Real American Wrestleblog

This blog predates Jack Swagger's gimmick shift by a year. I named it after Hulk Hogan's entrance theme.

Archive for May 2015

Live Reactions – Elimination Chamber 2015 Preshow

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Within the last hour before the Kickoff show went live, it was announced on wwe.com that Rusev had not been cleared to compete and thus will not be a part of the Elimination Chamber for the Intercontinental Championship tonight, meaning that we have a surprise opening in that chamber match.

On the preshow, Booker T announces that his sources are telling him Rusev will be replaced in the Elimination Chamber by a former World Heavyweight Champion.  That points to potentially The Miz, Jack Swagger, Mark Henry, Big Show, Kane or Randy Orton.  Unless somebody like a Chris Jericho were to make a surprise appearance tonight.

Backstage, Kane is talking in the Authority’s office with all 3 members of New Day and New Day asks to be rewarded for helping The Authority out against Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.  Kane reveals that he has decided that all three members of New Day will be allowed to compete in the Elimination Chamber tonight.  Xavier asks if this means they will get a bigger pod so that all three of them can fit.  Kane looks confused and says if that is going to cause a problem, he can arrange for New Day to start the match and make them go through every other team.  Big E and Kofi then immediately cover Xavier’s mouth before he can make things worse and says it won’t be a problem, they’ll fit.  So, the bottom line is that we know all 3 members of New Day will be in the match and they will not be one of the two teams starting the match.

Another announcement was made on the preshow, this time having to do with the Divas Championship match.  A ruling has been made during the Divas Championship Triple Threat match, nobody will be allowed at ringside.  That means that Brie Bella and Tamina won’t be in Nikki Bella and Naomi’s respective corners.  That means we will likely have a better match than just a couple of minutes full of interference and then a quick pin and a new champion.  However, even with them banned from ringside, I wouldn’t rule out some kind of interference taking place.

At ringside, the announce team talks about the Tough Enough auditions and then we have an impromptu, unannanounced preshow match as Zack Ryder makes his way to the ring.  I don’t think Ryder has had a singles match on a Pay Per View / PPV Preshow in over a year.  Tonight, he’s taking on Stardust, who lost to R-Truth on the Payback preshow two weeks ago.

Stardust controls the early going, mostly working the torso and Ryder’s left arm.  Ryder counters a Vertical Suplex into a Neckbreaker and the tables are turned.  Very nice Missile Dropkick from Ryder off the ring apron to the floor.  The announce team plays up Stardust’s run-in with Stephen Amell on Raw last week.  Ryder hits the Broski Boot and goes for the Rough Ryder, but Stardust blocks it.  Stardust ends up winning with the Cross Rhodes.  JBL says it’s now called the Queen’s Crossbow, playing up a potential Stardust / Amell program.

Tom Phillips interviews Lana.  She sells the beef between her and Rusev and gets gooey over Ziggler.  In case you missed Smackdown, Rusev is no longer waving a Russian flag.  Instead, he’s waving a Bulgarian flag.  That’s a step that seems like Rusev and Lana won’t be reuniting to swerve Ziggler, but you never know.

The Miz returns, announced by Summer Rae.  Miz is wearing an even crappier version of his black man-dress from his last run.  Not only is he a boring performer and a below average wrestler, but he continues to have the worst fashion sense of anybody on the planet.  He’s interviewing Daniel Bryan on a Miz-TV segment.  Miz does the typical heel thing and asks Bryan a question and then interrupts and answers it himself.  Bryan says his career is not over and he WILL be back.  Bryan promotes his upcoming book.  Miz says that due to doctor’s orders, Byran can’t touch him and he can’t touch Bryan.  However, Bryan says that he finds Miz-TV boring and has an alternative solution to continuing it and points to the back and Macho Mandow and Axelmania make their way to the ring and clobber Miz.  Axel drops the leg on Miz and Miz rolls out to the floor and retreats.  The Faux Mega Powers pose down with Daniel Bryan to end the segment.

Dean Ambrose is being interviewed.  Ambrose says that no matter what the Authority has planned, he’s going down swinging.  Roman Reigns shows up and says that Ambrose only has to worry about Seth Rollins tonight because he will be in the corner.

JBL closes down the preshow, standing inside the Elimination Chamber and reviews the rules of the Chamber match.  The chamber is set up, so it looks like one of the two Elimination Chamber matches is coming up first on the main card.

Brock Lesnar WWE return dates announced

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Living in rural Missouri, my best chances to attend WWE events are either in Kansas City or St. Louis and as a result I receive e-mail promotions from WWE about upcoming events in those two cities and today I received some very big promotional news about Battleground in St. Louis on July 19.

WWE and the Scottrade Center are announcing that Brock Lesnar will return to action at the Battleground Pay Per View July 19.  After the way he left, the speculation is obviously that he would face Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship.  He is also reportedly being advertised for Raw on June 22 in Indianapolis, presumably then to set up for his match at Battleground.

Here is the full e-mail notification that I received word for word.

“Lesnar Returns for WWE Battleground PPV

For the first time in over 2 years “The Beast” Brock Lesnar will be live in St. Louis at the WWE Battleground PPV! See what unfolds when Brock makes his return to action at the Scottrade Center on Sunday July 19th.

In addition you will see United States Champion John Cena, WWE World Heavyweight Champion Seth Rollins, St. Louis’ own Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose, Bray Wyatt, Dolph Ziggler, The Divas and many more as the WWE Battleground PPV come to St. Louis for the first time ever!

Tickets are on sale now at the Ford Box Office at Scottrade Center and through Ticketmaster. Scottrade Center Insiders can also take advantage of a special WWE 4-pack offer and receive 4 tickets for the price of 3 on select seats through ticketmaster.com .”

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not – 05/26/15 Edition

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This is a pretty self-explanatory post and will possibly become a regular feature here at the Real American Wrestleblog.  Let’s dive right in and see how it goes.

Who’s Hot

#1 – Kevin Owens – Owens won the NXT Championship just two months after his arrival at NXT R-Evolution.  Despite his two championship matches with Sami Zayn (at NXT Rival and NXT Unstoppable) being aborted by referee interference, Owens has not lost any steam.  In the first match with Zayn, the result was what amounted to a TKO, which wasn’t ideal, but it was palatable because it set up for what we thought would be an epic rematch.  However, the second match was unable to finish due to multiple referees, the NXT commissioner and finally the debuting Samoa Joe getting in between Owens and Zayn and not allowing Owens to finish Zayn off.  Despite all of that, Kevin Owens is as over with the crowd as ever, just like every WWE signing to come out of ROH has been.  And now, this Sunday, Owens gets to make his WWE main roster PPV debut with a one-on-one match against John Cena.  When was the last time somebody making their PPV debut was given a match with John Cena?  My best guess would be maybe Carlito’s lackey Jesus back during their United States Championship rivalry back in 2004.  It says a lot about WWE’s opinion of Owens, especially since he’s not the most in-shape of athletes, to put him in the ring with the face of the company on his first major WWE event.

#2 – Dean Ambrose – In what week would this list be complete without Dean Ambrose?  But he has to be here this week, especially since he’s getting a one-on-one opportunity for the WWE Championship this Sunday at the Elimination Chamber.  Ambrose’s antics usually make him the highlight of the night every single week on both Raw and Smackdown.  It’s not just the Lunatic Fringe crazy antics, but it’s the over the top theatrics and top notch ring psychology that have made him an unwavering fan favorite since The Shield turned face approximately 15 months ago.  Win or lose, no matter what the outcome of any given match, Ambrose seems to come out of it better than he went in.

#3 – John Cena – Cena’s United States Championship Open Challenge, since it began, has provided the best match of the night on every episode of Monday Night Raw where the match wasn’t interrupted by interference.  Cena has really stepped up his game in the ring, adding that new Springboard Stunner maneuver to his arsenal.  Plus, defending the title every week against an unknown challenger adds a lot of drama and entertainment value to the show, even if we know that no matter who it is that answers the challenge, Cena is still leaving with the belt.  At this moment in time, Cena might just be the best entertainer that he’s ever been.

Who’s Not

#1 – Stardust – Other than using the bag of spiders to steal a win over R-Truth on Raw a few weeks ago, when was the last time that Stardust won a match?  He lost to Truth on the Payback preshow.  He lost to Neville last night.  He lost to his big brother back at Fastlane.  He lost in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match at Wrestlemania.  And he lost back in either the second or third United States Championship open challenge that Cena offered.  Any other wins that he’s picked up in 2015 have not been very memorable.  As much as I enjoyed the Goldust / Stardust tag team for a while, it’s gotta be about time for Cody to take off the facepaint and get back to what worked for him before.

#2 – The Bella Twins – Nikki and Brie got steam-rolled by Naomi and Tamina at Payback.  When Nikki came out to rescue Paige on Raw last week, she tripped on the apron leaving the ring and fell flat on her face trying to chase Naomi and Tamina up the rampway.  And heel or face, the Bellas just aren’t getting much of a reaction from the crowd, it seems to me.  It’s well past time to give some different divas a chance.  I predict we see a new Divas Champion this Sunday at Elimination Chamber.

#3 – Adam Rose – Instead of wrestling every week, Rose appears relegated to making out with Rosa Mendes backstage.  And when it happens, Kane is usually walking by or forced to otherwise bear witness to this unsavory sight.  It definitely feels like another run-in with the Big Red Machine is looming in Rose’s future and it won’t have a happy ending.  Next time time, since the Rosebuds have been dismissed,there won’t be The Bunny or any other of the other residents of the Exotic Express to shield Rose from Kane’s destruction.

Sandow’s spotlight fading?

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I feel like the decision to separate Damien Sandow from The Miz was inevitable.  It had to happen at some point.  However, when they actually went splitsville, I felt kind of like I was witnessing a metaphoric “4 Corner Massacre” taking place on Sandow’s career.  If you don’t get the reference, go watch Ready to Rumble.

The reason that the Damien Mizdow gimmick was able to get over so well was because so many people legitimately don’t like The Miz.  And I’ve been one of the most outspoken because I don’t feel like he has the in-ring talent or the entertainment value of the vast majority of the roster.  But you have to give credit where it’s due and Miz has achieved a great deal of success in the WWE.  To me, that makes him the biggest overachiever in professional wrestling.  Kind of like Floyd Mayweather is considered the best pound for pound boxer in the world, substitute weight classes for talent levels and consider that The Miz has done far more with his limited skill set than a lot of more talented wrestlers and entertainers have been able to achieve.  Credit it to his work ethic or dumb luck or kissing the right asses or whatever you want to chalk it up to, but the guy made it to the top of the mountain and stayed there for over half a year.

He main-evented Wrestlemania and sure it was the worst Wrestlemania main event in the 31 years that Wrestlemania has existed.  And sure, he rapidly fell from the top because once he go there his lack of talent shone through and he hasn’t been anywhere close to reattaining that level since.  But he did it.  He was there and there is not changing it.  And he continues to be a featured performer on the roster and go out and shoot a movie and guest star on television shows every year.  A lot of people don’t like him because they are jealous of his success.  A lot of people don’t like him because his on screen persona is an ass.  And a lot of people, like me, don’t like him because we find him not at all entertaining.  I’ve said before that if Miz had never won the Money in the Bank briefcase or if he had been the first person to cash it in and lose, he would have been a lot more entertaining.  At the time he won the briefcase and then won the title, he was a rising star because he had a chip on his shoulder and had a lot to prove and it made him entertaining.  It made him stand out because here was this guy who came from out of reality television and wasn’t respected by his peers and wasn’t considered to be a real wrestler by most of the fans.  As a result, he went out there every week and worked his ass off to stick it in their eye and prove that he belonged.  Once he won Money in the Bank and won the WWE Championship, you could just see that fire go out of him.  Now, instead of a guy that was driven and fired up to prove himself, you had a smug pompous ass that had achieved what he wanted and was more interested in rubbing it in people’s faces and saying look at me, look at me than he was in continuing to earn it.  Criticize John Cena all you want, but in my eyes he has remained every bit as passionate and fired up to go out there and earn his spot every single night.  And I don’t say that just because he says things like that all the time.  I say it because I watch his work and I believe it.  I can’t say the same about The Miz and to me that’s probably the biggest reason why John Cena has been the man for the past decade and won the World Heavyweight Championship 15 times and why The Miz was the top heel in the company for only six months or so and only ever won the title one time.  Miz winning the championship was like killing half the family off in The Godfather II.  It sucked all of the future entertainment value and all of the best conflict out of the franchise and it couldn’t be replaced.

But I digress, this post was supposed to be about Damien Sandow.  But I tell you all of that about The Miz for background about why I genuinely don’t like seeing his character on TV.  And I think a lot of people feel the same way and as a result, when Damien Mizdow came along and started copying The Miz, only with an over the top flair that Miz hasn’t been able to capture in a long time, it amused us.  We looked at it as a way to make a mockery out of The Miz and people love to dis The Miz.  So of course people popped for Mizdow so hard.  He was funny and he was making fun of a guy that nobody likes.  There was no chance that it could have gone wrong.  However, after only a couple of months the fans were so into it and wanted to see Mizdow turn on The Miz and beat him, proving once and for all that he was a much better Miz than Miz was.  But I think WWE did the right thing by dragging that out.  They milked every last drop out of Miz and Mizdow together that they possibly could because they knew that once it was over, those pops that Mizdow was getting every week would start to fade.

Without having that guy that everybody wants to see get taken down a peg for Mizdow to play off of, that gimmick doesn’t work.  So when he came out the week after losing the match for the rights to the Miz gimmick and started mocking Curtis Axel who was mocking Hulk Hogan, I was very surprised when people were still kind of into it.  Because I definitely wasn’t.  Sandow’s speech before Axel’s arrival was heartfelt and genuine, but from the arrival of Curtis Axel onward I thought that segment was a big steaming pile of crap.  And through coming weeks, trying out the Macho Mandow gimmick and “reuniting the Mega Powers” with Axelmania has also been god awful in my opinion.  I think the longer this Mega Powers thing goes on, the worse it will be for both Sandow and Axel.  Because when the fans ultimately get tired of it, and that’ll probably happen sooner than later, where do they go from here?  Sandow just goes into another copycat gimmick most likely, but with waning support from the crowd and Axel may never recover from this.  Macho Mandow has been like Black Machismo all over again, but without any of the humor to go along with it.  And Macho Mandow has yet to drop so much as a single Flying Elbow for fans to mark out for.  Maybe I’m the only one that doesn’t care for it right now, but give it time.  Soon enough, I’ll be far from the only one.

Real American Live Reactions – NXT Takeover: Unstoppable NXT Championship Match – Huge NXT Debut

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Now it’s time for the Main Event – Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn part two.  Kevin Owens promises that he will injury Sami Zayn again and this time there will be no coming back for Zayn.  Sami comes out and they got the InZayn backward on the video board on the walkway.  Upside down.  Made it look like Nyazni.  here comes Kevin Owens wearing a John Cena US Title Champ is Here t-shirt.  After what happened on Monday and the announcement that Kevin Owens will go one-on-one with John Cena at Elimination Chamber in a week and a half, I’m half expecting Cena to make a run-in on this match.

The match starts out on the floor, with Sami taking the upper hand.  Back in the ring, Owens gets in a shot as Sami comes through the ropes and gets in a few more shots in the corner.  Sami whips Owens into the ropes, but Owens catches the ropes and blocks it so Zayn Clotheslines him out to the floor.  Owens kicks him in the gut and goes for a Powerbomb into the side of the ring, but Sami counters into a Back Body Drop.  Sami tackles Owens back against the steps and stands on him while pummeling him with a flurry of punches.  Sami  tosses Owens around outside the ring and slams him head first into the steps and whips him into the barricade.  Owens stays down.  Sami drags him back up by the hair and Owens punches him in the gut.  Owens retreats into the ring, but Zayn dives on his legs and drags him back out and throws him over the barricade into the crowd.  Sami over the barricade after him and gets in a few more big right hands.  Owens tries for a Powerbomb into the side of the bleachers and gets Sami up, but Sami catches the railing to stop himself and punches Owens until he’s able to get away.  Sami takes Owens back to the ring and hits the Blue Thunderbomb, but Owens kicks out for a near fall.  They fight each other off some more and Sami hits a Half and Half Suplex (Half Nelson on one side, Underhook on the other side) for another near fall.  Zayn goes for a Tornado DDT, but Owens drops to his knees and counters into a Gutbuster over his shoulder.  Zayn fires back and hits an Exploder Suplex into the corner and goes for the Helluva Kick in the corner, but Owens drops out to the floor.  Zayn out after him with a Suplex on the floor.  Sami charges and dives at Owens, but Owens catches him with a Pop Up Powerbomb into the side of the ring.  Sami is down and out, selling the move hard as he should and Owens slinks back into the ring while two officials check on Sami.  Owens catches his breath and then goes out to the floor and mounts Zayn and pummels him with some punches.  The referees pull him off, but he goes right back and does it again.  They pull him off again.  The trainer starts to pull Sami up, but Owens charges over and kicks Sami in the face three or four times.  This goes on for quite some time until they prop Sami up against the steps and Owens finally pulls him back up and puts him in the ring.  The referees are begging Owens to stop and here comes William Regal.  Just let them finish the match already.  This referee stoppage garbage and referee interference in the progression of a match has got to stop.  Regal fishooks Owens, but Owens turns around and Headbutts him, knocking him out of the ring.  Owens goes out and gets a chair and decks Zayn over the arm with it.

And holy crap, Samoa Joe’s music hits.  here comes Samoa Joe!  The match is apparently over, but now it’s Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe nose to nose and this is gonna be EPIC!  Major mark out moment for everybody.  These two guys are gonna be phenomenal in the ring together in the future.  Owens back down and leaves the ring.  Joe stares a hole through him.  Joe poses for the crowd and it looks like the show is over.  Great match comes to another crappy finish, but Samoa Joe makes his NXT debut and Samoa Joe vs. Kevin Owens looms in the future.  Oh crap, here comes Owens back right now, but he’s surely not gonna get in the ring after already backing down once.  And he’s not.  Such a tease.

Real American Live Reactions – NXT Takeover: Unstoppable Women’s Championship Match

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Becky Lynch has an entirely new look as she makes her entrance.  Very steampunk inspired entrance garb.  Sasha comes out next and nice back and forth early on.  Becky gets the advantage and goes for an Armbar, but Sasha ties up in the ropes and looks shocked.  Becky knocks Sasha out to the ring apron and flips over the ropes to the apron and poses for effect.  Becky tries to kick Sasha off the apron, but Sasha blocks her feet and does an innovative Armdrag move that slams Becky face first down onto the ring apron.  Sasha rolls her in and covers her for a near fall.  Sasha now ties Becky up in the ropes and pushes her foot into her back while pulling her arms way back behind her back.  Sasha with an Arm-twist Flashback into a cover for another near fall.  Sasha pulls Becky’s arms back in an X over her own throat like a straight jacket in a move that’s supposed to look like a Modified Choke, but really does nothing to cut off Becky’s air supply though it looks very impressive.  Sasha ragdolls Becky around in that hold for a while and it looks very impressive as she does a Back Cracker in that move and keeps it locked in and sticks her foot in her back and pushes her away while holding onto her arms like a Submission.  Becky finally manages to fight back up to her feet and break free, but Sasha knocks her down again and gets another near fall.  Sasha works over Becky’s arm and bends it way back to the side and stands on it and then stomps on it.  Becky is very flexible apparently, so that’s not really doing any damage though it again looks impressive, so well done on these ladies’ parts.  Modified Armbar submission, but instead of putting the legs over the chest and actually yanking back on the arm, Sasha plants her boots in Becky’s ribs and neck.  When that isn’t working, she shifts into a leg lock around the arm.  Becky refuses to quit and powers out, hoisting Sasha up into a seated position on one shoulder and connects with an Electric Chair type slam.  Both ladies back up and Becky hits a big Forearm.  Becky ducks a Clothesline and hits a European Upper Cut and then knocks Sasha down a couple of times with Clotheslines.  Becky goes up top and hits a MIssile Dropkick, but Sasha kicks out for a near fall.  Becky to a Wristlock, but Sasha runs up the corner and flips through it into an Armdrag.  Sasha knocks Becky into the corner and hits a Running Double Knee Strike to the face in the corner and covers her for another near fall.  Awesome contest so far.  Both ladies putting on a show.  They now trade punches.  Both go for a Backslide, but the other spins out.  Sasha goes for a Head Scissors Takedown, but Becky counters.  They go out to the floor and nothing really happens, they hit each other a bit and go back into the ring.  Becky with a big Suplex, Leg Drop across the arm, trying for a Leg Scissors Armbar that doesn’t look very impressive to me.  Becky puts Sasha down with what looked like a part German and part T-Bone Suplex for a near fall and Suplex City chants break out from the crowd.  Becky with a Snap Suplex, roll through into a spinning Armbar and twists it into a Submission, sitting back on the Armbar, but Sasha is able to get to the ropes to break the hold.  Becky gives a clean break, then goes back at Sasha, but Sasha dumps her out to the floor.  Sasha with a Suicide Dive out to the floor, but Becky catches her and slams her into the ring steps.  Becky overselling an arm injury as she goes up to the top rope and takes too long as Sasha charges up the corner and takes her down to the mat, driving her knees into Becky’s arm as they land.  Sasha locks in the Bank Statement and Becky is forced to tap out.

Phenomenal match.  Not the best match ever, but definitely one of the better matches of the year.  Right up there with the Fatal 4-Way from the last Takeover special.

Real American Live Reactions – NXT Takeover: Unstoppable Tag Team Championship Match

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Here come Enzo, Big Cass and Carmella for the Tag Team Championship match and if you read my “Payback, Unstoppable and Elimination Chamber Oh My!” post from this weekend, then you know that I’ve been waiting for a while now for Carmella to turn on Enzo & Cass.  It just feels to me like the right thing for her to do is go out on her own and her character is kind of a bitch, so it makes sense that when they get their biggest opportunity, she finally sticks the knife in their back if it’s gonna happen tonight.  Here come the tag champions and Wesley Blake is wearing freaking pigtails in his hair.  What in the blue hell was he thinking?

Enzo and Blake start things off, running the ropes and Enzo hits a Crossbody for a near fall.  Enzo with a very nice Dropkick for another near fall.  Didn’t know Enzo had that in him.  Enzo with a headlock.  Blake forces him into the corner and there is a tag to Big Cass.  Blake backs down and makes the tag to Murphy.  Murphy with a big chop and Cass no sells it.  Cass is a great entertainer.  Every time I watch him, his ring psychology and personality just remind me so much of Edge.  Murphy & Blake lure him out to the floor and take the advantage with a cheap shot.  It’s now Murphy and Enzo as the legal men and Murphy wears Enzo down and throws him around the ring a bit.  This goes on for a while, Enzo with a Schoolboy for a near fall.  Blind tag to Blake, knocks Cass off the apron with a cheap shot.  Double team Power Bomb on Enzo for a near fall.  Murphy beats up Enzo some more, Enzo fires back and hits a Flying DDT.  It wasn’t quite a Tornado DDT as there was almost no rotation.  Just dive on the guy, straight down into a DDT.  Tag to Big Cass and Cass has a big boot for each of the tag team champions.  Empire Elbow into a pin, broken up.  Cass takes care of both champs again and hits Blake with a Sidewalk Slam.  Tag to Enzo.  Cass drags him limply to the corner and drags Enzo up to the top rope and gets ready for a Rocket Launcher, but now Alexa Bliss comes out to attack Carmella and cause a distraction.  Superkick on Cass, Enzo tries to get back up on the turnbuckle and Alexa knocks him down and crotches him on the top turnbuckle.  He falls into the ring and Blake covers him for three as the champions retain.

An entertaining match that I thought was surprisingly well executed.  Enzo really impressed me in the ring tonight, snapping off a few nice crisp moves.  He’s known more for his mic work than his wrestling.