Bilbs’ Top 10 Lists for Tonight’s RAW

I thought I would write these lists while watching the October 24th edition of Monday Night RAW so you can read it with all of the intensity that I have while watching this episode. Here we go:

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons the Brock Lesnar Segment was needed on RAW

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Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons an Over-Emoting Mick Foley Helped the Sasha/Charlotte Hell in a Cell Match

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Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons Why a “Triple Main Event” Makes Total Sense

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Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons to Love Tonight’s RAW

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So in conclusion, this episode of RAW SUCKED.

However, let’s end this on a positive note…

Bilbs’ Top 10 Reasons to watch Hell in a Cell this Sunday

1. Sasha/Charlotte
2. Charlotte/Sasha
3. Sasha/Charlotte
4. Charlotte/Sasha
5. Sasha/Charlotte
6. Charlotte/Sasha
7. Sasha/Charlotte
8. Charlotte/Sasha
9. Sasha/Charlotte
10. Charlotte/Sasha

I’m out.

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Money in the Bank 2016 Recap/Analysis

Believe in the Shield. Or at least, believe in what all three of its former members can do, because they truly stole the show at this year’s Money in the Bank, changing the landscape of the title scene profoundly and turning the WWE upside-down. Just as they promised all those years ago.

The New Day vs. Enzo & Cass vs. The Club vs. The Vaudevillains (WWE Tag Team Championship match)

Chaos soon erupted between all four teams, but soon enough it was the Vaudevillains who began to target Kofi Kingston. Gallows & Anderson injected themselves into the fight, until Kofi Kingston managed to tag in Enzo Amore to face off against English. Gallows sent Amore out of the ring, tagging English out and bringing Amore back into the ring, beating down mercilessly on the smaller man.

Enzo managed to counter, tagging Big Cass in as Anderson was tagged in himself. Cass cleaned house, throwing Big E away from the ring and using Enzo to wipe everyone out. They looked to have Anderson down for the count, but Gallows “broke” the tag. The Vaudevillains hit the Dervish, but Anderson broke the count.

The duo looked to have the match won, but Big E broke the count, double-teaming with Kingston to retain the titles.

Backstage, Kevin Owens proclaimed to Tom Phillips and Chris Jericho both that he would win the Money in the Bank briefcase, trash-talking to an injecting Alberto Del Rio as well.

Dolph Ziggler vs. Baron Corbin

Ziggler targeted Corbin’s legs early on, starting strong and fast before Corbin countered with a single right hand to the face, knocking Ziggler right to the ground. Corbin proceeded to wear him down with an easy cruelty using knees to the gut.

Ziggler looked to send Corbin into the turnbuckle, but Corbin ducked under the ropes, sneaking back up on Ziggler for a clothesline. He kept control from there, taking his sweet time in inflicting punishment on Ziggler.

Ziggler looked to stage a fiery comeback with a series of clotheslines, dropping an elbow for a pinfall, but Corbin kicked out. Ziggler went for a Superkick, but Corbin blocked it. Ziggler got another near-fall, but Corbin hit a Deep-Six outside the ring. Ziggler beat the countout, only to go into another beating from Corbin.

Ziggler hit the Superkick, but Corbin kicked out, landing the End of Days for the victory.

Charlotte & Dana Brooke vs. Becky Lynch & Natalya

Dana Brooke started off against Natalya, struggling early on against the seasoned vet until she managed to tag Charlotte in. Lynch tagged in soon after, and she and Natalya double-teamed on the champ with ease, sending her out of the ring.

Lynch got Charlotte back into the ring, tagging Natalya in, but the Canadian Superstar struggled against the double-teaming antics of Dana and Charlotte.Natalya managed to make it to Becky Lynch, who was fired up against Charlotte, targeting both her and Dana and hitting them with a double missile dropkick.

Natalya tagged in, nearly getting rolled up, but locked in the SHarpshooter. brooke broke it up, and Charlotte hit Natural Sleection for the win.

After the match, a furious Natalya blindsided Becky, dropping her in the ring. The crowd gave the redhead a huge ovation as the segment ended.

Sheamus vs. Apollo Crews

The match hadn’t even started before the two began to brawl. Crews caught Sheamus in a headlock, and took the fight out of the ring, where Sheamus took control.

Back in the ring, Sheamus continued to wear Crews down, locking in a headlock of his own. Crews looked to pick the pace of the match up, but Sheamus caught him. Crews managed to create some separation, striking back quickly with running clotheslines.

Crews dropped Sheamus with a dropkick, but couldn’t get the pinfall. He send Sheamus flying out of the ring, hitting a moonsault off the apron. Back in the ring, Crews looked to further his momentum, but Sheamus powered back, hitting White Noise from the second rope.

Crews managed to survive, rolling Sheamus up for the win.

John Cena vs. AJ Styles

Styles locked Cena in a headlock to start off the match, starting off the match in control and actually running circles around Cena, just as he promised. Cena caught Styles with a series of arm drags, sending Styles flying. He mocked Styles, who responded with a forearm to the face.

Styles drove Cena into the ropes, hitting a series of strikes and dodging everything Cena had to throw at him, throwing the WWE vet off balance with smug ease. He hit a suplex in the center of the ring, but Cena began to power back. He sent STyles into the turnbuckle, but the indy vet dodged a dive.

Cena managed to hit a desperate back body drop, but Styles regained his momentum soon enough, caught in another headlock from Styles. Cena made it back to his feet, catching STyles with flying shoulder tackles, but Styles caught him with a dropkick.

Styles kept control, locking int he Calf Crusher, but Cena made it to the ropes. Styles wasn’t fazed, targeting the damaged calf, but Cena countered with a clothesline. He hit the AA, but Styles kicked out. Cena ascended to the ropes, jumping off, but Styles countered it into a powerbomb.

Styles hit the Styles Clash, but Cena managed to kick out. Styles went for a shooting star press, but Cena countered it. He picked STyles up, hitting the AA, but the referee was knocked down. The Club emerged, hitting the Magic Killer, dragging Styles onto Cena for the cover, and granting him the win.

Kevin Owens vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Sami Zayn vs. Cesaro vs. Chris Jericho vs. Alberto Del Rio (Money in the Bank ladder match)

Jericho brought the ladder out first as Ambrose wiped out Kevin Owens with a suicide dive. Cesaro then found Del Rio in the ring, targeting him and then wiping Jericho out with a dive onto the ladder Jericho was carrying.

Zayn went flying, taking out Ambrose and Cesaro both. Owens kicked Zayn down and threw Ambrose into the barricade, only to be attacked by Jericho. He and Ambrose brawled in the ring, with Ambrose being suplexed onto a ladder. Del Rio broke up the beating, but suffered as a part of Cesaro’s uppercut train stopped only by Kevin Owens, who began hitting canonballs, broken up by Sami Zayn, who hit the helluva Kick on Jericho, Owens and Ambrose.

Zayn ascended the ladder, but was pulled down by Del Rio, who targeted both him and Kevin Owens before taking Cesaro out. He was pulled down.

Ambrose kept Cesaro and Jericho both from climbing to the top of the ladder before Jericho planted Ambrose with the Codebreaker. He and Sami Zayn brawled on the ladder, but Owens knocked them both over. He looked to climb, and was planted by a Backstabber from Del Rio. Cesaro caught him with an uppercut and took him swinging. He took Jericho for a ride as well, sending him right into the ladder.

Ambrose climbed that ladder, hitting a flying elbow on Cesaro from the top. Owens threw a ladder at Ambrose, hitting a frog splash on Ambrose on the ladder. In the center of the ring, Zayn and Owens exchanged blows, with Zayn driving Owens right into the ladder. Zayn looked to climb, but was caught by Del Rio. Zayn, Jericho, and Del Rio ascended, and soon all six men were battling on the ladders.

Ambrose, Owens, Zayn and Jericho all fought at the top of the ladder, soon joined by Cesaro and Del Rio, who were knocked down. Soon, Zayn and Owens remained alone. Jericho knocked Zayn off, and Ambrose took out Jericho. Zayn looked to grab the briefcase, but Owens powerbombed him onto the ladder.

Owens and Ambrose fought atop the ladder, but it was Ambrose who emerged victorious at long last.

Rusev vs. Titus O’Neil (United States Championship match)

The two titans collided first out of the ring, with O’Neil throwing Rusev right into the barricade. Rusev responded by sending O’Neil crashing into the steel steps headfirst.

Back in the ring, Rusev took control, soundly beating O’Neil down and roaring like a madman with a singular focus. O’Neil looked to power back, planting Rusev for a near-fall, but Rusev caught him by the arm, nearly locking in the Accolade before O’Neil escaped.

O’Neil hit a pump handle slam, but Rusev kicked out, and O’Neil continued his assault outside the ring, tossing him around before returning to the ring, only to walk into a stunning kick from Rusev. He locked in the Accolade to retain, telling O’Neils kids that their father was a loser.

Roman Reigns vs. Seth Rollins (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

Reigns powered Rollins into the turnbuckle right away, using his power to gain an early advantage over Rollins before the challenger responded with a dropkick, flying out of the ring to take Reigns down.

Reigns managed to stop Rollins in his tracks, suplexing him and hitting a wicked clothesline. Reigns taunted Rollins, beating him down in the turnbuckle and then landing a tilt-a-whirl slam. Seth looked to rally, but Reigns dropped him with a mean right hand before throwing him over the announce table and then face-first into it.

He crashed Rollins into the ring apron, but Rollins sent Reigns crashing into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Reigns hit a wicked powerbomb, but Rollins kicked out of the pinfall. Reigns went for the Superman Punch, but Rollins countered, sending Reigns out of the ring with a dropkick before flying over the top rope, taking him down.

In the ring, Rollins went for the Pedigree, but Reigns hit the Superman Punch. Rollins kicked out. Reigns went for the Spear, but Rollins caught him with a knee. He hit a frog splash, but Reigns kicked out. Rollins climbed the ropes again, but Reigns caught him with another right hook.

But, with the knee that cost him his title, Rollins threw Reigns into the turnbuckle before hitting a Superplex into a Falcon Arrow. Reigns kicked out. Rollins prepped for the Pedigree, but Reigns powered out, hitting a powerbomb.

The two stared each other down, exchanging blows. Rollins hit a turnbuckle powerbomb, which Reigns used to hit a Superman Punch, nearly pinning Rollins. Rollins retreated from the ring, baiting Reigns into spearing himself into the barricade.

Officials came to tend to Reigns, whom Rollins threw back into the ring. Reigns accidentally took out the ref and hit the Spear, but Seth managed to kick out by the time the ref came to. Reigns went for a Spear right into a Pedigree, but kicked out. Rollins hit the Pedigree, and finally got the three-count.

And then came Ambrose, who cashed in TO BECOME THE WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION.

 

 

 

 

Extreme Rules 2016 Recap/Analysis

For the first time in years, Extreme Rules actually lived up to its name. There was violence, brawling, insanity, and a long-awaited return that will change the main event scene of WWE for good.

Anderson & Gallows vs. The Usos (Tornado Tag Team Match)

The Usos and the Club wasted no time in going after each other right away, brawling both in and out of the ring. Gallows and Anderson hit a brutal Boot of Doom from the apron out of the ring. Gallows began taking some punishment, but Anderson intervened with a cruel knee to the head.

The Usos fought back, looking to hit their finishing splash, but Anderson prevented it. Gallows dodged a corkscrew move from the ropes, but went right into a Samoan Drop. The four men reached a stalemate. Anderson was the first to his feet, but he ran right into a kick from Jey Uso, who ran him into the barricade only to run into a clothesline from Gallows, who proceeded to throw him over the barricade.

Gallows, on his own, grabbed the bell itself, but ran into a Superkick. He dodged a splash, and Jimmy splashed onto the bell. The two finished him off soon after.

THANK GOD.

Kalisto vs. Rusev (United States Championship match)

Lana presented Rusev, which was certainly missed.

Kalisto immediately went to work attacking Rusev’s legs, utilizing his speed. He went for a corkscrew from the ropes, but Rusev swatted him with ease. He continued to dish out punishment on the Luchador, locking Kalisto into a less than comfortable bear hug, targeting his lower back.

Kalisto managed to reverse it into a sleeper hold of his own, but Rusev managed to slam him onto the ground. Kalisto bought himself recovery time with a DDT, dodging Rusev and hitting a corkscrew and hurricarana for a near-fall. He flew through the ropes and hit another hurricarana on Rusev out of the ring, sending him into the steel steps, but Rusev stayed alive.

Kalisto hit a moonsault from the top rope out of the ring, ascending to the top rope, but Rusev threw him off and onto the ring apron. Kalisto barely moved, and Doctors tried tending to him, but Rusev was relentless, locking in the Accolade for the win.

Rusev is on a hot streak, back to his old, dominating ways with a new undercurrent of entertainment that makes him easily watchable and extremely enjoyable. Best of luck to the new champ. Kill it.

Or, better yet, CRUSH IT.

The New Day vs. The Vaudevillains (WWE Tag Team Championship match)

The New Day cut a brilliant promo on the Vaudevillains, hilariously comparing the to garden hoes.

Xavier Woods and Aiden English started things off, with Woods hitting a hurricarana before interference from Gotch, who then tagged in, sent him out of the ring. Gotch took him back into the ring, and English took over, working Woods into the mat before locking in a chokehold. Gotch took over from there, and Woods hit a kick to buy himself time to crawl to Big E, who tagged in.

Big E hit belly to bellies on both English and Gotch before hitting a splash on English in the center of the ring. But English fought back, and Gotch and English teamed up, nearly pinning Woods. Big E returned with a fury, throwing English out of the ring. Kofi took English out, and Woods pinned Gotch to retain.

Always good to see Woods in the ring. The match was well-paced, and the right team won. Vaudevillains will get their shot, but these titles are not theirs to win just yet.

The Miz vs. Cesaro vs. Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn (Intercontinental Championship match)

Sami Zayn barely waited for the bell before taking Owens out with a Helluva Kick, and Cesaro took the Miz out with an uppercut, leaving the two babyfaces in the ring together. Sami went on the attack, hitting an arm drag and hurricarana. Zayn sent Cesaro out of the ring, and the Miz charged back into action.

Zayn threw them both out of the ring, flying to take the two out. Zayn dragged Miz back into the ring, but was driven into the turnbuckle. The two went to the ropes, but Owens flew back into action, targeting Zayn right away. He drove Zayn into Cesaro, slapping him silly.

Zayn looked to power back with a superplex, but Cesaro turned it into a massive superplex, tossing all three Superstars over his shoulder in an incredible display. Zayn hit a Blue Thunder Bomb and Miz kicked him out of the way looking to take advantage.

Cesaro hit an exploder suplex on Zayn and the Miz and proceeded to take the three others on a ride on the uppercut train. He looked to take Miz swinging, but Owens came back into action, nearly hitting his finisher on Zayn. Miz hit the Skull-Crushing Finale on Cesaro, but he kicked out.A furious Miz slapped Cesaro, but Cesaro hit an uppercut corkscrew, taking Miz swinging before locking in the Sharpshooter. Miz tapped, but the official didn’t see. Owens tried interfering, but Cesaro hit him with a Neutralizer. Zayn broke the pin.

Zayn and Cesaro traded near-falls. Zayn went for the Helluva Kick, and Cesaro hit an uppercut. Zayn ran into a Superkick, and Owens hit the Pop-up Powerbomb, and Miz interfered. Miz looked to pin Cesaro, who kicked out.

Zayn hit the Helluva Kick, but Owens broke it. Infuriated, the two brawled out of the ring, and Miz took advantage, covering Cesaro to retain.

Hello, match of the year candidate! This match was electric from start to finish, stocked full of thrilling near-falls and perfectly executed spots by all four men. I cannot wait to see the heights they will take each other to next.

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho (Asylum Match)

Jericho called for the door to be opened, but Ambrose caught him immediately, throwing him to the ground soundly. Jericho went climbing, but Ambrose caught him, taking him down yet again, throwing him into the cage’s side twice.

The two climbed up, and Ambrose reached the mop first, hitting Y2J soundly with the mop with a smirk on his face. He mopped Jericho down with glee, but Jericho fought back with a missile dropkick, using the mop himself. He went for the barbed wire 2×4, but Ambrose hit a suplex from the second rope to delay him.

Ambrose and Jericho both ascended the cage, with Ambrose getting nunchucks while Jericho grabbed the 2×4. Turns out Ambrose can actually use them, and he took advantage. Jericho looked to escape the cage, and Ambrose followed him up. Jericho grabbed the kendo stick, knocking Ambrose back into the ring and sitting proudly atop the cage.

Jericho hit Ambrose with a  diving kendo stick, and used the nunchucks before hitting a suplex. Jericho grabbed the giant strap, whipping Ambrose, but the Lunatic Fringe fought back, grabbing the strap himself and returning the favor. Jericho launched Ambrose into the cage, looking to escape, but Ambrose caught him, and the two exchanged punches before Ambrose knocked Jericho into the ropes.

Ambrose retrieved the fire extinguisher, and Jericho grabbed the straitjacket. Jericho used the jacket to blind Ambrose and hit a dropkick, flinging Ambrose into the cage and hitting a second dropkick. Jericho nearly got Ambrose locked into the jacket, but Ambrose fought out, hitting a flurry of strikes and driving Jericho into the turnbuckle.

Ambrose hit a STUNNING Flying Elbow from the top of the cage and retrieved thumbtacks, spilling them on the ground. Jericho went for a lionsault, but Ambrose countered it. Jericho locked in the Walls, but Ambrose refused to tap, dragging himself to the kendo stick, which he used to break out of the hold. Jericho blinded Ambrose witht he fire extinguisher, hitting the Codebreaker, but Ambrose kicked out.

Jericho used the barbed wire 2×4, striking Ambrose, but Ambrose threw him into the thumbtacks and hit Dirty Deeds for the pinfall.

This match was way too long, but the shocking ending saved it. Kudos to Jericho for sacrificing his freaking body. Ambrose looked absolutely deadly as he left, which was great to see.

Charlotte vs. Natalya (Submission match for the WWE Women’s Championship)

Natalya went right for Charlotte’s legs, locking down the champ’s legs before Charlotte reversed into a headlock, applying pressure to Nattie’s jaw. Natalya hit a dropkick to Charlotte’s face, working Charlotte’s back, but Charlotte managed to leap over the ropes, noly to run into a clothesline.

Natalya pursued, but Charlotte, infuriated, hit her with a series of brutal strikes. Natalya sent her into the steel post, returning to the ring, but Charlotte retaliated with a boot to the face. Natalya locked Charlotte into an armbar, but Charlotte broke it by reversing into a powerbomb.

Charlotte locked in a submission move on Natalya’s legs, and Natalya reached the ropes for the break. Charlotte continued the assault, driving Nattie into the ropes with a suplex. Charlotte hit a moonsault into a half crab, and Nattie escaped, launching Charlotte with a German suplex, locking in the Sharpshooter.

Charlotte reached the ropes, but Natalya dragged her back into the middle of the ring. Dana Brooke emerged, dressed as Ric Flair, and distracted Natalya, allowing Charlotte to lock in the Figure 8 for the victory. With Ric Flair and Dana, she celebrated in the ring.

Great match, very intelligently put together, but what a screwy ending. Once again, Creative let its ladies down.

Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles (Extreme Rules match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

Styles was amped up from the start, utilizing his high energy against Reigns’ raw power. He drove Reigns into the turnbuckle, but Reigns shoved right back, slamming Styles into the turnbuckle with a series of punches. The two went after each other, and Reigns hit Styles with a knee to the chest.

Styles retreated from the ring, going for a steel chair, but Reigns caught him, grabbing the chair for himself and returning to the ring. Back outside the ring, Reigns looked to hit Styles with the chair, but Styles drove him into the announce table with a series of strikes. Styles cleared the table and drove Reigns over the barricade, driving Reigns through the crowd. Reigns threw Styles into the stands, but AJ fought back with a chair to the gut.

Reaching the kickoff panel set, Styles was thrown by Reigns onto the unforgiving glass table. Styles hit a desperate kick from the table, and then hit the Phenomenal Forearm. The two continued to brawl back to the timekeeping area, and Styles drove Reigns into the barricade, unpadded. He then peeled away the floor padding, looking for the Clash, but Reigns fought out of it, driving Styles into the steel steps.

Reigns looked to powerbomb Styles, but Styles fought out with furious punches. Styles looked for the Clash on the table, but Reigns sent him over the barricade again. Reigns hit Styles again with a back body drop onto the other announce table. Reigns returned Styles to the ring, but Styles did not surrender. Reigns went for the Superman Punch, but Styles reversed it, seemingly harming Reigns’ knees before driving him into the turnbuckle again.

Styles hit a running knee, but Reigns caught him, throwing him against the ring and barricade before throwing him into the table. Reigns went for the spear, but Styles dodged, returning Reigns to the ring. Styles ascended tot he top rope, but Reigns caught him with the Superman Punch, knocking Styles out of the ring. Reigns hit the spear, throwing Styles back into the ring, but Anderson and Gallows emerged, hitting the Boot of Doom. Reigns kicked out.

The Usos joined the fray, Superkicking Styles and hitting the splash, but Styles kicked out. Reigns took out Anderson and Gallows, going for the spear. Styles caught him, hitting the Styles Clash, and Reigns kicked out. Styles looked to hit it again on the chair, but Reigns threw him off. Reigns ran into a Pelee Kick, and hit the Clash on the chair, going for the cover, but an Uso pulled him off long enough to allow Reigns to kick out.

Styles went crazy on everyone, decimating the Usos and Reigns with the steel chair, and went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but fell to the spear.

Reigns held his title high, BUT THEN SETH ROLLINS RETURNED OUT OF NOWHERE, downing Reigns with a Pedigree and holding the title he never lost high to end the night.

First off…SETH FREAKING ROLLINS IS FREAKING BACK!

The crowd came absolutely unglued for the returning Superstar, giving him a hero’s welcome. Well deserved too.

Now, as for the match itself…

What a freaking disappointment. Once again, Roman Reigns took out Anderson and Gallows on his own, and then magically recovered from multiple steel chair shots to spear AJ Styles out of the air. What a joke. AJ deserved better. We as viewers deserved better.

Styles is one of the best wrestlers in the entire world. Not just in WWE, but in the world. He deserves better booking. Hell, Reigns deserves better. It feels like Creative is sabotaging him at this point.

All in all, Seth Rollins is back, AJ Styles should rule the world, and the IC boys deserve a trophy. Good night.

Payback 2016 Recap/Analysis

Wrestling.

That’s what made 2016’s Payback so good, in my opinion. Though hampered by a terrifying injury early on, the pay-per-view managed to deliver fantastic matches that made stars out of its performers.

Enzo & Cass vs. The Vaudvillains

The New Day opened the show to a massive ovation from the Chicago crowd. They announced they would be sitting ringside for the finals of the tag team tournament.

The Vaudvillains started off strong against Enzo and Cass, wearing down Enzo before he tagged Cass in. Enzo and Cass utilized classic tag strategy, wearing down Gotch before Aiden English tagged in and turned the tide, throwing Enzo right out of the ring.

But Enzo hit his head on the ropes, sustaining a very real, very scary injury and forcing the stop of the match.

This was one of the most terrifying moments I’ve ever witnessed live. Enzo was later announced as suffering from a concussion and no neck injuries, but the worry on the faces of all teams involved was clear as day.

Get well soon, Enzo. We’re rooting for you.

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn started off strong, passionately going after Owens with aerial might. Owens, however, fought back with vigor, throwing Zayn out of the ring. Setting Zayn up on the steel steps, Owens kicked him square in the face before returning the action to the ring.

Owens continued dishing punishment, bouncing Zayn off the top rope before going for a failed cover. The two exchanged elbows and clotheslines in the center of the ring before Zayn hit a second clothesline, driving Owens into the turnbuckle and dishing out punishment with a  Blue Thunder Bomb.

Owens fought back with a brutal neckbreaker and a frog splash from the top rope.  He didn’t stop there, driving Zayn into the corner with canonballs. He went for the Pop-up Powerbomb, but Zayn reversed it. Owens responded with a clothesline.

The two went for right hands, hitting each other in tandem before Zayn went for a rollup. He went for a move from the ropes, but Owens caught him and threw him into a backbreaker. The two battled on the ring apron, and Zayn hit Owens with a back body drop. Zayn followed it with a running DDT through the second rope.

But back in the ring, Owens caught Zayn with a Pop-up Powerbomb for the win. But that wasn’t enough for the prizefighter, who threw Zayn out of the ring and demanded that Byron Saxton join him, demanding that he ask him about beating Sami.

Mic in hand, Owens furiously declared that he was the better man and declared his intentions on reclaiming the Intercontinental Championship.

This match was a brilliantly executed technical showing and storytelling clinic. Owens and Zayn absolutely shone, bringing the Chicago crowd back to life after a legitimately scary end to the opening match of the night. And Owens’ monologue at the match’s finish was a work of art.

The Miz vs. Cesaro (Intercontinental Championship match)

With Owens on commentary and still ranting and raving about Sami Zayn, Cesaro started off strong against the Miz, showing off his incredible athleticism, hitting Miz with a vertical suplex and swinging backbreaker.

Cesaro continued dominating until Maryse interfered, allowing the Miz to take control. He targeted the Swiss Superman’s injured shoulder and locked in a brutal chokehold. But Cesaro powered out, reversing it into a vertical suplex before taking Miz to uppercut city. He hit a suplex over the ropes from the apron on the Miz and then a tilt-a-whirl. He nearly had him pinned, but Miz got his foot on the ropes.

Miz hit the Skull-Crushing Finale, but even that couldn’t keep Cesaro down.

At ringside, Zayn came flying back into action, attacking Owens as Cesaro took Miz swinging TWENTY TIMES. He locked him into a crossface, and Miz tapped, but the ref was distracted by Zayn and Owens. Miz caught Cesaro with his tights to retain.

Owens threw Cesaro, Miz and Zayn out of the ring and held the title high to close the segment.

Fatal Four Way? I’m game. Also, Owens should commentate forever.

Dean Ambrose vs. Chris Jericho

Ambrose stared Jericho down fearlessly before going right after him, slapping him across the chest. Incensed, Jericho retreated from the ring and Ambrose went right after him, hitting him with a flying crossbody and clothesline outside the ring.

Jericho crawled to the ref desperately, declaring Ambrose was, “killing him,” before hitting Ambrose with a running dropkick and sending him out of the ring. Pulling Ambrose back in, Jericho punched and twisted his foot on Ambrose’s face. He locked in a chokehold and then hit a dropkick.

Ambrose reversed a running bulldog, sending Jericho into the turnbuckle and then hitting a tornado DDT. Jericho looked for the Walls of Jericho, but Ambrose reversed it, hitting a swinging neckbreaker and running bulldog.  Ambrose went for a flying elbow off the top rope, but Jericho caught him, locking in the Walls, but Ambrose powered to the ropes.

Furious, Jericho kicked him into the ropes, but Ambrose sent him into the announce table with a suicide dive, but was launched into the timekeeping area by Jericho., and just beat the countout. A furious Jericho went for the Codebreaker, but Ambrose reversed into a clothesline, returning to the top ropes and hitting a flying elbow. Jericho still didn’t fall.

He locked in the Walls of Jericho, but Ambrose reversed it into a rollup. An infuriated Jericho hit a backbreaker, taunting Ambrose viciously. Ambrose fought back, hitting Dirty Deeds for the pinfall. A peeved Chris Jericho threw a fit at ringside, but Ambrose celebrated nonetheless.

This match was fantastic, full of great spots and spot-on performances from both men despite little to no decent story buildup. Ambrose looked like the star he is, and the win was vastly encouraging in regards to how WWE views him. His character shone through every move he made and every look he sent towards Jericho.

Backstage, AJ Styles declared to Mauro Ranallo that he would be beating Roman Reigns on his own.

Charlotte vs. Natalya (WWE Women’s Championship match)

With her uncle in her corner, Natalya once again took on Charlotte, immediately going after the champion with confidence. As Charlotte showboated, Natalya looked to lock in the Sharpshooter…twice. The crowd cheered for Sasha, and Charlotte taunted Nattie with it, driving her into the mat with her knees.

Charlotte exited from the ring, slapping Nattie and strutting with confidence. Back in the ring, Natalya hit Charlotte with a German Suplex and then hit a dropkick to the face, stunning Charlotte. The champ, however, responded with a strike to the knees, working Natalya’s legs and taunting Bret Hart.

Charlotte worked Natalya’s leg cruelly before Natalya reversed it into an armbar. Charlotte wormed out, suplexing Nattie into the ropes. Charlotte climbed to the top rope, and Nattie pushed her out of the ring, buying recovery time. Charlotte looked for a powerbomb into the apron, but Natalya reversed it into a semi-huricarana.

Back in the ring, Charlotte caught Nattie with a boot to the face as an increasingly worried Ric looked on. She looked for the Figure Four, but Natalya responded with a clothesline, looking for the Sharpshooter, but Charlotte reversed it into the Natural Selection. Nattie kicked out. Charlotte hit a moonsault from the top rope. Nattie kicked out.

Charlotte locked int he Figure Four, but a defiant Nattie refused to tap, reversing it. Charlotte broke it with the ropes, and locked int he Sharpshooter. The bell rang though Nattie never tapped, and the two furious Harts locked in the Sharpshooter on the Flairs in the ring. Chicago Screwjob, I guess?

The ending was wholly unnecessary and was a bit of an insult to the women, as if they couldn’t carry an original storyline, but the match itself was excellent. Natalya’s defiance was engaging and wonderful to see, and Charlotte’s heel work was sharp and well-executed.

Family Affairs

Vince was greeted with a healthy chorus of CM Punk chants, which made me smile for once. To his credit, Vince ran with it. He discussed the Attitude Era and said that RAW needed something new, someone with vision.  He brought Stephanie out to the ring to massive boos, and Vince called the crowd animals.

Stephanie touted those who debuted under her tenure on top, including the Shield and the Horsewomen. She lauded the WWE Network and said she always did what’s best for business, calling Shane mysoginistic and weak and reminding Vince of Shane’s WrestleMania loss.

Shane didn’t take so well to that, entering to applause and cheers. He pointed out various news headlines praising his tenure leading RAW and implored Vince to listen to the WWE Universe.

Vince, naturally, didn’t, putting both Stephanie and Shane in charge of RAW…together.

The two siblings shook hands and left the ring. Oh boy, oh boy. This will be interesting.

Roman Reigns vs. AJ Styles (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

As expected, boos reigned supreme for the current WWE World Heavyweight Champion as he faced off against AJ Styles, who was given a hero’s welcome.

AJ went after Roman immediately, but was just shoved back. He went for a headlock,a nd was shoved off. AJ then began targeting Roman’s legs, kicking and striking his hamstrings, sending him out of the ring with arm drags.

Styles slid out of the ring, daring Reigns to join him, baiting him into a clever attack in the ring before Reigns caught him with a shoulder tackle. Styles targeted Reigns’ legs again, but Reigns responded with blows to the back, utilizing his raw power. Styles went to gain momentum, but Reigns hit him with a wicked clothesline, powerbombing him into the center of the mat.

Reigns loaded the Superman Punch, but Styles caught him with a pelee kick. He lifted Reigns onto his shoulders and hit a backbreaker, locking in the Calf Crusher, but Reigns made it to the ropes. Reigns rolled out of the ring, and Styles hit the Phenomenal Forearm out of the ring and into the table.

Reigns was counted out, and Styles won the match, but Reigns retained his title. Unhappy, Shane emerged, restarting the match with no countouts.

Styles brought Reigns back into the ring, hitting him with a pelee kick. He hit a 450 splash, but Reigns got his knees up, almost getting the three-count. Styles went for another splash, but Reigns caught him in the ribs. The official called for DQ, claiming Reigns had hit a low blow, but Stephanie emerged, declaring the match No DQ.

The pair brawled at ringside, with Reigns sending Styles into the steps and barricade and into the crowd. But Styles sent him right back into ringside with a forearm and running knee to the neck.  Int he ring, Reigns hit the Superman Punch mid-air, but Styles kicked out. Furious, Reigns tried again, setting Styles up for the Spear, but Gallows and Anderson pulled Styles out and went after Reigns, hitting the Boot of Doom on Reigns.

Styles dragged himself back in the ring, hitting the Phenomenal Forearm, but Reigns got his feet on the ropes, and the Usos emerged, attacking Anderson and Gallows. Reigns pushed Styles out of the ring, and he took out all four men. Reigns flew out of the ring, but Styles caught him by surprise, hitting a splash back in the ring, but Reigns kicked out.

Reigns caught Styles with the Spear and retained clean.

But, backstage, the McMahons already set up an Extreme Rules rematch, with Extreme Rules stipulations.

Okay, okay, I’ll go ahead and say it: Reigns was excellent. He wrestling the infuriating strong style (not the Shinsuke kind) that made him look infuriatingly invincible. The ending was ridiculous, however. How in the world does it make sense for Roman to kick out of everything Styles has but for Styles to fall to a single spear?

That being said, Styles was beyond belief in this match, performing wonderfully. The crowd ate up every incredibly athletic feat he pulled off, truly believing for a moment that Styles was actually walking away WWE World Heavyweight Champion. He wasn’t just phenomenal, he was spectacular.

The best thing WWE can do is fully turn Reigns into a heel. They absolutely cannot claim to be in a new era if they’re going to continue pushing Reigns as a babyface or even a tweener.

Styles will have his chance. Of that I am sure. And I am willing to endure a Reigns….reign if it means getting there someday.

All in all, Payback was a great night of wrestling. But only time will tell if WWE is truly heading into a new era.

 

 

WrestleMania 32 Recap

WrestleMania 32 is upon us! Follow along here for live coverage of the Showcase of the Immortals!

Kalisto vs. Ryback (United States Championship match)

Some taunting from Ryback prompted an immediate attack from Kalisto, who utilized quick strikes to wear down the big Guy despite being thrown around the ring and out of it.

Ryback, angered, mounted a brutal comeback, sending the Luchador into the barricade before carrying him back in. He wrestled in a firm strong style, lifting Kalisto with ease and mocking him throughout.

His comeback continued for several minutes as he countered Kalisto’s attempts to take him into vicious powerbombs. However, Kalisto regained some momentum by reversing a superplex into a near-pinfall. Just as he seemed to be really gaining momentum, Ryback hit him with a Spinebuster.

But a Salida Del Sol secured the scrappy champion the pinfall.

Team Total Divas vs. Team BAD and Blonde

Alicia Fox and Summer Rae started things off, but it wasn’t long before chaos began to leak into the match, with all ten Divas coming into the ring to face off.

Eva Marie and Emma faced off next before Natalya and Naomi were tagged in. Paige tagged in to an ovation, doublt-teaming with Nattie to strike Naomi. Emma then joined in, the two foes facing off, with Emma slamming paige with a suplex.

Lana tagged in soon after for her in-ring debut, briefly striking Paige before bringing in Tamina. Tamina dealt some damage to Paige before Naomi joined in, but Paige managed to hit a flying crossbody on all five of the heels.

Emma tagged back in, attacking Paige before the British Diva could tag in Brie. Brie took Naomi down with a Bella Buster before Lana broke it up.

Things disintegrated from there, with everyone tagging in and out.

Brie finally locked in the Yes Lock on Naomi, forcing her to tap for the win. Nikki emerged in her neckbrace to congratulate her. The Total Divas all hoisted Brie onto their shoulders to close out the match.

Women’s Wrestling

In the ring, Lita talked about the female wrestlers of years past before discussing the Divas Revolution.

“They are WWE Superstars,” she said, before unveiling the new WWE Women’s Championship belt.

Welcome to the REVOLUTION!

The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz

The Dudleys took early control, taking advantage of the Usos’ attempted aggressive start. Mocking Rikishi as they beat down on the twins, the Dudleys brutalized them slowly and efficiently.

“I’m gonna take my time and I’m gonna beat the hell out of you,” Bubba Ray taunted before a Superkick brought things back into the Usos’ favor, with Jey hitting a Samoan Drop. However, a Diving Headbutt brought things back into the Dudley’s favor. A death drop nearly scored a pinfall.

However, a Superkick into DeVon’s jaw scored the Usos a victory.

The Dudleys, furious, looked to retaliate by putting them through tables, but the Usos fought back, sending THEM through the tables with splashes.

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zaynvs. Stardust vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara (ladder match for Intercontinental Championship)

As soon as the bell rang, Owens and Zayn began to brawl at the center of the ring.

The Miz tried climbing the ladder first, but was taken down by Ziggler and Zayn. Soon enough, it was Owens and Zayn brawling once more before being interrupted by Zack Ryder, who took Owens out.

Ziggler and Ryder exchanged blows on the ladder before Stardust went for it,  being sent out of the ring along with Sin Cara. Zayn set up the ladder before flying through it, taking the five out before hitting Owens with a DDT.

Zayn climbed the ladder, but was taken down by Sin Cara, who springboarding off the top rope when Sami knocked him off the ladder to wipe out the others. Ziggler went for the ladder, fighting off Stardust, Zack Ryder and the Miz.

Owens took Ziggler off the ladder, with both hitting Superkicks.

Stardust pulled out a polka dotted ladder in homage to his father, taking the others out with it. However, Owens broke up his momentum, throwing the ladder out of the ring. Once again, Sami Zayn went after him, only to be hit by a splash on the ladder by Owens. Zack Ryder hit an elbro off the ladder onto Miz, who had taken out Owens.

However, Ziggler took out Ryder, also hurting his knee in the process. He crawled back to the ladder, climbing on a single leg, but Owens hit his Pop-up Powerbomb on him. Sin Cara climbed the ladder, but Owens knocked him off, through Stardust, who was on another ladder. WOW.

Owens ascended, and he and Zayn exchanged blows at the top of the ladder. Zayn knocked him off, and nearly got the belt, but the Miz knocked him down.

However, it was Zack Ryder who knocked him down, claiming the IC Title and celebrating in the ring with his father. The shock quickly gave way to joy for the Internet Champ finally being rewarded for years and years of hard work.

Oh my word. What an AMAZING victory!

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

Styles and Jericho locked up right away, Styles knocking a flustered Jericho out of the ring. Styles immediately chased him right back in, keeping his momentum by scouting out everything Jericho had.

However, he did not anticipate the dropkick that brought Jericho back into the lead. He wailed on Styles without mercy, getting him into a headlock. Styles powered out with his swift series of strikes and a dropkick.

Jericho rolled Styles into the Walls of Jericho, but Styles made it to the bottom rope. The twoe xchanged momentum, fighting hard before going to the top rope, where they both hit the ground hard after Jericho sent them down. Styles went for a Pelee Kick, but Jericho caught it, once again locking in the Walls.

But Styles reversed it, locking in the Calf Crusher. Jericho rolled out, nearly having to take the Styles Clash. Jericho hit the Codebreaker, but hesitated long enough to let Styles kick out. Jericho looked to hit the Styles Clash, but Styles squirmed out of it, planting Jericho into the ring.

Styles finally hit the Styles Clash, but Jericho once again kicked out. In the middle of the ring, the two exchanged heated blows before Styles hit a Lionsault, nearly getting the pinfall. He next went for the Phenomenal Forearm, but went right into the Codebreaker.

And Jericho won.

The New Day vs. The League of Nations

The New Day emerged from a literal giant box of Booty-O’s. The League of Nations weren’t too thrilled with having to wade through it all.

The League of Nations started off strong, with Del Rio beating on Xavier Woods. However, Woods fought back, but not hard enough to keep him from suffering at Sheamus’ and Rusev’s hands.

Woods continued to be punished, being kept from tagging anyone in as the League interfered from the outside until Woods snuck in a single reversal and tagged in Kofi. On fire, Kingston took out both Rusev and Sheamus.

Sheamus looked to lock in the Clover Leaf, double teaming with Rusev for a nearfall broken up by Woods. Big E tagged in super hot, taking out 3 of the 4 League members. Woods tagged in, covering Sheamus for a near-fall. Del Rio took out Kofi, leaving Woods alone in the ring after being hit by a backstabber.

However, a Bullhammer elbow from Barrett and a Brogue Kick from Sheamus got the League the win over the New Day.

In the ring, the League cut a promo about how dominant they were, but were interrupted by Shawn Michaels, Mick Foley and Steve Austin! The trio entered, beating downt he League with the help of the New Day. The legends all hit their finishers, with poor Barrett taking all three of them.

The New Day danced with all three before Austin hit Woods with a stunner, because STONE COLD SAID SO!

Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar

Lesnar wasted no time in hitting Ambrose with suplexes before Ambrose began fighting back with a kendo stick. Lesnar, unfazed, just hit him with more suplexes. Dean, defiant, gave him a thumbs up, only to be hit with more suplexes.

To which he responded with a slap to the face. Lesnar suplexed him again, offering Ambrose the kendo stick. Ambrose hit the low blow before wailing on Lesnar with the stick. He hit Lesnar with a wild suicide dive.

Ambrose pulled out Chainsaw Charlite, only to be hit by another suplex, even another off the top rope. He looked to continue his beating before Ambrose got him witha  fire extinguisher and chair. Ambrose climbed to the top rope, hitting Lesnar with the chair, but Lesnar kicked out.

Ambrose filled the ring with chairs, and Lesnar suplexed him, knocking himself into the chairs. He went for the F-5, but Dean countered it into a DDT for the near-fall.

At this point, Ambrose pulled out Barbie the bat, but Brock hit the F-5 into the steel chairs for the pinfall.

Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (Women’s Championship match)

Sasha entered accompanied by her cousin, Snoop Dogg, wearing gear inspired by Eddie, and Charlotte wore the robe her father wore in his retirement match. Full circle indeed.

Sasha and Becky took out Charlotte first before going after each other. The three then went into an impressive sequence of backslides. Becky hit Sasha with a sequence of arm drags after hitting a German suplex.

Out of the ring, Charlotte hit Sasha into the ropes and becky took her down in turn. Becky hit Charlotte with a DDT for a two count, as the champ kicked out, hitting Becky with the Rude Awakening. She slammed Becky into the ring, working her leg and looking for the Figure Four.

Sasha returned, sending Charlotte into the turnbuckle before being thrown out by Becky. Becky locked in the Disarm-her before it was broken up by Sasha. Charlotte locked in the Figure Four before Sasha hit a Frog Splash to break it up. She looked to pin Charlotte, but was suplexed by Lynch, who nearly pinned Charlotte herself.

Becky and Sasha brawled in the ring, with Becky on the offensive. Sasha launched herself out of the ring into Charlotte. Becky flew out of the ring as well, taking out Ric Flair. Charlotte dragged herself into the ring, hitting a moonsault off the top rope out of the ring onto the two women.

She dragged them both into the ring, hitting Natural Selection, but they both kicked out. Charlotte looked to powerbomb Sasha, only to both be hit by a dropkick.

All three women locked in their submission holds, but no one could get the other to tap. Charlotte hit a spear on Sasha, and Becky hit a suplex from the top rope on Charlotte, who locked in the Figure 8. Sasha was kept away by Ric, and Becky tapped.

Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker (Hell in a Cell match)

Shane brought his kids to watch him get slaughtered. The Undertaker took, I believe, five minutes to get into the ring. Shane moved around Taker early on, avoiding him at all costs before Taker finally got his hands on him.

The two exchanged jabs in the turnbuckle before Taker sent Shane out of the ring. Back in the ring, Shane hit another flurry of shots, but a single strike from Taker took its toll. Shane hit a flying elbow and in retaliation, Taker threw him into the cell itself before planting him HARD into the mat.

He went for the cover, but Shane kicked out. Undertaker brought steel steps into the ring, but Shane got him locked into a triangle submission hold. Taker got him to get his shoulders down, breaking the hold and chokeslamming Shane onto the steps. Miraculously, Shane kicked out.

Shane drew Taker in and hit his face into the steps, with Taker barely kicking out in time and locking in Hell’s Gate. Shane began to fade, but reversed the hold into the Sharpshooter. Taker escaped.

With the Undertaker in the turnbuckle, Shane set him up for the Coast to Coast and hit it, but Taker kicked out. Desperate, Shane clipped the bolts of the cage. Taker, re-energized, drove Shane through the cell and into the German announce table. He continued assaulting him on the cell wall and primed the American table and Spanish one for action. In a moment of revenge, he beat on Shane with the monitors.

Undertaker set Shane up for a Tombstone piledriver on the barricade, but Shane locked in a sleeper hold. It was only broken by Taker sending the two into the announce table. Shane grabbed a toolbox, bashing Taker’s face with it. With Taker prone on the table, Shane scaled the cell and jumped off it onto the table, Taker dodging it.

Wildly, Shane asked for more. Taker complied, bringing him back into the ring and hitting the Tombstone piledriver for the three-count. He left, and medical took Shane from the ring. He gave the crowd a thumbs up as he was carted away.

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royale

Immediately, all the men went after Big Show and yes, Shaquille O’Neil, who sadly eliminated Damien Sandow. The two got caught in a stalemate as all the other Superstars teamed up on them, eliminating them both.

The men all went at it in the ring, with Konnor eliminating Diamond Dallas Page before being eliminated himself. Baron Corbin eliminated Tatanka. Kane threw out Jack Swagger.

The Social Outcasts briefly took control before R-Truth made a brief comeback. He was promptly eliminated along with Goldust. The Outcasts took a victory lap before Kane and Corbin teamed up on them, eliminated Axel and Rose. Mark Henry returned, eliminating Slater and Breeze. Darren Young and Kane then eliminated Henry, and BARON CORBIN ELIMINATED KANE!

The Rock is…back?

The Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders paved the way for the Rock himself, who entered with a flamethrower. Of course. He revealed they had broken the WrestleMania attendance record before being interrupted by the Wyatt Family.

Wyatt introduced himself and his brothers, saying that he chose The Rock because he represented greatness; a lie. The moment wasn’t his or anyone’s, but Bray’s. He said he would destroy him on the grandest stage of them all.

Shockingly, the Rock complimented Bray Wyatt, saying he had it all, but was knocking on the wrong door.

Bray Wyatt shoved that aside, and The Rock challenged him to a match, stripping down into his ring gear to take on Erik Rowan, defeating him in six seconds. Furious, the Wyatts surrounded him, but then…

JOHN CENA RETURNED.

Together, the two took down the Wyatts and embraced in the ring.

Triple H vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

Triple H and Stephanie absolutely OWNED their royal status with Triple H’s best entrance in years. Unsurprisingly, Roman Reigns entered to a lot of boos.

Reigns went on the offensive immediately, but Triple H threw him out of the ring. Reigns re-entered, and the two circled each other before locking up. Triple H worked his arm before Reigns fought him off, mocking him.

Once again, the two stared other down before once again locking up. Reigns seemed to be gaining control, but Triple H began to power back, meticulously beating the challenger down. Reigns countered into a series of clotheslines, beating him down at the ring’s edge.

Stephanie distracted the referee, and Triple H hit a low blow on Reigns to applause. Triple H continued to attack low before targeting Roman’s nose, punching him square in the face. Reigns countered with some punches, but Triple H hit him again with a spinebuster.

Triple H bashed Reigns into the announce table, but Reigns turned the tide before being sent over the announce table and hit with a swinging neckbreaker off the table. Getting Reigns back in the table, he got another near-fall.

Triple H went for a move off the ropes, but Reigns caught him with a right hook and hit a Samoan Drop. Triple H rolled out of the ring to recover and was pursued by Reigns, who continued his assault, driving Triple H into the steel steps.

Triple H countered, sending Reigns into the steps and announce table before Reigns speared him through the barricade.

Back in the ring, Reigns went for a Superman Punch but was caught by Triple H, who caught him in a vicious armbar, but Reigns wouldn’t surrender. Naturally, he powered to his feet, but Triple H kept hold of his arm until Reigns broke it with a powerbomb.

Triple H went for a Pedigree, but Reigns sent him out of the ring. Back in the ring, Triple H received a spear from Reigns, but Stephanie pulled the ref out of the ring. Reigns then speared Stephanie by mistake. Furious, Triple H hit the Pedigree on Reigns, who kicked out.

The two brawled in the ring before Reigns hit Triple H with a Superman Punch. He went for a spear, but was hit by a running knee. Triple H was given his sledgehammer by Stephanie, but was surprised by two Superman punches and a spear for the victory.

I’m exhausted, and disappointed. Good night.

 

WrestleMania 32 Predictions

Happy WrestleMania Sunday, everyone! What a day to be a fan of wrestling, am I right? This year’s WrestleMania, more so than many before it, has an uphill battle to fight. An injury-trodden match card with an abysmal buildup has left much of the WWE Universe feeling pretty, well, not hyped.

But this is WRESTLE FREAKING MANIA, you guys! The WWE knows what’s at stake, and they are going to pull out all the stops to ensure the fans in Dallas get their money’s worth.

So, without further ado, here are my official predictions for WrestleMania 32!

The Total Divas vs. B.A.D. & Blonde

What a joke. What an absolute, disgraceful joke.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten THAT out of my system, let me say this: Diva Battle Royals can be booked right. It’s completely possible. The WWE do it with men all the time. But when it’s booked as no more than a catfight, what does that say?

The WWE loves to praise itself for its so-called Divas Revolution, and it has been making strides (see the Championship match for proof). But how can we truly buy in to it when talents like Paige, Emma, Natalya and Naomi are wasting away in a match used as a lazy excuse for putting as many women in Mania as possible?

Prediction: Eva Marie turns on the Total Divas and Lana gets the pinfall

The Usos vs. The Dudley Boyz

Normal logic dictates that the veteran team put over the younger stars, but I’m going to throw this away because at the moments, a victory by the Usos makes less sense. Granted, the entire buildup of this match makes little sense, but it could have implications for the future of the tag team division.

With the New Day poised to be cemented as full-on babyfaces, the Dudley Boyz could very well be the heel opponents they can face between now and SummerSlam, provided a certain faction don’t debut tonight. They will probably get their tenth reign before they hang up their boots, so a victory tonight would give them some much-needed momentum.

Prediction: The Dudleys get put through tables, but win anyways

Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal

With rumors circulating that the WWE has changed their minds about giving Braun Strowman an immediate push, this year’s Battle Royale is anyone’s to win. However, I wouldn’t quite rule out a win for the rookie, or having him give an assist to leader Bray Wyatt.

The Social Outcasts, Big Show and Kane have been the centerpieces to the limited storyline going into this match. Expect them to make a statement, even if it’s just a comic relief style one. Big Show could very well pull off another win, and management might want to hand Kane the win in gratitude for his many, many years of service.

As much as I want to write in Tyler Breeze for the win, I’m a realist. Sorry.

Prediction: Braun Strowman wins with help from the Wyatts

Kalisto vs. Ryback (United States Championship match)

This is Kalisto’s chance to cement himself as an upper-level midcard star.

Despite the atrocious booking of the United States champion, Kalisto will, without a doubt, conquer the Big Guy in tonight’s Show of Shows. He has managed to remain very popular among fans despite suffering loss after loss. Heck, he managed to get Sexy Star to be his date to the Hall of Fame! He’s on fire!

In all seriousness, Kalisto looks to be positioned to be the WWE’s Latino star, the heir to Rey Mysterio in ways Sin Cara never could be. This is his chance to prove himself under pressure, and I can’t wait to see what he will do.

Prediction: Kalisto overcomes the odds and retains

 

Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn vs. Stardust vs. Dolph Ziggler vs. The Miz vs. Zack Ryder vs. Sin Cara (ladder match for Intercontinental Championship)

What a clusterf@%*#.

But I’m an optimist, so I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this match will be good despite itself. Remember last year’s awesome ladder match?

Owens has proven himself to be an incredible worker well-able to perform in gimmick matches like this. Expect his rivalry with Sami Zayn to be the emotional core of this match, providing many awesome spots and setting up a feud that will continue through the summer.

Stardust teased a new look, but he’s teased the return of Cody many times before. However, if we actually see Cody, expect the pop to be momentous.

This match belongs to Kevin Owens. It can fully legitimize his reign and set up an underdog (Zayn) chasing the prizefighter: this summer’s Ambrose vs. Rollins.

Prediction: Owens retains

The New Day vs. League of Nations

Oh, what a difference a year can make. In the span of a single year, the New Day have become one of the hottest acts in the entire WWE, their unique blend of charisma and unpredictability turning them into undisputed fan favorites.

The League of Nations, meanwhile, is wallowing without direction.

This will be the New Day’s moment of triumph, their final coronation as complete babyfaces. But don’t be surprise if their next challengers make themselves known as well. We all know the Demon, Finn Balor, is in town.

Might Balor Club have a statement to make to the champs?

Prediction: The New Day wins

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

I’d normally complain about the predictability of a Styles win, but in this case, a Styles win is the only thing that makes sense. This is a moment he’s been building towards for his entire career.

I’ll keep this short and sweet: tonight, AJ Styles will show why for years, he was the best thing not in the WWE. He will prove himself a main event-worthy star and in the process, show the entire wrestling world what a legend he truly is.

Prediction: AJ Styles wins with the Styles Clash

Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch vs. Sasha Banks (Divas Championship* match)

Forget championships. Forget everything else. This match right here will prove to be the most historically significant match of this year’s WrestleMania.

Sasha Banks, Charlotte and Becky Lynch are trailblazers, skilled athletes who came into the WWE and changed the game along with Bayley, whose callup is fast approaching. They have made the Divas Division something people invest in, regardless of gender.

With the Divas Division set to be rebranded as the Women’s Division tonight or tomorrow, expect the women to be given time to put on an instant classic. All three are fully able to perform under pressure, and they will surely shine.

Prediction: Sasha Banks pins the champ

Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar (No Holds Barred Street Fight)

This right here? MY main event.

The Lunatic Fringe is currently the hottest babyface in the WWE. Casual and hardcore fans alike connect with his struggle to establish himself as the top star in the company. This is his first proper showcase at the Show of Shows, and he will make himself into a star whether he wins or not.

Brock lesnar is an attraction. Carrying an aura like no other, every match he’s in feels like a big deal. If this match was just a regular match, he would be the obvious winner. But it’s not.

Ambrose has been given a lot of toys to play with by the likes of Mick Foley and Terry Funk. He has displayed a new focus unseen before. He could very well pull of an upset.

But I doubt it.

The good thing about this match is that no matter who wins, Dean Ambrose will be cemented as a star. And frankly, it’s long overdue.

Prediction: Lesnar wins, but only JUST BARELY

Shane McMahon vs. Undertaker (Hell in a Cell match)

John Cena is medically cleared.

JOHN CENA IS MEDICALLY CLEARED.

The WWE has the perfect opportunity to not only put Shane over believably, but to set up the dream match we all want for WrestleMania 33.

Cena helps McMahon defeat the Deadman. What a perfect situation.

As for the match itself, expect Shane and Taker to pull out all of the stops on their end to bring the WWE Universe to their feet. A Coast to Coast is almost guaranteed, as is another massive spot from the prodigal son.

Prediction: Shane wins with the help of John Cena

Triple H vs. Roman Reigns (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

Oh my. I have no idea what’s going to happen here. I have no idea if the WWE is going to stay its course and let the boos rain down on a “babyface” Roman Reigns, or if they’re going to turn him heel and let him become a star organically.

A swerve is the only way to ensure a memorable ending for all the reasons the WWE wants it to be memorable. The Rock is in town, having been heavily promoted. Why not bring him out to celebrate with Roman, only to have him get pummeled by his “cousin” to close out the night?

I want Roman to succeed. I want him to grow into the star McMahon believes he can be. But at this point time, the only way to get him cheers will be to embrace the boos.

Prediction: Roman Reigns wins and turns heel in the process

WWE Roadblock Recap/Analysis

Eat your heart out, Fastlane, because this glorified house show ended up being one of the most solid, entertaining, albeit predictable shows of the year. Natalya and Charlotte put on a stellar match. The New Day trudged towards babyface status. Enzo and Big Cass impressed. And Dean Ambrose showed the entire WWE Universe that he belongs at the top of every card he’s in.

The New Day vs. The League of Nations (WWE Tag Team Championship match)

The New Day kicked the night off by giving us the most entertaining advertisement for their new Booty-O’s box and shirt combo. They cheerfully insulted the League of Nation, but interestingly did not insult Canada like one would expect. Huh.

Some premature celebrating allowed Sheamus to take early control of the match before tagging in King Barrett, who fell to the Unicorn Stampede. Some double-teaming by the League, however, allowed them to regain momentum.

But a desperate dropkick by Kingston gave him the time he needed to tag in Big E, who hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Barrett, who countered into a suplex of his own. The two both tagged out, spent. Sheamus nearly took out Kingston with the Clover Leaf, but a beautiful counter gave Kingston the time to tag in Big E.

Barrett nearly covered him, but Woods distracted the ref, allowing Big E to hit the Big Ending for the victory.

The match was solid, but the most interesting thing was the lack of biting remarks from the New Day directed at the crowd. Looks like they’re being steered into babyface territory. I’m conflicted about this. I adore them as heels. They’re absolutely hilarious as heels. But at the same time, they are rarely booed because yeah, they’re that good.

I’ll see where this leads before I pass judgment…

Chris Jericho vs. Jack Swagger

Chris Jericho, in full heel mode, cut a promo in the ring about how ashamed he was to be Canadian, jeering at AJ Styles chants and insulting his home country as much as he could manage.

Jericho started his match against the real American with a slap, sliding out of the ring when Swagger hit some punches. A cheap shot by Jericho allowed him to take control of the match. The crowd taunted him with chants for AJ Styles.

Swagger seemed to be mounting a comeback, hitting a Swagger Bomb on Jericho, but the seasoned vet kicked out of it, nearly hitting the Codebreaker before Swagger countered out of it, locking in the Patriot Lock. But Jericho used the ref to make it to the ropes, locking in the Walls of Jericho for the win.

This was a showcase of heel Jericho, and it did its job. Short and sweet.

The Revival vs. Enzo & Big Cass (NXT Tag Team Championship match)

Enzo and Cass took control early on despite distraction attempts from Dash and Dawson with some fantastic double-teaming that included a thrilling aerial maneuver from Enzo Amore.

However, some clever tagging and interference allowed Dash and Dawson to regain momentum, picking Enzo apart without mercy by working his arm. Enzo tried getting back to Cass, but Dawson took him out of the ring to prevent it.

Cass eventually managed to tag in hot, clearing the ring viciously. Dawson tried hiding behind Carmella, but she had none of it, slapping him. Enzo rolled up for a near-fall, but was double-teamed out as the Revival scored a hard-fought win.

The most over tag team in all of NXT, Enzo Amore and Big Cass, along with the Revival, put on one of the best paced and most exciting matches of the night, filled with thrilling spots and excellent tag team tactics. No doubt they will be making the leap to the main roster in no time at all.

Charlotte vs. Natalya (Divas Championship match)

Dedicating her match her her uncle Bret Hart, Natalya took early control of the match before Charlotte began taking toll on her with a series of submission holds. Charlotte mocked her throughout, but Natalya locked in the Surfboard.

Charlotte got out, but the move served its purpose. However, Charlotte pulled Nattie out of the ring, weakening her. She pounded a weakened Natalya into the middle of the ring, wearing down the veteran Diva by working her legs.

Charlotte continued working Natalya’s leg at ringside, but Natalya sent her headfirst into the ring’s corner. Back in the ring, the two exchanged strikes, with Natalya nearly locking in the Sharpshooter. Charlotte looked to lock in the Figure 8, but Natalya refused to give in, even when Charlotte rolled out of the ring and hit her with the Natural Selection.

She nearly took the title with a massive powerbomb, but Charlotte barely kicked out. Natalya then locked in the Sharpshooter, but interference by Ric Flair distracted Nattie enough to let Charlotte roll her up, using the ropes to secure the win.

This match brought Toronto to its feet, which is always thrilling to see with two women in the ring. Nattie and Charlotte absolutely delivered, masterfully telling a compelling story and showing everyone why the WWE was abuzz after their last battle in NXT.

Bray Wyatt & Luke Harper vs. Brock Lesnar

Bray Wyatt entered with Harper at his side, announcing his henchman would be fighting at his side. Bray retreated from the ring, leaving Harper to take a suplex. However, a distraction by Wyatt allowed Harper to take control of the match.

But Lesnar couldn’t be controlled for long, powering back with one German suplex after another. Throughout, Lesnar kept glancing back at Wyatt, almost daring him to come get some. But Wyatt wisely stayed away, allowing Lesnar to hit an F-5 on Harper for the pinfall.

Wyatt beat a hasty retreat, leaving a beaten Luke Harper in the middle of the ring and saving his confrontation with the Beast Incarnate for another day.

Sami Zayn vs. Stardust

Entering to a massive pop, Sami Zayn took early and swift control of the match with his unique, quick-tempo offense. Stardust, however, gained some momentum of his own with a well-timed counterstrike, working Zayn’s shoulder.

Slowly but surely, Zayn fought back, working his way back to his feet. Stardust locked in a submission hold, but Zayn made it to the ropes. The pair exchanged rollups, and Stardust hit a huge superplex from the top rope, which Zayn just barely kicked out of.

Zayn regained momentum, taking Stardust out of the ring before hitting the blue thunder bomb in the ring. He maintained the momentum this time, getting the pinfall.

This match dragged near the end, but was a decent showcase for the WWE’s newest sensation.

Triple H vs. Dean Ambrose (WWE World Heavyweight Championship match)

Ambrose and Triple H traded momentum, with Ambrose mocking Triple H recklessly early on, taking control as Triple H grew flustered. Triple H looked to be mounting a comeback with his sheer power, but outside of the ring, Ambrose hit a reversal clothesline to get things back in his lane.

He targeted Triple H’s leg, buckling it in the ring’s corner and hitting it with a punch from the top rope. However, Triple H came back, nearly hitting a Pedigree but instead sending Ambrose into the steel steps and then the barricade.

The beating continued in the ring, the Cerebral Assassin methodically tearing Ambrose apart with ice in his eyes and locking Ambrose into a submission hold. Triple H taunted him, but Ambrose refused to tap, getting out of it. Triple H hit a Spinebuster, but even that couldn’t keep Ambrose down for the count as the challenger made it to the top ropes to hit a Flying Elbow.

Ambrose went manic at this point, hitting Triple H with a series of rapid strikes and a Running Bulldog. He went for Dirty Deeds twice, but was thwarted twice, getting hit with a wicked clothesline from the Game. Triple H again went for the Pedigree, but was sent out of the ring by Ambrose.

Triple H looked to put Ambrose through the announce table, but Ambrose threw him into the steel steps. Back in the ring, Ambrose locked in the Figure 4 on Triple H, but Triple H just barely managed to get out, only to be locked into the Sharpshooter, WHICH HE ALSO GOT OUT OF. Ambrose hit Dirty Deeds for the three-count, but the official waved it off since Ambrose’s feet were under the bottom rope.

Triple H rolled up Ambrose using the ropes, but Ambrose kicked out, taking the Game out of the ring and hitting him with a savage suicide dive and then a Flying Elbow from the top rope out of the ring. Ambrose looked to send Triple H through the announce table, but Triple H dodged, hitting the Pedigree to retain.

Am I disappointed? Of course. Surprised? No, obviously not.

This match was fantastic from start to finish, a true breakout performance for Ambrose, who had the arena wrapped around his finger. Additionally, the screwy finish does have me wondering if perhaps his Championship hopes are not dashed just yet.

Even if they are, he lost while retaining his dignity and is now set for a bout even more anticipated than the main event.

Ha, good luck with Reigns, WWE.

 

Fastlane 2016 – Recap/Analysis

This year’s Fastlane had the distinction of following last year’s dismally booked premiere of the event. And it definitely surpassed it, producing two entertaining Divas matches and inspired performances despite a woefully predictable ending.

Preshow: Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio (US Championship 2 out of 3 falls match)

This match was quick-paced from the start, with Del Rio ripping off part of Kalisto’s mask and Kalisto responding with a quick-paced offense that took them outside of the ring, where Kalisto picked up the first fall via DQ as Del Rio struck the Luchador with a steel chair.

Kalisto couldn’t recover soon enough, as Del Rio picked up the second fall with a powerbomb. Kalisto countered his way back into contention, hitting Del Rio with a hurricana and boot to the face. A DDT nearly got him the final fall, but Del Rio kicked out and regained momentum with an inverted suplex. A countout nearly lost Kalisto the match, but he made it back right on time, getting the final pinfall with a rollup.

Sasha Banks & Becky Lynch vs. Naomi & Tamina

Though a disagreement caused a rocky start for Lynch and Banks, the two soon gained momentum with Becky’s quick-paced offense and some solid team action.However, Tamina powered back for BAD, with Naomi scoring a near-fall. Lynch continued to take an awful beating, finally tagging in a red-hot Sasha.

Sasha laid a beating down on Naomi, nearly locking in the Banks Statement before being pulled out by Tamina. She almost fell to Naomi’s Rear View, but a double missile by Becky and evasion by Sasha allowed Banks to rally, locking in the Banks Statement on Tamina as Becky locked in the Dis-Arm Her on Naomi.

This was a fun display of the skill of all four women, especially Banks and Lynch. I was surprised Sasha didn’t immediately turn on Becky right after the match, but am interested in where these two go heading into Wrestlemania. Triple Threat still, perhaps? Here’s hoping!

Besides, the WWE doesn’t need to rush every storyline. Sometimes a slow burn is what’s truly best for business.

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship match)

Owens took control immediately with a brutal headbutt, taunting Ziggler as the crowd rallied behind him. Ziggler looked to fight back with a dropkick and strikes, but Owens sent him swiftly into the turnbuckle, beating down on a prone Ziggler, slowed after the nasty impact.

Ziggler looked to be making another comeback, but Owens wouldn’t be denied the beating he craved to dish out. Owens hit Ziggler with a vicious cannonball before Ziggler scored a nearfall. Ziggler’s momentum was stopped cold as Owens dropped him from the ropes with suplex. The fight left the ring as Ziggler rolled out, and once they returned to the ring, Owens kicked out of the Fameasser, but just barely, hitting the Pop-Up Powerbomb on Ziggler to get the hard-fought victory.

This match outclassed all of their previous bouts in spades, showcasing both of their strengths wonderfully. Owens looked every bit the brawling monster he was born to be, and Ziggler’s athletic style was a great foil to it.

The Wyatt Family vs. Big Show, Kane & Ryback

Ryback took control early on against Rowan before Big Show looked to continue the beating. However, Rowan would fight back, tagging in Luke Harper, who beat down Ryback before tagging in Strowman. As Rowan tagged back in, so did Kane, quickly laying down a beating on Rowan.

Strowman regained the Wyatts’ momentum before tagging in Luke Harper, who looked to subdue the Demon before tagging in Strowman to finish the job. Ringside, Bray Wyatt observed calmly.

Harper and Ryback both tagged in, and Ryback got on a roll, slamming Harper around viciously, only missing a pinfall after Rowan interfered. Big Show tossed the Wyatts out of the ring before barreling into Strowman as Harper and Ryback returned to the ring.

Ryback hit the Shell-Shock for the pinfall after Kane took out Bray for a distrction.

Honestly, screw Creative.

Backstage, Roman Reigns proclaimed he would be the one going to Wrestlemania. Ambrose, confronting him, didn’t believe that so much, proclaiming either he or Reigns would be the one facing Triple H at Wrestlemania.

Charlotte vs. Brie Bella (Divas Championship match)

Brie entered to a chorus of “Yes!” chants that she started, having dedicated this match to her husband and sister and Charlotte continued to master her heel role.

Charlotte began the match strong, mocking Bella throughout. Her arrogance would prove a hindrance to her own success as Bella nearly locked in an armbar, mocking her in turn with a strut.

Charlotte powered back, punishing Brie shamelessly and confidently. Brie went for the Yes Lock, latching onto Charlotte with a sleeper hold, but Charlotte broke it. Brie battled back with a series of kicks and forearms, sending Charlotte out of the ring with two dropkicks and then a top rope kick, tweaking her left leg.

She looked to hit Charlotte with her husband’s kicks, nearly scoring a pinfall, but Charlotte kicked out. However, Brie locked in the Yes Lock and then the Half Crab, but Charlotte countered into the Figure 8, forcing Brie to tap out.

Thank GOD.

This match featured some nice storytelling by both women, Brie especially. The woman may not be an impressive wrestler, but her in-ring psychology was spot-on tonight. A nice way to prepare to send her off.

Here’s to Wrestlemania, and what will hopefully be a historic showcase of women’s wrestling on the grandest stage of them all.

AJ Styles vs. Chris Jericho

Fans have been salivating over this rematch for weeks, and we finally got it tonight. As expected, the two veterans more than delivered, putting on a clinic.

This match was even throughout. Styles hit a move, then Jericho took an advantage with a clothesline or back body drop. Said back body drop allowed Jericho to weaken Styles, hitting a dropkick as Styles soared through the air at him. Jericho looked to capitalize, but Styles kicked out.

He powered back with a series of strikes, powering into him with ease and launching himself like a missile. He looked to hit the Styles Clash, but Jericho countered into the Walls of Jericho, which Styles countered for an escape.

The two continued to brawl in the ring, with Jericho growing increasingly frustrated. The two kept countering each other’s attacks until Jericho countered Styles into the Walls of Jericho, but Styles dragged himself to the ropes, infuriating Jericho, who sent him into the barricade, looking for a countout before hitting a Codebreaker, calling Styles stupid for continuing to fight.

Styles fought back viciously, hitting the Styles Clash, but Jericho kicked out. Styles wasn’t done, locking in the Calf Crusher, forcing Jericho to tap out.

A furious Jericho confronted Styles in the ring after, and almost looked to fight, which Styles was prepared for, but in the end, shook his hand.

This was a thrill to watch from start to finish. Both Superstars more than delivered, shelling out a seemingly infinite arsenal of incredible offense and fantastic counters. This was, without a doubt, the match of the night. I am so excited to see where these two living legends are going next.

Cutting Edge Peep Show with Edge and Christian ft. The New Day

Edge and Christian promoted their new show, reminiscing about their victory in Cleveland all those years ago, but were interrupted by the ever-jubilant New Day.

Edge and Christian mocked them, reminiscing on their early struggles as faces before claiming that they were rip-offs of them. New Day countered that they were better than them and everybody, mocking the League of Nations, who emerged angrily, scaring off the New Day and confronting Edge and Christian, who teamed with the New Day in mocking the League beautifully.

I don’t know if this was supposed to count as a face turn, but it better not be. The New Day are magical heels. Don’t fix something if it isn’t broken, honestly. Also, putting the League of Nations in this is like a death sentence to anything fun about the New Day.

R-Truth vs. Curtis Axel

After, the Social outcasts emerged, chatting about what kind of cars they are, before being interrupted by a cheery R-Truth.

Distractions by the Social Outcasts allowed the others to help Axel get control over R-Truth before Goldust emerged to offer his assistance, taking down Slater. However, his takedown of Adam Rose inadvertently caused Truth the match. Goldust tried apologizing, but Truth walked away.

I don’t understand the point of putting this on the card without letting it develop in the slightest. I just don’t.

Roman Reigns vs. Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar (No. 1 Contender’s match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

Lesnar wasted no time in sending Ambrose out of the ring and suplexing Reigns viciously . . . multiple times before Ambrose hit him with a missile dropkick before getting a suplex of his own.

The suplexes were plentiful as the match went on, with Lesnar hitting an F-5 on Reigns before Ambrose screwed up the pinfall, slapping Lesnar in the face before being treated to his own trip to Suplex City. He nearly hit an F-5 before Reigns intercepted with a spear and then a Superman Punch. Lesnar caught Reigns as he went for another, but Ambrose hit the low blow and the two powerbombed Lesnar into the announce table.

Ambrose attacked right away, throwing Reigns into the ring and unloading on him. Lesnar stirred, and the two brothers sent him into another announce table, actually burying him in the rubble. Sweet lord.

This time it was Reigns who attacked first, punching Ambrose before attempting a powerbomb that Ambrose fought out of before falling to a Superman Punch. However, a done Spear led to Ambrose hitting Dirty Deeds for what was TOTALLY a three count. But then Lesnar re-emerged, hitting a German Suplex on both men at once.

Reigns hit a Spear, but Lesnar locked in a submission lock. Reigns, however, powered to a stand as Ambrose emerged with a steel chair, unloading on Lesnar and Reigns both, only to walk into a spear by Reigns for the pinfall. Then, Triple H emerged, belt in tow, sarcastically applauding. The two stood facing each other to close the show.

That ending came out of nowhere, really doing nothing to make Reigns look strong since it was Ambrose who took out Lesnar. I don’t understand why they thought that would be a good idea. The result was predictable, and badly handled. I mean, in what world does Roman Reigns have the strength to spear Ambrose after taking all of those chair shots, hm?

It also elicited absolutely no emotion from me, which is not a good sign. It was so bland and poorly booked that I find myself leaving an otherwise entertaining pay-per-view with a sour taste in my mouth. That’s not how it’s supposed to be.

That being said, I don’t want this bland ending to overshadow some of the magic produced tonight. AJ Styles and Jericho stole the show. Two Divas matches both delivered. Kevin Owens and Ziggler shone. Basically, the first two hours of Fastlane were very, very good. But then Enzo and Cass didn’t debut, and not only did Reigns win, but he won in bland fashion, and only because Ambrose took out Lesnar first.

BOOK. HIM. BETTER. Sweet Jesus.

There’s still time to make me care about the main event. The ball’s in your court, WWE…good luck.

 

 

 

 

Fastlane 2016 Predictions

Last year, I attended my first WWE event for my birthday. And just my luck, it ended up being universally panned and had less star power than some recent episodes of RAW. Regardless, I had a blast, and I was thrilled to see Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose and Daniel Bryan int he flesh. Looking back, I’m very lucky to have seen Bryan perform live before his retirement.

You know, it’s funny. If you had asked me a week ago about my Fastlane predictions, I would have had a card within five minutes. But after a single week of solidly decent programming, I am starting to reconsider everything. That being said, I’m still sure a lot of my original predictions are still correct no matter how much I don’t want to be.

Let’s get to it!

Kalisto vs. Alberto Del Rio (2 out of 3 Falls match for United States Championship)

This is a pretty easy one to call. With the WWE grappling to find a new star for their Hispanic fans to rally behind, Kalisto is the easy choice to win this one. His in-ring charisma is strong and he also carries the immense appeal of being a true underdog.

Hopefully, Kalisto will put on a dominant showing against Del Rio, who for no good reason has been booked overly strong in the past few weeks despite the outcome of this match being crystal clear. Perhaps the League of Nations (yeah, they’re still a thing) will try and interfere, but a wily Sin Cara will make the save for his Luchador partner.

Prediction: Kalisto retains

Chris Jericho vs. AJ Styles

This match has all the makings to be a potential match of the year candidate, if given ample time. Jericho and Styles are both seasoned veterans in the ring, with indispensable knowledge of ring psychology and technical prowess. They can concoct some serious magic and do some awesome storytelling together.

Perhaps one of the best things about this feud is the simplicity of it. Two proud, seasoned competitors who want to prove that they are the best in the world. It’s easy to understand and will be a blast to watch.

The winner of this match depends on the WWE’s plans heading into Wrestlemania. If they want to end the feud at Fastlane and move Styles on to clash (hehehe) with Kevin Owens for the IC Title at Wrestlemania or perhaps face another wrestler ont he roster, then STyles will come out on top for sure.

However, if they wish to prolong this feud into Wrestlemania, Jericho might pull a fast one on us. Or perhaps Styles will win anyways. Either way, if this rivalry is going to last through the Show of Shows, expect Jericho to have a definitive heel turn tomorrow night.

Or, maybe, Kevin Owens will rear his head.

Prediction: AJ Styles wins

Kevin Owens vs. Dolph Ziggler (Intercontinental Championship)

If the WWE has any sense at all, this will be a squash match, plain and simple. No offense to Ziggler, who is an incredible performer in his own right, but this match must continue to elevate Owens as a monster heel.

He has the ability to potentially carry the upper midcard while the likes of Ambrose and Reigns hold up the main event scene as he continues to grow. Owens has big things ahead of him. Hopefully this match is just a stepping stone to something truly special at Wrestlemania.

Prediction: Kevin Owens retains

Ryback, Demon Kane and Big Show vs. The Wyatt Family

The Wyatts are being propelled towards a rivalry with the Beast Incarnate, Brock Lesnar, so expect to see them absolutely decimate the so-called Titans of the WWE. This match will probably be used to really put over Braun Strowman, who has yet to really impress anyone in the ring yet.

It’s hard to do that when your finisher is a hug.

Expect Luke Harper to be awesome, as usual, and for Bray Wyatt to continue to be the impressive character he is. Erick Rowan has kind of been lost int he mix, but I hope he gets a nice moment to shine.

It would be an interesting twist if Brock Lesnar were to interfere in this, but in all likelihood they will be the ones attacking him, not the other way around.

Prediction: The Wyatt family wins, Strowman takes the pinfall

 

Naomi and Tamina vs. Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch

Sasha Banks has broken out as an absolute star in this program, as she does with everything she’s given, looking hellaciously strong against both members of Team BAD while still retaining her fantastic, tense alliance with Becky Lynch.

If given time, expect these women to put on a fun match. Naomi is terrifically athletic, and she will hopefully have a chance to shine against both Banks and Lynch. Expect some wild suicide dives and tag-team shenanigans as the women brawl it out, but also  expect to see Lynch and Banks come out on top.

Also, don’t be surprised if Banks takes out Lynch right after they pick up their win. Her goal is, after all, to claim the title that is rightfully hers after all.

Prediction: Banks and Lynch win, Banks attacks Lynch after

 

Charlotte vs. Brie Bella (Divas Championship)

I have my issues with Brie Bella and the way she is being pushed, but if she can put on a good show against Charlotte that’s not just variations of her husband’s kicks, I will be impressed. She is set to retire soon, so a good showing here would be a nice sendoff. Heck, maybe even give her the belt and have her drop it on RAW the next night, as a little gift to her before she goes off. She’s definitely improved over the years, so this match ought to be a testament to that.

This match is a bit of an afterthought, really, because Wrestlemania is looming and we all know who truly belongs there.

Prediction: Charlotte retains

 

Dean Ambrose vs. Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns (No. 1 contender’s match for WWE World Heavyweight Championship)

Calling this match is incredibly difficult for me, because it’s like my head is battling against my heart. I want Dean Ambrose to win, and I know that him winning would be absolutely thrilling, but deep down, I’m certain that Roman Reigns will win. Lesnar will probably inflict some heavy damage on them both, but be overwhelmed by the Wyatt clan.

Hopefully, the emotional core of this match will be the growing rivalry between Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Shield conflicts are so multidimensional and wonderful for storytelling. Even with Lesnar in the mix, expect to see a lot of fighting between an increasingly frustrated Ambrose and desperate Reigns.

Though a swerve would be a more than welcome surprise, I’m not completely delusional. The WWE is going to push Roman Reigns no matter what anyone thinks. Hopefully, however, they keep Dean Ambrose in the main event scene and let him shine properly at Wrestlemania. He deserves it.

Prediction: Roman Reigns wins

 

 

Royal Rumble 2016 Recap/Analysis

The road to Wrestlemania has begun, ladies and gentlemen.

And what a beginning the Royal Rumble was. Aside from the finish of the Rumble itself, young talent stole the show every step of the way: from AJ Styles to Sami Zayn to Dean Ambrose to Sasha Banks…the future has never looked so bright.

Dean Ambrose vs. Kevin Owens (Last Man Standing match)

The match got very brutal, very fast, as Ambrose took Owens out of the ring, throwing him out of the ring and unloading on him with a kendo stick soon after. Owens fought back with a canonball into the barricade soon after. This time it was Owens who would beat Ambrose with the stick.

Physicality ruled this match. The men pulled out all of the stops, throwing each other through steel chairs, steps, the apron, and everything imaginable. Midway through the match, Ambrose even managed to hit Dirty Deeds on Owens twice, into a steel chair the second time.

He then sent Owens through a table with his flying elbow from the ropes, but even that couldn’t keep Owens down long enough for a victory. After exchanging heated, “I HATE YOUs” with each other, Owens hit the Pop-Up Powerbomb on Ambrose, setting up a group of chairs to throw Ambrose into, but Ambrose countered by sending Owens through two tables, securing a thrilling win.

In the words of my dad, “That’s Wrestlemania material.”

 

The New Day vs. The Usos (Tag Team Championship match)

The New Day entered gloriously, introducing us all to Francesca II, since, as Woods put it, “A brother’s got needs.”

The Usos started out strong, but with interference from Xavier Woods the New Day powered back, much to the crowd’s delight. The Usos seemed to be staging a comeback, but Big E powered back, getting a near-fall before hitting a harrowing move through the ropes.

A few splashes and dives later, Xavier Woods was the only man left on his feet. The Usos made a real comeback, nearly landing a pinfall on Kofi, but he kept his feet under the ropes, and a sneaky tag by Big E into the Big Ending landed the New Day another victory.

The New Day continues to amaze me with their endless charisma and skill in the ring. I cannot WAIT to see what they do next.

Alberto Del Rio vs. Kalisto (United States Championship match)

Just like their other two bouts, Del Rio and Kalisto put on a fantastic clash of different styles. Del Rio took early control, pushing Kalisto around with ease before the Luchador utilized his agility and speed to mount a comeback.

Kalisto put on a wonderful fight, hitting Del Rio through the ropes and then again with a tilt-a-whirl. Del Rio tried taking control again, but Kalisto kept gaining momentum. However, Del Rio kept breaking it, even trying to unmask him at one point.

Kalisto hit a spinning DDT on the champion, but even that couldn’t get him the pinfall. He continued battering Del Rio with quick-paced moves, including his Solida-Del-Sol, but Del Rio grabbed the ropes. However, Kalisto survived long enough to once again reclaim the title he never should have lost in the first place.

Kalisto and Del Rio’s in-ring chemistry was as vivid as ever in this match, and Kalisto’s win made it even sweeter.

Charlotte vs. Becky Lynch (Divas championship match)

Chemistry is an integral component of any wrestling match. You can have two very talented performers but not feel any investment whatsoever because their story just doesn’t ring true.

Becky Lynch came out strong, maintaining a swift, physical style that perfectly countered Charlotte’s heelish antics. She sent the champion flying out of the ring, and looked to be throwing quite the beatdown, but then Ric Flair intervened, kissing Becky before Charlotte threw her to the ground.

Charlotte took control after that, throwing Becky around and taunting her loudly. But Becky fought back, lifting Charlotte onto her shoulders and throwing her down to buy some recovery time before hitting Charlotte with a series of clotheslines and nearly locking in her submission move.

But once again, Charlotte’s father interfered, throwing his jacket on Becky to get Charlotte enough distraction for the win.

But the night didn’t end there, as Sasha Banks entered, taking out an already down Lynch before taking down Charlotte ferociously.

My friends, the Divas Revolution may very well have arrived.

Royal Rumble Match (WWE World Heavyweight Championship Match)

Entrant 1: Roman Reigns

(beaten down by the League of Nations)

Eliminated by Triple H

Entrant 2: Rusev

Eliminated by Reigns.

Entrant 3: AJ Styles

Eliminated by Kevin Owens

Entrant 4: Tyler Breeze

Eliminated by Reigns and Styles

Entrant 5: Curtis Axel

Eliminated by AJ Styles

Entrant 6: Chris Jericho

Eliminated by Dean Ambrose

Entrant 7: Kane

Eliminated by Braun Strowman

Entrant 8: Goldust

Eliminated by Titus O’Neil

Entrant 9: Ryback

Eliminated by Big Show

Entrant 10: Kofi Kingston

Eliminated by Chris Jericho

Entrant 11: Titus O’Neil

Eliminated by Big Show

Entrant 12: R-Truth

Eliminated by Kane

Entrant 13: Luke Harper

Eliminated by Brock Lesnar

Entrant 14: Stardust

Eliminated by Luke Harper

Entrant 15: Big Show

Eliminated by Braun Strowman

Entrant 16: Neville

Eliminated by Luke Harper

Entrant 17: Braun Strowman

Eliminated by Brock Lesnar

Entrant 18: Kevin Owens

Eliminated by Sami Zayn

Entrant 19: Dean Ambrose

Eliminated by Triple H

Entrant 20: Sami Zayn

Eliminated by Braun Strowman

Entrant 21: Erik Rowan

Eliminated by Brock Lesnar

Entrant 22: Mark Henry

Eliminated by the Wyatts

Entrant 23: Brock Lesnar

Eliminated by the Wyatt Family

Entrant 24: Jack Swagger

Eliminated by Brock Lesnar

Entrant 25: The Miz

Crap…I don’t know.

Entrant 26: Alberto Del Rio

Eliminated by Roman Reigns

Entrant 27: Bray Wyatt

Eliminated by Triple H

Entrant 28: Dolph Ziggler

Eliminated by Triple H

Entrant 29: Sheamus

Eliminated by Reigns

Entrant 30: Triple H

WINNER: TRIPLE H

Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you, along with most other wrestling news outlets. While predictable, the ending sets up a good story going into a Wrestlemania without John Cena, Seth Rollins, Randy Orton, or Cesaro. And not just that, I barely stopped smiling the entire night. This was, all in all, a fun show to watch.

AJ Styles owned the show absolutely and completely. His entrance was as glorious as it could be, and boy, I cannot WAIT to see what else he does on the road to Mania. I couldn’t take my eyes off him his entire time in the ring, and the WWE Universe will be the same as he makes a name for himself in the WWE.

Welcome, AJ. We love you. Chris Jericho shouldn’t have outlasted you.

And to those of you upset with Triple H as champ . . . good. You’re supposed to be pissed. The ultimate victories are saved for Wrestlemania. This is storytelling. Roman Reigns winning tonight would have been a disaster. Dean Ambrose as a double champion would be great, but at this point is simply not gonna happen.

This feeling, this euphoria and anticipation that I feel as I write this recap? THAT is what makes wrestling so magical. That is why I keep coming back, even after everything Creative has put me through.

Bring on Fastlane. Bring on Wrestlemania. I cannot wait.

DON’T SCREW THIS UP.