ZAH Thoughts – What Was The Point Of Roadblock??

ZAH Thoughts - The Point of RoadblockI went into last night’s live event on the WWE Network, Roadblock, thinking that I wouldn’t see any major happenings, but hoping to see at least one. I mean, it was a live event from Toronto…which would bring a hot crowd and pre-WrestleMania electricity. Surely we were going to get SOMETHING fun, weren’t we?

NXT tag match 2I thought, at the very least, that we would get an NXT tag team title switch. Here was Enzo & Big Cass (along with Carmella), the most over act on the NXT roster, facing the championship tandem of Dash & Dawson (i.e. The Revival) in a match that had built up for months. Why were they even thrown on this WWE event in the first place if not to get over with the titles?

NXT tag match 1But no…the tag team champions went over CLEAN in an impressive win. The match itself was good (but becoming a bit formulaic for Enzo & Cass) and really helped put over each team as future superstars to be called-up to the main roster once WrestleMania is over. But I just have to scratch my head and wonder why WWE didn’t take this golden opportunity to put over a team that is consistently booked to be NXT’s version of Zack Ryder circa 2012.

New DayI was pretty sure that the New Day wouldn’t be losing their tag team titles to the team of Sheamus and Wade Barrett, but it was always a possibility as we could see the New Day regain the belts at Mania to pop the crowd. But no…we were relegated to another decent tag team match with Xavier Woods costing the League their chance at tag team gold. I suppose we’ll see Rusev and Alberto Del Rio get involved somehow in the coming weeks (EDIT: apparently they’re challenging for the tag titles on RAW tonight), but I don’t see how this helps their WrestleMania match.

Jericho vs SwaggerChris Jericho came out in Toronto so he could garner some cheap heat and enforce the fact that he was a heel. I get it…good call. But then they brought out the “American American” Jack Swagger to be his opponent. Sorry, but I’m pretty sure Swagger wasn’t ever going to be considered the huge babyface in Canada against Jericho, regardless of how biting his promo may have been. If he faced someone like Goldust or R-Truth or someone like that, then the crowd may have been a bit more forgiving.

Natayla vs Charlotte 1The Charlotte vs Natalya match was fantastic. I didn’t expect the title to switch hands, but I was really impressed at the quality of the match itself. I didn’t know if the WWE agents would allow these two the opportunity to kick ass, but they did. So while it didn’t advance any storylines, it was still a great match that (a) showed the world just how great Charlotte is and (b) reminded the world just how great Natalya still is.

Lesnar vs Harper 1From what I’ve read, WWE is saving the Brock Lesnar vs Bray Wyatt match for after Mania (possibly SummerSlam?), which is why they had a “handicap match” where Luke Harper got in a bit of offense but ended up getting decimated by The Beast…all while Wyatt sat back and watched and didn’t tag in. I don’t like the “bait and switch” booking, even if it does continue storylines.

Zayn vs StardustIn what was possibly the only real “push” on the entire show was Sami Zayn‘s performance against Stardust. While not the most exciting match on the card, it put Zayn over in Canada against someone with some credibility…so casual fans who were watching could still think Zayn was someone to look out for down the road.

Ambrose vs Triple H 1The main event match between Dean Ambrose and WWE champion Triple H was really good, but that’s not really the point. It was, again, a match that had real possibilities of doing something different for an ending…but ended up being a really good “by the books” title match. Kudos to both men for their performances…but it did nothing to get me excited for WrestleMania.

Ambrose vs Triple H 2So again I ask…what was the point of Roadblock? I think having a live event on the WWE Network is a good thing. I don’t think every live event needs to have a title change. However, in this case there should have been something added to give it a bit of excitement. It didn’t, so at the end of the day this “roadblock” was really just a speed bump…nothing more.

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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!

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RAW Thoughts

The wheels are rolling on the WrestleMania train and we’re going through Chicago, Illinois en route to the biggest show of the year. What did WWE give us last night? Let’s find out…Shane McMahon

Shane-o-Mac made his way to the ring to a pretty impressive pop. He had the live crowd eating out of the palm of his hand and had a pretty borderline “shoot promo” on Vince and the current state of the company. Vince came and out tried to garner as much cheap heat as he could…which the Chicago crowd delivered in spades. The segment ended with Shane beating up four security guards who tried to escort him out of the ring, much to the delight of the crowd. I suppose the segment was designed to put Shane over as a legitimate threat to the Undertaker, and because of the hot crowd the segment seemed to work.

Kevin OwensI had heard the rumors but didn’t believe them. Yet last night we saw the (re)debut of Sami Zayn and he went after Kevin Owens, setting up their match at WrestleMania with only a few weeks of build. Listen…I’m all for a Zayn vs Owens match for the Intercontinental championship, but WWE is only giving the WWE Universe a few weeks to see Zayn as a major star. Yes, the vast majority of hardcore fans know exactly who he is but the vast WWE audience have no clue. I just hope they can build him up quickly enough to make the match worthwhile. Thankfully, the Chicago crowd went ape-shit for his music…so those watching from home who are unfamiliar with him will hopefully think he is a big deal based on the crowd’s reaction.

Neville & Sami ZaynAnd for the record, Neville deserves better than this. The guy is someone who could legitimately be a top main-event superstar, yet is always in the role of putting up a great fight, occasionally winning a match, but never being pushed as an upper card star. No, he can’t promo and no, he’s not the biggest guy in the world. But he’s got a fantastic physique and can do things in that ring that others could only dream of and he deserves a better spot than he’s in.

I wasn’t overly impressed with the backstage segment between Dolph Ziggler and Stephanie McMahon. I mean, if WWE really wants to push Ziggler then they’ll update his gimmick and flip him around somehow. The way it is currently is that he looks like a cheap knockoff of Shawn Michaels and his whole act has gotten stale. Putting him into a spot where he’s the “sympathetic babyface” doesn’t really work for me at this point. I just don’t care anymore.

I’m intrigued to see the eventual Lana vs Brie Bella match that takes place (WrestleMania, perhaps??), but I’m still in disbelief at the inexplicable push of Summer Rae. She’s now pinned Paige and Brie Bella. WHY?? She’s better than Eva Marie, for sure…but aren’t there already other women on the roster who can wrestle circles around her? Out of all of the times she’s been pushed before as a sidekick or girlfriend or manager, why choose now to have her be a top wrestling contender to the Divas championship? I just don’t buy it because, quite frankly, she’s not that good.

For the record, though…Lana looked INCREDIBLE. #JustSayin’Lana

I gotta say…I was totally into Dean Ambrose last night for the first time in a long time. I don’t think his promo was meant to pop the crowd, but it was a fantastic promo that had me listening to every word that he said. The whole match with Triple H scheduled for this Saturday really has me questioning whether or not they’ll actually pull the trigger on the Ambrose Asylum. I don’t think they will, but the fact that WWE has me questioning the situation is a win on their part.

Dolph ZigglerAs expected, Dolph Ziggler lost his 3-on-1 handicap match against the League of Nations. After pinning Wade Barrett, he was decimated by Rusev and Sheamus. I mean…did you expect another result? What was telling was how the crowd didn’t really react to Ziggler at all. They popped a bit, but they knew he’d lose. His gimmick is so stale that even a 3-on-1 handicap match can’t garner a ton of sympathy for the guy.

As much as I didn’t need to see five more minutes spent on Shane McMahon, it was very smart to have a highlight package presented for the newer fans who have no idea who he is or why we should buy him as a legitimate threat to actually beat the Undertaker. It was well done in the sense that it showed all of his highspots and made him look pretty impressive.

Tag team matches are exactly what Team B.A.D. need because they are NOT over as a team or a faction. The crowd popped for both Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks (definitely more for Banks), but weren’t really into the match that much because of their opponents. I am really looking forward to the Triple Threat match against Charlotte at WrestleMania. If given enough time, they could have a real shot at stealing the show. They’ve done amazing things in NXT and I’m really looking forward to seeing what they can do at Mania.

And for the record, Charlotte was lookin’ HOT tonight…

Charlotte

Y2AJI was REALLY impressed with the tag team match last night for the WWE tag team championships. But primarily because this was the best showcase of AJ Styles‘ talents since he debuted at the Royal Rumble back in January. He was absolutely spectacular and I was also really impressed with the booking of the final few minutes. As expected, Chris Jericho turned on Styles once the match was over…setting up their eventual WrestleMania match where Jericho can put over Styles on a much grander stage. I don’t really want to see Styles vs Jericho IV, but hopefully they can do something that makes it all worthwhile.

Next up was the announcement of the latest inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2016: Big Boss Man. In fact, Ray Traylor was #18 on my Top 30 list of wrestlers not yet in the Hall. He’s not a top pick by any stretch, but with runs in the NWA, WWE, and WCW that included being UWF heavyweight champion, WWE tag team champion, and 4-time WWE Hardcore champion…Boss Man is a memorable gimmick and is certainly a decent name to be entered into the Hall. Big Boss Man - HOFRyback 2The next two segments showed the good and bad that WWE has got going on right now. They’re pushing Kalisto as a solid singles competitor and I respect that (even though I don’t think he’s quite ready for the “Mysterio Push” quite yet). They’re also pushing Ryback in a manner that’s believable and interesting. He’s not quite a heel, but he’s certainly not a babyface. I hate to say this, but I might end up liking this new Ryback gimmick as long as he stays neutral. Listen…I’ll give credit where it’s due and Ryback has been working his ass off to become a better in-ring competitor by expanding his repertoire and move-set. He updated his look (though it’s silly that he’s now looking more like Goldberg than ever) and is doing what he can to promo in a believable way. I’m not a fan yet (by a long shot), but I appreciate where they’re going with him right now.

Social Outcasts 2The bad is what they’re doing with the #SocialOutcasts. I think this group has a ton of potential to be a fun upper mid-card faction, but they’re constantly being used as enhancement talent. I think the crowds can get behind them if we know whether or not they’re playing babyface or heel…but right now we really don’t know what they are, thus the crowds pop a bit but then quiet down because they don’t know what they should be doing. Give them some direction and legitimately give them all a chance to showcase what they’re capable of (all four are excellent wrestlers with solid gimmicks in place) and then see what happens. I just love these guys and would love to see what they potentially do (they are very reminiscent of the New Day when they started…maybe almost a bit too much?).

Bray Wyatt vs Dean AmbroseI felt bad for Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt in the main event because the crowd was pretty quiet for the match. And why shouldn’t they be? This is a feud that played out in 2015 with Wyatt winning clean. Now Wyatt’s on some kind of “big match losing streak” that upsets his fans to no end. This is a guy who deserves to be a legit scary bad-ass who wins matches…but he doesn’t seem to win anything these days. So the crowd just wasn’t buying into what they were presented with, even though things picked up a bit once Wyatt and Ambrose gave them reason to get excited.

Wyatt Family 3I mean, this was an excellent match. Now that I think about it, I don’t know if I’ve seen a bad match between these two guys as they’ve got tremendous in-ring chemistry. The match ending prematurely made sense from a storyline standpoint, but I wasn’t a bit fan of it because all the Wyatt Family can do is beat people down before losing subsequent matches. Wyatt and Luke Harper deserve more than that, though…they’re just so immensely talented in a number of different ways.

Bray Wyatt vs Triple HWhat I loved most about last night’s main event was the confrontation between Bray Wyatt and Triple H. It was brief, but the crowd popped for it. And after the staredown, Wyatt’s smile and caressing of the WWE championship (hopefully) set up Wyatt for bigger things down the road. I mean, it’s something that should be happening as Wyatt is absolutely deserving of being in the main event title picture at this stage. WWE wonders why they don’t have any top level heels to carry the company…all they have to do is see how they’ve castrated the push of Bray Wyatt over the past year to see why.

And while I was hoping for a legitimate shake-up to take place this weekend in Toronto, with Ambrose standing tall over Triple H I think it’s safe to now say that Ambrose will lose and the WrestleMania main event is still set in stone. A shame, really…because I think the current slate of matches isn’t the best that WWE could offer.

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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

On the heels on a fun Royal Rumble event, WWE has promised a great program tonight on RAW. I’m definitely looking forward to it, so let’s see what’s going on…

triple H

Well…the opening segment had Vince McMahon doing his 90’s heel shtick. It’s tired…it’s old…it’s just like him. Insane. Cheap heat will only get you so far, though. I just want it to end.

Triple H 2Triple H 1Triple H came out and gave a promo reminiscent of his promos from the early 2000’s. I mean, it may have well been taken verbatim from one of those speeches. “I don’t need the title…I want it.” Blah blah blah. The whole thing just seemed played out and uninspired. Unless you’re a relatively newer fan, then this all would seem fantastically new and original.

The first match was the Shawn Michaels wannabe, Dolph Ziggler, taking on Kevin Owens. The match itself was pretty good. What I enjoyed was the fact that Ziggler displayed a lot of aggression in the match. There was no reason for the match, though, and nothing came from it in the end. If you’re trying to set-up storylines for FastLane and/or WrestleMania, you’ve got two major players with no hint of what’s to come. In the end, Owens cleanly beat Ziggler as expected. Nothing much to talk about other than that.

Bo-RidaThe next segment was pretty great. The #SocialOutcasts had a rap battle against Flo Rida. I don’t know if I can adequately tell you how great the Outcasts were, but I think I’m pretty damn sure that Bo Dallas (aka Bo Rida) out-rapped Flo Rida. Seriously…I think Flo forgot his pre-written lyrics and messed it all up somehow. But don’t just take my word for it…

Bo Dallas vs Bubba DudleyThis basically was a cheesy set-up for the Dudley Boyz vs the #SocialOutcast team of Dallas & Curtis Axel. Bo has some new gear and, quite frankly, it’s about time. He’ll never be “cut” or “shredded”, but he is an outstanding in-ring performer and deserves to look his best…I think this gear does that for him. The match itself kinda sucked ass, with Flo Rida trying to do some kind of “run in” like celebrities often do. It just didn’t work, though it was awesome to see the debut of the “Bo Train”.

This lead to…

Styles vs JerichoAJ StylesYeah…this match actually took place! I’m not sure what the agents had in mind with this match, but Jericho had more offense than he probably should have had. Having said that, AJ Styles was selling his ass off…similar to Ziggler in some respects. He was crisp with his offense, too…looking “phenomenal” when he got to get his shit in. Chris Jericho, on the other hand, was huffing and puffing all over the place…barely selling anything the way he used to. This should have been a MUCH better match, but in the end seeing Styles win with a clean pinfall helped “make” him on RAW.

But let it be said…Styles outperformed Jericho tonight and looked good IN SPITE of what he was given to work with.

Sasha BanksWe were treated to a five minute divas match between Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks before it was interrupted by Charlotte, who took out both women. As expected, this is setting up a 3-way match at FastLane for the Divas championship. I’m not sure how this sets up WrestleMania, though (probably Charlotte vs Banks). The segment told a story, but the match was a throwaway.

After 90 minutes, RAW has disappointed thus far.

Bray Wyatt 2Next up was Bray Wyatt vs Kane and, as you’d expect, it wasn’t much of a match. With a bit of outside assistance from the Wyatt Family, Kane fell fairly quickly to the leader. I don’t know what it means, but I doubt Bray’s future has anything to do with Kane or the Undertaker. I suspect Bray will be placed in a major match at FastLane that will have ramifications for WrestleMania.

We’re expected to find out which “big star” will be appearing out of a limousine next. Ummm…okay. Randy Orton, perhaps? Maybe The Rock? I really don’t expect that big of a surprise, to be honest…though I’m hoping I’m wrong.

WWE teased that The Miz was going to be the big surprise, but then it became clear that he wasn’t that person.

Thankfully, I was wrong and The Rock arrived to entertain the hell out of me. I can’t even tell you just how awesome Dwayne Johnson was. Whether on script or not, he was fantastically entertaining. Whether he was talking to the Big Show or Lana & Rusev or “going off script” to talk to some wrestling geeks dressed up in the front row, Rock was on point and better than ANYTHING else on the show up to this point.

And then the NEW DAY showed up to have a promo segment with Rock!!

For the record, this describes my thoughts on the end of the segment…

Rock & UsosSo yeah, the Usos got involved to attack the New Day and continue their feud. I’m so tired of it, to be honest. I was really hoping it’d be done after the Rumble. New Day needs some “new blood” to feud with and the Usos…regardless of how over they might be with Rock giving them the rub…just isn’t the answer for one of the most over acts on the entire roster. I hope something new happens before WrestleMania because otherwise the tag title match is probably gonna suck.

Natayla & PaigeThe next match was one supposedly based on the storyline from Total Divas, which was filmed months ago. Paige & Natalya beat Brie Bella and Alicia Fox (apparently, Alicia & Paige had a “falling out” and it’s one of the main selling points of the season debut episode…or something like that). It was alright, but the match was too quick to be special in any way. Judging by the people sitting on their hands once the match was over (aren’t they supposed to clap and cheer for the babyfaces when they win?), they felt the same way as I did.

The next match was the new United States champion Kalisto taking on The Miz. Y’know, I think Miz has had a pretty good 24 hours. No, he hasn’t won a championship or anything, but he was a highlight of the Royal Rumble (making a point to join the commentators until Brock Lesnar was eliminated before entering the match itself), had a nice (but short) segment with The Rock, and then had a nice two-segment match with Kalisto. I wouldn’t mind watching another match or two between these competitors.

Main event time…Reigns & Ambrose vs Sheamus & Rusev

Reigns & Ambrose vs Sheamus & Rusev 2The last match of the evening was Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose taking on Sheamus and Rusev. First thing first…the reaction for Reigns was decidedly different than the crowd from the Royal Rumble. Was it 100% cheers? Heck, no…but it was a solid pop for Reigns, just behind the one that his partner got. I didn’t mind the match at all and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. I don’t know if it helped continue storylines or not with the League of Nations or if it ended them, but it was entertaining (as was the post-match beat down on Rusev). Reigns & Ambrose vs Sheamus & Rusev3

FastLane main eventStephanie came out after the match to announce that at FastLane it will be Dean Ambrose vs Roman Reigns vs Brock Lesnar (who wasn’t even on the show) for the right to face Triple H in the main event of WrestleMania. Everybody and their dog knows that Reigns will end up pinning Ambrose to win and keep Lesnar strong so he can face Bray Wyatt on the Grandest Stage of Them All. I’m not entirely against either match, but I feel like there could still be stronger pairings for the big PPV.FastLane reaction*****

But these are just my opinions. What do YOU think? I thought it was an average RAW at best, though some people online didn’t agree with my assessment…

Hit me up in the comment section below or sound off on social media…

RAW Thoughts

We are watching the “go home” show for one of the big four PPV’s in WWE, the Royal Rumble. I’m looking forward to seeing how certain storylines are set-up, because right now the race for the belt is really down to two or three people. Let’s see how they play things out tonight…

Sin Cara said...Roman ReignsI fully realize that WWE is light on babyface stars right now with Randy Orton, John Cena, & Cesaro on the shelf with injuries. But Chris Jericho‘s “routine from the 90’s” is NOT the answer…and neither is his “sport coat with no shirt” look. And now he’s booking matches and making himself the referee?? I mean…what the hell is going on? Why are we just ignoring all common sense in order for this to take place? I’m sorry, but this is LAZY storytelling on behalf of the creative team. Having Rusev vs Roman Reigns with Jericho as the referee with the League of Nations on the outside of the ring is not lazy booking by any stretch, but how we got there was ridiculous. I hate that kind of shit.

"Hi. I'm Chris Jericho. I'm not wearing a shirt with my suit jacket in an attempt to look cool, cutting edge, and relevant. Instead, I look like a douchebag. An extremely out-of-touch mid-life-crisis type of douchebag. I've got my Ford Mustang sitting outside waiting for me to drive it around town with the windows down. Hey gurl...I'm in a band."

“Hi. I’m Chris Jericho. I’m not wearing a shirt with my suit jacket in an attempt to look cool, cutting edge, and relevant. Instead, I look like a douchebag. An extremely out-of-touch mid-life-crisis type of douchebag. I’ve got my Ford Mustang sitting outside waiting for me to drive it around town with the windows down. Oh hey gurl…did you know I’m in a band?”

Jericho as refI didn’t hate the match, but I hated the whole “Referee Jericho throws everybody out from the ringside area while acting like a fucktard” near the end. It took away from the match and it was completely unnecessary. I mean, why did we need to make this about Jericho? Why did we need comedy during this match? Who allowed Jericho to be a goddamn referee to begin with??? I mean, if Stephanie McMahon later confronted Jericho about hijacking the segment and doing things without The Authority‘s approval, then who the hell gave him a goddamn referee shirt?? Why didn’t they cut the segment if the match wasn’t official?? What the hell is going on here???

Frank Drebin 1

Paige & NatalyaThe divas match didn’t do much but re-introduce Natalya (who was made to look really strong by quickly submitting Brie Bella) and show the world just how incredibly hot Paige is. I’m not a big fan of re-hashing months-old storylines from Total Divas and introducing them to the WWE Universe as if it were something new just because it’s being broadcast on the show now. I just don’t like the tie-in…I don’t believe that the show helps the “Divas Revolution” in any way.

Dudleyz & RybackThe match between the Wyatt Family and the Dudley Boyz & Ryback was about as boring as you would expect it to be. I mean, on one hand I absolutely appreciate the fact that WWE is trying to push a feud for more than just one or two episodes. The problem, though, is that they go backwards instead of forwards when they have a normal 6-man tag match after already having no-DQ matches. The crowd was bored and it dragged the excitement down tremendously. Again…I don’t mind the feud itself, but if you reach a pinnacle then it makes no sense to go back to the well one more time, even if you do replace one person.

Social OutcastsI have NO idea why Big Show was a babyface this week or why they decided to feed the #SocialOutcasts to him. I mean, this crew seems to be getting over ON THEIR OWN by simply being themselves. I love their shtick and their gimmick of being four unique personalities who don’t get along (but kinda do). Their mic work is tremendously entertaining and that, above all else, should be enough to help get them over with the creative team. Unfortunately, they’re simply a new version of 3MB.

And then I pulled out a little bit of a prediction as the McMahons did a segment where they drew for the # 1 spot in the Royal Rumble

Roman Reigns at Royal Rumble…and sure enough, that’s exactly where the segment went. The segment was long and boring and full of mistakes as Vince couldn’t open up some of the balls that he took out. The whole thing was stupid. Just name Reigns the first participant for the Rumble (it’s not as if there isn’t any precedent for that) or pull out that first ball with Reigns’ name on it, then let the audience speculate on whether or not it was rigged. Did you really need to do the segment and “prove” that it was rigged? Who did it get over other? Does it show that Vince & Steph are screwing over Reigns? Sure…but so could simply making an announcement and it wouldn’t have been nearly as boring.

Becky LynchI don’t think I need to recap the Becky Lynch match against Tamina, but I will say that I’m constantly impressed by Becky’s promo ability. She’s got real charisma and personality and can relay that with her promos. That is going to take her a LONG way in the company because she’s also got in-ring skills and beauty on top of everything else. And to be fair, Charlotte is also pretty damn good on the mic. Her facial expression after her father accepted a title match on her behalf was perfect.

Kevin OwensI was a little baffled to see Kevin Owens sitting at ringside when Dean Ambrose was in a tag team match with Kalisto taking on Alberto Del Rio and…Sheamus. I mean, I get the whole “League of Nations” thing, but where Owens and Ambrose are battling on Sunday in a Last Man Standing match for the Intercontinental championship, I’m just a little surprised that they weren’t put in the ring together in a tag match for a “tease”. It’s classic PPV storyline building. I was hoping for a post-match beat-down of some kind, but it never materialized. I don’t think it really matters, though…Kevin Owens vs Dean Ambrose is probably THE match I want to see other than the Rumble match itself. They’re going to kick the living shit out of each other and I cannot wait.

UsosThe match between Jey Uso and Big E was about what you’d expect from them. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t anything spectacular, either. Thankfully, we had Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods on the outside keeping us all entertained. I appreciate the fact that the babyface team is going up against the heel trio, but I still don’t know if the Usos should be in the title picture prior to WrestleMania. I don’t know who else would challenge for the titles at Mania, but I just don’t think the Usos vs New Day is a WrestleMania match in 2016.

The 8-man “main event” was a joke. I only cared about Neville and Tyler Breeze…everybody else was just filler for me. I can’t believe that this is what they booked to keep viewers before the final segment.

Main event heelsSo the final segment of the night is one to highlight the “main players” that you can expect to win this Sunday’s Royal Rumble match.

Highlight ReelI used to be a huge Chris Jericho mark…I really was. But now, it’s just lame and old and tired and I wish they’d find a way to better utilize younger, newer talent instead of relying on a star of over a decade ago whose best years are far behind him.

Paul Heyman vs Chris JerichoIt was weird because Jericho was trying to be the “insult-throwing babyface” when Paul Heyman made his way to the ring. But the last time I checked, Brock Lesnar and Heyman were babyfaces (or at the very least “Austin-esque” without taking sides). And the longer the segment went, the more Heyman came off like a babyface and Jericho came off like an out-of-touch heel.

Reigns spears LesnarThe brawl at the end of the show was awesome, though. Reigns vs Lesnar. The League of Nations getting involved and getting destroyed because Lesnar was taking on everybody. Reigns ended up giving Lesnar TWO spears. The Wyatt Family got involved and Bray Wyatt hit Sister Abigail on Reigns. Then you had Lesnar get a beatdown from the Wyatts before HE received a Sister Abigail. So now you have Bray Wyatt becoming a last-minute legit contender to win the entire thing on Sunday. He defied the Authority and left ringside during last week’s beatdown of Roman Reigns and took out everybody tonight to end the night the last ones standing. Wyatt Family stands tall

It was a great ending to add speculation and interest to an already interesting PPV.

*****

But these are just my thoughts. What did YOU think of RAW this week? Sound off in the comments below or hit me up on social media…

TWITTER –> @_ZAH_

FACEBOOK –> TheWorldAccordingToZAH

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.

**********

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