting a big pop. Even better, Banks gets to deliver a promo before the match even starts. Unfortunately, Team Bella interrupt her to crap on her and Boston…drawing the cheap heat (it’s about time they actually TRIED to be heels for a change). God…the Bellas can’t promo to save their lives. Neither can Naomi. Ugh.

The match was actually a good WRESTLING match. I mean, it had story and psychology and the heels beating down a single babyface until a hot tag was made. In this case, this meant Banks. A few seconds later, Banks had Alicia Fox tapping out to the Bank Statement for the win. Bank StatementSummer Rae proposes to RusevSummer Rae is in the ring and (badly) introduces Rusev. She then introduces a video package about the “relationship” between the two of them. I mean, really? This duo isn’t getting over and simply isn’t believable. Why is it getting pushed down our throats? It’s not working.

Sigh…Summer gets down on one knee to propose to “Ru-Ru”. Seriously.

Rusev said “Yes…but not yet.” He said that once he has WWE gold around his waist, then Summer Rae will have gold around her finger.

Cena Open ChallengeJohn Cena– They’ve been pushing the US Open Challenge all damn night. If this person is a letdown in any way, I’m gonna be pissed. Give me somebody new who John Cena can put over…or at least make to look good.

Dolph Ziggler‘s music hit. Sigh. I mean, I know it’ll be a great match and all, but ugh.

Then Ziggler didn’t come out when his music played. Instead, The New Day came out…dragging a “beaten-up” Ziggler with them. They did a bit of a promo before unleashing Big E as the challenger for Cena.

Big E vs John CenaThe match was alright and all, but it really should have been an opening match and not the night’s main event. Once Cena defeated Big E, the tag champs began attacking him. Out came Ziggler to “save the day”, but he accidentally superkicked Cena…taking him out of commission.

Then the Dudley Boyz came out to help, but they were also destroyed by the champs. The show ended with New Day strutting up the aisle with their trombone while four babyfaces lay decimated in the ring…making a serious statement.

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All in all, the show was a giant “meh” for me. There was a lot going on, I admit…but I even asked on Twitter if I was alone in thinking that, creatively, the show was falling short. These were some of the responses I received…

So while I’m glad I’m not alone, I’m saddened to see that WWE continues to not be as imaginative in their presentation of their product as they could be. Vince may be a genius in the business, but he’s out of touch with today’s audience. Sports Entertainment doesn’t HAVE to be silliness or PG-rated nonsense. You can have great stories that are based in reality and push people that the fans want to see succeed, not who you think might have a chance at being the next big muscle-bound superstar (ex: Ryback).

I’ll be interested to see the ratings for this week. My guess is that they won’t be a lot higher than last week.

But these are all just my opinions. What are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or via social media and let me know!

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