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?

Who in WWE is Treating Wrestling as “Just a Job”?

Michael “P.S.” Hayes was recently on the Ric Flair podcast, WOOOOO! Nation. During the conversation, Hayes was critical of some of the performers on the current WWE roster:

“I’ll just go on the record saying this: I think some people, and maybe this gives them less stress in their business life…but some people almost come, clock in, and when the show is over (they) clock out, and that’s it and it’s just a job. A well-paying job…but it’s just a job.” – Michael Hayes

So now this leaves the question: Who was Hayes talking about and referring to? I’m no expert (though I am a 30+ year fan of the sport), but just from observation I’ve got a few guesses…

Randy Orton 2Randy Orton

Listen…I don’t blame the guy. I mean, he’s been a top act for over a decade and there hasn’t been much in terms of “exciting storylines” for him over the past couple of years (including the whole Authority “face of WWE” storyline). Don’t just listen to me, though…watch him in the ring. It is rare that he actually shows some intensity or genuine emotion. He’s extremely good in all aspects of his craft and he knows it, but it looks like he’s been dialing-it-in for awhile now.

Dudley BoyzThe Dudley Boyz

I love the Dudleyz. I’d dare say they are my favourite tag team of all time. The problem, though, is that they are at the tail-end of their careers. Yes, they are extremely talented and will still go in there and do the moves and the spots, but with the exception of putting somebody through a table, everything seems to be “by the book”. I’m really happy to see them getting one last run with WWE to close their careers, but if you watch their matches you can tell they are just going through the motions.

Curtis AxelCurtis Axel

I think that this is a case where a guy has been beaten down so much over his career that he’s just given up on ever getting another legitimate chance to succeed. I mean, this is a guy that they used to help The Rock train for his matches with John Cena because they knew that the guy could get anybody into ring shape. He had to get past that horrific Michael McGillicutty name before getting the push of his life as Curtis Axel with Paul Heyman as his advocate. For whatever reason, that whole thing fell off the rails. He then tried to make something with the whole “AxelMania” gimmick, but once Hogan got into trouble that whole push (and the potential tag team with “Macho Mandow”) just went to beat him down some more. He doesn’t seem motivated at the moment, but can you blame him?

Fandango 1Fandango

Again, this is a situation where a guy has been given a horrendous gimmick, he ran with it as long and as best as he could, but now he’s just floundering around from match to match. Does he “feel” it? Highly doubtful. It’s a shame, too, because the guy is massively talented and shouldn’t be relegated to such a terrible gimmick, especially once it’s been proven to be a massive failure. But yeah…he’s just going in there and doing the job so he can get his paycheck and leave.

Zack RyderZack Ryder

If there was anybody who dials it in and then whines about not being pushed enough, it’s THIS guy. He’s been riding on the coattails of his one-time unique and popular gimmick for a couple of years now, and it shows in the ring. He might be showing a little bit more enthusiasm now that he’s in NXT as a tag team partner of Mojo Rawley, but he’s still just happy to get on TV at this point. He does nothing new, he creates nothing new, and his old shtick has gotten old with most of the WWE Universe.

Bella TwinsThe Bellas

Up until the focus of the WWE Universe was on Nikki vs Charlotte, both Bella twins were simply going in there and looking bored on a weekly basis. They’re definitely more interested in being on Total Divas than they are being on RAW, and as I’ve said before…I think Nikki displays every poor quality that has given the Divas division a bad name. Her “record” title reign was a joke as it looked like a Fembot from Austin Powers inside the ring. Thank god we’ve got new blood who are seriously talented in-ring performers so we can let both Bellas get to their reality show.

RAW Thoughts

The BOlieving DeadWe’re in the wrestling hot-bed (and one of my favourite cities in the entire world) of Chicago, Illinois as WWE tries to (a) improve their ratings against baseball playoffs AND Monday night football and (b) get people interested in the upcoming PPV, Hell in a Cell. You gotta wonder what kind of show WWE will give us tonight, so let’s find out!!

Corporate Kane– We learn right out of the gate in a backstage segment that Stephanie and Triple H will be “late”, so Corporate Kane is in charge of the entire show tonight. He proceeds to create a lumberjack match between himself and Seth Rollins…which should obviously only go to try making Kane a legitimate threat for the WWE World Heavyweight title even though everybody and their dog knows he’s not going to win.

– Instead of yet another in-ring diatribe, we’re kicking off the show with Dean Ambrose hitting the ring to tell the world that he’s looking for a fight. In a bit of a surprise, out comes Randy Orton

Orton proceeds to tell Ambrose that a new match has been made for Hell in a Cell: Braun Strowman and Luke Harper will take on Ambrose and Orton.

Both men want the other to “follow my lead” and both agree that they cannot be trusted. As they continue their conversation, they are interrupted by…

New Day

THE NEW DAY!!

They can’t believe that Orton and Ambrose are talking about the Wyatt’s instead of them, as they destroyed the Dudleyz, Dolph Ziggler, and John Cena last week. They proceed to provide a super-entertaining promo (even making Orton smile at one point) before being interrupted by Corporate Kane, who makes a match between New Day and Ambrose & Orton.

Orton vs KingstonThe first few minutes saw the babyfaces dominate, not only before the break but afterwards, as well. I thought that Orton and Ambrose did well with subtly showing a bit of competitiveness, trying to one-up each other in the ring. That subtlety then turned into a very apparent competition, with both men inside of the ring talking to each other. Not arguing, exactly, but conversing sternly.

We came back from another commercial and the heels finally had the advantage. You gotta love New Day…they went from being hated for sucking so hard, to being absolutely loved for being so entertaining, to being hated again for being dominant heels. It’s been a very impressive transition. Orton vs Kingston 2

Ambrose & Orton vs New DayOnce the hot tag was made, the crowd really came alive as the babyfaces were running wild all over the place. The end came, however, when Orton was about to deliver an RKO to Kingston, but he was pushed into Ambrose (who fell out of the ring) and was rolled up for the pin.

Ambrose and Orton showed resent and frustration with each other, but nothing else materialized from it.

– Apparently, Nikki Bella is about to take on Naomi. I’m sorry, but if this is the Divas Revolution that WWE wants to give me, I’m NOT interested.

What’s weird is that they promoted the incredible main event from NXT TakeOver: Respect between Bayley and Sasha Banks, who is also on Team B.A.D. with Naomi. Ummm…if you’re going to promote Banks, why are you having Naomi wrestling?? Bayley vs Banks

Naomi vs Nikki 2You want to know the difference between NXT women and the Divas? The NXT matches look like a match that two men would have. They’re absolutely incredible and just happen to have women in the roles. These matches look like women wrestling. I can’t really describe it any other way. There’s just a very apparent difference in the booking of the matches.

Banks takes out BellaBrie Bella grabs the microphone and tries to start a “We want Sasha” chant. Banks takes her out but somehow this distracted Naomi to the point that Nikki pinned her. I guess we now know why they’re pushing Banks with Naomi doing the wrestling: they’re trying to turn Banks and split her from Team B.A.D., which is a good idea because that team sucks the life out of everything they’re close to.

Seriously…look at this picture taken from last night’s WWE Instagram account. Out of the three of them, who oozes star power?

Team B.A.D.

Up next…

John Cena US open challenge– It’s now officially time for the John Cena U.S. Title Open Challenge. While the crowd is heavily divided, I can’t complain with this gimmick. I’m really loving the match-ups and Cena has never worked harder in the ring to put on a good show. In addition, the U.S. title has been elevated to a point it hasn’t been at in a very long time. So…the only question is who will answer the challenge this week?

Dolph Ziggler‘s music hits and out comes the man who (apparently, on Total Divas) wants to have kids with Nikki Bella (i.e. Cena’s girlfriend). The announcers, though, hint about his current relationship with Lana.

Holy shit…Cena even grabbed the microphone to address the situation as the Chicago crowd was going crazy. I’ve never seen anything like that before. And really…out of all the places to propose, you do it during a John Cena match on RAW?? All kinds, I guess…

The match itself was good in the beginning. I mean, I’ve seen both in better matches, but the highlight came near the end. The second half of the match had the crowd eating out of the palms of their hands. For me, though, once Cena kicked out of a SECOND ROPE DDT, I knew that Ziggler wasn’t going to win.

THEN John Cena kicked out of the Zig Zag. Sigh.

Cena then hit the AA out of nowhere and got the clean pinfall.

Cena vs Ziggler 1Listen, I don’t have a problem with Cena kicking out of one finishing move per match. All of the main event guys do that from time to time and it really helps pop the crowd. But at this point, Cena kicks out of moves that should KILL guys. To have him kick out of everything doesn’t help him; it actually hurts the business. I mean, a normal DDT is the finisher of Dean Ambrose. Why does his work when a second-rope DDT fails? It just doesn’t make sense to me. It reminds me of how ECW was gradually killing the business back in the late 90’s because nobody would take a pinfall unless they were pretty much dead. The business scaled back a bit and the results have been really good. But Cena\s dominance in this fashion just cannot continue. I don’t mind him winning, but it’s the moves that he kicks out of that bothers the shit out of me.

– The Dudley Boyz make their way to the ring to beat up The Ascension. I guess this whole “Cosmic Wasteland” gimmick with Stardust has already been forgotten and their potential push is already dead…is it? Anyway, it didn’t take long for the Dudleyz to make short work of the Road Warrior wanna-be’s. Yawn.

Neville is teaming with Cesaro to take on Sheamus and King Barrett. I’m intrigued by the match-up as it’s fresh and different. I’m looking forward to this one.

I gotta say, I was impressed with the offense that both Cesaro and Neville got in early. I thought they could end up being a pretty great team. Unfortunately, Neville got hit by the Bull Hammer from out of nowhere and the match was over before it really got started.

Goddammit…why are they continuing to bury fan favourites Cesaro & Neville??

Reigns vs Strowman– I don’t know if I see a clean finish here, but I think this is a big test for both men. Can Roman Reigns carry somebody green to a passable match? And can Braun Strowman make his offense look good enough to have a one-on-one match-up with somebody?

Reigns on the micReigns grabbed the mic and proceeded to recap the entire feud between him and Bray Wyatt. The longer this went, the worse it got for Reigns. The crowd hit him with a “WHAT?” chant right out of the gate. The crowd then hit him with a “BORING!” chant. Reigns, to his credit, addressed each chant and actually shut them down. But man…Reigns needs to be short and sweet. That’s his gimmick…that’s his character. He doesn’t need to deliver a promo like this. Goldberg never did: in…out…done.

Reigns vs Strowman 2Y’know, while this was far from the greatest match of all time, I think both men did exactly what they needed to do. Strowman played his part extremely well, selling when he needed to and hitting big power moves at opportune times. Reigns did a great job at selling when he needed to and hitting big-time offense when HE needed to, making things as believable as possible. In the end, Reigns won by count-out after things spilled to the outside.

Rusev vs Ryback 1– We’re all set for Rusev vs. Ryback. Ugh…poor Rusev. I mean, the guy should be in a main event storyline and continuing his dominance. He’s extremely talented in every aspect, but for some reason WWE has dropped the ball with him.

Anyway, they actually acknowledged the TMZ story that Rusev and Lana are now engaged…which I didn’t see coming. What’s even stranger is that Summer Rae still accompanied Rusev to the ring. Really?

No…what’s even stranger was that Ryback got a CLEAN PINFALL VICTORY over Rusev. Jesus…I’m at a loss for words. I don’t get it. Not even a screwjob. Christ on a cracker. Don’t even get me started on the fact that the crowd was flat (AGAIN) for his win. He just isn’t the super-over babyface that Vince wants him to be. Goddamn… Ryback vs Rusev 1

Once the match was over, Summer Rae called out Rusev for the TMZ story, called him names, and slapped him in the face. So I guess she’s back to being a babyface but what does this mean for Lana? I sure hope that WWE has some decent storylines in store for the duo because I want these two back together causing hell like they were a year ago.

Kevin Owens vs KalistoKevin Owens is continuing his weird feud with the Lucha Dragons, as he is ready to take on Kalisto. If you want to see an example of just how incredibly talented Owens is inside of the ring, all you have to do is watch the big man sell some of the little man’s moves.

The match was one of the more entertaining of the entire night. In the end, Owens absolutely killed Kalisto with a brutal powerbomb. Great stuff.

Team NBC– Divas champion Charlotte & Becky Lynch (#swoon) are in the ring and ready to take on Brie Bella & Alicia Fox. Paige is at ringside on commentary, Nikki is in the corner of Team Bella, and Natalya is in the corner of Charlotte and Lynch.  The match didn’t last very long, but it did the job of putting over storylines after a clusterfuck ending. Nikki Bella tried to interfere, Natalya came to help, Paige took out Natalya, Nikki interfered with Charlotte, and Brie ended up getting the pinfall. Just a booking mess from beginning to end.

– So Corporate Kane told Seth Rollins that he was not going to be facing him in a match, per Triple H. He did say that he would find a suitable replacement, though. My guess? “Demon Kane” because, technically, it’s not “Corporate Kane”.

Lumberjack Match– As expected, out came “Demon Kane” to take on Rollins. Sigh.

Kane intimidatesThe match wasn’t really much of anything at all. Kane was dominating the entire match…and intimidating people along the way. It’s pretty much what they have to do in order to generate interest in Kane as a legitimate challenger for Rollins.

At one point, Big Show confronted Kane on the outside and was met with a punch for his efforts. Show then hit him with the Knockout Punch and walked to the back in disgust. Yet ANOTHER turn for Show? Sigh. Big Show punches out Kane

Kane sits upIn the end, the New Day pulled Kane out of the ring and the lumberjacks all went at it on the outside. Then New Day got the heels to start attacking Kane on the inside of the ring, being the ring leaders. The babyface lumberjacks then took out the heels and we were, again, left with Kane and Rollins.

Kane hit a Tombstone piledriver for the clean pinfall and, I’m sure, WWE now believes that is enough to convince people that Kane could possibly win the WWE World Heavyweight championship at Hell in a Cell. I think WWE is insulting their fans’ intelligence, but what can you do? Tombstone**********

So the show wasn’t too bad. I’d dare say it was better than last week’s RAW. But what are YOUR thoughts? Sound off in a comment below or via social media and let me know!

TWITTER – @_ZAH_

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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!

TWITTER – @_ZAH_

FACEBOOK – The World According To ZAH

“Live From Madison Square Garden” Predictions

While not a PPV by any stretch, tonight’s WWE Network live airing of a house show from Madison Square Garden is still a pretty big deal. As such, I thought some predictions might be in order…

Lesnar vs Show - MSGBrock Lesnar vs. Big Show

I think you know as well as I do that Big Show is NOT winning this match. The fact that they’ve gone from having Sting decimate him on RAW to having Show destroy everybody in his path over the past couple of weeks (ex: Cesaro, Mark Henry) hasn’t really done a lot to give Show a realistic chance at beating Lesnar. I understand that they have really tried to build Show up, but at this point it’s a case of “too little, too late”. But obviously, it wasn’t going to do much difference anyway.

Right now Brock Lesnar is an attraction. People don’t tune in to see Lesnar for a 5-star match (although he is quite capable of delivering with the right opponent). No, people tune in to see Brock Lesnar destroy other people.

While this match is the main attraction for most, it’s really just a reason to show Lesnar is a positive light. Sure, Big Show will probably get in a bunch of offense, but at the end of the day Lesnar will put on a tremendous performance that will keep him in the “WrestleMania main event” discussions for next year.

WINNER: Brock Lesnar

Rollins vs Cena - steel cage MSGJohn Cena vs. Seth Rollins (steel cage match)

At this point, I don’t know if it’s going to be a title match or not. I haven’t seen it advertised as a WWE World Title match or a United States title match, so I’m going to predict based on that. To me, obviously, the winner will be Cena if the titles aren’t on the line. And yes, I fully expect Kane to make an appearance and be either (a) the reason Cena wins, though unlikely, or (b) the person who destroys Rollins after the match is already over.

In the 70’s and 80’s, the cage match was a spectacle. This was the place where feuds went to end and, usually, it was a bloody end. The use of colour was the best way to show the dangerous nature of the cage and also mask the limitations that the cage put on the match to begin with.

In the PG era, you’re not going to get blood. Instead, a lot of the high spots that performers use to get a match over are restricted due to the cage…meaning that you have to REALLY be a good in-ring performer to keep the crowd into it. Thankfully, these are two of the best in the entire world…so the match should still be a decent one.

WINNER: John Cena

New Day vs DudleyzThe New Day vs. The Dudley Boyz (WWE World tag team title match)

For me, this is the only match that really means something in terms of future storyline potential. Ever since the Dudleyz returned to WWE, they’ve been super-over and on a fast track to the WWE tag team titles. The only problem, obviously, is that current champions The New Day are the most over act on the entire roster. They just won the titles back so it really doesn’t make sense to take it off of them already.

Having said that, this would make for a HUGE “crowd pop” moment and one that really means something to the Dudleyz. I mean…winning a title at Madison Square Garden?? Hell yeah…that’s pretty damn awesome.

From what I’ve heard, this match will set-up another rematch at the Hell in a Cell PPV. For me, this screams out short-term “here’s your one-more tag title victory” for the Dudleyz so that their return can mean something, then New Day will regain the belts yet again at the PPV.

WINNERS: Dudley Boyz

Owens vs JerichoKevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho (Intercontinental Title match)

I read yesterday that Jericho has flown in friends from Calgary (including Lance Storm) for this show to celebrate an anniversary of him in the business (or something like that). Regardless, let’s not think this means anything because Owens is NOT losing the Intercontinental title to Jericho tonight. Period.

Having said that, this should still be a pretty kick-ass match and is one to look for.

WINNER: Kevin Owens

Orton vs SheamusRandy Orton vs. Sheamus

Listen…I’ve been a fan of this feud for some time now. But enough is enough already. Let this please be the blow-off to the feud. I mean, their matches have been stiff as hell and there have definitely been some highlights, but we need to end this so both guys can find new directions and storylines and guys to wrestle.

Orton is on a reduced schedule and Sheamus is the Money in the Bank title holder with continuous teasing of cashing in. Because I don’t think Sheamus will win whatever match he cashes the contract in on, I think he needs to be winning more. It’s the whole “Vince Reverse Psychology” thing.

WINNER: Sheamus

Ziggler vs RusevDolph Ziggler vs. Rusev

This storyline lost a ton of steam as soon as Dolph hooked up with Lana and Rusev hooked up with Summer Rae. The two pairs just don’t gel at all. If anything, Summer Rae and Dolph could be a very cool heel tandem. And for the love of all that’s good and holy, Rusev NEEDS to be re-paired with Lana so they can both regain their momentum.

I mean…c’mon, Vince…Lana doesn’t NEED to be a babyface hot chick right now. She was thriving as the mouthpiece for Rusev. Was she popular? Sure…but she can still be a Russian bitch who puts down America. Or whatever…just put her back with Rusev.

Oh yeah…the match. I hate it when they let the babyface win just to pop a house show crowd, but I can see Summer Rae costing Rusev his match…again.

WINNER: Dolph Ziggler

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

TWITTER – @_ZAH_

FACEBOOK – The World According To ZAH

RAW Thoughts

Lennon & FlairWe’re in Buffalo, New York and we’re ready to kick-start the longest weekly episodic program in blah blah blah history. I just hope it’s a better show than last week.

– We kick off the show with a recap of the “feud” between Kane and Seth Rollins since Night of Champions. Of course, this culminated with Kane dragging Rollins underneath the ring to finish the program last Monday night. Uhhhh….yeah. 

John Cena US Open Challenge– In a decision that I’m totally okay with, we kick off live festivites on RAW with a John Cena U.S. Open Challenge. As I’ve repeatedly said that John Cena has had the best in-ring performances of his entire life in 2015, so I’m excited to see this weekly challenge take place, as it generates fresh match-ups.

Out to answer the challenge is THE NEW DAY!!! The New Day 1

It’s kind of a shame, actually…because there was somebody else waiting to accept Cena’s challenge at the very same time.

After a lengthy, but VERY entertaining pre-match promo, we’re set to see Cena take on Xavier Woods…definitely a fresh match-up and one that should (hopefully) showcase what Woods can do. 

John Cena vs Xavier Woods 1Fortunately, after some early interference, the referee kicked Big E and Kofi Kingston out from the ringside area. I say “fortunately” because now I’m hoping we’ll see what Woods is made of and if Cena can help elevate him with a competitive match-up.

John Cena vs Xavier Woods 2UNfortunately, though, the vast majority of this match is nothing but Super Cena decimating Woods. Poor Xavier would get in one or two moves, but then get stopped and decimated some more. It was a very weird way to put over Woods as a serious competitor, though the announcers did try to put over Woods as best they could. The problem is that Woods didn’t have any offense that lasted for any length of time, only going to show that everything he was doing on offense was just a fluke.

Cena locked in the STF when Kingston and E made the save for the disqualification. This brought out the Dudley Boyz, who helped Cena clear the ring of the baddies. This, though, only went to help set-up an apparent 6-man tag match. It would be nice to see a General Manager of some kind actually “make the match official”.

Tag Match!Dudleyz & Cena vs New Day 2For whatever reason, Cena played the “babyface in peril” during the heel beat-down part of the match. That surprises me only because Devon would have been my first choice. Still…Cena’s got enough gas in the tank to take the beating for awhile and still kick ass when all is said and done.

After Cena made the hot tag, the Dudleyz cleaned house and his their signature spots. Just as they were about to hit the 3D, a distraction to Devon allowed Kingston to hit “Trouble in Paradise” for the pinfall and the surprise victory.

Backstage HR segment– In a backstage segment, Triple H and Stephanie have “Ashley”, their HR representative present so she can discuss an “anonymous complaint” about Corporate Kane concerning an “unsafe environment”. Basically, Ashley will do a performance review with Kane during the show to ensure that he’s fit to have the job that, technically, he’s not supposed to have anymore.

– In another backstage segment, Roman Reigns talks to Dean Ambrose and Randy Orton about his one-on-one match against Bray Wyatt in the main event later. It was a good segment.

Big Show vs Mark Henry– Umm…again???

Mark Henry vs Big ShowListen, I understand the reason why they are pushing Big Show over the past few weeks. They’re trying to build him up as a potential threat to Brock Lesnar at their match at Madison Square Garden on the WWE Network this weekend. The problem, though, is that nobody is buying it. Not at this stage, anyway. I mean…just get the match over with and move on.

Thankfully, this was a squash match and Show won.

Miz TV 1– Now it’s time for Miz TV…and I have to wonder if this will set-up the end of the Divas Revolution for good? I mean, the last time they were on, both Miz and WWE Creative almost completely ruined the entire Divas division in one segment.

Charlotte and Becky Lynch get booed as they’re introduced by Miz. Ugh…that should tell you all you need to know about how WWE has handled the Divas division ’til now.

PaigeCharlotte then calls out Paige to have a discussion about what she said last week when Team Bella came out to cause trouble. Charlotte did an incredible job on the mic in response to Team Bella (as did Becky). Just as they were all about to throw down, out came Paige to cause even MORE issues.

“If you have two boyfriends like yours, who really needs ambition?”Paige to the Bellas. Holy shit…whether she believes it or not, I love the fact that she said what I’ve been saying for months now.

NatalyaEverybody’s arguing about who started the Divas Revolution. Nobody mentions Natalya, which is odd since she was actually wrestling during a time when her competitors could only roll around in bikinis.

Then this happened on Twitter…

Yeah…that could be true if anybody actually knew or cared about who you are.

– This suddenly turned into a 6-person tag match by Corporate Kane during the commercial break. Tag Match!PCB vs Team Bella 1It was odd to watch because Paige doesn’t seem to hate Charlotte and Lynch, but doesn’t appear to want to be their friends any more, either. She hates Team Bella more and still feels the same way about them. Does this make Paige a lone wolf? Does somebody else join her to start yet another Diva faction? I just don’t know where all of this is going…but that’s okay. This is now intriguing me. For all of the shitty segment writing and match booking that WWE has done over the past few months, I’m interested to see what is going on with Paige…so if there’s nothing else, there’s that, I guess.

PCB vs Team Bella 2During the match, Paige decided to just up and leave. Natalya came out to ask Paige what she was doing before she was attacked by Paige. Nikki Bella then hit the Rack Attack and pinned Charlotte to a pretty big pop from the live crowd. I mean…this is exactly opposite what WWE Creative is trying to do, isn’t it?? It’s completely backfiring on them. The whole thing is ridiculous.

– There was a pretty good video package on the history of the feud between Big Show and Brock Lesnar.

– There is yet another backstage segment with Kane and Seth Rollins, with Kane giving Rollins a large present (with “Ashley” watching nearby). Inside was the severed head from Seth Rollins’ destroyed statue. Rollins thought it was creepy as hell and walked off. 

– The Prime Time Players are inside the ring and it looks like the former WWE tag team champions (y’know…the team that nobody cared about) are about to be fed to the Wyatt Family combo of Luke Harper and Braun Strowman.

At this point, the Canadian channel SportsNet experienced some “technical difficulties”. Thus…I can only assume that the Wyatt Family killed the Prime Time Players. PTP Murdered

StardustStardust is set for action against Neville. As much as I feel this match-up has been done to death already, I think there are still some exciting match possibilities between the two of them. To me, this feud has been building and building…so it hasn’t run its course quite yet.

King Barrett vs StardustJust as the match was beginning to build some steam, they went straight to the finish with Neville about to hit the Red Arrow. Goddammit…this frustrates me. I mean, THIS is why people are tired of seeing the match over and over…they don’t get any time to really give the world something great that they are capable of providing.

Then King Barrett‘s music hit and he made his way down to the ring. He knocked out Neville and then knocked out Stardust to show the WWE Universe that he’s back.

Kane was about to receive his in-ring HR evaluation when Seth Rollins interrupted. Rollins proceeded to say that he wasn’t going to hell because, in a meeting with the Pope last week, he was told that he was going to heaven. Ugh. Anyway, Ashley told the world just how awesome Kane was as Director of Operations. 

Rollins then gave Kane a Pedigree before grabbing a chair and brutally assaulting Kane. Doctors came out and wheeled Kane to the back. As the ambulance was taking off, it stopped and smoke poured out of the back of the ambulance. Out came “Demon Kane”. I mean…seriously.

Kane walked to the ring, beat-up Rollins, and gave him a Chokeslam before trying to hit the Tombstone piledriver…but Rollins then ran away. Kane then looked at the WWE title still laying on the mat and picked it up. I guess we officially have our title match for Hell in a Cell? Kane - none of my businessRandy Orton is set to destroy Bo Dallas, but not before he trashed some of the Buffalo Bills sitting at ringside. Of course, Dallas knows there is one way for them to win a championship…

BOLIEVE 1Bo Dallas vs Randy OrtonI had a Twitter discussion with someone last night about “WWE failed pushes” and he included Dallas in that group of performers. And while I totally agree with that, Dallas has to be held accountable to some extent. I know, I know…I’ve been a huge fan of Dallas since his WWE debut, but I also realize that the gimmick alone wasn’t going to be enough to get him over with the back office (and/or Vince). If nothing else, dude needs to lose a few pounds and hit the gym a bit. If he doesn’t want to do that, maybe find new ring gear. Either way, Dallas has a TON of tools but he appears to be his own worst enemy.

Anyway…Orton destroyed Dallas quickly and we move on.

Owens & Rusev vs RybackRyback is inexplicably joining the commentators at ringside so he can watch Intercontinental champion Kevin Owens take on Rusev (with Summer Rae). Almost immediately after the match starts, Owens pushes Rusev into Ryback and then a brawl begins. Ryback ends up getting destroyed by both Owens and Ryback until Dolph Ziggler makes his way down to the ring for the save.

Are they short on time tonight? Because this whole segment seemed to take seconds.

– Thankfully, Paul Heyman is shown walking out to ringside so he can save the entire show.

Big Show vs Paul HeymanUnfortunately, Heyman was interrupted by Big Show after only a few minutes on the mic, who proceeded to talk smack to the point that Heyman ran out of the ring in disgust and Show finished his promo like HE was the babyface. It was all just weird.

– Now it’s time for the main event of the evening: Roman Reigns vs Bray Wyatt. Roman ReignsWyatt comes out with Luke Harper & Braun Strowman, but Reigns insults Wyatt and calls him a bitch…resulting in the Family being sent to the back. So for now, we’ll end up with a one-on-one match between two of the WWE’s future superstars for years to come.

Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns 1I really enjoyed the match. It was hard-hitting and believable, as one man couldn’t maintain an advantage for too long over the other. It had a nice blend of old-school wrestling and some new-school power moves. Both men were beating the hell out of each other and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns 2

Eventually, things went outside of the ring and both men were counted out, yet continued to battle each other through the arena. And these guys continued to beat the living shit out of each other. There were a couple of pretty impressive spots and the crowd seemed to quickly forget about the double-countout as they started a “This is awesome” chant. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns 3

In fact, after Reigns hit a spear out of nowhere to put Wyatt through the announcers’ table, the entire crowd went into a “YES! YES! YES!” chant before the show went off the air. Bray Wyatt vs Roman Reigns 4

Highlights are shown below.

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Overall, again, this wasn’t the best episode of RAW by any stretch. But damn…I’m glad I stuck around until the end because the Reigns vs Wyatt match was really great, and the post-match brawl was fan-fucking-tastic. If you see anything from the show, watch that from the beginning because you’ll REALLY get into things by the time the episode is over.

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

TWITTER – @_ZAH_

FACEBOOK – The World According To ZAH