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 ‘Undertaker’ Category

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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The Raw Review – 08/11/2014

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Start off the night with a mound of presents at the top of the rampway as tonight is Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration – AKA just an excuse to boost ratings on what fans know full well is likely to be a crummy take home show where nothing real happens and the entire point is to plug SummerSlam and the WWE Network as much as possible.  #$9.99, in case you didn’t know.  And if you by any chance didn’t know that, then let me inform you that Paul Heyman’s client Brock Lesnar conquered the Undertaker’s streak at WrestleMania.  I think HHH and Heyman must have a personal bet backstage over who can say their phrase the most without the audience rioting.

And speaking of Heyman and Lesnar, they started off the show with a very solid promo in which Paul Heyman relives the highlights of Brock Lesnar since his return to the WWE for probably the 10-billionth time in the past 4 months, lest anybody somehow forget that Lesnar is still around because he really only shows up for maybe a dozen shows a year, yet somehow he’s going to win the WWE Championship in 6 days.  First, The Rock comes back for a grand total of two matches before he gets to win the title off of Punk and now Lesnar, who has wrestled seven matches in the past two and a half years, is going to be our next World Heavyweight Champion for a near certainty.  I personally have a problem with the spotlight being taken away from the guys that are there each and every week, night in and night out.  It’s not a big problem, but it’s like that annoying itch you get right in the middle of your back that you have to really stretch to rid yourself of.  Anyways, Heyman caps the promo by announcing that the WWE ring is now Brock’s house and he and the man of the house are going out for dinner, but not to let the party (Hulk Hogan’s birthday party) get too out of hand because after he eats, the man of the house is coming back home (back to the ring).  Pretty solid foreshadowing without boring everybody at the top of the show.  I am however, a little disappointed that Lesnar didn’t destroy the “birthday packages”, but there was still another 2 hours and 40 minutes for that to happen at that point.

In the first match of the night, Roman Reigns makes his way to the ring and then Kane’s music hits, which was good news to me as I feared after last week where he once again relinquished his mask that perhaps Kane was retiring.  Kane announces that since Reigns beat Kane last week, which was almost like beating two men, the authority would like to see how Reigns fairs actually fighting against two men this week and Reigns is placed in a Handicap match against Rybaxle.  It winds up being a typical Reigns match in which he doesn’t do a whole lot other than his usual punch, kick, Spear, Superman Punch set-up (and people give Cena a hard time over his supposed Five Moves of Death).  Reigns ends up winning by DQ, apparently meant to save Rybaxle the embarrassment of losing a handicap match in their favor.  After the match, Reigns cuts one of his best promos to date in which he points out that Randy Orton thinks Reigns stole something from him, but he hasn’t taken anything from Orton yet.  However, he says that at SummerSlam, he’s going to take everything away from Orton.  He also points out that once you punch the teeth out of a Viper, it’s really just a big worm.

Next up was Seth Rollins against Rob Van Dam in the match we were promised last week on Raw before the bait and switch that led to Seth Rollins losing to Heath Slater due to easily one of the most entertaining in-match distraction segments in the history of Monday Night Raw.  But Rollins redeems himself this week after a physical match with RVD and Rollins wins with the Curb Stomp, which for the record, is a pretty crummy finisher in my book because there are so many situations in which it doesn’t make any sense for his opponent to roll over and get into position for it.  After the match, Rollins takes a close look at Hogan’s presents at the top of the rampway, as though expecting Dean Ambrose to be hiding in one.  And predictably, just when he gives up on the idea and starts to leave, Ambrose of course comes bursting out of the biggest present and attacks Seth from him behind, rolling him all the way down the rampway and back to the ring and Seth before Seth manages to escape.  Nothing to complain about with the match, but the bit with Ambrose popping out of the box could have been done better.

Next up is some B.S. segment with Stephanie and Daniel Bryan’s supposed therapist in which Stephanie coaxes the young lady into claiming to have had an affair with Daniel Bryan and it’s obviously just a crummy ploy to pump up the hype for Stephanie and Brie, which for some reason seems to be the second Main Event on SummerSlam.  Really, after TNA did that incredibly shitty AJ Styles fake affair storyline a couple of years ago, WWE decides to do the same thing?  Thankfully, at this point in the storyline, it seems like this won’t be nearly as overly drawn out as that atrocity was and it’ll be quashed by the time Brie and Stephanie have their one and only match at SummerSlam, except for perhaps an eventual mixed tag with Brie & Daniel against Stephanie & HHH sometime in the future.  I pretty much tuned out this whole segment and if you didn’t do the same thing, then I’m sorry for your loss.  Apparently, Stephanie promised that they’re going to get it done and out of the way later on tonight instead of at SummerSlam, but I somehow doubt we could get that lucky.

Jack Swagger takes on Cesaro in our next match, and obviously Swagger has to come out looking strong in this one to promote his match with Rusev at SummerSlam.  It’s a shame that Cesaro apparently isn’t working the show and if he is, it’ll be one of those matches with no build-up where he jobs to somebody that they want to push but couldn’t decide what to do with until the last minute.  Like every Cesaro match, this one delivered plenty of excitement and unique spots before Swagger ultimately made Cesaro tap out to the Ankle Lock.  WWE, you’re pushing the wrong guy here.  However, once Swagger vs. Rusev is done, that will probably be rectified.  After the match, Rusev interrupts and proceeds to kick off another round of what I like to call the worst flag waving competition ever.  Thankfully, this round of flag twirling didn’t last very long.

Next up is pretaped footage between Bray Wyatt and Chris Jericho talking face-to-face in an interview segment.  This is really not the best setting for Wyatt, whose character is better served sticking to the shadows or working a crowd from a pulpit.  It was kind of like watching Batman walking down the sidewalk in the middle of the day in plain daylight.  I think the segment took away some of Wyatt’s mojo.  Both guys were brilliant, but Wyatt’s character just seemed out of place.

AJ Lee is in action in the next match against Eve Marie.  And you know when you see Eve Marie in the ring, you are about to see a terrible match.  From what I’ve seen from Eve in the past, she has no hustle in the ring.  She lollygags along at less than half speed and does nothing exciting or entertaining.  She only has a job because she has a slim waist and a boob job.  Paige comes out and causes a very boring distracting by skipping around the ring.  As much as I like Paige, that was a snoozer and Eve Marie for some reason gets handed a win over the Diva’s Champion in a match that lasted all of about 30 seconds before the distraction and Eve rolling up AJ for the win.  Paige wraps up with a poem and that part was pretty brilliant.  Diva’s promos usually suck balls, but that one was pretty decent.  Eve for no apparent reason is then down on one knee rubbing her neck outside the ring, so AJ goes out after her and beats the crap out of her while wailing and screeching.

John Cena’s then comes out to respond to Lesnar and Heyman’s comments from the start of the night.  I really like Cena when he gets ready to go into the ring with somebody that he legitimately doesn’t like, like he was with The Rock and now with Lesnar.  The dude is very underrated as a talker.  He almost had me convinced that he was actually going to beat Lesnar at SummerSlam.  Almost, but not quite.  Very solid promo.  Cena can occasionally bring it and when he does, he’s on par with any of the internet darlings out there.

Then it’s back to Brie and Stephanie and it was obvious that this match wasn’t actually going to happen tonight instead of at SummerSlam.  Instead, Stephanie turns the tables on Brie from a few weeks ago and gets Brie arrested for slapping her husband’s physical therapist earlier in that crummy segment.  Another waste of time here.  Stephanie was at least mildly entertaining as she flopped around with her tongue hanging out of her mouth while Brie put her in a horribly executed version of the Yes Lock.  The second time for the night, she was as boring as it gets, sticking hard to her overbearing bitch boss character hardcore.

Next up is Dolph Ziggler against Heath Slater with The Miz once again joining the commentary team.  I don’t know who convinced WWE that The Miz was a good talker, but that person should be shot.  I find it hilarious that even Michael Cole, the guy that was the biggest Miz mark back in 2011, has turned on the Miz and makes fun of him all the time.  Miz is a joke and a bad one at that.  Anyway, he stands on the announce table for the entire match in yet another suit that exhibits his poor taste.  Meanwhile, Ziggler puts in a decent appearance against Slater until it looks like Ziggler is about to get the W, so Miz starts to interfere, only to have Ziggler cut him off at the pass and beat the crap out of him and throw him around outside the ring.  This causes Ziggler to get counted out.  After the match, Ziggler offers to shake Slater’s hand and Slater goes to kick him instead, so Ziggler KOs him and heads into SummerSlam looking strong.  This current edition of Ziggler vs. Miz reminds me a lot of Booker T vs. Christian from 2003 and it should ring some bells for you because it’s pretty much the exact same scenario.  A PPV battle royal for a vacant Intercontinental Championship gets won by the heel who people thought was already eliminated and then the face comes back and beats the crap out of him for a month and beats him for the title at the next PPV.  Here’s hoping that history repeats itself in this instance.

Sheamus made his return after sitting out the last two weeks due to severe flu symptoms, which I believe is the reason why we have another AJ / Paige title match at SummerSlam.  After their Battleground match was so terrible, I thought they would continue building the program between them and skip over SummerSlam to give them time to work together some more at house shows and build some better in-ring chemistry and then have their next title match at Night of Champions next month.  Instead, we are saddled with both AJ vs. Paige and Stephanie vs. Brie at SummerSlam instead of them potentially building a Sheamus US Title defense against somebody like Cesaro or Rusev.  Sheamus has turned into a really solid in-ring performer.  You can’t dispute that the guy gives a max effort every time he’s in the ring and like Cena, he blows other big musclebound wrestlers out of the water in terms of athleticism and willingness to experiment with new maneuvers that you don’t see coming from a big guy, so I support Sheamus and Cena where a lot of people don’t.  I’m not going to mark out for either of them, but I have no problem with either of them carrying championships and I give them a lot of respect.  In tonight’s final match, Sheamus takes on Randy Orton and these two put on a very solid match together as they’ve done many times in the past.  It wasn’t a classic by any means, but it was very solid and for a Main Event on a take home show that didn’t feature anybody from the Main Event of the upcoming Pay Per View, it was more than adequate and it ended with another phenomenal RKO.  Randy Orton is among the best at finding exciting ways to hit his finishing maneuver when we as a viewer aren’t expecting it.  He may be the best at hitting his finishing move as a surprise since Shawn Michaels. 

Finally, we cap the night with Hulk Hogan’s birthday celebration, which was the ratings grab they’ve been promoting all week to try to bring in viewers.  I’m kind of surprised that they saved it for the end of the show instead of leading off the second or third hour with it to reach the largest audience as the segments at the top and end of each hour easily get the best ratings of any given wrestling show.  Anyways, typical token appearances by legends and then Brock Lesnar comes back to try to spoil the party, but then Cena comes out and cuts him off and Lesnar disappointingly backs off and exits without the two having any real contact at all in the only show where they both appeared before their title match Main Event at SummerSlam.  This isn’t going to be a match on Sunday, it’s going to be two guys taking turns beating on each other and resting with numerous wear down holds and it’s probably going to suck, but because it doesn’t end with Cena winning and keeping the title, people are going to probably love it anyway.

Overall, not that great of an episode of Raw, but pretty good for a final episode of Raw before a PPV (Aka a take-home show).

 

 

Written by I Am a Real American

August 12, 2014 at 3:29 am

Posted in AJ Lee, AJ Styles, Antonio Cessaro, Battleground, Booker T, Bray Wyatt, Brie Bella, Brock Lesnar, Cesaro, Chris Jericho, Christian, Curtis Axel, Dean Ambrose, Dolph Ziggler, Eve Marie, Heath Slater, Hulk Hogan, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kane, Lesnar vs. Cena, Michael Cole, Monday Night Raw, Paige, Paul Heyman, Pro Wrestling, Randy Orton, Raw Response, RKO, Rob Van Dam, Roman Reigns, Rusev, Ryback, Rybaxle, Seth Rollins, Shawn Michaels, Sheamus, Stephanie McMahon, SummerSlam, The Miz, The Rock, Triple H, Undertaker, United States Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE Championship, WWE Network, Yes Lock, Zeb Colter

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2013 – The Best and Worst of the First Half

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So, I know we’re actually a couple of weeks over the first half of the year, but last night we wrapped up the WWE’s 6th Pay Per View of the year out of 12, so this seems a more fitting place to give out awards for the Best of the First Half of 2013.

Best Pay Per View Match – Undertaker vs. CM Punk @ Wrestlemania 29.  When this match was first announced, I thought there was a decent chance that Punk could be the one hand-picked to end the Streak, but as the program advanced week to week with Punk getting the better of Undertaker at each and every turn and seeing none of Undertaker’s legendary mind games, it became painfully obvious that Punk was going to be just another victim because there was no chance that Undertaker would get punked week in and week out and then have the streak end all at once.  I think it’s pretty clear that if the Streak ends, it’ll be the last match that Undertaker ever wrestles.  It’s poetic and would follow the trend set by Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels of glorious Wrestlemania exits.  That being the case, with the program set up as it was, there was no way that was the last run we’d see from Undertaker and thus he pretty much was guaranteed the win in my mind.  However, that didn’t take away from the quality of their match at Wrestlemania one bit.  Punk was at his best psychologically, flashing humorous expressions and hitting the high spots at just the right time to make up for Undertaker’s declining mobility.  The image of Undertaker sitting up while locked in the Anaconda Vice and turning the Big Evil glare onto Punk and Punk’s reaction is one of my favorite takeaways from this year’s Wrestlemania.  That and Zeb Coulter’s hilarious reaction when Swagger tapped out to Del Rio in the World Heavyweight Championship match.

Best Free-TV Match – John Cena vs. CM Punk – Raw (February 25) – Just an all around great performance, right up there with their match at Money in the Bank two years ago.  It’s probably one of the top five matches of Cena’s career.  It’s the only time I can remember Cena ever attempting a Frankensteiner and sure, he didn’t do it very well, but the guy went for it.  That’s one of the most exciting attempts at a move done by a big guy since Big Show, as The Giant in WCW, last attempted a Moonsault or Brock Lesnar going for the Shooting Star Press at Wrestlemania 19.  I used to think Edge was the only one who could bring out the very best in Cena, but Punk does it even better.  The two of them have had at least two and perhaps three of the top 10 matches of the last two years (at Money in the Bank in 2011 and this match for sure, plus maybe Night of Champions last year despite the non-finish).

Best Rivalry – Daniel Bryan vs. The Shield (and anything else in his way) –  Daniel Bryan has kicked things up to another notch this year during his “weakest link” storyline, putting on the most entertaining matches and some of the most entertaining segments night in and night out over the past 2 months since Team Hell No lost the WWE Tag Team Titles to The Shield at Extreme Rules.  And if the rumors are true, he’s managed to parlay the great showing he’s had this year into a SummerSlam WWE Championship Main Event match against John Cena.  Goat mode has been activated and there is no stopping it.

Best Performer – Daniel Bryan – (See Best Rivalry)  Honorable Mention to CM Punk for easily the 3 best matches of the year so far (vs. Cena on Raw, vs. Undertaker @ Wrestlemania and vs. Jericho @ Payback)

Most Underrated – Antonio Cesaro – In a very short time he went from a dominant United States Champion to a yodeling afterthought.  He was consistently posting great matches against The Miz, which I’ve come to expect as a very hard thing to do over the course of Miz’s career, so Cesaro deserves all the respect in the world for that.  I don’t know why they decided to stick him with Zeb Coulter now because Cessaro is also pretty darn good on the mic and doesn’t really need a mouthpiece and for that storyline they should have used another actual American to team with Swagger, even though Cesaro does have the Very European, Uber-American thing going for him.  Damien Sandow was easily my favorite to win the Money in the Bank Ladder Match last night and I’m very glad he did.  His mic skills over the past year or so have surpassed even those of the CM Punk and his overhyped “pipe bombs”, of which there have been few and far between since his infamous Vegas promo.  However, if Sandow wasn’t going to be the one to win, Cesaro was easily my second choice of who I would have liked to have seen win the briefcase and become a guaranteed future World Champion.

Best Pay Per View – Payback – This event was one I had pretty much written off, but it really had a lot going for it.  The 3 Stages of Hell WWE Championship title match between Cena and Ryback exceeded my expectations and was actually probably the best Pay Per View WWE Championship Match of the year so far, but that’s not saying a whole lot unless you give a lot of credit to the Twice in a Lifetime Cena vs. Rock rematch at Wrestlemania, which just didn’t do a whole lot for me after already seeing it the previous year and knowing that for certain Cena was going to win and get his all important “redemption” when they should have just had him beat Rock last year and ended it there instead of continuing to drag it out for what is probably going to be a Wrestlemania Main Event trilogy.  On top of that, you can debate which of Punk’s matches (vs. Cena, vs. Undertaker or this one) was the best, but undoubtedly Punk vs. Jericho on that night was one of the best 3 matches of the year at the very least.  On top of that, Del Rio shockingly (to me anyway) won the World Heavyweight Championship back from Dolph Ziggler in a match that just like Bret Hart vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 13 flip-flopped the two, simultaneously turning the heel into the face and the face into the heel by showcasing the guts of the injured heel who was already getting huge reactions from the crowd long before that point.  Poor Ziggler now has 2 World Heavyweight Championship reigns, one of which went for 69 days, and he still has never successfully defended the title.  However, he put on a good show despite carrying a title for 10 weeks without defending it or even being on Television for half of his brief title run.  On top of all of that, Daniel Bryan continued to put on a great show in the WWE Tag Team Title match and for the first time in a long time WWE put a watchable women’s match on the Pay Per View, between Kaitlynn and AJ, even though the program leading up to it was like a very watered down version of Trish and Mickie.  There wasn’t really a stinker match on the card, though Dean Ambrose vs. Kane did let me down a little bit, but that’s mostly because I don’t believe disqualifications and non-finishes have any place on a Pay Per View.  If you want to put that kind of finish on Raw, go right ahead because we aren’t shelling out $50-$60 to watch it, but if you are going to charge that much for people to watch a Pay Per View, you have an obligation to deliver better than that cheap ass crap to help you promote the next Pay Per View that you’re also going to charge $50 or more for.  It’s no wonder WWE has such a problem with internet piracy.  I know that they have a lot of deserving workers who need Pay Per View revenue to help cover their salaries, but when you’re ripping off fans at $50 a pop every month, you deserve to be ripped off yourself.  It’s called karma.  Especially when I believe that you could cut Pay Per View prices down to $10-$15 and sell the show to 4-5 times as many people and make the same amount of profit.  Pay Per View buy rates and profits are down purely because, in the words of Jimmy McMillan (the guy from The Rent Is Too Damn High Party), the prices are too damn high.

Worst Match – The Rock vs. CM Punk @ Royal Rumble –  Those two just didn’t feel like they had any chemistry to me at all.  Moves seemed disjointed and poor Bret Hart was in attendance in the back after participating in the Fan Access panels that weekend and giving Del Rio a rub on his way to the ring, and Bret had to watch The Rock absolutely butcher the Sharpshooter.  At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if The Great Khali could apply a better Sharpshooter than The Rock.  He certainly couldn’t do any worse than The Rock.  And to top it all off, they did one of those crappy interference finishes followed by restarting the match only to have the real finish occur less than 15 seconds after restarting the match.  It was a nice moment in the career of The Rock and a niece piece of nostalgia for the fans, but it was a god awful stinker of a match.

Best Fan Reaction – Finally stopping the Goldberg chants – Next on the list of stupid crap to quit chanting is the What chant.

Worst Fan Reaction – Fandangoing – Just stop it.  The dude has a smaller move set than John Cena, of whose “5 moves of doom” you all love to bitch about so much.  Stop it now.  Shame on you New York fans for starting that junk.

Most Overrated – Fandango – (See Worst Fan Reaction) Shame on Chris Jericho for being willing to job to absolutely anybody at any given time and thus giving this bozo credibility (I’ve taken to referring to Fandango as Wiener Breath most of the time due to his level of suckitude).  Have some standards, please, for the love of all that is holy.

Worst Choice – Fandango going over on Jericho @ Wrestlemania – It’s usually a good thing for a veteran to put over the young talent and I applaud Jericho’s selflessness in being so cool about jobbing to anybody and everybody, but I reiterate for the love of all that is holy, please have some standards Chris.

Best Choice – Zack Ryder – For accidentally kicking Fandango in the head wrong and giving him a concussion, thus allowing Curtis Axel to replace him at Payback, thus saving the world from the disaster that is Fandango winning anything of importance, such as the Intercontinental Championship.

Worst Announcer – Still Michael Cole – Forever and always Michael Cole.  You know why.  Enough said.

Best Announcer – JBL – He might not have actually been a wrestling God, but he is definitely a commentary God.  Bobby Heenan is still my all time favorite commentator, but JBL is easily the runner-up.

 

Written by I Am a Real American

July 15, 2013 at 7:20 am

Posted in AJ Lee, Antonio Cessaro, Big Show, Bobby "The Brain" Heenan, Bret Hart, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, Curtis Axel, Damien Sandow, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Diva's Championship, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, Edge, Extreme Rules, Fandango, Jack Swagger, John Cena, Kaitlynn, Kane, Mickie James, Money in the Bank, Ric Flair, Royal Rumble, Sharpshooter, Shawn Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Miz, The Rock, The Shield, Trish Stratus, Undertaker, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 29, Wrestlemania XIII, Wrestlemania XIX, Wrestlemania XXIX, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Zack Ryder, Zeb Coulter

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In the Wake of a Dream Match

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Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar.

It’s a dream match that I personally have wanted to see since Brock Lesnar made the WWE Championship disputed once again in 2002 by declaring himself and the title the exclusive property of Smackdown rather than defending the title against Triple H, who was subsequently awarded the reinstated World Heavyweight Championship.

Had that happened and had those two titans first met in the ring ten years ago, who knows what implications that would have had on the WWE history books.  And that’s something that we can never really know.  All we can do is speculate.

But we don’t have to speculate about what would happen when those two titans of the ring finally collided any longer because last night at SummerSlam, it finally happened.  The match would have no doubt been a much larger draw for die-hard fans 10 years ago when Triple H was still in his prime instead of wrestling his current 2 or 3 Pay Per View matches per year.  However, since then, Brock has gained notoriety on a much larger scale as a result of his time in the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), assuredly drawing more outsiders to purchase a SummerSlam ticket or buy the Pay Per View than might have without getting the rub from the top-of-the-line legitimate fighting organization.

Looking back at the match, it had a large portion of the same elements as Triple H’s last match against the Undertaker at Wrestlemania XXVIII.  Triple H was once again put in the ring with the supposed “unstoppable force”.  If you take away the allure of Wrestlemania, you take away the mark-out high points of the year like a Hell in a Cell Match and Undertaker’s streak going up another notch, you take away one or two extra false finishes and the Special Referee and what you’re left with are two matches being sold as brutally physical and bringing lots of striking and brawling and very little “wrestling”.

I was at Wrestlemania XXVIII live in Miami and I didn’t hear a single person in my section saying anything about the the End of an Era match that didn’t equate to that match alone being worth the price of their ticket and their travel expenses.  And this dream match between Triple H and Brock Lesnar that we witnessed last night came as close to that match as it possibly could have in my opinion.  There was no way of generating the euphoria that the fans have when Undertaker wins at Wrestlemania for this match.

This match did not fall short of expectations at all.  However, for some reason, I still feel unfulfilled despite having watched the dream match that topped my list of potential dream matches that had a possibility of occurring.

A lot of people would say the dream matches at the top of their list included the likes of Shawn Michaels vs. The Rock or Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. CM Punk or Sting vs. The Undertaker.  However, each of those matches have intense philosophical or physical issues preventing them from ever occurring.  I don’t see Shawn Michaels ever going back on his word and coming out of retirement like Ric Flair did (yet again – why were we surprised?) when he went to TNA and wrestled that godawful match against Jay Lethal where he flopped around and got stripped out of his street clothes.  Stone Cold’s knee injuries have prevented him from having the capability to wrestle an intense wrestling match and his pride won’t allow him to wrestle at anything less than his peak and I give him all of the respect in the world for that.  And of course, when it comes to Sting, rumors have swirled around on three different occasions that I can remember since the downfall of WCW that Sting was close to signing a deal with the WWE, but something always comes up to turn Sting away – be it the WWE’s exhaustive schedule or their treatment of his WCW co-workers during the Invasion angle.

However, when it came to Brock Lesnar vs. Triple H, even when Brock had left the company and was thought to never be coming back, I never really lost hope that that match could someday happen.  Nobody can realistically fight in the UFC forever and even most of the big names of the sport are only around for 4-5 years, if they are incredibly lucky, with the elite exceptions of guys like Randy Couture or Anderson Silva.  And once his fighting career was over, Brock was likely going to need something to keep the money coming in and it wasn’t long at all after he announced his retirement after losing to Alistair Overeem back in December that rumors started swirling about a WWE return and barely four months later it was a reality and Brock Lesnar was walking back out onto the set of Monday Night Raw once again.  From then on, it was only a matter of time before we finally got that huge dream match.

And while I can’t say that I feel fulfilled as a wrestling fan by what I witnessed last night during SummerSlam, I can’t honestly sit here and tell you that Triple H and Brock Lesnar failed to deliver.  That was one of two matches the entire night that held my undivided attention throughout (the other being Jericho vs. Ziggler) and while I keep expecting Triple H to go out with a bang and hang up his boots after these huge matches against Undertaker and against Lesnar, you can go ahead and sign me up to witness a rematch should one ever come to pass.

That’s one dream match off the top of my list that can be scratched off without any regrets.  Next up on the list – CM Punk vs. The Rock.

Real American Top 10 – WWE vs. TNA Dream Rivalries

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10) Sheamus vs. James Storm – James Storm’s affinity for a cold beer is well known and drinking and fighting are the two traits most associated with the Irish.  These two men could go beer-f0r-beer and have it be just as entertaining as a wrestling match between the two.  Both characters love a good fight and are among the best brawlers still in the business.  You wouldn’t see a whole lot of mat wrestling or submission attempts in a match between these two brutes, but sometimes a good old-fashioned brawl can be more entertaining than a wrestling match.  If only Stone Cold could be involved somehow.

9) Chris Jericho vs. Christopher Daniels – Jericho and Daniels are both masters of the Moonsault.  Jericho has been using his Lionsault to put away some of the all time greats for many years while Daniels professes himself to be the master of the Moonsault, labeling his finishing maneuver the Best Moonsault Ever.  These two also possess great technical wrestling skills and any match between these two men would include some of the best mat wrestling you’ve ever seen combined with some tremendous aerial maneuvers.

8) Dolph Ziggler vs. Bobby Roode – The Show Off vs. The It Factor and what would be a match-up of two of the best young performers WWE and TNA possess.  Roode’s time in the spotlight has been a long-time coming and it’s only a matter of time before Dolph Ziggler becomes the go-to-guy for great performances in the WWE.  Both of these men appear to have long and successful careers ahead of them and putting them in the ring together would have the potential to measure up against some of the greatest matches of all time.

7) Jack Swagger vs. Kurt Angle – These are two great amateur wrestlers who have an affinity for the Ankle Lock.  While Swagger certainly doesn’t have the credentials that Kurt Angle does (2-Olympic Gold Medals, Double Digit World Title Reigns, King of the Ring Winner), Swagger would have a better chance of keeping up with Angle’s amateur wrestling than anybody currently on the WWE or TNA roster, with the possible exception of Brock Lesnar, who has “quit” the WWE.  And you know Angle wouldn’t take kindly to Swagger trying to use his own Ankle Lock against him.

6) John Cena vs. Samoa Joe – Perhaps John Cena’s greatest set of matches against a big man were against “The Samoan Bulldozer” Umaga, which included one of the greatest Last Man Standing matches of all-time at the 2007 Royal Rumble.  So, why not put Cena in the ring with another Samoan Wrecking Machine like Samoa Joe?  A match with Samoa Joe could go a long way to showing us all what progress Cena has made or could make in his mat wrestling.

5) Rey Mysterio vs. AJ Styles – Nobody makes flying through the air at rapid speeds look easier than Rey Mysterio and AJ Styles.  The torque that these two have been able to put on some of their aerial maneuvers is rarely seen anywhere else in the business.  Rey has slowed over the years due to a series of injuries, but he can still run circles around some of the much younger competition in the WWE.  Styles does possess a big advantage in mat wrestling over Mysterio, but in a match between these two men, nobody would want to see the match go to the mat.  High spots galore should these two men ever square off one-on-one.

4) Kane vs. Abyss – These two behemoths are some of the most underrated performers in their company despite their size.  I think a lot of people look at these guys and think that they’re just another big body, but Kane has been wowing crowds for years and he plays the psychology of his character perfectly.  Abyss is one guy similar to Mick Foley in that he’s willing to put his body through anything.  Throughout the years, these two have been probably the most mysterious and intimidating characters that WWE and TNA have put in a ring and they certainly have what it takes to tear the house down in what likely would not be just your typical battle of two big men.

3) Daniel Bryan vs. Austin Aries – These are two of the best wrestlers to come out of Ring of Honor.  They are both great mat wrestlers who also have the ability to fly and strike.  Both of these guys are the total package when it comes to ring work, but up until this year, they hadn’t been given a lot of big opportunities, which probably has to do with their small stature.  Aries is still competing in the X-Division, but he’s starting to step out and get more involved with TNA headliners like Bully Ray, whom he beat this past Sunday at Sacrifice and was also involved in Lethal Lockdown.  Meanwhile, Daniel Bryan held the World Heavyweight Championship for nearly 4 months and remains in contention for either the WWE Championship or the World Heavyweight Championship at any time.  Both men are more than capable of hanging with guys two or even three times their size, but just imagine what these two men could do if we were able to put them in the same ring at the same time.

2) CM Punk vs. Rob Van Dam – These guys were on ECW at the same time in 2006-2007, but RVD was reaching the end of his rope with WWE and Punk had just arrived on the scene.  Since then, Punk has skyrocketed while RVD has fizzled a little bit in TNA.  However, these guys both throw some of the best kicks the wrestling industry has ever seen.  Plus, you have the added clash of lifestyles with RVD being well known for his laid back lifestyle and use of marijuana while Punk remains “Straight-Edge”, meaning he doesn’t smoke, doesn’t use drugs and doesn’t consume alcohol.  This could be very similar to Punk’s rivalry with Jeff Hardy in 2009, but with the potential for even better matches.

1) Undertaker vs. Sting – Rumors were flying last year about Sting signing a deal with WWE to face Undertaker at Wrestlemania 27, but it obviously never materialized and Sting returned to TNA.  Both men are clearly in the twilight of their careers, but these guys have helped carry the torch for opposing companies for a large part of the last two decades with Undertaker becoming perhaps the most respected star in WWE history and Sting being the top face of WCW and then providing a huge verteran presence in TNA.  There were plenty of other headliners along the way, but Undertaker and Sting outlasted them all and this is one match that it’s a shame we never got to see and almost certainly never will.  We can still hold out hope though that maybe Undertaker has 1-2 more Wrestlemanias left in him and pray for Sting to sign a deal with WWE, even if it’s just for one match with Taker.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

Posted in Abyss, AJ Styles, Austin Aries, Bobby Roode, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, Christopher Daniels, CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, James Storm, John Cena, Kane, Kurt Angle, Mick Foley, Pro Wrestling, Real American Top Ten, Rey Mysterio, Rob Van Dam, Samoa Joe, Sheamus, Sting, Stone Cold Steve Austin, TNA, Undertaker, WCW, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, WWE, WWE Championship

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Raw Response – 05/07/12

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After last week’s surprise ending with John Laurinaitis getting his own hands dirty by attacking an injured John Cena with the help of Lord Tensai and Sakamoto, a lot of buzz was created about just what the encore would be this week on Raw.  Couple that with the anticipated fallout from Brock Lesnar’s attack on the Chief Operating Officer Triple H and Monday Night Raw this week was assured to reveal much about the near future of the WWE.  However, John Cena was not in the arena and appeared via satellite.  Neither Tripe H or Lesnar would make an appearance either, but Lesnar did send his “legal representation” in the form of Paul Heyman, which was a very pleasant surprise, but we’ll get to that later.

We started the night with John Laurinaitis explaining his actions, describing how upset he was when John Cena made fun of his voice and otherwise insulted him.  The Vice President of Talent Relations and General Manager of both Raw and Smackdown then proceeded to put the rest of the locker room on notice that anybody insulting or making fun of him would receive similar treatment to what Cena got the week before.  So, of course, WWE Champion CM Punk immediately comes out to the ring and starts insulting Laurinaitis, prompting the General Manager to place him in a match against Lord Tensai for later in the night.

In the first match of the night, Big Show would get a rematch for the Intercontinental Championship after Rhodes was able to recapture the title under dubious circumstances in their Table Match at Extreme Rules on April 29.  Shortly into the match, Rhodes would decide discretion is the better part of valor as he bailed out of the ring and grabbed his title and headed to the back.  Big Show was able to block his exit once, but after he threw him back into the ring, Cody ran right back out the other side and made good on his escape, purposefully getting himself counted out.  Eve Torres would then come out and chastise Big Show after Big Show had a brief altercation with John Laurinaitis before the match and made fun of his voice.  Eve then forced Big Show to apologize and reminded him that outside of the professional wrestling business, there isn’t much use for a 40-year old giant and she called him a freak.  This segment went a long way toward establishing Eve’s authority in her position as Laurinaitis’ Executive Assistant, publicly humbling Big Show in the process.

After winning the WWE Tag Team Championships last week along with R-Truth, Kofi Kingston would take on Dolph Ziggler.  And after these two men spend the previous two summers fighting with each over the Intercontinental and United States Championships, one could easily expect these two to put on a very entertaining contest.  And although it was too short, the match was well done, ending with Ziggler getting some outside help from Vickie Guerrero and Jack Swagger to pick up the victory, taking a huge step back in the right direction after spending previous weeks giving lackluster performances while being matched up against Brodus Clay.

Throughout the match, we were shown clips of A.W. (formerly Abraham Washington) back stage with his new clients Primo, Epico and Rosa and they were also joined by Mason Ryan, hinting at a possible relationship between A.W. and the big Welshman in the future.  A.W. appears to be making a move toward being a big-name manager like Vickie.  In an era where ringside managers are now few and far between, Vickie has enjoyed a good amount of success, which seems to have opened the doors for somebody like A.W. to give it a shot, but in this era, far removed from the time when legends like Bobby Heenan, Mr. Fuji and Jimmy Hart accompanied their men to the ring, we’ll have to wait and see just how much of a chance he really gets.

John Cena appeared via satellite for an interview with Michael Cole and Cena made it abundantly clear that even against doctor’s advice to not compete for the next couple of months, he would be at Over the Limit to kick John Laurinaitis’ ass.  Surely, Laurinaitis at least thinks he has some aces hidden up his sleeve because going into a match, even against a one-armed John Cena, it’s clear that Laurinaitis wouldn’t have a chance.  Expect heavy outside  interference from Tensai or a last second change of rules for the match to put things in the General Manager’s favor.  My guess would be that this ends up being some kind of Handicap Match with Laurinaitis teamming with Tensai and probably still falling short against Cena, who almost certainly will be overcoming the odds once again.  Cena is currently 2-0 at Over the Limit with victories over Batista and The Miz in “I Quit” Matches for the WWE Championship.

The new Diva’s Champion Layla teammed with Kelly Kelly to take on Natalya and Maxine and it was a foregone conclusion that Layla and Kelly would be winning this one in short order.  And sure enough, Layla finished Maxine off with her Neckbreaker, which she calls the Lay Out, in only a matter of minutes with Kelly’s only purpose in this tag match being to knock Natalya off the apron and thus prevent her from stopping Layla from finishing off Maxine.  It was announced earlier today on wwe.com that Layla will defend the Diva’s Championship against Beth Phoenix at Over the Limit on May 20.

We started off the second hour with a tag team contest, featuring Chris Jericho teaming with Alberto Del Rio to take on Randy Orton and the World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus.  Sheamus and Orton beat on their opponents for much of the match until Jericho and Del Rio would take advantage of Sheamus’ weakened shoulder, which was injured by multiple attacks from Daniel Bryan and Alberto Del Rio on Smackdown last week.  The momentum would swing back and forth several more times before Del Rio would taste the RKO.  Sheamus then inadvertently hit his own partner Orton with the Brogue Kick and Jericho beat Sheamus with the Codebreaker.  This was easily the biggest win Jericho has had in quite some time, pinning the World Heavyweight Champion in a tough tag team match.  In the aftermath, Sheamus helped Orton back up only to feel the Viper’s wrath as he was hit with the RKO.  This match shows how much the title picture on both Raw and Smackdown is fluctuating.  There has been no mention of a Draft to shake up the rosters as of yet, so it appears that superstars are going to just be able to jump back and forth to challenge champions from either shows at any given moment.  Daniel Bryan is already representing Smackdown to challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Over the Limit and now the World Heavyweight Title match at Over the Limit has been changed to a Fatal 4-Way with Sheamus defending against Randy Orton and Chris Jericho in addition to Alberto Del Rio.  This tag teammatch was also easily the best of the night, but when you’re given over 20 minutes to work with while others are fortunate if they have 5 minutes of air time for their matches, it’s easy to have the best match of the night.

The Miz continued his downward slide as he was matched-up with Brodus Clay.  It wasn’t all bad for Miz as he delivered a decent promo on his way to the ring, telling Clay that if he wanted to see King Hippo dance, he’d play Mike Tyson’s Punchout.  Miz even looked very impressive in the early going. beating down the Funkasaurus numerous times and staying on the attack, but it wouldn’t last as Clay was able to finally overpower Miz and drive him into the mat and then follow up with his Running Headbutt.  Miz then got caught coming off the ropes with a T-Bone Suplex and Brodus finished Miz with his Big Splash for the victory.

Paul Heyman delivered a statement from Brock Lesnar, stating that he did not regret any of his actions, that he did exactly what he promised he would do by kicking ass and hurting people and he felt betrayed by the WWE Universe and as a result of the broken agreement he made with the company on the final Raw before Extreme Rules.  He claimed that Triple H was always jealous of him and that while Triple H was able to last nearly an hour in a Cell with the Undertaker, he could not last one minute in a fight with Lesnar.  The statement culminated with the revelation that Brock Lesnar had quit.

On his way to the ring for the final match of the night, CM Punk found out that his match with Lord Tensai would be changed to a Handicap Match and his opponents would be Lord Tensai as well as his challenger for the WWE Championship at Over the Limit, Daniel Bryan.  Punk would make a valiant effort throughout the match, but Tensai and Bryan pulled many pages out of the 2-on-1 advantage playbook and Tensai was eventually able to blind punk with the Green Mist Claw Slam combination and pin him for the victory.  After the match, Bryan applied the Yes Lock on Punk, getting his own jabs in and adding fuel to the fire for their title match at Over the Limit.  Tensai continues to be put over as he has now gained victories over both John Cena and CM Punk, albeit with help in both instances.  However, this certainly is not going to be enough to put a stop to Punk’s rebellious antics.  We are supposed to take away from this that making John Laurinaitis angry is a bad idea, but Laurinaitis continues to be a joke.  His delivery is horrible, he frequently mixes up his words and the only reason anybody cares to boo him is because they know he’s bad at his job.  There is a definite difference between getting booed because you are good at your job and getting booed because you are bad at your job and after all these years, that’s a distinction that WWE still needs to learn.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 7, 2012 at 10:13 pm

Posted in A-Train, A.W., Abraham Washington, Albert, Alberto Del Rio, Batista, Beth Phoenix, Big Show, Big Show vs. Cody Rhodes, Bobby Heenan, Brock Lesnar, Brodus Clay, Chief Operating Officer, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. Daniel Bryan, Cody Rhodes, Daniel Bryan, Diva's Championship, Dolph Ziggler, Epico, Eve Torres, Extreme Rules, Fatal 4-Way, Friday Night Smackdown, Green Mist, Handicap Match, Intercontinental Championship, Jack Swagger, Jimmy Hart, John Cena, John Laurenaitis, Kelly Kelly, King Hippo, Kofi Kingston, Layla El, Lord Tensai, Mason Ryan, Maxine, Michael Cole, Mike Tyson, Monday Night Raw, Mr. Fuji, Natalya Neidhart, Over the Limit, Paul Heyman, Paul Heyman Return, Primo, Pro Wrestling, Punchout, R-Truth, Randy Orton, Raw Response, RKO, Rosa Mendes, Sakamoto, Sheamus, Tables Match, Tag Team, The Claw, The Miz, Triple H, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, Vickie Guerrero, World Heavyweight Championship, WWE, WWE Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, Yes Lock

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Real American Top Ten: Matches that need to happen in 2012

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10) Chris Jericho vs. Dolph Ziggler – These are two of the greatest performers on the roster, but I don’t know that they’ve ever had the opportunity to work against each other.  Ziggler has made leaps and bounds as a performer since Jericho took some time away from the ring for Dancing with the Stars and a new book.  But since Jericho made his return at the beginning of the year, Ziggler has been reduced to facing Brodus Clay on a regular basis instead of continuing to pursue the WWE Championship.  While both of these guys are currently heels, this potentially match-up is too good to let go unrealized.  Jericho could easily be embraced as a fan favorite, but I think Ziggler could benefit from spending some time as a face and as talented as he is, he could easily make it work.  Both of these guys are great heels, so I kind of hate to push for one of them to make an abrupt face turn, but the potential payoff of this great match-up should be worth it.

9) CM Punk vs. Wade Barrett – After Punk unceremoniously seized control of the Nexus and kicked Barrett to the curb, we never really got to see these two get after each other for a substantial period of time.  Barrett immediately left Raw for Smackdown and created the Corre and for a short while the Nexus and the Corre were ready to go at each other’s throats, but that – as well as both groups – failed to hold up long term.  And just because the dust has settled on the graves of both factions, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of the bad blood between these two superstars has been thoroughly worked out of their systems.  When Barrett gets back from his injury, Punk could be one of his first targets.

8) Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara – Two of the greatest lucha libre stars to make their way to the States could put on one heck of a show if given the opportunity to face off against each other, although it might be more likely that they could be paired together as a tag team at some point before Rey rides off into the sunset.  Both men are currently recovering from injuries and Mysterio has a suspension to deal with as well, but when both men come back, this is one encounter that we’re going to need to see happen before the end of Rey’s career.

7) CM Punk vs. Christian – These are two of the wrestlers who are among the most respected by long-time fans that are still on the roster.  They are also two of the biggest standouts in the realm of the ladder match and with TLC coming up in July, perhaps we could see these two meet in a Ladder Match for the WWE Championship if that place isn’t still held by Daniel Bryan.  Any kind of match between these two would certainly put on a great show.

6) Beth Phoenix vs. Kharma – The two most dominant divas on the WWE roster and easily the two most dominant women’s wrestlers in the last five years in WWE and TNA respectively.  While Kharma has had a lot of tragedy to deal with, she did manage to return for one night only for the Royal Rumble and it remains unclear what her status with the company is going to be for the rest of the year.  And with Beth sidelined by an ankle injury, real or kayfabe, it isn’t certain that the Glamazon would be around for Kharma to face off with even if she were to return in the near future.  It’s unclear how soon we will see either woman back in the squared circle, but this clash of female wrestling’s titans needs to not go unfulfilled.

5) Sheamus vs. Kane – The Celtic Warrior matching his might against the Big Red Machine could be in store for the very near future with Kane almost certain to wrap up his rivalry with Randy Orton after Over the Limit.  Regardless of whether Alberto Del Rio manages to wrestle the World Heavyweight Championship away from Sheamus, the Great White could be the next victim to come into Kane’s crosshairs as he’s transitioned from John Cena to Randy Orton already this year and a World Title push shouldn’t be counted out for the devil’s favorite demon this summer.

4) Daniel Bryan vs. Chris Jericho – Not all that likely a match to happen with both guys embracing their inner bad guy at the moment, but either one is always ripe for a face turn because they are so beloved by the fans regardless of what they do to the younger fans heroes and how underhanded it may be.  And while this match has occurred in the past, Bryan was never on any kind of equal footing with Jericho.  However, Bryan is now on top of his game, transitioning right from a lengthy World Heavyweight Title reign to being next in line to challenge CM Punk for the WWE Championship at Over the Limit.  If Bryan ends up on Raw full time as a result, it could be only a matter of time before these two square off again, no matter who’s wearing the white hats or the black hats.

3) Sheamus vs. Lord Tensai – This match may not be all that probable with Sheamus carrying Smackdown! as the World Heavyweight Champion and Tensai running roughshod over the Raw locker room.  However, the red and blue brands have bled together into purple since last summer and it seems that belonging to Raw and Smackdown is going to mean less and less for the foreseeable future.  This could be a great clash of East vs. West and yes, Tensai is not really Japanese, but he legitimately did become a big star over there and has embraced various aspects of their wrestling culture.  This powerhouse clash could have a lot of potential if it happens.

2) CM Punk vs. The Rock – The People’s Champion came back on the scene in a big way in 2011 despite only making a dozen or so appearances, several of which were via satellite and only wrestling the one match at Survivor Series before his epic Once in a Lifetime encounter with John Cena at Wrestlemania XXVIII.  But now Rock has promised to try to once again become the WWE Champion.  And while some might expect John Cena to be holding the gold when Rock comes asking for a title shot, it would be great to see two of the greatest talkers in the history of the company trade verbal barbs leading into a title match.  Rock still possesses some of the athleticism that helped make him stand-out in the 1990s and if anybody is going to get the most out of what Rock can still bring, Punk may just be the guy to go to.

1) Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar – A dream match that never quite happened back in 2002-2003 because of the brand extension with Triple H carrying the World Heavyweight Championship on Raw while Lesnar carried the WWE Championship over on the blue brand.  If WWE hadn’t been so overly successful that it was able to carry two separate brands and two separate World Championships for the past decade, we could have seen this match with both men back in their prime, but we missed out on that privilege.  However, you can never say never in this business and now that Lesnar is back and has taken out his rage on the veteran superstar and rookie figurehead, it seems this match is just a matter of time and chief speculation among any fans I’ve talked to is that we’ll be seeing this match at SummerSlam in a little over three months.  However, if Triple H chose not to return to the ring after his End of an Era Hell in a Cell Match with the Undertaker, nobody could blame him.  There simply isn’t much of a better way to go out that with a send-off like that.

Written by I Am a Real American

May 6, 2012 at 5:54 am

Posted in Alberto Del Rio, Beth Phoenix, Beth Phoenix vs. Kharma, Brock Lesnar, Chris Jericho, CM Punk, CM Punk vs. The Rock, Corre, Daniel Bryan, Dolph Ziggler, Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dwayne Johnson, End of an Era, Friday Night Smackdown, Hell in a Cell, John Cena, Kane, Ladder Match, Lord Tensai, Monday Night Raw, Nexus, Once in a Lifetime, Over the Limit, Pro Wrestling, Real American Top Ten, Rey Mysterio, Rey Mysterio vs. Sin Cara, Sheamus, Sin Cara, SummerSlam, Survivor Series, The Rock, The Rock vs. John Cena, TLC, TNA, Triple H, Triple H vs. Brock Lesnar, Undertaker, Wade Barrett, World Heavyweight Championship, Wrestlemania, Wrestlemania 28, Wrestlemania XXVIII, WWE, WWE Championship

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