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

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

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

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

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

Braun Strowmanbraun-strowman

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

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

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

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

The Undertakerundertaker-1

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

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

Chris Jerichochris-jericho-2

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

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

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

Bill Goldberggoldberg-2

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

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

Samoa Joesamoa-joe-3

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

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

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

Finn BálorFinn Balor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

no-2

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

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

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The World According to ZAH

The World According to ZAH 2

  • WWE Womens WrestlingThe biggest rumor heading into this weekend is that on Monday, the WWE Divas Championship will be renamed WWE Women’s Championship on RAW. I think it’s a perfect time to make this particular change simply because the company is in the era where you have beautiful women who are able to actually WRESTLE…so the term “diva” just doesn’t seem to fit the new generation of women athlete. Plus, I think in an era where you have Rhonda Rousey and Miesha Tate headlining different UFC pay-per-views to record numbers, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Sasha Banks vs Charlotte headlines a WWE pay-per-view at some point over the next year or two.
  • NEGANThe Walking Dead’s 90-minute finale this weekend brings us the debut of Negan. For anyone who is vaguely familiar with the comic, Negan is an incredibly important part of the ongoing zombie apocalypse story. Based on his introduction in the comics and the numerous warnings to fans that this episode will “break the internet”(Rick Grimes himself, Andrew Lincoln, has stated that he believes that Negan makes ‘the greatest entrance ever written’), I expect either Glenn or (gasp!) Daryl to be killed by Negan’s barbwire-covered baseball bat, Lucille.

  • NakamuraIt looks like Shinsuke Nakamura will be known simply as Nakamura in WWE. The official WrestleMania 32 program lists only his last name, so maybe this is the only change made. I like the idea, actually. You can still exploit his global reputation and fan base with “Nakamura”, yet not really confuse the English-speaking casual fan masses with “Shinsuke” at the beginning. I think this works just fine. I’m giddy with excitement about his debut tonight.

Nakamura-1

  • WWE-Cruiserweight-ShowWWE has announced working partnerships with (as of today) three indy promotions (EVOLVE, Revolution Pro, and Progress Wrestling) that will host qualifying matches for the upcoming Global Cruiserweight Series. It will be very interesting to see what other indy promotions will get some of this fantastic exposure. I mean, any local promotion that has any type of working ties with WWE will automatically get “the rub” and, in turn, it will help the entire industry as a whole over the long run. While larger promotions such as New Japan or Ring of Honor may not be participating, I anticipate working relationships to be announced PWG logofor indies such as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (based out of California), Zero-One (based out of Japan), and at least one indy promotion from Canada, Australia, and possibly Germany. This really could be a truly GLOBAL tournament and is quite exciting.
  • And speaking of the Global Cruiserweight Series, the first six names have been announced as participants:
    • Zack Sabre Jr
    • Johnny Gargano
    • Rich Swann
    • Tommaso Ciampa
    • Noam Dar
    • Ho Ho Lun
    • Akira Tozawa

Ho Ho LunOut of this group, the only one I’m unfamiliar with is Ho Ho Lun (pictured right). Apparently, he’s a wrestler from Hong Kong who has done some work with Zero One in Japan. Other than Lun, though, the rest of the initial participants has me SUPER excited about this tournament. To me, the initial front-runner is already Sabre, Jr…who is widely considered the best technical wrestler on the planet today. But I’m also stoked to see Tozawa compete under the WWE banner. This tournament has the potential to be fucking bad-ass!!

  • Batman v SupermanIs Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice really that bad? Obviously, the opening weekend numbers broke box office records from around the world, but the current Rotten Tomatoes scores is a dismal 29%…although the audience score is at “71% liked it”. I was originally going to see it with my 9 year old this weekend, but he said that the movie trailers didn’t interest him and he has no desire to watch it. Huh…thankfully I downloaded Star Wars: The Force Awakens and will be watching NXT TakeOver: Dallas with him on Saturday, so all is not lost.
  • As normally is the case this time of the year, rumours are flying around left and right about multiple items in the industry. One of the most insane ones is that Goldberg will return on Sunday night to help Shane McMahon defeat the Undertaker (WHAT?? Seriously??). The one that’s rampant, though, is that there have been multiple Triple H vs Vince McMahon issues backstage over…
    • Shane McMahonTriple H downplaying the popularity of Shane McMahon before his return. In fairness, though, I don’t know if anybody really anticipated the crowd reactions that Shane has received since his return. Three months ago, I would have firmly been in the corner of “Shane-O-Mac isn’t that big of a deal”…so I totally understand Triple H’s side of things…IF this is true.
    • Shane vs Vince vs UndertakerTriple H not seeing Shane as a “legit contender” for the Undertaker. Again, I think I’m firmly in Triple H’s side on this. Even now, I do NOT see Shane as someone who can actually defeat the Undertaker straight up (even IN a Hell in a Cell match).
    • The AuthorityVince being under internal pressures to name his successor, but is using Shane as “leverage” against Triple H and Stephanie because he doesn’t want them taking it for granted that they’re next in line. I don’t even know what to say about this one because as much as I have respect for Shane, I’m completely against him taking over the company. I firmly believe Triple H’s vision is what’s “best for business”.
    • The RockVince wanting Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson returning for a match at Mania, but Triple H thinking that having him in a non-wrestling role would be good enough. Again, I’m firmly on the side of Trips in this case because I don’t want to see Rock in a wrestling role right now. I realize that it may have been difficult to fill the 100,000-seat AT&T Stadium without him (especially with all of the injuries to top-tier performers over the past few months), but it was probably going to happen with the proper marketing campaign anyway. Having Rock take a spot away from someone who could be a future superstar of the company is just wrong. If there is any time to make superstars for the future, it’s NOW.

I hope these rumors aren’t true because the LAST thing WWE needs right now is backstage conflict. If there was ever a time to come together and try to build a new future for the company, it’s now.

  • UFC 200 - McGregor vs Diaz IIConor McGregor vs Nate Diaz II (at 170lbs) will take place at UFC 200 on July 9th. I really think that this fight will bring out a side of McGregor that we haven’t seen in a really long time. I predict McGregor will destroy Diaz their rematch. His losing one match will light a fire under his ass that hasn’t been there since he started his UFC career. I can’t wait for this rematch to take place.
  • Dean Ambrose vs Brock LesnarA rumor I read this week was that Vince was seriously considering putting Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar on last as the main event on Sunday. Is this something that could actually happen? Is Vince finally aware that Triple H vs Roman Reigns has the potential to be disastrous? Why isn’t Shane vs Undertaker going on last? The possibilities are fantastically fun and I can’t wait to find out how WrestleMania Hell…I’m STILL wishing on a star for a Reigns heel turn.
  • CoryXKenshinWhere is CoryXKenshin?? The popular YouTube gamer was putting up daily videos for months and then…POOF!!…he vanished without a trace and hasn’t been anywhere on social media for over a month now. My son is a massive fan of his (and I appreciate the fact that he plays games and doesn’t curse to be extremely entertaining, which is tough to find online these days) and asks me constantly if Cory has uploaded a new video yet. I don’t know where he is, but I hope he returns soon. He’s a great influence on kids and his “never give up” attitude makes him an excellent role model.
  • Andre the Giant 3rd Annual Memorial Battle RoyalCould Cesaro be a surprise entrant in the Andre the Giant 3rd Annual Memorial Battle Royal? He’s in Dallas and is scheduled to wrestle on the post-Mania European tour, so I believe that anything is possible at this point. With Braun Strowman the front-runner to win, I’m not sure if his return will be needed.
  • World of WarcraftAs someone who has never played World of Warcraft, I’m using the movie trailers as a way to get acclimated with the product. I don’t really care about the love story, but the creatures look bad-ass and the battle scenes look sick. I’m looking forward to this movie. What are your thoughts? For any WoW players out there, does this movie interest you at all?

  • Solomon Crowe 3Sami Callihan (aka Solomon Crowe in NXT) will be appearing in Lucha Underground Season 3. While saddened at Callihan’s departure from NXT, he left on his own terms and I fully expect him to be showcased in Lucha Underground. I’m really looking forward to the continuing series as it truly provides a unique alternative to the current gluttony of “same ol’ sports entertainment”.
  • Forbes’ Chris Smith recently wrote an editorial about WWE’s highest earning Superstars last year. Here is the current Top 10 from 2015:
  1. John Cena MoneyJohn Cena – $9.5 million
  2. Brock Lesnar – $6.0 million
  3. Triple H – $2.8 million
  4. Randy Orton – $2.7 million
  5. Seth Rollins – $2.4 million
  6. Roman Reigns – $2.1 million
  7. The Undertaker – $2.0 million
  8. Big Show – $1.5 million
  9. Kane – $1.3 million
  10. Dean Ambrose – $1.1 million

Obviously, Trips is making that much because of his combined contributions to the company (both inside of the ring and out). The rest of the group makes perfect sense because of (a) their spots on the card and (b) their tenure in the company. It’s awesome to see newer performers like Rollins, Reigns, and Ambrose doing so well. Despite what Vince may think, these three ARE the future faces of the company and could be this generation’s Rock vs Stone Cold vs Triple H.

  • Gargano & CiampaBoth Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa reportedly have deals in place with WWE that are similar to Samoa Joe’s original deal, meaning that both are contracted with NXT but don’t train at the Performance Center and are able to accept independent bookings. I think that’s really great for them, but I don’t know if I truly understand how this helps NXT in the long run. If they become a full-time touring brand, then I guess I understand it. I think the end result may simply be a bigger interest in independent wrestling with some of these “big” names appearing on the cards. So maybe it really is a good thing in the end and makes sense.
  • After being surprisingly entertained by the fantastic Lego Movie last year, my initial hesitations about the upcoming Lego Batman Movie have disappeared after watching the first two initial teaser trailers…

  • Bryan Danielson & Brie BellaBrie Bella is retiring early to start a family and help take care of Bryan Danielson. I’m not actually upset about this because I have never been the biggest fan of Brie to begin with. But I’m glad to know that she’s going out on her own terms. She’s had a great WWE career, has become a reality television star because of Total Divas, and now is married to the love of her life. If now isn’t the perfect time to start a family, I don’t know when is.
  • Nikki BellaNikki Bella’s neck isn’t healing as quickly as predicted. Nikki will meet again with doctors in July for a CAT scan to determine whether the bone in her neck has fused — but regardless, she was told a full-time ring return will never be possible based on the severity of her injury. I’ve always thought that Bella was over-rated in the worst kind of way, so this doesn’t bother me in the slightest. If this means that Nikki does less wrestling and more photoshoots in bikinis, then THAT is only a good thing.

Nikki Bella

  • It’s all about the Vader-dick. I’m glad I didn’t see the uncensored pic because…goddamn. Welcome to 2016, Leon!

VaderPenisSub

  • Will we be seeing a “Dallas Demon” tonight at NXT TakeOver: Dallas? I sure as hell hope so because damn, check this out…

Dallas Cowboy Demon

  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter Roman Reigns 5reported information on a recent marketability study that included top WWE superstars. The most interesting part is that Roman Reigns (i.e. the guy that everybody supposedly hates) ranked fourth on the roster in marketability behind only John Cena, Undertaker and Brock Lesnar. As far as listening to fans and pushing certain people, Dean Ambrose apparently did pretty good in the survey but was far behind the top four. Unfortunately, Kevin Owens did not poll well at all. We all know what that means for the Internet Wrestling Community’s “potential savior”.
  • John CenaThe Observer also noted one major retailer said the top five selling shirts for their national chain were (in this order): John Cena, Daniel Bryan, Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose. So for those of you still hating on Reigns, you need to realize there is a HUGE difference between the casual WWE audience and the hardcore WWE audience. Anybody who claims otherwise simply doesn’t understand how the business works.
  • Sisters…a YouTube show that I was super excited to watch (because Lana…duh!!). Unfortunately, the show sucks a big bowl of dicks and at this point it’s only getting worse. Just check out this one “episode” for yourself:

  • Song of the Week comes from The Offspring. There’s no rhyme or reason why…just that it’s a song I had forgotten about but I absolutely love. It’s one of those “crank it up” type of tunes.

RAW Thoughts

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

UnderTaker vs Shane McMahon

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

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

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

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

sarcasmAt least things were about to pick up again…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAW Thoughts

The Road to WrestleMania ran through Pittsburgh last night with the great anticipation as all of the “big superstars” were expected to show up. Did the show meet expectations?Undertaker pwned

The New Day 4I love how New Day have turned into babyfaces without changing anything about themselves. It is the sign of a tremendously over act when they can switch from babyface to heel (or vice versa) without having to actually do anything different. I also loved how they cheated to win the match and still did so as babyfaces. I don’t remember the last time I saw that happen (Eddie Guerrero, perhaps?). I’m not sure where they’re going with the post-match beatdown by the League of Nations, though…a 4-on-3 handicap match for the tag team titles at WrestleMania?

The other thing that shocked me was that an actual match with a 5-10 minute post-match beatdown was shown instead of the normal promo/interview segment that takes place. Wow…you wouldn’t think that wrestling on a wrestling program would take priority, would you?

Brock Lesnar & Paul HeymanThe next segment featured Dean Ambrose talking smack about Triple H, but then interrupted by Paul Heyman and Brock Lesnar. I’m still not 100% sold on their match because I don’t believe Ambrose can win…nor do I believe he SHOULD win at this point. I mean, he’s all bad-ass when he’s got a crowbar in his hand but he has yet to do anything against Lesnar 1-on-1. To me, he looks like a punk-ass who can only be tough with a weapon in his hand. I really don’t think it does Ambrose any favours.

Ryback vs Sin CaraWhile I respect Ryback for working hard to expand his in-ring repetoire and developing a new character, at the end of the day the WWE Universe feels the same way about him that I do…and that’s indifference. Ultimately, Ryback is boring…and until that somehow changes, all of the pushes in the world won’t change that. I’m certainly NOT interested in watching Ryback decimate Kalisto for 10 minutes at WrestleMania, regardless of whether or not he wins.

Stephanie McMahonThe entire segment with Stephanie and Triple H was entertaining, as they continue to deliver solid promos. Triple H, in particular, went above and beyond to drone on and on in an effort to be booed so he could put Roman Reigns over…until, of course, Dolph Ziggler came out instead. I just have to wonder, though…is this actually going to end up with a long-term substantial push for Ziggler or is this just another “bait & switch” faux-push that sees him used as fodder for the bigger picture? My guess is that Reigns will be a part of the main event to help Ziggler get a “big win”…then Ziggler will soon be forgotten about. Again.

Sami ZaynI really enjoyed Sami Zayn‘s match last night against The Miz. To me, it was a perfect match for a new babyface on the roster. He sold like crazy for awhile but not too long. Then he came back with fire and got all his shit in…hitting the big moves and looking like a million bucks. You can’t really complain about how he was booked. I’m also intrigued by the tension between Kevin Owens and Miz. Throw in Neville and you’ve got the recipe for an incredibly entertaining Fatal Fourway for the Intercontinental championship at WrestleMania.

Lana & Team B.A.D.The storyline between Brie Bella and Lana is intriguing. I mean, why is Lana constantly after Bella? And why are we being set-up for a WrestleMania wrestling debut by Lana?? It just seems a bit odd to me, but I’m not against it by any stretch. My only hope is that Lana is more capable in the ring than, say, Eva Marie. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, I’m really not looking forward to Lana’s impending relationship with Team B.A.D. because they’ll suck the life out of anybody they’re in contact with.

Triple H vs Dolph Ziggler 1I was quite surprised to see Triple H vs Dolph Ziggler kicking off the third hour instead of being the main event of the show. I guess the confrontation between Vince, Shane, and Undertaker are considered the “main event” tonight. Either that or Ziggler is such a loser that even he brings the WWE champion down from the main event.

Triple H vs Dolph Ziggler 2As I look back on the match I just gotta wonder what the heck the point of all this was. My hope is that Ziggler joins The Authority and revives his career and gimmick somehow. But in the meantime, he’s now without a match at WrestleMania…and unless there is some kind of storyline that focuses on Ziggler (or he is the rumored WWE performer who has decided to not renew his contract when it expires), I really don’t understand the point of all this.

Roman ReignsYou’ve gotta love how fans continue to boo Roman Reigns, even when WWE books him correctly as they did last night. This is the Reigns that we should have seen all along, but at this point I truly believe it’s “too little, too late” in the eyes of the WWE Universe. Yes, he’s still one of the most popular performers on the entire roster…but much like John Cena, he’s become too much of a polarizing figure to truly ever be the “face of the company”. I thought his beatdown of Triple H was booked well and made him look strong, but the loud booing by the live crowd really took away from Roman’s moment of redemption.

My fear is that after Roman’s “fake bloody nose”, the real staples in Triple H’s head will only endear him to WrestleMania fans even more.

Chris Jericho vs Neville 1I feel bad for both Chris Jericho and Neville for their match last night. What should have been a really great back-n-forth contest was cut short due to Neville suffering what appeared to be a pretty serious injury (during the commercial break, no less) and then Jericho had to awkwardly improvise the match ending and post-match promo. Even the AJ Styles “Phenomenal Forearm” seemed awkward because it kept Jericho down so long. Is that the new finisher as opposed to the “Calf Crusher”? The whole segment was a failure, but it really wasn’t anybody’s fault.

Shane vs Vince vs UndertakerI really didn’t like the placement of the Shane McMahon vs Vince McMahon vs Undertaker segment. The real interest of WrestleMania should be Triple H vs Roman Reigns. The problem, though, is that the crowd seems to be split on the interest in that match. So instead of making it the focus of RAW, we’re now focused on the McMahon family battle as the primary selling point of the PPV. I don’t hate the match or anything, but I guess I’m constantly baffled at how WWE scrambles at the last minute and admits defeat without actually admitting defeat (which would be doing the RIGHT thing and turning Reigns heel).

Shane McMahonPoor Shane sounded completely lost during his promo. He’s more interested in the “Shane Shuffle” than focusing on remembering his lines. The in-ring segment didn’t do much to increase my interest in the match, unfortunately. Yes, Shane danced around and caused Taker to go after him, but I don’t believe that Shane can dance around enough to cause Taker to get gassed inside of the cell. I dunno…the whole thing just didn’t hit the right buttons for me.

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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!

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!

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!

The World According to ZAH

Just when you think the world will slow down for a bit, it doesn’t…

Shane McMahon– So Shane McMahon returned to RAW this past Monday night. While the story is obviously “last-second” in nature, I still think it’s believable enough that it could be true…which is kinda the whole point to begin with. The only negative is that the Chairman and CEO of a publicly held company wants to puts the fate of the company in the outcome of a wrestling match. Well…I guess so, right? If it WASN’T a publicly held company, then maybe it’d make a bit more sense. But still…the thought of Shane-o-Mac taking on Undertaker in a Hell in a Cell match at WrestleMania is pretty insanely intriguing. I don’t know if it’ll happen or not, though…could this all be a set-up for John Cena to return early from injury and face Taker as originally scheduled? To me, that seems more plausible than McMahon vs Undertaker, though it’s being reported that this match was set-up about a month ago when it was decided that Cena couldn’t return from injury in time. I guess we’ll find out soon enough.

– Ummmm…please be December 2017 as soon as possible. Thanks!!

Michael ElginMichael Elgin signed a 2-year contract with New Japan last week. As I’ve mentioned previously, while not a huge fan of Elgin I can totally see the potential with him being the new breakout gaijin star in Japan. He could legitimately become the next Stan Hansen, Bruiser Brody, or Vader. Yes, I truly believe that he’s got that much potential in NJPW. I could potentially see him “over” enough with New Japan crowds to eventually seriously challenge for the IWGP championship. For whatever reason, he comes across as boring in North America…but he’s tearing it up in Japan.

Triple H vs Reigns 1– In a world where hardcore internet fans seem to be increasingly influencing how casual fans react to superstars, it’s hard to make something that appears to be “real”. Vince did that on Monday night when he dropped an F-bomb during his confrontation with Shane (they edited it out of the live feed, but the crowd reacted). The other thing that happened on Monday was Triple H decimating Roman Reigns‘ face. The entire problem that WWE has been having is trying to make Reigns a sympathetic character when they obviously want him to be the future face of the company. The fans aren’t having any of it and refuse to enjoy this watered-down version of Reigns. They LOVED when he went after Triple H and sent him out on a stretcher. They cheered when he told Stephanie that he was going to send her old man to the hospital. Reigns needs to be a bad-ass, yet WWE continue to try making him John Cena 2.0 and it’s turning the fans against him, even though he hasn’t done anything wrong.

Okay…going back to Triple H’s manhandling of Reigns’ face from Monday night. Here’s the video of the incident for those who haven’t seen it yet:

Unfortunately, the next morning a video came out that appeared to show Byron Saxton handing off something to Reigns off-camera. Reigns then appeared to smear something on his face before he came up with “blood” smeared everywhere. Here’s the video in case you haven’t seen it yet:

The internet fans immediately went off on Reigns and WWE for giving us “fake blood”.

Mind blownThis made me laugh because…and I hate to break it to you…the world of wrestling has been giving us fake blood for decades now. Sure, the majority of wrestlers decided that blading was the way to go but don’t for a second think that fake blood hasn’t been a part of the industry. The other thing that I hate to tell these “fans” is that this is sports entertainment and (ahem) the entire point of the business is to simulate hurting your opponent. The BEST wrestlers are those who don’t actually hurt the guys they’re in the ring with…but you think they did.

Wait…why am I explaining this?? If you don’t understand what actually encompasses wrestling, then why are you a “fan” of it? You THINK you know…but you don’t really know.

Roman ReignsI feel really bad for Roman Reigns. WWE is really trying to push legitimate injuries in this “TMZ World“, yet we all know that Roman’s nose wasn’t actually broken and he didn’t actually require surgery (though it’s been mentioned that he may have had a pre-existing condition that required minor nose surgery). But that’s okay, though…knowing that Herschel didn’t actually die on The Walking Dead doesn’t make me love the show any less. I mean c’mon people…it’s entertainment! If you can’t sit back and pretend you’re watching something real, then you shouldn’t be a fan. Period.

– I saw the new trailer for a straight-to-video movie called I Am Wrath starring John Travolta and Christopher Meloni this past week. It looked a LOT better than your average “revenge” film, except that one thing kept bothering me. I mean, I realize that Travolta’s fallen on hard times (and hard penises, from what I’ve read), but couldn’t they have gotten him a much better wig?? His hair distracted me throughout the entire film. See it for yourself.

Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar– I don’t know about you, but Dean Ambrose vs Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania doesn’t do much for me. Will it be an awesome match? No…not at all. You’ll see Ambrose take a massive beating and take some unnecessary bumps, then he’ll get an occasional offensive move in that startles Lesnar for a bit. Ambrose might even win the whole thing in the end, but their build has CLEARLY shown that Ambrose just doesn’t have what it takes to battle Lesnar one-on-one. He’s been decimated at every encounter and hasn’t been able to do anything against Lesnar other than hit a low-blow or use a chair. Now that I think about it, the only way this match might be interesting will be if it’s a NO DQ match with weapons available…because at least that puts Ambrose on an even playing field. Think back to Lesnar’s match with CM Punk for a minute: at least Punk’s offense was believable. I believed that Punk had a shot against Lesnar. I do not feel that way about Ambrose…at all.

WWE Network– I am absolutely STOKED to hear about this new “WWE Global Cruiserweight Series” that Triple H is bringing to the WWE Network this summer. Here is their description:

“For the first time ever, WWE invites cruiserweights from all over the world to compete in the inaugural Global Cruiserweight Series. Thirty-two of the greatest in-ring competitors under 205 lbs. will descend upon Full Sail University in Orlando and collide over 10 weeks to earn the right to call themselves the best cruiserweight in the world.”

I don’t know about you, but this is extremely exciting. Not only because we’ll get to see high-flying moves and such, but because there are a lot of fantastic independent performers out there that are considered too small for WWE, even now with NXT going after a number of smaller indy guys. I’ll have a post dedicated to just who I think would be great for this tournament, but names that immediately come to mind are:

  1. RicochetRicochet (aka Prince Puma on Lucha Underground)
  2. Neville
  3. ACH (from PWG and ROH)
  4. Kalisto
  5. Hideo Itami (if he’s ready to return from injury by then)
  6. Tyler Breeze
  7. Zack Sabre Jr (from PWG)
  8. Finn Bálor
  9. New free agent Kota Ibushi (one of the most exciting wrestlers on the planet)
  10. Sami Zayn

How’s THAT for a starting line-up?? This really could be an entity in and of itself…a separate roster of just cruiserweights under a different WWE name. So then you’d have WWE, NXT, and whatever the cruiserweights would be called. Really…it’s brilliant marketing strategy by Triple H. But I don’t want to put the cart before the horse. We’ll just have to wait and see where this all leads us in the coming months.

Laura James & Joey Ryan– It’s gone viral, but just in case you haven’t seen Joey Ryan propose to wrestler girlfriend Laura James during their match (and then pin her after she accepted), then here it is for you. I’m a big fan of Ryan and have been following him on his YouTube channel for a couple of years now. It’s great to see something like this because it’s original and fun and brings a smile to my face.

Song of the Week comes from a band I don’t normally listen to. When I first saw this video, I was mesmerized. Then the song began to grow on me. A LOT. Regardless of your tastes in music, I think you owe it to yourself to spend five minutes watching this new video by Chemical Brothers (featuring Beck on vocals).