Real American Wrestleblog

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

Posts Tagged ‘2015

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 Live Reactions – John Cena vs. Rusev and Divas Tag Match

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John Cena vs. Rusev in an “I Quit” Match was everything that we expected.  The two men destroyed various sections of the set all over the arena.  They rammed each other through a section of the barricade at one point.  Cena hit the Attitude Adjustment onto a pad behind part of the entrance set that set off some pyros making it look like it was destructive, but was really just a cheap stunt.  They tore up the steps and Cena went for the spot that he made famous in his Last Man Standing match with Umaga where he threw part of the stairs from the ring and out to the floor into his opponent’s face, but Rusev dodged it.  Rusev Suplexed Cena through a steel gate rigged to crumple in half that they set up leaning against the outside of the ring.  At the end, Rusev chokes Cena out with the Accolade and Cena passes out and thus cannot quit and the match cannot end.  Rusev splashes water on him and undoes the top turnbuckle all the way off the corner, undoing the top rope completely and goes to choke Cena with it like the finish of the Last Man Standing Match at the 2007 Royal Rumble, but Cena counters and puts Rusev in the STF, looping the loose rope over Rusev’s nose and face and using it to pull his head back.  Rusev starts yelling random stuff in either Russian or Bulgarian, which Lana gets into the ring and interprets as Rusev saying that he quits though we can’t tell what he’s really saying, so Cena wins the match because Lana says that Rusev quits.

In coming weeks, Rusev will undoubtedly say that he didn’t quit, that Lana quit because she was weak and he was saying something completely different so he can save face because apparently the point of having an “I Quit” Match is for nobody to quit and for one of those crappy finishes that doesn’t satisfy the rules of the match.  This would have been much better served to have just been a No Holds Barred match or something of that nature.  However, when the goal was to have Cena fight Rusev at 4 straight PPVs and not let either guy ever lose cleanly to the other, you get crappy finishes that don’t really finish anything.

Next up was the Divas tag team match and I wasn’t really paying attention during this one on purpose.  If it had been a title match, different story, but as it was, I did the stereotypical thing and used this match for my pee break.  Naomi and Tamina beat the Bellas decisively and nobody seemed to care, probably because they didn’t.

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 Top 5 – Things to look forward to tonight on Monday Night Raw

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Fresh off the heels of Extreme Rules last night, WWE will be back at it tonight and with a short schedule to promote the next Pay Per View, we can probably expect some big things in the works for tonight.

5) With Daniel Bryan out of action, I expect some kind of announcement about the future of the Intercontinental Championship.  If not tonight, then sometime soon I expect the title to be vacated and a new champion crowned.

4) Potential face turn for Cesaro & Tyson Kidd.  Despite being just thrown together, the two have been phenomenal together and both guys are incredibly over and with New Day stealing the titles from them at Extreme Rules last night, it makes sense for them to turn face and seek revenge against the inferior heel team that robbed them.  And with the Usos out of commission for months to come, the spot of top face tag team is up for grabs.

3) Return of King of the Ring.  WWE has announced that the finals of a 2015 King of the Ring Tournament would take place Tuesday night, exclusively on the WWE Network.  That would mean that there will be some qualifiers / preliminary round matchups taking place tonight on Raw.  Winning King of the Ring generally doesn’t mean much and any time somebody uses it to undergo a gimmick shift and start calling them King whatever after winning annoys me, but it usually generates some very good and unique matchups.  I’m predicting Bad News Barrett wins the crown and scepter.  Check out the brackets here.

2) What is next for Bray Wyatt?  – After more cryptic promos in coming weeks, expect Wyatt’s next opponent to be revealed.  I’ve read a lot of speculation that it’s either Ryback or Roman Reigns.  As you’ll read in my explanation for #1, I’m expecting it to be Ryback, which intrigues me.  It wouldn’t be my first choice.  I think Wyatt is too over and would force the crowd to be behind him rather than Ryback and might set back Ryback’s character development if the crowd turns against him again.  As we saw in 2013, Ryback as a heel is not a good choice.

1) Announcement of Seth Rollins next challenger for the WWE Championship.  All of the speculation that I’ve seen has pointed toward a rematch between Rollins and Orton at Payback or perhaps a Triple Threat between Rollins, Orton and Kane.  However, the trailer that aired last night at Extreme Rules featured Roman Reigns talking about getting revenge for somebody stealing his moment, which to me can only mean Reigns taking on Seth Rollins.  Rumors abound that it could be Reigns vs. Wyatt up next while Rollins takes on Orton again or both Orton and Kane, but I’m leaning more towards thinking it could be Rollins defending against Reigns and Orton one-on-one against Kane.

Real American Wrestleblog Reactions – Extreme Rules 2015 – WWE Championship Steel Cage Match

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They announce Rusev vs. Cena in an “I Quit” Match for the United States Championship at Payback, only 3 weeks away.  Gee, I wonder who is going to win that one. (Insert Sarcasm, obviously Cena never says “I Quit”)

The Steel Cage is lowered and a highlight video replays the Orton / Rollins rivalry and reviews the stipulations.  In case you didn’t already know, the RKO is banned in this match.  The outcome isn’t much in doubt in my mind.  I’m fully expecting Rollins to win due to outside interference.  If you’ve never watched a cage match, you’re probably thinking “How can there be outside interference in a cage match?”  Well, there is always outside interference in a Steel Cage Match and the more they try to make it seem like the cage match will prevent interference, the more interference there usually is.

Here comes Kane, the “Guardian of the Gate”.  Kind of a lame thing to add a “Guardian of the Gate” to the match, but it has greatly enhanced the storyline.  I’ve been glued to my seat every time Kane has went after Rollins the last couple of weeks on Raw and Smackdown.

Orton enters the cage first.  That looks like a pretty big gap in between the sides of the cage over in that corner.  Here comes the champion with no J & J Security.  They’ll show up soon enough, I’m sure.  Kane locks the doors, Eden does the announcing.  I’m fine with the women announcers, but Eden and JoJo don’t really seem very good at it to me.  It’s not the same as that deep rich rumble that guys like Howard Finkel and Michael Buffer used to produce.

Match is on and Rollins tries to escape early, but Orton quickly catches him and pulls him back down.  Rollins elbows Orton in the face and pummels him in the corner.  Irish whip into the opposite corner, Orton explodes out of the corner with a Clothesline.  Rollins tries to escape again, but Orton pulls him down.  Pulled him into perfect position for the RKO, but can’t use it tonight.  Orton lays in some punches and kicks as Rollins oversells.  Rollins tries to whip Orton across the ring.  Orton ends up whipping Rollins upside down into the corner.  Orton passes up the perfect opportunity for the Garvin Stomp and instead gets in two stomps to the abdominals and catapults Rollins into the corner.  Rollins clings to the side of the cage and tries to climb out.  Orton cuts him off and pins him in the corner and climbs up to the middle turnbuckle and tries to lay in some punches, but Rollins charges out of the corner and Powerbombs Orton into the opposite corner.  Near fall.  Rollins tries to go out the door.  Orton cuts him off.  Rollins rams Orton head first into the side of the cage.  Near fall.  Orton oversells.  Rollins stomps his head a couple of times.  Orton sits in the corner while Rollins kicks him a few times and chokes him with his boot.  Rollins pulls Orton up and rams him into the side of the cage again.

Rollins plays to the crowd and taunts Orton and rams him into the side of the cage again.  Rollins mounts Orton and lays in some punches.  Rollins stalks around and tries to figure out what he wants to do.  He tries to climb out and Orton catches him.  Fight on top of the ropes.  Orton hops down and pulls Rollins down.  Whip into the ropes and Rollins counters into a Diving Tackle around Orton’s neck.  Rollins hits a Stinger Splash in the corner.  Rollins slaps Orton around the back of the head and taunts Kane now, saying he’s doing it on his own.  Turns around and charges Orton.  Orton moves and hurls Rollins into the side of the cage.  Both men down on their knees for a breather.  Now trading punches.  Now trading Headbutts and kicks.  Rollins with a Spinning Thrust Kick.  Orton throws Rollins into the cage again.  Orton whips Rollins into the ropes and goes for his signature Powerslam.  Rollins catches the ropes to stop himself and counter.  Rollins tries to climb out.  Orton cuts him off.  Battle on the top rope.  Rollins knocks Orton down.  Orton lands on his feet.  Rollins dives off the top rope and hits Orton with a Flying Knee Smash to the side of the head.  Near fall.  Rollins climbing again.  Rollins reaches the top.  Orton after him.  Rollins sits down on top of the cage.  Orton climbs up beside him.   Both men sitting on top of the cage.  Trading punches.

Back down the top rope.  Orton Headbutt.  Rollins knocks Orton down.  Rollins dives.  Orton catches him in a Powerslam.  Near fall.  Orton takes Rollins to the ropes.  Sets up for Rope Hang DDT.  Rollins counters into Schoolboy.  Nothing doing.  Rollins Superkick to Orton on his knees.  Near fall.  Rollins climbing.  Orton down.  Rollins up and over.  Orton catches him by the hair.  J & J Security arrive.  Told you so.  Orton pulls Rollins back in.  Awesome Superplex with Orton standing on the top rope and Rollins’ feet hanging from the top of the cage.  Orton covers.  Near fall.  J & J want Kane to let them in the cage.  “It’s time,” Noble says.  Kane refuses.  Mercury climbing up the side of the cage.  Noble up the other.  Orton throws Rollins into both sides of the cage, using him to knock both Noble and Mercury down, keeping them out of the cage.  Orton goes for the Rope Hang DDT again, but Rollins counters into a Back Body Drop over the top and into the side of the cage.  Rollins crawls across the ring and tries to climb up.  Orton catches him and crotches him on the top rope.

Orton goes to the door, decides not to ask Kane to open it.  Kane glares at Orton.  Orton hits Rope Hang DDT on Rollins from the top rope.  Orton plays to the crowd instead of trying to leave.  Starts calling for the RKO.  Instead, he hits the Pedigree.  Rollins kicks out for a super close near fall.

Random Daniel Bryan Yes Chants from the crowd.

Rollins crawls to the door.  Orton stands over him.  Sets up for the Punt to the head.  Orton goes for the Punt.  Rollins moves at the last second.  Enziguri to Orton.  Rollins asks Kane to open the door.  Kane opens it.  Rollins crawling to the ropes.  Trying to pull himself out.  Orton catches him by the hair.  Pulls him back to the middle of the ring.  Modified Backbreaker.  Kane leaves the door hanging open.  Orton surveys the situation.  Starts to climb out.  Kane shuts the door and refuses to let Orton out.  Orton and Kane argue.  Rollins Dropkick, knocks Orton into the door, knocking it open and knocking Kane down on the floor.  Rollins climbing out.  Orton catches him.  Kane back up, slams the door shut on both Orton and Rollins’ heads.  Kane snaps.  Kane taking off his tie.  J & J and Kane all climbing in the ring now.  Kane going after Rollins.  J & J standing in between, ordering Kane to go after Rollins.  Double Chokeslam on J & J Security.

Kane threatens to grab Rollins by the throat, instead grabs Orton.  Chokeslam for Orton.  Rollins crawling over Mercury and to the door.  Kane catches Rollins by the boot, pulls him back to the middle of the ring.  Chokeslam for Rollins.  Might as well Chokeslam the referee so he doesn’t feel left out.  Everyone else got one.  Kane ripped his pants.  Drapes Rollins over Orton.  Kane starts to leave.  Referee makes the count.  Orton kicks out at two.  Kane snaps and goes after Orton.  Goes for the Tombstone Piledriver.  Counter.  RKO to Kane.  Rollins RKO on Orton.  Rollins crawls out and wins.

Great match.  I was glued to the TV from start to finish.  The interference was well placed, though it did overpower the match at the end, but everyone was into it.  Surprising RKO from Rollins at the end.  We all knew what was coming and they still found a way to surprise us with the finish.  Very nicely done.  Great ending to a somewhat mediocre PPV, but a great Main Event.

Real American Wrestleblog Live Reactions – Extreme Rules 2015 – Roman Reigns vs. Big Show – Last Man Standing

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Roman Reigns takes on Big Show in a Last Man Standing Match and I will be genuinely surprised if Reigns does not go over Big Show in this one.  We saw earlier the trailer for Payback, which pointed toward Reigns vs. Rollins.

Trade punches to start.  Reigns off the ropes, Big Show knocks him down with a Shoulder Block and antagonizes the crowd.  More trading punches.  I expect the trading punches to be like 80-90 percent of this match.  Big Show knocks Reigns down again and for some reason the referee thinks he needs to loudly count Reigns down already.  It’s only a minute into the match, ref, calm down.  Reigns knocks Big Show out to the floor and gets a table out from under the ring.  Big Show punches Reigns in the back and steals the table and shoves it back under the ring.  That was pretty funny.  No tables, Big Show says.  Reigns rams Big Show head first into the ring post, but Big Show stays on his feet.  Reigns with the Bomb Dropkick on the ring apron as Big Show leans against the side of the ring trying to recover.  Reigns pulls the table back down and sets it up.  Big Show throat shoves Reigns into the barricade and smashes the table in half with his hands.  Reigns gets a Kendo Stick and gets in a few shots before Big Show slams him into the post.  Referee counting again, but no chance that’s the end.  Save your breath, pal.

Big Show breaks the kendo stick in half.  He doesn’t want weapons in this one.  I feel like we’ve seen Big Show do that with weapons in matches before.  Big Show drops Reigns’ throat first across the ropes and another pointless count from the referee while they catch their breath.  Reigns out to the floor, returns with a chair.  Reigns gets in several shots, forces Big Show down to his knees and then down to the mat.  Reigns with a DDT onto the chair and Reigns is overselling his injuries a bit too early.  Big Show back up, Reigns goes out and pulls out two more tables and puts them in the ring.  Reigns goes back in and walks into a KO Punch.  Reigns back up, Big Show has a table set up and tries to Chokeslam him through it.  Reigns counters and ends up Samoan Dropping Big Show through the table.  Reigns back up, Big Show rolls out under the ropes and drops to his feet on the floor rather than getting back up.  Big Show back in the ring, connects with a Spear on Reigns and Big Show is pumped up now.  Still not gonna end the match with that, obviously.  Table got set up in the corner at some point.  Big Show knocks Reigns down and goes up to the middle turnbuckle and jumps off with a Swagger Bomb.  Reigns oversells, but beats the count and gets back to his feet at 8.  Big Show out to the ring apron and up to the top rope, but Reigns crotches him on the top turnbuckle.

Lull in the action as Big Show sells the crotching on the turnbuckle and Reigns goes out to the floor and sets up two more tables side by side beside the post Big Show is setting on.  Reigns climbs up beside Big Show and Big Show shrugs him off and knocks him back into the ring.  Big Show tries to get up and Reigns comes over and slams him off the top Ric Flair style.  Big Show back up, 2 Superman punches in a row, Big Show staggers over near the table in the corner.  Reigns goes for a 3rd Superman Punch, but Big Show catches him by the throat.  Incredible Chokeslam over the top rope and through the two tables out on the floor.

Reigns sells to the max, but is still back up at 9 as he ping pongs off the barricade and the side of the ring while he tries to keep himself upright.  Big Show out to the floor, he takes the top part of the ring steps apart and carries both segments of the steps over to the announce table.  He sets the stairs back up in between the announce table and the timekeeper’s table and tells the announcers they need to move.  They all agree and start getting out of the way while Big Show takes the top off the table and reads JBL’s notepad, which says “Big Show needs to lose weight.”  Kinda funny sidebit.  Both men back in the ring, Reigns over near the table in the corner.  Big Show mocks Reigns and does a comedic dive at him, which Reigns sidesteps and Big Show rams himself through the table.  Both men back up and Reigns hits a Spear, both men down and out again.  Reigns back up at 7, Big Show rolls out to the ring apron and drops to his feet on the floor again.  I guess he’s too fat and winded to sit back up and get up the hard way.  Bi gShow stumbles around over toward the timekeeper and Reigns charges all the way around the ring with a long run and Spears him through part of the barricade.  Reigns leans back against the ring as Big Show stumbles back up.  Reigns climbs the steps Big Show set up near the announce table.  Big Show catches him by the throat and they walk out onto the announce table.  Reigns with some Elbows, gets free.  Reigns charges up the steps and Spears Big Show off the announce table and they crash through the Spanish Announce Table.  Still not the end as both men beat the count.  Big Show sits back down for some reason and Reigns overturns the English Announce Table onto him, burying him underneath it for the win.

Strong match with a lot of pops from the crowd, but a typically crappy finish.  I don’t think WWE knows how to finish a Last Man Standing Match without the face burying the heel under something or tying them down with rope or duct tape any more.

Written by Arron Hustead

April 27, 2015 at 1:57 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.

Why you should be watching Lucha Underground Part II

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If you haven’t started watching Lucha Underground yet, then last night you missed what I’m calling the best diving attack spot in the history of wrestling and if it weren’t for Shane McMahon’s fall from the TitanTron at SummerSlam 2000, it would be the best dive of any kind in the history of wrestling.  You can check out the video here.

It happened in the surprise finals of the Trios Championship tournament.  We originally thought the championships would be decided in a 3-way elimination Trios Tag match between the team of Angelico, Ivelisse & Son of Havoc, the team of Big Ryck, The Mack & Killshot and the team of El Texano, King Cuerno & Cage.  However, after Ivelisse sustained an injury, Angelico & Son of Havoc managed to pull an upset win over the two other teams with Ivelisse looking on from the outside favoring her leg after she injured it on a dive from the ring apron to the floor.  However, after they had thought they’d won, the boss of the Lucha Underground promotion Dario Cueto came out of his office, which is a part of the set located at ringside and announced that they hadn’t won the championships yet because he was adding another team to the tournament.  So, out comes the boss’s crew of henchmen “The Crew” to now compete against the weakened Trio of Son of Havoc, Ivelisse & Angelico.  And it would be a No Disqualification bout on top of the surprise factor, plus remember that Ivelisse was injured in the elimination match earlier.

Over the course of the match, Son of Havoc and one member of the crew would be down and out on the floor and Angelico was beaten down out in the crowd and trapped on top of the boss’s office – or so we thought.  This left Ivelisse alone in the ring with two members of the crew.  As the two members of the crew closed in on the injured lady, Angelico took flight in the most incredible dive attack I can ever remember seeing, flying from the roof of the office and taking both men out in the ring.  And if you haven’t followed the link yet and watched the video, the office roof is about as high above the ring as a wrestler would be if he were to fall off the top of the tallest ladders that WWE uses in ladder matches.  Plus, in addition, it’s a decent distance away from the ring, so it wasn’t just a straight dive and fall.  He had a long way to jump to get there and he took off like he was shot out of a cannon and seemed to hang up in the air forever on his way to the ring where he took out both opponents.  Son of Havoc then recovered and he and Angelico finished off the two members of the crew in the ring with top rope attacks while Ivelisse prepared to ward off the third member of the crew with a kendo stick in case he tried to break up the cover and the unlikely trio won the Trios titles.

Now, let’s put this into perspective for you.  In this storyline, this would be the equivalent of Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella breaking up and then winning the WWE Tag Team Championships together.  It made for very compelling television and all of the Trios involved in the tournament put on some excellent matches, all capped off with a phenomenal finish.  Well done, Lucha Underground.  If you still aren’t gonna start watching after that, then you don’t deserve to call yourself a fan.

Why you should be watching Lucha Underground

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If you’re tired of seeing the same old thing every Monday Night on Raw, you really don’t have anybody to blame for it but yourself.  From 2001-2005 there were no other alternatives to WWE programming.  Then TNA came along and there was an alternative, although it was crap.  TNA tried too hard to beat WWE at being the WWE and as a result failed miserably to provide quality entertainment.  They provided excellent wrestling at times, but we all know that there is more to a wrestling show than the wrestling and what TNA tried to do to fill that part of the show was some of the most god awful crap ever to make it on the air.  But now there are alternatives.  And don’t get me wrong, I still love WWE programming.  I still watch Raw and Smackdown every week.  But WWE in some respects is a victim of their own success.  In trying to satisfy the demand created by putting their competition out of business, WWE has steadily increased the amount of weekly programming they create, thus creating a much more watered down product.  It’s still fun.  It still has it’s high points every week.  But 5 hours of Raw and Smackdown every week makes for a lot of down time and failed entertainment experiments.  Plus, WWE has become more about using Raw and Smackdown to promote the WWE Network, the WWE App, the WWE iPhone games, etc., etc. and less about providing a show.  In 3 hours of Raw, it feels like roughly half the show is spent plugging products or other WWE branded shows.

Lucha Underground, however, only provides one hour of programming per week, and it is always stellar.  The storytelling is compelling rather than a rehash of reality tv episodes.  The promotional segments are always focused around the wrestling and what you are going to see in the ring either that week or the next.  There is no prolonged two or three months of promotion for one match before you finally see the guys fight that you want to see fight.  The wrestling is top notch.  It can become a bit of a spotfest at times with all of the high flying that is going on, but it’s always well connected and not just something that the performers do to try to keep the crowd interested.  If you watch the crowd during the show, they are always on the edge of their seats.  And whereas the WWE fans will frequently try to hijack Raw and Smackdown with sophomoric though sometimes amusing chants, the Lucha Underground audience is a part of the show without distracting from the performance with a different chant every two minutes.  This is from beginning to finish a well put together wrestling show with a great and varied cast of characters, a dastardly authority figure who doesn’t make himself the center of attention every week and announcers who genuinely love the product and hang on every second of action in the ring.  And that’s without delving past the surface of the in-ring product at Lucha Underground yet.

If you were a fan of wrestling in the attitude era, Lucha Underground gives you the brutality and violence that has been missing from the WWE product for the past decade.  If you can’t or don’t want to go back and watch every episode of Lucha Underground from start to finish (which I highly recommend), then at least check out a sampling from among some of the better matches that they have put on the air so far.  Watch Mil Muertes vs. Fenix in a Casket Match.  Watch the Best of 5 series between Drago and Aero Star.  Watch the Trios Championship tournament matches.  Watch the Aztec Warfare Battle Royal.  You can find most of those matches on YouTube or full episodes on dailymotion or various other video streaming sites.  And I’m not in any way advocating that you replace the WWE with Lucha Underground.  I am advocating that you broaden your horizons and that you supplement the entertainment that you are getting from WWE every week by also watching Lucha Underground.  WWE has made it clear over the past decade that they are going to follow a certain business model and more power to them.  Regardless of whatever criticism they receive from their vocal detractors, what they are doing works.  You can’t refute that.  They are the global leader in the industry and they just keep growing and expanding with each passing year.  So, enjoy WWE for what it is and stop trying to pressure them into being something that they aren’t any more.  By watching both WWE and Lucha Underground, you get the best of both worlds.  You get the entertainment brand that WWE has become and you also get to witness a young thriving promotion that’s filling the void left by the WWE outgrowing what they used to be.

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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