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 the ‘Dean Ambrose’ Category

Live Reactions – Elimination Chamber 2015 – Seth Rollins vs. Dean Ambrose for the WWE Championship

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Last up is the WWE Championship match that we could have been having last fall had Rollins won the title when he tried to cash in at Night of Champions instead of keeping the title on Brock Lesnar for that many months with only a couple of title defenses.

Before that though, they are announcing a rematch between John Cena and Kevin Owens in two weeks at Money in the Bank.  They’re also announcing Neville, Dolph Ziggler, Roman Reigns, Randy Ortn, Kofi Kingston and Sheamus as the participants in the Money in the Bank Ladder Match.

Ambrose outwrestles Rollins in a series of chain wrestling holds to begin the match.  Rollins takes a long walk outside the ring to regroup.  Surprisingly, Ambrose doesn’t do the typical dive out to the floor and wipe everybody out spot.  Rollins back in the ring and he turns the tables and gets in a few good shots before Ambrose goes back on the attack.  After a bit, Ambrose ends up in the Tree of Woe while Noble distracts the referee.  Rollins climbs up over Ambrose and hits a Double Footstomp to the face, breaking Ambrose free from the Tree of Woe.  Rollins dangles Ambrose part way out of the ring and beats him up on the apron from the floor.  Rollins with a Snapmere and kick to the back and a cover, but Ambrose quickly kicks out.  This has been a much more slow and deliberate match than I expected from these two to this point.  Rollins with a wear down hold.  Ambrose battles back, but ends up eating the turnbuckle.  Rollins get a near fall.  Rollins with a unique Elbow Smash, tries a couple of pin attempts off it, but nothing doing.  J & J distract the referee some more, Rollins continues to methodically and slowly beat up Ambrose.  Very slow and deliberate still in this match.  It’s not bad by any means, but it’s not really either of these guy’s style.  Things pick up now as both men fly off the ropes at each other with a Double Crossbody Block attempt and both men are down as the match slows back down to a crawl.  Trading near falls, more chain wrestling.  Ambrose ducks a kick and goes for an Atomic Drop, but instead slams Rollins face first into the mat with it.  Another new innovate move thrown in tonight.  Everybody is trying new things and putting on a very good show tonight.  Now we get the spot where Ambrose knocks Rollins out of the ring and there is a HUGE Suicide Dive that knocks both men over the announce table and into the announce team’s laps.  They had to land and then dive over the announce table, so the move wasn’t really all that good, but it’s not really possible to do that move and go over the announce table that far away.  Not sure why they tried it.

Back in the ring, Rollins stacks Ambrose up, but the referee catches him with his feet in the ropes.  Ambrose rams Rollins into Mercury who was up on the ring apron and rolls him up for a near fall.  Superkick on Ambrose for a near fall.  The fight goes out to the floor and Rollins hits his Turnbuckle Powerbomb spot into the barricade instead of the corner.  Back in the ring, Rollins covers him, but Ambrose kicks out.  Rollins off the top with a Flying Knee Smash to the side of the head and covers him for another near fall.  Rollins with a big Reverse DDT for another near fall.  Rollins beats on Ambrose in the corner and badmouths him and then charges in with a Flying Forearm Strike in the corner.  Rollins slaps Ambrose around a bit and continues to taunt him.  Another Forearm Smash in the corner, but Ambrose no sells it and follows Rollins back across the ring and smashes him in the corner.  Tornado DDT on Rollins and covers him for a near fall.  More back and forth, Rollins goes for a Flying Knee Strike from the top rope, but Ambrose dodges into a Pendulum Clothesline off the ropes and Rollins does a full rotation to land on his face.  Ambrose covers for a near fall.  Ambrose off the top with his Flying Elbow Drop / Crossbody on a standing opponent for another near fall.  JBL promises to eat his hat if Ambrose leaves with the title.  Ambrose setting up for Dirty Deeds, but J & J cause a distraction, allowing Rollins to Thrust Kick Ambrose in the gut.  Rollins dives out to the floor, tackling Ambrose into the table.  Quickly back into the ring for another Pendulum Clothesline spot and Ambrose knocks everybody down and goes up to the top turnbuckle, but instead of diving onto Rollins in the ring, he dives out to the floor and wipes out Kane and J & J all in one go.  Rollins out after him and Ambrose hits another Pendulum Clothesline off the ring apron.  Back in the ring, Ambrose up top, dives at Rollins, but Rollins pulls the referee in the way and Ambrose takes out the referee.  Rollins goes for the Pedigree, but Ambrose counters.  Rollins up top for the Phoenix Splash, but Ambrose rolls out of the way.  Dirty Deeds and the cover, but the referee is out.  Second official comes out and makes the three count.

HOLY CRAP!  Ambrose is the Champion!  NEW CHAMPION!  But now the original referee is back up and says he’s disqualifying Rollins.  Ambrose wins by DQ.  Dusty Finish.  Dammit.  Now they try a beat down on Ambrose, but Reigns comes out to make the save.  Reigns and Ambrose clean house and Ambrose hoists up the title.  Ambrose grabs a mic and declares that since he won the match, he’s taking the belt.  Ambrose and Reigns leave through the crowd with the title and Ambrose says the new champ is buying the beers.  However, it won’t be official.  Very entertaining nonetheless.  They got me with the damn Dusty Finish.  But still, a very entertaining end to a very good Pay Per View.  This might end up being the best WWE Pay Per View of the year.  WWE certainly didn’t drop the ball tonight.

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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.

Payback Preshow Live Reactions – WWE Championship Fatal 4-Way

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The match starts off with the announcers reminding us every 30 seconds that Seth Rollins does not have to be pinned to lose the championship.  However, they also tell us repeatedly that Seth Rollins has to pin somebody to keep the title.  Reigns takes everybody down with a dive over the top rope early.  As we go on with Rollins on the short end of a 2-on-1 beatdown from Reigns and Ambrose, Kane decides to start helping Rollins out.  Kane and J & J triple team Orton out on the floor with Rollins taking advantage of Kane’s help to work over Ambrose in the ring.  Reigns is overselling Kane throwing him into the barricade out on the floor.  Rollins gets several near falls on Ambrose while Orton and Reigns rest on the floor.  Ambrose battles back and hits Dirty Deeds, but Kane Chokeslams him.  Orton and Reigns get back in the action and now Orton and Rollins carry the action in the ring while Ambrose and Reigns rest.  Orton hits a Superplex for a near fall.  Nobody ever wins with a Superplex, yet everybody acts surprised when somebody kicks out of one.  Everybody fights it out on the floor now and they set up the table to put somebody through the table.  Now the three former members of the Shield temporarily unite and Triple Team Orton and Triple Powerbomb him through the table..  Rollins then hugs Reigns and Ambrose, but they laugh and smile and then take turns pummeling Rollins.  They then set up the spanish announce table for somebody to go through it and Kane saves Rollins from being put through it.  Ambrose fights off Kane and rams him into the ring post.  Reigns puts Rollins on the table.  Ambrose and Reigns then Power Bomb Kane onto Rollins on the table, but the table doesn’t break.  The crowd chants for one more time and Ambrose and Reigns give them what they want and do the spot over and this time the table crumples in a heap.  Ambrose and Reigns say there is nothing left to do but fight it out among themselves and so they get back in the ring and start fighting it out, trading punches.  Reigns gets a near fall on a Powerslam and goes for the Superman Punch, but Ambrose counters into a Schoolboy for a near fall.  Reigns hits the Superman Punch and makes the cover, but Ambrose kicks out at the last second.  Awesome that the match continues, but it seems like the first Superman Punch never puts anybody away.  Ambrose blocks the Spear.  Reigns counters out of Dirty Deeds.  Ambrose goes for the Pendulum Clothesline off the ropes, but Reigns ducks and goes off the ropes and hits the Spear, but Rollins makes the save on the cover.  Reigns beats up J & J some more and throws Rollins back in the ring where Ambrose is back up.  Superman Punch on Rollins.  Pendulum Clothesline on Reigns.  Dirty Deeds on Rollins.  Cover, but Kane pulls Ambrose out by the boot.  Kane knocks Ambrose and Reigns down with the stairs.  Kane Chokeslams Reigns on the stairs.  Orton hits Kane from behind, knocking him into the post.  Orton goes for the Rope Hang DDT on Rollins, but J & J break it up.  RKOs to both members of J & J.  Rollins comes off the top rope, but Orton catches him with a Powerslam.  Orton hits Rollins with the Rope Hang DDT and goes on the hunt, calling for the RKO.  Rollins back up and Orton goes for the RKO, but Rollins counters and shoves Orton at Kane and Orton hits Kane with the RKO.  Rollins hits Orton with the Pedigree and covers him for the three count.

Rollins retains the championship and while I thought there was a chance he would lose it and get it back before SummerSlam, tonight didn’t really feel like the night and it wasn’t as Rollins does in fact retain the title going into the Elimination Chamber in 2 weeks.  However, he will likely have to defend the title in the Elimination Chamber and then 2 weeks after that, it’s Money in the Bank.  He’s not going to have any easier of a road storyline wise than he’s had already, but it should be interesting.  At least with the Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank matches, we know that we won’t be getting all the false finishes like we did tonight.  Best performance of the night was from Imagine Dragons, who weren’t even in the building, but their song :Friction” and the promo packages that WWE built with it were very cool.

Payback, Unstoppable and the Elimination Chamber, Oh My!

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Over the next two weeks, the WWE has stacked up for us 2 Main Roster Pay Per View events as well as a 2-hour NXT Takeover, which if you don’t follow NXT is basically like a PPV event for them that they put on every 2-3 months. Starting May 17 with Payback, followed up by NXT Unstoppalbe on May 20 and concluding with a surprise Elimination Chamber PPV on May 31 that we only found out about 3 weeks before it takes place.  Now, I don’t think these are going to be the best two weeks of wrestling of all time, or even all year, but it is going to be plenty of fun and it feels like anything can happen.

Let’s start with the top of the card this Sunday at Payback.  We have a Fatal 4-Way for the WWE Championship that I am very much looking forward to.  It is a near certainty that either Seth Rollins or Roman Reigns is going to be carrying the championship into SummerSlam where they will defend against a returning Brock Lesnar.  However, a lot can happen between now and SummerSlam three months from now.  We now have 4 Pay Per Views stacked up between now and SummerSlam – Payback, Elimination Chamber, Money in the Bank and Battleground.  We could see any number of things happen.  We could see Seth Rollins lose the title at Payback and win it back in the Elimination Chamber.  We could see Rollins survive both the Fatal 4-Way and the Chamber only to see Roman Reigns win Money in the Bank and cash in on him in a reversal of fortunes.  We could see Ambrose get his first World Championship, though that one is a long shot.  There are a lot of possibilities for WWE to play around with.  I do think that Rollins carries the title all the way to SummerSlam without interruption, but it is far from a certainty with all that is laid out on the road between now and then.  No matter what happens, this should be an excellent match with tons of action and mark out moments.

From there we move to the next biggest match of Payback with John Cena against Rusev for the United States Championship in an “I Quit” Match.  John Cena has never lost an “I Quit” Match.  I will be shocked if John Cena loses this “I Quit” Match.  It’s not gonna be a classic.  I expect Rusev to royally pound on Cena and maybe even go into full on prisoner torture mode like Randy Orton did in his “I Quit” Match with Cena back in 2009.  But no matter what happens, Cena will not quit and he’ll eventually hulk up and put Rusev in some crazy variation of the STF using ropes or a chain or duct tape or whatever’s handy to sell that Rusev isn’t just tapping out to an ordinary STF and Cena will retain.  Of that, we can all be certain.  The United States Open Challenge that Cena puts on is the best match of Raw every week and Cena’s new role in the company is apparently to beat everybody on the mid-card.  I actually really like this plan because eventually, he will lose and it’s gonna make for a huge push for whoever beats him for the title.  Meanwhile, for the guys he’s beating, everybody on the roster has lost cleanly to John Cena multiple times, so there is no shame in it and it doesn’t hurt them at all. The only exception to that is Rusev in my opinion.  One loss, not so bad, but you take an unbeaten monster and have him lose to John Cena at 3 consecutive Pay Per Views and there is just no point in it other than to destroy Rusev.  Rusev should have just spit on the United States Championship picture after Wrestlemania and moved on to fight somebody like Randy Orton or Dean Ambrose and transitioned into a World Champion contender.  But after losing 3 straight Pay Per View matches for a mid-card title, there is nowhere for Rusev to go.  After he quits on Sunday, he probably has to go away for a few months and then come back and start all over unless they can find a new twist for him that keeps the heat on his character.  Not that I mind seeing him go, but it seemed like WWE was really into what they were doing with him and now they’re letting him be broken all the way down.  Anything is possible in WWE, so it’s always possible that through some trickery or a shift in Cena’s never give up schtick that Rusev could regain the United States Championship, but to what end?  What does WWE have to gain by putting the United States Championship back on Rusev?  He’s already beaten all the supposed big American badasses except for Cena, so if he finally beats Cena to reclaim the championship there then becomes nowhere else for them to go with his storyline.  There becomes no more American challengers to throw at him.  There is nothing left for Rusev to accomplish in that storyline and it’s past time to end it and find something else for him.  Despite this undoubtedly being an incredibly violent match, it’s really gonna be just two guys taking turns punching and kicking each other and hitting each other with weapons while melodramatically screaming at the other one to give up.  It will be brutal and hold your attention, but it will not be a very good match in my opinion.

As for the rest of the card, Bray Wyatt vs. Ryack is intriguing and has a very good chance to exceed expectations.  However, it feels like WWE just threw these two together because they didn’t have anything else to do with either of them.  Those kind of situations can lead to phenomenal matches, but more commonly than not matches under those circumstances tend to suck majorly.  Then we have a Ziggler vs. Sheamus rematch and despite being a fan of both guys, I really just don’t care about this one.  That stupid Kiss Me Arse Match at Extreme Rules has just made their entire program a flop to me and they haven’t done anything to save it.  Sheamus is very athletic for a guy his size and I thought he put on some of the best matches of his career against Daniel Bryan and Big Show during his run as World Heavyweight Champion, but I haven’t been impressed by his matches with Ziggler in the past.  And we all know Ziggler is phenomenal.  These guys just need to be matched up against anybody but each other, it feels like to me.  King Barrett takes on Neville in a rematch from the King of the Ring Finals, which is also a rematch from the Extreme Rules Kickoff show and other than the Main Event, this is my pick for the best match on the card.  Cesaro & Tyson Kidd challenge New Day for the Tag Team Titles 2-out-of-3 Falls Match, which makes me think of last year’s Battleground with Harper & Rowan against The Usos in the same type of match in what I think was the best match of the year.  However, as great as Cesaro & Kidd are, New Day is not that good and I expect a decent match out of this one, but not a great one.  That just leaves the Divas Tag Match and the Preshow tag match and let’s just call those what they are – space fillers.

NXT takes over the WWE Network for the 6th time on May 20th with Unstoppable and right at the top of the card you have what promises to be a match of the year candidate for sure in Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn for the NXT Championship.  Their last match wasn’t the match that I was expecting, but that’s because first and foremost it was a beatdown used to write Sami Zayn off of NXT TV for a couple of months and it was only secondarily a wrestling match.  This time, I’m expecting a classic on par with the Sami Zayn and Cesaro matches of 2013 and 2014.

The NXT Divas look to be set for another amazing night with Sasha Banks defending the Women’s Championship against Becky Lynch.  This is kind of the opposite of the Ziggler / Sheamus match for me.  With Ziggler / Sheamus, I like both guys, but don’t think they fit well together.  However, with Sasha Banks and Becky Lynch, I don’t care for either lady, but their work together to this point has been riveting.  Both ladies were a part of the Phenomenal Fatal 4-Way title match at the last Takeover along with Charlotte and Bayley and for this match the two had probably the most interesting contract signing segment I can remember seeing in a long time.  As for Charlotte and Bayley, they team up to take on Emma and Dana Brooke in a Tag Team Match and Charlotte and Bayley have yet to put on a bad match that I’ve seen, so I have faith in this one though I’m not really feeling it.

Then we have the Triple Threat #1 Contenders Match between Finn Balor, Hideo Itami and Tyler Breeze.  Unfortunately for Itami because I feel like he was probably slated to win this one, he’s suffered a shoulder injury and is expected to be pulled from this match.  Whether he is replaced by another contender or it becomes a singles match between Balor and Breeze, it should still be a top notch match.

As for the rest, we have Baron Corbin taking on Rhyno.  While the buildup for Baron Corbin and Rhyno hasn’t been as fun as the buildup for Baron Corbin and Bull Dempsey was, this match should be much better than that one was.  And rounding out the card, Enzo Amore and Big Cass take on Blake & Murphy for the NXT Tag Team Championships and while Enzo & Cass are a great act on the mic, they aren’t really that impressive in the ring and Blake & Murphy just seem very bland to me, so I’m not expecting much out of these two teams as far as wrestling, but Enzo & Cass will no doubt rock the mic with a new variation on their usual schtick and the crowd with eat it up like candy.  Also, I’ve felt from the time she debuted that her character has just been waiting for the right opportunity to stab Enzo & Cass in the back and with Blake & Murphy showering her with jewelry over the past couple months, I think the union between Blake, Murphy & Alexa Bliss could be a misdirect and Carmella could be leaving with the defending champions at Takeover.

As for the Elimination Chamber, we only know so far that there will be at least two Elimination Chamber matches – one for Daniel Bryan’s recently vacated Intercontinental Championship and one for the WWE Tag Team Championship.  We’ve never seen a tag team Elimination Chamber, so we don’t know for sure if it’s gonna be 3 teams, 4 teams or 6 teams taking part.  It could be 6 teams with multiple guys locked in each pod.  It could be 3 teams with 2 guys starting and being handicapped without their partner until their partner is released.  Or it could be 4 teams with 2 full teams starting out and 4 individuals locked in the pods with one individual released at a time, giving the teams locked in the pods the advantage of not having to wrestle the beginning of the match and get worn down, but also giving them the disadvantage of entering the ring without their partner against two complete teams, although theoretically worn down and weakened at that point.  Any way it goes, it will be a first time and thus will be interesting.  We also have a mid-card title being up for grabs in the Elimination Chamber for the very first time.  And not that he’s really a candidate to win it, but I’ve read a lot of speculation about Adam Rose being booked as a part of that match and given somewhat of a push after his was featured on the E:60 NXT special.

While anything can happen on this schedule, I expect a fair amount of disappointment from certain matches on the cards as I have outlined.  However, I also expect a few pleasant surprises and maybe even a big surprise or two and I’m definitely going to be glued to the TV on those three nights.  $9.99 well spent.

Written by Arron Hustead

May 14, 2015 at 11:54 pm

Posted in Adam Rose, Baron Corbin, Bayley, Becky Lynch, Big E Langston, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, Charlotte, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Elimination Chamber, Finn Balor, Hideo Itami, John Cena, Kevin Owens, Kofi Kingston, New Day, Nikki Bella, NXT, NXT Championship, NXT Takeover, Payback, Randy Orton, Rhyno, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ryback, Sami Zayn, Sasha Banks, Seth Rollins, Sheamus, SummerSlam, Tyler Breeze, Tyson Kidd, United States Championship, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Xavier Woods

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Real American Wrestleblog Live Reactions – Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper Part II

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New Day is giving an interview as the new champions when they are interrupted by Ambrose and Harper returning to the arena and their Street Fight resumes.  Ambrose takes out Harper and all 3 members of New Day with a Diving Elbow Drop off the SUV and they fight back out to the ring.

Back in the ring momentarily.  Clothesline takes both men down and they retreat to the floor and start throwing chairs in the ring.  8-10 chairs in the ring and the two men swing the chairs at each other and knock the chairs out of each others hands.  Ambrose with a Headlock, Harper fights him off in the corner and Powerbombs him onto some chairs.  Only gets a near fall.  Harper stacks chairs on Ambrose and this should be good.  Ambrose is now buried under 7-8 chairs and Harper goes up to the top rope.  Ambrose bails out from under the chair and Armdrag from the top, throws Harper into the chairs.  Dirty Deeds in the middle of the ring for the win.

It was kind of interesting that they disappeared and had two matches take place while their match was ongoing, but they could have easily just done that finish first and gotten it out of the way.  It wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t really add much to the show having the interruption.  Very good match limited by the way it was booked with the long break in the middle in my opinion.

Promo for Payback, featuring Roman Reigns talking about having his moment stolen.  Would seem to indicate Rollins vs. Reigns for the WWE title being the Payback Main Event.

Written by Arron Hustead

April 27, 2015 at 1:06 am

Real American Wrestleblog Live Reactions – Extreme Rules 2015 – Dean Ambrose vs. Luke Harper in a “Chicago Street Fight”

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A lot of cheap pops to start the night, the announce team putting over Chicago and Eden overemphasizing Chicago while announcing the stipulation.

Ambrose takes the fight to Harper out on the floor before they go back into the ring and get the match “officially” started.  Ambrose Suicide Dive out to the floor and then throws Harper into the stairs to take the early advantage.  Ambrose has a Kendo Stick and Harper has a chair. Somehow the kendo stick wins and Ambrose gets in several shots.  Ambrose sits in the chair and taunts Harper as he gets back up.  Harper ends up slamming Ambrose onto the chair with a Suplex and now Harper works Ambrose over with the Kendo Stick.  Hard hitting, slow deliberate pace to start the match and Harper jams the point of the kendo stick into Ambrose’s head.  I’m sure it hurts, but doesn’t look like much.  Harper does a modified Snake Eyes, ramming Ambrose like a dart into a chair propped up in the corner.  That one might leave a mark.  Harper gets in a few more shots with the kendo stick before Ambrose turns the tide and Scoop Slams Harper onto a chair.  Fight goes to the corner where Ambrose hits a textbook Tornado DDT with a very nice snap to it.  Trade punches and Ambrose bounces off the ropes and runs into a kick to the gut.  Ambrose quickly retakes the advantage though and hits the Flying Elbow Drop to a standing opponent for a near fall.  Harper reverses some of Ambrose’s signature moves and gets thrown outside.  Hugely awesome spot as Harper blocks a Suicide Dive from Ambrose from the ring to the floor and shoves him back against the ring apron and Ambrose bounces back and hits his signature Rebound Clothlesine, using the ring apron instead of the ropes.  Ambrose uses the Kendo Stick like a baseball bat and chases Harper to the back, hits him with some more foreign objects and Harper bails into somebody’s SUV.  Ambrose jumps in through the window and Harper peels out of the arena.

Is that the end of the match?  The crowd is upset.  There are some CM Punk chants.  I assume they’ll come back at some point, but it appears the show is going on without them.  In the back, HHH orders Kane to go find Ambrose and Harper and bring them back.  Rollins interrupts and the Kane vs. Rollins verbal jabbing continues.  Kane assures them that he will do what is best for business and goes to presumably track down Harper and Ambrose.

A Real American Wrestlemania 31 Overview

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Barely more than a week away from Wrestlemania 31 and let’s take a look first at what we know concerning the main event.  Brock Lesnar’s WWE contract is up very soon.  This fact has been made very public for quite some time now and all of the reports say that the two sides are at a standstill.  Rumors are flying that Brock is considering coming out of retirement as an MMA fighter and stepping back into the UFC.  The general feeling seems to be that unless Brock gets paid a lot more than what Vince McMahon has thus far been willing to shell out, he will walk.

The plan for Lesnar to drop the title to Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31 has been widely reported since before Lesnar even won the title back at SummerSlam last year.  WWE has stuck to their guns under pressure from the fans to seemingly keep moving forward with that plan despite pressure from outspoken fans who very vocally expressed their disapproval of Roman Reigns being seemingly anointed as the next big thing.  I’m obviously not breaking any new ground here when I say that Brock Lesnar is not very likely to walk out of Levi’s Stadium on March 29 still holding the WWE Championship.  But this is where things become more up in the air – does Roman Reigns leave Wrestlemania with the title or does Seth Rollins finally cash in his Money in the Bank Briefcase after eight months of waiting?  As brilliant as Rollins has been at points over the past 8 months, I tend to think that he has been groomed to become the first person to cash in that briefcase at Wrestlemania.  With the Money in the Bank concept going as strongly as it has for the past 10 years, I find it somewhat surprising that nobody has as of yet cashed it in on the biggest stage WWE has to offer.  Dolph Ziggler came close two years ago, waiting several months and becoming the first individual to still have the briefcase in his possession at the start of Wrestlemania, but WWE didn’t pull the trigger that night – instead waiting to have Dolph cash-in the next night.  Back in 2007, Ken Kennedy promised to keep his briefcase for a full year and cash it in at Wrestlemania 24, even going so far as to launch a Money in the Bank cash-in countdown on wwe.com, counting down the number of days until Wrestlemania 24.  However, that idea got the rug pulled out from under it and Kennedy’s WWE run never really recovered after he lost the briefcase to Edge.  Ten years after the first Money in the Bank Ladder Match, it feels very fitting that Money in the Bank would finally be cashed in at a Wrestlemania for the first time.  And with the fans reaction to Reigns at the Royal Rumble in mind, a cash-in would presumably be very well received by the WWE Universe.  Brock Lesnar hasn’t lost a match since Wrestlemania 29, so Roman Reigns clearly stands to benefit from Lesnar dropping the title to him, even if Reigns doesn’t leave with the championship.  Reigns beating Lesnar only to have Seth Rollins cash-in immediately after and take the title from Reigns seems to be a scenario where everybody wins.  Reigns gets to stand up the next night and brag about beating the guy everyone said couldn’t be beaten, just like Brock did last year after beating Undertaker.  Seth gets to brag about being the new champion and having all of the Authority’s plans come to fruition with the future finally becoming reality.  Brock gets to go back to UFC and get the payday he wants.  The WWE gets it’s next marquee match-up for the next Pay Per View with Rollins defending the title against Reigns.  And the fans voicing their disapproval of Reigns get to leave happy knowing that Rollins is the champion and Reigns isn’t.  Everybody wins.

From there we move to the match that has been billed pretty much as the secondary Main Event of the night – Triple H vs. Sting.  And while this match will undoubtedly be a thing to behold, it just doesn’t feel like it carries any importance.  Sting is supposedly trying to save the WWE from Triple H, but the way things played out at Survivor Series and since, it feels like WWE hit the payoff prematurely.  This match itself would ideally be better suited as the culmination of something with the future hanging in the balance.  As is, the outcome of this match won’t mean anything unless the storytelling coming out of Wrestlemania makes it mean something.  For example, if Sting wins and HHH comes out the next night on Raw and does the same things he’s been doing for the past year and a half, then what was the point of having this big far reaching storyline that was meant to see these two icons fighting over the future on screen direction of the company?  If HHH wins, Sting just comes back at a later date and tries again.  The only foreseeable way that this match makes any kind of difference is if Sting wins and somehow makes Triple H “see the error of his ways”, which would be corny and not really believable.  As much promotion has gone into this match, from where I’m sitting it feels like a throwaway match to set up for what comes next, and on any other Pay Per View of the year, that would be expected, but at Wrestlemania we’ve come to expect conclusive outcomes and culminations to storylines that have been building for months.  But instead, despite what has already transpired, it still feels like this is still just the early rounds with the final chapter to come down the road.

Our next match brings me to a concept that I’ve mentioned several times before and if you’ve visited the “I Love the WWE” facebook group that I manage, you might have seen me talk about it before.  Monster heels exist so that they can be fed to John Cena.  Traditionally, in the wrestling business, monster heels exist to put over the conquering hero in the biggest matches.  But for the past decade, the only tried and true “conquering hero” character that the WWE has produced has been John Cena.  As a result, virtually every monster heel that has come along in that time frame has been made to look unstoppable, only for Cena to stop them.  It happened with Umaga.  It happened with The Great Khali.  It happened with Big Show a dozen different times it seems like.  It happened with Batista.  It happened with Tensai.  It happened with Ryback. It even happened with the entire Nexus faction at once.  And last year, we saw it happen again with Bray Wyatt.  So, what makes Rusev any better than all of those guys?  Nothing.  Thusly, I will be very surprised if John Cena does not beat Rusev cleanly at Wrestlemania this year.  The question is, after it happens, does Rusev find a way to rebound or does he fade into the background like so many other monster heel gimmicks have done in the past?

And from there we move on to the return of the Undertaker.  I will admit that when the streak ended last year, I thought that signaled the end of the Undertaker’s career.  For the past 5 years now, he’s been wrestling a one match a year schedule and it’s been great, but eventually even that has to come to an end.  Not even the Undertaker can continue coming back for Wrestlemania every year forever.  And once the streak ended, it felt like he’d passed the torch for the final time and was riding off into the sunset.  And if he had done so, it would have been very fitting.  Undertaker has been very widely regarded as one of the most old school mentality driven guys in the business for the past two decades and the school of thought that goes along with that is that it’s always better to go out on your back, to be carried out on your shield so to speak, and in so doing give back to the business the same way the guys that came before did when they put you over on their way out.  So, to see him seemingly pass the torch and then come back for another ride is surprising.  Obviously, I don’t think either guy loses anything from taking the loss, but when you examine this match, what does either man have to gain from winning it?  If Bray Wyatt beats Undertaker and this time Undertaker really does ride off into the sunset for the final time, then it obviously boosts Bray Wyatt because while Brock Lesnar ended the streak, Bray Wyatt would have ended the Undertaker altogether.  However, if it’s just Bray Wyatt going over the Undertaker, how much does being the second guy to beat Undertaker at Wrestlemania even mean?  Especially at this stage of the Undertaker’s career.  If Undertaker wins, it essentially resurrects the character, but to what end?  With no more streak to defend, does going 22-1 really mean anything?  I don’t really feel like it does.  And I don’t think based on his old-school reputation Undertaker is the type of guy to come back for one last ride to walk over top of a very bright up and comer just so that he can go out with a win in his final match.  Taking all of that into consideration, it now feels like there is something more planned for Undertaker beyond this year.  We haven’t seen Undertaker win a match since Wrestlemania 29, so just maybe Undertaker gets one more win, shows us what he’s still got in the tank, and plants the seeds for whatever his end game is – Undertaker vs. Sting in 2016 maybe?

This is the 3rd Wrestlemania that Wade Barrett has carried the Intercontinental Championship into in the past five years.  At Wrestlemania 27, as the champion, he led the Corre in a losing effort against the thrown together team of Big Show, Kane, Kofi Kingston and Santino Marella.  At Wrestlemania 29, he defended the title against The Miz on the preshow, not even making it onto the Main Card and he didn’t even win the match.  He lost the title to Miz on the Wrestlemania preshow, only to win it back the next night on Raw, so if the purpose was to keep pushing Barrett as the Intercontinental Champion, why have him lose to The Miz on the preshow in the first place?  Now, he returns to Wrestlemania 31, defending the championship against six others in a Ladder Match.  And at first glance, it seems very likely that one of the trio of Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler or Dean Ambrose would be the favorite to win this match and crown a new champion.  However, the more I think about it, the more convinced I am that this is the year that they finally stick with Barrett at Wrestlemania.  This guy has reportedly been one of the favorites of the powers that be over the past 5 years, as evidenced by him winning the Intercontinental Championship five different times now despite seemingly always being hurt.  At one point last year, I even read reports that it was a race to the WWE Championship between Barrett, Wyatt and Reigns.  And he remains pretty well over with the WWE Universe despite how WWE has let him fall by the wayside in Wrestlemanias past.  So, despite my initial reaction that one of the big three faces would very likely become the new champion in this match, I’m officially picking Bad News Barrett in this one.  Bryan, Ziggler and Ambrose are not going to lose any popularity no matter what happens in this match.  While the Intercontinental Championship would undoubtedly get a better rub if Daniel Bryan were defending it every week in classic technically sound matches, I feel like letting the ball drop on pushing Barrett on the heels of Wrestlemania yet again could be a very big mistake and signal that they’ve given up on him to a certain extent.

Then there is the Randy Orton – Seth Rollins match-up, which could very well end up being the best one-on-one match of the night in my opinion.  Rollins has had his dull moments at times this past year, just like anybody else, but when he’s shined, he’s shined brighter than pretty much anybody else on the roster.  And this is his first Wrestlemania match on his own, without having to share the spotlight with Ambrose and Reigns in a 6-Man Tag Match.  So, I really feel that he’s going to really leave his mark on this Wrestlemania in this match and try to tear down the house and I think Orton is a good opponent for him to do that with, although Ziggler or Bryan might have been better options just from a technical wrestling perspective.  However, while Rollins is probably going to have a lot of highlights in this match, I think Orton ends up getting the victory with a RKO “outta nowhere” because I think Rollins probably has his big Wrestlemania moment yet to come at the end of the night when he finally cashes in his Money in the Bank briefcase (see the second paragraph).

From there, we move on to the Divas tag team match.  I feel like people really want this match to be something that stands out and maybe puts the Divas division back on the map in a way that it hasn’t been since the days when Trish Stratus, Lita and Mickie James were trading the title among themselves.  However, I just don’t see this as the right way to go about that.  Nikki Bella is currently carrying around that division’s title, which means that she sets the bar for where that division stands and the momentum of that division starts and begins with her right now.  And I don’t feel like carrying that title is doing much of anything to convince people that Nikki Bella is any more worth paying attention to than she was before.  And close to 3/4 of the time she’s on TV, she’s either standing outside the ring while Brie has a one-on-one match or the both of the Bellas are on commentary while other divas wrestle.  The NXT Women’s division is becoming so well respected because when the champion shows up she wrestles and she wrestles a legitimate match that isn’t over in 2-3 minutes.  I think if it were up to certain people with authority in the WWE, they’d do away with women’s wrestling all together if they could get away with it without a fair practices lawsuit.  So, for the past several years, it’s just been this token set of girls taking up as small of chunks of air time as they can get away with and people have finally become fed up with it.  However, it seems like the #GiveDivasAChance twitter movement has become something for WWE to hold up and try to make themselves relevant while really doing nothing to give divas a chance at all.  Unfortunately, I expect more of the same from the divas as what we’ve seen in Wrestlemania divas tag matches past, even though AJ and Paige certainly bring more wrestling talent to the match than the likes of Maria Menunous, Kelly Kelly, Maria, Torrie Wilson, Stacy Keibler, and the Miller Lite Catfight Girls ever could.  I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but I’m not gonna hold my breath.

The Tag Team titles are almost certainly going to be relegated to the preshow again, which is fine.  Cesaro and Kidd make for a great opening act, even if they deserve a bigger stage than that.  Losing one-half of The Usos to injury hurts this match a lot, since they have undoubtedly been the bright spot of the division over the past year.  Los Matadores and New Day are lucky to even be on the preshow after how mediocre they’ve all performed over the past year.  I personally would like to see at least one of the teams to come out of NXT like The Ascension or Lucha Dragons get the opportunity to step in and take part in this match.  However, I think it’s pretty obvious that whoever ends up being in the match, the odds are heavily in the favor of Cesaro & Kidd keeping the belts because while they were thrown together as an afterthought, they are almost as awesome together as they were on their own.

And finally, I saved the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal for last.  There are a lot of different ways I see this playing out and I think a lot of it is going to depend on what is planned for the rest of the night and like last year with Cesaro, I’m half-expecting somebody to step into this match unannounced and win it.  This is made more likely, in my mind, due to the fact that last year the match had a lot more pre-announced star power than it does this year.  Let’s say that for some reason the plan is for Reigns to end the night as champion and for Rollins to not cash-in.  Lesnar is obviously leaving, so there is no Reigns vs. Lesnar II looming in the near future.  As such, this battle royal could be used to launch Reigns’ first challenger for the title, and if that were to be the case, my mind jumps away from the pre-announced field for the match to Rusev.  Let’s say that Rusev suffers his first loss against Cena and is so pissed off about it that he refuses to leave ringside, but the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal is up next so the ring starts filling up and then Rusev jumps in and enters himself in the match and wins it.  Maybe that launches Rusev, no longer tied down by the United States Championship into being the first guy to challenge Reigns for the title.  That scenario obviously doesn’t work if Rollins cashes in because that makes Rollins vs. Reigns the obvious next step.  But that’s why I say I think a lot of what else is supposed to happen throughout the night is going to impact who is going to win this match.  I don’t even think anybody in the WWE has made up their mind yet on who is going to win.  The concept just worked so well and got so many faces on the main program that they brought it back as an annual event, not having planned out who they wanted to give the rub of winning it to yet.  I expect to see Cesaro and some of the losers of the Intercontinental Championship ladder match to pull double duty by also entering the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.  I’d love to see Cesaro win it twice and recapture his momentum from last spring.  Dolph Ziggler and Dean Ambrose have neither one ever gotten a signature Wrestlemania singles victory, so perhaps after failing to win the Intercontinental Championship, one of them jumps into this match and steals the show there.  However it shakes out, as the field stands now the match would be a huge disappointment.  Something else has to happen, either this Monday on Raw or at Wrestlemania itself to add some excitement for this match because right now there is none that I’ve noticed.  At Wrestlemania XXX, I thought we saw one of the best Battle Royals in WWE history and it will undoubtedly be a tough act to follow, but we’ll have to wait and see how it shakes out because this is definitely the least predictable match of the night and I don’t expect to even know who all of the participants are until the bell rings to start the match.

That’s all I’ve got for you with this overview of the card.  I have high expectations for some of the matches that I think people have already written off or are stubbornly refusing to give a chance like Lesnar vs. Reigns, but no matter what happens, I can say this with complete confidence – it will definitely be better than Wrestlemania 27.  Thanks for reading.

Written by Arron Hustead

March 21, 2015 at 6:30 pm

Posted in AJ Lee, Bad News Barrett, Batista, Bella Twins, Big Show, Bray Wyatt, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, Corre, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Diva's Championship, Dolph Ziggler, Intercontinental Championship, John Cena, Ladder Match, Los Matadores, Luke Harper, Money in the Bank, Nexus, Paige, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ryback, Seth Rollins, Stardust, Sting, The Great Khali, The Usos, Triple H, Tyson Kidd, Umaga, Undertaker, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 31, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship

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