Gabby’s 2016 WWE Wishlist

It’s been a rough year creatively for the WWE, which ironically has more talent than ever since the Attitude Era. They can’t seem to grasp how to move forward with the stars they have now, or how to connect with audiences the way they used to.

But despite all of this, we’ve seen a lot of good stuff this year, most of which is coming out of NXT. The true Divas Revolution. The rise of Finn Balor. And of course, on the main roster, we see wrestlers like the New Day, who turned a failing babyface gimmick into a thriving, fun heel one. Or Seth Rollins, who, despite awful booking, managed to put on some of the best matches of the year.

So, without further ado, here’s my 2016 wishlist for the WWE. Happy New Year, everyone!

  1. Bring Seth Rollins back as a babyface. Pretty please.
  2. Bring back the Hardcore title and Women’s title. The WWE has too much talent and too few relevant storylines. These titles could do a lot in strengthening the midcard.
  3. Stop completely scripting promos. I shouldn’t have to explain why this simply doesn’t work.
  4. Make every match at pay-per-views mean something. I know we can now pay $9.99 a month for them, but that doesn’t mean product qual
  5. Clearly define face and heel roles, especially in the Divas division. Part of what connects wrestling to fans so much is investment in the triumphs and toils of their heroes. With no clearly defined heroes and villains, audiences are left fragmented and confused.
  6. Push new talent over Kane and the Big Show. Better yet, get rid of The Authority altogether.
  7. Book Roman Reigns correctly. He’s not a chummy, smiling babyface and he never will be. He was over as a part of the Shield because he was a strong but silent deadly force. LET HIM BE THAT.

Have anything to add? Leave a comment below!

 

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RAW Recap/Analysis – December 28, 2015

In a sense, the December 28 edition of RAW was WWE World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns’ first chance to truly showcase himself as a solid champion. It also included the return of John Cena and the boss man himself: Vince McMahon.

However, despite a card that looked pretty solid on paper, an awkward opening segment and inconsistent booking made this RAW a bit lackluster.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do?

Vince McMahon kicked off the show, instantly calling out World Heavyweight Champion Roman Reigns. He recounted everything Reigns has done towards his family.

“I own this ring,” he reminded a smug, smiling Reigns. “And I own you.”

Reigns called Vince a rich snob (to which Vince replied he’s a rich billionaire) and said that he and his supporters owned the championship. At this point, the crowd began chanting for Daniel Bryan AND CM Punk. Ouch, Brooklyn, ouch.

Vince then fell to the ground, his neck “hurting,” ad Stephanie emerged with the cops, demanding that they arrest Roman. When they refused, she got int heir faces until they threatened to arrest HER. That pisses off Vince, who gets up in the officer’s business, getting himself arrested and led out of the arena while a joyful Roman Reigns watched on.

I honestly don’t see how this segment did anything to further the storyline of RAW, but it did show a big step back, in my opinion, for Reigns. He shouldn’t be smiling or “funny.” He’s a force of nature: let him be that.

Kevin Owens vs. Neville

The match itself didn’t even last thirty seconds. After failing to complete the Red Arrow, Neville rolled Kevin Owens up for the win. Owens, enraged, then proceeded to attack the Slammy Award-winning high flier from behind, taking his beatdown outside of the ring.

He was forced away, and Neville was in the midst of being helped out before Owens returned to continue his beating. However, Neville had a savior in Intercontinental Champ Dean Ambrose, who emerged to lay down a beating of his own on the prizefighter. Ambrose hit Owens with a mean clothesline, and Owens retreated through the crowd.

In a three-hour show, I honestly cannot fathom the logic in booking two clearly talented performers in such a short match. Yes, it’s always nice to see Kevin Owens go off the rails a bit, but couldn’t he still do it after a match lasting at LEAST more than a minute?

That being said, Ambrose’s interruption made a lot of sense and helped further their rivalry, so kudos for that.

Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks

Becky cut a promo backstage, talking about how she’s always had to do things on her own, even when she first came to New York.

Sasha entered for their match first (wearing her NXT Takeover gear), cutting a promo about how Boston was so much better than New York, getting herself some easy heat. And frankly, cheap heat is the only way to get Sasha Banks booed in the arena where she put on 2015’s best match.

The match was fast-paced from the start, with Lynch going on the offensive, targeting Banks’ legs for a rollup, but Banks kicked out, gaining her own momentum. But Becky locked in a submission maneuver, allowing Tamina to pull Sasha to the ropes tog et out of it. Lynch took down Naomi and all of Team BAD from a harrowing leap from the top rope out of the ring.

Lynch maintained her lead through a commercial break before Banks got some back for herself with a vicious knee to the spine. Sasha capitalized on this, cruelly kicking Lynch and working her arms and back. She couldn’t get a pinfall, however, and after mocking Lynch’s entrance a bit. Becky powered back with a few quick clotheslines, but Sasha sent Lynch painfully into the ropes. However, some quick thinking by Becky saw Sasha taking out her own team members.

Sasha got back in the ring in time to lock in the Backstabber, but Becky hit a suplex of her own, which Banks kicked out of. More interference from Team BAD allowed Banks to lock in the Banks Statement, which Becky reversed into the Dis-Arm-Her, but it was Banks who rolled Lynch up for the win.

This crowd did not deserve this match. It was given a good amount of time, and the two women put on a physical show. Despite this, however, the crowd only chanted “BORING” during an exchange of submission holds, because why? I don’t know. I honestly don’t.

Kofi Kingston vs. Kalisto

Celebrating their return to the building where their precious trombone made its debut, the New Day entered to sing a song. Yes, you heard me. A song.

Just kidding.

Because they weren’t voted Tag Team of the Year, their punishment for Brooklyn was not singing a song.

Kalisto entered, Slammy in hand and Sin Cara by his side.

Kalisto was dynamite throughout the match, tossing Kofi around like a rag doll. His quick, physical style was apparent throughout. Kofi fought back a bit, but Kalisto corkscrewed into him, getting the cover, but New Day distracted the official. Sin Cara took out the New Day, and with them out of the way, Kalisto was able to pick up the win.

Xavier Woods, furious, then challenged Sin Cara to face . . . Big E.

Big. E vs. Sin Cara

Big E was a force of nature, to put it simply, slamming Sin Cara out of the ring and onto the ground in what looked like a very painful landing onto his shoulder instead of his back or side.

The match continued nevertheless, with Big E remaining firmly in control until Sin Cara used Big E’s brute strength against him to get some momentum of his own, though he was clearly favoring his left arm. In a particularly impressive move, Sin Cara suplexed big E off the ropes with a single arm, but that wouldn’t be enough, as Big E took the win.

MizTV Year in Review Spectacular

Just as the Miz was about to share his New year’s resolution from 2015, Ryback entered, wasting no time in making fun of the A-Lister. Goldust did too, but all I saw was-

ZACK RYDER IN STAR WARS GEAR!

Sorry, guys. That was too good not to highlight . . .

R-Truth entered next, asking for votes for Superstar of the Year before being reminded the Slammys were last week . . . and he WON one. Heath Slater and Big Show entered after THAT, and Big Show promptly tossed Slater out of the ring, chokeslammed R-Truth, and went up against Ryback, tossing him out as well.

Big Show acknowledged the “Please retire!” chants being thrown at him and responded by officially entering himself as the first entrant into the Royal Rumble.

Big Show vs. Ryback

In an impromptu match, Ryback and Big Show exchanged slow, pretty boring moves. Putting two performers who don’t wrestle in an exciting fashion together doesn’t really make much sense to me, but I digress.

Ryback took control with a dropkick, but before Ryback could get another clothesline in, Big Show rolled out of the ring and just walked away, because Creative hates ratings, apparently. Ryback won via countout.

Friendly reminder that THIS was longer than Owens vs. Neville. Oh yeah, life is THAT fair. Also, how the hell did this not get “BORING” chants but Banks and Lynch’s match did?

Dean Ambrose & The Usos vs. The League of Nations

Upon entering, Sheamus immediately shamed the Brooklyn crowd for cheering Mr. McMahon’s arrest, and declared their match would be in his honor. How sweet.

Sheamus and Jimmy started off the match, with Sheamus taking early control using a chokehold. Jimmy, however, fought back with a strong kick, and, upon tagging his brother in, double teamed on the Celtic Warrior and Rusev before tagging in Ambrose, who treated Rusev to a kick of his own.

The League of Nations took some time to regroup before Ambrose lost patience, bringing Sheamus back into the ring and throwing him into the corner, tagging in Jey, who continued their momentum. Rusev tagged in with some momentum of his own, but Jey, tagging Jimmy in,  lay down a beating of his own. Rusev threw the Samoan into the ropes, “hurting” his leg before focusing on that specific injury.

Ambrose tagged in hot, however, taking back control of the match with a vengeance, sending Rusev over the top rope before throwing himself through the ropes and bringing the bulgarian back into the ring. Hitting Rusev with a flying elbow wouldn’t prove enough to take him out for a pinfall, and a distraction by Barrett allowed Rusev to catch Ambrose unawares with a kick to the jaw.

Jey nearly got the cover over Rusev, but Rusev interfered to prevent it. Sheamus hit a Brogue Kick on Jey Uso for the win.

Kevin Owens emerged after the match to ambush an injured Ambrose, sending Ambrose through the announce table with a Pop-up Powerbomb.

Vince McMahon posted bail, refusing to offer any comments to Renee Young.

John Cena vs. Alberto Del Rio (United States Championship match)

I never thought I’d miss John Cena . . . but I actually did. He discussed his US Open Challenges, even calling out a few of his naysayers in the crowd. Say what you will about the guy, but he knows how to engage a crowd.

Del Rio emerged, saying Brooklyn didn’t deserve a championship match. And well, he did have a bit of a point. Cena didn’t take too kindly to that, calling Del Rio a “punk bitch.” Del Rio merely called him “Juan Cena.”

The two continued exchanging words, and Del Rio finally agreed to put his title on the line after significant prodding from Cena.

Del Rio took an early lead, hitting Cena with a few decisive kicks and punches, stunning him quite effectively. Mocking Cena from the top rope, Del Rio hit Cena once again, but couldn’t get the pinfall. However, Del Rio ended up throwing himself through the ropes when Cena rolled out of the way of a kick.

Cena found some momentum after this, hitting Del Rio with a dropkick after the Mexican tried hitting a move from the ropes and a Five-Knuckle Shuffle. Del Rio kept fighting, and Cena locked in the STF, but the other man hit a Backbreaker to stay in. Cena hit a Tornado DDT, but event hat didn’t get him the win. Cena went for the AA, but Del Rio reversed it. Cena had a reversal of his own up his sleeve, however, slamming Del Rio onto the ground to give him time to regroup.

But then, Cena inadvertently took out the official, and though Del Rio tapped out, nobody saw it. The League of Nations took advantage, laying out Cena and placing Del Rio over him for the cover, but Cena kicked out, hitting Sheamus with the AA. Del Rio got Cena with the Backstabber and a kick to the face, but once again, Cena kicked out.

He hit the AA on Del Rio for the win, but the League of Nations interfered, ending the match in a DQ and laying a beatdown on Cena. However, the Usos emerged, pissed off about their earlier beating, and joined Cena in the fight, but the League of Nations once again laid them out. Yikes.

Sheamus grabbed a steel chair, but Roman Reigns emerged, taking down Rusev with a Spear. The two entered the ring, but Reigns hit Sheamus with a Superman Punch and chair shot.

But then, Vince McMahon re-emerged, having posted bail, and announced Roman Reigns would be defending his championship against Sheamus next week with McMahon himself as the guest referee.

Happy New Year.

Overall, this RAW could have been worse. It was nice seeing Lynch and Banks getting enough time to put on a fun match and Cena was on his game tonight. However, the crowd was obnoxious as anything and the booking was simply too uneven to call this a great show.

But you know what, it could have been worse. Silver linings, I suppose.

 

Slammy Awards & RAW Recap/Analysis – December 21, 2015

Tonight, in the words of Stephanie McMahon, was a night of celebration, with the 2015 Slammy Awards taking place. That celebration, however, was a little soured by the fact that the New Day lost in the Tag Team of the Year category.

Roman the party pooper

Stephanie cut a promo about being happy in the face of, well, total chaos, when Roman Reigns entered, rubbing his happy victory in her face. Stephanie screeched for him to leave the ring, and after a lot of heckling and messing with her, he did . . . celebrating with the crowd as he did.

The Wyatt Family vs. Demon Kane & ECW Originals

In what was originally a singles match with Bray against Kane, Bray attacked Kane from the get-go, with his entire family providing backup at ringside. Kane left the ring to take on the other Wyatts, and soon after, the bell rang with a disqualification. The four teamed up on the demon before the Dudleys and Tommy Dreamer arrived to provide backup.

Well, so much for a singles match.

After a hot tag, Kane took the Wyatts at ringside out of the equation before tagging in Bubba Ray. They didn’t stay out long, coming to the assistance of Luke Harper, but not long enough to prevent the Dudleys from hitting two 3-D’s. However, after some more interference from Strowman, Luke Harper got the pinfall for the victory.

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler

Ziggler attacked Owens the second the bell rang. Owens took early control, yelling out that HE was the breakout star. Owens took the fight out of the ring, ruthlessly driving Ziggler into the barricade before returning to the ring. Even after taking a brutal beating, Ziggler kicked out of several near-falls and almost scored a pinfall of his own with a rollup.

Owens hit Ziggler with a painful-looking clothesline, but Ziggler responded in kind. But the momentum wouldn’t continue as Owens hit Ziggler with a suplex off the top rope. Somehow, the Show-off kicked out of that, hitting Owens with a Superkick and Famouser off the second rope. That wouldn’t take Owens out as he hit a Pop-Up Powerbomb for the final victory.

It was good to see Owens letting out his frustration on Ziggler, and this match actually did a lot to further his character’s anger going into the next event.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger

In a pretty cut and dry rehash of their previous encounters, Del Rio took the early lead with the League of Nations watching on. Though Swagger gained a little bit of momentum for a short while, Del Rio dominated throughout the match, grabbing a quick and easy win. The beating continued after the win, with the League of Nations beating down Swagger and celebrating in the middle of the ring together.

The New Day vs. The Usos

An infuriated New Day started off by berating the WWE Universe for not voting them Tag Team of the Year, to the point where they almost spoiled Star Wars.

The Usos entered, and the match began. At ringside, New Day was vocal throughout, but when Kingston took a nasty-looking kick, they looked to actually leave the match., but after a commercial, were back at it and in control. Xavier Woods brought his trombone, and the dancing began while the match was still going.

And even as Big E hit a splash, they still couldn’t get a pinfall on Jimmy. With Jey getting a hot tag against Woods, they almost took the pinfall,  but it was a rollup that got them the win.

Rusev vs. Neville

With Miz on commentary, Neville took on the Bulgarian Brute, who brutalized Neville with a nasty suplex outside the ring. His domination continued until Neville found some momentum, almost hitting a Red Arrow until Rusev locked in the Accolade for the win.

The League of Nations beat him down after the match and celebrated in the ring once again. It’s nice to see them actually being booked by the heel-ish stable they were always meant to be.

Still, what’s the logic in having your Breakout Star of the Year, who was booked awfully throughout, job to a man who hasn’t won anything this year?

Becky Lynch vs. Brie Bella

With Charlotte at ringside, Becky took control early on, though Brie took some control back soon after with her husband’s kicks. Becky looked to power back, but Brie hit her with a clothesline. Becky then got the Dis-arm-her locked in, with Brie tapping out.

They’re building towards Becky breaking away from her slimy friend, but they’d better hurry it up so they can build this feud properly. Lynch and Charlotte can put on a great match, if given the chance.

Dean Ambrose vs. Sheamus (Steel Cage Match)

Before the match’s start, the League of Nations savaged the Usos backstage, with Sheamus Brogue-kicking the two into oblivion.

Before the match even started, Sheamus brogue-kicked Ambrose off the steps and into the waiting arms of the League of Nations, who shoved him back into the ring to a waiting Sheamus, who threw Ambrose against the steel twice.

Ambrose didn’t fall easily, however, preventing an escape from the Celtic Warrior and tossing him into the steel himself. Ambrose fought back with a series of swift punches and a powerful clothesline. Sheamus fought back, hitting a White Noise from the top rope, but Ambrose kicked out and prevented another escape, hitting a STUNNING flying elbow from the top of the cage when the League of Nations blocked an escape from him.

Roman Reigns finally arrived, providing some valuable backup for his Shield Brother, unloading on the League of Nations with a chair, tossing it in for Ambrose, who joyfully unloaded on the former champion, hitting Dirty Deeds on the chair before trying to climb out with Sheamus following. The two met on top of the cage, battling it out before Ambrose jumped down for the win. Reigns greeted Sheamus with a Spear, and the two champs celebrated together to close the show.

Backstage, a furious Stephanie McMahon beat down poor Tom Phillips when he asked for her reaction.

It’s hard for any match during the Slammy Awards to be consequential, but the main event definitely did a lot. It was fresh, fun, and everyone involved mattered.

Slammy Award 2015 Results

Breakout Star of the Year: Neville.

Kevin Owens interrupted his celebration, told him to take a walk, which he did. He said he was the true breakout star of the year, and the crowd seemed inclined to agree. He then called Dolph Ziggler a has-been and they fought to the segment’s end.

LOL Moment of the Year: R-Truth misunderstands his entry status

Santino Marello returned to present the award, amusing as ever, and was about to accept the award on R-Truth’s behalf before the man himself got the award for himself.

OMG Shocking Moment of the Year: Kalisto’s Solida Del Sol off the ladder

Paul Heyman presented the award, sure to remind the crowd how his client Brock Lesnar deserved every award. Kalisto, accepting his award with enthusiasm.

Superstar of the Year: Seth Rollins

Stephanie, looking much more cheerful, presented the montage of yes, ALL of the nominees. And her smile said it all, as Seth Rollins came out to a thunderous ovation to accept the award.  He recounted his incredible success before turning serious, vowing he would reclaim everything he lost.

Hero in All of Us Award: John Cena

Presented by a cheery Mark Henry, who was apparently a face this week, this award highlighted just how much Superstars and Divas can do with their fame. Unsurprisingly, John Cena won the award, though he wasn’t there to accept it.

Surprise Return of the Year: Sting

Bo Dallas came out in a Santa Clause costume to present the nominees, in what I will happily admit was an amusing segment. Unsurprisingly, Sting won the award, and Bo accepted the award on his behalf.

Diva of the Year: Nikki Bella

R-Truth, in as good a mood as ever, announced 2015 being the year of the Diva. He then announced Paige as the winner…but oops, he Steve Harvey’d it. Nikki came out to accept the award, and gave perhaps one of my favorite speeches of the night, dedicating her award to every Diva on the main roster, at NXT, every woman working for the company as a whole, and to little girls who support the WWE.

Classy, Nikki. Thanks.

That being said, Sasha Banks is one of the best wrestlers on the entire planet, male or female. Her not winning is an absolute crime. WWE better figure out how to use her because right now, they are wasting their biggest talent and it’s a disgrace.

“This is Awesome” Moment of the Year: The Rock and Ronda Rousey’s Wrestlemania moment

The Miz, vain as ever, was only to happy to present this award and accept it on their behalf, plugging his movie happily.

Match of the Year: Undertaker vs. Brock Lesnar

The Nature Boy Ric Flair presented this award. Paul Heyman accepted the award on his client’s behalf, saying his client doesn’t come for awards, just fights.

Hey, he had a point.

There were a lot of issues with the way these awards played out, but overall, I’m just glad to see Seth Rollins again and Dean Ambrose main-eventing.

What did you guys think? Let me know in the comments!

RAW Recap/Analysis – December 14, 2015

After a surprisingly good TLC on Sunday, the WWE had to keep what little momentum they had gotten with Monday’s RAW. Grasping for ratings, they brought out all the stops: Vince McMahon, a title match, a crazy ECW rematch, and the beginning of what looks to be a new era for their golden boy Roman Reigns.

Seven Slaps.

Stephanie McMahon opened the show, absolutely on game and fully entrenched in her heel persona. Calling Reigns out, she confronted him in the middle of the ring. Reigns was unrepentant, wishing his own daughter a happy birthday. Stephanie was not amused, slapping Reigns seven times before informing him that though Triple H asked her not to fire him, Vince McMahon himself was on the way.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Dean Ambrose

The new Intercontinental Champion entered to a massive pop from the crowd for his first match as champion and took early control of the match before Ziggler recovered with a dropkick. Ambrose wouldn’t stay down for long, locking Ziggler in a  painful submission hold before moving the fight outside the ring, then back inside for a missed elbow drop. Ziggler looked to make a comeback, but Ambrose was still going strong, ending up in a stalemate. Ambrose tried another move off the top rope, but Ziggler caught him with a dropkick and Famouser. That wasn’t enough, once again, and Ambrose caught Ziggler with a missile dropkick. AFter, however, Ziggler got Ambrose with a Superkick as Ambrose retaliated with a clothesline.

Then, a furious Kevin Owens emerged, tossing Ziggler out of the ring before hitting Ambrose with the Pop-up Powerbomb…twice. He then proceeded to Pop-Up Powerbomb Ziggler ONTO Ambrose. Ouch.

This is how they should have built up this feud from the start, but eh, better late than never!

Owens declared his war against Ambrose wasn’t near over backstage, and the ECW Originals vowed to settle the score against the Wyatts in the city where it all began.

I’m happy about the continuation and deepening of this rivalry. Expect plenty of brilliant mic work and tension in the leadup to the Royal Rumble.

R-Truth vs. Bo Dallas

After a fun entrance and a victory lap by Dallas, the match was interrupted to show Vince McMahon’s arrival at the arena. The match continued for about thirty more seconds before Vince entered, rudely kicking the two out of “his” ring.

Yowzah.

“Let the bastard sweat!”

Vince sat comfortably at ringside, saying he was going to let Reigns sweat a bit more, before calling Reigns out to the ring. Reigns entered, stone-faced. McMahon demanded an apology from Reigns on his hands and knees.

Vince prepared to beat on Reigns, but Sheamus entered, saying he wanted to take Reigns down himself. After some prodding and gloating from Reigns, Vince gave him a championship match for not only the title, but his job, before kicking him low and leaving.

Ryback and Jack Swagger vs. Alberto Del Rio and Rusev

In a double rematch, the two League of Nations heels entered to their own music (which was cool, I’ll admit it), and Ryback took early control with an impressive show of strength. But upon being tagged in, Del Rio took command, and even a tag-in by Swagger couldn’t bring them down as they took the win.

Tyler Breeze vs. Neville

The Miz interrupted before this match could even begin, apparently interested in being the director of the match, “coaching” Neville throughout the match, though he clearly didn’t need the help, taking early control of Prince Pretty early on.

Breeze, however, made a comeback, but Neville didn’t stay down for long, hitting Breeze with the Red Arrow for the win.

Backstage, Neville shut the Miz down, showing the fierce independence that got him so over on NXT. Hope he continues to rebuild himself after months of pathetic booking.

ECW Originals vs. The Wyatt Family (Extreme rules match)

In an instantly fast-paced bout, the toys were brought out right away. Since basically everything was happening at once, I’ll just give you the basics: Team ECW took early control and basically kept it until Luke Harper started a massive comeback. Erick Rowan drove Rhyno through a table for the win.

My recap can’t do this justice. It was insane and wild the whole time, with jaw-dropping spots and plenty of action for both sides. I was thrilled to see Erick Rowan get the pinfall. Maybe now we can see the Wyatts as the unstoppable force they were always meant to be.

Party Poopers

New Day did what they do best: partied hard. Bringing their opponents from Sunday night into the ring, they basically put them over in what seemed to be a sincere truce before reverting back to their normal, wildly vain selves, earning a beating from the other two teams.

Looks like this triple-feud is continuing. Can’t say I mind too much. It’s great seeing the Lucha Dragons getting the push they deserve.

Charlotte and Becky Lynch vs. Brie Bella and Alicia Fox

Brie took early control, using her husband’s kicks because why not against Charlotte. Becky and Alicia tagged in, and Ric Flair tripped up Fox to allow Lynch to lock in the Dis-arm-her for the victory. Team BAD was at ringside.

This match was ridiculously short. We better get some payoff soon.

Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

Sheamus entered with confidence, Mr. McMahon at ringside cheering him on and heckling Roman Reigns as he entered.

It was the Celtic Warrior who took the early advantage and retained it through a commercial break with punishing blows very befitting to his character. Reigns gained control back with a Samoan Drop from the second rope and a powerbomb in the ring, but Sheamus stayed alive to get a near-fall with a powerbomb of his own.

Sheamus locked in the Clover-Leaf, but Reigns crawled to the ropes to force it out. Reigns capitalized on this momentum, hitting Sheamus with a Superman Punch for the three-count, but Vince kept the match going. The funny business continued as the League of Nations attacked Reigns, who had been pushed out of the ring.

But Reigns would not be stopped, hitting everyone, including Vince, with a Superman Punch, and kicked out of a cover from a Brogue Kick before hitting a Spear for the victory.

I’ve been hard on Reigns for a long time, especially after the booking disaster that was the Royal Rumble. But WWE seems to be turning a corner in booking him, and he’s improving with each match he has. I’m a Shield girl through and through, so seeing him and Ambrose with the gold is definitely gratifying. Looking forward to Rollins returning and seeing those three tear the house down.

For the first time in a long time, RAW felt like it mattered. Something important was at stake. Feuds intensified. Storylines developed. This is what people tune in for. Hopefully, Creative realizes this breaking of the mold is how they can propel their company into a better year than this one.

 

 

 

 

 

TLC 2015 Review: What’s next?!

I haven’t really written reviews on here before. Usually I include all the analytical stuff in my recaps, but I was so mentally drained after documenting that spot-fest that I just had to post my recap and get some sleep. So today before I recap RAW, here are my thoughts on what last night means going forward.

First off, let’s make one thing absolutely clear: last night’s show was enjoyable in spite of the booking, not because of it. Without the gimmick matches, we would have been left with empty stories, predictable finishes, and characters nobody really cares about.

For goodness sake, during the main event, fans were chanting for John Cena, Seth Rollins, and NXT. That has to tell you something: when fans can’t even care enough about the biggest match of the night title-wise to cheer about it.

So many mistakes were made going into this. First off, Boston native Sasha Banks, who put on a fun match against Becky Lynch in the preshow, was made to sing a stupid song before her match. I can understand not putting her in the title picture yet: they’re saving her for Wrestlemania, as they should.

Secondly, by giving us the same, predictable RAWs and SmackDowns in the buildup to this, I was able to guess the endings to all but two of the matches on this card. I’m not even that proud of it, it was THAT predictable. The only two swerves were Dean Ambrose winning the IC Title and Roman’s rampage.

As for the matches themselves, they were fun, for the most part. The chairs match and Rusev vs Ryback’s snoozefest were a bore to watch, but Del Rio looked back on game and Rusev got to use the Accolade. The opening ladder match stole the show, and nothing quite lived up to it. Remind me again why it took this long to push the Lucha Dragons?

I’m glad Charlotte’s heel turn is basically complete and that they seem to be setting up a title shot for Becky Lynch, but if Creative wants to give Charlotte any legitimacy, they’ll stop trying to copy and paste Ric Flair’s character onto her. I think there’s a difference between having her father’s dirty style and just being a carbon copy of him. Additionally, with Becky now set up for a feud, Paige needs a direction. Have her try taunting Sasha about even an undefeated streak not being enough to put her in the title picture and split up Team BAD. Either way, give her something to do.

I am absolutely thrilled about Dean Ambrose winning the Intercontinental title last night. I am a huge fan of his, and he is long overdue for a title run. The audience was clearly thrilled, and Ambrose cemented himself as the kind of babyface Creative desperately wanted his former Shield brother to be. Of course, Ambrose winning also leaves Kevin Owens, who has stepped up as a top heel in Rollins’ absence as the top heel in the company, without a title and clear direction. Creative must give him his rematch at the Royal Rumble (or sooner) and, if smart, set him up to possibly face Lesnar at Wrestlemania.

As for Sheamus, he will be dropping the title before Wrestlemania. To whom, I cannot be certain. I read a theory that Lesnar will take it from him in January, and I can get behind that.

Roman Reigns got over last night, becoming what he should’ve been this whole time: a man of violence, not tater tot jokes. If Creative is smart, they will put him on the warpath against Triple H. He won’t care about the title anymore, all he wants is retribution. Revenge. Justice. So tonight on RAW, he better not emerge with a smile and start joking about his rampage. In fact, he shouldn’t say a thing. Let his violence do the talking.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for now. What did you guys hink of TLC 2015? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2015 Recap/Analysis

Low expectations ended up making this pay-per-view surprisingly enjoyable. Read my recap below!

Sasha Banks vs. Becky Lynch (Kickoff Match)

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I didn’t write much about this because I was enjoying myself watching it so much, but know the two put on a brilliant show, hyping up the audience.

Sasha is a QUEEN.

The New Day vs. The Usos vs. The Lucha Dragons (ladder match for Tag Team Championship)

 

After a particularly delightful introduction, and Xavier Woods going to deliver commentary, the match started out fast, with Kingston and Kallisto jumping from the ropes to the ladder together in a fun spot. The Usos then wiped themselves out with their own ladder, almost getting to climb, before New Day came back to control, suplexing an Uso into a ladder on top of the other Uso…yes, that happened.

The Lucha Dragons fought back, with Sin Cara crushing Kofi with a ladder and then sending the Usos out of the ring. Big E got buried under the ladder, with the Luchas climbing it, but the big guy bench-pressed out of it, with the Usos saving the Lucha’s skins.

Said Samoans crushed poor Kofi in the corner with a ladder in time for the Luchas to recover. The duo started a brilliant offense, much to Boston’s delight, with Kallisto pulling what must be the most impressive spot of the match, breaking a ladder. The Usos fought back, but were foiled by Big E.

At this point, I gave up trying to document all of the thrilling spots in this match. The Usos, the Lucha Dragons, New Day…they all sacrified their bodies and put on an AMAZING match.

After blasting Michael Cole for confusing Sin Cara and Kalisto YET AGAIN, Xavier Woods interfered so that Kofi could climb the ladder for the win.

Ryback vs. Rusev

 

With what was perhaps the worst buildup humanly possible, the two strongmen had a lot to do.

This was a filler match, plain and simple. With impressive shows of strength, Ryback took early control, but Rusev soon powered back. Lana provided a distraction, and Rusev took Ryback out with the Accolade.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger (chairs match for United States Championship)

Ah yes, Jack Swagger fighting for the glorious idea of xenophobia.

The match started out like a chair lightsaber duel, but quickly descended into madness. And by madness, I mean a streetfight-style battle outside the ring before an infuriated Swagger threw Del Rio back into the ring only to be struck in the throat by a chair.

Del Rio took control from there, positively dissecting the Constitution fanboy. Swagger fought back with a chair-reversal of sorts, but Del Rio, looking much like his old self, wasn’t down for long. He piled chairs on the Murican hero, but the fight didn’t end there.

Swagger got Del Rio int he Patriot Lock with a chair, but Del Rio outlasted him, rolling out of the ring. Swagger got Del Rio in the Swagger Bomb for the near-fall, but once again, Del Rio just managed to kick out, powering back for the victory.

The Wyatt Family vs. Rhyno, Tommy Dreamer and The Dudley Boyz (elimination tables match)

 

There was only ever one way for this match to end.

Old names must, and I mean MUST put new talent over.

The match was a brawl from the first second, with Tommy Dreamer bringing out the kendo sticks and garbage cans right away. Strowman was in full force, clobbering the ECW originals despite his admittedly limited moveset. Even all four at once couldn’t take him out before Rowan came back into the fray.

After two tables just…broke, the commentary team brushed it aside because it clearly wasn’t supposed to happen. Rowan was eliminated, with Rhyno going next.

DeVon was eliminated next by Bray, while Dreamer was napping, it seems. Bubba fought back with a kendo stick, but Dreamer was eliminated next, and Bubba was left alone against the Wyatts. Bubba looked to literally ignite a table, but he couldn’t power against them all, and the Wyatts FINALLY took the win!

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship)

 

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Owens entered with  a mic, cheerfully getting some easy heat by insulting Boston’s love of its sports teams and SLAMMING Ambrose in classic Owens fashion before Ambrose entered.

This match was as fast-paced and fun as everyone figured it would be, with Owens providing stellar heel-storytelling throughout. And it was Owens who took early control, beating down on Ambrose before the latter built momentum, sending the IC champ over the top rope.

The two beat down on each other outside the ring, sending each other into and over the barricade. Ambrose was nearly counted out, but returned to the ring with a fury, jabbing Owens like crazy and hitting him with a flying elbow. Owens suplexed Ambrose off the top rope, but even that insane move couldn’t get him the three-count. Ambrose hit Owens with Dirty Deeds, but a single finger on the ropes saved him. But with a reversal of the Pop-up Powerbomb, Ambrose got the win.

Charlotte vs. Paige (Divas Championship)

Charlotte took control early, mocking Paige, but her confidence helped Paige get some momentum back.

The two put on a heel-show, fighting in a physical style I haven’t seen them do together yet. Charlotte leaped off the top rope, Paige locked in the Figure Four, suplexed the champ.

Flair cheered his daughter on throughout as she echoed him in the ring with her mocking style. Paige almost got the pinfall with the Rampaige, but Flair took his daughter’s leg and got it on the ropes.

Charlotte sent Paige into the turnbuckle, and got the cover to retain. Backstage, she tried to get Becky to celebrate, but the Irishwoman wasn’t in a celebrating mood.

 

Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns (TLC match for WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

 

The first thing of note in this match was the thunderous “WE WANT CENA” chants.

The match quickly escalated outside the ring, with Roman tossing Sheamus into the timekeeper’s area. Reigns looked to be getting a ladder into the ring, but Sheamus hit him with a chair for a distraction. He powered back in the ring with a tilt-a-whirl slam, but once again, Roman fought back as the fight returned to the entrance ramp.

Tables, ladders, and chairs abound. Merry Christmas.

At this point, “WE WANT ROLLINS” chants started.

Sheamus returned to the ring, getting a ladder inside. He looked ready to climb, but Reigns returned. This time, though, Sheamus fought back. The carnage once again returned outside the ring, with Sheamus bloodied up. Not PG.

Sending Reigns through a table with White Noise, hurting himself in the process. Sheamus went back to the ring, dropping a ladder on Reigns when he tried crawling back inside. Reigns, of course, made a comeback, powerbombing the Celtic warrior into a ladder and clotheslining him. Oh, and a Superman punch with a chair.

Here, the NXT chants happened.

Roman then sent both himself and Sheamus through a ladder, snapping it in two.

When they came to, the races up the ladder began, but Reigns Superman punched Sheamus off the top of the ladder. However, with help fromt he League of Nations, Sheamus retained.

A furious Reigns unloaded on the victorious stable, beating them down viciously, and then absolutely destroying Triple H.

And with that character overhaul, Roman Reigns might actually have left a pay-per-view more over than ever before.

Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2015 Predictions

What a year it has been for the WWE. It started things off with one of the most negatively received Royal Rumbles in history, found itself at the top of the world following Wrestlemania, entered into a glorious period of decent booking during July, but then fell into a slump as the year came to an end. Ratings have taken a nosedive, most of their top talent is injured, and Creative can’t seem to figure out how to fix itself.

Now, the WWE looks to bring a dismal year to a dismal end with its last pay-per-view of the year.

I’m typically an optimistic person. But my expectations for tomorrow are about as low as the blow Undertaker gave to Lesnar.

So on that cheery note, here are my predictions for Tables, Ladders, and Chairs 2015.

Ryback vs. Rusev

Ryback’s booking in 2015 has been incredibly bland. He’s good working crowds and has an awesome build, but aside from that the storytelling in his character is simply not there.

Rusev started the year off as an unbeatable monster. Now he’s a character from a low-budget romantic comedy.

I doubt anyone will be too invested in this match. But Rusev needs the win more. Therefore, my hopeful side is BEGGING Creative to let Rusev win this one.

Prediction: Rusev wins, possibly with interference from Lana.

The New Day vs. The Usos vs. The Lucha Dragons (ladder match for Tag Team Championship)

The New Day has been 2015’s saving grace. They have been equally entertaining with and without the Tag Team Championship. The Usos are always entertaining to watch, and have an infectious energy. The Lucha Dragons are the ultimate underdogs, with Kallisto being one of the breakout stars of the year.

Expect this match to be a spot-fest, with fun antics from the New Day throughout. I would feel absolutely robbed if Big E doesn’t dance on the ladder at some point.

I doubt the WWE will remove the belts from the New Day until 2016, however. Hopefully, this match will catapult the Lucha Dragons more ardently into title contention for the Royal Rumble.

Prediction: The New Day retains, Xavier Woods does something legendary with his hair.

Charlotte vs. Paige (Divas Championship)

I’m going to split this prediction into two parts: what absolutely should happen and what will actually happen.

Charlotte and Paige’s feud has been absolutely, painfully dull. The booking has been so lackluster, and Charlotte’s characterization so muddled, that the WWE seems to have practically given up on making us care about this.

This is a damn shame, considering how loaded with talent the Divas division actually is. But with only one title to contend for, and a creative team that thinks women can only fight over petty matters, most of them have faded into the background.

So, onto what should happen.

Sasha Banks, one of the best wrestlers, male or female, in the entire world, is from Boston, where the pay-per-view is taking place. An interference in this match leading to a triple threat between the heelish champ, the fierce antihero, and true babyface Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble would do wonders for Creative.

What will actually happen? Charlotte will win dirty in true Flair fashion with assistance from good ol’ pops, and face Becky Lynch next as a full heel.

Prediction: Charlotte retains dirty with interference from her father.

The Wyatt Family vs. Rhyno, Tommy Dreamer and The Dudley Boyz (elimination tables match)

The Wyatt family, in theory, should be an unstoppable force of nature. Luke Harper and Erick Rowan are two of the most underrated workers int he business. Braun Strowman is scary as hell. Bray Wyatt has the kind of terrifying charisma that could carry over into a face turn. However, for some reason, Creative just won’t let them win anything. At all.

This losing streak absolutely MUST end at TLC. The ECW boys are the perfect foils to put the Wyatts over.

This match, if done right, has the potential to be brutal, thrilling, and all-around fun to watch. I hope it is.

Prediction: The Wyatts prevail over the ECW veterans.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Jack Swagger (chairs match for United States Championship)

This shouldn’t even be a question.

Del Rio should, hopefully, be back to form after his split from Zeb Coulter. And this unique angle with Swagger should put him over in time for Cena’s return.

As for the match itself? Chair matches are the runt of the litter in gimmick matches, so expect nothing overly exciting.

Prediction: Del Rio retains.

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose (Intercontinental Championship)

This is only the beginning, I hope.

As I’ve said before, this feud has the potential to be the only one on this card to last into Wrestlemania. There are clear face/heel dynamics, both performers are over, and both men are dynamite in the ring.

Ambrose is the kind of man who is wasted when he’s not int he hunt for a title. He’s above being Roman Reigns’ lapdog. The audience adores him, and he has managed to remain wildly popular despite consistently underwhelming booking. This feud is perfect for him heading into Wrestlemania season.

Expect this match to steal the show, but don’t expect Ambrose to take home the gold just yet.

Prediction: Owens retains (for now).

Sheamus vs. Roman Reigns (TLC match for WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

The easy prediction is Sheamus retaining. But, as much as I think Roman Reigns has no business being champion yet, I have to say that I think the WWE is going to end this feud, say their prayers, and give Reigns the belt.

I don’t have a long-winded explanation for this, as there is really no outcome to this match that will make me jump for joy or solve the WWE’s issues immediately, but it would be a change. And since I don’t see any other titles changing hands, this will have to be it.

Prediction: Roman Reigns wins. Whether he wins the title itself or via DQ if the League of Nations interferes, I can’t say.

 

 

How the WWE can dig itself out of a booking nightmare

So. Survivor Series happened. And the League of Nations.

The WWE has dug itself a nice little booking hole. It’s been digging for months, but with many of its main-eventers and top workers injured, that hole has been revealed to be a massive whopping crater.

Ratings have been taking a nosedive with no end in sight. Pay-per-views have been consistently disappointing. Babyfaces are getting booed, and heels can’t seem to generate any real heat.

I am not going to pin this on the current main roster (although I will allow some to take some blame). The current roster is bursting with talent. Yes, this roster isn’t perfect: many are clumsy on the mic and several have limited talent in the ring. However, it’s not the talent that is making RAW stale lately. No, the blame rests very much on Creative.

As much as I try to root for him because of my Shield nostalgia, Roman Reigns is not ready to be a babyface champion. Don’t get me wrong; the man is clearly very talented and is a hard worker. But sometimes that isn’t enough. He’s still rather weak on the mic and is his in-ring ability is not enough to make up for that. But who else is there? Creative has made it tragically clear that Dean Ambrose is not getting a title run anytime soon, not as long as Seth Rollins is out and Reigns is in. Kevin Owens already has a title. John Cena and Cesaro are out.

So, when Sheamus, as good of a heel as he is, is just a placeholder champ, what else can Creative do?

Well. I have a few ideas.

Give Dean Ambrose the Intercontinental Title

Dean Ambrose and Kevin Owens are two of the best remaining wrestlers on the main roster with excellent in-ring chemistry and very strong fanbases. They are literally money.

Now, when I say give Ambrose the title, I don’t mean right away. Give him the same treatment he got during his amazing feud with Seth Rollins, except at the Royal Rumble, Fastlane, or even Wrestlemania, he wins the Intercontinental title.

I’ve accepted he’ll probably be out of the World Heavyweight title picture through Wrestlemania, so why not turn this rivalry for the title into a full-blown feud? These two are more than able to shell out an amazing match at the biggest show in the world, and putting more focus on them would do wonders for  the WWE’s ailing product.

Having Ambrose win the Intercontinental title at Wrestlemania would get a huge pop and finally put some real focus back on a man too often thrown out of title contention.

Sasha. Banks.

The WWE confounds me sometimes. They have, arguably, the most talented female wrestler in the world on their main roster, but for some reason, she is not involved in any substantial storylines and is not in contention for the Divas Championship.

No offense to Paige and Charlotte, who are both immensely talented athletes and entertainers, but how can anyone buy into their storyline when we all know who deserves title contention the most?

TLC will be in Sasha’s home town of Boston, Massachusetts this year. And though Sasha is not on the card (seriously, it’s ludicrous), this is her prime time to interfere and insert herself into the Divas Championship picture. The only issue is Becky Lynch, who absolutely should not get lost in the mix again. Perhaps Sasha can antagonize natural-born babyface Lynch as she challenges Charlotte for the title, leading to a triple threat match at the Royal Rumble, and then Banks winning the title at Wrestlemania.

The WWE has the tools it needs to revitalize its Divas Division. It just needs to use them.

Build new stars

This right here could solve basically all of the WWE’s problems.

With names such as Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, Neville, Finn Balor, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Bayley, Asuka, and countless other talented midcarders at their disposal, the WWE could enter into a Renaissance rivaling the Attitude Era. It will never be the same, but maybe that’s the point.

This is a new generation of wrestlers, and a new generation of fans. The shows may be PG, but the audiences are not imbeciles. We can handle intelligent storytelling. We can handle pay-per-views without the likes of the Undertaker.

It’s always thrilling to see a legend or Hall of Famer, but the WWE can’t keep relying on them to pull in ratings. Just look at the injuries Sting and the Undertaker have suffered. It’s not fair to them to overstress their bodies, and it’s not fair to the current roster to be pushed aside while they are in their primes.

Audiences won’t buy into it right away. Building legends takes years. But we will never get there if we don’t at least TRY.

That’s all I’ve got for now. How do YOU think the WWE can fix itself? Comment below and tell me!

Who should enter the Royal Rumble?

I, like many, am still pretending the 2015 Royal Rumble was all in my head. Except, of course, for the amazing Triple Threat between Rollins, Cena, and Lesnar.

This year, the WWE has a lot to do leading up to the road to Wrestlemania. It has to deal with the absences of Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, and possibly Cesaro. It has to build Roman Reigns into a credible champion. It has to breathe life into a creatively struggling Divas division.

But the situation isn’t nearly as hopeless as it seems. Creative has to just stop screwing up. The Royal Rumble is a chance for them to begin building their young roster.

So, without further ado, here are my picks for some surprise Royal Rumble entrants.

Daniel Bryan

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Let me be very, very clear: if Daniel Bryan is not 100% healthy, he should absolutely NOT be wrestling. Neck injuries are scary stuff. And as much as I know Bryan wants to return to the square ring, if there’s any risk involved, he must stay on the sidelines. He has a wife, a future to think about.

That being said, if Daniel Bryan is healthy and ready for action, his entry into the Royal Rumble would light the audience on fire. Bryan has the following and exciting style that could revitalize a thinning main event scene.

Be warned, though: if he doesn’t win the Rumble, the audience will not stand for it. His following is unforgiving and brutal.

Baron Corbin

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The Lone Wolf has all the makings for a fantastic entrant into the Royal Rumble: the fearless demeanor, the imposing build, and frankly, the damn man deserves it.

He’s an imposing monster with a devil-may-care attitude, an update on characters like Big Show and Kane. The way he carries himself, almost stalking into the ring, is perfect for the era of reality. Additionally, Corbin is built for battle royales. His size will make him eliminating established stars believable.

Sasha Banks

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I know this probably will never happen.

But if the WWE were to ever book Sasha Banks into the main event of Wrestlemania by having her be, let’s say…the last entrant in the Royal Rumble, I would not say a single mean thing about Vince McMahon for at least a month.

Have Sahsa win the championship early on in the Royal Rumble, but don’t let her stop there. The BOSS wants everyone to know that she is the baddest wrestler in the WWE.

Sasha Banks has to ferocity to hold her own in a ring of men, as well as the popularity among fans to let her get away with it. Putting her in the main event would also squelch any complaints about a Roman Reigns main event and could even lead to a historic debut for none other than Bayley in a title for title match.

Like I said, this will never happen. But can you imagine if it did?

Finn Balor

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Balor is next in line to debut on the main roster, despite his reluctance to do so. And with the WWE suffering from a severe shortage of main event talent, Balor would provide the star power they so desperately need.

Additionally, Balor provides a strong face, which is something the WWE is also lacking. Right now, almost every title is held by a heel, event he Divas Championship. Putting Balor in contention for a title while simultaneously pushing talent such as Ambrose and Neville could give the faces the momentum they need to bring ratings back where they should be.

Sami Zayn

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I am only reluctant to put Zayn on this list because I have a feeling he will have a run at NXT through the road to Wrestlemania, at least, and debut on the RAW after Mania.

However, if the WWE wants to debut a strong face who is also certain to be over on the main roster, Zayn is the man. He is energetic, charismatic, and universally liked. He also has history with Kevin Owens that could put him in title contention from the start. Or he could take the US title, which he was already close to taking.

Did I miss anyone you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments!

 

In defense of a Charlotte heel turn

On Monday Night RAW, Divas Champion Charlotte faced Becky Lynch in what was supposed to be a friendly 1-on-1, non-title match. What ensued was a short yet fast-pasted bout that ended with Charlotte faking an injury and using her father as a distraction to steal a victory against her PCB teammate.

This is the best thing that has happened to Charlotte since winning the butterfly belt at Night of Champions.

Charlotte’s character has suffered greatly since leaving NXT. In the midst of the Divas Revolution, she was watered down to the point where she lost all depth, dimension, and color. She became a bland, boring babyface whose only redeeming quality was….what? Being a Flair?

Back on NXT, Charlotte played both a heel and a face who wasn’t afraid of playing dirty. Just look at her bouts against Bayley. She wasn’t the perennial babyface there. But you know what she was? Over.

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Charlotte is an incredible athlete. She has put on positively brutal matches against her NXT peers and even Nikki Bella. But she can’t get over as a babyface when her only defining feature is her lineage. She’s privileged, from an elite wrestling family. It’s the same reason why Reigns has been having issues as an underdog. You can’t fake it.

So use it to your advantage.

Charlotte knows how to garner heat. She can work a crowd when given the right material. Let her be the heel she needs to be, and let Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks do their thing.

It’s the only way to save a withering Divas Revolution.